Though The Force Awakens has been out for months now, that doesn't stop the Star Wars hype train. With the first non-episodic installment coming in less than four months and a near-guaranteed teaser for Episode VIII with it, this feels like the calm before the inevitable storm. It's a known fact that next year's Star Wars movie will be a bigger deal than this year's, what with returning characters in the form of Rey, Finn, BB-8, and of course, angsty antagonist Kylo Ren.
You won't be seeing Kylo Ren in his full glory until next December, but you can make the wait more bearable by giving in to your inner nerd temptation:
From Entertainment Earth:
Put on your dark side. The best Kylo Ren voice-changer helmet you can get! Dress and sound like Adam Driver's character from 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'! Features adjustable straps and comes with instructions. Dress and sound like Kylo Ren with this remarkable voice-changing helmet! The 10-inch tall x 9 1/2-inch wide 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Kylo Ren Voice-Changer Helmet Prop Replica has adjustable straps and comes with instructions. The full front-and-back helmet requires 3x "AA" 1.5V batteries, not included. It's the best way to look just like actor Adam Driver's character from the movie! Ages 8 and up.
The above is a quick rundown of the helmet, but if you're looking for a more thorough breakdown, keep reading!
The box maintains the black and red color scheme used for most Black Series products, but manages to keep itself unique with an interesting aesthetic. The front shows the helmet with a smaller Kylo Ren sketch next to it, and the Black Series logo occupying the empty space. The right side keeps it simpler, simply showing off a side profile of the helmet. The back of the box includes text information, as well as shots from the front, back, and both sides, while the left side gives a direct look at the helmet. Inside, the helmet is separated into three parts to be assembled by you. Each piece is safely encased in styrofoam and plastic wrap, but still easy to remove.
When you open the box, you'll have three parts: the front end, the back end, and the strap. Luckily, aesthetically pleasing instructions are included for easy assembly. The strap is set to a generic size and tucks into four slots at the top of the front's interior. You can see in the photos that the outline of the exposed sides of the helmet is thicker and that's so you can connect the two halves.
The front of the back end clips into the slots all around the back of the front end. Once together, the helmet can still be separated, but should be done gently and sparingly. The straps can adjust the height, width, and length while the helmet is completely put together — which is really useful when other people try it on.
Judging by the design and detailing alone, the helmet is a success on all fronts. The exterior is made of plastic but has a bumpy texture. The bumps are fine and even, and running your fingers over them makes the helmet feel like something other than plastic. Speaking of texture, there are multiple little "dents" all around the helmet, giving the illusion that it's been through the usual Sith wear and tear. There's also a bunch of silver painted scratches and ridges to continue giving the impression of battle damage.
The lining surrounding the lens is smooth, chromed plastic, allowing to reflect its surroundings. The lens itself is slightly tinted, so looking out is much easier than looking in. And identical to the actual costume, the mouth area is pushed outward. My only gripe is that the seam where the front and back pieces connect is awkwardly visible, but it would be hidden while wearing a hood.
The inside of the helmet is pretty simple to figure out in person, but looks much more complicated in photos. There's really only two parts that are relevant to the user: The straps and the microphone. Like I said before, the straps can be adjusted for height, width, and length. It's easier to take it out and do it, but it works both ways.
The top has a cupped part to rest easily on your head, but is flexible enough to conform to any sizes. The microphone area includes a small dish, and a rubber nose piece. You can see in the photo on the left that there's something small hanging over the dish, which is the microphone. The various components are held together by screws, so it's easy to remove or adjust aspects of the helmet, which you'll find might be necessary.
The helmet is pretty easy to use, which is largely thanks to its simple design and easy to follow instructions. The battery compartment is at the top, but is only opened from the inside. To put in batteries, you have to separate the front and back pieces, unscrew the lid, and pop it off. Once you place the 3 AA batteries, you re-screw the lid and put the helmet together again. When the batteries are in, the two buttons on the sides become operational. The one seen on the left is the power button. It makes a quiet sound every time it's turned on and off, and allows the button on the right to work. Pressing upward and downward on it will adjust the pitch to the specific requirement's of the user's voice.
Unfortunately, the voice changing feature is the weakest aspect of the helmet. The round dish you saw earlier causes way too much feedback, and the output is a garbled mess. Whispering works much better, but it's still pretty hit or miss. Despite that, it's plenty entertaining. You can stick your phone under the helmet and hear a Kylo Ren-ish version of your favorite song, make weird sounds to wake someone up, or use it for background sound effects like thunder or footsteps.
Luckily for all owners, there're dozens of tech savvy YouTubers who realized that simply removing the dish reduces the feedback and helps clear up the output. And since everything is screwed in, disassembly — and reassembly, if you don't like what you did — is easy to do.
The Cost A.K.A. TL;DR
If you're looking for a condensed list of what I said above, here goes: It's incredibly movie-accurate, uses the right materials, and has great detailing. Its functionality is where it starts to fall apart, because despite being customizable and easy to wear, the voice-changing feature is pretty much incoherent. The helmet is a great buy as a display piece or a part of a costume, but not if you're only after the voice-changing feature.
Like most Black Series prop replicas, the helmet is considered a high-end product. That would probably be the best explanation for the hefty $74.99 price tag, though it's a solid one. This helmet is still one of the best options, as other versions are either just a mask, use cheaper materials, or aren't as durable.
Here are some of Kylo Ren's unforgettable moments that you can now reenact:
If you have any questions regarding the product, feel free to drop them in the comments below!