Vader MPP lightsabers details and specifications

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thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So, the stencils pulled off most of my coat of TS-1 probably because of lack of surface prep by me, but it left a perfect hint of rust color

I should add I did gunmetal and then black over it. Both lacquers and I got that same sheen as the original prop! These steel shrouds are incredible

20210315_230551.jpg
 

Sym-Cha

Master Member
So today a very special auction ended on ebay that included 2 flashguns brought along by John Stears to the very first STAR WARS meeting back on January 16th 1976, said auction also had the actual notes being taken that day which was held at EMI Studios at 5 p.m. :

MPP + NY Graflex-00.jpg


MPP + NY Graflex-01.jpg


MPP + NY Graflex-02.jpg


MPP + NY Graflex-05.jpg


MPP + NY Graflex-04.jpg


Granted these are the so-called 'prototypes' for the infamous lightsabers and the MPP has the two-step shroud and the trapazoid sidebars turned 180º on the clamp and the G R A F L E X has the thin-knurled red button however it does have the New York stamped bottom-plate :

MPP + NY Graflex-06.jpg


Now that alone would gather quite some interest, about 42 watchers, some of whom might have even been a member here ... and as you may have guessed this auction ended quite remarkably for those two vintage relics of a time when photographers threw away their flashbulbs after having taken their pictures ... how high did the auction end you ask? ... Well with 13 bidders and 24 bids later the auction ended at £ 3.400 which is about $ 4.694 and quite reasonable considering MPP flashguns alone fetch easily around a lot more these days. So if you'd ask me the winning bidder got a real bargain on that New York stamped G R A F L E X ;)

Chaïm
 
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sbeall

Active Member
I saw that one while watching another vintage Graflex last night. I didn’t look closely, and I’m amazed that flashes with that provenance went for so low. (The Graflex went for low, too, but still over my budget!)
 

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LOM

Well-Known Member
Might be good to mention this just because: Star Wars “Original Prototype Lightsabers from 1976 Meeting” They have ties to Elstree Props so provenance is murky. Part of that story is definitely legit, but other details I'm not so certain. Besides the ANH 'prototype' story - they seem to have a good trail back to Stears' Estate sale in the early 90s at the very least, so they certainly could be ANH-era flashes!

Someone got a smokin' deal on those flashes though! It was listed originally for £40,000 and came with some other Stears' SW paperwork [here, if you'd like to see] - I didn't catch it being listed as an auction. Ah well!
 
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Gregatron

Sr Member
Assuming that these are indeed authentic, then it proves there was at least one full-Folmer Graflex among the batch used by the production. Lends some credence to my theory that the Luke ANH hero was a Folmer with the red button swapped out for an Inc. button, and the Folmer button added to the FX/stunt.
 

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coolhanluked

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Not to put a damper on this , but this might be worth a read...

Good read. And what i was thinking. They are not "prototypes" they obviously were not used in production at all. They are just research samples that john brought to the meeting. Why they didn't use those particular ones i don't know. But obviously they did get more. But if the history on those 2 flashes is true, than they were touched and held by george. And thats still cool.
 

Scruffylooking

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Good read. And what i was thinking. They are not "prototypes" they obviously were not used in production at all. They are just research samples that john brought to the meeting. Why they didn't use those particular ones i don't know. But obviously they did get more. But if the history on those 2 flashes is true, than they were touched and held by george. And thats still cool.
Couldn’t agree more, which is why the price it sold for baffles me, considering the listing from 2008 was for £10.000.
 

Sym-Cha

Master Member
Now the question remains ... if John Stears brought these to the very first meeting with all the other members including Roger Christian ... then why does Roger claims he originally found the G R A F L E X flashguns first?

Roger Christian brown T-tracks.jpg


My guess is that he later found a whole box of them, after John presented both the MPP and the Folmer at this meeting in 1976 ... and then he used those to add all the other greeblies + a D-ring, or have them added by Roger Shaw :)

Chaïm
 

LOM

Well-Known Member
Reading through the original descriptions on OPB/ebay it feels like everything is a half-truth to me and there are small facts that are off that make the listings and story more questionable.

It does also conflict a lot with Roger Christian's account of things for sure. Christian has stated that the "special effects boys" created prototypes more in-line with what we see in the Rinzler book (the weird flashlight-torch style things) and we have photos to prove that much. Though I think it's entirely possible Stears' could have found the flashes because of the use of similar camera items on droids (the LIN in particular), it would be very hard to prove here considering the claim originates from Elstree Props of all people. Assuming they are real of ANH origin - I find it far more likely that they would be production purchased flashes that Stears' kept after wrap, or something Stears' picked up after filming just to have. Apparently he kept a lot of mementos from production. But, as I like to say, if they had another MPP why did silver sidebars have a nail?

Some select R. Christian quotes regarding the SPFX team/Stears' prototypes:

"The special effects team under John Stears made quite a few torches that looked terrible. They looked like just metal round things, that George kept rejecting and rejecting." - Roger Christian on Forging the Lightsaber, Han's Blaster, and More from Star Wars: A New Hope | StarWars.com

"The special effects made some [flashlight]-like ones but they just didn’t cut it. George rejected them." - https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/greatest-movie-props

"The SFX team made some that looked like bare torches and George rejected them." - Roger Christian, Set Decorator of Star Wars: A New Hope and More - Lift-Off Global Network

1:00:24: "And the special effects boys had done some mock ups and they looked like torches and they were rejected. They looked terrible."
- [This one is interesting because he also says:] "And then the special effects took about 30 handles cause they had to make lightweight, all sorts of different ones." (at around 27:50)

Though, it'd probably be best to take both lines of thought with a grain of salt because both sources have been considerably unreliable in the past.

Also from the January 16th notes:
147915967_o.jpg

The meeting to discuss these "prototypes" would be on the 19th. And this would be solely for prototype hero hilts as the SPFX hilts were already in development by this time based on the notes.
 

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