"The Phantom Menace" - Larbel


Summer 2004:

Dissatisfied with the plain brass valve I turned my attention to replacing it with a more detailed one. I ordered one off the internet, but thought it still lacked the detail I wanted. Then I was in my local bicycle shop one day and saw a bin full of bicycle tire valves. I remembered reading that that was exactly what this piece was on Obi-Wan's lightsaber, so I bought a couple to with which to experiment.

The valve needed to be attached to a bolt that would screw down into the lightsaber and hold the innards of the emitter in place. Rather than cut the stem off the existing brass piece that came with the hilt, I took it to a hardware store to size the threads and buy additional bolts I could cut apart. I used 3/16x2 Stove Bolts and bought J-B Weld for gluing it all together. I also bought some 5mm beads which I painted purple to pop into the valve. I may not have used the exact tire valve as the prop makers, but I'm very happy with the results - especially the detail of the black rubber ring inside the valve.

March 2003:

This Lightsaber was manufactured by Larbel of Hong Kong and was the first hilt I received from the "prequal" films. This one arrived in mid February of 2002. By that time, Larbel had already stopped making and selling these sabers, but luckily, I was able to find this one on e-Bay before the prices started to soar. This particular version can be broken down into many pieces and is "EL ready" which means it was designed to be loaded with an inverter and battery which will drive and electroluminescent rod fitted into the opening of the emitter. Although I did buy the electronics package and fit it in once, it was such a tight squeeze fitting everything inside that I decided once the battery died, I would take the electronics out and leave it as a simple display piece which I have since done.

This Lightsaber also included an additional faceplate for the emitter without the opening and with a concave area in the center of the plate instead. Also, as can be seen in the photos, it features the Covertech knob for hanging the saber in a special belt clip which was typical of most "prequal" Lightsabers so far (the exception seems to be Yoda's which has no apparent means for attaching it to his belt).

There are still some final details to be added to this Lightsaber for accuracy: the bezels need to be filled with cut-off LEDs, and the brass valve needs to be replaced with one that contains a purple hemisphere.