Accurate Hero ROTJ Vader Belt Replica


Sr Member
While waiting for some pieces to arrive over the holiday season to let me continue working on my ANH Vader belt run I took a little time to work on another project. I've succumbed to the temptation to also work on some ROTJ pieces, drawn in by the desire to see a fully accurate hero ROTJ belt replica created using the fantastic reference seen in Brandon Alinger's Star Wars Costumes book. It would also be a good opportunity to nail down the details to be able to produce runs of ESB and ROTJ Vader belts after I'm done with the ANH run. Through my research into all this, I believe I can confirm that the belt pictured in the Costumes book is indeed the screen used hero ROTJ Vader belt, but I will leave those findings for a future post. My work on this new replica has also led me to some additional information that I will eventually add to my ESB belt box analysis write up.

I did some 3D modeling work to reverse engineer the accurate layout of all the components on the hero ROTJ belt boxes seen in the reference photo, nailing down as many of the asymmetries as I could. I then translated this into an accurate drilling template (I will post this for download at a later date) that I printed out at the correct scale so I could transfer the positions onto the aluminum enclosures I am using with a centre punch and a scribe.



I then mounted the box onto the mill table at the shop so I could drill the holes for the knobs and red light.





I used a step drill bit to make the holes for the green lights.



I then drilled out the thick of the material in the hose slot, just to make the final shaping a little easier to do.


I used an end mill to cut out the remaining material.



I then used a small flat file to square up the corners of the hose slot. I cleaned off the layout fluid and the front face of the box was done!



I then flipped the box over and milled out the slots for the belt to pass through, which completed all the needed cuts.



After masking the insides of the boxes and lids (not totally necessary, but leaves things cleaner for attaching the various components and doing the wiring etc.) I sprayed them with some flat black paint.



I then screwed in the silver knobs that I had machined a while back, installed the red and green lights, and stuck in the section of braided hose.




Sr Member
After some quick soldering and assembling with the leather belt, lightsaber hook, and belt buckle (I didn't photograph the process on those parts this time around...) the belt was complete!



And the inner push button green lights on each belt box can latch into the "in" position, as seen in many of the ROTJ production photos when the lights are turned off.


The buckle is functional and features black 1/8" pinstripe tape applied to create the faux 'slots' (rather than actual slots as seen on the ANH/ESB hero buckle) as seen on the screen used hero ROTJ Vader belt.




The belt boxes have all the correct parts positioned accurately, which, as previously mentioned, aren't perfectly symmetrical with each other. The lights are the original incandescent bulbs rather than LEDs, as the goal here was to make a fully accurate replica of the screen used belt.



I custom made a lightsaber hook to match the ROTJ original and riveted it on the outside of the belt.


I decided to attach a 4 x D cell battery pack to produce the 6 volts needed to power the lights in the belt boxes, which is the one thing that I don't have specific information on as far what was utilized on the original belt. For fun I used some of the same connecters seen on the original belt in its present day form, which may very well not have been used at the time of filming.



So that's what I've come up with. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.


Imperial Weapon

Active Member
Man I wondered why a ROTJ belt buckle I saw had a wonky slot (can't confirm if it was production ,tour or screen used) did find the thumbscrews or are they scratch built?

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