The custom sabers just keep coming here at Arms of Ilum. Today’s entry has a bit of an interesting backstory. A few weeks ago, I was working on a custom Hasbro Black Series Darth Vader conversion for a friend when LED Supply messed up my order not just once, but twice. I had originally ordered a Tri-Cree red, photo red, white, but instead received an amber, red, white star. When I complained, LED Supply then sent what appeared to be a proper LED, but the photo red die was non-functional. In the end, I was left with two spare LEDs and no sabers with which to use them.
Fortunately, I had to place an order with Ultrasabers for a local commission at around the same time. To take advantage of combined shipping, I scanned the Ultrasabers lineup for something that might look right with the orangey blade color produced by my amber, red, white LED star. The dilemma I faced was that there aren’t any canon sabers at this point that feature orange blades. As a canon plus Old Republic sort of enthusiast, this meant that I would need to venture outside the hilts that appeal to me most.
Eventually, I settled on the Ultrasabers Raven. Based on the Sith Stalker hilt from The Force Unleashed video games, the Raven features aggressive emitter claws that set it apart from more conventional lightsabers and also make it far and away the largest hilt I’ve ever used. No, the games aren’t canon, but they’re recent enough to be recognizable and the orange color works well for this saber as the game allows players to change color crystals while playing.
The specs of this build are as follows:
- Ultrasabers Raven (Super Sith emitter claws)
- Custom powder coat
- Nano Biscotte V3 soundboard
- Tri-Cree XP-E2 amber, red, white LED
- MHS V6 chassis
- Li-ion 18650 battery
- 28mm 2W bass speaker
- 12mm momentary switch
The first thing to realize about the Raven is that it’s absolutely massive. At 21’ (!!!) long, it’s easily the largest saber I’ve handled. Some of this is amplified by the Super Sith emitter claws, which add over 7” to the saber’s length. As an MHS V1 compatible hilt, the Raven’s body is also fairly wide, measuring between 1.5” and 1.75”, depending on the exact spot.
One of the cool things I did with this hilt was use a 12mm momentary switch. Ultrasabers hilts are configured to either employ a guarded switch or a 16mm anti-vandal switch. However, with a little enlargement, the guarded switch hole fits a 12mm switch perfectly, allowing the part to sit recessed into the hilt body.
I’ve noted in the past that I find Ultrasabers hilts to be rather bland. While they do offer pricier sabers that replicate move designs to some degree, the bulk of their lineup is aesthetically basic. It’s an area where companies like Saberforge enjoy a serious advantage. It should be noted that the level of detail on the Raven is appropriate considering the source material, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t deserving of some customization.
As is typical for my builds, this Raven received a custom powder coat finish to give it an aesthetic boost. I dumped the black anodizing for a dark silver primary color. Then, I added dark copper accents to the body rings and emitter detailing. Finally, the midsection or switch area of the hilt received lighter silver elements that closely resemble the lighting patterns on the walls of the Death Star. It’s an attractive, but subtle nod to the Galactic Empire.
Part of the reason I end up powder coating many of the sabers I build is that I’m not overly impressed with the durability of the aluminum used by many manufacturers. This isn’t limited to Ultrasabers, but I have had several hilts end up scratched without any knowledge of how the damage happened. Powder coat is frankly much more durable than the aluminum’s standard anodizing.
Inside the Starkiller Stalker is a Nano Biscotte V3 soundboard. This is the last V3 I have, so future builds will feature the improved V4. I’m a big fan of the Nano overall. It’s incredibly easy to install and the two customizable sound banks allow for reasonable sound diversity. The V3 is a little more limited than the V4 from a sounds standpoint (8 swings and clashes versus 16 on the V4). It takes some trial and error to find the correct motion sensitivity settings for the board. Otherwise, the Nano V3 is still very respectable.
As far as sound fonts are concerned, I loaded this saber with Vengeance Starkiller from Fourzze and Hurrikaine from Lord Blako. Vengeance Starkiller is a phenomenal font with one of the most interesting activation/hum transitions I’ve heard to date. The initial activation is relatively subdued, but the volume crescendos into the hum. The effect causes the saber to sound somewhat like a propeller-driven airplane as it prepares to take off. The swings with this font are quick and aggressive, as are the clashes.
Hurrikaine is no slouch either, but it is totally different. The noteworthy characteristic of the font is its highly-electric overall profile. The hum is loaded with static sounds that allowed me to exaggerate the blade flicker effects. With both font banks, I substantially shortened the duration of the flash-on-clash lighting effect for added “realism” and drama.
As I mentioned in the opening, the amber, red, white Tri-Cree allows for a burnt orange blade color when the amber and red are simultaneously mixed. In person, the hue looks very similar to traffic cone orange. Generally, human eyes don’t perceive orange to be as bright as greener/yellower tones, so I prefer to use this saber with a transwhite blade to help add fullness to the color’s appearance. As this is a custom build that I’m doing for online sale, it won’t ship with a blade.
I have to admit, the 28mm bass speakers from The Custom Saber Shop are starting to fall out of my favor. They’re honestly fine speakers and are loud with deep bass, but they just aren’t capable of offering the clarity I would like. I used one in this build, but may head in a different direction next time.
That’s pretty much it. If you have any questions about this saber or any of my other customs, be sure to post in the comments or reach me through the contact page.