Obi-Wan and Vader ANH saber builds

Gregatron

Sr Member
Greetings!

I've been getting back into STAR WARS props recently, and decided to scratch an itch I've had for a long time. I have several MR replicas, and two Luke Graflexes from Larbel, but I really want to complete the hat trick and do ANH Kenobi and Vader sabers.

To this end, I managed to acquire a complete Russrep Kenobi saber kit, and have a Parks MPP on its way now. I also have a Kenobi adaptor set on the way which will be used to assemble the parts on a threaded rod.

I've always been a Graflex kinda guy, but these two designs are also classics. I'm just not as much as an expert on the ins and outs of those props as I am with the Graflex sabers.

So, I'd like to get as much advice as possible from the experts for these builds.


First things first--I've been doing a lot of research, and here's what I've come up with so far:


VADER:

It's currently a popular belief that there were two Vader hero sabers in ANH--one with silver sidebars, and one with black sidebars (which was reused--with modifications--for ESB and ROTJ), with the clamp positioned down against the grips.

I'm not so sure about this. Going frame by frame indicates to me that, in scenes like Leia's prison cell and the Death Star conference room, the MPP's sidebars are actually chrome, but just look black from certain angles and in certain photos due to lighting conditions.

I'm not 100% on this, but I almost think that the V1 and V2 are the same prop, just with the clamp position adjusted in some scenes. Looking at the filming schedule seems to suport this--scenes with Vader stalking Kenobi in the corridors and getting reports on the Rebel attack feature the usual chrome sidebars and clamp position. Other scenes filmed later around the same time, like the prison interrogation and DS conference room, feature the lowered clamp. And then the final scenes aboard the Blockade Runner feature the clamp moved up again.

I'm also not sure that the clamp's control box angle was askew, as in the post-production Chronicles photos and MR replicas. It almost looks like it was properly lined up on-set.

Anyway, we'll get back to the MPP when I receive it.


OBI-WAN:

There's been speculation on how many Kenobi props were made for ANH. We know about the Chronicles and the stunt/Luke V2, of course.

At the very least, I've determined that the "Tunisia" variant appears to be the one used during the entire film. It has the same color scheme and the same quirks in every scene it appears in. The only variant I can detect in the movie looks to be a missing transistor ring (as in the Chronicles photos) when the saber drops to the floor as Kenobi is killed.

It's been speculated that the Chronicles photos are post-production, and perhaps represent the prop being patched back together after the rigors of filming.

At the very least, my research indicates that the clamp is the same on both versions--there's some distinct corrosion and a dent on the front edge of the band (the non-transistor side) that appear on both the Tunisia and Crhonicles versions, as well as rusty corrosion on the clamp lever.

The differences I've noticed between the filming and Chronicles props are these:

* Windwave is positioned higher on Chronicles version.

* No screws or wires in the clamp on the Tunisia version.

* Two transistor washers on the Tunisia version.

* No cap on the AS handwheel on the Tunisia version (at least sometimes).

Of course, the Tunisia version has a very dark grenade, windvane, and emitter-- either painted black, or just weathered (artificially or not). And the Chronicles photos are in B & W, so that version may very well have the same color scheme. There are also rust-brown highlights on the grenade, and the brass of the windwave area is visible in some spots.

At the very least, the orientation of the clamp, booster and handwheel seem the same on both versions.

And, in the movie itself, the clamp seems very shiny--but, since the corrosion is visible, I doubt that it was covered in chrome tape. And, as I understand it, there's still some debate as to whether or not partial bits of tape are on the Chronicle version's clamp.


Anyway, I'm going for the actual screen-used/Tunisia look, and, as such, would like as many painting and weathering tips as possible. So, I ask you experts out there to guide me through this process. All of my Russrep parts are the raw steel and such, except for the booster, which is powder-coated matte black.

I'd like to work my way along the saber piece by piece, from the bottom up, getting tips along the way.


So, let's begin, shall we?


THE HANDWHEEL:

Russ' part is a lovely chromed piece that captures the look of the original beautifully. In the film, it looks nice and shiny, so I doubt I need to weather it. But, for those of you who have lightly weathered it, what methods have you used? Fine steel wool, maybe?


THE BOOSTER:

Mine is, as noted, powder-coated in black. What paints should I use for a screen-accurate look, and what's the best way to simulate paint chips and such?


Thanks in advance!
 

Clutch

Master Member
Here's mine. Not the most accurate, but I'm happy with it.



You could take the shine off the handwheel with a Scotch-Brite pad or some fine sandpaper. Roll it around on an aggregate driveway a few times...

I weathered the windvane by soaking it in Easy-Off oven cleaner, but ultimately had to darken it by airbrushing it with black.

Emitter was weathered by a chemical process done by Boba Debt I believe, but I further weathered it with gun-blue.

BTW, you should hollow out a channel in the spacer so that the slot in the clamp isn't filled in.
 
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Gregatron

Sr Member
Thanks for the tips! Lovely build, by the way!



I think that the emitter seen in the Chronicles pics is the same as the Tunisia version. However, It's hard to tell if the "crimping" and dents on the lower emitter (the bit that attaches to the grenade) are there on the Tunisia version.

There's a distinctive light-silvery patch on the front end of the emitter that can be seen in the Chronicles 3/4 front-angle photo AND on the Tunisia emitter when Kenobi pulls the saber out whilst wandering around the Death Star.

This patch seems to be in the same location on both versions of the prop, which means that the emitter (and probably the grenade) maintained the same orientation relative to the clamp both during and after production. It appears that only the booster and handwheel were rotated, and so perhaps this is why the screws and wires were added?


As noted, I'm now reasonably sure that both the emitter and clamp are the same on both the Chronicles and Tunisia prop(s).


Also, after doing some research, I noted references to a "weld" on the booster. Can someone define that, please?


Speaking of which, How should I go about weathering the booster? Should I strip the powered coating? If so, how? I presume most of you guys painted your boosters, then scratched 'em up to remove bits of paint. What color is a good choice?
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Since my MPP should arrive very soon, a few Vader questions...


* What's a good source for the D-ring? It almost looks to be the same type as on the Luke ESB saber.

* The Parks appears to have anodized black sidebars. The ANH had silver. What's the best way to remove the black?

* Also, did the ANH and ESB both have rectangular MPP sidebars, or trapezoidal, or both?

* What's this I've read about a circuit board of some kind being underneath the bubble strip on the clamp?
 

Sym-Cha

Master Member
Hi there,

MPP: The circuit board comes along with the vintage Exactra 20 calculator underneath the bubble strip and can be clearly seen in the ROTJ version, don't know about it on the ANH/ESB? The D-ring might be a bit thinner, for a better fit in the MPP shroud, compared to the one used for Luke's ESB however it's about the same size.

Obi-Wan ANH : The AS handwheel cubes have been switched 180 degrees on the Chronicles version however if you want screen-used yours are correct as is :D

-Chaim
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Yeah, I just read up on the handwheel thing.

Interesting that Russ went for the screen-used look rather than the more well-known Chronicles, especially since the Russ handwheel can't be taken apart to reverse the cubes.
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Huh! I missed that.


Anyway, I've been wondering...

D'ya think the prop guys intended for the Kenobi saber to "really" be weathered? If they did indeed spray the grenade and balance pipe a black-ish color, and left the clamp and handwheel shiny, this may indicate an attempt to clean up the disparate parts and make them look more like a whole.

I do wonder if the parts were assembled as-is, or were deliberately painted or weathered, though.


Again, I ask for suggestions as to a good base color for the booster and grenade. Or would gun bluing be the way to go?
 

Clutch

Master Member
Blue it. Bury it in the back yard for a while. Bang on it with a hammer. Give it a wash of black paint. I'm serious. :)
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Received my MPP replica!

Looks like the shroud could use refinishing. Thankfully, Cluth recently provided a great tutorial on how to do that!

What did you use to strip the shroud, and where did you get the VHT paint?


Also, what's the best way to remove the MPP nameplate?

And I'm still trying to determine where to get a proper-sized D-ring.
 

Clutch

Master Member
Paint stripper in a spray can from Lowe's. VHT paint from Autozone.

If you have a dremel tool, grind the pins down until there is nothing left to hold the plate on.

Blast-Tech should be able to set you up with a good D-ring.
 
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