So, footwear modified, there I stood six inches higher off the ground. But that doesn't help when the chest armour still comes down to my mid-torso. Some Vader costumers use scaled down parts, but my goal was to create a suit faithful to the movie, in size as well as appearance. I do enjoy a challenge.
My plan then was to raise the armour off my shoulders so that its lowest edge sat in the right place. As the armour would be seated higher up, so would the helmet have to be. Thank goodness the Vader costume includes these fantastic props, because it allowed me to increase the height and width of my Vader silhouette - though not without a couple of evenings of work.
Where the suit parts lay over the part-man part-machine underneath
The wrap-around hinges are an excellent invention.
I started with the armour.
Next came the helmet, and here's where the true insanity took off. Lifting the helmet in line with the armour, using padding, I could see the inside of the cheeks. Basically, I had to work out how the heck I was going to raise the helmet yet maintain the ability to see. I even considered wiring in a small LCD screen and a spy camera! In the end, I realised my answer would lie in mirrors, and so I invented a simple way to see dead ahead, straight through the cheeks, using light entering the eye holes. Rather than try to explain this, watch the events unfold in the helmet gallery Modifying the fibreglass ESB helmet.
This work, I'm really chuffed to say, has inspired other Vaders in a predicament such as mine - i.e., too short to be a Sith Lord. Some have used this idea to raise their profile without using shoe lifts at all, for that extra presence. Some have taken this idea and not used the mirrors, simply choosing to look through the mouth grill. Whichever way this is achieved, what it demonstrates is that, with enough willpower, a satisfying result is possible, whatever your size.
Of course, there's still the question of looking more Darth Vader than Lard Vader (or indeed Darth Twiggy).
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