I saw these for sale at Borders and could not pass one up. I have been aware of these things for a couple years now, but I could never bring myself to spend $99 for a Star Wars collectible, even if it was pretty sweet. Well, actually picking one up and using one changes everying. Shocked, I knew from the moment I picked up the display saber that I had to have one. (or 2) The weight of the metalic hilt felt sturdy, yet very balanced. I found myself twirling it and swinging it around as I often pretended to do as a kid with a cheap stick. I didn't care if people passing by thought it was silly or shook their heads. They could never understand the joy anyway.
It was as though every aspect of my childhood had formed together in the center of the universe to create one single, elegant piece of total pwnage! I was powerless to resist my urge to splurge on something few would consider to be anything more then a luxury. I couldn't wait! I scored a Luke Return of the Jedi saber and I couldn't be happier. (Unless, perhaps, it was real...)
At this time of typing I've had the Luke ROTJ for 3 days and the ESB Vader for about 3 hours. It is a little unfair to compare the two as my Vader still has that New Crispy Sith smell to it (You know what I'm talking about.) while my Luke has seen considerably more use. However for the sake of a comparison for someone in the market for a FX, I'll give my feelings on each in areas I feel appropriate. Perhaps what I like most about the Luke saber is that it feels so balanced. The hilt is also very easy to manipulate in my hands, a must for pulling off some of the moves I've been practicing with. You could say the grip on the Luke saber was so solid and functional, that by the time I got my Vader saber I was disappointed in how difficult it was to make good use of it in twirls and in swinging. Make no mistake, the Luke ROTJ saber is a must if you plan to actually use
it. Don't get me wrong, the Vader is a nice show piece. I just think Luke's saber is more practical.
As I've no doubt suggested already, the hilt has to be my favorite part of this saber. It has a simple, non-cluttered no-nonsense design that simply works. You won't find all sorts of fancy pantsy knobs and gauges sticking out of the side for show here. It has always been my philosophy that simple is best and this is something Luke's saber has in spades. I do admit the Vader saber does has a very good looking hilt. I would even go so far as to say I like it a little more then Luke's ROTJ, if only from a cosmetic standpoint. So I would suppose it depends on your preferences as to which is better. ("Do I want a better show piece or would I rather have a working
collectible?" you could ask yourself.
One nitpick I do have for the ROTJ hilt is the lack of improvements to the design. I'm the first to admit that if it works, don't fix it. And the fact that this saber is still so functional after a few years of vast improvements to the FX line can speak volumes. Still, the nitpick remains; as the technology improved and got smaller, MS should have redesigned Luke's saber to be actual size to the film prop. Anakin's saber got a hilt redesign when the electronics got smaller which is why I am puzzled that the 2005 ROTJ hilt we have today is almost a carbon copy of the one released previously.
I love the LED's on the new Luke, but a smaller hilt design in light of MS' developments in the FX line would have been greatly appreciated. (and would have made it even better for dueling) The fat neck is also difficult to forgive. I can understand MS's difficulty in fitting in all the electronics in the original ROTJ saber, hence the need for a wider neck to accommodate the tech. But I would have hoped after all this time and all the improvements made to the Generation 3 sabers that they would have at least have made it slimmer, even if not 100% in proportion. Ah well. Can't have it all...
Last, we have the "blade". This is my first FX and the first time I lit up ol' greeny is a moment I'll never forget. I had so much anxiety at that moment when I look back in retrospect. All the reading and researching and pics I'd seen came down to this. Would it live up it the hype? Could it possibly meet my sky-high expectations? I slowly brought my finger to the power swith. And with one quick flip, the saber activated, My eyes lit up, and the cat freaked out. (no doubt humbled by being in the presence of it's sheer awesome-ness) What impressed me just as much as the glow of the saber itself was the sheer amount of green light being reflected off the walls. From a distance I could fool someone into thinking it was real. o_O This was the moment I knew
this was a worth while expenditure for $99. The glow of the new LED ROTJ is nothing short of awe inspiring. In short, if you want a green FX... Well, this is your only option. :P Seriously though, this saber has an excellent feel to it that simply must be felt to be believed. It was when I picked up the display Saber at Borders that I instantly shifted from a non believer to a hopeless kid in need of his saberin' fix. Don't miss out on this superb Jedi Negotiation Tool.
Hilt use: 10/10
Hilt looks 7.5/10 (Re-issue with better technology and still one very fat neck. This would have been a 8.5 easily for the first release)
Saber Brightness: 9.5/10
Over all: 9.2/10
In the pictures it looks a little "aqua". Bur in reality it could fool you into thinking it was the real deal with the exact same aura as seen in Return of the Jedi. Expect more picks and another review when I play around with my Vader saber some more.