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The original Hoth hat
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Darth Lars
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 7:38 pm    Post subject: The original Hoth hat Reply with quote

I have recently been to Finse, Norway which was used as the setting for Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. I was there together with ~40 members of the 501st and the Rebel Legion, most of us from the Nordic countries ("Nordic Outpost"/"Nordig Garrison").
We stayed at the hotel "Finse 1222" which was the base camp for "Chapter 2 Productions" in Norway back in 1979. Several scenes were shot literally right outside the door of the hotel. Cool

The hotel had an original Rebel Hat in a glass cabinet .. and the staff was willing to allow us fans to handle it, wear it and take pictures with it as long as we promised to be careful. They were so trusting -- I almost couldn't believe it! Shocked


I took the time to examine it and to take a few pictures of it for you guys.

The hat could be said be made of three pieces:
1. An inner cylindrical hat.
2. A quilted cover around the inner hat.
3. The bills attached to the front of it all.

It was made from two types of fabric:
- A medium-weight twill in a very light tan color. Almost, but not quite white. I'll call it "light" hereafter for simplicity.
- A slightly ligher and softer twill in a slightly darker tan color. I'll call it "dark" from here on for simplicity.

The edging around the bill and the back are not woven ribbons - they are actually just strips cut from fabric.


The cylinder has a slit in the back that goes a little bit more than half-way up. Over the slit is a strap of velcro which allows the hat to be adjusted for different sized heads. The sides of the inner hat is double layers of fabric, while the top oval is only one.


The padded cover is made from two layers of "lighter" fabric. The most part is quilted with padding in-between but above a certain line there is neither.
The bottom edge is curved, and the front edges are slanted so that they meet at the tips at 45 degree angles.


Both front edges has white elastic on the insides, attached with zig-zag stitch.


The edging around the bottom/front is of the lighter fabric. The chin strap is sewn onto the outside and is closed with white velcro.


There are three small loops of "darker" fabric on the back of the hat. They are stitched to the cover at the top and closed with white velcro on the bottom.


There is a flap of darker fabric over each ear. Each is double-stitched at the top and closed with velcro.
The comm radio was attached to the left ear flap with a thin fishing line. There are stains left from the comm radio prop - possible from its black paint. The comm radio was gone, unfortunately, but it has been well researched already and I believe that good resin replicas are available.


The edging around the top is the "darker" fabric -- and this same seam is what holds the quilted cover to the inner hat. The seam starts below the bill, but the edging starts where the bill is attached.


I can not tell much about the bills, except that it is stitched all the way around to the rest of the hat. There is a simple ribbon of the darker fabric in the crease attached to the bills only at the two corners.
There are also, some obviously hand-made stitches at these corners.

One curious thing about this hat, that I forgot to take any pictures of, is that it comes with a oversized chin cup made of fabric. It has a top and a bottom, with a seam in a curve so that it cups the wearers chin. The bottom part is lemon-shaped (for lack of a better word) and the top part is more angular. It is very wide. In the movie, I have seen only Han Solo wear this, but I have spotted background extras wearing it in high-res publicity pictures. This chin cup is double-sided, made from the light fabric on one side and the darker on the other. It is sewn to a long strip of the same type of elastic as is used in the hat.

Hopefully, this post will have answered a few long-standing questions that hat-makers have had about how the hat was constructed.

... We can also settle any "white vs. grey vs. tan" debate: It is tan. Period. Laughing

Now go and make your own hats!
/ Johan


Last edited by Darth Lars on Fri May 07, 2010 4:16 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Grey Jedi (Donna Keeley)
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Johan, you are AWESOME!!! bow

Thanks so much for these reference photos. How very kind of the staff to let the fans get an up close look at the hat.

Several members of my Southern California Garrison made the trip and I've been enjoying their Facebook photos. One of them did his Darth Vader in the snow with a bunch of Snowtroopers.

I love being a geek. Very Happy
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Lonescout (Angelo Marcano)
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW! Shocked Nice Find!
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool! Shocked
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome, awesome and awesome!! And now begins the waiting...to see who can construct the fabled "Hoth Hat"!!!

For there are many Hoth Troopers waiting for their hats!!
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was very cool of the staff to let you guys do that. Now, you have to track some of the Hoth extras to see if they have other costume pieces. Wink
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Darth Lars
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah.. When we started to talk to norwegians there, there were a few people who knew people who had been extras, but none who we met directly.
Various props have been carelessly left behind after the production. A few years ago, in the summer, a part of a gun turret was found. It had been covered with snow for 25 years. Nobody knows how many props that are left.

Back to the hat: The lower rim of the inner hat is showing below the bill. There may also be parts of the white elastic peeking out of the sides. These details have previously been mistaken for a balaclava.

A whole bunch of RL/501st members have posed with the hat on.. and it appeared in the 501st group picture as "the empire's prize". I blame Steve Sansweet ... he had sent a greeting, tipping the imperials off that the hat was there. Smile
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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a amazing find.
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Luc Skywalker (Luc Massey)
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is AWESOME! Wish I had those pictures when I made my hat.
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love to see some pictures of it on someone. front, side, back.
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote












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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool seeing it up close and inside. They look very well constructed for a costume piece--nice details. The shot of it on are very helpful as well.
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Obey Wann (William Blackburn)
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, that is GOLD!!! Thanks so much!!!!!
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW!!

Thank you sooooooooooooooooo much for taking the time to document the entire experience!

All us "Hoth-heads" are certainly thankful for your efforts!



Very Happy

jumping up and down that I managed to get the hat color right....
mine is what is called "natural" or "ecru"....which is about as light as you can go before you hit white..

Very Happy
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scoobyonekenobi (Rob Clark)
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool Find thank you for sharing this Very Happy
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