Review: 40483 Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber

Handed down from father to son – from a certain point of view – the lightsaber that was crafted by Anakin Skywalker and saw action during the Clone Wars, briefly took part in the insurrection that saw the Galatic Republic overthrown and the Jedi Order brought to near destruction before being lost to its maker-turned-Sith and saved by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the hope that one day it would be held by a Skywalker again has now been recreated by LEGO in a limited edition prop replica set.

“Your father’s lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster. An elegant weapon… for a more civilized age.”

The Skywalker lightsaber, as it has become known, was made by Anakin Skywalker to replace the one he constructed during his apprenticeship which was lost in the droid factory on Geonosis during Attack of the Clones.

Though it has never been made clear when it was built, this second lightsaber was the blade Anakin carried throughout the Clone Wars and stayed in his ownership, through his fall to the Dark Side when he became Darth Vader. In the hands of the Dark Lord of the Sith, the lightsaber would slay a number of Jedi – including younglings – at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, before being used to assassinate the surviving Separatist Council on Mustafar.

Here he would wield the weapon against his former master, Kenobi, a fight he would ultimately lose. Defeated and crippled, the lightsaber fell from Vader’s hands to be retrieved by Kenobi, who kept it for a further 19 years until he was able to give it to Anakin’s only son.

Taken on as Kenobi’s apprentice, Luke Skywalker began to develop his skills in the Force and learn how to wield his newly acquired lightsaber while en route to Alderaan. With his training cut short due to the death of Kenobi at the hands of Darth Vader, Skywalker had to wait a further three years to resume his apprenticeship.

Guided by the Force, his Jedi training was taken up Yoda, who – like Kenobi – had survived Order 66 and taken to hiding on the remote world while the events of the galaxy evolved around him. After receiving a Force vision, Skywalker traveled to Bespin where he believed his comrades to be in danger. Caught in Vader’s trap, Skywalker was forced to duel the warrior-who-would-be-his-father who cut off Skywalker’s hand, sending the lightsaber into the depths of Cloud City, where it was thought to be lost forever.

Conceived by George Lucas who was inspired by the serialized Flash Gordon movies he used to watch during his youth, the original Luke Skywalker lightsaber was designed and constructed by Roger Christian, the Academy Award-winning set decorator on A New Hope.

Because the production budget was tight, the crew of The Star Wars Corporation, Inc had to think outside the box to create an authentic and used universe. “My invention of creating the weapons, props and sets using real guns, scrap airplane parts and found objects gave Star Wars the organic reality look for the first time in science fiction cinema” said Christian.

The original hilt – of which there were five made – that was given to Luke Skywalker was made from the battery compartment of the flash unit that came with the iconic Graflex Speed Graphic, a camera that was popular throughout the 40s and 50s in the United States. Detailing was added by using parts of a Texas Instrument calculator, and seven t-shaped cabinet door sliders were glued to the cylinder to create the seven lateral black grips for the “hero” version.

Christian notes that when the Skywalker lightsaber hilt was remade for The Empire Strikes Back he opted to pop rivet the tracks on, and had to reduce them to six as a result.

Original props of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber ( A New Hope – top/The Empire Strikes Back – bottom)

The concept of the brick-built prop replica was introduced by LEGO almost a year ago when they announced that it would be the release-day gift with purchase (GWP) for the new Master Builder Series 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina set. It was an immediate hit and global stocks were depleted within the first few hours of the set going on sale.

Atypically for LEGO, word on the development of this model lightsaber hilt didn’t get a huge amount of attention from the LEGO Star Wars fan community, and its existence only came to the surface when an image of a sample appeared on social media in September. It wasn’t until early November that the set – and its position as a GWP with the release of 75313 AT-AT – was properly announced when LEGO China shared the news on their Tencent platform.

Contrived by the legendary Hans Burkhard Schlömer (does that make him a Jedi knight now?), the designer behind 75309 Republic Gunship and 75251 Darth Vader’s Castle, this limited edition prop replica was an immediate hit and a big draw for those buying the new UCS set, with stocks lasting a full week before they ran out and the offer ended.

40483 Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber

Relive thrilling Star Wars™ duels as you build this detailed LEGO® brick version of Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber (40483). Step-by-step instructions are included so even Star Wars fans who are new to LEGO sets can build with ease. A buildable stand and nameplate complete a delightful display piece to add a little Jedi Force to any room’s decor.

  • Inspire memories of classic Star Wars™ duels with this detailed LEGO® brick-built model of Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber (40483).
  • This 173-piece LEGO® Star Wars™ set for adults comes with easy-to-follow instructions and includes a buildable display stand with a nameplate.
  • Measuring over 2.5 in. (7 cm) high, 8 in. (20 cm) wide and 3.5 in. (8 cm) deep, this build-and-display model makes a delightful birthday present, holiday gift or surprise treat for Star Wars™ fans.
18+173162404830$0
Ages Pieces VIP Points Item Minifigures Value

Unlike the first LEGO-made lightsaber – 6346098 Yoda’s Lightsaber – which came out in a resoundingly unattractive box in 2020, the packaging that 40483 Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber arrived in had very grown-up graphics and luxury curb appeal.

While many collectors couldn’t bring themselves to open it, those that did found themselves engaged in a really enjoyable, 20-minute build that produces an on-target replica – albeit at roughly 70% of the original prop – that is packed full of minimalist detail and one hidden feature.

The beauty of this 173-piece model is that it isn’t overcomplicated; the solid shaft has black grips, the side activation switch, the blade shroud and adjuster dials, and a belt clip – all made of 45 different LEGO elements.

If there’s one gripe, it’s that the hilt doesn’t sit in the stand in a particularly eye-catching manner. Because of the conflict between the ridged “switch” on the hilt and the curved bricks on the stand, the model sits on its side rather than upright and faces the wrong direction.

A simple modification can fix this issue, and by removing one of the curved bricks you can get 40483 Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber to sit in a more pleasing fashion.

As a set, it’s great – it’s a fun and easy build, it is detailed in the right ways and looks awesome on display. Its distribution mechanism as a free set – as long as you’re willing to spend many, many hundreds of dollars – still irks a large proportion of the community, who not only feel left out but aggrieved that secondary market resales on Bricklink.com benefit LEGO directly now they own the community-built marketplace.

Despite being given a nominal value of $24.99 on LEGO.com, the set’s price on eBay.com is currently in excess of US$100, directing some fans to build their own using the instructions and inventory provided.

That said, LEGO does have a track record in using exclusives as a way to soft launch a new style of set – we’ve seen it with the convention exclusive chibi-style sets that became Microfighters, as well as the two recent busts that were the seed for the Adult Collector helmets – so there’s every chance that these will get a full and proper production run in the coming years.

Entertainment Earth

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