By Joerg “Red Eye” Zimmermann
The Centurion helmet itself is of very basic construction. It consists of two halves made of mirrored silver (or gold/copper for the Command Centurions/Vulpa respectively) vacuformed plastic, and was mainly held together with chrome (or gold) tape. The two pie-shaped sail panel decos on both sides are colored in dark gunmetal, while black was used for the Command Centurions.
There are two different versions of mouthpieces (or mouth grills).
In addition to the color differences the Hero aluminum mouthpieces are easily identifiable, since they’ve got sharper corners than the plastic, vacuformed ones.
The original eye scanners inside the Centurion helmets consist of 32 tightly-positioned small light bulbs - not LEDs. The first one lights, going over to the second one and finally the third bulb. As the fourth one powers up the first one fades out. As the fifth one powers up the second one fades out. This gives an animated trailing effect. The eye ran on split voltage, 16.8 to the lamps, 8.4 to the circuit. The circuit had an on-board voltage regulator. The original eye scanners also didn’t have an off-switch. If they weren’t needed during breaks, it was simply disconnected from the power supply (the battery belt). The scanner itself was embedded in a black resin holder, screwed behind the helmets’ visor area.
For special shots requiring a stopping/fading eye (like Red Eye in his final moments in “The Lost Warrior” or Cy coming to life and death in “The Return of Starbuck”), there was a modified circuit using a switch to have the eye movement to stop where it is, then, the power was pulled and it faded to black. The positive power to the lamps was intermittently interrupted and connected to get the effect.
There were two methods used for performers in costume to see out from inside a Centurion helmet - however both gave very limited sight.
Method 1 – Small “salt-and-pepper” holes drilled over the “eyebrow” section.
Method 2 – A narrow slit over the eye scanner.
There are a few original screen used helmets that contained both methods of vision, but most had one or the other. The slit was usually covered with some chrome mylar. Since the vision was so awful, they often had to stop shooting as the actors inside the Centurion costumes were prone to bump into each other or they simply stumbled and fell down without being shot by enemy Colonial fire.
Note: All of the above photos are all of screen used original 1978 Cylon Centurion helmets. Many of them are of a helmet from the collection of Flightldr Serpentine - and I wish to thank him for sharing them for use in this article.
Many thanks to Joerg "Red Eye" for this article.
He has created a valuable resource for every Cylon Builder in the Empire.
I am thrilled to have collaborated to create and host this article --originally and exclusively-- on Cylon-Knight.com