Is Darth Vader's saber blade painted (ANH) & blade flexing.

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by Mouse Vader, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I can't find anything in the forum on this (doesn't mean it's not there) but while researching something else I noticed there's a short sequence in which smoke or dust comes off Darth Vader's light saber (look for cursor arrow). Check out the youtube vid at full speed & it's quite obvious (from 45.44). Is this evidence his saber is painted? What else could it be?

    Screenshot_2019-02-18_20-48-09.png Screenshot_2019-02-18_20-49-05.png Screenshot_2019-02-18_20-49-20.png

    Secondly, in just one frame, OB1's blade is showing some real flex. Could Aluminium bounce back straight from that much bend? Has anyone tried flexing Aluminium tube that much?

    Screenshot_2019-02-18_20-55-42.png
     
  2. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The scotchlite paint they are using dusts off because obiwans blade is spinning, technically grinding the paint off

    You can it puffs of dust here and there when they clash

    As for obiwans bending, that’s a first for me, could be poor rotoscoping though? I honestly don’t know how that works..

    If the blades were made of pine, I would imagine it would bend, but I can’t believe it would bend that much lol
     
  3. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Has anyone done a test with real blades that shows the same dust ?

    Bend bendy - wow I found something new !!!! Why would a rotoscoper do that ? I can't think it would be accidental. For me that's a pretty full on whack. Carbon fiber (as in fishing rod) & fiberglass I think could do it, I'm not so sure about my favoured golf club sticks, though they do make them in differing stiffnesses, but what stiffness options were available in the 70's.
    There's some noticeable flexing going on in this locked blade push & shove scene too (& I know this has been spotted before).

    Screenshot_2019-02-19_11-38-18.png
     
  4. steven giunta

    steven giunta Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Could the motor in Vader’s stunt have gone bad and we’re seeing a puff of smoke from the inside of the saber?maybe that’s why Vader uses Luke’s stunt
     
  5. kurtyboy

    kurtyboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    There is definitely reflective paint on at least one of those blades (I just assumed both) and it has been discussed before. 3M no longer make the paint but they do sell the Scotchlite glass beads which could be added to a suitable substrate.

    Their paint was used to paint walls for front projection.

    I always wanted to try something like it but the fabric was just so much more convenient and cheaper, not to mention more durable. :)
     
  6. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    My golf clubs DEFINITELY bend
     
  7. kurtyboy

    kurtyboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Could be an extra stiff flex then because the standard flex is too bendy. Even just swinging them about they are bending all over the place.

    A thin rod of wood would also flex like this but aluminium would deform too easily and sound nothing like they do.

    Now if I could only find an XXL stiff flex used club at a reasonable price to try.
     
  8. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    A quick static test of my 36" golf stick, one handed, fair amount of pressure. I'm sure OB1's blade here is about that length. I don't recall seeing anything on mine re. flex strength & I've covered up the lettering now. I think I could get near that whack bend with both hands, It's pretty stiff though but to get it there with a hit would need some speed as it's so light & hitting another stick - I don't know what would happen. I've got some more on their way, a couple of which I was thinking of testing to destruction but with fabric on them not tape so I'll be waiting a while I think. DSC08432.JPG
     
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  9. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I want to chime in and say that in ANH the blades were almost certainly flat sided wood (most likely square) that we do know. Many stories say the same thing, that they changed from wood to something else for ESB due to the dangers and unreliability.
     
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  10. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Almost & most likely doesn't = knowledge. All the ANH on screen & BTS photographic evidence I've seen looks round to me. I've seen one quote (in the guardian online) of triangular blades being used. I've found no primary source evidence of triangular or square. I joined RPF specifically to see if these flat sided blades were real, & so far not found it. Maybe you could point me at some primary source stuff. I'm not saying that these flat blades were not tried but all I ready of them is in print as that it's well known with no quoted sources.

    I have a science based education & was an historical re-enactor for several years & I learned only to deal with primary sources, which is what I'm trying to do. Kurtyboys square blade video does look very like the scene on the falcon but too wobbly for the duel. Experimental evidence is much better than plain opinion, especially mine.

    Phew - I don't know where that rant came from, but I feel better for it :)
     
  11. kurtyboy

    kurtyboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'm afraid the wobbliness of my blade is due to it being warped and the hole in the base for the motor shaft was hand drilled and is neither perfectly centred nor straight.

    I'm leaning towards round now as well as I've been able to recreate the same square looking edges when spinning.

    But I wish I knew for sure!

    Here were the famous quotes about triangular and square blades.

    ANH Stunt Lightsaber "Blades"--Triangular??? Gil Taylor sez so...

    ANH Stunt Lightsaber "Blades"--Triangular??? Gil Taylor sez so...
     
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  12. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This shot of Obi Wan during the famous duel has a square tip, moving mid frame, making it slightly elongated. You can also see the corner of the blade extend all the way to the nipple of the saber.
    Saberoops.jpg
    there are numerous conversations on here, kurtyboy posted some of them, discussing this, and we're working off of those. We went through debunking the triangular ones a while back, if I remember correctly.

    We don't have a lot of primary sources, unfortunately. Some folks on here have primary sources they are unable to legally share, so that means taking their advice at face value. Those bits are scattered throughout the entirety of this site's discussions.

    There are at least 2 quoted sources on these blades, with their accuracy questionable. All of the photographic evidence of round blades extends as far back as ESB, and the only hard evidence is from ROTJ or post-production marketing.

    It's tiresome to fight this idea that there's no real evidence for anything and this is all conjecture. We've done work on these boards that is worth paying attention to.
     
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  13. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for the links. I've found that thread before but lost it again. I'd read the 1st link to the guardian & Gil Taylor but not seen the 2nd on John Stears.
    about the square blades.

    I find the 2nd very interesting as I've very recently gone through the clip of Luke on the falcon frame by frame (link: from 4.30 min ).

    I'm not absolutely certain but I am at least half convinced there are two black stripes to this blade one thicker than the other & this blade behaves very differently to all other LS scenes in the film. It's not a good quality clip though, Does anyone know a better one?
     
  14. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    thd9791, on kurtyboys 2nd link there is also that same picture you give of OB1, it's from the special edition, he goes on to correct himself & show the same frame from the original theatrical version which doesn't show that square tip - it's a motion blurred line. & the corner of the blade you mention is the infamous black stripe.

    It's also tiresome tracking down all the work you've done across this sites discussions, unfortunately for me I can 't distinguish between the 'it's well known that' & the genuine pearls of wisdom unless backed up in some way. It's also in my nature to speak out if I find out what's being/been written contradicts my own research - see my above paragraph.

    I'm sure we all are after the truth here. I will take on board what you've written but please don't think I'm a dolt just because I'm new to the forum. I have skills too which I want to contribute with.
     
  15. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Things have gotten a little backwards, I apologize for giving off that impression. You were the one saying that there was no real proof and no quoted sources of flat sided blades, which is just incorrect.

    Interpreting the pictures with less *movement as worse for seeing the actual props with this last one. I don't follow that logic at all.
     
  16. vadermania

    vadermania Well-Known Member

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    During my conversations with Jon Bunker (the person I got my lighsaber blank from back in 1997, he was involved in the making of the original stunt lightsabers from ANH) he said that they experimented with triangular blades for ANH, but went with square (wooden) blades for the shooting. Based on all my research, it is my personal optinion that the Obi spinning blades were made of tapered wooden sticks, wich were originally round. My gut feeling is that these round sticks were square milled towards the tip, starting about 2 inches from the blades base towards the tip. There are a handful CU pics available of Hamill and Guiness holding an ANH stunt (either the Graflex or the V2), and the stunt blade at the base looks definitely round to me based on the shape and the shadows it creates.
     
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  17. kurtyboy

    kurtyboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Well that adds another interesting aspect.

    I also wondered if it might have been round with just one or two flattened sides, so square-ish!!!

    So far I've created a good effect with both square and round. Maybe both were even used.
     
  18. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Sorry I don't understand this sentence.

    re. sources - I was trying to say a) not that there was no sources but that when ref is made to sq blade (eg) that no reference is given to that source so the likes of me can look it up & b) even if I assume they have a source & not mentioned it, that I'm having trouble finding it in the maze of the forum.

    Lovely bit info vadermania - straight from one of the horses.
    My current plan is to try & replicate as near as pos the pictorial evidence we do have with Sq & round & if nec's triangular blades, both still pic's & in motion & test these theories of shapes & materials. I'm keen to know, but I don't want to waste anyone's time (inc. mine) repeating stuff that's already been done.
    I know I have a lot of catching up to do.
     
  19. kurtyboy

    kurtyboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The one thing that most sources keep repeating though is wood for ANH.



    Snooker cues could well have been used as the basis like Brandon said, but milled down to the required shape and diameter.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  20. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    @2:10 “the first swords were from bits of wood, with, from protection screen wrapped around them”

    So these are the first swords? I feel there is more to this conversation left out... since he said “FIRST”

    Would have loved to know the rest...

    I wonder if there is any way to reach out to this man...
     
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  21. kurtyboy

    kurtyboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    He's long gone I'm afraid.
     
  22. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    *...
     
  23. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I believe peter is in the blue shirt, didn’t know all the stunts he was involved in himself! He was the tuskin raider too

    IMG_8225.jpg
     
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  24. vadermania

    vadermania Well-Known Member

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    Had a phone conversation with Jon a minute ago and asked him again about the stunt lightsaber blades used in ANH. He does not remember billard/snooker queues. He does remember lightweight (balsa) wooden sticks, painted black, and then covered with scotchlite partially. And those were round, not square. The blades were designed to break to minimize the risk of injury to the actors.
     
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  25. vadermania

    vadermania Well-Known Member

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    I perfectly agree to what halliwax said in the other thread about why there are so many different storys and theories around about what has been used on set and how it was originally made. When I did my research on the original Darth Vader helmets, I‘ve been visiting the LFL archives, Elstree studios, spoke to Prowse and other people who were involved in the creation of the original costumes, and finally had the chance to see the screen used ANH Vader faceplate in the Grunberg collection in France. I could write a big book about all the interesting and different storys I collected over the past 40 years. And the guy who actually played Vader in the OT is still convinced that the screen used helmets wre all black...
     
  26. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thank you so much for reaching out to your friend!!

    The balsa wood makes total sense!!! Super super light! And would flex like we have seen in that picture!!!

    The weight has everything to do with it, the lighter the pole the easier on the motor, there is a lot of work involved in making these poles spin. The balancing takes the longest part...

    With these balsa wood poles they would be light as a feather!!

    I built a airplane kit with my friend, the wing section was completely made of balsa wood... being a carpenter I have worked all many kinds of woods, and the balsa was unbelievably light.. couldn’t believe it

    Now we gotta find the balsa wood poles!!
     
  27. kurtyboy

    kurtyboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Would balsa wood really sound like this and stand up to these strikes? My memory of balsa wood is that you can break it between your fingers and even press your fingers into it.

    (time 3:10 if the forum modifies my timed link)

    (1:53 and 2:08)


    EDIT: Yep, the forum does not allow Youtube links set to a precise time position.
     
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  28. vadermania

    vadermania Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like plywood to me...
     
  29. Dann

    Dann Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I agree that balsa might be a hair too delicate for fencing. I'd imagine they'd have to swap blades out after every single strike.

    I can see plywood, or luon (sp?). There's always plenty of that lying around constructed sets!
     
  30. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This is why I think experimental research is needed. These things need to be made & tried out to find out exactly what each is capable of what they look, like both in motion & still photography & how this matches up with the pic's & film we do have, as well as the difficulty of manufacture.

    As I used to play snooker on a weekly basis for a couple of years c.1980 I recall 2 piece ques were just breaking on the scene & were frowned upon by the older players (esp the older pro's). Prior to then everything was one piece, & I never heard of anything but wood being used. I can't vouch for the USA & pool ques.
     
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  31. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Balsa wood is very strong.. I built air plane wings out of it...

    And I’m not talking about RC airplanes.. legit experimental aircraft

    View attachment 991821
     
  32. kurtyboy

    kurtyboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    If you want to test it out search for Krick 15mm rundstab 1m long in Germany. I can't find any that long here.

     
  33. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That makes a lot of sense... a cheap model wood source. Basswood also exists that doesn't have much of a grain, it's all uniform inside.

    Either way, thank you for reaching out vadermania! painted, scotchlighted, round too. I bet they changed and experimented while they filmed. Designing them to break is very smart, as safety was probably a main concern
     
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  34. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The only place I see square is here.. you can fallow it from the tip

    IMG_8213.jpg

    You can also see these were fabricated pretty poorly... not really straight. Look at it and not the black strip the black strip is all over the place so don’t confuse that being the crooked part

    But you can see 90* edge at the tip, but but what lose it once the black strip starts.. I THINK I can still see the 90* edge further down but not sure

    Regardless, come time for the Vader duel this blade is removed and a smooth round one installed

    Or at least that’s what this crazy old Halliwax sees

    Who wants to grab a beer?
     
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  35. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Vadermania - your post #24 above is a scorcher ! Kurtyboy & I were pm'ing about sq blades a couple of days ago, he was trying to convince me the black stripe or edge of it was a the edge of the square, he sent a couple screen grab frames - what I saw was a round dark cored blade ( I thought unpainted graphite golf stick) with scotchlite material applied to leave a black stripe & that this peeling off during the fight. My theory was that the scoctchlite had been (roughly) cut as a constant width strip so that the stripe gets wider as the diam of the blade increases. Here's my attempt, which does that too well.

    DSC08361.JPG
    but now you have your friend John, who made them, giving a description that's almost an exact match of what I was thinking, just balsa & not golf stick. Is the bracketed word (balsa) the word he used?

    Now I halliwax pointing to a picture I have puzzeled over myself. From this quote:

    Two sides of the blade are coated with a highly reflective
    material similar to the material used on motion picture
    screens. One of those two sides is painted four inches
    higher than the other side. When spinning, this gave the
    blade its flashing effect.

    from: ANH Stunt Lightsaber "Blades"--Triangular??? Gil Taylor sez so...
    post # 75

    I had assumed that the two uncoated sides would be opposite each other but if they were adjacent then we could be looking at a square blade in H's ref picture. The tip looks quite like my experiment where the stripe closes, the blade gets very dark as you move towards the hilt but there is lighter wobbly line running down the middle, (which is the corner edge you're describing H ?) & we have both uncoated faces looking straight at us, If the wood has been painted black & this blade has seen dueling (or even kicking about in store) this light wobbly line would be damage/abrasion that has removed paint & exposed light wood. My only concern is the light stripe running down the top edge of the blade which would have to be scotchlite that's come round the top edge of the square, which doesn't sound quite right.
    A long winded supposition sure but it's one that fits all the evidence we have bar my concern on the light top edge.

    I have 6 peices of 16 x 900mm balsa dowel on order. This has to be tried out.

    Oh yes something that hasn't been stressed enough about balsa is how easy it is to shape. I'm anticipating being bale to put a taper on with just 'sand' paper in my hand with the dowel in a lathe (or even electric drill) on lowish rev's & just as easy to sand on flats to to a tapered dowel. Should be quite quick. We'll see.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
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  36. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    If this is quotes from stears this is what I would believe
     
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  37. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  38. vadermania

    vadermania Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Jon said that round balsa wood sticks were used.

    I now tend to believe that both round, square and possibly even triangular blades have been used on the practical "spinning" lightsabers for ANH production. Plus, some of the blades were static, non-spinning blades such as Darth's blade in the Obi/Darth duel.

    a) introduction of the lightsaber in Ben's hut, first ignition: "Graflex" type stunt spinning saber, square or triangular blade

    b) Obi cutting off Walrus man's arm in Cantina: Obi V2 or V3 stunt spinning saber, round or square blade?

    c) Luke training with remote on Falcon: "Graflex" type stunt spinning saber, square or triangular blade

    d) Obi vs. Vader fight on Deathstar: "Graflex" type stunt spinning saber with black tip, round static blade (Vader), Obi V2 (and V3?) stunt spinning saber, round or square blade? plus Obi V2 or V3 stunt (spinning saber), round blade, non-spinning for Obi death scene.

    Do we have confirmation that the "Barbican" was used on screen in the Vader/Obi duel? I have only seen it on two or three bts stills from ANH so far. In the new STW archives book it says that they were unable/had problems to hide the stunt lightsaber cables on Vaders costume, so they went with a "static" lightsaber.
     
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  39. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    For the record I bet my life the v3 never spun...
     
  40. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Correct... I noticed when I apply it onto the pole the material tends to fall off.. again you don’t see it on you but you can feel sandy material on your fingers

    I would never never guessed there was that much debris on my pants when I took the picture I kinda laughed

    I sent the picture to a friend as a joke, but now have a new “old” phone and don’t have those pictures on this one, had him send me the pic back, that’s why the resolution sucks

    My mission this weekend is to make a square tapered blade..

    I have a jointer in the if shop but I’d have to move so much crap, then set it up.. I’m just gonna try and taper the square dowel Down with a electric plane...

    I think pine dowels at Lowe’s/Home Depot will be to heavy...
     
  41. vadermania

    vadermania Well-Known Member

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    I heard a different story just today, can't go into details yet - but perhaps somebody else could chime in at a later point ;)
     
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  42. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Ohhhh don’t tease me
     
  43. vadermania

    vadermania Well-Known Member

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    Count me in for a (square) bladed spinning Luke ANH stunt once the (blade) mission is accomplished :)
     
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  44. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I don’t know if it will work on my legend edition.. last time I felt then dowels at Lowe’s there were pine and I figured they were to heavy

    They may actually be poplar...

    I’m gonna try like hell this weekend.. see how it works out

    The golf clubs are feather light and I knew I wouldn’t have a problem spinning them.. this dowel... eeeehhhh... idk
     
  45. kurtyboy

    kurtyboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    d) The Luke Graflex stunt with black emitter is not spinning.

    The Barbican appears in two shots at least. Doesn't appear to be spinning though.
    Square shroud.jpg

     
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  46. kurtyboy

    kurtyboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Anyone got evidence of the V2 emitter spinning on screen? I didn't find any so far in the duel in 4K at least, but I'll have another look.
     
  47. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    V2 spins and you can even hear the motor, check this out at :31 they forgot to edit the electronic motor sound, it only lasts 1 second or 2



    There are also multiple black and white behind the scene video clips of the emitter spinning

    The emitter is slightly off center, so you can see it kinda wobbling
     
  48. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You can see the emitter spinning really good here @1:40 also listen to the motors sound, then go back to the pervious clip I linked ya and you can hear the same sound for the 1-2 secs “only a master of evil darth”

     
  49. kurtyboy

    kurtyboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'll check it out when I get home. I know the blade spins but the emitter didn't appear to be in some shots at least.
     
  50. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Emitter spins for sure watch the lighting on it change, you can even seen the emitter spinning in the de specialized edition

    The remastered versions the rotoscoping tends to cover the emitter too much
     

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