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Force FX Vader ESB Lightsaber Mods

Force FX Vader ESB Lightsaber Mods

Postby Spack » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:12 pm

After a long time searching and waiting I've finally managed to get my hands on a Master Replicas Force FX Darth Vader Empire Strikes Back lightsaber.

Rather than a cheap plastic hilt like the Hasbro Ultimate FX this has a heavy metal hilt and really nice details. It's needs a little cleaning up it's age, but is in full working order.

IMG_20160412_183850.jpg


IMG_20160412_183910.jpg


Here it is unlit next to the parts for the stand.

IMG_20160412_191334.jpg


I'm planning on displaying it without without blade. This will require some modifications as only the older, and somewhat more expensive, Signature FX line had removable blades as standard.

It'll also need a new stand as the original one is designed to hold the lightsaber with it's blade in place, and the supports are too far apart to hold the hilt on it's own. I may well get one last cut out of acrylic, as I have a template for an E-11 blaster stand that would have enough left over space on a standard sized sheet of acrylic.

I'll post updates as I get chance to work on it, but it might be a while before I get around to starting this project.

Dan
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Re: Force FX Vader ESB Lightsaber Mods

Postby Spack » Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:54 pm

Managed to work on this today, luckily there are some detailed breakdown instructions online that helped with removing all the screws and pins to be able to take the blade out. All but three of the screws are visible without any dismantling, there is a single hidden screw under the thumbscrew plate on the top of the hilt, and two more under the clamp covers. Also the wires to the switch had to be cut to allow the inner electronics to be removed, but was easily soldered back on when rebuilding it and won't have to be removed again in the future.

Before starting the breakdown:
IMG_20160414_161235613.jpg


Starting out was easy - just remove each visible screw and put to one side. When it got to the clamp though things became much harder, it was held together with a smooth bolt that had a pin through the end of it, which was kept in place by a flat washer with a sprung washer underneath it keeping the fixing under pressure. I couldn't remove the pin, only managed to hammer it halfway through (and in doing so scratched the paint on the clamp), so I ended up cutting it off with a Dremel. The hilt needs some TLC as there are some marks and small areas of missing paint so the scratch will be dealt with when it's next dismantled for painting.

IMG_20160414_170202310.jpg

IMG_20160414_170352582.jpg

IMG_20160414_170457419.jpg

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After removing the inner core that contains the electronics there are two pins that have to be hammered out which retain the blade, and after that it simply slides out. Here is the final breakdown showing all of the parts (the screws are in a tub and not shown).

IMG_20160414_171641462.jpg


When putting the core back in there was a small sticker which has two silver marks on which needed to be placed back in the correct position as these marks are visible through the slots in the underside of the hilt.

IMG_20160414_172712219.jpg


The blade has a DIN plug (7 outer pins, 1 inner pin) although most online photos show it with a molex style connector, apparently the DIN plug is found on earlier versions of this lightsaber as the production was changed partway through to use a molex connector instead. The DIN connector is great though, as it allows the blade to be plugged back in firmly and without having to fumble with molex connectors on wires.

Hilt, blade, and the two retaining pins which kept the blade in place.

IMG_20160414_200516.jpg


Hilt ready for display.

IMG_20160414_181933113.jpg



Hilt only, showing that sound functions still work perfectly.



Hilt and blade demonstrating that the blade still works when plugged back in.



And here it is with the E-11 blaster and Stormtrooper helmet.
IMG_20160414_202523.jpg


All it needs now is a stand, I should be able to get one laser cut in clear acrylic pretty cheaply.

Dan
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Re: Force FX Vader ESB Lightsaber Mods

Postby Angelwing » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:41 am

I can't see the kyber crystal in the disassembled picture? ;)
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Re: Force FX Vader ESB Lightsaber Mods

Postby Spack » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:16 am

Angelwing wrote:I can't see the kyber crystal in the disassembled picture? ;)

Those cheapskates at MR didn't put one in. I'm in the process of trying to sort one out along with a DIN plug so even with no blade in it can still light up the room. Just need to watch it for retina burn.

Dan
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Re: Force FX Vader ESB Lightsaber Mods

Postby Spack » Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:39 pm

Today I cut up some scrap wood that was kicking around my garage (left over from the E-11 blaster stand I made last year), and made a temporary stand for the hilt. A quick coat of black spray paint (which I made a mess of as the can was old) and it's done.

IMG_20160416_183904.jpg


IMG_20160416_183630.jpg


IMG_20160416_183811.jpg


Both the E-11 and lightsaber stands will be replaced with laser cut clear acrylic in the near future, I've already got a template for the E-11 stand and now I have some measurements from this wooden stand I can make one for the lightsaber easily too.

Dan
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Re: Force FX Vader ESB Lightsaber Mods

Postby Spack » Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:10 pm

The empty tube at the front of the saber where the blade fits was bothering me a little, as the movie version is based on an MPP flash handle which retained the bulb socket made up of a ring of sprung wires and a hexagonal contact. I decided to try and replicate this as a simple 3d printable model, but without detailed photos and dimensions available I had to guess at how large to make it and also size it to fit the open MR hilt end.

Reference photo of an MPP flash bulb connector
mpp_emitter.jpg
mpp_emitter.jpg (11.79 KiB) Viewed 3850 times


Open end of Master Replicas Vader ESB hilt
IMG_20160425_180142.jpg


3d model in Sketchup
vader lightsaber bulb connector shelled.png


3d printed plug
IMG_20160425_180317.jpg


Plug inserted into open end
IMG_20160425_180355.jpg


I'm quite pleased with the result, which was printed by a work colleague on his Ultimaker 2 printer. It needs a little smoothing on the top rim, and a coat of chrome paint, but it should look better than a gaping hole.

Dan
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