DaveP's Luke RotJ V2 Research/Development Thread 2021

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DaveP

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Intro:
Hello everyone. As some of you may know, I’ve been working away on my own version of the V2 for some time now behind the scenes. Well, it’s finally time to unveil the project and where I am in the development process.

This thread will serve as a development thread to start with, where I will share my progress on the models and ideas on the internal structure of the prop. I welcome any discussions or pointers from those interested in the project.

There are of course a number of V2 replicas available already, many of them superb! There is also the Veracity Labs V2 on the way sometime very soon. It isn’t my intension to compete with existing offerings. I embark on this project with the upmost respect for those who have done so before me, and those who have similar projects in the works.

For me personally, it’s about going through the process of researching these props and the satisfaction that comes from achieving a screen accurate replica through my own investigations.

As with all my prop runs, they’re not intended for financial gain. The ultimate goal is to own one for myself. Having as many people participate in the run as possible simply brings the cost of the parts down to an affordable level. I’ll always endeavour to keep the price as low as possible. As a freelance artist though, I do need to compensate for my time, but so long as I can pay my bills, that’s good enough for me.

As with my previous projects, my version of the V2 will aim towards being accurate to the original prop both internally and externally and will therefore not be installable as an FX hilt. It will, however, be possible to install a motor and reflective blade if you choose to finish in the ANH configuration.

Motors and blades will not be supplied with the kit, as the main focus will be the ROTJ belt hanger. There will be a variety of options for the kit however, ranging from basic kit (No clamp or greebles) to full kit (Machined parts/Clamp/V2 Lever/Greebles/Stencils/etc).

Due to the amount of time involved in finishing just one V2, I will only be offering a limited number of commissions this time around, but I highly recommend that you check out both Halliwax in the US and Adam Wells in the UK, depending on which side of the pond you find yourself.

Once I’m satisfied with the models, I’ll get quotes from my usual manufacturer and post an interest thread in the project runs section.

This thread is intended to go over pretty much everything, so there may be information that you’re aware of. I’ll be updating each section as I develop and refine the models, and as new information or references come to light.

For those who are not familiar with my previous projects and are interested in seeing examples of my work, my latest Yuma run can be seen HERE, and my latest last Hero run can be seen HERE.​
 
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DaveP

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References:
The V2 has a fascinating history and is widely regarded as Luke’s unofficial Hero prop for ROTJ. Not least because the official Hero isn’t actually seen in the final cut of the movie (not in its current configuration at least). The V2 however, gets plenty of screen time, including a couple of memorable close ups:

4K83_COLLAGE.png

*Images captured from 4K83

Another thing that makes the V2 (or Shared Stunt) particularly special, is the fact that it started life as Sir Alec Guinness’ motorised stunt prop in ANH:​

BeFunky-collage (5).png


The best evidence that the stunt prop used by Alec Guinness and the V2 are one and the same prop is the missing bar on the Graflex clamp. Also, where there is now a knurled cone knob on the V2, there was once a red toggle switch in the exact same location. Wires can also be seen entering the Stunt prop in the exact location that now holds the “mystery chunk” greeble on the V2.

The clearest and most detailed reference for the V2 that is currently available is this beautiful image that was shared by Brandon Alinger of The Prop Store (the prop’s current owner):​

REF.jpg


Brandon also appeared on Mark Hamill’s “Pop Culture Quest”, where he reunited Hamill with the prop he used during filming. This was great to see, and also gave us a rare glimpse of the prop as it is today, as well as giving us some interesting details about its history and construction. The full episode can be purchased on Prime HERE.

Here are some screengrabs from the episode:​

PCQ_COLLAGE.png


Brandon also appeared at the 2015 SW Celebration Collecting Track talk, where he first revealed that he was in possession of the prop. That talk can be viewed on Youtube HERE.



The slides are of particular interest as well as some of the details given by Brandon regarding the history and construction of the prop.

Quotes:
“When we took it apart, which I did after I got it of course, you could see where the motor was mounted. The motor’s not in there anymore, but you can see where it was mounted and you can tell how the system worked.”​
“The entire end of it, the emitter end if you like, rotates. So, when the blade spun, the end of the emitter would spin as well. “​
“The reason we can tell that it is Alec Guinness’s lightsabre, is that the clamp is missing a box. There should be a small box in the groove of that clamp there.”​

There are also plenty of behind-the-scenes references of the V2. I won’t post all of these here, but here are a few of my personal favourites:

BTS COLLAGE.png
 
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DaveP

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History:
As I mentioned previously, the prop that has come to be known as the V2 started life as the motorised stunt prop wielded by Alec Guinness on the set of ANH. It was then retired from on screen use, but used extensively behind the scenes for fencing practice during and leading up to the filming of ESB.

It was then brought out of retirement for ROTJ when, on the first day of filming, it was pointed out that Luke lost his Graflex (along with his hand) during his confrontation with Vader on Bespine. There are on set photos that show Hamill with the Graflex, so the general consensus is, that this was an oversight and that an alternative was hastily brought in to replace it.

GRAFLEX.png


 
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DaveP

Master Member
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Construction:

The stunt version of Obi Wan’s Saber needed to house a motor, as well as rods and bearings, so it was built entirely from scratch.

The original wooden buck that was used to cast the profile in aluminium turned up, along with one of the raw casts, on Ebay some years ago.

BUCK.png


I can’t take credit for any of the information regarding the V2’s history. There have been countless discussions here on the RPF, which I have followed with great interest over the years. Seth’s Lightsaber Bible is also an incredibly impressive tome that consolidates all of this information in to one place: The Ultimate Guide to Lightsabers eBook

I do make a point of checking any information myself using any available references though. I double checked the “Ebay buck” against the rings of the V2, to make absolutely sure that this was indeed the very buck used to create it. I’m satisfied that it is:

v2 buck Comparison.jpg


I’ll discuss the process of recreating the exterior of the prop shortly, but in this section, I’d like to go over where my thoughts are regarding the internal structure and construction of the prop, based on what we know about it so far, as well as some of my own theories.

Emitter:

Today, there is a rod which runs through the centre of the prop and holds everything together. The emitter is attached to this rod , along with the “nipple” via an arrangement of grub screws. Having viewed the Death Star duel frame by frame, I’m of the very strong opinion that the emitter itself, was NOT fixed to the internal rod originally. Nor was it fixed to the body in any way, other than it being sandwiched between the body and the blade. I believe the emitter was free to spin independently of the entire mechanism, and was prevented from spinning by Sir Alec Guinness:​

Emitter_02_Angled 2.jpg

Emitter_02_Angled 6.jpg


I can see no other way for the mechanism to work. The rod is spinning. The blade and nipple are spinning. The emitter, whilst separate to the body, is not spinning. In my view, it MUST be free to spin independently.

It has been pointed out to me that there is evidence of set screws existing below the lip of the emitter. These either exist to secure the bearing, or to lock the emitter on to the nipple. This would of course mean that the emitter would spin with the blade, so I'm doubtful that this was their intended purpose.

There is of course, extensive damage to the emitter today which was not present whilst filming ANH. I plan to replicate this damage for those who wish to recreate the prop as it is today. Rather than having the damage machined, I have chosen to create a vice jig, that will bend the piece in to the correct shape. The jig will be reverse engineered from an exact model of the damaged emitter.

I will also offer the bent emitters separately for those who would like to add them to their existing V2s.

EMITTER REFERENCE.png

Pommel:

I had an interesting theory regarding the pommel, which I’ll share here, even though I now believe that it is incorrect. It crossed my mind at one stage that if the V2 was cast from the wooden buck as it’s seen in the Ebay auction, there would not be enough material on the pommel to insert in to the main body. It got me toying with the idea that there “might” be an internal tube/chassis that both the pommel and the body slide on to. Perhaps some stock tubing that housed the motor? The mystery tool mark that is present on the pommel “could”, I thought, be evidence of the pommel having been fixed to this internal chassis. On closer inspection though, I don’t believe the pommel was cast from the Ebay buck. It’s not a match dimensionally, and the cast that accompanies it doesn’t include it, which would suggest that it is a separate, removable piece. There is this quote from Brandon too, which has always gone against this hunch:

“The pommel has additional flanges that fit inside the main body of the saber and allow it to be secured, so I doubt it was from the same cast piece.”

The use of the word “flanges” (in the plural) still has me scratching my head ever so slightly. I’m not sure why there would be more than one? Unless they were cut away in some way to accommodate the motor/switch/wires? This is still something that I am playing around with and as yet, I am undecided on.

I originally toyed with the idea that the circular mark on the pommel could have been a filled hole rather than a tool mark. It certainly appears to be raised to my eye, and I originally thought that this went against the idea that it was a tool mark.​

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-07 om 18.51.30_zpsrtn4ttix.png


I thought that it could perhaps have been the original opening for the wires to the motor, but was deemed too visible. I did think I’d found evidence for this here:

MOTORISED STUNT.png


But on closer inspection, that is the wrong pommel groove. The one that we are discussing is the one that is clearly visible (although, too bright to make out any detail). There are other references that clearly show the wire entering the hilt where we’d expect (the location of the “mystery chunk”).​

87AD0A81-DA43-402C-B587-EF9795D662EB.jpeg


So after some discussions behind the scenes and investigating further in to the mystery pommel mark, I have abandoned the idea that it is a filled hole. It turns out, after trawling the internet, and looking in to the milling process more closely, that a raised circular mark like the one we see here is not uncommon under specific circumstances.

toolmarks.png

The real mystery is why it was left that way? It would have been easy enough to get rid of. An even bigger mystery is how to recreate it! This is something that I need to discuss with my machinist.

The fact that it appears NOT to be the remnants of a hole, have ramifications for the internals too. I’m actually quite pleased that I can now leave the pommel almost entirely solid. This will add a little weight to balance the grenade.

Mystery Chunk:

The “mystery Chunk” which now covers the opening for the wires that powered the motor, was recently identified by BRRogers . There is a thread HERE that explains this. It was in fact a boot stud from a Royal Hunters Wellington boot. This brand of wellington boot is now known to have been used by the production team, and the studs from these boots appears on several ROTJ props. They are now relatively easy to get hold of within the community, and there are some great replicas available too. I was lucky enough to get hold of a pair of boots that are in perfect condition, so will be able to offer genuine vintage studs for at least the first 48 kits (if we get to that kind of number).​

STUDS.png


Cone Knob:

Unlike the “mystery chunk”, I won’t be able to offer a genuine vintage “cone knob”. This part has been identified, but unfortunately, it is not easy (or cheap!) to get hold of. For that reason, I have decided to make my own. There are replicas available, but for such a small part, I figured it would be far more cost effective to have them made than to purchase from a third party.

This turned out to be a project in and of itself! …

The part is from a J.A.Michell Engineering LTD Reference Hydraulic Transcription Turntable:​

1949595-4e73e4d0-j-a-michell-hydraulic-reference-transcription-turntable-stunning.jpg


As seen in “A Clockwork Orange”. Alongside David Prowse, interestingly!

Of course, I set out to try and find one of these, so that I could see one in person and take measurements. This was not to be. The turntables themselves are collectors items, obviously, and sell for upwards of £2000.

It occurred to me that I could possibly borrow one from someone within the community, or collaborate remotely. The photogrammetric techniques that I use to replicate 3D objects, only require good quality photographs, from various angles. And if the photographs include a scale reference there is no need to actually see the object in person.

I was originally put in contact with someone who very kindly agreed to help me, and who owned a Michell turntable. Unfortunately, the knurling was the wrong scale. It turns out that the Transcriptor went through several phases, and there is a fair bit of variation in the knurling (from chunky, to fine, to none at all!).

Eventually, I saw on one of the FB pages that a fine V2 replica (with vintage parts) had been sold to someone I knew, and who I now regard as a friend. The knurling on this particular cone knob is perfect, and matches that on the actual prop! mgenovese312 agreed to help me by providing me with photographic references. Importantly, these were on a metric cutting mat for scale reference, so I could not only replicate, the object in 3D, but I could determine an accurate scale!​

View_01_Overlay.png
View_02_Overlay.png

View_06_Overlay.png


Clamp/Lever:

I’ll assume that most people reading this will know where the clamp originated. It is, briefly, (for those who don’t know) the central section to a Graflex 3 Cell Flash handle. A vintage camera flash that attached to the side of a Graflex Speed Graphic camera:​

ea19c9bf9ed8653862a78fc87b679be1.jpg


There are a variety of replica clamps available, and they really have been done to perfection, so at this time I’m leaning towards purchasing a pre-existing replica for those who would like one to be included in their kit. I haven’t ruled out having my own produced, and have started a model of my own (mainly for rendering purposes), but my main focus right now is perfecting the machined parts.

The same applies to the lever. When it comes to going ahead with the run, it may prove to be more cost effective (for everyone) to have the lever manufactured. This is something that I’m giving some thought to, and will announce closer to the time, when it comes to pricing up the run.​

Internal Construction:

Latest_Cuttaway_30_07.png


Cutaway Blue.png

ROTJ CUTAWAY.jpg

*Latest version (17/08/21)

My understanding of the interior of the prop has been guided by what we know about how the prop functioned, as well as my own investigations in to the standard sizes of components. I originally set out investigating imperial size bearings as I assumed (wrongly) that they would be more common back in the 1970s. The closest I could find to the actual opening in the emitter were bigger than the measurement I was getting from both my 2D and my 3D investigations in to the dimensions of the prop. After a little more digging, it turns out that metric bearing are far more commonplace and always have bean, on account of them having been invented and largely manufactured in Europe! With that cleared up, I am now much happier with the measurement I have for the opening. It’s only a small difference, but finding a real world part, which fits perfectly with my calculations gives me more confidence that the model is on the right track.

The interior of the main body has also been guided by real world component sizes. Motors come in a whole variety of shapes and sizes. Having looked in to these at great length, I was left with a choice between two of the more common, standardised sizes, the larger of which would have left the walls of the motor chamber much too thin for my liking. This jump between standard sizes occurs with both Japanese style RC motors and European model railway motors. I came across a conversation on another thread from 2019, where vadermania discusses having spoken with Jon Bunker himself regarding the internals, and he recalls that a geared model railway motor was used. I have managed to track down a vintage motor, that fits the description, along with more modern versions that have similar dimensions and RPM.

I believe the grip/grenade section of the hilt would have been mostly solid. I believe this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there would have been no reason to go to the trouble of milling out this part of the prop. It was powered externally and only needed to accommodate the motor. Secondly, and maybe I’m reading too much in to this, but something Hamill said whilst talking with Brandon really stuck with me. It’s only a small thing, but the words “It’s heavy, isn’t it” really jumped out at me.​

Heavy.png


Anyone who owns one of the various V2s currently available, will know that they are not particularly heavy. On the contrary. Aluminium is light to begin with, and FX hilts have to make as much space available as possible to accommodate batteries, soundcards, etc.

My latest iteration of the models has extended in to the grenade section slightly, to allow for the bearing and the coupling. This is to allow for the longer, geared motor.

I've carried over the step in the booster section and expanded the interior to accommodate the switch and wiring.

The extent to which the pommel would have been milled out is up for debate (as is all of this). I wonder if it might be entirely solid, up to the point where the wires entered?

Much of this is still very much up for discussion, and I’m happy to alter the model if/when new information arises, or if I’m corrected on anything by those who are more familiar with the prop.​
 
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DaveP

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Model:
I’ve been working on this project for quite some time now behind the scenes and the models are pretty much finished. To get the basic model roughed out, I used old school 2D photogrammetric techniques. I created reference lines that cut though the ellipses of the various cylinders that make up the overall shape of the prop and used the length/diameter of the Graflex clamp to determine a scale. I then built a rough model using these reference lines as a guide:

2D PHOTOGRAMETRY.jpg


I then set up a camera within the scene to match the perspective of the reference image. Once this is done, any discrepancies within the model can be fine-tuned to account for perspective/foreshortening/lens distortion:

VIEW_01_COMPARISON.png


I used this shot to get a more detailed view of the Emitter damage:

EMITTER_VIEW.png




 
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DaveP

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What's Next:
Now that the interest thread is live, this thread will continue to be used to discuss potential changes/improvements to the models prior to the run going ahead, as well as announcing new additions that are still in progress.

Currently, I am working on finishing the paint/damage stencils, as well as finalising my design for the ANH Mechanism and blade. This will all be announced on here, saving the project run thread for keeping track of the interest list and discussing the actual run.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I’m really excited about this one and can’t wait to get moving on it.

All the best and MTFBWY,

Dave​
 
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enrico

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Welcome back mate! That's an awesome surprise!

No full commission this time...

Anyway congrats for this project!
 

enrico

Well-Known Member
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Let me know if there is also a small chance for a full commission from your side.
I am still loving my Hero, artwork!
 

DaveP

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Welcome back mate! That's an awesome surprise!

No full commission this time...

Anyway congrats for this project!
Hi Enrico.

I was always here, lurking in the shadows :D I've just been so busy, I haven't had much time to keep up.

I wouldn't rule out the commission entirely, but the amount of work involved in just one V2 commission would take me a long time, so I'd probably be forced to charge more than people would be willing to pay, and I'd almost certainly have to limit the number.

There are saber smiths out there who are far more accomplished than me when it comes to finishing, and are able to get amazing results in a fraction of the time. I'm satisfied that I can deliver on quality, but my fear is that a V2 commission would take me weeks! :lol:

Thanks Enrico (y)
 

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thd9791

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Looks like you've already got your hands full. the renders look great! Very impressed with your mapping of the emitter plate damage

The emitter itself... I think there IS a gap around the nipple, I've always seen it myself. I think you're onto something with the emitter being detached from the d/s

it's always been my assumption that the recess in the emitters was for the use of a bearing. The V2 obviously has changed since ANH filming though, and I don't think it's in there anymore
 

DaveP

Master Member
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Watching with great interest.

Cannot wait for this one!

Same here! Excited for sure

Tremendous research and development, DaveP! I can’t wait to see your progress on this hilt. It looks amazing so far.

Thanks everyone! Still very much a starting point at this stage, but I'm really excited for this one!

Looks like you've already got your hands full. the renders look great! Very impressed with your mapping of the emitter plate damage

The emitter itself... I think there IS a gap around the nipple, I've always seen it myself. I think you're onto something with the emitter being detached from the d/s

it's always been my assumption that the recess in the emitters was for the use of a bearing. The V2 obviously has changed since ANH filming though, and I don't think it's in there anymore

Thanks Tom!

Yeah. I'm pretty sure there's a gap there. Still room for adjustment on the models, so maybe it's come out a little wide on this first pass. It's certainly there though. I'm not actually sure about it being missing either. I wonder. I'm sure I can make out something sitting under the nipple. If that's the case (and I could be seeing things) it would mean the nipple doesn't go very deep beyond the face plate. In that case, there would need to be "something" there to hold the emitter in place. Either that or the nipple would need to be long enough to take up the space left behind. All I'm thinking is, if you needed something to fill the space, why not just use the bearing? That's my thinking. Although, since you've suggested it, I will look in to what the nipple might look like if it were long enough to take up the space, and what that might look like if it were then sat on top of the bearing. Maybe the wider part of the nipple sat above the surface in ANH when it was a part of the blade?

Food for thought! Thank you!

Bed time here in the UK, but I'm really excited to have this announced at last! :)
 

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DannyP91

Active Member
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So excited for this, Brilliant work and research so far, Can’t wait to add one to my Dave Parkin Art collection :)
 

Obiflex

Active Member
Wow that looks fantastic! And thanks for the shout out for UK weathering (Adam Wells).

I'm in a few places now, Wells Weathering is the new adopted name. Facebook and instagram. Happy to assist UK, EU and further afield. Maybe one day me and Halliwax will have a "there can be only one" duel on top on a building under neon lights for the ultimate prize.

I'd absolutely take the full kit come the time.
 

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