Magic of Myth ( MoM ) Luke RotJ Hero ( cave build ) lightsaber research, images, reference, & collaborative model builder's discussion.

BRRogers

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hi guys and welcome, this thread has been going for over two years and we've made so many discoveries! Thank you!
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The mission of this thread is to research, discuss, and enjoy the most thorough examination of the Luke ROTJ Hero Lightsaber as it exists in its current state.

Many recognize this prop as Luke's "official" ROTJ lightsaber via the LucasFilm cannon although we recognize that it was not featured as heavily as the V2 or V3 during the filming of Return of the Jedi...
- DaveP has created created an excellent research thread for the V2 found here: DaveP's Luke RotJ V2 Research/Development Thread 2021
- I hope to include reference to a new LOM thread regarding the V3 in the coming year ;) LOM ;)

The "Cave Hero" prop has been featured and photographed in these exhibits:
The Magic of Myth, 1997-2003
The Art of Star Wars, 2005-2006
Star Wars Identities 2012-2021

This piece will finally reside at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art- now under construction at Exposition Park in Los Angeles, California.
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This discussion began as a spinoff from another thread where veritycosplay and myself began examining at length the various forms of licensed and unlicensed replicas that have been derived from this prop-and felt that many had yet to capture all the nuance available to be described.
Now, new discoveries due to the recent availability of better reference, better understanding of scaling, and access to clean castings have helped inform and provide conclusions for many old debates relating to detail, scale, form factor, and function.

Also worth mentioning in this first post is that the original dimensions listed in the ILM/Lucasfilm Archives book of 29cm is likely not accurate as an earmark for the aluminum body, but a rounded number (actual length is 287mm, 293mm if counting the tri-ring).

The cropping on the photo was also misleading, and is worth noting the original un-cropped image is now available here to use as reference.
lucasarchivesbook.jpg
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Section 1:
Image Collection
Section 2:
Proofs for scale relationships and "Lineage Theory"
Section 3:
Oddities and outstanding discussion/debates on details
Section 4:
The models and/or kits built incorporating this research

Known Image credits:

“The Original Prop Blog”
EXCLUSIVE: 237 Lost/Unpublished Historic Star Wars and Indiana Jones Movie Prop Photos from the Lucasfim Archives from 1996/1997

"The Parts of Star Wars"
Parts_Banner.gif


lightsaberarchives.org

Users via Flickr:
-Mike Rogers Pix
-Matt & Kristy
-Mac Spud
-mchenryarts
-Anshul Nigham
-coffeego
-big-ashb
-lightdrawings photography
-Robert Fairchild

Users via TheRPF:
-Sym Cha
-Nukerz
-PrinceZip
-KorribanKnight
-MattMunson
-Thomas J Newton
-Vadermania
If you have an image, information, or comment you'd like to share please feel free to PM or e-mail: BRRogers87@gmail.com
 
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BRRogers

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Collated Data:
This image was assembled in photoshop to align with major markers from the Hero. The graflex and Hero in the first space on the left is referenced for scale.
1022354

You will observe that all of these images have different viewing angles and distortions... but every single one manages to line up to each other as the viewing angles come into plain perspective. By collating them all we can form a framework to discuss the model geometry without being impeded as much by photo distortion.

Using this rough table for geometry and scale we can begin to make other assertions:

"Lineage Theory" (The MK1,V2,V3 & Hero are equally scaled)
Example 1:
Canon image (used for scale) on left / Replicas on right.
1022495
1022496

We can observe that given the dimensions of both Graflex' that the Canon hero on the left is approximately the same size as the replica V2 on the right. The major point of observation being the pommel to emitter face dimension being 278mm (10-15/16")

Example 2:
Another real world test to test the Hero's size relative to a V2/V3.
1022497

On the left we have a photo of the Hero along with the V3 (V2 clone)
Asserting that 278mm is the length of the pommel to the emitter, I cut two 1.5" tubes in the image on the right to 278mm (10-15/16") and placed them to approximate the left photo. Proofing that despite the perspective the V3 and Hero are likely the same length (Pommel to Emitter face)

"Lineage Theory"
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1022780

“Lineage theory”
Ultimately stated and hopefully proved: The MK1, V2, V3, and Hero were the same overall length and were designed/fabricated directly in line
 
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BRRogers

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Surface Detail , weathering, and other Un-answered questions up for discussion/proving.
POMMEL:
-Cap:

Noting the surface deformation, and firsthand accounts- there may be a microscopic lip around the hole on the pommel, some of said it's enough to catch your finger/fingernail on.... but It is hard to know if replication is justified when the other dings are more pronounced and the ring isn't always present in photos. More information or EVEN better photos are required.
pommel cap.jpg pommel cap marks.jpg

CLOCKING:
Does the pommel move?

NO, at least not in the finished state.
Via modeling/overlays from multiple board members the pommel gears appear static, recent HD photos also indicate a fillet in the corner indicating a solid machining.

CONTROL BOX:
Lineage-

Yuma box = ISYHCANL box = Cave Hero box?

YES : CONFIRMED
The milling marks present on the backside of the box have a very specific, messy, matchable, one-of-a kind reflection pattern.
Some including myself now have had the good fortune of seeing an image of the Yuma (sometimes described later in this thread) and can confirm the exact same milling artifact pattern is verifiably present on the box. It IS the same box from Yuma through to the Cave Hero.
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Buttons-
How were they cut, attached, and positioned? Have they subsequently been altered, shifted, or otherwise damaged?
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Further research indicates that they might have been damaged, removed, reattached, or repositioned in a varied ways over time via the photo reference. Two examples of different positions seen above.

What is not confirmed is wether it was the Yuma clamp lever which was modified, or new buttons made and attached.

Rails-
GREY ABS in a T and L configuration were likely joined and modified to create a sled/stop for the clamp card in addition to allow extra height for the control box internals. At some point they were damaged and the clamp card is now able to slide from either end of the box.

-Reveal board:
Was the "reveal" circuit card visible in the cave scene the same as the "Props Blog" reveal card? Was it lost during touring?
YES it is the same AND IT STILL THERE!
Via 4K Disney and new photo reference The cave scene card IS the one in the photo reference AND still seems to be in the currently touring saber!
Recently more progress has been made to identify the board and how it functioned...
Correction: update I have been able to identify the correct board and will work to make replica sections -I am not willing to allow this to go the way the mystery chunks did.

-Cave Scene Arrows:
How did they function?
-- SPST Slide switch-ON.
---9 green arrow blinks at 3Hz
--SPDT Snap switch- On (On)
---6 red arrow blinks at 2.6Hz

In Slow motion:

Re-created with blinking train signal LED's
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From the photo reference and analysis of the cave scene with the new 4KDisney+ release it appears that the box had on ON/OFF SPST switch that activates the green arrow blink, and as Hamill placed his tool lower on the board, the red light blinks only as long as it was in contact. This had indicated a snap action switch (similar to above, or as seen on the Boba Fett Rangefinder) HOWEVER: It is *possible* the integrated circuit board used for the control box had that capability built in- removing the need for a snap action switch in favor of a simple circuit change on the board. This would allow ample room for batteries just underneath.

Was the battery and circuitry all in the box? Myself and Dann have mimicked a setup that would sit in the confines of the box but as mentioned, the room required by not needing a SPDT switch through the function of an integrated circuit board switch would make it much easier to fit in.

Using flashing LEDS (around 2.6Hz) all the components can fit as only a 3v power source is required without resistors. 2 1.5v watch batteries likely.

I can confirm that I found the vintage PCB donor that covers the electronics and am working out a replica asap.

BODY:
Markings-

There are several, unidentified markings on the body that resemble either drill, glue, or milling marks.
We are still unsure of their depth, purpose, or intentionality but a potential theory is that the hilt was assembled from multiple components which sleeve over one another and were then pin-riveted together and cleaned up on a lathe.

EMITTER:
How deep was the hole for the emitter tip?
No shallower that the emitter flange based on recent photos/visits and corroborated by other lineage castings.

What happened to the face of the emitter tip?
Very likely rotational marring from the YUMA and/or ISYHCANL blade collars during production.

3D Models and runs derived from this research:
Veracity Labs "MoM" Cave Build

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Anakin Starkiller 2019
(Gregatron's photo)
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DaveP's gens 1-3

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Thanks the entire TheRPF Community for its passion, community, and perception.
Your contributions as a whole make projects like this possible.


BUYER BEWARE OF RECASTERS:
89 Sabers recast of Anakin Starkiller 2019
ELF SABERS/ CCSABERS Recast of DaveP Gen2
 
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thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'm not 100% sure if I'm reading this right, but i don't think the V2 and Hero are the same length.

I know that the brass rails are 1/8" brass right angle stock and the card in 1/16" thick.
 

Verity Cosplay

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'm not 100% sure if I'm reading this right, but i don't think the V2 and Hero are the same length.

I know that the brass rails are 1/8" brass right angle stock and the card in 1/16" thick.

If I might ask how you know this?

The evidence with relevant known measures in the photos seems to be pretty compelling around at least general lengths and diameters of the Hero...

A number of us are debating but we are all within about 4mm of difference amongst those of us working on this model. That is a pretty small margin to come to with independent conclusion.

Curious as to your reasoning/evidence? Not challenging but seeking rationale.
 
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BRRogers

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Just emailed you a whole bunch. Some decent, some pukers. Maybe they'll help.
Thanks: I added the ones that were clearly the Hero. I might do a separate section with reference built from the various castings. Just to have if we feel we need to fill in the gaps... which at this point would be less than a mm

thd9791
Added a new section to respond directly. All this is worth discussing.
 

Gregatron

Master Member
(reserved space for data collation photography, photoshops, links)
Collective Data: All the things!
Images generated in photoshop to align with major markers. The graflex on the left was sized with a real world Graflex as compared to a MK1 & V2. With their markers aligning well it can be generally assumed that the Hero SHOULD have an emitter length of 278mm just like the MK1 and the V2 (referencing Anakin Starkiller's V2)
View attachment 1022354
Of course... all of these images have different viewing angles and distortions... but every single one manages to line up to each other in some fashion, and as compared to the MK1 and V2 dimensions there are many portions that just... make sense.
Thus along with some good ol fashion tedious photoshop and I believe that these are the major dimensions. Reaching a 278mm pommel to emitter face and 287mm full length. RIGHT in between the V2 and the Lucasfilm Archive denotation.

View attachment 1022513
*edit... making small adjustments to hone in the collate image. I'll add lines and a plan with diameters over time

Evidence to Support "lineage theory" that the Hero should be sized to match the MK1, V2, V3.
Example 1: this canon image on the left of the Graflex and Hero taken at the same time on a table (seen above)
As compared to a replica Graflex and the Anakin Starkiller V2 (which dimensions from pommel to emitter face are 278mm)

View attachment 1022495 View attachment 1022496
Example 2: A real world example...
A photo of the Hero along with the (or a) V3 (Generally accepted as a V2 copy)
Asserting that 278mm is the length of the pommel to the emitter, I cut the two tubes on the right to 278mm (10-15/16") and placed them (approximately) like they are positioned in the left photo. I am proposing that due to the recreation of the positioning that the Hero does in-fact have the same dimensions. Considering that in the Lucasfilm Archive book the Hero and the V3 are both listed at the same length (29cm... likely estimated but notedly NOT different for some reason)
View attachment 1022497


A word of warning—we shouldn’t necessarily take the ARCHIVES book measurement as stone-cold fact. It’s entirely possibly that they simply took the V3’s measurement, assumed that the hero was the same length (which it probably appears to be, at first glance), then simply repeated the figure in the book.
 

thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Yes, as gregatron said, The archives numbers are known for not being entirely accurate. I was under the impression that the hero was different in almost every dimension from the ANH stunt sabers. That picture on the guy's stomach showed us that it was a bit larger than we thought, but we don't know how far either are pressed against someone's body. I can do this with a few of my sabers and casually make them look like they're the same length... In any case, this is a good time to discuss this. Soon, I think Anakin Starkiller is releasing a run of this very saber and he's correcting bits from his last run almost 15 years ago (?). Back then it was nearly identical to the real thing so I can imagine we can get accurate dimensions again soon
 

BRRogers

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
A word of warning—we shouldn’t necessarily take the ARCHIVES book measurement as stone-cold fact. It’s entirely possibly that they simply took the V3’s measurement, assumed that the hero was the same length (which it probably appears to be, at first glance), then simply repeated the figure in the book.


Exactly, which is why it ISNT 29cm ;)
 

thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I also want to stop by and say thank you for compiling and comparing so many of these photos. I'm among a few folks who have started ROTJ Hero threads in the past ten years and the pictures are scattered all over the site. I've always been dying to know things about this prop, and details of the Yuma stunt, which may or may not be the source of the saber
 

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