First thing to say is these are large! The packaging is 10.5 x 10.5 x 115.5cm in size, and the saber is approximately 110 cm in length. These Jedi weapons are heavy too- the hilt is made from solid metal and then packed with batteries.
From a series including Vader, Luke, Mace Windu and Anakin, the units we have on test are the Empire Strikes Back versions, as used in the ‘I am your father’ duel in Cloud City. Luke and Vader’s sabers are noticeably different, not just by the colour of the blade, but also in the faithfully represented details on the hilt. Vader’s features an extra finger guard near the top of the hilt; Luke’s the clip he uses to hang his saber from his Tatooine utility belt.
As well as being extremely faithful (and officially licensed) replicas in look, the weight (even without batteries) lends these light sabers an incredible feel. Unlike the Toys R Us equivalent, released a few years back, these are anything but plastic in look and feel (in fact it even says - this is not a toy on the box). While the latter featured semi-retracting blades, these remain in fixed position. This is the only fault we can find with these beauties and all that separates them from the real (unreal) thing! If I had to use a mock saber while filming (as the legend has it, the lights of the sabers were added in post production), they’d use these.
Unfortunately, the feel of an ancient Jedi weapon comes at a price (approx £99, or £189 for the pair of Luke & Vader), not just in initial costs, but also in batteries. In defence of Luke and Darth’s home made devices, (for that is the last hurdle in the Jedi accreditation), we used our review models incessantly, with no sign of battery depletion.
With the 6 x AA batteries inserted, the force flows out like the hyper drive of the Millennium Falcon. There are a range of sounds from turn on/turn off, idle, blade swing and that awesome clatter as the blade strikes another object. The heavy hilt is offset by a durable polycarbonate blade, with a little bit of give to allow for a few crushing blows, be it at Mos Eisley, your house, or in the office.
Built into the metal hilts are pre-programmed on-board multi-channel sound chips with digital sound effects taken from the movie. Although the sound chips are well housed, please bear in mind these replicas should be used responsibly- don’t poke at an angry Wookie, or leave with kids unattended.
Great as an ornament, yet strong enough to take hits from young and old adults alike, we simply can't rate these enough. They'll be plenty of lifespan in these- they look great on the stand and its so hard not to pick them up and play. No doubt there will be the usual dirge of licensed and unlicensed Star Wars material on the market in the run up to the release of Episode III, but these have to be the cream of the crop. Look out for the Anakin and Mace Windu versions based on the weapons used in the sixth and final movie, due for an imminent release. May the Force be with you….always.