Tag Archives: Vader's Vault

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. 😀 😀 😀

May the Fourth Be With You… Again :)

Yes, I’m still alive and not a force apparition. Long story there, which I shall save for another time. For now, it’s that time of year again:

image via nerdappropriate.com

In keeping with last year’s post (by sheer coincidence), I also scored a new lightsaber today during The Vader’s Vault “May the 4th” flash sale. 30 sabers gone in 15 minutes. Pics coming in a week or so once it arrives.

Also in keeping with tradition, a little Weird Al to liven things up:

Spent the Day in the Vault!

The VADER’S VAULT that is!

Yes, that’s right, THE Vader’s Vault; home of some of the best custom made lightsabers on the planet.

So, cool background story… We had to run into Georgia today to take care of some other business. I’d also been gawking longingly at more lightsabers online, and found out that Vader’s Vault “store” (shop really) was only 27 miles away from where we had to go. I talked the spouse into a quick ride with the idea of checking out whatever kind of showroom Vader’s Vault had and asking a few questions.

In short, I wanted to try to get a handle on whether or not Vader’s Vault sabers are actually worth the money. Also get a look at a few sabers as well, I’d hoped. 😁

What I got was completely unexpected. Instead of a quick look and a few questions answered, we got… the grand tour!

We talked to somebody up front, and they went and got the boss (owner). He came out, gave us a quick run down of the stuff in the showroom and then asked if we’d like a tour.

The showroom included this case full of sabers and saber cases from their history:

That saber up at the top is one of only EIGHT real world copies of the “Twisted Fang” lightsaber available in the Star Wars: The Old Republic game.

A couple of other highlights from the showroom:

Their case of manufactured helmets.

More sabers, emitters and some toys on the bottom shelf. That’s a “mouse” droid in the lower right corner also.

That, unfortunately is all the pictures I got. The rear area of the shop had rooms for wiring work, CNC machining equipment, 3D printers, etc… I didn’t snap any pictures back there though because the owner was lamenting how any time he puts something online, there’s a cheap Chinese knock-off for sale a day or two later. They were also working on one completely new model and some tweaks to existing models (relocated power switches and a few other minor things). I have a sneaking suspicion that we MIGHT see that new model for a May the 4th sale too.

For any readers who may be wondering, I asked about the limited availability of sabers right now. It’s the usual supply chain issues. However, they expect to have a few models back in stock in the next few weeks. I did see them working on a batch of “Revancrist” sabers (Darth Revan’s lightsaber):

Those are one of the few sabers still currently “in stock” also.

One question led to a highlight of the tour also. I asked if their special made sabers with crystal chambers were duel worthy. The big guy brought out a Starkiller and explained in detail:

The cliff notes version is that the hilt itself is strong enough for it. The bracing rods on the chamber are full on steel. HOWEVER, their crystals are a piece of clear quartz which could break or break loose in heavy sparring. So, he advised against using such a saber for more than light to moderate horseplay.

Why quartz? Disney has “cool” 🙄 colored epoxy chunks that they sell for ONLY $30, you say? Well Vader’s Vault sabers have the ability to change blade colors, and the Starkiller will actually shine the same color as the blade into the quartz to make it look like that color Kyber Crystal. It will always match the blade no matter the color.

More importantly (lol) for a couple of moments, I got to hold a $2600 Vader’s Vault masterworks Starkiller in my hand. 😁 Well, minus it’s outer cover anyway.

We briefly talked about the differences in blades also. Plecter Pixel blades are just as combat worthy as the old LED tubes. Both are polycarbonate, and will eventually break at some point while dueling. The Pixel blade gives a much better and even light quality and is capable of producing effects that an LED “flashlight” type design can’t. All this at a higher price point, of course.

Personally, I’d probably save the Plecter Pixel blade for “show” sabers and use an LED one for dueling. We’re talking $30 vs $130 for a replacement when it finally breaks.

Bottom Line:

Are they worth the price and increased wait time?

I went in a little wary. Half of me was looking to rationalize buying elsewhere. They really are absolutely worth it in my opinion though. Here’s why:

Better Grip, Weight and Balance: The balance on every saber I got to handle was extraordinary. My two black series sabers (Dooku and Mace) and my Ultrasabers “Fallen” saber:

are just plain stout. They’re like wrapping your hands around an old “D Cell” battery Maglite police flashlight. The Count Dooku saber is majorly off balance as well. I got to hold a Vader’s Vault copy of that same saber. The hilt is slimmer, more in line with what a real sword might have, the finish was brighter too. The machining was done so well that it was hard to see where the parts of the hilt actually connected together.

Better Sound Quality: I’ve heard people complain about Ultrasabers and Saberforge being bad in poor quality or muffled sound. My Black Series sabers are fair in this regard. Not great, but fair. Every Vader’s Vault saber I heard sounded like I’d just stepped into one of the movies. Crystal clear quality with sound effects for everything from swings, blade clashes and defected blaster bolts (all of which a plexer pixel blade’s light will respond to also).

Massive Customization: Vader’s Vault has features that Ultrasabers and Saberforge don’t even offer; hilt lighting and illuminated power buttons for starters. Some of their options they don’t advertise on their site. I suspect that has to do with variable costs involved. I saw sabers that were mirror polished, powder coated, weathered, acid etching engraved, inlaid with wood, leather wrapped… you name it.

THIS, I found out today, was done in the owner’s garage when it was just him and his wife. Imagine what they can do now!

Good Company Working Environment and Customer Service: Why is that important? Because even if you don’t care about the workers’ conditions, a happy staff is highly motivated to excel at their job. That means you get a defect free product.

Customer service should be self-explanatory in importance. If you have any doubts about Vader’s Vault though… Keep in mind they COULD have just run me off, or spent a couple minutes answering a few questions and then politely said they had to get back to work. Instead we got treated to an almost hour long tour with Q&A, looks at all their work areas, a demonstration of all a plexer pixel blade can do, peeks at several models in various stages of manufacture or remodel, and even a sneak peek at a pre-production prototype of an upcoming release.

How often do you see that nowadays in ANY sort of business?

Bottom line, you’re going to get a better saber made of higher quality materials and machined to tighter tolerances, better electronics, more bells and whistles, made almost any way you want, and better customer service.

What you’ll get elsewhere is poorly fit together sabers that can’t even hold up to a Disney toy: