The OT stunt lightsaber blades research thread

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thd9791

Master Member
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I have a plot hole that I wanted to discuss.

We are looking at the V3 in the warehouse (and probably the throne room and BTS in the carbon chamber) and in the warehouse the blades are FX blades.

Why would the V3 have an FX blade if it never spun?

And ill remind folks I dont think they swapped blades, the V2 blade had to be cut off anyway.

Im guessing also the V2 had practice time and thags how it got beat up.. we just have no documentation of it? Or is the warehouse with the FX blade the V2? That cant be!
 

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PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
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Isn't the V3 blade in the warehouse/studio space the vader blade? Beyond trying to match blades, the V2 most definitely swapped blades as Peter Diamond himself recounts, along with a number of others, in Empire of Dreams (if I recall). Not to mention the photos of it having a round blade and then a tapered and square blade.

I'm assuming it had the blade exactly because they could be swapped. No one exactly cared what they used for these at this point...or any, for that matter.
 

LOM

Well-Known Member
I know this image has been analyzed a million times but I don't recall what was settled on - I still think this is the V3? (Though I am working on writing up a new theory that I'll post in the V3 theory thread when sometime soon, so I may be a bit biased)

2 321518_14.jpg


Probably would have been easier to tell the team responsible for making the blades to make 'x' number of blades that are the same rather than "OK we need this many special effects blades, and this many without reflective material for rehearsal"

But I'll also echo PPP, I do remember someone bringing it up that the blade the ESB rehearsal pics was very similar to the Barbican blade in length and taper
 

PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
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They are so similar that there aren't many clear tells as to what that particular hilt is. I will say that I echo Brandon A in that I do believe that the V2 was used for the majority of filming ANH, particularly in this sequence.
 

thd9791

Master Member
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This is very good, I agree it is probably true they made most blades to be swapped, or a universal fit

So i should move to the v3 theory thread for this.
 

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LOM

Well-Known Member
Why would the V3 have an FX blade if it never spun?
Also to build on this, the Barbican had an FX blade while filming but didn't spin as well (in the movie anyways). So it's a good guess the pattern might've just been standard.


One thing I wanted to share, I found this pic recently:
1607102139300.png

I know very little about the stunt Graflexes so I found this quite interesting -
A very bent blade and it's striped. (I would guess this is the Wampa short blade stunt? But all of the pics of that have a plain blade)

Anyone know anything about this one?
 

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Darthguitarists

New Member
I spent some time recently to do some further research regarding the original ESB stunt lightsaber blades. Motivated by my work on the ANH Obi Wan special effects lightsaber replica, I threw in every piece of information I gathered in the past (40) years about those blades. There are quite a few theories out there what real world item was used for the blades. Some even said those blades were manufactured for the movie.

A statement from Steven Sansweet stuck in my mind: the ESB stunt lightsaber blades were made of “German World War II tank antennas”. Have you ever tried to research German World War II tank antennas? To cut a long story short, I was not even able to locate a decent photograph of an original German WWII tank antenna in the web. BUT I found some images of miniature model tank antennas, which was quite promising. At least they featured the correct taper – a constant, long taper from bottom to top, which you do not easily find on modern carbon or fiberglass tubes.

A few weeks ago, I found something on a Chinese website which caught my attention: tapered fiberglass flagpoles for small motor boats. On a family trip to the nearby Wannsee here in Berlin, we passed a small boat harbor and I found myself taking a closer look at the boats. And there it was: a boat antenna which matched the image of the ESB stunt lightsaber blade I carried in my head for such a long time. Some more telephone calls and research, and I had it in my hand finally.

I am now 100% confident that the HMP CX-4 antenna has been used for the dueling blades in ESB.

Image of the complete antenna:
View attachment 1317261

Blade tip:
View attachment 1317264

The CX-4 antenna is on the market for more than 40 years now. I found an older model on ebay Kleinanzeigen Germany and bought it immediately.

The antenna base:
View attachment 1317266

hmp-Logo on antenna base:
View attachment 1317267

Some specs:

- length of the fiberglass antenna part (without the metal base): 116 cm
- diameter at base: 18mm
- diameter in the middle: 15mm
- diameter at tip: 10mm

Material: fiberglass composite (center: thin antenna cable inside a thin white fiberglass tube, surrounded by some dark, softer “filler” material, with an outer dark fiberglass shell (an “early” type of fiberglass from the late 70’s/early 80’s). Painted white (UV protective layer).

I think what they did for preparation of these stunt blades was removing some of the inner material of the rod on the thicker end, leaving just the outer fiberglass shell. Then they inserted a metal sleeve and added a metal ring with grub screws on the outside to secure the blade on the stunt lightsaber handle. I will do that with my antenna in the next couple of days.

A big “thank you” goes to PrinceZip/Kevin for his help and support throughout this final part of the research. Without you, it would not have been possible to locate the correct real world item!
Do you think this is the same that they used for Vader's blade in ANH? I'm currently on the hunt trying to make a custom ANH style Vader blade for a neopixel lightsaber. My research before this also found the base diameter to be 17.5mm and the length about 46 inches.
 

AstroZopyros

Active Member
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Just read through this whole thread almost... Such awesome research from everyone! Lots more knowledge here than just blades, I appreciate you guys!
 

LOM

Well-Known Member
Just happened to look at this pic again & the penny dropped as to possibly why. Simply has to be seen against both white (the snow) & dark (wampa/clothing) backgrounds. Now I'm thinking am I the last one to realise this ?
I think that's the best bet, or it was just added for that one scene to stand out against the blizzard because the short blade stunt isn't striped elsewhere.
1610301970337.png
92864089_2865159626871452_3263309657510248448_n.jpg



Here's another 'for what it's worth' bit of info for ANH. Ever wonder where that idea of a 4 sided blade with different coatings came from?

John Stears himself. According to this page, this interview was from the summer of 1976 - so fairly recent after filming.


John also revealed a little-known secret of the famous lightsabers: “I was given the problem of how the artistes were to actually fence with a light source. Neon light tubes were too fragile and potentially dangerous; I had to give the actors something to fight with which could withstand several blows.

“I decided to have them contain a section of flat sides rotating by means of a small motor in the handle. The four-sided blade had two-sides painted black and two coated in a reflective material, with one side extending four inches higher up the blade. When lit with front axial lighting, this gave the glowing effect.”


I don't believe we've ever assigned a source to that besides magazines over the years? This gives it a good bit of provenance.
 

thd9791

Master Member
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Just happened to look at this pic again & the penny dropped as to possibly why. Simply has to be seen against both white (the snow) & dark (wampa/clothing) backgrounds. Now I'm thinking am I the last one to realise this ?
I originally figured it was the blizzard too
 

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scarf man

Sr Member
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John also revealed a little-known secret of the famous lightsabers: “I was given the problem of how the artistes were to actually fence with a light source. Neon light tubes were too fragile and potentially dangerous; I had to give the actors something to fight with which could withstand several blows.

“I decided to have them contain a section of flat sides rotating by means of a small motor in the handle. The four-sided blade had two-sides painted black and two coated in a reflective material, with one side extending four inches higher up the blade. When lit with front axial lighting, this gave the glowing effect.”


I don't believe we've ever assigned a source to that besides magazines over the years? This gives it a good bit of provenance.
I found that bit of information in Steven Sansweet’s Star Wars scrap book. In the book there was a reprint of an old Bantha Tracks (Lucasfilm fanclub) newsletter, that had that same interview excerpt. I transcribed it, and posted it here years ago. This was before I had a digital camera. Lol

9DD309CE-5E93-4FD5-AB0F-113DB64FC57B.jpeg
 

LOM

Well-Known Member
I found that bit of information in Steven Sansweet’s Star Wars scrap book. In the book there was a reprint of an old Bantha Tracks (Lucasfilm fanclub) newsletter, that had that same interview excerpt. I transcribed it, and posted it here years ago. This was before I had a digital camera. Lol
Oops, I must've missed that post then!
 

scarf man

Sr Member
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Oops, I must've missed that post then!
It was in 2013 so I guess I had a digital camera, but for some reason I typed it all out while reading from the book.
 

LOM

Well-Known Member
And that would be why then :lol:

I know I read that thread at some point, guess it's time for a refresher.
 

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