The LV ( Luke and Vader ) Shared Stunt Lightsaber

thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Buckle up everyone, we're in for a wild ride.

Some of this we have clear evidence of, and some of this we are making our best educated guesses based on other facts we do know about similar props, and how things were done for these movies. We'll share what we can, and hope that the community appreciates us slapping this together. As always, this is going to be an ever changing story as we learn more information, sift through and filter out bad information and whittle down this tale.

Mainly Halliwax teecrooz and I have put all this together. Many thanks to every other member on here that has helped, or will help, tell this story. I'm going to forget people, so just consider that a blanket statement, you know who you are.

When I started building replica props, there was one "shared stunt" and it was a heavy metal cast that Luke Skywalker used in Return of the Jedi. It was somehow related to Obi Wan Kenobi. We now know it was one of a whole litter of pups... I mean sabers... cast and built for Obi Wan's sword fighting scenes. Then we found out the "V2" was another one of this family. So, there were two.

Come to find out more hilts we re-used throughout the trilogy. The infamous "Barbican" saber is none other than the counterpoint of Obi Wan's stunt sabers, the Darth Vader motorized saber. It can be seen in Empire Strikes Back used by Darth Vader, cast in resin as Darth Vader's hand in Return of the Jedi, and even still used as inspiration for the Energizer saber, touring things and the Episode 3 saber! There is some contention on this, but it is my belief that there were two motorized sabers for Luke in A New Hope, only one with an external switch, and both went on to be used as stand-in swords for practice and close-ups. Only one is around in the public eye today, and that would be the Pipe Stunt.

Unfortunately and fortunately, there is another.
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(Another Shared Stunt Lightsaber)

I'm taking a stand here and denoting it the LV Saber. For Luke and Vader Shared Stunt saber. I hope it will catch on, or some form of it. ISYHCANL is too freaking long.

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thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Grab your hats and parkas, we're headed to Finse, Norway!
The Norway Saber
Of course, never say never, and anything is possible, but within the realm of what we know.... or rather what has turned out to be true... we can make a lot of good educated guesses. Given this, we feel it's pretty safe to say that this is the first time we see this lightsaber in The Empire Strikes Back.
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Some neat attributes of this saber include:
~ A thin knurled red button, and a regular one
~ It's own clamp card with a thick trace at the end
~ 6 T-track
~ No screws in the grips at first
~ Very likely lower screws in the center and upper off-set screws in the grips later
~ Mylar tape over the Graflex logo on the clamp
~ An upside down Kobold with a D-ring. Most likely pop riveted.

(also, check out the Hoth Blaster! They made some interesting props for the Norway shoots)

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Poor Mark, this did not look like an enjoyable shoot....

Anyway, something that bothers me is.. if you count the red buttons, you can count how many Graflexes they probably had. Unless they found extra buttons in a camera case, which could always be true, I always wondered what happened to the Graflex or Graflexes that sacrificed it's button for the ESB sabers.

This is the time they figured out just glue would not be enough, and our notched saber hilt is born. It's quite possible they had both hilts available in Norway, the shot of Mark reading a magazine has two normal red buttons.

BONUS THEORY:
I have happily floated the idea that this card was chopped and put in the Barbican lightsaber, considering it had bubbles all the way up until it was molded for Jedi. The gold trace pattern, type, solder point and that thick trace all match. Maybe, who knows!
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thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You wake up, sore and with no memory of what happened.
That's okay you have your trusty lightsaber on your belt
wait, you're upside down... you look to the side and see it lying 15 feet away in a snowbank...

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WHY?!


The Wampa Saber

This saber in particular upset us a lot. It had a blade but no black bolts. We, at first, weren't able to trace it anywhere and it was a big fat anomaly. Everyone knows this scene.
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I was able to match this kobold clip and D ring to the MoM Vader lightsaber, I can throw more of that on the post where it belongs. Anyway, you might notice, the last trace on the card... is a fat trace.
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It was also somehow bladed. This partially served as the "special effect" that made the saber wiggle in the snow
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but I think this is where that rumor comes in. It has been widely circulated that some Graflexes just had the blade clipped in the bunny ears. It's my belief that something was made and stuffed inside the bunny ear ring. It included a tang... and the top section of a fiberglass antenna. It seemed to do its job!
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LUKE VS WAMPA CAVE SCENE TESB.jpeg
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HothCave1.jpg
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We can get a lot of details from this shot, thanks to teecrooz

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There are specific tarnish spots on this saber that will help us track it (to the best of our ability)
You'll also notice how Mark handles the saber throughout the scene. He grabs and swings the saber from the lower end, where the T track are. It's where he holds the empty hilt. When there is an aluminum slug in the saber, he will raise his grip up to the center of balance. This also tells me the blade system here is very light, to the point where holding it at the butt of the saber probably doesn't feel strange.

The bunny ears are also pinched together, which we have interpreted as evidence that something is stuffed in the bunny ear ring, stretching it, and as levers work, closing the gap between the ears. I haven't tried to build something like that myself yet. maybe someone will beat me to it?

One of my favorite details about this saber are the awful grips on this hilt. Most of them are fine. Two (at least) are rounded, misshapen and shrunken. (On the rivet side of the bottom) I have no clue what these are (poor resin casts, or some other material).

Thankfully, rewinding footage will save us here, and we can maim the monster and stumble out into the snow covered parking lot, falling over drifts that hide the cars. What an alien world.
 
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thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Like a daytime soap opera, after a fight with your apparent father, who wounds you, you have to start therapy

Lets start by connecting this lightsaber with the previous one. Follow the Tarnish!
The Bespin or Dagobah Saber

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Maybe even this one. I can see the tarnish spot, but this poses a bit of a problem. More on that later.
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Anyway, this lightsaber has undergone some serious alterations. Now you can see:

~ a thin-knurled red button, and regular one
~ T-Track with screws, later replaced by foam grips
~ A clamp with circuit board, later replaced by a gaff taped clamp
~ I count 9 (maybe 10) bolts holding machined fittings inside the flash.
~ Two Cores

WHAT, TWO CORES? NINE BOLTS!?

It seems, much earlier than I expected, all these bolts were put in the flash. 6 or 7 are holding the main core in the flash. We can see these here, they're tough to pick out:
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Thanks to v312 for this better shot
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The last few are holding the upper core in the emitter. There is a slotted screw in the slotted screw hole in the front of the flash. Two M3 bolts hold the core from the back.
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I have to hand it to Halliwax who printed out vinyl decals for us to compare head sizes. The bolts are countersunk, namely that they don't stick out and only the edge will catch the light in photos. Thankfully we could check our work with product diagrams... there is not much room to tap a hole in this spot, so an M3 was the only screw size to fit in the area, with this head size. Sweet.

This does leave some questions:
1) How long is this lightsaber? In some shots it seems longer by a little bit, in some it seems the same size. I ask this for a reason that should be more obvious in a future post
2) Why did they use so many bolts? The other sabers used during the Bespin duel... the Barbican, both pipe stunts only had 4 bolts maximum. I've done this multiple times and after two bolts your core isn't going anywhere... maybe even one.
3) How is the tang secured in the core? My assumption is a grub screw that doesn't go beyond the surface of the core so it can slide into the flash. Threading would be a good idea but based on all these examples of machined fittings with grub screws I don't think that's likely. Also, they didn't bother removing the tang when repurposing some bladed stunts, which would be understandable if it wasn't accessible.
4) Where did the bunny ears go? Granted, taking them out lets you access two opposing blade set screws instead of just one, but... drumroll..

DagobahStuntHilt.jpg

Yep, it makes an appearance as a belt hanger. I am unable to get my upper to rotate this far if the kobold is in the same spot as the Hero. It's also crooked. Thankfully it's bent sideways, so the camera can obviously tell the lightsaber is broken... it also might have 7 grips. The grips are rounded. They look like they have been glued on, maybe ripped off a few times, and one grip on our side is bent.

It has started its transformation into the next iteration.​
 
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thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Look twinsies! *Holds up stump*

The DV6
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At this point, I bet you can see where this is going. We already have a crapload of bolts, something to make the prop heavy, and a blade. Now, before I launch into the next character to use this prop.... I believe something happened while filming Empire Strikes Back.

Somehow (see the last picture above) the saber ended up with different T track, the bottom can looks a bit different, and it ended up crooked. I don't believe the tang was cut at this point... maybe. You don't need a long tang for this to work properly, the grub screws are right at the emitter surface. Either way, we also have images from Empire filming that show the endcap is not in its original state. (cue laughter at the ridiculous face Mark is making)

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We can clearly see the Kobold and D ring, but there is a convex surface at the end of the endcap, and almost no ridge or lettering. It's my belief that whatever happened to the endcap was in 1979/1980 and not during its recycling. Was the saber broken? Was it reinforced? We can definitely see two layers under the Kobold. I believe there is a washer centered around the inner rivet. I also sort-of believe these are the same rivets, machined by hand a little and stuck back in... still on the fence about that one.

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So now that that's out of the way, let me introduce the DV6. You can see:

~ Flattened bunny ear tabs
~ A slotted screw, nut and hand cut bushing holding a small D-ring in the flattened tabs. The D-ring almost looks hand made.
~ A machined collar stuck around the top. Black paint blends them together.
~ A cut tang, right at the upper edge of where the bunny ears used to be
~ upper core and bolts hid by collar
~ A mystery part sitting in the D shaped hole left by the main core and the center piece of the Graflex Socket. *
~ A hand cut black band around the middle.
~ A black component with countersunk bolts stuck to the middle.
~ 7 grips, one bent, another has part of the top ridge shaved off
~ Kobold and D ring, same as wampa cave, with different looking rivets

* I found this in empire strikes back, and believe it to be the same part you can also see it in white soda syphon heads on the console in the medical bay. This is the med droids arm.
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Well folks, here it is.
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It took quite a beating, but the blade held up.

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Lets look at it on display and then I'll write out the painful questions I was unable to figure out yet. I need help RPF!

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Wild, huh? It's ugly. It's beautiful. I do believe some of the original black paint came off, and it was lightly restored in the 90s. That would explain the patterns in the paint, a second coat done just to refurbish it.

My Painful questions:
1) What is this switchbox? (also paired with)
2) How is this held together today? How was it held together during filming?


There is empty space next to the control box. I lined it up over two nights and came to find the original graflex slot has been made bigger. There is also another slot right in front of it.

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3.) How is the endcap constructed? (also paired with)
4.) What ways was this damaged and repaired?

5.) What is the part in the light port?


That's all folks. I hope you enjoyed the ride and I can't wait to discuss this prop further.

 
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teecrooz

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Can’t wait to see what/how you lay it all out. I was on a separate Luke ESB saber deep dive when I started connecting some dots, literally in one case, and started sharing the photos I had with Tom and Halliwax (due to their known stunt saber obsessions).
 

Sym-Cha

Master Member
So ... if I read this correctly ... you're suggesting that the G R A F L E X based Vader ROTJ MoM lightsaber prop used to be a 'missing' second Luke ANH motorised stunt saber?

Chaïm
 

thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So ... if I read this correctly ... you're suggesting that the G R A F L E X based Vader ROTJ MoM lightsaber prop used to be a 'missing' second Luke ANH motorised stunt saber?

Chaïm
Not quite.. another shared stunt lightsaber. I've added a correction to the first post. I'm sorry
 

eethan

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
cool stuff! I'm curious where you can see a thick trace on the Norway saber. no matter how much I zoom in on any pic, I don't have enough resolution to see variation in the traces.
 

teecrooz

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
cool stuff! I'm curious where you can see a thick trace on the Norway saber. no matter how much I zoom in on any pic, I don't have enough resolution to see variation in the traces.
I think it’s potentially the top trace in this shot:

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It also seems “brighter” and therefore likely larger than the other traces in this one:

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You can also see it on the ”wampa”saber:
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v312

Sr Member
Wait ... as far as I can see the triangle ring saber has 2 fully knurled buttons and no beertab:
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Here we see it later already with notches and screws:
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teecrooz

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The magazine saber is not the same one. Tom made a note of it regarding the buttons being two full knurl, but it really shouldn’t be in this thread.
 

cdyoung

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Doesn’t there also appear to be some variation of how far the bunny ears are pinched, depending on the scene/stunt blade?

In some photos the bunny ears are completely pinched together, while in other photos they appear in their more neutral, open position.

Any theory on that thd9791?
 

v312

Sr Member
Tom, do you think the clamp was actually replaced? Instead of just being wrapped with some foam and taped to make it more comfortable to handle? I've seen the control box is sometimes wrapped in black tape also in ROTJ (v3 or the YUMA or both, can't remember now)
~ A clamp with circuit board, later replaced by a gaff taped clamp
 

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