Monday, April 28, 2008

Hasbro to make Force FX Lightsabers

As many of you know, Master Replicas will no longer be making Star Wars collectibles.
This includes the Force FX Lightsaber line.

Fortunately, Hasbro has announced that they will be making the sabers now.
They have said that very little will change. They intend to continue with the existing Lightsabers just as they are. Another company, eFX will also be entering the arena as a Star Wars collectibles supplier. They are already announcing a StormTrooper helmet available for preorder.
Be forewarned however, there is a very limited number that is being produced and those folks who's orders were not filled by Master Replicas get an option to get one first.

You can get more information at the official Star Wars site.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Master Replicas™ SW-616 review

Master Replicas SW616 Force FX Lightsaber Construction Set.
AKA The "Joe Jedi Lightsaber"
This is the coolest thing to come out lately. It's from Master Replica's and it's only available at Radio Shack (and well Ebay or other folks that are reselling them. I got mine on sale for $44.95.

This is a kit that allows you to build a custom Lightsaber from 3 different Emitters, Foregrips, Activation switches, Grips and Pommels. (that's 3 of each).

The emitters and pommels are metal, everything else is plastic.

You basically get one emitter that is a cross between Luke's Ep4 saber and Obi-Wans Ep1/Ep6 saber. One that looks like Vader's black shroud from Ep4 and a silver one like Ep6.

Foregrips are Silver tube like Vaders, Black Grips like Obi-Wan's EP1 or Disc Grips like Luke's Ep4.

The switch/activation sections are one like Luke's Ep4, Vaders Ep4, or one I have never seen before (kind looks like a Doorbell button).

The Grips are either a solid silver tube like Luke's Ep4, 4 large black grips like Yoda's Ep5/6 or the Wiper Blade look of Vaders or Luke's Ep4/5 sabers.

The Pommels are pretty basic 2 round ones that look likes versions of Vaders and one that reminds you of Luke's Ep4 one.

You start off with a Plastic Tube that houses the batteries, sound module and light.
The blade is already attached and not removable.
You slip on the Pommel, Foregrip, Switch, Grip of your choice and screw on the pommel and you have a saber.

There is a switch that controls the color for the bladge (red/blue/green).

The blade is a little shorter then a standard Master Replicas saber but all in all, for the price, I don't think you can beat it.

The blade is not done the same as the regular Master Replica Lightsabers.
This one only has one buld in the Hilt and it shoots up the blade.

I'll be going back and getting another one so I can see what I can do with it.
Since it's all based in a tube, maybe I can find some other custom wrapper for this thing and totally make my own version of a Master Replica's saber.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Make Your Lightsaber Glow

I will assume that you can have an AVI or .MPG file of
someone twirling something that will be the lightsaber.
I'll also
assume that you have some basic understanding of how to use Adobe
Premiere and Photoshop.
This process is often referred
to as Rotoscoping.

The first step is to load the movie into Premiere and
edit it.

Use the Razor tool to mark segments where you
do and do not see the saber blade in the frame. It is not required
but it makes sense. This way you can edit the individual segments
which load and write much faster in Premiere and Photoshop. Why edit
the entire film when you only need to edit the frames where the
blade is visable.

After you make all the segments, save this
step so you have a master template

Next select the a segment you need to edit (start with
the shortest one for your first try), click on it once to select

and export the segment as a Filmstrip.

Now load Photoshop and open the .flm file you created.
It will look something like this.

Note: The steps from here down to the point of saving
the file back to premiere's .FLM format are the same steps you
would use to edit a still shot of a Lightsaber.

Add a new layer (from the Layers menu, select new and
then layer).
(Special Note: If your
movie has multiple sabers in the same shot you must create a
different layer for each saber color and repeat the process for each

Enlarge the image so you can see one frame at a time
on your screen.
Now select the lasso tool

and draw a box around the area of the blade.

Now select your fill tool (the paint bucket)
and fill the area with white.

Now repeat the last two steps for every frame in the
strip needs to be done.
(also repeat for each layer if you have
multiple sabers in shot)
This can be a long slow tedious job.
Take your time and take a few breaks if you need to.

You can
save your work as a .PSD file at any time and should just so you
don't spend an hour doing this and your PC hangs up and you loose

Once you have done all the frames.

If you haven't saved
your work, do so at this time before proceeding.
This way, if
after your done you don't like the effect on film, you can come back
to this point and try again.

From the Filters menu, select Blur and Gaussian
Now here is where you have to start fooling
Depending on how big the image of the blade is in the
shot will depend on how much blur you really need.
Move the
slider around a little till your image is just a little
Write down this setting so you know what looks good.

Next from the Layers menu select Effects and Outer

Again, this is where you get to play some.
Pick the
color you want your blade to be. If you choose a custom color, write
it down.
I like 100% opacity, 25 pixels of blur and 255%
intensity for this shot, it might be different for you.
Again, it
depends on the size of the blade in the shot, the lighting of the
shot and what have you.
Experiment until you get the effect you

(Special Note: If your
movie has multiple sabers in the same shot you must repeat the
process for each layer)

Save this file (with a new name).

Now from the Layers menu, select Flatten
Once you have done this, do NOT edit the file
or save it again.
When you close Photoshop, it will ask if
you want to save your changes, answer NO.
Once you flatten an
image, you cannot go back and change the glow effect.

Now save the file as a Filmstrip giving it a new name
then what you had exported out of Premiere.

Go back to Premiere, load this Filmstrip and edit
Select the segment that you originally exported and delete

Now replace it with the edited version (the .FLM

Save the project and repeat until you have all your
new segments in the movie.
Export the movie out and watch your
Lightsaber glow!

See More Lightsaber Stuff at

Build a Cheap Lightsaber Fast

How You Can Build A Lightsaber In 20 Minutes

Let's start with the Parts. On the left we have three rubber seals that go on a garbage disposal where the drain pipe connects to it (you can uuse O-rings too). Up top we have some rubber floormat that has been cut to be about an inch wide. Next to it is a flashlight lens that was painted silver.

Then we have the three pieces of 1 1/2 inch plumbing pipe. The one to the left is 6 inches long, has threaded ring that screws on top and is sleeved to allow another pipe to fit into it. This will be the emitter end and the flashlight lens will go under the ring. At the bottom is a 5 inch piece that is just plain at both ends. Lastly is the 45 degree angled piece and the two screw on rings with seals.

What I'm building here is a Count Dooku style Lightsaber.
If you want to build a straight lightsaber, just take out the 45 degree angle and use a straight connector or one longer sleeved piece.

The one piece I forgot to show here is the endcap for the grip end, but you'll see it in a minute.

Step 1)

Put the one ring and seal around the end to be the "Emitter" and Slip the "Emitter" piece into the 45 degree. Slide the ring down and thread on.

Step 2)

Repeat the process for the grip end.

Step 3)

Slip the rubber seals onto the grip end and space them evenly. Use more seals if you want a full grip of rubber.

Step 4)

This is the piece I forgot to show you earlier. It's 1 1/2 inch plug for a sink top (or whatever) and it makes a perfect endcap.

Ok, we have the rear grips in place and the end cap in. Now we need a fore-grip. Something to hold onto as you're doing battle.

I forgot to take a picture but, now is a good time to unscrew the "Emitter" ring and put the flashlight lens under it, then screw it back on. If you can't find a flashlight lens to use. Just cut a piece of cardboard or some plastic and paint it silver.

Step 5)

Cut a piece of the rubber floor mat long enough to fit around the saber. This takes a little practice. I have found that it's just easier to cut it too long, then start trimming until I can just wrap it around where it's going to go and the ends match up nicely. Take your time and cut straight. You want the ends to match up good or it will really look bad.

Step 6)

CAREFULLY apply some super glue to the back of the rubber. Make sure you get the two ends that will butt up together as well.

Don't apply too much or it will seep out the sides and fog up the chrome. If you get to much on the rubber, careful wipe some off with a paper towel.

Step 7.

Now CAREFULLY wrap the rubber strip around the emitter end. And use some tape to hold it in place till it dries.

Drill a little hole and stick in a red button and TAA-DAA.

Ok, it's not the most accurate Dooku saber but, it gets the idea across

Now go out there and use this guide and start making your Lightsaber.

After you build one or two, you will start thinking of all sorts of things that you can use.

For More Useful Lightsaber Tips Go To My Full Site

Star Wars Clone Wars Coming Soon

With the Clone Wars Movie and TV series on the horizon, I'm hoping for an increase of folks looking to build their own lightsabers again. Seems that whenever there is a new movie or something coming out, traffic really increases on my "How to build a lightsaber" page or my "Look like a Jedi" page.