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AN-H-15 Styles
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Cat O. ()



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:05 am    Post subject: AN-H-15 Styles Reply with quote

Early WW2 AN-H-15 flight helmets do not have the snaps for the oxygen mask, the later production runs do.

Are any of the various RotJ pilots seen onscreen without the snaps?

I need an Extra Large size, which are rarer and typically even pricier than the Mediums and Larges. I think WW2 procurement was approximately 42% each of Medium and Large, and 8% each of Small and Extra Large!

If I can score an Extra Large at a semi-reasonable price, I'm likely to grab it no matter which model it is. But wondering if I'd have to add the leather strip and snaps if I manage to get an early one.
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Cat O. ()



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've found an affordable cloth flight helmet that might make a good base model to convert into an AN-H-15 — and they come in sizes from S to 3X!

It's pictured on their website with a headset (sold separately) attached, but it certainly looks like it would be easier to convert one of these than to make one from scratch. This would need appropriate looking ear cushions, a chin-strap conversion, and added leather strips with the oxygen mask snaps.
http://www.gibson-barnes.com/prod-294043/Headset-Helmets.html

Would this be an acceptable alternative to use?
If so, I'll order one and start the conversion work on mine ^,^
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's hard to tell if the pilot caps had snaps and such on them because whenever we see a pilot with the cap on they're way in the background so it's hard to make out, or most of the cap is covered by a (A-wing pilot) helmet. I imagine most of them did have snaps because I can't see the costumers bothering to remove them all from the AN-H-15 caps because that would be a lot of work and eat up a lot of time... But it's possible.
This picture is extremely blurry but you can make out at least a couple black snaps on the side and what might be a brown leather chin strap...


As for the cap on the website you found, you could use it, but it would take a bit of fixing up. You'd want to put a new chin strap on it, cut circles for the "ear domes", add the brim flap, possibly add snaps... And I'm not even sure if either of their colors are right, though the light tan one may be close enough. But you could do it.
Honestly, though, for that price you could probably just buy a replica one from one of the people here who make them and it would look a bit more accurate.
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Cat O. ()



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I don't think wardrobe would have removed snaps. I was asking about early model AN-H-15's that were made without snaps to begin with.

The question is, did wardrobe have any of the early production AN-H-15's that were manufactured without snaps. Snaps weren't added until after the A-14 oxygen mask became standardized. (Also, some of the early ones without snaps later had snaps added in the field by riggers so that they could be used with the A-14 — these ones have snaps directly added to the cloth without the leather strip.) Also, once snaps became factory installed, the early runs of those had 3 snaps; later ones had 4 snaps to allow a greater range of mask fitting options for the pilots.

Given the available screen evidence, would a helmet without oxygen mask snaps be acceptable since there are genuine unmodified AN-H-15 helmets without snaps.

I may not have seen all the offers for custom made Endor ones, but the last one I recall seeing was asking $175. For that price, I could get a mint unissued AN-H-15.

The picture on the Gibson & Barnes website shows that their helmet already has the holes for the ear cushions, presumably their cushions just need to be replaced. Can't tell what their cushions look like, since they show it with a headset on.

Their picture also looks like the helmet might already have a stubby visor/brim, if not it would need to be added.
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Cat O. ()



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To summarise the varieties of actual AN-H-15 as used in WW2, all of these will be available as surplus:

* Early model without snaps.

* Field modified early model with snaps directly on the cloth, not on leather strips.

* Factory installed snaps on a leather strip, early style with 3 snaps.

* Factory installed snaps on a leather strip, later style with 4 snaps.

* Common field modification to any of the above — pilots removed the brim because it was annoying to them.

As with all WW2 gear, the actual tan shade of the khaki varied tremendously from one production to another, and then on top of that, each helmet would fade differently based on the weather and conditions of use.

The colour of the leather straps on AN-H-15's ranged from gray, tan, brown, and black.

Are all of these variations acceptable? If not all, which ones are?
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DL (Johan Hanson)



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cat O. wrote:
The colour of the leather straps on AN-H-15's ranged from gray, tan, brown, and black.

Do you mean the leather parts that the snaps sit on?

Also notice that that the ERC helmets have reddish-brown leather triangles covering the strap attachment points. On some helmets these triangles are attached high enough to be able to cover the lowermost snap in a group of four. On other helmets they are lower, revealing all snaps.

Some helmets have a hook for an oxygen mask instead of two snaps. This can be clearly seen in a deleted scene on one of the soldiers on the Millenium Falcon.

Cat O. wrote:
No, I don't think wardrobe would have removed snaps.

On an ERC helmet seen at Magic of the Myth, a couple of the snaps miss the outer part.
I don't think wardrobe would have had to remove snaps for them to be missing, I think they could have broken from wear.
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Cat O. ()



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DL wrote:
Cat O. wrote:
The colour of the leather straps on AN-H-15's ranged from gray, tan, brown, and black.

Do you mean the leather parts that the snaps sit on?


Yes. Those and also the goggle straps along the side of the helmet and the back strap. There is no standard colour for that leather. These helmets were produced by quite a few different companies to meet wartime production, and each used whatever leather they could get.

Quote:
Some helmets have a hook for an oxygen mask instead of two snaps. This can be clearly seen in a deleted scene on one of the soldiers on the Millenium Falcon.


That hook fits onto 2 of the snaps. It can be positioned over any 2 of the 3 or 4 snaps on the helmet to accommodate pilot fit. Once snapped in place, that hook is not easy to unsnap, but is theoretically removable. But it also feels like you could tear the snaps out if you did try hard enough to remove it!

***edit
So actually I would count that mask hook as another standard variant — if you get a helmet with that hook on, odds are you're not removing it without causing damage to the helmet.

***more edit
And if they had a helmet with the hook on, then that argues there were any number of used helmets in the bundle they got, and it's plausible that any and all of the style variations are costume candidates. Mint un-issued helmets would not have the hook in place, those are positioned to fit the individual pilot.
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Cat O. ()



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I phoned up Gibson & Barnes today and they were most helpful on the phone. I'm pretty sure their Headset Helmet will be relatively easy to modify to look like an AN-H-15. If it seems unworkable once I have it in my hands, I can return it.

The G&B Cloth Headset Helmet has the holes for the headset, but does not have the WW2 style separate cushions built in. (The cushions are just an integral part of the earphones that would normally be used with the G&B helmet.) Should be easy enough to fabricate and add cushions into the holes.

Their helmet only has the 2 straps on the back for the goggles; it doesn't have the 3rd center strap for the WW2 style comm wires. So I asked for a 3rd matching strap I can add myself, and they'll send that along with the helmet.

Considering how much the real AN-H-15 Large doesn't fit me, I'm quite doubtful that an XL would fit my big noggin! It's time for a new strategy...
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Cat O. ()



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just compiled a montage showing the different styles of An-H-15's, and showing some of the colour and design variations of the leather bits.

Top Row: early production helmets were manufactured without snaps. Riggers could add snaps in the field to meet inidividual pilot requirements. From Left to Right — No snaps, 2 snaps, 3 snaps (next to last photo shows inside of helmet), 4 snaps — all rigger added, there is no standard placement for any of these.

Middle Row: mid-1944, after the A-14 Oxygen Mask was standardised, snaps with leather backing were put on the helmets at the manufacturers. Initially, these had 3 snaps, later 4 for better customised pilot fit.

Bottom Row: some manufacturers at some point in time, used a single piece of leather for the snap backing and the chin strap end. Last two photos show the back straps for some more of the leather colour variety that is possible. (This montage does not include all the colour varieties of leather and cotton khaki that are possible.)

***Edit: also note:

* Top row, photos 5 & 6 (this is the inside and outside of the same helmet) — the brim is a different colour than the main cap. I suspect for this production run, somebody was cutting main cap pieces from one bolt while somebody else cut brim pieces from another bolt, or else this particular cap just happened to span the end of one bolt and the start of the next.

* Bottom row, 2nd photo, this helmet has a much shorter brim. This is either shortened by the pilot, or some clothing companies were working from different patterns.


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HazardThree (Jon Paulson)
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To answer an earlier question, currently any of the helmets in the above photo montage would be accepted for the B-wing and A-wing soft caps. Very Happy
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Cat O. ()



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to know, thanks!
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Cat O. ()



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also of note for folks who might want to replace missing AN-H-15 hardware bits with matching factory parts — the "A-14 Oxygen Mask Accessory Kit" contains a pile of the 2-piece snaps, several crimps for the ends of straps, and the hook for the oxygen mask. At the time of this writing, these surplus kits show up in a steady stream on EBay.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HazardThree wrote:
To answer an earlier question, currently any of the helmets in the above photo montage would be accepted for the B-wing and A-wing soft caps. Very Happy


Should probably add: so long as they're within the tan color range. There are some caps that look similar but are different colors.

Anyhow, I mentioned this is another thread but I'll mention it here too... After looking through the movie references it becomes evident that, actually, there are various styles of AN-H-15 caps used in Return of the Jedi. In the briefing room scene there are two A-wing pilots wearing the caps and one has black leather behind the snaps, while the A-wing pilot sitting next to them doesn't have any leather behind the snaps but instead has brown leather triangles at the bottom of the cap. The female B-wing pilot has a cap that either has tan leather or no leather at all.

The two A-wing pilots I mentioned. Notice that the A-wing pilot in the center has brown leather triangles on his cap but no leather behind the snaps. The A-wing pilot next to him has black leather behind the snaps. Also, notice that his cap is a slightly darker tan.


The female B-wing pilot in this picture either has no leather or tan leather... I can't really tell. (It also looks like she has headphones on...)

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Cat O. ()



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did get the Gibson & Barnes cloth headset helmet, and finally got a chance to snap some comparison pictures today. I'm quite happy with how nicely it fits! And it should be a relativley easy conversion to make it look like an ANH-15.

http://goblinhall.com/2014/02/27/a-wing-cloth-flight-helmet-acquisitions/


* The cloth does indeed fall into the lighter khaki spectrum as shown in the ANH-15 montage.

* The roll of fabric on the top for the G&B headset is easily removed and provides matching fabric to make a brim.

* Chinstrap needs to be replaced, and the fabric tabs for it trimmed back to match ANH-15 styling.

* Earcushions need to be provided (I'll try fabricating the hard shell when I finish building my vacuform machine). The holes and cloth rims will be easy to work with.

* Goggle straps need to be repositioned snap-down. Scrap fabric from the headroll or chinstrap snips can be used to patch the small snap holes.

* G&B did send me a third strap on request, but alas it already has a snap on it. But their straps are wider than ANH-15's and so replacing them all will make a better match anyway.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had originally thought the earcushions on the ANH-15 had a layer of leather sandwiched between the hard rubber cups and the inner foam which provied a rim that extended out beuyond the cups and was sewn into the helmet.

On closer inspection, that outer rim is part of the rubber cup itself. The cup is hardened, but its rim is not. There does appear to be a thin layer of cloth glued to the underside of the rubber rim.

I think I can make a decent look-alike with a vacuformed earcup that fits the hole of the Gibson & Barnes helmet and is glued onto a leather rim to facilitate sewing it in. A tan suede will give the look of the original.
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