An elegant weapon for a more civilized age
Let’s start this page with this exquisite KR Sabers Graflex Gen 2 that was customized with several screen accuracy mods.
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The Graflex lightsaber is an iconic weapon in the Star Wars universe. It was first seen in the original Star Wars movie, A New Hope, wielded by the legendary Jedi Knight, Luke Skywalker. Since then it became one of the most recognizable and sought-after props in the world of Star Wars fandom.
It was originally a photographic flashgun made by the Graflex company in the 1930s. The flashgun was used by professional photographers to illuminate their subjects in low-light conditions. The design of the flashgun featured a cylindrical body, a large switch, and a red button that activated the flash.
In 1976, when George Lucas was working on the first Star Wars movie, he was looking for a design for the lightsaber. He wanted a weapon that looked like it was built from spare parts, something that was both futuristic and familiar. He stumbled upon the Graflex flashgun in a camera shop in London and decided to use it as the basis for the lightsaber.
The cylindrical body of the flashgun became the handle of the lightsaber. The large switch on the side of the flashgun became the activation switch for the lightsaber, giving the weapon a distinct and recognizable look.
This hilt was not only distinctive in its design, but it was also notable for its sound. The sound of the lightsaber was created by sound designer Ben Burtt, who recorded the hum of a projector motor and combined it with the sound of a television tube that was being struck with a hammer. This combination of sounds became the iconic sound of the lightsaber.
It was not only the weapon of choice for Luke Skywalker, but it was also wielded by other Jedi such as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The lightsaber became a symbol of the Jedi Order and the struggle between good and evil in the Star Wars universe.
The OG-Graflex has also had a significant impact on Star Wars fandom. The design of the lightsaber has been emulated in countless fan-made lightsabers (Scrapflex) and the prop has become a highly sought-after collectible. Fans have even gone so far as to recreate the sound of the lightsaber using their own methods, further cementing the weapon’s place in popular culture.
Use the Force, Luke
The creation of the iconic glowing blade of a lightsaber involved experimentation with various techniques. For the filming of ANH, the practical effect was initially attempted. This involved coating the dueling rod with reflective movie screen material and setting it into a small spinning motor. With proper lighting, this created the illusion of a flickering light-filled rod. To create a rig for this effect, a simple tube was cut in the rough shape of a Graflex, with the motor assembly inside, a button knob from an older-style Graflex, a glass eye, grips, and a clamp to resemble the Graflex, but without bunny ears.
The motor was powered by an external battery, and in some scenes, the cables to the battery were visible in Luke’s sleeve, notably when he first ignites the lightsaber. The solid central core rotated inside the hilt, with the blades mounted inside.
This stunt unit served double duty, also used as Vader’s stunt saber after a quick paint job, and referred to as the “Luke/Vader Shared Stunt.” It was also utilized in ESB as a rehearsal saber, with flat grips and the internal motor removed.
Special thanks to Roy from wannawanga.com and all the people from the RPF, who spent hours researching…
A full breakdown of the Flashgun is below
- KR Sabers Graflex 3 Cell Flashgun Replica Gen 2
- Roman Props Folmer Glasseye
- Roman Props Non Patent Folmer Bottom
- Wanna Wanga pinched bubble strip
- Wanna Wanga wonky D-ring
- Wanna Wanga Grips
- Accurate sidebar stamped by Roy
- TGS Red Button (Satin)
- TGS Brass Pins (aged)