ANH Obi Wan special effects lightsaber replica project

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vadermania

Sr Member
Went through my reference pics and the ANH Obi/Vader duel frame by frame for the second time today in order to determine the final paint scheme for my replica saber. Semi matt black for the booster and grenade, dark copper/bronze for the windvane and neck. The emitter..I asked my girlfriend what colors she sees, and she replied dark grey for the emitter. At least for saber used in several shots of the duel. I like that color scheme and will use it on my saber prototype.

Additionally, I installed the bearings, test fitted the motor and finished the blade tang for my balsa blade - pics will follow. Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen :)
 

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vadermania

Sr Member
UPDATE 6: balsa wood special effects lightsaber blade

Here is my finished balsa wood blade, painted dull black and wrapped in 3M 7610 reflective material leaving a 10mm wide black line, aluminum tube „tang“ with aluminum nipple.
Balsa blade 2.JPG


Tang glued into blade:
1590166018943.jpeg


Really a great, lightweight blade. So I decided to do a quick swinging test with my prototype special effects lightsaber – and SNAP!
Snapped blade1.JPG


50 € went down the toilet. That balsa blade thing might be a myth. Although I thought I picked a pretty straight balsa rod, the finished blade was pretty “wobbly”, it just didn’t feel I could duel with it.

I would not use a balsa blade again on my special effects lightsaber. My carbon blade works very well, once I have painted my prototype I will take pics and shoot a video.
 

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Mouse Vader

Sr Member
That balsa blade thing might be a myth
Sorry that was so expensive a way to find out. Welcome to experimental research :) Jon said he made balsa blades, did he say specifically that's what was used on screen for the dual? People (me in particular) can take questions (& answers) differently to how they're meant. Has he ever said when, in production, he did this? I get the strong feeling it was early on pos. even before filming started. In particular I'm thinking of the jack plug connection & no switch in his sketch.

In OB1's hovel scene Mark.H is quite gentle in waving his sabre about & thinking about that's just the sort of way you'd do it if the blade was fragile. Of course that's if it was made like yours is & not how I did it. This is such a Gordian knot.

If I recall Jon also said they tried other woods. I have something I think is Obechi which is like dense balsa. The ANH blade could have been bored for the d/s directly with no metal insert or been left solid & pushed in a hollow nipple. The birch dowel I have tried is definitely sturdy enough in the graffy & I'm sure would work how you made yours (so is balsa for that matter but I used hollow d/s & solid blade.). Haliwax, was it you posted a link to a Dave P interview? where he clearly said carbon blades. Incidentally that was my local regional TV news program. They still have the same presenter, now grey haired. There is so much scope here for different ways of doing this & mixtures of all sorts. I think it's easy to fall in the trap of it was done like this (ie just one way).

Jon also mentioned wobblyness, did he not? The only thing I've tried that doesn't is the golf sticks. That said I also know that it's easy to detect even just slight wobbles in the hand, & see them as well but they have to be really quite bad to show up when I video.

(Can you salvage the tape & insert for another golf stick - there'd be a join at the tare of course I'm sure you could neaten that up.)
 

PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The flexing in the BTS duels in ESB and RotJ convince me those were a composite material of some sort. Considering so much was taken from aero-scrapyards, a part of me reckons they may have been aircraft antennae or a sort like it.

On my ANH stunt, I know balsa is too soft (they use it often in films for stunts where bashing wood), that's why I opted for poplar (it was also readily available).
 

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vadermania

Sr Member
Sorry that was so expensive a way to find out. Welcome to experimental research :) Jon said he made balsa blades, did he say specifically that's what was used on screen for the dual? People (me in particular) can take questions (& answers) differently to how they're meant. Has he ever said when, in production, he did this? I get the strong feeling it was early on pos. even before filming started. In particular I'm thinking of the jack plug connection & no switch in his sketch.

In OB1's hovel scene Mark.H is quite gentle in waving his sabre about & thinking about that's just the sort of way you'd do it if the blade was fragile. Of course that's if it was made like yours is & not how I did it. This is such a Gordian knot.

If I recall Jon also said they tried other woods. I have something I think is Obechi which is like dense balsa. The ANH blade could have been bored for the d/s directly with no metal insert or been left solid & pushed in a hollow nipple. The birch dowel I have tried is definitely sturdy enough in the graffy & I'm sure would work how you made yours (so is balsa for that matter but I used hollow d/s & solid blade.). Haliwax, was it you posted a link to a Dave P interview? where he clearly said carbon blades. Incidentally that was my local regional TV news program. They still have the same presenter, now grey haired. There is so much scope here for different ways of doing this & mixtures of all sorts. I think it's easy to fall in the trap of it was done like this (ie just one way).

Jon also mentioned wobblyness, did he not? The only thing I've tried that doesn't is the golf sticks. That said I also know that it's easy to detect even just slight wobbles in the hand, & see them as well but they have to be really quite bad to show up when I video.

(Can you salvage the tape & insert for another golf stick - there'd be a join at the tare of course I'm sure you could neaten that up.)

My balsa blade has a diameter of 15mm. After I bought it, I painted it matt black and asked a friend at carpentry to drill a 10cm deep hole with a 10mm diameter into one end for my aluminum tube tang. Then I covered it with 3M 7610. The blade worked quite well when I waved it gently like Hamill did in OB1‘s hut. After a few „real“ swordfighting moves the blade snapped on it‘s weakest spot. The mistake I made was to keep the blade plug/tang tube hollow at the tip. Perhaps I can save that blade by inserting a wooden plug and glue it back together. That won‘t erase the overall „wooblyness“ though.

I am still convinced that different types of wooden blades were used for ANH and a composite material for the blades in ESB and ROTJ. My carbon blade looks and works great for the flickering effect, but honestly I wouldn‘t duel with it, that‘s just too dangerous.
 

Halliwax

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Carbon shatters after 2-4 medium hits too, as a warning

In defense Tom, you were “purposely” trying to break them. with rehearsal and choreograph these carbon blades hold up fine

And this synthetic fabric was still used in the prequels

I got a video coming out soon for comparison
 

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PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
That‘s the situation with the original V3 and my V3 replica, too. Today I filed down the metal bar where the lever sits until I was able to put the replica Graflex clamp on the saber.

I found the same thing on one of my earlier prototypes. It closes only just without the washer and with the hole for the clamp lever widened.
 

vadermania

Sr Member
Managed to repair my balsa blade today. It's working again, thanks to a wooden plug which I used to connect the two parts together. I did a quick spinning test including some "waving", it's even less wobbly than before.
Repaired balsa blade.JPG
 

thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This looks so great! I have to admit, having the batteries in the handle does leave this as a striking demonstration
 

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