“The Grail” Graflex Lightsaber – I have built a Master’s saber

Hello Everybody, today is a very, very special day as I join the ranks of the Master Lightsaber Smiths. And the reason for this “promotion” is that I have made a saber that is considered a classic and a must have in any collection. That saber is the famous lightsaber given to Luke Skywalker by Obi-Wan Kenobi. The hilt belonged to Luke’s father, Anakin and was then carried by Luke in two films. The saber was the creation of set designer and props builder Roger Christian, who modified a batch of vintage camera flashgun handles known as Graflex 3 Cell Flashguns. These were the type that you see Press Photographers use in 1940’s and 50’s films and had the bowl shaped dishes on top.sabre-laser-graphlex-Sepia 2

“I searched and searched for something suitable to adapt and, as time was running out before the first day of shooting, I found a dusty box of old Graflex handles in a photographer’s shop in London and I knew I had hit the Holy Grail.” Roger Christian quote from a BBC News interview “Oscar Winner tells of building Star Wars Lightsabers”

Mr Christian then used a few other parts to decorate the flashguns, including the plastic bubblestrip screen from a pocket calculator, and the lightsaber was “born”. When George Lucas was handed the saber for him to approve the design or not all he did was hold it in his hand just like a sword….smiled and spoke three words, “You found it”. Ever since Star Wars fans (and saber manufacturers/builders) have wanted to own a Graflex saber in their collections. Well I don’t have a real solid metal saber but I have built a 3D version of it and here is my “Grail Graflex” saber…

I think I can safely say this is my most complex model yet. It has 36 textures pasted onto the model’s various parts and even has the bubble strip I mentioned from the calculator. The bubble strip was fitted into the jaws of the clamp which attached the flashgun to the camera. The clamp is the band which circles the middle of the saber and has a small lever to loosen the clamp enabling the flashgun to slide off the camera. It also has the name Graflex embossed around it. The black strips on the hand grip were originally made from the plastic “T” shaped runners used on sliding doors of bathroom cabinets. On the pommel a “D” shaped ring was attached so Mark Hamill could hang the saber from his belt, but in certain shots and photos you can see the Graflex manufacturer’s marks and logos embossed in the end cap too. And to show just how complex this model is, here are two wireframe images and a couple of “Glamour Shots” for you to enjoy….

I think I may have found my new favourite hilt in my collection (well joint favourite with my New Asguard hilt!) This lightsaber is so iconic I hope I have done it justice and that Mr Christian would approve if he ever saw it.

That just about wraps this saber up and I have to say the Graflex is a classic so much so that the saber re-appeared in the movies The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and a modified version will appear in The Rise of Skywalker – and so I modeled the latest version too! I will post that hilt nearer the release of TRoS along with another Master Series hilt, that of Luke Skywalker’s green saber from Return of the Jedi, so please call back to see those in future posts.

But for now I need to say thank you very much for checking out this iconic classic, you have helped push the viewing figures for this site through 14,000! So many thanks and remember, whether this is your first visit or you are a regular, your support is much appreciated and please spread the word about FTSabersite and call back again to see what else I have in store! Till next time…

“The Grail Graflex Saber” is a For Tyeth Editons model and is Copyright of For Tyeth?Ftsabersite 2016-2019. “The Grail Graflex Saber” is inspired by the lightsaber created by Roger Christian/George Lucas which appeared in Star Wars. The Roger Christian quote is taken from the BBC News interview “Oscar Winner tells of building StarWars Lightsabers”. Star Wars and all name, logos, images and related material are Trademark/Copyright of Disney/LucasFilm.


8 thoughts on ““The Grail” Graflex Lightsaber – I have built a Master’s saber”

  1. Congratulations 14k is awesome. I never knew lukes sabre was a camera part, how ingenious. The animation is superb, I love the way you opened out the sabre. Your work just keeps improving all the time. Well done

    1. Hello Neil, thank you so much. The Graflex saber as I mention is a “Holy Grail” for any collector to own or hobbyist to build so I had to make a model of it. And Yes, I think the props dept of Lucasfilm had $25,000 so all props were made from recycled scrap parts. Roger Christian had about a dozen flashguns from which six were modified and used during filming. Afterwards he kept two for himself and the rest were dismantled and returned to the photography shop!

    1. Hello Resa, thank you, glad you liked it. I made a few very minor changes but I think I got most of the iconic parts modeled. If I recall the budget accounts had an item listed as “$25,000 – Scrap metal” for the set/props dept, as Roger and his team bought old aircraft spares and scrap to create the “used look” props (R2-D2’s swivel eye socket is an air conditioner nozzle from the overhead compartment of an aircraft) But the Graflex lightsaber was a flashgun handle, Darth Vader’s was made from a Heiland MPP Microflash Flashgun which had more dark black parts on so it looks more sinister.

  2. Congrats FT, and another excellent build! I knew about the history of the Graflex, and what I always find the most romantic about it is that both the camera flash handle and the lightsaber are both connected to and bound by ‘light’. I mean, they could have found a box of old car parts or something, but instead they came upon an actual component for a light source.

    1. Hello TVTA, I know and I think the word we’re looking for is serendipity! It couldn’t have worked out better. The only drawback is that real Graflex parts have become so rare or expensive they are like Unicorns. There are very close replicas model kits out there to buy but even the kits are £160 plus for an empty handle then you have to put electronics in. At least I can take my model files to a Print Hub and have it printed out so I have a model! Thanks as always!

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