Introducing: Project M
Oct 14, 2020
article & images by Nick Salazar
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It is a common cliche for artists replicating a prop to claim they "referenced original source material" in the creation of their replica. Sadly, that statement is rarely backed up by any detail, explanation, or evidence. For this project, I wanted to be explicit about what reference material I used, how I prioritized it, and how that contributed to the final product.
These are our most important primary source. We have them on hand for direct measurement and comparison against our produced parts. Our physical references included the eFx replica and the Anakin Starkiller replica.
The eFx was our most important primary reference, because it is a casting of a screen-used hero and is so well-made that it is virtually a production piece! It is exquisite in every way, right down to matching paint. The only VERY minor gripe to make about the saber would be the emitter caps, which were machined as cylinders, and do not replicate the look of the stacked fender washers of the original prop.
The Anakin Starkiller replica served primarily to corroborate or verify information gleaned from the eFX. That prop was also cast from production parts, although not actually a Maul saber, but rather another saber that shared some of the same features. The AS replica has some small discrepancies from the eFx, most notably the bulbous top of silver button, and fully-rounded top profile of the fins. There are some other minor inconsistencies such as resolvable detail on the LED/rivet area, but the AS was nevertheless clearly molded from some kind of production parts, as claimed.
We used a wide variety of images of screen-used props to corroborate and clarify details of our physical references. These included images from auctions of authenticated props, as well as many other miscellaneous images. You can see some of those image references in the gallery below.
KR Sabers + One Replicas "Menace" saber: I would be remiss if I did not mention the great work done by the folks at KR Sabers and One Replicas, who did a marvelous job with the mechanical elements of their Menace saber by introducing two novel construction features that we have referenced for our saber. Those features were the press-fit fin assembly and the three-piece button assembly. We are not copying these mechanisms exactly, but they did offer important insights, and we offer credit here where it is due.
While neither of these was new engineering in general, they were both brilliant solutions to different needs on a Maul replica. And these two mechanical features helped pave the way for our saber to be the best it could be.
Project M: Prototypes
Prototype parts and study pieces from our development of this iconic sabers. The full sabers shown here are 3D prints, meant only to illustrate the 3D design, and not representative of final production quality or finishing.
Project M: Comparisons
Showing our Project M printed prototype compared to our primary physical reference (the eFx casting) as well as the KR Menace saber (by request).
Selected Image References
These are some of the images we used to reference various elements of the saber, in addition to the physical parts we had on hand. Note, not all of these are images of the Maul saber. Some are other sabers that had identical design elements (like the silver button, the rivet detail, etc), and were valuable references for those specific elements.