The Hasbro line of Helmets has been a bit hit or miss so far. It almost seems like Hasbro have been unable to decide if they want the helmets to be toys, or affordable replicas. The first in the range – the Kylo Ren helmet (2015) looks great in the box photography, but the item itself looks slightly plasticky, and suffers from cheap looking paint applications in places. Even worse, there are obvious seams where the front and back join together, and around the battery door which is plonked on the top! The voice changer feature was quite mumbly, but I’m sure kids running round outside would have had fun with it nonetheless. As the range grew the quality and value has increased with each new offering. From Poe Damaron, Stormtrooper, Shocktrooper, and the previous Black Series champion, Darth Vader. The Vader helmet achieved a great balance between play and display, with excellent detailing and quality sound effects making it highly sought after.
When it was revealed in April this year, The Black Series Luke Skywalker Red Five helmet was clearly well designed visually, looking very similar to the actual movie props. The electronic features also suggest that extra value for money, which could make this helmet one of the ‘must own’ Black Series helmets. Now the wait is over, we can assess the finished product and determine if Hasbro has delivered on their promise.
The Red Five helmet looks almost exactly as first pictured, and is quite close to the helmet from the films. The orange plastic goggles and chin strap look really great, and there is even an adjustable (non functional) microphone for you to shout movie quotes into. The decorative markings are fairly accurate, matching all the classic symbols.
One of the few negatives I have found is in the Alliance Starbird (or phoenix) logo’s on either side of the striped crest. For some reason these point inwards towards the ridge, whereas in the movie prop, they point more towards the rear of the helmet. Not a huge problem, but it is visibly different even from the prototype pictured here. The decoration of the helmet is topped off with weathering, or dirt as non collectors call it, these details bringing us closer again to the original prop and giving a nicer overall finish to the piece.
The interior of the Red Five helmet is much like the Vader before it, treated to a high level of detail, which enhances the entire product. Inside the helmet is black plastic textured to look like quilted padding, and convincingly simulates soft material. Set into this surface are the three speakers each bearing the phoenix symbol, and some Velcro pads to easily attach the simulated leather cushions. The funky 70’s style padding add to the comfort as well as disguising the speakers and chin strap attachment domes.
When compared side by side, the microphone is not exactly as depicted in the movies, but looks the part well enough. The mode selector switch for the electronics is seated in the lower rear of the helmet interior (where the two silver screws are in the picture above). Unfortunately this means you can’t easily swap between X-Wing and Snowspeeder modes without removing the helmet. For a child this wouldn’t be such a problem, but for my adult sized head, it takes a bit of arranging to put on and get into place comfortably.
The button to operate the sound effects is hidden inside the right cheek, under a coloured square. This is well disguised and doesn’t detract from the appearance by exposing the switch. There is a matching square on the left cheek which could have housed the mode select had more thought been given. A missed opportunity to provide better ease of use, but forgivable considering the quality vs the price.
The electronics are, apart from the switch location, quite well implemented. The supplied instruction booklet is a little thin and it took a bit of experimentation to work out exactly how to produce all the effects. In each mode, there is an R2 sound effect if you press the side button, and pressing and holding starts a continuous simulation. Think of the simulation as a backing track, of flight noise and occasional dialogue. While this simulation is playing, each additional press of the button advances through the events of the Yavin battle, or Hoth battle depending on your chosen mode.
As you continue through the simulation, familiar quotes from other pilots, Han, and the ghost of Ben Kenobi, come through the speakers clearly calling out orders or encouragement . Flashing red and green lights in the visor synchronise with laser blast sound effects during battle and as you launch your torpedoes into the Death Star. All of this works very well together to add to the playability value for fans wanting to recreate the sort of action I could only imagine in the 80’s, with a bucket on my head.
Do or Do Not?
This is an easy one…definitely do. The construction is solid, and will look great on your head or on your shelf. The features are fun for those that want to use them, and have been built into the helmet in a way that doesn’t compromise on the appearance so that people like myself can be happy putting it on display. There are superior (read more luxurious in their attention to detail) versions of the Red Five helmet out there, but at this price point The Black Series Red Five helmet is well designed and executed, and wont melt your Mastercard.
To get your own Red Five helmet, fly over to Forbidden Planet and order one today.