New Elstree Studio documentary with discarded Graflex.

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by Skelatorious, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. steven giunta

    steven giunta Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Does anybody know anything about actually using the graflex flash to take pictures?there would be no reason to weld a piece of metal in the top would there?im assuming no,I’ve never seen another like this but the thought did occurred to me that maybe the saber was like that before they got it for Star Wars. I doubt it but I’d like to just make sure to be certain
     
  2. CAKComedyProps

    CAKComedyProps Active Member

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    The plate on top of the bulb contact area does make the camera function of the flash useless, so probably was done by the prop guys to make a bladed stunt.
     
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  3. Davy Jones

    Davy Jones Well-Known Member

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    Yeah there is a spring loaded contact that ejects the bulb after use. The Graflex seen in these b&w pictures still has the original stuff with no plate.

    ANH The Saber End.jpg

    I think the most likely scenario is that they tried to convert the Elstree Graflex into a fighting version and either failed, or just ultimately went the metal tube route and didn't need this. I might have just sat in a box until production wrapped and then was chucked out to where in was found in the mud.
     
  4. Gregatron

    Gregatron Sr Member

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    Remember, the (initial/Barbican) Vader and Kenobi (V2/V3) stunts were reasonable (albeit less detailed) facsimiles of the hero props. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that they first tried to use a Graflex as a stunt, and then just ended up sticking some parts onto a metal pipe when it didn’t work.
     
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  5. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Some serious detective work!!
     
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  6. Aison

    Aison Active Member

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    Thought I would take a look as to where the missing grip is. I said earlier that if the grip was replaced there should be signs of extra glue. In fact I found the opposite. The spot on the Elstree where I think the missing grip would be has hardly any glue residue.

    This in fact is a great thing, it changes the chronology a bit, but makes more sense.

    It seems logical with the saber assembly being so loose, they were aware of the problem way before they shot the Sand crawler scene. This was the saber they built to have physical action scenes like running, falling etc.

    promo shots taken before the sand crawler scene. All grips are there

    The saber never fell apart while running.

    Running probably caused the grip to come off.

    Grip came off probably because it was the last grip glued down, and there was little glue left in the tube? It never got replaced as there is no sign of it as the spot looks like there is hardly and glue there.

    Star Wars - A New Hope - Luke Skywalker Lightsaber minimal glue residue_17.jpg

    vlcsnap-2019-03-07-15h42m50s145.jpg

    Bubble strip was ground down when it went of to be turned into a stunt.

    If all this is correct, it means if the Elstree is the Toe pic saber, it's only screen time was the Sand Crawler scene

    Can some one cross reference this in case I have made a mistake of the grip location.
     
  7. Drew Baker

    Drew Baker Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  8. Aison

    Aison Active Member

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    I think its a different saber.

    1. if that little bit sticking out at the end is the D ring after the rivets. I cannot replicate that in a photo in the toe pic configuration.
    2. you can see the tip of the lever, and the angle of the tip does not match if it where open wide to me.

    differenther maybe.jpg
    IMG_6785.JPG
    lever open

    IMG_6786.JPG
    lever closed parallel to the clamp, not pushed all the way down.

    That's what I see. Other people should replicate this to cross check me.

    Also I am thinking those rivets or screws my have something to do with a motor, or a different type of D ring assembly.
     
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  9. Gregatron

    Gregatron Sr Member

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    ...and it has the wrong red button, and the d-ring clip seems too short, and the prop was found with the clamp in the screenused orientation instead of the post-production publicity photo orientation, and it doesn’t look to have the serial number stamped on the clamp, among other issues.

    As for the parts somehow being loose and jiggling around during production, that seems unlikely. Hamill was just holding the prop so it didn’t constantly smack his leg. And I doubt that any hero was chosen to be converted into a stunt. More likely that the Elstree was a failed stunt built in pre-production—separate from the heroes, which were designed and built as heroes—and then they built the pipe FX stunt when it didn’t work out as hoped.
     
  10. Gregatron

    Gregatron Sr Member

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    Two photos from the same session, including the rivet saber photo. The lever is clearly open.

    75727F1E-A3DB-40BB-8F66-B13FE1C3DA68.jpeg 2047587B-4A89-4CC9-9FB8-98F6CEA04E7B.jpeg
     
  11. DARTH SABER

    DARTH SABER Master Member

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    All the characteristics found on this saber indicate some sort of stunt/sparring saber.

    Bunny ears removed, reinforcement washer added to base of the emitter (probably to gold the blade) and the emitter itself seems to dented or bent which suggest rigorous use which is consistent with stunt sabers.
    For all we know the emitter was bent on purpose to help hold the blade.

    Aside from the D ring which is somewhat close to the position of the toe Pic saber the characteristics on this saber don’t seem match any other Luke sabers so I think we should just accept that this is simply a new Luke saber that has been discovered.
     
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  12. Gregatron

    Gregatron Sr Member

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    Exactly.
     
  13. AnubisGuard

    AnubisGuard Sr Member

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    As someone who has tried to run with a saber hanging from my belt, this is correct. Feels like the b∆$t∆rd is going to fly right off the hook if it isn't held down.
     
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  14. indignate

    indignate Member

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    "Hamill was just holding the prop so it didn’t constantly smack his leg. "

    You say that because you see it in the movie, but think that is just one take that made it to the final editing. There could had been dozens of takes of that scene where the saber falls. In that scene or others. So someone told Hamill, "hey boy, just grab the saber when you are running!"
     
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  15. indignate

    indignate Member

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    I posted the discarded stunt saber theory since page 2 or 3 of this thread. Its the one that makes more sense to me.

    But I think this saber was built exactly as the heroes. (I mean the bubble strip, the grips and the dring) There are no differences between them. Why wouldnt they made it different, most likely the did the 3 the same day? But this one was given to the sfx guys to try to make a stunt out of him.

    What bugs me is the damage it has. Not talking just about the top head. The publicity photos, taken after filming shows a saber almost Brand new. This one has lots of signs of use, all over it, but mostly in the bottom. Dont think that could have made in the junk pile as they are in a zone very specific. Dont think is for the hammering of the rivets, as the Rivets dont have almost any hit.

    So my guess is if that if this saber got any kind of use ,(preproduciton rehershals, being a back up in filming rehershals then changed for the hero when the camera filmed) during filming before attempting to do the stunt on it, or even after. The evident signs of use makes me think it was not discarded in the preproduction with no use other that welding the plate on it..

    About the two Rivets between grips in the toe pic saber. I dont find any use of them, they cant grab anything in that position. Could they be just decorative? or what I think better, could they be just a code for the stand prop guy to know which one is the hero saber?
     
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  16. R5D4

    R5D4 New Member

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    So what do we do now? Should we add the two side rivets to our ANH replicas or only if we want to replicate the toe pic saber?
     
  17. Davy Jones

    Davy Jones Well-Known Member

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    I would always caution people to put any holes they aren't perfectly sure of into a real Graflex.
    There's been far too many vintage Mauser pistols ruined by people milling the "mystery disc" into the side.
    I think it's very clear this particular saber seen in the b&w shots had those two rivets in the side, but that's just one picture. Was this the main prop? Are you trying to replicate this perfectly down to the clamp being on the wrong side?
    I personally think if someone wanted to do the rivet heads they could cut off two heads and just glue them on.
    Better reference comes out and you need to alter them; or you decide you dont like them, pop them off and wipe with solvent and you havent hurt your Graflex investment.
     
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  18. Gregatron

    Gregatron Sr Member

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    No, I say that because he holds it steady in several scenes, when he’s both running and just walking.
     
  19. indignate

    indignate Member

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    yes, could had happen many times in some scenes. when he makes any kind of effort like running,or jumping in or out the landspeeder. But again, each scene has many takes, in some the saber could had fallen off and he grabbed it for the next take, or just someone told him to. And of course no take with the saber falling made the cut.
     
  20. R5D4

    R5D4 New Member

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    Yes I totally agree. I want to replicate the screen used but now we don’t know if those two side rivets were there can you tell from any of the production photos is that same angle visible?
     
  21. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Double checking here, we've been unable to screen match or photo natch any part of this new saber correct?

    That's disappointing but also cool.

    How many bubble strips to we know of?
    Obi Hero 1-2
    Obi Stunt 1
    Vader Hero (not V2 Hero) - 1
    Luke Hero - 1
    Elstree Saber - 1

    Think any of these were re-used or shared between props?
     
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  22. R5D4

    R5D4 New Member

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    They must have used the toe pic saber for production I can’t imagine it only being used for photo sessions. Is there any evidence of at least of the toe pic saber being the same one that’s in the Obi-wan cave scene?
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  23. Dann

    Dann Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Looking again at the damage to the bottom, it almost looks like that entire edge (where the D ring is) is deformed, like even up on the side/bottom corner. There's a brighter spot on that left edge that makes it look like it mushroomed out a little.

    My first thought is maybe this thing just took a really nasty fall. I'm guessing it'd have to be from at least several feet up, if not more, and I wanna say it looks like it fell onto some concrete or something similarly hard and rough.

    Maybe it happened when they couldn't get it to do what they wanted it to do. The dude working on it was frustrated as all heck, had been working on trying to get it working as a stunt for several hours, and his boss comes by and says, "Oi mate! Don't worry about that one, it's just not gonna work. We've got a much simpler idea, TUBING!"

    And the frustrated dude let out a huge sigh of relief, and threw this jerk of a flash into the dumpster as hard as he could...
     
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  24. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I take it you guys know there is a whole bunch of high res photos of this thing in the graflex bank? I searched this thread for graflex bank but it seemed you don't.
     
  25. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The photos were posted here first. Graflex Bank is rather new in the grand scheme of things, and things usually migrate there, so it's not on the top of everyone's list. Thanks for notifying us though, much easier access
     
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  26. indignate

    indignate Member

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    That is right the bottom has a bending as well, like a one big hit inflicted, appart the multitude of scracthes.
     
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  27. Treadwell

    Treadwell Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The bottom damage and the emitter damage are not from a fall. Graflexes are way tougher than that. A fall will get you a tiny ding, not flattened/deformed sections.
     
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  28. DarthWilder

    DarthWilder New Member

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    That's why I still think the damage comes from a vise.
     
  29. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    For what it's worth my take (as someone who's been an antique restorer for 25yrs, among other things) is that the base damage is caused from being held lengthwise overly tightly in a vice crushing it, the 'scratches' look very much like the damage I'm always seeing from vice 'teeth'. My guess is that it was done with the emitter washer (or something else) in place that was more resistant to damage at the other end.
    submitted while I was writing this.

    The front damage is deliberate & looks to be done prior to brasing the 'washer' in, as the tool marks have the same colour from heating as the rest of the metal. It was done with pliers &/or a mole wrench. It's too symmetrical & shaped, esp. near the washer, to be accidental. Possibly done while being held in the vice that caused the base damage.

    The presence of the 'washer' indicates to me this was meant to take a blade. I speculate from, whats in the hole, that this may once have had a stud welded in place (weld on hidden side) & that this weld failed rendering the thing useless & hence binned.

    As for 'missing' glue - this things been kicking around for 40yrs, who knows what's dropped off in that time or, indeed, what actually was glued on there in the first place. By which I mean, 'proper' T track? bits of painted wood to look like T track? something else? We don't know & speculating is just pointless water muddying.

    The missing bit of the bubble strip looks to me as snapper off at an angle & not deliberate. Opinion, opinion.

    It's not the 'toe' hilt, the D ring hinges off center here & hinges across the hilt diameter on the 'toe' hilt.

    Levers not closed properly; strikes me these things may well catch on clothing & be tugged open, rather than permanently 'set' in these positions. Another alternate is they're not screwed up tight enough in the first place.These photos are literal snap shots in time so unless more info is forthcoming speculation is pointless.

    The guy has good provenance & isn't trying to make money so balance of probability for me is it's genuine.
     
  30. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Mouse Vader, I totally * the vice damage. That would explain the consistent “pitting” we see on the edge of the bottom tube as well

    Good thinking guys with the vice!
     
  31. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The amount stuff I've seen wrecked over the years from people with vices - grrr :mad:
     
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  32. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Good analysis!

    I posted about bubble strips because, even though it's an educated guess, we do see them reusing greeblies a lot on other props. Another option to throw in the mix is that this bubble strip was not trimmed properly and ANY graflex that holds it will not be able to close it's clamp. Conjecture from other props also suggests they only had multitudes of a few things and may not have run out to get another calculator for this stunt experiment if one was right there.

    Less probability from there, but if they broke a bubble strip, and did their thing of grabbing a "close enough" replacement that isn't close enough, this might have led to the birth of the card edge :)
     
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  33. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    No offense meant , I was just commenting on what I actually see on the item. I also get that speculating is always very tempting, we just don't like 'don't know'.
     
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  34. indignate

    indignate Member

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    that damage made by a vice theory looks very posible.
     
  35. Gregatron

    Gregatron Sr Member

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    Hmmm. Looks like a Graflex clamp was also used on an alternate Jawa blaster, which adds fuel to the discussion regarding how many flashguns the production had access to. And Graflites were also used in the original film, not just for the HOLIDAY SPECIAL saber!
     
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  36. SethS

    SethS Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Which Jawa weapon?

    When I got to play the X-Wing VR mission for Battlefront the first thing I did was inspect the rangefinder on the dash to see if it was modelled after a graflite :)

    (It wasn't)
     
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  37. Gregatron

    Gregatron Sr Member

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  38. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yup, and it's a v2 type of clamp. (Can't see the lever)

    I'll still say I have a feeling this is one of the the original bubble strips
     
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  39. Title

    Title Active Member

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    Love this!

    You had some pics I didn't have, and I also found some higher resolution ones by googling yours, here ya go:
    9.jpg 18.jpg 19.jpg

    These I already had, also higher resolution than yours:
    1.jpg 14.jpg 1.jpg

    They'll be on the Graflex Bank Gallery probably later today. I keep thinking I have everything, but then more keep popping up!

    --

    I'm still catching up on this thread (I'm so behind!!) so apologies if anyone else sent the same or a better one, but I found this in sliiightly better quality:
    18.jpg
     
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  40. Title

    Title Active Member

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    Oh man!! Time to google these too hahah

    Slightly bigger and clearer, not by much but every little bit helps:
    20.jpg 17.png 20.jpg

    Bigger:
    22.jpg

    This one is huge!:
    chess.jpg
    Is the graflex to the right of Mark?

    ---

    Davy Jones do you have uncropped versions of the pictures you posted? I have one or two of them but not in that high resolution, the highest resolution I find on google is still smaller :p
     
  41. James Kenobi 1138

    James Kenobi 1138 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I’m starting to wonder if the Elstree saber was made pre-production and used in pre-production photos, taken to Tunisia and used on location, and then for whatever reason a new hero saber was made for the studio shots in Bens hut, the cantina, and the Falcon.

    They didn’t need a spinning blade saber for Tunisia, just a belt hanger. I wonder if maybe after Tunisia they tried to convert the then Hero saber (the Elstree) to either a spinning blade or a fixed blade, couldn’t make it work, and fabricated the Luke pipe stunt (shared stunt) and made a new Hero from a different Graflex. They could have even popped the grips off the Elstree and re-used them on the new saber.
     
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  42. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I think they may have sent it to the Mir space station to see how it performed in zero G, & this is re-entry damage...
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
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  43. Gregatron

    Gregatron Sr Member

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    The Elstree just doesn’t match anything we’ve seen before.

    1. Thin-knurl red button.

    2. Rectangular washer between clamp and lever (which the most well-known version doesn’t have in the publicity photos).

    3. Shorter d-ring bracket.

    4. Missing bulb holder and welded metal plate, indicating a stunt or failed stunt.


    The lever position varies from open to closed in both onscreen and publicity images. The earliest Tunisia scenes have the open lever, which also appears in the most prominent publicity photos. The Elstree was found with a closed lever.

    And it’s not as if they had only two or three Graflexes to work with. They already had at least one hero, and many more flashguns on-hand, so there would be no need to convert it to a stunt after filming it as a belthanger. There seem to be more Graflexes and Graflex parts spread across the production than we ever originally thought. The Luke hero(es) and FX stunt, the Kenobi hero(es) and stunts, the alternate Jawa blasters, etc. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen flashguns.
     
  44. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Just to be picky, brased not welded. You can't weld steel to copper (or aluminium for that matter).
     
  45. Gregatron

    Gregatron Sr Member

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    Yes, you’re right, of course!
     
  46. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I honestly don’t think is is welding... we see no splatter, and with a blob that big I would think the weld would have burned threw before you could get a tac weld that large

    My personal belief is we are seeing a solider weld

    This is common practice in plumbing back in the day to fuse different metals together (especially copper and brass)

    This would also explain why the weld is black and not rusty like the washer.. because we are seeing melted lead, and not welded metal

    Just my personal belief on the experiences I’ve had in construction and welding
     
  47. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I have a qualification ( * there's no smug smilie ) in MMA welding. To be technical joining 2 dissimilar metals with a third metal alloy is soldering, but generally people mean using lead solder only for this term. Silver soldering if the joining metal is a silver alloy & brasing it the joining metal is a brass alloy. Non the less they are all solder joints.
    Importantly only the joining metal melts.

    Welding melts both pieces to be joined & extra metal filler of the same type is added to strengthen the joint, which is why you can't weld dissimilar metals. (in plumbing you sometimes hear of solvent welding of plastic pipe - technically correct as a solvent is used to 'melt' the joint surfaces).

    As for spatter - in the 70's material this thin would have been oxy-acetylene welded. Lead solder would not be strong enough for this application, if it is a stunt saber, & the discolouration of the tube indicates to me that it has been at a red heat, too hot for lead solder but right for brasing.

    Sorry for the inadvertent lecture, hopefully some of you found it useful. :sleep:
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
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  48. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So do you think it’s welded? And what machine did they use to weld it
     
  49. Mouse Vader

    Mouse Vader Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Sorry I didn't make my 70's welding ref clear. I was just pointing out that mig/tig was not readily available then & that stick welding (aka MMA) would not have been delicate enough (as you pointed out) but gas welding was a mainstay for this gauge of material. I didn't mean that I thought this joint is a weld.

    It's Not welded it's Brased (aka 'brazed'). Brass soldered, melted brass not lead. You need oxy-acetylene, oxy-propane or oxy-MAP gas equipment to be able to get enough heat to melt the brasing rod (red heat). Flux (& goggles) is also needed.
     
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  50. halliwax

    halliwax Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Perfect!
     
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