Collapsible Helmet

Heroes or villains who avert Helmets Are Hardly Heroic still rarely want to bother about putting it on, or removing the helmet and carrying it along. For them, there's a simple solution: the Collapsible Helmet.

Picture the scene, the hero (or indeed villain) is wearing their Powered Armor or other such suit. And then they reveal themselves with an unbelievably cool helmet that just slides, clicks, folds and does all manner of other mechanical origami.

Through some Applied Phlebotinum, this helmet can usually fold into the armor as if no longer existing. When needed again, it can be summoned back in the blink of the eye.

The helmets often appear to not need any human interaction, and they usually just fold open with the minimum of fuss. Very handy for a Dramatic Unmask.

Even if it could be done in Real Life, this would probably still be a bad idea. The multiple moving parts would certainly weaken the helmet and compromise its protective value in a fight or a crash. Not to mention you wouldn't want to accidentally hit the switch at the wrong time. Or that some stray hair get caught between two pieces. Thus, this trope falls fully under Awesome, but Impractical.

A subtrope of Cool Helmet and Cool Mask. Also a minor form of Instant Armor and Technology Porn. Compare with Retractable Weapon.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Guts's Berserker Armor from Berserk. And that helmet? Looks like the head of a stylized hellhound, symbolic of Guts's inner beast. (It didn't before.)
  • Zero's helmet in Code Geass. Unusual in that the actual faceplate has to be removed by hand after the rest of the helmet retracts into it. Instead of being built for protection, Zero had the helmet designed so he can conceal his identity while still being able to use his Magical Eye, which needs direct eye contact to work (facilitated by a hidden panel on the mask opening with the push of a button).
  • Casshern Sins: Casshern has a helmet that retracts into his collar when not in use. Although it's a downplayed example, because in the entirety of the show we never actually see it do this, as he's either wearing it or not wearing it but is never shown donning it on or taking it off. We only know thanks to development material.
  • Fate/Apocrypha: Mordred's Cool Helmet integrates into her armor at will. This actually impacts how she fights, since she can only use her ultimate Noble Phantasm when it's off and while it's on it helps hide her identity; in addition to physically covering her face, it serves as a secondary Noble Phantasm that prevents enemy Masters and Servants from easily discovering her skills or abilities. Using her strongest move requires her to reveal her identity freely, thus it deactivates.

    Comic Books 
  • Nova has a collapsible helmet. While it doesn't exactly fold into the armor, the usually hard Nova Corps helmet becomes fabric, for easy storage when removed. With a simple "flik", a Corpsman can turn it back into a hard helmet, which can keep them breathing in space, among other things.
  • Iron Man's helmet, like the rest of his armor, can be collapsed in different ways. Traditionally, it could be depolarized, becoming like cloth (much like Nova's helmet above) for storage in his briefcase. Since implementing a facemask with his first red-and-gold armor, it can usually be flipped up over his head as well (or, in the case of the Silver Centurion armor, flipped up and into the helmet). And, of course, more recent developments have allowed the helmet (and the rest of the armor) to collapse into himself when not in use.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The most iconic example is probably the Stargate movie, where the intricate helmets, inspired by Egyptian Mythology, of the alien Horus Guards, Anubis, and Ra fold unto themselves in an impressive display of digital effects.
  • In TRON: Legacy, the helmets worn by Clu and Quorra fold back at proper times for a Dramatic Unmask. Sam Flynn's costume also automatically generate the appropriate helmet for the Disc Wars or the Light Cycle match. Justified in this case, as this is in cyberspace where you don't have to obey physic laws nor keep track of extraneous objects.
  • Lost in Space (movie adaptation):
    • The normal spacesuits have collapsing helmets that seem practically holographic.
    • Major Don West (Matt LeBlanc) acquires a segmented, full-covering facemask that slides over his head and clings to his skin when about to enter the fight against the alien spiders.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man:
      • Tony Stark has a very simple version of this, where his face plate just slides up or down as necessary.
      • In the second film, Whiplash's armor has a fully collapsible mask, but there's enough room in the considerably bulky suit for this to work.
      • The same film has the Mark V suit where not only is the helmet collapsible, the whole suit is. Even then, the helmet is notably the last part of the suit to deploy.
    • By the time of Captain America: Civil War, Stark's technology has become so advanced that Iron Man's Mark 46 armor, as well as War Machine's, have fully collapsible helmets.
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord has a facemask which assembles bit by bit and disappears into a device behind his ear when he isn't using it.
    • In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Scott and Hope's helmets collapse back into their collars.
  • In Spider-Man 3, New Goblin has a facemask that seems to disappear completely in his costume when opened. Not that he wears it that often.
  • Dark Helmet has one in Spaceballs, with a Vader-esque faceplate that slides up and down (often at the worst possible moment).
  • Man of Steel: The helmet part of the Kryptonian armors can collapse or build itself from just a collar, as seen when Lois Lane is given one to allow breathing within the Kryptonian environment of the ship. The helmets seem to be made of form-fitting force-fields that can also turn opaque or transparent as needed.

  • The Stormlight Archive: Radiants have been spotted doing this with their Shardplate. Notably, modern Shardplate can't do this, so Dalinar is left wondering how they keep taking off their helmets and putting them back on the second he's not looking.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Stargate SG-1 series, no doubt for budgetary reason, the intricate helmets of the original movie are very rarely shown.
    • The pilot, "Children of the Gods", however, gives the Serpent Guards (and Apophis) more low-key Collapsible Snakeface Helmets that just sorta awkwardly stick up in the air when open. One episode implies that they collapse like the Horuses; Teal'c is helmeted, we hear the helmet-open noise when he's offscreen, and he's then shown with no helmet at all instead of an open one. This, however, never happens again.
    • The classic Horus helmets from the movie, even when they are seen, again due to budget reason, either do not open at all, or just aren't shown to onscreen like the serpent ones — with the exception of a disguised Teal'c on two occasions, with a fully-functioning Horus helmet. Interestingly, and awesomely, the second occasion shows us the helmet closing, which we didn't see in the movie, or on that first occasion.
  • Most Tokusatsu shows have this form.
  • Commander Kaagh of the Tenth Sontaran Battle Fleet, from The Sarah Jane Adventures story "The Last Sontaran". Strangely, there don't seem to be any other Sontarans in the Whoniverse who do this.

  • Clu still sports one of these in the TRON: Legacy pinball.

    Video Games 
  • Dead Space:
    • Isaac Clarke of Dead Space 2 has various versions of his Resource Integration Gear, all of which have one of these helmets that can fold away and be stored in his suit. Often however, the helmet appears to unfold at points where it would not necessarily be a good idea, for example, when Stross attacks Isaac. It's left ambiguous as to whether this is the result of a design flaw, Isaac's own suicidal urges, or a little bit of both.
    • Dead Space 3 shows another problem: damage can result in the helmet not deploying. This nearly proves fatal when Isaac crash-lands on a frozen planet.
  • Dino Crisis 3, features collapsing helmets for the protagonists, in addition to other collapsing doo-dads on their high-tech space suits, such as jet packs.
  • A Fantasy example: Zant from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. In one of the final scenes before you fight him to the death, he finally reveals his face underneath the foreboding, evil helmet... among other things. He and his helmet return in Hyrule Warriors, where his introduction and chest-opening cutscenes show it open and close.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • In Ratchet: Deadlocked, the helmet on Ratchet's suit will collapse during cutscenes when he's not actively shooting something. When the shooting is about to begin again, it goes right back on.
    • Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus features the return of this feature, this time transforming during gameplay rather than cutscenes.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: Vanitas' doesn't so much collapse as it does melt away. Subverted, since a previous scene showed him putting the helmet on normally.
  • While not straight-up helmets, almost all cyborgs in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance have a face plate that snaps on over their eyes and/or mouth, Raiden included, although his can be done manually in VR Mode.
  • In one of the trailers for darkSector that looked very little like the game that eventually came out, the Powered Armor used by Hayden Tenno has one.
  • Myst IV: Revelation: The spiritual masks that the Protectors wear while "Dreaming". Apparently they also vanish entirely when removed.
  • Star Trek: Elite Force has the Hazard Team equipped with optional helmets that can be equipped in case they need to enter an environment with a hostile atmosphere. These helmets are stored in their transport buffers when not needed.
  • Mass Effect has helmets like this on all armor. Mostly it's noticeable for having it only seal when entering hostile environments while still having a faceplate that stays up, but if you want to more easily see characters' faces you can set it to fully retract during dialog.
  • Halo 4: The Didact's Helmet takes this a step further by assembling from free floating pieces, along with the rest of his armor.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Wakfu OVAs, Count Harebourg's Xelor mask folds open or closes automatically when he wishes so, along with a block of ice encasing it that he removes or forms with his cold powers.

    Real Life 
  • While a full-head helmet is still beyond Real Life, folding bike helmets are beginning to hit the market (mostly in Europe). These are mostly three piece designs with sides that fold or slid into the larger center piece making up the Front, top, and back of the helmet. A four-piece design can be found here.
  • Some motorcycle helmets incorporate secondary hinges so they can either flip up at the visor like normal or the entire front faceplate can slide back like in the film version of Iron Man. They're especially popular with long-distance bikers because it allows them to eat or drink without having to remove their helmet and doesn't muffle their speech.
  • While a full-realization of this trope in Real Life is generally regarded as too Awesome, but Impractical to do, downplayed versions of this trope have been historically common. Many feudal cultures have developed military helmets with lower-able visors, removable masks, or attachable chain-mail so the warrior wearing it could adjust their degree of protection, visibility, and intimation depending on the needs of the particular situation.
  • There are also folding or stackable hardhats being sold as emergency gear for earthquakes in Japan.

Alternative Title(s): Helmet Origami