Around two weeks ago, I decided to take the Ultrasabers grab bag plunge in somewhat of a big way. Rather than simply pick up one saber and be done, I couldn’t help but even things up with a second hilt. Last week, I shared my thoughts on one of my random arrivals, the Initiate LE V4, and today we will take a closer look at the second saber from my order, the Dark Sentinel LE V4 in Consular Green.
In contrast to my Initiate LE V4, the Dark Sentinel actually does feel somewhat like a saber you might find in one of the films – or is at least closer to such a beast. While most of us associate dark colors with Sith blades, the Dark Sentinel looks and feels a little like something that Qui Gon Jinn might carry. Although, I might just be saying that because my example features a green blade.
As with the Initiate, the Dark Sentinel is a relatively bland hilt. It lacks the screws, activation boxes, and other details that are found on movie-quality lightsabers. Fortunately, the saber’s pommel can be exchanged with other Modular Hilt System (MHS) parts – like the ones sold by The Custom Saber Shop and even Ultrasabers. Moreover, the plain appearance of the Dark Sentinel leaves it ripe for other types of customization, like weathering and shrouds.
Thanks to its length (12.375”) and the presence of two large chokepoints, the Dark Sentinel makes for a very good two-handed saber. Each choke point measures 1.25” in diameter, which is relatively narrow for an LED-driven saber, allowing for increased leverage with each swing.
Since the Dark Sentinel is longer than my Initiate, its center of gravity sits closer to the hands. With a Midgrade blade inserted, the saber balances perfectly on the front of its emitter, just behind the forward chamfer. This makes the blade feel almost weightless.
While my Initiate shipped with an anti-vandal (AV) switch, I was not quite so lucky with my Dark Sentinel. This hilt features the Ultrasabers’ standard guarded switch. It works perfectly fine, but is more likely to be accidentally pressed than the AV part. If you’re shopping for a saber, my opinion is that the AV switches are worth the small premium. They look far better and are less likely to be accidentally pressed. It is also worth noting that the guarded switch is pressed into the hilt, not glued like the AV ones.
Also unlike my Initiate LE V4, my Dark Sentinel arrived with no damage whatsoever. The hilt looks to be in perfect condition, as do the switch and blade. Ultrasabers is quite clear that grab bag sabers may have cosmetic blemishes, but my Dark Sentinel LE V4 looks perfect.
Blade & LED
Once again, I opted for a totally random saber with this particular grab bag. With that in mind, the arrival of a Consular Green Dark Sentinel was a pleasant surprise. I’ve already outlined my reasons for liking the hilt, but since green is my favorite color, I am equally happy with the LED/blade. Once again, the single diode is brighter than I anticipated and in my totally dark theater, the saber looks impressively vibrant. For those who are wondering, this saber is powered by a single green 5 watt LED from LED Engin and overall runtime seems to be very good. I’d say that after around 15 or 20 minutes of continuous use, alkaline batteries start to noticeably dim, but the saber is still bright enough to be impressive in low-light scenarios.
This saber arrived with an Ultraedge Midgrade blade. In my previous review, I pointed out that I liked the Ultraedge far more than I initially expected. It produces a very full blade with well-defined edges and even though it is technically dimmer than the regular Midgrade offering, the Ultraedge lightens the color enough to make it seem brighter. The only downside to the Ultraedge is that it does indeed lighten most colors, giving them somewhat of a pastel appearance. For Consular Green, I don’t see this as a major issue, but some might prefer a richer, truer green look.
Because I didn’t care for the Midgrade blade in my Initiate, I decided to move it over to the Dark Sentinel. The resulting look is impressive. Whereas Guardian Blue looked fuzzy with the Midgrade, Consular Green looks vividly bright. Paired with this blade, the green is very similar to the shade most often associated with Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber in Return of the Jedi.
Ultrasabers isn’t hiding this fact, but it is crucial to note that their Midgrade (both standard and Ultraedge) are not especially duel worthy. They make for good display blades, but they bend rather easily, which can crinkle the inner diffusion film. If you’re looking for single combat with your buddies, opt for a Heavy Grade blade.
In my opinion, the Ultrasabers grab bag option is easily the best value as far as production sabers are concerned. If you already have your own blade and aren’t set on a particular color, the grab bag allows you to pick up a stunt lightsaber for a reasonable $55. If you need a blade, the price jumps to $70. Even so, the value is certainly there.
Specifically addressing the Dark Sentinel LE V4, it is safe to say that this hilt edges the Initiate ever so slightly for my top spot. I appreciate the added length and the fact that the saber looks more like one you might find in the Star Wars films. As a base for customization, it offers greater flexibility than my other grab bag saber and I already have modification plans for the hilt. Keep checking back as I plan to start tinkering very soon.