ANH Obi Wan Kenobi saber defined

scarf man

Scarf Signal - "When The Bat Signal just won't do"
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
There is much to still discuss about this iconic prop…

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This prop has been my main focus for twenty years, it’s been mysteriously exciting, frustratingly elusive, and endlessly engaging.
 
Parts breakdown and construction theories

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Parts collage by James Kenobi 1138

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Parts collage by Romans Empire


Back in the early 2000’s little was known about the items used to construct this prop, in fact only the graflex clamp and a strong feeling about an as yet unfound early Armitage Shanks Starlite sink tap were all that could be nailed down. Through the years this community scoured websites, junk shops, antique malls and under sofas for any and every clue to identify the constituent parts that made up old Ben’s lightsabre.


The first major domino to fall, even before the grenade I believe, was the Texas Instruments Exactra 20.

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This humble pocket calculator housed the activation plate for the ANH lightsaber props. All three lightsabers from that seminal first film used this LED magnifier as a tie that bound them together in design.
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Photo credit: PartsofStarWars lonepigeon

A good read about a later but significant discovery of the bubble strip.



Staying in the middle of the saber for a moment or two, we have a combination of the eldest known part, in the Graflex clamp, to the newest discovery of the buttons on the side of it. While known to be some kind of transistor for many years, the model and manufacture remained a mystery until a member new to the community at the time, dropped a bombshell thread that positively identified the buttons. The wonderful transistor thread by v312 is a wealth of good info.

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Photo credit: v312





From the calculator, Graflex clamp, and transistors, we next move on to the No.3 mk. 1 British rifle grenade.
As can be seen in the diagram at the top of this post, we have the familiar shape of the forward grip and neck sections of the saber. Initially, and for a few years, it was the consensus of many here that the forward grip section was some kind of motorcycle grip.
Interesting read here.




Moving right along, we have two discoveries in close succession.
The business end of the saber or emitter as it is rightly called, was found to be a balance pipe interconnect from a Rolls Royce Derwent jet engine.
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The very same source of other iconic props such as IG88’s head and contemporary to this prop, the set dressing in the Mos Eisley cantina behind the bar. This elusive part was thought to be a sink drain for a while, then part of a fire suppression sprinkler head before ultimately being identified.
Discovered by Blaxmyth and can be read about here.

Next to be discovered was the rear grip of the saber, which was a booster from an ANM2 Browning machine gun.

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In keeping with my theme of providing a bit of community history with these items, I can relate that this part was thought to be a heat sink, or fluting iron, and even a lawnmower gear, hence the title of the discovery thread.
The recoil booster, just behind the flash hider was found by Killdozer and can be read about here.


Continuing on to the rear of the booster, we find a four piece Armitage Shanks Starlite tap handwheel.

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As I said further up this post, it was known early on what this part was, however it was much later that one was actually found by a member of the community. You see, there was a modern equivalent handwheel which was far simpler in construction, and slightly bulkier in appearance.
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Photo credit: NathanM

It was this modern variant of the handwheel that was my very first purchase from another member of the RPF, and thusly my instigation to stop lurking and become a contributing member.
Thanks again ry27 of randomsabers fame.


My first completed replica of Obi Wan’s saber here.



More to come soon…
 
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That is my favorite saber too, you probably know more than me about it.

Do you think that during production the wind vane was all bent like in the chronicles book photos?
 
That is my favorite saber too, you probably know more than me about it.

Do you think that during production the wind vane was all bent like in the chronicles book photos?
It’s hard to say, but as higher resolution screen caps are now available, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out the dings and dents to the more fragile pieces and when they happened. We have a basic idea from Rinzler‘s making of book, of the production schedule. So I’m hoping this thread will serve as a sounding board for walking through questions like yours, and perhaps together we can put to bed some lingering doubts.
As for your first statement, perhaps. ;) I fancy myself to be knowledgeable, but by no means am I the man. There are a host of other members that have been scrutinizing this prop as long and as deeply as I have, and I once again flatter myself to believe they are my colleagues and friends.

So to answer your question, I reserve judgement. Throw up a pic, or please expand on what made the question pop into your head. Context and trains of thought are interesting and often shake loose some seemingly insignificant detail that unlocks untold avenues of discussion.
 
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Yeah, but as you say it's hard to know.

For example i have a romans mk1 and i want to weather it as in the movie, not as it look after the production.

And ther are some funny facts, look at this photo I've attached, that is a bts production time photo.

There we can clearly see a washer on each transistor, but in the shot where the hilt falls on top of obiwan's robe the rop washer is missing.


So far I haven't found a photo that reveals how less knicked or not the hilt was durint production of the movie, onw thing we can see in tje photo im providing, it seems t9 have... Sand?, Or sand like below the lips of the emitter and a bit between the groovws of the grenade section
 

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Yes, we’ve collectively been calling that the Tunisia pic or obituary pic. This photo was used in Alec Guinness’ obituary, ( in black & white). There has been much discussion of this pic over the years, leading many to believe it shows a different hero prop or configuration of the hero prop. Notice the different look of the upper frag section of the grenade, missing cap from the handwheel/pommel, and as you pointed out, the two washers vs only one on the Death Star.

This thread covers a lot of ground on the subject.
 
I have no proof for it, but I'm of the belief that someone put the grenade in a mold, with the body upside down, and made a cast of it. Maybe with the emitter. Maybe with the booster? Who knows, but I think thats a poorly dusted paint job on the emitter, with some paint coming off of the grenade frags. They probably couldn't import a piece of ordnance like that

Anyway, thank you for making this thread!!
 
I’m here again - noting that I also see the bend in Tunisia and in the chronicles shots. I don’t see it on the Death Star. My gut is thinking there was a construction change during filming
 
Interesting theories, let’s talk out the logic and try to drift away from flat out supposition.
Firstly, we do have the accounts broken down in books such as Rinzler’s, Christian’s, Chronicles, etc. We also have a plethora of photos, far too few, but more than we had years ago.
It would be nice to site sources wherever possible.

So many theories have been tossed around over the years/decades that they become very sticky and unquestioned as simply fact. I’d like to work from first principles wherever possible.
Your assertion about the importation of the grenade to Tunisia for example. Does that stem from another members assertion about cast sandtrooper blasters due to strict gun laws in Tunisia? Is that to be found in a first hand account in a book or interview?

Im not really trying to pick on you thd9791, just trying to shine a light on how things can get out of hand building theory upon theory. I like that you’re always thinking, and postulating, and engaging, we need that around here. I think we also need people who pump the breaks and deconstruct a little bit, check our math so to speak. It takes all kinds you know.
I hope that didn’t come off the wrong way, I didn’t mean any offense.
 
Interesting theories, let’s talk out the logic and try to drift away from flat out supposition.
Firstly, we do have the accounts broken down in books such as Rinzler’s, Christian’s, Chronicles, etc. We also have a plethora of photos, far too few, but more than we had years ago.
It would be nice to site sources wherever possible.

So many theories have been tossed around over the years/decades that they become very sticky and unquestioned as simply fact. I’d like to work from first principles wherever possible.
Your assertion about the importation of the grenade to Tunisia for example. Does that stem from another members assertion about cast sandtrooper blasters due to strict gun laws in Tunisia? Is that to be found in a first hand account in a book or interview?

Im not really trying to pick on you thd9791, just trying to shine a light on how things can get out of hand building theory upon theory. I like that you’re always thinking, and postulating, and engaging, we need that around here. I think we also need people who pump the breaks and deconstruct a little bit, check our math so to speak. It takes all kinds you know.
I hope that didn’t come off the wrong way, I didn’t mean any offense.
Not at all, its very VERY good to scrutinize and keep things straight like that. I think I'm used to the RPF ten years ago where there was like... an understanding and a hesitancy so we could be flippant but it was understood what estimates and best guesses were. Lately, I know, it's been a bit more tumultuous. (holy crap I spelled that right on the first try)

I took some time to sift through my memories, and I'll post my best recollection of where things came from.

1) Importing: This I do not have a firsthand account of. If I had the making of ANH book it might be in there. I originally got these explanations from veteran members here, as explanations for the Greedo Killer blaster and the stormtrooper blasters. I'm 90% sure Prop Store and a couple exhibitions explained the cast-metal Stormtrooper blasters this way - that they couldn't import the trigger group or main firing mechanism and using cast parts was a loophole to import the props.

Given that, the possibility that they might not be able to import parts of the grenade was an RPF discussion theory. This also came up because the grenade body is backwards, which logically means that they took it a part for some reason and pieced it back together in the wrong orientation. We were able to photo match someone's grenade with the neck fitted to the base to a step on the tunisia saber shoulder in the thread proper. Also, using the patterns of prop-work in these films, once something is machined or screwed or glued together, it tends to stay that way. When it doesn't, on Star Wars, it's usually reeeaallly obvious there was a repair. The screws on the chronicles saber, to me, would make it unlikely they would disassemble it after that... so the theory goes it was drilled after the tunisia grenade orientation swap...so the RPF frequently uses logic to piece together a timeline. It's guesswork, but educated and always flexible when new facts come up

2. Observations on the saber - these are just my eyes judging the limited photos we have. Theories. I'm also using what we have found out as facts from other lightsabers and props to help my guesswork. Many times we have poured over images blown up 400% only to find out years later what we were looking at was plainly... just that. It may be weird, but a lot of things keep turning out to be weird. The Hoth blaster looked like a plain old disc was bolted to the bracket, and after a long time of mapping the disc and finding a found part, it turned out to be just a 3mm disc of aluminum lol

so the weird transition under the emitter in Tunisia bothers me. It doesn't look like the Death Star and Chronicles shots. The shading under the rim doesn't look like an artifact either, everything is just so odd with this saber. I am absolutely shooting out ideas, some of which we have already discussed and whittled down to a few more probably theories.
 
Not at all, its very VERY good to scrutinize and keep things straight like that. I think I'm used to the RPF ten years ago where there was like... an understanding and a hesitancy so we could be flippant but it was understood what estimates and best guesses were. Lately, I know, it's been a bit more tumultuous. (holy crap I spelled that right on the first try)

I took some time to sift through my memories, and I'll post my best recollection of where things came from.

1) Importing: This I do not have a firsthand account of. If I had the making of ANH book it might be in there. I originally got these explanations from veteran members here, as explanations for the Greedo Killer blaster and the stormtrooper blasters. I'm 90% sure Prop Store and a couple exhibitions explained the cast-metal Stormtrooper blasters this way - that they couldn't import the trigger group or main firing mechanism and using cast parts was a loophole to import the props.

Given that, the possibility that they might not be able to import parts of the grenade was an RPF discussion theory. This also came up because the grenade body is backwards, which logically means that they took it a part for some reason and pieced it back together in the wrong orientation. We were able to photo match someone's grenade with the neck fitted to the base to a step on the tunisia saber shoulder in the thread proper. Also, using the patterns of prop-work in these films, once something is machined or screwed or glued together, it tends to stay that way. When it doesn't, on Star Wars, it's usually reeeaallly obvious there was a repair. The screws on the chronicles saber, to me, would make it unlikely they would disassemble it after that... so the theory goes it was drilled after the tunisia grenade orientation swap...so the RPF frequently uses logic to piece together a timeline. It's guesswork, but educated and always flexible when new facts come up

2. Observations on the saber - these are just my eyes judging the limited photos we have. Theories. I'm also using what we have found out as facts from other lightsabers and props to help my guesswork. Many times we have poured over images blown up 400% only to find out years later what we were looking at was plainly... just that. It may be weird, but a lot of things keep turning out to be weird. The Hoth blaster looked like a plain old disc was bolted to the bracket, and after a long time of mapping the disc and finding a found part, it turned out to be just a 3mm disc of aluminum lol

so the weird transition under the emitter in Tunisia bothers me. It doesn't look like the Death Star and Chronicles shots. The shading under the rim doesn't look like an artifact either, everything is just so odd with this saber. I am absolutely shooting out ideas, some of which we have already discussed and whittled down to a few more probably theories.
Thanks for taking the time to flesh out your memories and ideas, they largely line up with my recollections of the same period. Much of the heavy lifting was done before you joined the RPF, like identifying the parts, discovering things in the wild etc. It was a very exciting time, but also fractious. New pics, better resolution, stuff in that vane would erupt into multiple paged threads within hours. Pics and offsite hosting were much rarer in those early days.

As for your ideas about the Tunisia sabers grenade being fitted backwards, I remain unconvinced, even though I was actually the person to initially suggest it in the thread. (If we’re talking about the same thread)
Throw up the pic and we can debate it a little more, as I recall the photo match was close but not definitive.

Btw, the Greedo killer blaster had zero to do with Tunisia, it was constructed in California for an insert closeup shot. I also don’t concede to the logic of linking the firearms restrictions to the grenade of the Obi saber. It doesn’t follow that casts of firearms, therefore casts of inert grenades.
A possibility may be that the saber was damaged during the Tunisia shoot, or on the way back to England, and had to be repaired/rebuilt.
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I’m not referring to the screws and wires that show up in Chronicles, rather the differences in the grenade, pommel cube orientation, and missing transistor washer.
It’s likely to my way of thinking, that the Chronicles depicted screws and wires were used to repair the prop after the multiple takes of the cloak drop took their toll. I suggest that the Chronicles continuity photos were taken at the time of repair as a backup in case of further damage. Reshoots are always a lingering possibility late in a production, and the seasoned crew would have possibly taken that measure.
I also have doubts that the parts had anything whatever to due with Bapty, and do not believe the saber was dismantled to return the firearms related items. There is one picture that shows a tagged grenade, with the letters BAP and some numbers, but I consider that to be weak evidence of Bapty’s involvement with the prop. It’s not even the right variant of the grenade for the prop, look at the windvane sleeve.
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Anybody willing to wrap their windvane in packing tape to see how it looks covering the Hales stamp?

I’m not a fan of blanket statement of fact, and supposition is just that. It’s not a legitimate theory without some proofing of concept.

In so many cases, taking and ‘doing’ what we suspect can inform the mindset of the guys who built these things :)

Luckily, usually when someone gets it right in the process of workshopping theory, the rest of us go “oh my gosh, that makes so much sense now”.

Just needs time and most importantly *proofing* that’s all. Scientific method
 
I’m not able to do that at the moment I hope someone else can! I tried molding my original parts saber in teaching myself molding and the thing is in pieces and a mess right now.

Any ideas on why you’d wrap the wind vane? Like the chrome tape on the ESB clamp, I would imagine it could hide manufacturer logos. If it’s clear tape, I’ve used that for molding and casting purposes.
 
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This is a replica, but should not matter for this test. I think it is a good theory ( I mean electrical or other black tape, not clear).
However, it's worth mentioning that some real grenades , at least in their current restored condition have very faint markings that probably won't show up on pictures similar to the chronicles. My guess is during the war they would not stop the production if the ring markings were not coming out perfectly.
 
Imo it’s very shallow worn lettering on the windvane sleeve, or just absent all together.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the emitter transition piece? Cut down booster bearing? Grenade base plug? Something altogether different?

My first replica emitter was Gavidoc’s crazy three piece emitter, this used a brass replica of the grenade base plug and I thought it was quite elegant.

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I’m now using russrep’s steel straight walled emitter “reflector” on my current build.
 
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