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Licensed Products: eFX Collectibles, Master Replicas, Hasbro and more => MR Force FX Reviews => Luke ROTJ Reviews => Topic started by: drysdalk on October 01, 2005, 08:30:18 AM

Title: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: drysdalk on October 01, 2005, 08:30:18 AM
I recently acquired a 2003 Luke ROTJ saber, and thought I'd post a review of it, since it seems to be one of the more overlooked and under-rated of the FX sabers out there. 

So, looking at the hilt first.  It is certainly unique, and very different from most of the others, which are based on Graflex or MPP flash tubes, with the exception of the Mace Windu AOTC.  The feel of it is very smooth and polished, and it sits very well in the hand.  It is very light and manoeuvrable, and twists and twirls and suchlike can be very easily performed.  It also seems to be much lighter than most other FX hilts.  Whether it really is lighter or just feels much lighter due to its simple, streamlined design I'm not honestly sure.

On the downside, the hilt is certainly not  the most accurate in terms of faithfully replicating the look of the original.  It is quite a bit bigger, and this is most noticeable at the neck.  The tapered, thin neck of the on-screen saber and the LE/SE hilts is not carried across to the FX.  Due to the amount of electronics that have to be crammed into it, and the necessity of securing the blade properly, the neck is much fatter than the actual on-screen saber.  But it is still thinner at the neck than elsewhere on the main body of the saber, and in all other respects it does faithfully resemble the actual saber hilt in terms of the design, look and feel.

Moving on to the actual behaviour of the saber.  The sounds are very loud and crisp, and surprisingly the power up, power down and idle hum seem identical to that used in the later Mace Windu AOTC FX.  The idle hum has the exact same stutter when it cycles around that the Mace does, and the power up and power down samples are also seemingly identical.  However, the sound is far louder than the Mace (which is notoriously quiet), and so even though it is an earlier saber than the Mace the sound of the Luke ROTJ is actually better.  It is much clearer, more vibrant and not of the same 'muted' character as that of the Mace.  The swinging and clash sounds are also loud and clear, and the overall motion and collision detection is about on a par with that of the Vader ANH FX.  This sound playback behaviour is also similar to the Vader ANH, however, in that if the direction of the saber changes mid-swing, for example, then the alternate swinging sound effect will start playing right away without waiting for the previous effect to finish.  This was the case in all sabers released up to this point, however, and so is not an issue unique to the Luke ROTJ.

On to the blade.  The blade in the 2003 Luke ROTJ is an EL (electro-luminescent) blade, and not the later LED technology.  This means that the blade does not have the same power-up/power-down effects that the later LED sabers have - when switched on, the entire blade lights at once rather than the light travelling quickly from the hilt to the tip.  Similarly, when switched off the entire blade snaps off at once when the sound-effects finish, rather than sliding back down into the hilt in time with them.  Interestingly, the blade does not have the 'fade out' effect that the original Anakin AOTC blade had - rather it simply snaps off sharply.  Perhaps people felt this was closer to the actual saber experience than fading out when switched off, or maybe there were other electronic reasons for not including this effect - who can say ?

The colour of the blade is the main sticking point that most people have with this saber, saying that it is more aqua blue than green.  I personally don't feel this to be the case.  Photographs almost never do this saber justice - true, in a photo it does invariably show up an aqua blue colour.  In person, however, the blade is indeed green, and does not have so much as a hint of blue to it.  It is also true that it is not the same shade of green as the on-screen saber Luke wields in ROTJ, but it is still clearly a definite green, though more of a lighter, apple/lime green than a strong, burning, deep green.  I have taken some photographs that don't honestly do the saber justice, but you can see them at the bottom of this review nonetheless.  The blade is also because of its EL technology not as bright as the later LED sabers, but it is certainly bright enough to cast an eerie green glow around a darkened room without any difficulty.

On a final note, a lot of people tend to think of the Anakin AOTC and Luke ROTJ as being of a similar design from a technology standpoint, since they are both EL sabers.  However, there are very large differences between them.  In particular, the wrap-around point of the EL sheet in the blade is just a faint line in the Luke, and not the glaring crack/tear that it looks like in the Anakin.  As already mentioned, the sounds of the Luke are vibrant, crisp and clear, and there is more than one swinging/clash sound.  The biggest design difference, though, is the battery compartment.  The Luke has the more modern compartment found from the Vader ANH onwards - you only have to unscrew the pommel and slide out the battery holder, rather than practically dismantle the entire thing to get at the batteries as you had to do with the Anakin AOTC.  So it really is very different from the Anakin - I generally recommend not thinking of it as Generation 1, but rather as a Generation 2 with an EL rather than LED blade, since aside from the type of blade it is from a technology standpoint just as good as say, the Vader ANH.

So, that's more or less that.  I feel this is a greatly under-appreciated saber, and would have no hesitation recommending it to anyone.  It has a green blade, a hilt that looks as close as the technology of the day permitted to Luke's saber in ROTJ, and sounds that are just as good, if not better, than some of the later sabers (the Mace AOTC in particular).  So if you have been thinking about getting one, don't be put off by the tales of a blue blade or oversized hilt - it is, in my opinion at least, a very worthwhile purchase.


(https://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi82.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fj248%2Fdrysdalk%2FLUKE-ROTJ-1.jpg&hash=08d0ff3c2fee8580f06fa6d55df3b0ae1e991edd)
Full size: http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j248/drysdalk/LUKE-ROTJ-1.jpg

(https://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi82.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fj248%2Fdrysdalk%2FLUKE-ROTJ-2.jpg&hash=4ee7d1c5c970b9af11758ad7daa7ec51f07d9d53)
Full size: http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j248/drysdalk/LUKE-ROTJ-2.jpg
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: Bandit-Jedi on October 01, 2005, 09:08:11 AM
Awesome Review

and I agree with you on many points.

I strongly agree with you on the designation of the technological differences between the Luke and AOTC Anakin.  I consider the ROTJ Luke to be the only Gen 2 saber out of the total 4 Generations.  But it seems that most people don't know about such differences and have designated the sabers incorrectly. 
I love my Luke ROTJ, its the most comfortable saber to hold and wield.  I like the placement of the on/off switch which makes it near to impossible to accidentily activate or deactivate.
I can't wait to get the new LED version and compare the two!
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: benlurkin on October 01, 2005, 09:36:05 AM
I've got to agree as well, very good descriptions of the real color of the el, and everything else really.  It made me think of something else, have you noticed that the ROTJ Luke really holds the light, that is to say, even after it is off it has a bit of a glow?  Try turning it on and off in the dark, is kinda cool.
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: PLO KOON on October 01, 2005, 09:45:07 AM
Nice review drysdalk...this would give some insight to the Luke ROTJ i'm getting in November... (or earlier hopefully)
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: trexy on October 01, 2005, 09:48:26 AM
thats a very good positive review of the luke rotj :)
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: drysdalk on October 01, 2005, 10:03:18 AM
Thanks - I'm glad people have found this to be useful and/or informative.  It certainly will be interesting to compare what people have to say about the new LED version when it finally arrives.
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: benlurkin on October 01, 2005, 10:03:23 PM
With any luck, should be within a couple of weeks!
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: Nightmare on October 03, 2005, 06:44:25 PM
mine just came today and I couldn't be more happy about it.
I agree with your review, the blade is actually green and not blue at all
at first when I saw pics of I thought it was blueish, but there is 1
pic that does  do it justice

and it is this one



Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: Wat-Gav Martra on October 03, 2005, 07:46:20 PM
See thats the problem it always ends up looking blue in pictures. It looks nothing like that, in the pic it looks spearmint blue but its actually a light aqua green.
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: benlurkin on October 04, 2005, 12:08:40 AM
Every few times I see such a blue picture it makes me go get my ROTJ off my rack just to look at the real color and remind myself what it really is.
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: Bandit-Jedi on October 04, 2005, 10:39:50 AM
mine just came today and I couldn't be more happy about it.
I agree with your review, the blade is actually green and not blue at all
at first when I saw pics of I thought it was blueish, but there is 1
pic that does  do it justice

and it is this one





Hee hee, im glad you appreciate my picture!
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: trexy on October 04, 2005, 11:08:20 AM
th aqua color makes it look blue
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: Nightmare on October 04, 2005, 02:48:28 PM
I found something weird if you take the Luke ROTJ ignite it and put it
next to a Vader also ignited, and then take a pic, the Luke will show up the
actual color or even greener. I took a photo of this but it was to large to post.
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: benlurkin on October 04, 2005, 03:15:05 PM
I see what you mean Nightmare:

(https://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi11.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fa178%2Fbenlurkin%2FRed-green.jpg&hash=eb90bb502eb149e6083d17f87521008fde79a4ce)

I think that looks much closer to the real color.
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: trexy on December 21, 2005, 02:20:04 AM
It doesnt look greener??
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: benlurkin on December 21, 2005, 02:26:31 AM
That's quite close to the EL ROTJ color, I think.  It certainly doesn't compare at all to the LED.  But isn't as blue as some other pics have made it seem.
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: jack3auer on December 21, 2005, 07:30:21 AM
RE the EL startup not having the grow and retract effect.  it may have been mentioned before but watching Luke in ANH on the DVD the saber blade just appears in bens hut as opposed to growing.  his saber also has a green tint to it on the DVD in the falcon at one point.  i know there is a topic on here somewhere with a link to a site with comparison pics of each of the versions.
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: trexy on December 21, 2005, 07:56:48 AM
That's quite close to the EL ROTJ color, I think.  It certainly doesn't compare at all to the LED.  But isn't as blue as some other pics have made it seem.

Oh i thought they were talking about the LED version :D
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: drysdalk on December 21, 2005, 08:51:37 AM
Whilst it is true that the saber in A New Hope does seem to snap on and snap off, it should be noted that the saber Luke uses in A New Hope is not the same saber featured in Return Of The Jedi - he of course loses his original saber in The Empire Strikes Back in the battle with Darth Vader when his hand is cut off, and has constructed a new (and entirely different) one by the time Return Of The Jedi starts.

To be honest, I think the behaviour of the sabers in A New Hope is, to put it generously, inconsistent - even in The Empire Strikes Back, in which Luke is using the same saber as he is given in A New Hope (albeit with a few modifications), the behaviour of the blade is much more what we are used to - i.e. it stays the one colour, it extends and retracts as we expect, sound effects are those you would normally associate with a lightsaber, etc - and does not behave in the erratic way it is depicted in A New Hope.

In my opinion, the unusual behaviour exhibited by the lightsabers in A New Hope is simply down to their actual properties not being fully established yet by Lucasfilm in terms of how they should look, behave and sound, and then by the time the second movie was under production things were much more clearly defined, giving us the lightsabers we all expect today.
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: jack3auer on December 21, 2005, 12:44:51 PM
"Whilst it is true that the saber in A New Hope does seem to snap on and snap off, it should be noted that the saber Luke uses in A New Hope is not the same saber featured in Return Of The Jedi - he of course loses his original saber in The Empire Strikes Back in the battle with Darth Vader when his hand is cut off, and has constructed a new (and entirely different) one by the time Return Of The Jedi starts."
i was aware of this i am mearly making the point about how the EL blade doesnot have the grow and retract effect and the saber in ANH doesnot do this either. 
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: Shadowlynx on May 14, 2006, 08:12:49 PM
That's a cool review yeah the Luke ROTJ 2003 has the EL or Luminescent light right. I know the Luke ROTJ 2005 has the 64 LED's. I saw the comparasions on some site along time ago. I like the hum on the 2003 it's not as strong but the lower hum makes it sound ancient compared to the new one.
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: drysdalk on June 23, 2006, 04:37:47 PM
Hi;

I've managed to put the images that used to be here back in, so now the review has photos as well.
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: djforce on June 30, 2006, 12:44:06 PM
Good review and very informative
Title: Re: Review: 2003 Luke ROTJ
Post by: Jedi Tom on May 18, 2007, 06:20:54 PM
mad review man, i liked the pics u had good work 8) :D :) ;) ;D