Darth Vader held this lightsaber firmly as his son severed his hand in their final duel. This lightsaber was actually a modified Luke Skywalker stunt saber from The Empire Strike Back. In fact, it remained a stunt saber in Return of the Jedi - the metal blade was cut off after filming was completed. A short section of the blade remains protruding from the top. The area around the blade appears to be filled in with putty or bondo and painted black. Below is the stunt saber that was turned into this Vader lightsaber.
The Graflex 3-cell flash gun used for this stunt lightsaber was stripped down. The retaining ring around the trigger button and the sliding on/off switch were removed.
Graflex 3-Cell Flash Gun
The flash reflector holder ring at the top of the Graflex was removed and the two tabs that held it were bent in flat. A D-ring bracket attaches between these tabs with a slotted pan head screw.
We are not yet sure what the thick black ring around the cowl was made from.
||1/2" Allen Head Cap Screw|
On the side, just below the top cowl, half of a spring loaded ball tension catch, was screwed on. This type of door catch is commonly used on cabinetry. It was a British model made of stamped metal and chrome plated. Seven black 1/2" allen head cap screws were added to the upper shaft of the lightsaber- 3 below the door catch, one in the middle on each side, one under the door catch (at the same height as the previous two) and one just above the black box on the middle band. Above this, where the test light was on the original Graflex flashgun, an as yet unidentified metal piece was used to cover the now open hole. (Remember the ESB Skywalker lightsaber this was made from had replaced the test light lens with a second red button- this button was removed to make this lightsaber.)
The middle band of the Graflex was removed and replaced with 2" wide black band of metal. This was a piece of thin metal tubing cut lengthwise to fit the 1.5 inch Graflex diameter. To the side of this band the hollow black plastic shell of an old electronic component (perhaps a circuit relay) was added as the control box. Seven new 3 5/8" long rubber grips replaced the original six. Interestingly the lightsaber props in A New Hope also had seven grips, therefore The Empire Strikes Back was the only film to have lightsaber props with six grips. The exact identity of the grip material has yet to be determined, but recent revelations suggest hard black plastic T-track from old cupboards with sliding doors. The screw holes from the original ESB grips can still be seen in-between the new grips.
The photo below depicts what the D-ring assembly looked like. The rectangular piece is from a Kobold flash unit and had a 1" D-ring added. For more on this D-ring assembly see the Skywalker ESB lightsaber page.
(100% @ 100dpi)
Click here for more images of the original.
Click Here for Lightsaber Grip Spacing Templates
in the Downloads Section