Hello everybody, today we stay in the Star Wars Universe but travel this time into the genius mind and world of Ralph MacQuarrie – the world famous concept artist who created the “look” of Star Wars. Ralph MacQuarrie’s works could hang in any gallery and I find them fascinating, whenever I see one of his pictures I stop and study it. There were character designs for Darth Vader complete with battle armour and helmet/mask making him look like a space Samurai, there is an image of two droids walking on a sand flat…then there are the pictures of the Stormtroopers! We all know the Stormtroopers now, the shiny egg-shell white armoured foot soldiers but did you know they were supposed to have lightsabers in the beginning? Originally, George Lucas envisaged everyone would have “Lazer Swords”, the good guys, the bad guys and Stormtroopers! Mr MacQuarrie produced an image of two corridors, one with three Rebel fighters and in the adjoining corridor a group of troopers…the one nearest to us wielding a pure white plasma bladed lightsaber. However you can’t quite make out the hilt itself except it is short, so I decided now I have Blender to release my creativity, I would design a hilt that the Stormtroopers may have hung on their belts. This is Trooper Saber….
Trooper Basic Hilt
I took the approach that a saber for a trooper would be functional, compact and based off the image (seen in the title image above btw!) it would be similar to a hilt known as a Shoto. Shoto hilts are predominantly single handed weapons used in your non dominant hand as a defensive weapon. They tend to have a shorter blade too but I kept a regular blade as you will see later again in keeping with the image. The pommel I took inspiration from Obi-Wan Kenobi’s saber from The Phantom Menace, which according to sources houses an additional power cell. This saber just has a speaker vent but it does share the round skull-crusher style and the turrets or blocks around it’s circumference. The handgrip I made from two sections, an inner core and a perforated outer sheath/sleeve. I imagined that this outer sheath would be some sort of rubberised/textured material as this is a tactical weapon and grip would be important. Ok I have tattled on and you have still to see some Glamour Shots of the saber so here they are…
Imperial Cog Activation Switch
Trooper Pommel with belt clip knob
Trooper full length top 1
Trooper full length top 2
Trooper profile 1
Trooper Profile 2
I think this design worked out ok (it is a slightly older design but it still checks out sir! 😀 ) I replicated the eggshell white colour of the troopers’ armour and accented sections in black to mimic their equipment belts (such as the ring of panels around the emitter). The handgrip again is in white but to avoid the hilt being lost in one colour I used black as the inner core so it can be seen through the sheath holes. The activation switch however is a bit special as it is modelled on the Imperial Cog logo which sometimes is displayed on the shoulder plates and pauldrons troopers wear. To finish the hilt is the pommel which as I mentioned earlier is loosely based on Obi-Wan’s saber but it also shares the spherical motif that the Empire employed. The Death Star was spherical, the fuselage of the Tie Fighter (more on this later) was spherical and so too is the pommel of this weapon! And the blade of this weapon is pure plasma white as Ralph Macquarrie imagined. Later rewrites of the story would replace the white blades with Blue ones for the good guys and Red for the bad guys…and the Stormtoopers got….Blasters! So uncivilised!
I suppose in a way it made sense that the lightsaber be withheld for the main special characters and not just everybody, it instilled the weapon with a sense of mysticism but it might have been fun seeing hordes of troopers with lazer swords…and I could have supplied them! But sadly that is another story and it is also time for this post to end. But as always before I go, I have a few bits to let you know about. I still have at least TEN more hilts to show you all (and maybe a Tie Fighter themed one) so I hope you will all return to see those in futures posts. And I have to say a big thank you to a gentleman named Lord_S_Gray from the Ultrasabers’ forum who kindly commented on my Satele Shan hilt that I “had truly recreated the weapon of a Jedi”. That means a lot. So to end I will say thanks to you my viewers and followers new and regular for all the support and kind words. Till next time!
Hello Everybody, today I venture to the world of video games once more and the sequel game to “Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic” which I have mentioned recently. The game made by BioWare and LucasArts continues the story of the SW universe and centres around a character named Satele Shan. Satele Shan is a female Jedi who is a direct descendant of the characters Revan and Bastilla Shan. Satele however is very definitely her own Jedi and had some controversial beliefs that Jedi could “draw strength from attachments” i.e. using compassion and love to draw on to gain strength through the Force. This was frowned upon as it was a technique dangerously close to the Dark Side of the Force where the Sith gained power through anger and hatred…the opposite of love and compassion. Always a balance and opposites in the Force there is! And so too did Satele’s famous weapon have balance, a double bladed staff! I decided to build a staff inspired by Satele’s hilt and I have had to learn some more new skills, see if you can spot anything new that catches your eye as I present Satele-ite Staff…
Satele-ite Staff hilts in studio
Satele-ite Staff with textures
Satele-ite Staff hilts lit up.
Satele-ite Staff hilt activation switch and grip
As you can see (hopefully!) this weapon consists of TWO hilts…double the work yes? Well, no actually! There is a clever feature of Blender 3D that allows you to make duplicates of an object or model so that helps cut down my workload but I still had a lot to do. If you look very carefully these hilts have a smooth, rounded look, but there are still some sharp edges. This was achieved by using clever functions called “Edge Split Modifier”, “Smooth Shading” and “AutoSharp”. The smoothing function does as it says and rounds everything so the model looks less blocky. However there are fine details that need sharp edges and this is where “Edge Splits” and “AutoSharp” come in useful. They help identify and isolate ridges and edges preventing them from being smoothed out making the model look more realistically solid. But enough about the techniques, I hear you cry “this isn’t a staff!” Well I have a few more pictures for you to enjoy…
Satele-ite Emitter detail
Satele-ite Coupler and Etching
Satele-ite Staff 1
Satele-ite Staff 2
Satele-ite Staff 3
Satele-ite Staff fully assembled and lit
Using a further modifier called the “Mirror Modifier”, I can position the two hilts end-to-end and form the formidable staff weapon. In the pictures above you can see I also added some nice little detailing such as the gold support rods on the emitter and the buttons on the pommel area that form the staff coupler release catch. Inbetween the emitter and pommels you will have noticed that this staff is also etched with a tribal wing-like emblem. The yellow bladed version shown above is an early build I did before I learnt the smoothing and edge enhancing techniques to show how clunky it looked before! And to acknowledge BioWare and LucasArts who produced the game and art, here is a picture of Satele Shan and her staff (well you can see half of it!) taken from a famous screenshot of the game…
Satele became a legend when she was appointed as the Grand Master of the Jedi Order after helping save the galaxy around 4000 years before Luke Skywalker. With this staff I have built I hope to be on the path to being a Grand Master saber designer 😀 !
So with that I think I have covered everything and I can bring this post to an end. I hope you enjoyed this tribute to a Grand Master’s weapon and check out the games “Knights of The Old Republic” and “Star Wars: The Old Republic”. I’d just like to let you know I have a series of sabers coming up based on various Stormtroopers, a hilt for a Senator, a very large saber based on a very large ship and if that isn’t enough there is an extra special saber for a Norse God! I sincerely hope you will return to check all those out but for now it’s thank you time. Whether you are a first time viewer or a regular visitor to my site, thank you ALL for looking in on my work and for all the support you give me, I really appreciate it. Till Next Time…..
Hello Everybody, to start this post I need to retell this quote – “Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the police academy. And they were each assigned very hazardous duties but I took them all away from all that and now they work for me. My name is Charlie.” Now you may be wondering what Charlie’s Angels has to do with Star Wars or sabers? Well both were released at about the same time in the 1970’s and both had great toy merchandising. And it was my good friend, TheVintageToyAdvertiser, who challenged me to design a Charlie’s Angels themed hilt for our on-going movies and TV series of hilts and articles. Then he suggested I base my design on the customised panel van the Angels used in the show! This was a challenge but here is the results of my efforts…\\Angelic//…
Angelic Early Test Build
Angelic Texture Test
The Angel’s van at top of image!
I have made hilts based on cars before, but a panel van was something totally different. They are BIG and BOXY and not exactly streamlined so I could mimic it’s lines in a hilt form. So I went for a chunky utilitarian shape with extrusions to represent wheel arches, large flat faces for the panels and in the texture test image you can just make out a transparent area to form a skylight sunroof detail. Within the third picture (kindly supplied by TVTA) you can see the Angels’ van at the top. It has a solid bright pink colour which I thought was a little much for a saber so I used a painting trick found on modified custom cars and used a subtle dusky pink and silver finish. I think it worked ok but as always I’ll let you decide with a few more Glamour Pictures…
Emitter Detail with “wheel arch” bulge
Activation buttons-Green on! Red off!
Top View 1
Top View 2
Three Angels – Three Crystals!
And the iconic Angels’ Logo silhouette
These close up pictures show a few more of the details including the accent groove around the emitter and the octagonal blocks to mimic wheel arches. The activation buttons are the initials C and A for Charlie’s Angels with green to switch on and red for off. The letters are in a 70’s style font named Bauhaus (I also used this font in the header image!). The top views also reveal the sunroof/skylight detail of the van. However, where the van had two or four panes (depending on which toy you had) I used one panel to form a crystal chamber. Within that chamber are three crystals – one for each Angel. This feature I added instead of the suggested van rear doors and equipment rack. Finally I had to include the famous “Angels Silhouette” logo so I made a silver logo plaque and outlined it in black to give it some pop.
Another Angels toy advert
Kelly, Sabrina and Jill – the Angels
Angelic Glamour Shot
Charlie’s Angels was produced by Spelling-Goldberg Productions and ran from 1976 to 1981 over 5 seasons and did feature other actresses as the line up changed but I focused on the “Classic” trio here. Hopefully I have done justice to the them (and their van!)
That just about wraps up this case but I need to thank TheVintageToyAdvertiser for his “challenge” and for supplying the additional toy adverts. I think he has a Super Hero challenge for me next which will be interesting. (And please be sure to visit TVTA’s site and check out his fantastic images and scans of nostalgic toy and game adverts). I hope you will all return to check that one out in a future post along with my series of Trooper hilts and a new Crossguard hilt for a famous God! Thanks for your support whether you’re a first time visitor or long time regular, you are appreciated. Till next time….
Hello Everyone and welcome to my first post of 2019! I wasn’t sure whether to post this weekend but I felt I would be depriving you if I didn’t. Plus I also have a few hilts still to show you all stacking up in my workshop! One of those hilts is a tribute to the fantastic role playing game “Star Wars The Old Republic” also known as SWTOR. And this hilt is my take on the first lightsaber you get to construct in that game. I call this saber “Padawan One” as a Padawan is a Jedi learner and this would be their first ONE they construct. Here it is…
Padawan One 1
Padawan One 2
Padawan One 3
Padawan One 4
I built this model after members of the Ultrasabers’ forum suggested this hilt to the owners of Ultrasabers as a possible future product and some folks were interested to see how it might look if built. So I built a replica of it but I did before I learnt the smooth texture technique so please forgive the slightly angular appearance. The saber does however have a nice “Old Republic” Amber coloured glow! It also features tiny screws to hold the parts together located on the control box and near the leather grip. You might also have noticed that the leather is “wound” around the hilt and has a raised textured look – another technique I have mastered. A ring of accent lights circle the upper part of the pommel. To finish the hilt I added a covertech belt clip. So how close did I get to the original? Well I made a few tweaks so it wasn’t a “carbonite” copy but here are two images, taken from the actual game, of the hilt as it is seen during the construction animation.
The computer game was written and produced by a company named Bio-Ware in conjunction with LucasArts (the computer/digital arm of LucasFilm). I think it was a nice design as it was reminiscent of the short sword that Roman Gladiators and soldiers carried yet still looked like it came from a “galaxy far away”. The red activation switch and box may not have been the most ergonomic but it did make the hilt distinctive. And I wondered what a double ended staff saber using this hilt would be like and I’d say it’s just as striking! I’ll let you decide, here is a picture….
Using a function named “Mirror Modifier” I was able to quickly duplicate the hilt and made a connector/coupler piece to slot between the hilts (and I even cut holes into this coupler so the sounds can still be heard if the hilt ever got built for real).
That just about wraps up this offering and I hope you enjoyed seeing a glimpse of a classic computer game! I mentioned earlier that I still have many more hilts to come and two of them will give us a new glimpse into the other big space franchise. I also have a few hilts to display in conjunction with my friend TheVintageToyAdvertiser as part of our on-going series.
I hope you will return to see those in future posts but it may be a new year but I’ll end with the same thank you to all of you for your continued support, new or regular you are all appreciated! Till next time….
Hello Everybody and welcome to the end of year review! It has been a rollercoaster rocket ride this year for me. Not so much physically but more mental and emotional. I had a lot to learn these past 12 months. This is going to be written on the fly so if I forget anything sorry but I’m getting older too 😀 So here we go way back to January.
I was fortunate enough to begin my year with a nomination for a “Unique Blogger Award”! I have had a few over the past three years but it’s always nice to start a year with an honour like this. However I was on a roll with my saber designing and created a design for a very talented Cosplayer called Allure Cosplay. Allure has an outfit depicting a Sith Lady named Darth Talon, and I created a special hilt in the same red and black colour scheme. I was also able to share the images with her and I think by her reaction she liked it.
Allure Cosplay as Darth Talon
At this time I was using an online application called the ASP Builder, provided by an American lightsaber company named Saberforge to create my designs but using the preview images I edited them in Photoshop to add the coloured layers of paint. The Saberforge application could only produce silver, black or aged looks. However I didn’t just create Allure Cosplay’s hilt…I mocked up designs for Comic Book Super heroes including “The Flash” and “The Hulk” And funnily enough my images seemed to have attracted the attention of a certain saber manufacturer….More on this later as big news was about to break….
That news was the announcement that on Apirl 30th, the forum I used to frequent and post my designs on before starting my blog here, Saberforgeforum, was going to be shut down by the owner of the company. Mr Isherwood the “Owner” decided that it wasn’t cost effective and stretched his vast resources so shut it down. This meant a lot of unhappy forum users but it allowed the owner to better control the narrative about his company by using Facebook groups which he could (and does) censor. I posted about the sad closure as I had a lot of contacts on that forum, you can read about it by clicking HERE: (Saberforge Forum is no more)
But that was just the beginning of the BIG NEWS! I will tell you more on PAGE 2 just click the button below to meet me there….