The Struggle: My Re-Weathered Roman's ANH Obi Lightsaber

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by Kylash, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Before: (photo courtesy RomansEmpire)
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    After:
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    I recently got one of Roman's AMAZING weathered ANH Obi-Wan lightsabers with the chrome 4-piece pommel. Being me, I had to take it apart, mess with it, and make it my own. I've always loved how this saber just looked beat to hell, so I was definitely going for the heavier side of the weathering scale on this one (and might have gone a bit overboard). The only parts I swapped out from the original RE kit were the transistors, which were swapped for vintage 70's Motorola short profile transistors.

    Do most people leave their windvane part spinning loose? Most photos I see it in the higher position, so are they gluing it before it meets the threads there?

    I had no experience using gun blue, but I really wanted to see what I could do with it here. I tried modeling the weathering on how most people's "real parts" lightsabers looked, so my main focus was making the grenade as aged as I possibly could. This is where I made my first mistake...

    When I disassembled everything and started beating on the parts with a hammer to get all the dings and dents I wanted, i neglected to remember that I should have kept the grenade body and stem screwed together. Because I had them separated, by the time I was done hammering the grenade, I had bent the top rim and the two parts wouldn't screw together anymore. After a TON of filing and fiddling and more hammering, I eventually got the two parts back together, but you will notice in the photos below that there is a bit of a gap around this connection now. It's not horrible, but noticeable. I think it adds to the authentic old look of it though. I'm not entirely finished with the transistors or clamp yet. Right now they are only held in with their wire stems, but it's pretty stable. Now we come to the bluing.

    I first used the following methods to weather my grenade and booster after lightly going over them with steel wool (not entirely removing Roman's weathering):

    - Ammonia fumes in a bottle
    - Soaking in hydrogen peroxide
    - Soaking in lemon juice
    - Soaking in Coca-Cola
    - Soaking in vinegar/salt
    - Soaking in water outside overnight
    - Burying in dirt overnight
    - Baking in the oven
    - Birchwood Casey Super Blue

    After all that I found that the most successful method was simply wrapping it in a water soaked paper towel and leaving it outside overnight. This gave it a nice layer of rust that survived later cleaning, scrubbing and bluing. I found that the ammonia, coke and lemon juice did little to nothing to my grenade.

    SUPER BLUE PROBLEMS / QUESTIONS:

    I found the gun blue to be very frustrating. After getting the booster and grenade completely black, they would get a white film (which easy came off) but then they would instantly start rusting and lightening up. This happened even after several treatments. And after soaking in cold water and drying, the blue would STILL come right off on my hands, and any light scrubbing would take it off as well. This is why my booster isn't as dark as I would like it right now, it simply wont stay on. I let it sit for 24 hours, I even sprayed the parts with BC Barricade. I even tried just lightly drying them instead of scrubbing and it still came off.

    Does anyone know what I'm missing here? The same thing happened to the brass parts with Brass Black, though it stuck a bit better than the steel parts, it would still rub off. I know many people just spray the whole thing down with a matte coat of paint, but is that the only option to not get the stuff all over your hands anytime you touch it? I still want to re-blue the booster to get it darker, and possibly a little more on the grenade as well.

    Onto the photos:

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    Last edited: Jun 6, 2015
  2. teecrooz

    teecrooz Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Honestly, I like it as is! The weathering is great.
     
  3. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Me too! I have yet to try Gun Blueing but I've heard people hit it with a clear coat to seal the thing from oxidizing

    ;) nice transistors
     
  4. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    sorry i can't help you, but i think it came out amazing!
     
  5. Serenity

    Serenity Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That booster looks perfect! Looks almost like a real one with use.

    From my vast and frustrating experiments with various gun bluing on Obi parts:

    I've always had the best luck with just standard Birchwood Casey Perma Blue, not the Super Blue stuff. However, I think you might actually be leaving the metal parts in the chemicals for too long. It seems that if you leave it in too long, I've found that it'll get a thick powder on the outside of it, which then flakes/brushes off and the metal won't be very dark at all underneath. I never left mine in longer than a few minutes, then rinsed them off with gold water, dried, then dropped back into the mix again if needed. Use an old toothbrush to get the powders off if needed before you drop it back into the mix.

    Also make sure the parts are very clean when starting; any oils or residues (like from your hands) will interfere with the process.

    If you're going to handle the saber often, yeah the bluing will wear off, so it's best to add that layer of matte spray to act as a sealant/barrier.

    In any case, it looks really good as is, so don't worry too much about it!
     
  6. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I only had the parts on the solution for 20-30 seconds, until the entire part was covered. The problem might be that I never cleaned them down to the steel, there was always something between the surface and the bare metal. I did make sure to scrub and clean them before bluing though, so I dont know what the problem was.

    So when people using this stuff on their guns, does it come off on your hands like it does here? That would seem pretty dumb from a usability standpoint.
     
  7. James Kenobi 1138

    James Kenobi 1138 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I've learned to brush all the parts down with a wire brush first, just before you apply the Permablue.

    And the gel works so much better then the liquid.

    After I use the Permablue gel and rinse and dry the parts I go back over with a brush with Aluminum Black and work it down in the crevices or spot-apply for the effect I want. Once I've got it how I like it I seal it with clear flat acrylic sealer.
     
  8. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You use aluminum black on the steel parts?
     
  9. James Kenobi 1138

    James Kenobi 1138 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yes. It works and makes a more-black finish then the Permablue.
     
  10. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Interesting, I wouldn't thick it would stick at all, like using it on brass. Maybe I'll give it a try. Thanks!
     
  11. James Kenobi 1138

    James Kenobi 1138 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Works great on the brass parts too.
     
  12. mugatu

    mugatu Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I think your weathering looks awesome! I know you are saying you want to take things a little further, but in my eyes, it looks awesome. The frag and the clamp look killer.

    You really beat the **** out of it! A man after my own heart.

    Great job, for real.
     
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  13. Adomeitw

    Adomeitw Active Member

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    Your hilt looks great... though I do prefer the look that Roman creates. As far as the wind vane goes, I applied teflon tape to the threads on the main body where the fan housing (not sure what to call it) screws on. I did not like how loose it was when I handled the hilt. It is completely unseen, reversible, and allows the components to tighten up perfectly.
     
  14. matty matt

    matty matt Sr Member

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    Looks fantastic. Really well done. I couldn't bring myself to beat on Roman's grenade with a hammer...but I might now! It really gives it that authentic look. When I was using the brass black, I found the only way it would stick to the brass was if I gave the parts a muriatic acid bath. Even after what I thought was cleaning the brass really good, the brass black would look really uneven and rub off easily. After the acid, it worked like a charm.
     
  15. scottjua

    scottjua Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I use super blue in a zip lock long enough to get the parts blue.. then rinse with cold water... blow dry with compressor... then re apply. Then I spray with barricade and let it sit over night.

    Then I hit the steel parts again, with a cotton ball or paper towel/shop rag soaked with super blue. Then a tooth brush sprayed with barricade. Then spray down with barricade and let it sit for a few hours.

    Same for brass. Then I ding them up, and re-blue the newly dinged spots. Rub with some steel wool lightly, rinse with wd40, and then barricade again. Dry with towel completely and buff it until no more blue is coming off. I get a great match for my real grenade that way.

    The thing I will try next is let them sit in old used motor oil. A suggestion from JamesKenobi. ^_^

    The few real grenades I've had weren't hardly rusty if at all... they were so oiled over the last 100 years from military oils or hand oils, they just were never rusty... Same with my booster.
     
  16. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That first paragraph is exactly what I did, so I guess I need to continue with the rest of those steps. Thanks for the tips guys.
     
  17. KramStaar

    KramStaar Sr Member

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    Truly brilliant!
     
  18. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Another amazing OB1 ANH lightsaber :)

    Chaim
     
  19. LTsmash1200

    LTsmash1200 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I think it looks great. I'm going to have to try the paper towel thing tonight. Also, I had the same issue with the residue/not getting dark enough using aluminum black on my booster. I'll have to go pick up some barricade and do Scottjua's method this week.
     
  20. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks guys. Like most people who have one of these, it will be a never-ending project that always gets messed with and updated I'm sure.

    A little off topic, but it's been bugging me. Anyone know why this is the only saber that has been completely lost to time? Lucasfilm Archives has all the others, but this one seemed to have disappeared after production. Are there any stories of what happened to it? Was it disassembled? It just drives me nuts that those few black and white photos are the best we have of the original saber up close.
     
  21. Romans Empire

    Romans Empire Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That looks really good!! Well done! :thumbsup

    Did you do anything to the outer * of the balance pipe? It looks a bit "frosted". I like how it looks in the pics.
     
  22. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The only thing I did to that other than beat it up a bit was to soak it in some lemon juice. I think that's where it got that color from. I may add some super blue to it as well and rub most of it off.
     
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  23. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    From what's been gathered by people on here more in-the-loop, the parts came from Bapty - were rented, rather - and they might have had to give them back.
     
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  24. mugatu

    mugatu Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    If I'm not mistaken, it was last seen shortly after production, in the hands of a studio page named D.B. Cooper. Where is Robert Stack when you need him?
     
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  25. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    really? Where'd that come from? (just peaked Tom's interest)

    I believe the V2 was used as a "tool" prop in ESB. It was thought that it was the Obi Wan hero, but the V2 does have dents in the bottom from nails.

    back on topic!
     
  26. mugatu

    mugatu Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    No, D.B. Cooper was a bank robber who jumped out of a semi-hijacked passenger plane over the west coast somewhere (with the loot) and he was never found or identified again, as chronicled on the great show "Unsolved Mysteries", which was hosted by Robert Stack (the voice of Spider-Man in the old cartoon from the 70's). I was just kidding about that, but it might as well have been with D.B. Cooper. I keep hoping for a "Worldcon"-esque reappearance of the actual saber some day.
     
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  27. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    A few small updates and some new photos in the "desert." I've since darkened the booster a bit more and achieved the slightly whitened or frosted inner areas that I often see in photos of real boosters. Also darkened the grenade quite am bit from the previous photos, and while the rust is still visible, it's much more subdued. I'm still working on the clamp, all the previous paint work I put on it just rubbed off. Still waiting to get some aluminum black to try on the brass parts to get them darker.

    The part I'm most proud of though is the balance pipe. Before this was pretty much just shiney and smooth. After some experimenting I found that using the Super Blue and letting it harden and dry for about 30 minutes before rubbing any of it off left a nice bit of "chunky" residue on it and when the metal was exposed, it was MUCH more dull and turned this kind of aged, yellowish color.

    Some of these changes aren't apparent in the photos below, outside lighting changes how it all looks so I'll probably get some clean shots shortly.

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  28. Panaflex

    Panaflex Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Wow, amazing job on this!
     
  29. Panaflex

    Panaflex Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I also wanted to ask about your process of weathering that clamp with tape.
    Thanks!
     
  30. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I kind of did it the way it would have been done originally, scratched off. I covered the whole clamp in the chrome tape, drew out the basic pattern that needed to be worn off, and scratched it off with my finger to the desired shape. Then went over the remaining tape with sandpaper, random tools to scratch it, and darkened the edges a bit by rubbing paint into it.
     
  31. LB66679

    LB66679 Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Wow , looks really good ! Never thought about making one till now .
     
  32. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That balance pipe is spectacular! really looks like a beat-up derwent pipe
     
  33. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    buddy this came out perfect! the balance pipe is amazing! the desert picture is great! is that last picture photo shopped or is that a real cliff?
     
  34. matty matt

    matty matt Sr Member

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    Spectacular. The balance pipe looks especially awesome and I will be using some of these tips next time I work on my saber. Excellent work.
     
  35. LTsmash1200

    LTsmash1200 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Have you tried the ammonia trick on the brass parts yet? I tried it on mine and it looks really good.
     
  36. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I tried ammonia on the other parts, not knowing its for brass, and got really sick of the smell so I haven't gone back to it. But if that's what I gotta do, that's what I gotta do...

    Thanks for the compliments guys. I couldn't believe how the pipe looked after I started taking the super blue off, Id gone over it a ton of times previously and never got that finish. The trick was leaving it in cold water and letting the blackening harden before scouring some away.

    Halliwax: Optical illusion, that's actually pointing up at the sky, that's the ridge of a hill.
     
  37. LTsmash1200

    LTsmash1200 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Haha, yeah, that part is....difficult to deal with... as long as you put it outside and have it in a good tightly sealed container it's not TOO bad. I'm going to have to get some of the super blue paste or gel or whatever and do my balance pipe. Yours looks really really good.
     
  38. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I watched that too! The electrician at one job site I was on was a HUGE fanatic about cooper. Great puzzle and never really solved.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sneaky sneaky!! It came out excellent!
     
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  39. MCM

    MCM Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That is some of the best weathering I think I've seen on an Obi. It really captures the feel of the pics of the original hero prop. This looks like it's been through a clone war or 2. Congrats!
     
  40. Romans Empire

    Romans Empire Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Love the desert pictures!! Goes really well with the saber :thumbsup
     
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  41. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks!

    Here are a few updates with some controlled lighting. I darkened the windvane to a color I'm much happier with, and re-weathered the clamp with paint and sealed it with some Mr. Super-Clear UV Matte to keep it on this time.

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  42. mugatu

    mugatu Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Outstanding job on this weathered OB1!
     
  43. Andymac84

    Andymac84 Sr Member

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    Indeed a great job on the booster and grenade. Looking so close to the real parts now. :thumbsup
     
  44. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Slightly off topic, but check out this wrapping paper I just found at Walmart. Interesting photo choices... and wtf is that Vader saber?

    12277376_917511468323334_1320874366_n.jpg
     
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  45. juajn7fernandez

    juajn7fernandez Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I noticed the same thing when I saw this wrapping paper at Toy-r-us. Thats definitely a ROTJ Vader but I had never seen it with the silver D-ring holder on top of the shroud.
     
  46. OdiWan72

    OdiWan72 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That's the Barbican DV saber
     
  47. Filandrius

    Filandrius Well-Known Member

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    This thread made me dig up my old OWK and weather it all over again. Magnificent work. Thanks for the tips and the inspiration. :)
     
  48. Kylash

    Kylash Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks! Yours looks awesome!
     

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