Luke ESB Holster and Belt Build and Patterns (aka Corona Virus Isolation Project)

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.


Wailonskydog

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Ok - so while I'm sitting here social distancing myself I happened to score a Graflex Replica and ESB conversion kit. It comes with the belt mounting hardware so that means I need a belt. Specifically, Luke's belt from Empire Strikes Back. But what I need more is the holster because I also have a DL-44 that needs a home and I won't have the lightsaber for a few weeks. Since I'm not planning on making the correct Solo belt/holster rig for some time this can serve dual purposes. And I happened to have all the required materials for the holster build here in my home workshop so here goes...

First, I need to do some research and find some patterns and as it happens it seems like there is not much info on Luke's ESB belt. Much thanks to laszlo for his thread with good reference pictures of the original and his holster which I used extensively.

IMG_0932.jpg

I went through a few variations and sizes for the holster until I settled on something I thought would work (or at least had confidence would not be a total disaster). I printed out the final version with all the accessories and straps and taped them together.



IMG_0933.jpg

Now to find the right leather to use. I brought out my scraps and main piece of vegetable tanned leather in 7/8oz. I've found this weight of leather is best for making holsters and it works well for this one too. I definitely wouldn't go heavier but you could use 6/7oz if needed I suppose.


IMG_0934.jpg

I've got all my pieces cut out and I put a very light bevel on the edges with my smallest beveller just to give it a slight worn look and feel. You don't want to get too fancy on this type of build because the original prop is not the greatest quality. And in fact, just by the nature of the leather and standard leather working techniques this holster will be much more solid than the original I think. Also, my DL-44 based on the airsoft is up there in anticipation.



IMG_0935.jpg

I used Fiebings Pro Dye in dark brown to dye all the pieces. I also inscribed my stitching line on the holster. I'm already feeling that this may be a tight fit so I made the line a little closer to the edge than I normally would. Every little bit might count here.


IMG_0936.jpg

All the parts are now finished. I lightly burnished the edges with some saddle soap on some cloth, oiled them with neatsfoot, finally applied some wax-based top coat so they buff to a nice shine. I'm doing this all pretty quickly so the leather is still dark all this processing. It will lighten up a shade as everything dries.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Wailonskydog

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
IMG_0937.jpg

Next up is to start assembling. I've got the hardware mounted. Some parts needed to be riveted together and others need Line 24 snaps. I was running dangerously low on these snaps in nickel but had just enough to get the job done! I'm going to glue the belt strap and retention strap to the holster body before stitching. I've scratched up the surfaces a bit for the contact cement to get a good hold.


IMG_0938.jpg


Time to punch my stitching holes. I'm using my trusty diamond pricking irons for the job and I've got some needles threaded ready to go.

IMG_0940.jpg
IMG_0939.jpg



All stitched together and looking good so far. Next time around I might consider skiving down the end of the retention strap so it's not as prominent, but this worked out fine and the back side gets covered up anyway.


IMG_0941.jpg


Ready for the final glue-up. No turning back now! Also, notice I pre-punched some stitching holes around the bottom of the holster to attach the
cap. Much easier to do this now rather than once it's glued together.


IMG_0942.jpg

After it's glued together, I can punch the stitching holes along the side. Be careful to not punch through the leg strap! It's pretty in the way. Now I can stitch it up using a saddle stitch. Remember to always sew towards you! I stitch with the stitching pony in my lap but just put it on the bench to take decent picture.



IMG_0944.jpg


I waited to put the final snap on the retention strap so I could make sure it fit properly. Now that I know where I want it to be I've got a final measurement and the snap can go in.




IMG_0953.jpg


And the final step of the construction is to sew the cap on the bottom. This can be the most challenging part of a holster but I've done it a lot so I'm pretty comfortable with it now. A good cap lines up perfectly with the holster rim and doesn't stick out or recess in. Because of the curvature of the bottom, the holes on the cap are not evenly spaced. I like to mark them with the cap on the holster before I punch them so I don't have any alignment problem later. I use a diamond awl at a slight angle to make the holes. With all this prep work the final stitch-up should go smoothly.

Now for the moment of truth...
 
Last edited:

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Wailonskydog

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
IMG_0943.jpg

It fits!!!! Kinda. As I thought, it's a pretty tight fit. I even gave the holster a quick dunk in some water to wet mold it a bit to the blaster. That helped a bit but it's still a little tighter than is ideal and some of the greeblies are rubbing up against the holster hardware. But it makes a great retention fit! And lastly, I added a keeper to the leg strap. I don't think it was on the original but it keeps the leg strap in alignment and is a great quality of life improvement if I ever need to wear it out.

Pretty happy with it for a 1-day build. And here are some glamour shots:


IMG_0945.jpg


IMG_0946.jpg


IMG_0947.jpg


IMG_0948.jpg


IMG_0949.jpg


IMG_0950.jpg


IMG_0951.jpg


IMG_0952.jpg


I'm going to post my patterns if anyone else wants to make one. I just need to get them formatted correctly first and make some updates.
 

laszlo

Sr Member
That looks amazing - quality work!
Ha - looks like you don’t need my pattern after all!
I’ll try and get you the other pouch dims though :)
 

Wailonskydog

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
That looks amazing - quality work!
Ha - looks like you don’t need my pattern after all!
I’ll try and get you the other pouch dims though :)

Thanks! Yours looks great too of course. I'd actually still be interested in your pattern just to compare what we ended up with.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Wailonskydog

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Ok, so re-made my pattern a bit for the holster but it's not quite ready for prime time yet. In the meantime though I did some work on the belt.


IMG_1022.jpg
IMG_1019.jpg

I got a Tandy buckle blank for a 2" strap and cut the pieces off the back. I starts as a square that's just about exactly the right width and length but I needed to cut down the sides to get the Luke shape. After some sanding it looks right and the edges are nice and smooth. I also got the other piece on the back from Tandy and just used some JB Weld to attach them. Unfortunately, it only fits 1.75" straps stock so I had to use a 2" loop to fit the belt. It slides around a bit so I may upgrade that piece at some point though I'm not confident that JB Weld is gonna give way easily if I need get the loop out. I guess we'll see.
IMG_1021.jpg
IMG_1020.jpg


















I'm going for the Bespin belt which has the D-ring next to the buckle, then the saber clip. It's also got the snaps for the buckle mounted pretty close together. Once I figured out my sizing I could mount the hardware. It's just a 1" D ring. I got a Luke ESB Graflex upgrade kit from Wanawanga that came with a lightsaber belt clip. It's really well-made and looks very accurate.

The belt itself is some thick 9/10oz vegetable tanned leather. I cut a strap 2" wide and like the holster did a soft bevel on the edges, dyed it brown, and put some finish on the front.
 

Wailonskydog

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Ok, so I made a couple of the belt pouches the other day.


IMG_1025.jpg
IMG_1026.jpg

I'm pretty happy with how they turned out but I also spent a lot of time staring at pictures of Luke's belt and trying to size the pouches correctly. The more I did this the more I convinced myself that the belt is actually 1.75" rather than 2". There was some discussion of this in a couple previous posts on the subject and but no definitive conclusion. I've looked closely at a half dozen pictures from the film and sized them to known objects like the line 24 snaps and the T track on his saber. It now feels to me like 1.75" is a slightly better estimate of the belt width.



g6038.png


This picture has the snap, saber, belt width, and D ring all visible and roughly at the same depth. I drew some reference marks in the sizes I believe all these objects are and they line up pretty well. Based on roygilsing 's compilation of research and great saber guide, the T track should be 92mm. Modern line 24 snap caps are 15mm in diameter (I can only assume older ones are the same). I strongly believe the D-ring on his belt is for a 1" strap. Based on all these reference points it looks like the belt sits at 1.75". There were seemingly two belts used. One with a wider snap spacing at the buckle and one with a narrow spacing. This is the narrow spacing "Bespin" belt. If anything, based on some other pictures, I believed that this belt may have been closer to 2" wide and the wide spacing snap belt was 1.75" but this new analysis seems to indicate both are 1.75".

But who knows? Maybe I'm just confusing myself.
 

laszlo

Sr Member
I agree - that’s what I reckoned the belt to be too.
In that pic you can also see clearly that that particular holster has the leg strap with one end cut square, instead of tapered. I believe there were at least three holsters used on the belt. The one in the pic above, the one seen in the Star Wars costume book and the one seen on the Hoth outfit whilst on your years ago, so that detail may be unique to that holster.
 

Wailonskydog

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I tackled the last two pouches the other day. I saved them for last because I figured they'd be the hardest due to their irregular shapes. After several rounds of drafting and testing on craft foam I was able to get them to where I wanted them.

IMG_1028.jpg
IMG_1029.jpg
IMG_1030.jpg


I used some lighter leather for the long pouch since it's pretty beat up and mis-shapen in the film. It won't be too hard to break it in. I also dyed it a little bit darker shade.


Curved Pouch vs. Straight Pouch
Curved Pouch
tumblr_pd43ljCMrl1tghj17o4_1280.png


In some reference photos the rectangular pouch appears to have straight sides and in others slightly curved sides. I imagine they had to remake the prop at some point and didn't replicate it exactly. I ended up making mine with slight curves because I like the loop, though it would be easy to make one with straight sides should need to.

I think it's the same with the belt. Not only does the saber clip change places but the spacing of the snaps also changes. I thought they might have just put the saber clip in a different place because the belt didn't fit right between filming the Hoth scenes vs. Dagobah/Bespin. Lot's more layers of clothing in the cold for the belt to go over. But the changing snap position seems to indicate it's just a different belt altogether and I think the D-ring/saber clip positioning is consistent with the different snaps; close snaps always has D-ring first.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Wailonskydog

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
IMG_1031.jpg


Finally have all the pouches and belt finished or at least in decent form.

I ended up making a new version of the belt in the correct 1.75" width. I'm also going with the wide snap spacing with the saber clip first then D-ring because I think this arrangement gives a better range of sizing adjustments. On the other belt, the buckle is on the last hole.

I also slightly resized the buckle to better match the new belt proportions. I think this width looks more like the original compared to the snap size. It also means I can use the 1.75" loop that comes with the buckle back so the belt won't slide around anymore.
 

Wailonskydog

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
IMG_1038.jpg
IMG_1039.jpg
IMG_1043.jpg


I went through a few more versions of the holster that I tested in foam and eventually settled on one. I made a few improvements over the first version. The biggest is that I changed the shape to give a bit more room so it fits a Han ANH DL-44 better. I also made the outer lines flow more elegantly and altered the cutout to fit both an ANH style scope mount and the Luke ESB scope mount. I switched to the natural color waxed thread which I think is more accurate and matched the belt pouches.

I made a loop on the back for the leg strap because it looks like the end sticks out different lengths in different shots. I'm not sure whether it's just difference holsters in the movie but I like the versatility of this option.

I'm now sewing the toe plug and side seam with one continuous piece of thread. It's a little more professional looking.

IMG_1040.jpg
IMG_1041.jpg
IMG_1042.jpg
 
Last edited:

Wailonskydog

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Oh, and because I'm obsessive and have a lot of free time on my hands right now I made another version of the holster that's a better fit ESB style DL-44's without the larger grill. Both types of blasters still fit but overall it's a tighter grip on the blaster. Probably not ideal for blasters with delicate greeblies.


IMG_1044.jpg
IMG_1045.jpg
 

Wailonskydog

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
And here's the pattern for the holster for anyone that wants to make one. It should fit most blasters but it's probably a good idea to do a test using craft foam before cutting any leather (or you could make the whole thing with foam). Note that this holster is cut on the large side so you may want to refine the fit a little after testing it with your blaster.

luke esb holster.png
 
Last edited:

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top