It is also a way for fans to re-enact their favourite fight scenes from the Star Wars movies. This newly-found popularity of lightsaber duelling has also led to the market being flooded with different styles and models of replica lightsabers, each with its own unique set of features.
However, just as not all lightsaber duelists are equal, not all replica lightsabers are created equal. Lightsaber duelling requires a replica lightsaber that not only looks the part but is capable of handling the very intense conditions of duelling.
So, if you’re a duelling enthusiast looking to get yourself a duel-ready lightsaber, below are some of the key features you should be looking for.
Hilt Material and Integrity
To determine the duel-worthiness of a replica lightsaber, your first consideration should be the quality and design of its hilt. It’s easy to find replica lightsabers with 3D printed and PVC (plastic) hilts in most online stores (even on eBay), but one thing you should bear in mind is that those types of hilts do not have the durability required for duelling.
Metal hilts (high grade and sustainable aluminium) are more suitable for duelling. Apart from being strong and sturdy enough to handle intense hits and strikes during duelling, these types of hilts offer good protection for the saber’s electronics.
Edges and points are other hilt features that you need to consider when buying a duelling lightsaber. The last thing you need is a saber with sharp points and edges that could poke or cut you or your opponent during a duel.
Hilt and hilt components that have sharp or pointy edges should be avoided if you plan to use your replica lightsaber for full-contact duelling. Hilts with bulky and raised features like activation boxes should also be avoided as they can obstruct your grip. Go for a duel-ready lightsaber with slim features and recessed buttons instead.
After the hilt, the lightsaber blade is another feature that weighs heavily into its duelworthiness. Let’s start with the blade material.
Flat acrylic blades, while great for the show, are very brittle and not in any way suitable for duelling. Some of them contain pointy and sharp edges, making them even more unsuitable for lightsaber duelling. What you should be looking for is a saber with a polycarbonate blade. Not just any polycarbonate blade but a heavy-grade (thick-walled) polycarbonate blade. These types of blades are thicker than the standard mid-grade (thin-walled) blades which makes them better suited for handling the strikes and hits of full-contact duelling.
Blade Diameter and Type
The diameter (width) of the replica lightsaber’s blade also matters. Although you can find sabers with 1-inch, 7/8-inch, and 3/4-inch blade diameters, the ideal choice for duelling would be a 1-inch diameter blade.
The type of lightsaber blade should also be considered. A string blade, for example, which is permanently attached to the hilt and contains the LED strips within the blade itself, are not duel worthy. This is because the LED strips within the blade could easily get damaged during heavy duelling and cause unsightly dead spots on the blade.
For duelling, a replica lightsaber with a removable blade that also has its LED strips located inside the hilt is ideal.
Saber Internals and Electronics
These include the soundboard, power source, LED, and Bluetooth features. Ideally, a duel-ready replica lightsaber should have an in-hilt LED with colour-changing features that allow for a smooth transition between colours. To make the duelling experience more realistic, it should also come with a good-quality soundboard that is motion sensitive and contains movie-accurate sound effects.
A power source is also important. Most replica lightsaber models typically use AA batteries that either come with the saber or are bought separately. Some models do make use of Li-ion batteries.
All of these saber electronics need to be protected from damage during duelling, so it is important that your duel-ready replica lightsaber comes with a chassis.
In addition to main saber features like hilt design, blade type, and saber electronics, you should also take into account the accessories that come with the lightsaber. Some of these accessories include; blade plugs, couplers, blade tips, and a lightsaber case.
Finding the ideal replica lightsaber for duelling is to a large extent, dependent on your preferences and your budget. However, there are some features that you absolutely cannot compromise on if you want the best duelling experience. Those features are the quality and design of the saber’s hilt, its blade material, type, diameter and its electronics. To get the best features and quality for your replica lightsaber, shop from a trusted company like Padawan Outpost.