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Collector Spotlight
Name : Andreas G.
Collectibles : 130
View Collection
Entertainment Earth
Reviews
Comparison review of the following lightsabers:
Anakin Skywalker Revenge Of The Sith LE
Luke Skywalker A New Hope EE
Luke Skywalker A New Hope LE/SE
Luke Skywalker The Empire Strikes Back LE/SE


Anakin Skywalker ROTS LE
Released : 2005
Edition Size : 4500
Display Case : Included (new style case)
Retail Price : $369.00
Part No : SW-131


Luke Skywalker ANH EE
Released : 2005
Edition Size : 1000
Display Case : Included (premium new style case)
Retail Price : $525.00
Part No : SW-135


Luke Skywalker ANH LE/SE
Released : 2006
Edition Size : 2000 (LE) / 750 (SE)
Display Case : Included (new style case)
Retail Price : $369.00 (LE) / $499.00 (SE)
Part No : SW-148(S)


Luke Skywalker ESB LE/SE
Released : 2003
Edition Size : 2500 (LE) / 1500 (SE)
Display Case : Included (old style case with a taller version for the SE version)
Retail Price : $349.00 (LE) / $499.00 (SE)
Part No : SW-110(S)



The saber evolution from the Anakin ROTS LE (second from the top), to the Luke ANH SE (top), to Luke ANH EE (second from bottom), to Luke ESB LE (bottom)



Back in 1977 we were first given a glimpse of an ignited lightsaber when Obi-Wan Kenobi uttered the line ‘your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn’t allow it,’ and gave a young Luke Skywalker his fathers lightsaber. Luke did nothing with the ignited saber beyond igniting it and waving it about a bit (to the sound of those iconic Ben Burtt sound effects), but nonetheless this scene opened up a whole new area of the Star Wars universe – the Jedi Knight and their chosen weapon.


From left to right: Luke ANH SE, Anakin ROTS LE, Luke ANH EE, and Luke ESB LE


From a story point of view Luke went on to use this saber extensively in The Empire Strikes Back, before losing it (along with his hand) in the climactic final duel with Darth Vader. Then with the release of the prequels we were given an insight into events that occurred when this saber was newly constructed (as well as a look at the Clone wars which were so casually mentioned in that first scene from ANH), as it first appeared in similar form in The Revenge Of The Sith. Whilst all of these sabers are from a story point of view the same, in reality the props used for them were all quite different.


From left to right: Luke ESB LE, Luke ANH EE, Anakin ROTS LE, and Luke ANH SE


The ANH Luke Skywalker lightsaber was based on an antique Graflex flashgun with some T-Track added for grips, a calculator bubble strip put into the clamp of the flashgun, and metallic tape used to cover the word ‘Graflex’ on the clamp. To further muddy the waters the clamp was placed in a different position for publicity shots from the position it appeared for the final filming. For publicity shots the clamp was aligned at a 9 O’clock position when looking at the saber from the emitter end, whilst for filming it was placed at about 2:30.


Comparison of all three ‘Graflex’ based replicas from the Original Trilogy. Luke ANH SE (top), Luke ANH EE (middle), and Luke ESB LE (bottom)


For The Empire Strikes Back the same type of Graflex flashgun was used as a basis, however the T-track grips had notches placed into them at the pommel end with rivets or some kind of screws helping to hold them in place (there is debate as to whether these rivets are dark in color or shiny and actually whether they were rivets at all. MR went for shiny rivets). Also the ‘beer tab’ was removed from behind the button on the top of the saber (behind the ‘rabbit ears’). The ‘glass eye’ from the bottom of the saber was replaced by an identical knurled silver and red trigger button as that used on the top of the saber. The D-ring that was attached to the end cap by a single bolt on the ANH version was now attached more securely using a machined metal part secured by two bolts. The calculator bubble strip used on the clamp in ANH was replaced by a 13 track computer circuit board. Finally it is interesting to note that they took the clamp position from the publicity shots from ANH rather than the screen used position.


Comparison of the Luke ANH SE (top) and Luke ESB LE (bottom) showing the ‘beer tab’ removal on the ESB


Comparison of the Luke ESB LE (left), and the Luke ANH SE (right) and ESB LE showing the ‘Glass eye’ to switch alteration


Comparison of the Luke ESB LE (left), Luke ANH EE (middle), and Luke ANH SE (right) emitters


Comparison of the Luke ANH SE (left), Luke ANH EE (middle), and Luke ESB LE (right) pommels showing the alterations made to the D-ring attachment, and the subtle differences between the ANH SE and EE


When re-visiting the props for the Prequel Trilogy the prop designers took the overall look of the Original Trilogy props, and made them sleeker. Anakins version of this lightsaber as seen in Revenge Of The Sith is constructed from scratch by the prop designers and did not use a graflex flash gun as its basis. As such its dimensions and details differ dramatically from that seen in ANH and ESB, but the overall look from a distance remains reminiscent of these versions. Since this prop was machined from scratch the clamp itself is no longer a clamp, but instead a machined collar with a heavily textured central ring where the metal tape would be. The clamp lever is replaced by a gold plated switch. The clamp position was replicated from the ESB screen used, and ANH publicity shots. The emitter on this saber was made to be reminiscent of the original Graflex emitter with a machined cylinder containing a central gold plated spike. The rabbit ears are a much thicker and smaller construction than that seen on a Graflex and are not attached to the inside part of the emitter as they are on a Graflex. Finally there is no D-ring on the Anakin ROTS, but instead a covertec clip in between the grips.


Comparison of the Anakin ROTS LE (top), Luke ANH EE (middle), and Luke ESB LE (bottom) showing the bottom of the sabers


Comparison of the Anakin ROTS LE (top), Luke ANH EE (middle), and Luke ESB LE (bottom) showing the difference in the ‘glass eye’ section


Comparison between the Anakin ROTS LE (left), and the Luke ANH EE (right) showing the difference between the original graflex emitter and it’s prequel interpretation


Comparison between the Anakin ROTS LE (left), and the Luke ANH EE (right) showing the difference between the original graflex pommel and it’s prequel interpretation


To date Master Replicas has produced four prop replicas of the lightsaber that was handed down from Anakin to Luke, one for each of the films, plus an extra Elite Edition of the ANH design. The first to be produced was the version seen in ESB, this was made in both Limited Edition and Signature Edition releases in 2003. The LE variant is used in all of these pictures (although there is no difference beyond the stamp on the end which denotes which edition it is). Next Anakins ROTS LE was released in 2005. This was shortly followed by the Luke ANH Elite Edition which represents the saber as it appeared in the publicity shots (i.e. with the clamp at the 9 O’clock position). Finally in early 2006 they released the Luke ANH LE/SE which represent the saber as seen in the film itself. Note that the SE variant of the Luke ANH is used in these pictures, as with the ESB the only difference between the two is the stamp on the end.


Comparison of the Anakin ROTS LE (top) and the Luke ANH EE (bottom) - from a story perspective the same lightsaber


Construction

According to MR the Luke ANH LE/SE saber is made using a nickel plated machined brass body, and a polished aluminium clamp. The Luke ESB is constructed from durable machined and die-cast metal. The Anakin ROTS is a chrome-plated machined brass body with some gold accented parts, and a polished aluminium centre band. The Luke EE however is made from Stainless Steel. It would be remiss to fail to mention some of the problems with the Luke EE as they appear to be quite widespread, all of the following issues have been raised with some of the EEs produced:

  • Scratches on the finish
  • Blemishes on the finish
  • Excess glue on the grips
  • Grips coming away slightly at the end
  • Miss-shaped emitter
  • Miss-aligned pins in the side parts at the emitter end, also sometimes with excess glue









If you are looking to buy one of these then it is worth looking out for these flaws. Unfortunately the version pictured here has several of these faults. Additionally it is worth noting that the glue used to stick on the ‘Made in China’ sticker to the Graflex clamp of the EE can leave a very nasty residue when first removed. Don’t panic if this happens to you, it can be removed either with a product for removing these type of residues, or with persistent cleaning.

Finish

The ROTS Anakin has the shiniest appearance of any of these replicas with its highly polished chrome. The prop makers were obviously going for a nice new looking finish for the beginning of this lightsaber. The Luke EE also has a shiny finish, but this is a more subdued slightly scuffed effect, nothing like a real Graflex but then it is an EE. The Luke ESB has a strange finish, clearly it’s not chromed, or as reflective as the EE, but it does seem slightly too reflective for many, particularly when compared with a real Graflex. The rabbit ears are chromed. Finally the Luke ANH LE/SE appears to be the closest in finish to a real clean Graflex, however for some only a real vintage Graflex will do, and any real antique flashgun will have a different appearance to the MR. The rabbit ears and the button on the top of the saber are chromed.

Some additonal notable differences between the graflex replicas are on the clamp and the switches. The engraved lines on the clamp are noticeably narrower and less pronounced on the clamp of the SE than on the previous versions (including the EE). Also the plastic part of the switch behind the bunny ears is smaller on the SE.


Close-up showing the finish on the Luke ANH SE (top), ANH EE (middle), and ESB LE (bottom). Also notice the difference in the engraved lines on the clamp


Close-up showing the finish on the Luke ANH SE (top), ANH EE (middle), and ESB LE (bottom). Notice the differences in the switch behind the ‘bunny ears’


Close-up of the clamps on all four sabers. Luke ANH SE (top), Anakin ROTS LE (second from top), Luke ANH EE (second from bottom), and Luke ESB LE (bottom)


Weight

The approximate weights of the replicas from heaviest to lightest are:
  • Luke Skywalker ANH EE – 2lbs 7 5/8ozs
  • Anakin Skywalker ROTS LE – 2lbs 3 1/4ozs
  • Luke Skywalker ANH LE/SE – 1lb 13 3/8ozs
  • Luke Skywalker ESB LE/SE – 1lb 6 5/8ozs








Comparison of the Luke ESB LE (top), Luke ANH EE (middle), and Luke ANH SE (bottom)


Overall Comparison Summary

Each one of these fine lightsabers from Master Replicas has a place in any collection, and if, like myself, you consider this to be the most important lightsaber in all of the films from a story point of view then only all of them will do. However if a selection has to made between them then are number of points to consider.


Comparison of all four sabers showing the ‘bunny ears’, Luke ANH SE (top), Anakin ROTS LE (second from top), Luke ANH EE (second from bottom), and Luke ESB LE (bottom)


Comparison of the grips on the Anakin ROTS LE (top), Luke ANH EE (middle), and Luke ESB LE (bottom), showing the modifications made between the Original trilogy versions, and the prequel interpretation


The Anakin ROTS is for me the most aesthetically pleasing of all of these replicas. It’s sleek lines, shiny chrome and gold accented details sums up the feel and overall look of this saber, avoiding the clunky and bulky nature of the original Graflex without straying too far from it. Amongst the prequel-stylized sabers available the Anakin ROTS is my favourite. Additionally from a story point of view it is the saber used in the epic final confrontation between Obi-Wan and Anakin/Vader. Choosing the ROTS as a favourite is not a position shared by all however, and many prefer the original trilogy versions of this saber. For the original trilogy versions the initial decision to be made is between the ANH and ESB. Between these the decision will come down to a balance of how the prop looks, and its significance within the storyline, and obviously this balance will vary from collector to collector.


all 4 on a table showing the grips Comparison of the grips on all four sabers. Luke ANH SE (top), Anakin ROTS LE (second from top), Luke ANH EE (second from bottom), and Luke ESB LE (bottom)


The ANH has slightly cleaner lines with no cuts in the grips and the glass eye rather than a clunky button on the bottom. Also the ANH is the first ignited saber seen on screen, although that is about the only use it gets beyond a bit of saber practice with a Jedi Training Remote (the MR version of which would make a nice companion display). The ESB version however is used extensively by Luke, up until and including the final battle with Darth Vader than many consider to be one of the most emotional scenes in any of the films as Vader finally reveals the real fate of Lukes father. The ESB has a slightly different look to it with the cuts in the grips giving it a different overall appearance. It is also worth considering with the MR version that the slightly shiny finish is not to everyones taste, however with the lighting and the way it appears on screen it captures the essence of the saber.


Close-up showing the difference between the Luke ANH EE (top) and Luke ESB LE (bottom) grips


Finally if choosing between the two ANH versions the LE/SE is probably a better bet as it is likely to be cheaper, appears to have less Quality Control issues, and the finish and details are superior to the EE in my opinion. However the EE is a more limited collectible and has a clamp position that makes it consistent with all the other sabers, if these things are important to you then it warrants consideration.

For some hardcore fans the lack of continuity that is evident with this lightsaber throughout its evolution in the films will always bother them. However, given that the prop makers made different versions for each film MR cannot be blamed for replicating them all, and minor problems aside they have done a fine job capturing the essence of every single one.


Luke ESB LE (left), Luke ANH EE (middle), and Luke ANH SE (right)


Luke ESB LE (left), Luke ANH EE (middle), and Luke ANH SE (right)


Luke ANH SE (left), Luke ANH EE (middle), and Luke ESB LE (right)


Luke ESB (top), Luke ANH EE (middle), and Luke ANH SE (bottom)


MikeyX
3rd July 2006

All images ©2006 MikeyX.
Unauthorized copying is prohibited.
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