ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters - pics and specs

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by GINO, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    In the original SW films, prop makers utilized black plastic T-track on all the lightsabers and blasters. In case you were wondering what T-track is, it was commonly used in cabinetry as a means for doors to slide open and close. There are many different styles and shapes of T-track out there, but EVREY item we've seen spanning all three OT films utilize the exact same style.
    This style consists of black plastic track with a groove in the bottom to accomodate a bead of glue, as well as drill holes on the sides of the center rib every foot or so to accomodate nails for installing into cabinets.

    The props that utilized it were:
    Every lightsaber (long list)
    E-11 trooper blaster
    MG-34 trooper rifle
    Boba Fett ROTJ rifle


    Made from measurements taken directly off screen-used T-track, I executed a run of extruded T-track so that for the first time ever, we could use the correct grip shape and material on our props.

    Here are some pics of the T-track as well as some of it incorporated into some of my sabers.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    There are other replica t-track options out there, some might be a little cheaper, but NONE of them are as precisely accurate as this t-track is.
    I don't know about you, but the last thing I'd ever do is invest in a really nice saber or blaster and then skimp when it comes to the grips.
    Accuracy matters!



    You can sign up for T-track in this JY thread:
    http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=258205&p=3937849#post3937849



    I'll be posting some details about how I feel is the best way to remove your old grips as well as how to best attach these. It's more simple than you know.
    If any of you use my grips on your props, please feel free to post here and show everyone how awesome they look!

    I hope you guys like it. It was a huge milestone for me to finally get these on my sabers after all these years. :)



    SPECS AND TUTORIAL

    I've gotten some requests from people for tips on finishing their t-track.
    I can only help with sabers (as I don't have a sterling, mg-34, or rotj fett rifle). So anyone who finishes theirs off feel free to post any helpful tips here. Oh yeah, and some nice showoff pics as well.


    ANH Luke and ANH Vader:
    Grip length: 3 9/16"
    Angled ends: On top of center ridge, make a pencil mark 1/8" from end to designate where the angle should stop
    Tips: I used a 1" metal file and it ground down like butter.

    ESB Luke:
    Grip length: 3 9/16"
    Notched end: (starting from bottom end) ridge length before notch 7/16", length of notch 5/16"
    Tips: Make your marks in pencil on top and down sides of ridge. Use a dremel tool to hog out most of the area. Get as close to your lines as possible without going too far. Then use a brand new x-acto blade to gently square up your corners and flat area (where the screw/rivet goes). I would not use a file for these notches as it is practically impossible not to make unwanted scratches on either side of the center ridge.

    ESB and ROTJ Vader:
    Grip length: 4.25"
    No angles or notches.
    Only the ROTJ Vader uses little screws at each end of grip.

    I attached my t-track using hot melt glue. The opaque yellow kind, not the standard clear. If you don't want to use hot glue, you could use 5 min epoxy instead. I don't recommend using anything else, especially not any kind of adhesive tape.
    Keep in mind that regardless of whether or not you used hot glue or epoxy, that you will use WAY less than you think. Just a teeny tiny bit in that channel goes a long way. If you use hot glue, you have to be super fast when applying it because if you are too slow, the glue will start to cool and won't allow you to squish the grip flush against the saber body.
    After doing mine, I would recommend using 5 min epoxy as it is easier to control.

    As for the screws in the ESB Luke and the ROTJ Vader, I went balls out and decided to actually screw into the metal saber body. That's how they did it for the films right? I've had my Luke ESB graflex since 1993 and I have to say that it was extremely gratifying to finally drill into it.
    For those who aren't ready to take that step yet, I would suggest cutting off the tops of your screws so that they are only cosmetic. You can always take the plunge later.

    For those ready to go all-in, here's what I did. I bought the appropriate screws for each saber as well as corresponding taps and drill bits made especially for the taps.
    I pre-drilled the holes in the grips so that the screws would easily slide through. Then I marked the hole placements on the saber body. Use a center punch to make accurately placed dings in the saber body where your marks are. Then I recommend making pilot holes with the smallest drill bit you have. It is easier to control and center that way.
    After, use the drill bit designated for the tap.
    Tap your holes using a little wd-40 and some patience.
    Then proceed to epoxying your grips in place making sure all the holes are lined up. Make sure you don't confuse which grip goes where. I used tiny pieces of tape to mark them.
    Afterward, simply screw in your screws. Don't overtighten, or you might pop the hot glue or epoxy on the opposite end.


    If I missed anything, let me know.

    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
    dwmilo likes this.
  2. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Once you guys receive your T-track, post pics of your build-ups here. Especially some blaster pics.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  3. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    How does this differ from what Saberfreak sold a while back?
     
  4. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    I have some of Saberfreak's track, but it was not the correct shape or color.
     
  5. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Nothing more specific?

    Any pics showing the difference?

    Or some photos showing yours being compared to whatever source you've used to create your profile?
     
  6. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    If you doubt, then move along.
     
  7. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Ease up.

    You claim this is the first accurate stuff.

    I guess I'm just supposed to take your word for it.

    If it's the best I'd like to know how or why. What's wrong with that?
     
  8. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Do your own research and find out for yourself.
    Based on our past interactions, I wouldn't sell to you anyway, so it really doesn't matter.
     
  9. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    That's certainly your choice.

    But I have five different types of saber grips here.

    All claimed to be just the right shape.

    If you can't see my point that's up to you.
     
  10. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    If you do your own research, you wouldn't have to rely on my or anyone else's 'word'.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  11. lonepigeon

    lonepigeon Sr Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Grips look great!
    If you're looking to be super accurate you need correct sidebars for your ANH and ESB Vader sabers too.

    Mic - If you kept up with the threads you'd know the differences between this an previous t-track.
    Saberfreak's is the closest real stuff ever found, but it still doesn't have the correct shape ridge and it's undersized all around.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
  12. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Thanks, Chris.

    I just don't think it's too much to ask for an explanation. Not everyone reads every thread about every thing.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof in my book. But they are just saber grips. No big deal.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
  13. Mr. Nagata

    Mr. Nagata Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Grips look great!

    BTW, are those of us on the ground floor list supposed to tell you which saber version we need grips for? As I recall, I only posted "1 set sabers grips" in the JY thread and didn't get any more specific than that.
     
  14. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    ...
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
  15. JediG60racer

    JediG60racer Sr Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters


    Based on your response to a simple question by totally avoiding a proper response, and based on my own research into how you conduct yourself on this board, I choose not to rely on you, your word, or your work. So yes - thanks for giving us the suggestion to move along! I certainly shall.
     
  16. lonepigeon

    lonepigeon Sr Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    You said before that you were sending enough material to everyone to do any lightsaber and that they would be more than long enough to cut to any correct length. Simple enough and fair.
     
  17. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Nevermind.
    Going with original plan.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
  18. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Next.

    Anyway, for those who don't realize, Mic and I have 'history' so I apologize if the tone I took with him was offensive to any onlookers.
     
  19. lonepigeon

    lonepigeon Sr Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Considering we all paid the same amount for lightsaber grips it's only fair to give everyone the same amount of material no matter what they plan to do with it.
     
  20. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Yes, "history".

    I've asked simple questions and simply disagreed with some of Gino's opinions.

    He chooses to see this as questioning what he seems to think is his ultimate authority on certain subjects.

    Not once have I called him any sort of name, or made any derogatory comments about his work. Simple questions. That's all.

    But let's just move along as suggested.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
  21. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    ...
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
  22. Dann

    Dann Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Well anyway,....Gino said no one has posted pics of their updated sabers yet.

    Here's what I've got so far.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I was thinking to myself "Where am I going to find these darned wires?!" Well it turned out I already had some blue/white speaker wire from ages ago that I wasn't using. I totally lucked out.

    I'm not SUPER happy with my brown wire or my clamp washer, but they'll do for now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
  23. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    ..............
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  24. Dann

    Dann Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Yeah mine does look a bit darker. But it looked to me that it was brown/grey, and blue/white, not blue/grey.
     
  25. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    .............
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  26. Dann

    Dann Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    True dat.

    But it looks mighty white to me in this (blurry) pic. So that's just what I'm gonna go with for now.

    [​IMG]

    But yeah, if we could figure out the correct gauge of wire, it may make hunting the colors a bit easier.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
  27. Vadermonkey

    Vadermonkey Well-Known Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    I agree it looks white....they are also spaced apart in the screen cap.

    This is not quite right, but you see what I'm saying.

    [​IMG]
     
  28. Dann

    Dann Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    Yeah I see what you're sayin'. I was debating whether or not to split mine apart, I was just so amazed that I found the two colors right there together in the same wire!
     
  29. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    I finished the grips for my ESB luke and ROTJ sabers so I took some pics.
    I also took a comparison between screen used t-track, blastech, mine, and saberfreaks grips in case anyone is wondering the difference between them.

    I still need some miscallaneous pieces to complete my sabers, then they are all going through a massive weathering process.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  30. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters

    I'll get you the exact measurements for the MG-34 track tonight if you don't already have them.
     
  31. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    Thanks Clutch.
    I definitely still need it. :thumbsup
     
  32. sycor

    sycor Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    What did you use to cut the notches in the grips for the ESB saber?
     
  33. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    I used a dremel tool to dig out the material as close to my marking lines as possible.
    Then I went back with a fresh new sharp x-acto to get everything clean and squared up.
     
  34. sycor

    sycor Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    Ok. I plan to do this with on of my sets. :)
     
  35. SingleSeat

    SingleSeat Well-Known Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    Good news for Fett fans...


    (photo: Brak's)
     
  36. Dann

    Dann Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    GINO, got any pics of the screws you used for the ROTJ Vader?
     
  37. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    I didn't take any more close up than the ones I already posted.
    I used the hi-res photos of the Vader ESB/ROTJ saber for reference when searching for them. They are readily available at your local hardware store.
    Actually, scratch that. I wouldn't go to a Lowe's or Home Depot (even though they might have them also). Try one of those smaller specialty hardware stores like Ace Hardware etc..
     
  38. Dann

    Dann Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    How long is the threading on them? Do you have a size or anything?
     
  39. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    I don't know the sizing. I was only trying to match the head size/style.
    They were about 1/2" long.
     
  40. Yorpheus

    Yorpheus Well-Known Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    Gino, the T-Track turned out fantastic. (y)cool

    I had a question (and maybe it's just the pics). In this pic the grips look smooth and shiny:
    [​IMG]

    But here they look dull and... not as smooth:
    [​IMG]

    Is it the same grip material being shown in both pics?
     
  41. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    Same stuff. Refer to the top pic as it is the best representation of how in looks in person.
     
  42. Darth Detroit

    Darth Detroit Sr Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    If I had more money I would buy another set... *bump*
     
  43. Darth Lars

    Darth Lars Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    Gino: Did you use my sketch? What did you change?
     
  44. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    Actually some pretty amazing and definitive reference presented itself. Had it not, I definitely would have started with yours.
     
  45. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    I've gotten some requests from people for tips on finishing their t-track.
    I can only help with sabers (as I don't have a sterling, mg-34, or rotj fett rifle). So anyone who finishes theirs off feel free to post any helpful tips here. Oh yeah, and some nice showoff pics as well.


    ANH Luke and ANH Vader:
    Grip length: 3 9/16"
    Angled ends: On top of center ridge, make a pencil mark 1/8" from end to designate where the angle should stop
    Tips: I used a 1" metal file and it ground down like butter.

    ESB Luke:
    Grip length: 3 9/16"
    Notched end: (starting from bottom end) ridge length before notch 7/16", length of notch 5/16"
    Tips: Make your marks in pencil on top and down sides of ridge. Use a dremel tool to hog out most of the area. Get as close to your lines as possible without going too far. Then use a brand new x-acto blade to gently square up your corners and flat area (where the screw/rivet goes). I would not use a file for these notches as it is practically impossible not to make unwanted scratches on either side of the center ridge.

    ESB and ROTJ Vader:
    Grip length: 4.25"
    No angles or notches.
    Only the ROTJ Vader uses little screws at each end of grip.

    I attached my t-track using hot melt glue. The opaque yellow kind, not the standard clear. If you don't want to use hot glue, you could use 5 min epoxy instead. I don't recommend using anything else, especially not any kind of adhesive tape.
    Keep in mind that regardless of whether or not you used hot glue or epoxy, that you will use WAY less than you think. Just a teeny tiny bit in that channel goes a long way. If you use hot glue, you have to be super fast when applying it because if you are too slow, the glue will start to cool and won't allow you to squish the grip flush against the saber body.
    After doing mine, I would recommend using 5 min epoxy as it is easier to control.

    As for the screws in the ESB Luke and the ROTJ Vader, I went balls out and decided to actually screw into the metal saber body. That's how they did it for the films right? I've had my Luke ESB graflex since 1993 and I have to say that it was extremely gratifying to finally drill into it.
    For those who aren't ready to take that step yet, I would suggest cutting off the tops of your screws so that they are only cosmetic. You can always take the plunge later.

    For those ready to go all-in, here's what I did. I bought the appropriate screws for each saber as well as corresponding taps and drill bits made especially for the taps.
    I pre-drilled the holes in the grips so that the screws would easily slide through. Then I marked the hole placements on the saber body. Use a center punch to make accurately placed dings in the saber body where your marks are. Then I recommend making pilot holes with the smallest drill bit you have. It is easier to control and center that way.
    After, use the drill bit designated for the tap.
    Tap your holes using a little wd-40 and some patience.
    Then proceed to epoxying your grips in place making sure all the holes are lined up. Make sure you don't confuse which grip goes where. I used tiny pieces of tape to mark them.
    Afterward, simply screw in your screws. Don't overtighten, or you might pop the hot glue or epoxy on the opposite end.


    If I missed anything, let me know.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
  46. Yorpheus

    Yorpheus Well-Known Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    Thanks for posting the instructions, Gino! :thumbsup

    In regards to the angles on the Luke ANH do you have any close-up pics of the original or even your own saber we could use as reference? I'd like to get this one as screen accurate as possible.
    I
    Also, what type/size screws are used on the grips of the ROTJ Vader?
     
  47. GINO

    GINO Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    There's a good pic of the ANH saber referred to as the 'toe' pic where you can see the grips well. Also, the Chronicles has several of the ANH Luke and ANH Vader.

    If you make your mark on the top center ridge 1/8" from the end and then draw your diagonal line down to the bottom end edge from that, you will be fine.
     
  48. Darth Detroit

    Darth Detroit Sr Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    I'll be getting mine tomorrow. :)
     
  49. Yorpheus

    Yorpheus Well-Known Member

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    Thanks, Gino. I've got the Chronicles book.

    Could someone PLEASE post the aforementioned 'toe' pic?
     
  50. dcarty

    dcarty Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: ACCURATE T-TRACK on sabers and blasters -NEW PICS see post#29

    I don't know if this pic is considered "communal property" these days so I'll remove it if necessary:

    [​IMG]

    Cheers, and thanks as always wackychimp

    Dave
     

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