Tag Archives: Collectibles

Santa Raided the Vault!

That’s right; the Vader’s Vault!

Yay for Black Friday sales, but truth be told I do feel a bit guilty about it given the financial issues we’re dealing with. I have faith the lawyer will get us out of them though. 🙂

What did Santa bring? A copper trim finish Protector Elite saber:

Polishing cloth and thumb drive with extra sound fonts included

The Vader’s Vault store page for the Protector Elite.

This has all the bells and whistles of my Custom Battle Wrap Havoc lightsaber, and a few extras as well. That little window at the front is a LED screen that will display which “sound font” (lightsaber sound and color settings) you’re using, the battery life, a digital “kyber crystal” and a few other goodies, and even play about 6 different games such as Pong (the world’s first video game BTW). Like the Havoc, there’s also a juke box that plays The Imperial March or the Cantina Theme.

That’s the Havoc behind the Protector. If it’s not obvious, the Havoc is made of aircraft grade aluminum while the Protector is chrome steel, AND an inch or so longer. That gives the Protector a fair amount more weight than the Havoc. Both are comparatively light, but you feel it in the wrist more if you use the Protector for an extended period of time. Continued practice will get you in shape though, lol.

Slightly surprisingly, the grip on the hilt is quite comfortable. The squared off sides give it an effectively oval shaped grip which fits in the hand quite nicely. I really shouldn’t be surprised though. When we got to tour Vader’s Vault, the owner said he won’t make a saber unless it’s built well, comfortable, and FUN to use. 🙂

As with the Havoc, this saber came with the option to have multiple blade colors. You CAN buy a saber with a single blade color at Vader’s Vault, and that’s a cheaper option, but why do it when you can customize to your heart’s content?

No, you’re not seeing things in those last two pics. The blade CAN display and cycle through multiple colors at the same time. The Havoc can do it also, but didn’t come pre-loaded with some of the ‘sound fonts’ that this one did.

The fifth picture is supposed to be with a Yellow blade, but the blades are so bright that Yellow got white washed out by the camera.

Unlike the Protector v1 in the video above, this v2 model will let the “seismic charge” and power button light up in whatever color you have the blade set to display, even if it’s a multi-color like in the last two pictures.

As a trade-off, I did give my Mace Windu Hasbro Black Series saber to my cousin-in-law’s son as a Christmas present. I have to admit, I’ll miss it strictly for the potential collector’s value, but it was worth it to see his face light up. We played the whole thing off like in A Christmas Story also. Enough so that for a minute I’m sure he thought he was getting a Red Ryder BB gun, lol.

The better construction and grip on the Vader’s Vault sabers just make it hard to appreciate the Hasbro ones on the same level though. Some day, down the road, I MAY have Vader’s Vault whip me up a custom Mace Windu saber to replace the Hasbro one, but for now I still have Dooku’s saber.

And for those asking WHY Santa would be handing out weapons… Because some people (and Sith) make the naughty list:

The Vader’s Vault Grand Reveal!

Somewhere as the dust was clearing from all the recent madness, my “May the 4th” special order lightsaber came in. It is a “Battle Wrap Havoc” model with some awesome customization:

The above picture is it sitting next to my Hasbro ‘Black Series’ Mace Windu lightsaber for a bit of comparison.

Note the hilt is slimmer; more in keeping with the real world size (diameter) of a sword grip or hilt. It’s also much lighter and better balanced. I *almost* feel like I could fence against a real rapier with it. The hilt length is just long enough to be comfortably used as a one handed or two handed weapon also.

Other Differences:

Here’s what else this lightsaber can do that my two Black Series sabers can only dream about:

Even more realistic blade “activation” and “retraction” with the Plecter Pixel blade

Better sound effects for swings and impacts, including more sensitivity to being swung and actual flash on impact.

Additional SFX and light effects for deflecting blaster fire or force lightning (activated by a second button)

Light up power switch!

15 included Sound Fonts to allow customizing of all the above sounds

The ability to customize the blade’s color for both it’s main color and the clash / deflect effects:

That’s just a small sample there. The installed options included Blue, Teal, Red, Purple, A red and orange mix, Yellow, Orange, and a sort of Sky Blue that’s my favorite thus far. That doesn’t photograph well, but it looks almost identical to this Star Wars: The Old Republic blade color:

It’s a Blue Core War Hero color crystal for you gamers; in an Arn’s Unshielded Lightsaber model hilt w/ Gemini Pulse tuning.

There’s even one option where the blade cycles through all the above colors, which is kind of cool in a bizarre, not lore friendly sort of way. 😀

The Sound fonts and blade colors can all be changed on the fly. With the power off, press the second button to access the list of options, then cycle through using the power button. More detailed changes can be made via connecting the saber to a PC and using software to set up in-depth customized profiles.

More Comparisons:

Just to give you an idea of how clunky and unwieldy the other manufacturers can be with lightsabers, here’s my custom havoc next to my original lightsaber shell from Ultrasabers:

Now, the length of the “Fallen LE” shell I’ll give Ultrasabers a pass on. The lightsaber, story-wise, originally belonged to a Lesat Jedi, and Lesats are as big as wookies. Ergo, it makes sense it’d be a nearly a claymore hilt for a human. That thing is thicker than an old police D Cell battery maglite though. The coloring makes it beautiful to look at but it’s unwieldy.

Some day I *may* still finish that saber also, IF I can find a third party that makes electronics that will fit and are better quality than Ultrasbers’ stuff.

Lighting or blade brightness wise, a picture is worth a thousand words:

That’s a completely dark room with the Vader’s Vault saber providing 75% of the illumination. The Havoc was set to purple for a fair comparison against the Hasbro Windu blade. It’s so bright it looks white in the pic. Now that’s Illumination!

LOL

Nuts and Bolts:

Just a quick look at the technical stuff actually. The blade is self contained and can be removed (unlike the Black Series stuff). Similar to the Black Series models, the blade has LED strips running it’s length that allow it to simulate the blade extending or retracting. The main difference is the blade has multicolor LEDs and more of them. The blade plugs into the hilt and is held in place with an allen screw.

The bottom of the blade has a contact plate to allow power to the LEDs:

And the hilt has a couple of contact strips in the socket for it’s side of the power connection:

Irony: The blade plug for my Ultrasabers hilt fits perfectly into the blade socket for the Havoc also, making for great display potential:

Sadly, as it was intended for an older, flashlight type saber setup, the blade plug doesn’t light up at all. Still looks fairly good though. 🙂

The Official Release Video:

For those who want a more in-depth look at the base model Havoc saber without my fancy emitter shroud, here’s the official release video for the Havoc, direct from Vader’s Vault YouTube channel:

I’m still discovering a few goodies built into the saber and it’s soundfonts. For instance, there’s a ‘jukebox’ option that will make the lightsaber play the cantina theme from A New Hope. When the battery gets low, the saber says “When my patience ends, bad things happen” (a quote from The Old Republic’s Sith Warrior character).

Now all I have to do is find a dueling league since this thing is 100% combat rugged and ready. 😀 😀 😀

My Other Collection:

Something a little lighter to finish out the day’s blogging. 🙂

During the time I was physically down, I became a pretty avid gamer. It didn’t help that eventually a few games came out that used comic books as a subject matter. DC (Comics) Universe Online being one of them.

brilliant concept so poorly executed as to defy description

Side Note: The game turned out to be absolutely terrible in terms of game play, so I can’t recommend it, (Sony screws up everything they touch) BUT the graphics were stunning, and it had voice acting from many DC Animated Universe actors, including Mark Hamill as the Joker, and Kevin Conroy as the Bat(man).

I bought into the hype at first, and even bought a few of the collectible figurines that were offered as part of the initial launch and first year hype. Now that we’re in a bigger house, I finally have room to display them:

Green Lantern, Flash and Wonder Woman are the ceramic figurines. Batman is PVC and came with the deluxe version of the game. The Avengers thing is a metal popcorn bucket that was released at the theaters during “Endgame”.

Wonder Woman is the absolute centerpiece of the collection. She was probably the best done figurine in the series:

Despite ordering a month or two after actual release, I still managed to score figurine number 18 out of 6000, which significantly ups her collector’s value.

When the Wonder Woman movie was released, this figure was selling for over $500 in mint condition. The price has dropped since then, now that the hype has passed AND there are so many companies now making licensed figurines. The market is saturated with dozens of different Wonder Woman statues.

OH, and I didn’t forget my newest arrival (today actually):

I guess I’m a victim of the hype, but I couldn’t resist grabbing him. I won’t be collecting any other Star Wars figures though, with the possible exceptions of Ahsoka, and Mara Jade, IF they ever come out with a Black Series 6″ figure of her.

We’re trying to cut back on clutter though, and if I’m going to collect anything overpriced, it’ll be lightsabers. 😀 Din Djarin in his Beskar armor just looked too good to pass up though.

Yes, everybody is staying in the box also, just in case they somehow get knocked off the shelf or something. Collectors also judge value nowadays based on discoloration caused by dust, etc… I’m not planning on selling them, but you never know. Since all the DC figurines have gone up at least 3x in value since I bought them 11 years ago, it pays to be careful with them.

Yes, the running gag continues…

Time to Take Up Arms!!!

Well, that ought to scare the hell out of the people monitoring the internet, LOL.

Nothing sinister or violent planned here however. The shell for my first lightsaber finally arrived from Ultrasabers.com today.

Any good Star Wars geek should recognize this as Jaro Topal‘s lightsaber that was inherited by his apprentice Cal Kestis, protagonist of the game Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. Well, technically the restored version from about 2/3 of the way through the game. 🙂

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy For Ever” – John Keats

I only ordered the shell at this point because the things are pretty pricey if you buy a nice hilt and quality electronics. Anywhere from $500 to $1000. Hilt designs tend to sell out quick and then half the time the companies will just move on to different designs.

Long story short, I wanted this hilt while it was still around, AND I’m going to have to build mine piecemeal since money is limited.

I did, however, get the plug for the emitter array that you can use when you don’t have the polycarbonate “blade” installed. I got the belt clip as well.

This pic still shows the protective plastic covering over the stand (used for shipping)

So, now I need the L.E.D. emitter array, the polycarbonate blade, the sound board, power switch and battery pack. Also to find my soldering equipment to put them all together when the time comes.

For those of you who are curious, the thing is fairly beefy, as the second picture shows. It’s made of aircraft grade aluminum and is 1/8″ thick (or about 1/2 cm thick). What caught me more by surprise is the overall size. Granted, by lore, this thing was created and carried by a Lasat originally, but… The thing is 16 inches long and as thick as one of the old mag light flashlights carried by police that used D Cell batteries.

It looks even larger in the picture since it’s sitting higher up than the tape measure in the picture. At any rate, it’s big enough to be the hilt for a Zweihänder. I was thinking of getting two of them, connecting them together and making a dual bladed lightsaber staff; something along the lines of my final lightsaber for Jedi: Fallen Order:

Between the handles and blades, I’d have a saber over 8 feet long if I did though, LOL. That gets just a little unwield-able. Clearly an alternative design will have to be found for such a staff.

Now, for those like Joanne (how can you not love somebody who names her blog ‘JediGirlBlog’? 😀 ) and Master Mandalorian who may be drooling over this goodie… Let me give you all a brief education.

Buying a Lightsaber:

There are three major companies that make these mock ups (as well as a few others who are really small and/or dying out). All three make models designed for rigorous dueling. There are hobby dueling leagues out there too! All three manufacturers have various blade color options, OR you can buy a multi-L.E.D. emitter that will let you change your blade color. Changing colors also takes one of the higher end sound boards, as those control the L.E.D. emitter also.

The three major companies are:

  1. Ultrasabers.com
  2. SaberForge.com
  3. VadersVault.com

In terms of durability, they all seem to be fairly comparable. There’s a lightsabers reddit where you’ll find fans of all three. The general consensus is that they rank in other details of quality in the reverse of the order I have them in.

Ultrasabers: makes good sabers overall, and their premium sound board may be the best on the market currently. They get knocked on reddit for being heavy and unwieldy by duelists, and occasional quality issues as well. They’re also the most affordable, particularly for their very plain style hilts.

Note here: If you might be interested in dueling for fun, weight and balance make a HUGE difference. I’ve taken traditional fencing classes myself and learned this first hand. The sabers that the school had for student use were very low end. When I bought my own from Leon Paul in England, it made a massive difference. I was suddenly much faster and more accurate. Angled handles on foils (like Count Dooku had on his lightsaber) help even more.

SaberForge: Makes sabers that are said to be a little lighter, thinner so as to be easier to grip, and better balanced. They cost on average about $100 more for something comparable from Ultrasabers.

Vader’s Vault: These are the Rolls Royce of lightsabers. Everything is top of the line with serious attention paid to every detail. You pay for it also. Some of the features they offer, like removable covers to display the lightsaber crystal chamber, just can’t be found anywhere else.

OK, well, Disney does THAT at Galaxy’s Edge, BUT those sabers are Toys R Us quality compared to what’s offered by any of these three companies.

Styles:

All three companies offer designs based on lightsabers seen in various parts of the Star Wars franchise. Everything from various movie lightsabers, and sabers from The Clone Wars and Rebels, to styles used in the game Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Kyle Katarn’s saber from the Dark Forces / Jedi Knight games. Some custom designs as well. You may have to shop around between the three to find exactly the style you like. Saberforge had the saber I bought, for example, but only the damaged hilt version used early in Jedi: Fallen Order.

Overall, after doing some pretty extensive research, I’d recommend SaberForge as a first choice. The way you can get leather wraps and powder coating as well as the slightly better balanced hilts just make them a slightly better option than UltraSabers. I like that if you want to build your own, that SaberForge has a wide array of individual hilt parts also. They are who I’ll be using to build a custom saber staff.

Of course, if money is no object, shop Vader’s Vault, lol.

As an added note, both SaberForge and Ultrasabers offer individual parts to kit bash your own unique blade together. I do *NOT* know how cross compatible their parts are however. Some of UltraSabers’ entry level models have hilts that won’t accommodate their own mix and match parts also.

One last thing: These companies all pretty much hand craft to order. Even my empty shell took 3 weeks to get. Patience is a virtue. I’ve heard of some orders taking months to be completed, with Saberforge and Ultrasabers both having iffy reputations for their customer service departments. Depending upon who you talk to, they either both stink or are amazing there. Forewarned is fore-armed.

And even if you’re just buying a piece at a time like me, it looks excellent sitting at the Silk Cords command center: