Pros: Easy to build, fun for Star Wars fans.
My eight year old son, much to my husband's glee, is a tremendous fan of the "Star Wars" movies, so it was not a surprise when he wanted that as the theme for his birthday party. Nor was it a surprise that his wish list included primarily Star Wars related items, including this Star Wars Build Your Own Lightsaber set.
I thought that we already had plenty of lightsabers, but my husband and children clearly did not agree. We have inexpensive toy versions purchased before the recent wave of Star Wars movies were released, more expensive toys that light up and make noise, small ones which were bonuses with purchases and gold plated lightsabers which sit on desks and hang on walls. In any event, my son received the Star Wars Build Your Own Lightsaber as a birthday gift.
Rather than making two different versions of this lightsaber, the pieces are included to make either a Jedi or a Sith version. Rarely do the Jedi pieces get used around here as my husband has convinced my son that the Dark Side is the way to go. In any event, included in this set are the following:
1 hilt (the handle of the lightsaber)
2 hilt sleeves
1 light bulb housing with light bulb
3 plastic "crystals" (red, blue and green)
3 filters (red, blue and green)
3 sleeve rings
The first step in building your very own lightsaber, according to the instructions, "is to install the power-generating component." In other words, you need to purchase and install two "C" batteries into the hilt before you begin, which is easily done by unscrewing one end, inserting the batteries and screwing it back on (no screwdrivers necessary).
Now you must choose a crystal, which is what causes the lightsaber to make sound. Each makes a different sound and you are instructed to "choose the crystal that you are drawn to by the [P]ower of the [F]orce" and insert it into the hilt. The two crystals that you are not using can be stored in a chamber at the end of the on the light saber.
Step three is to choose the clear or red blade and then an emitter. Slide the emitter over the blade, then choose one of the three colored filters and insert it into the emitter along with the light bulb housing and screw this section onto the hilt. The hilt sleeves, sleeve rings and ignition switches can all be added to the hilt if you choose. If adding one of the hilt sleeves, be sure that its opening fits over the red button on the hilt, which is what you press to make noise. These pieces are optional and added to the crystal, filter and blade color choices, the box claims that over one thousand different combinations can be made with this set.
Screw one of the caps onto the end of the hilt (the opposite end as the blade) and your custom lightsaber is completed. Instead of putting the cap on the end, you can use the adapter and screw the second blade on that end to make a double-sided light saber. Unfortunately this side does not have a light bulb or a place to put a filter.
Overall, my son has enjoyed creating different lightsabers (though the red crystal, with the red filter and red blade are his favorite) and plays with it all of the time. When there are lightsaber duels in my house, this is the preferred weapon and there is generally bickering over who gets to use"the really cool one."
All of the pieces either fit over the hilt or blade, or screw onto each other, so that no screwdriver or other tools are required, except when it is time to replace the lightbulb. Our lightsaber has been played with for a few months and the light bulb and batteries have not yet needed replacing. This toy is recommended for ages six and older, and I know a few adults who are fans of the Star Wars series who would love to play with this toy.
All of the pieces to this set have held up to various children's hands putting them on and taking them off of the lightsaber and none are worse for the wear. However, keep in mind that many of the pieces are hollow plastic (to fit over the hilt or blade) and if they were to be stepped on, they might crack.
The only real drawback to this toy (as with so many others) is storing the pieces. The original box is rather large and it has a few plastic windows for display purposes, which I believe would rip rather quickly if the pieces were continually put in and taken out. What works for us is a zip-lock bag for the pieces, with the base of the light saber out of the bag. The hilt is too long to even fit into a two-gallon bag, so it just sits next to its pieces on the shelf.
This Star Wars Build Your Own Lightsaber set retails for about $35, which is a fair price for a Star Wars toy which my children (and occasionally my husband) play with all of the time. This is not something that everybody would enjoy, but for a Star Wars fan, this creative build your own lightsaber activity is a lot of fun.
Other Star Wars items my family enjoys:
Star Wars Vader Force Sprinkler
Wookiee Blaster Super Soaker Water Gun
Darth Vader Voice Changer Mask
Star Wars Monopoly - Saga Edition
Star Wars Mpire: M-Trooper and M-Vader
Star Wars Mpire: M-Grievous & M-Obi Wan
Star Wars Mpire: M-Peror and M-Anakin
Star Wars Mpire: M-Bacca & Mace