The Anakin Skywalker FX lightsaber was the first FX I got after Christmas of 2005. I had some spare cash on me, and knew that my Gamestop was selling a few FX models, and I wanted to expand my collection. The store was selling both the Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker FX models at the time, for about $90 a piece (which is quite reduced from the asking price on the Master Replicas website).
Now I was originally thinking of grabbing the Vader ESB model since I was missing red from my collection, but decided after looking some more to finish off my blues first (at least until the Obi-Wan comes out, but that won't be for a bit yet).
The first thing I noticed about this thing is the fact that it takes 3 batteries instead of 6. I had heard that the overall model was improved much from the Luke ESB, but was skeptical that it would be done, especially with less batteries. Now you would THINK that for this lightsaber one could just copy and paste a Luke ESB review, change a few things, and voila! There you go. But that isn't the case.... Boy, was I in for a surprise..
The overall hilt design is very pretty, and somewhat similar to the Luke ESB. I mean, I guess it is supposed to be the same lightsaber, but thanks to Lucas' clever marketing tactics, they always change in between each movie to generate more revenue and cash flow....I mean...more interest, of course. ;) Now, back to the subject, there are some major and minor differences between the two hilts. The first being the fact that the power switch is placed differently on here. The Luke ESB model's power switch is placed right under the emitter on the front side of the hilt, as a small button that looks like a decoration that you would slide up and down to power on and off. This one is different. The power switch is actually mounted on a faux control box, complete with some rune markings and some nice looking detailed symbols (where the clip thing would be on the Luke ESB). Just slide it up and down to activate the lightsaber. I would also like to point out that the central grip of this thing...the 'band' that seems like it holds it together is much different than the Luke ESB, having more of a 'rough' look and feel and being slightly different colored.
Also, the hilt is quite a bit smaller than the oversized Luke ESB, and has more of a pretty polished finish than the industrial metal look and feel of its brother saber, not to mention that the buttons are smaller and this one has some paint job as a finishing touch. There is also a small clamp on the front of the lightsaber underneath the emitter which is more straight, thicker, and placed closer together than the one on the Luke ESB. The battery cell is housed inside the end cap which you can twist off. There's no D-ring accessory on this lightsaber (which is kind of a shame because it would have been great, but oh well), so it's quite easy to place in the batteries and adjust everything properly. Of course, a yellow arrow marks the correct insertion of the battery pack inside the shell to avoid confusion. Oh, and before I forget, some say that the paint job on this model wears off after a while, but I have yet to notice anything like that. I just polish up the metal once in a while and try to keep my hands and fingers off of the gold accents.
Right, now where was I? Okay, let's get to the sounds on this puppy. If you aren't familiar with what a Force FX does, then know that when the lightsaber is powered on, it actually lights up (and down) in sequence like a real lightsaber would, and plays back digitally recorded sounds from the movies. Of course this one is no different. The power up and down sounds are dead on, as is the idle hum, perfectly timed, as usual what you would expect from MR. If you hit something with the lightsaber just right, it makes clash sounds, also recorded from the movies. This model has a few various ones recorded and they all sound great. Not to mention the fact that this lightsaber is also a lot louder and less muffled than the Luke ESB, which I already have mentioned a ton in this review. I would say overall that the sound on this thing is perfect, and couldn't have been any better at the time. But later on MR always pulls out a surprise or two, so maybe we can expect the next sound chips to blow us away...
As I stated before a bit about the lighting effects of this, ....well, I'll get a little more into it now. The FX lightsabers (at least the newer generations) use a string of LED lights that ignite in sequence to give the FX a 'realistic' power up effect. The same also holds true for deactivation. As you would expect, this model uses blue and the color is absolutely fantastic. Even in a well-lit room this bad boy here will make anybody jealous, and in the darkness or in darker light it would totally eliminate the need for a flashlight. The LED string keeps the blade continually lit until you shut it off, and should last for several thousand hours of use if you care for your lightsaber properly.
In closing, I would like to say that this is definitely my favorite Force FX model, is put together extremely well, and is a favorite for dueling although some would say the design makes it a bit akward. Unfortunately, I've heard that Master Replicas is discontinuing this model soon, so grab yours while you can, before the price starts to skyrocket. I hope you all have enjoyed this review, and I hope it has shed a bit of light on this saber. I unfortunately do not have any pictures of the lightsaber at the moment, but I will work on that and try to bring some up as soon as I can.