The Anakin Skywalker AOTC lightsaber was made into the very first Force FX lightsaber from Master Replicas. Released for Order back in early 2002. Original Price for the Anakin was $129 with $19.95 shipping per item. I placed my order for two of the Anakin FX sabers. One for me and one for a friend. I couldn't get just one and have no one to duel with if I wanted to! So, the order was processed and shipped and I received the Lightsabers late in 2002. In September or October I believe. Being that these were the very first Generation of the first Series both of them had problems right out of the box. The one I got my friend did not even light up and the sound quit working after 5 minutes. Mine lit up, and the sound came on and lasted for about 30 minutes then went out. The construction was very flimsy and shaky. Needless to say, I was disappointed and angry. Next came a call to MR customer service dept. They were Great, very helpful. They emailed me the FedEx Pre-paid shipping labels for the return of the sabers. All I had to do was box it up in the box it came in, slap on the label and call FedEx for a pickup.
I finally received my replacement FX sabers in November. I took both out and I could tell they were different from the previous malfunctioning models. I've dubbed the faulty models SubGEN1 and the model I received SubGEN2. The first thing I notice about the saber is the construction was improved. It was a bit tighter and didn't make a rattle sound as much. Next thing I noticed is they placed a rubber seal in between the grip and the main body where it screws into. (See Pic)
The original Anakin had no rubber seal like such. (See Pic)
The battery installation on both stayed the same. Not a very easy to get to design. First you had to twist the fake control box open to access a Philips head screw. (See Pics)
Once the Screw was loose you then had to unscrew the grip handle from the body of the saber to access the battery holder/Speaker/motion sensor.
Now you just install the 6 AA batteries and reverse the deconstruction process. I always thought that this was one of the worst battery compartment designs on an electronic item ever. I guess its tough to design something that has never been done before and I am very pleased with the current Series of FX sabers and their ease of accessing the battery holder.
THE SABER OUT OF THE BOX
Now, to the actual operation of the Saber. At the time I had no other saber to compare it to, so it was the BEST that I had ever seen. I still regard it as a quality saber except for the battery holder design. One thing noted for this saber is the sound and light electronics have a "warm-up" time frame. Explanation: Once you flip the switch you hear the "Activation" sound and the saber immediately lights. But if you turn it off quickly the blade instantly goes out and the sound "Thrumm" sound keeps playing for 3-4 seconds then goes into the "Deactivation" sound. So to get the Light and Sound FX to work with each other all you have to do is not turn off the saber right after you turn it on. You leave it on for 10 seconds and you are good to go. Then you are able to turn it off with the EL blade slowly fading as the "deactivate" sound is played.
The activation/deactivation switch shown here. It is the Black plastic piece with the horizontal ribs going across it. To activate you push up towards the blade, to deactivate just push back down
The Grips of the saber are really quite rubbery feeling. I did have a problem with one of the grips coming off, but that was soon remedied with some super glue. The speaker and "swing" motion sensor are included in the same assembly at the end of the battery holder. There was space between the battery holder and the outer shell of the grip to give the battery holder "movement space" for the motion sensor to activate. Only flaw in this is that it kinda makes the saber feel like it is falling apart or loose.
The Anakin Force FX saber was only marginally larger than the actual prop replica. I couldn't tell a difference between the two in pictures, at least. Here is a detail pic of the faux red and green LED's on the side of the FX saber.
The Master Replicas and Lucas film LTD. logos and 2002 copyright stamping
THE SABER IGNITED
Here you can see the infamous EL blade line. This is the wrap around end-point of the EL sheet. Doesn't bother me too much and you don't even notice it until you look closely at the blade.
The Anakin Force FX in Room Light
The Anakin Force FX in Low Room Light
The sound of the saber is not that loud compared to the newer Series sabers. It also tends to be a little staticky. The motion sensor tends to work very well if you don't mind the feel of the movement and sound of the battery holder clanking around a bit. The "battle clash" sounds are sounded much louder than the idle hum, but still not as loud and crisp as the newer series clash sounds. To activate you pretty much have to hit the blade in the area toward the lower half of the blade near the handle. To get the sounds to activate using the tip takes a lot of "force".
As for handling the saber, the awkward size of the "control box" is kind of limiting. The Control box and the various knobs on the top end tend to get in the way when you spin the handle in one hand. With your Thumb on the ignition switch and your fingers wrapped around it seems to feel almost like a strange rifle that you are holding and the control box is the finger grip/trigger. It takes some getting use to. The weight of the saber is decent. makes it feel more real with the heft of the 6 batteries.
And here are some pics of the Box detail
Left-hand side top and front of box
Right-Hand side top and front of box
Right-Hand side top and front of box
Left-hand side back of box
Center back of box
Right-Hand side back of box
Overall, I'm still quite pleased with this saber considering it is the First Force FX ever made. I am glad that I got in on these at the Beginning and I hope to continue adding on to my collection. For anyone who can get their hands on one of these in good working order for a decent price, I don't think you will be disappointed.