As regular readers will know and casual readers could probably guess, one of my favorite aspects of the Star Wars universe is it's iconic weapon, the lightsaber.
I have always been intrigued by unique or different takes on George Lucas' concept of a laser sword. I have previously discussed Shoto lightsabers and Dual-bladed lightsabers, but this column will focus on a rather novel lightsaber variant, the Dual-phase lightsaber.
To the naked eye, the Dual-phase lightsaber will appear to be the same as a typical Jedi blade, however an extra switch can be thrown which alters both the length and width of the blade.
Corran's lightsaber featured a normal blade length of 133 centimeters when using the emerald phase crystal, when he extends the blade, turning the emerald crystal out of the way and using the diamond to focus the blade, the length of the blade extended to 300 centimeters.
How does one construct a lightsaber?
"Urgency without panic, action without thoughtlessness."
One of the biggest treats for a Star Wars Expanded Universe fans is that Michael Stackpole provided probably the most detailed commentary ever on lightsaber construction. In Chapter 42 of I, Jedi, we get not only a shopping list of parts needed, the details that there are two different rituals for lightsaber construction, one the traditional one that would take approximately a month to complete and one a quick emergency lightsaber build developed during the Clone Wars that could be accomplished in two days.
Circumstances dictated that Horn use the quick construction technique for his lightsaber during his undercover operations on Courkrus in his attempts to rescue Mirax.
The process by which a Jedi constructed a lightsaber was heavily ritualized, Corran Horn used self purification and meditation to prepare for his lightsaber construction. Meditating surrounded by the components before they are assembled to get a total feel and understanding for all of the pieces that will go into his saber. Then once assembled a deep meditation is used to fuse the components together on almost a molecular level for optimal performance. For Horn this meditation took two and a half days.
What components went into Corran Horn's Dual-phase lightsaber?
Hilt: Speeder bike throttle assembly and handlebar tube.
Activation Loop/Dimetris Circuitry: old capital-ship-grade ion cannon fire initiation controller.
Recharger Port/Wiring: Comlink
Parabolic High Energy Flux Aperture: Tri-fighter laser flashback suppressor
Power Cell to Blade Superconductor: dynoric laser feed line from broken laser cannon
Buttons and Switches: Assorted sources, readily available.
Crystals: gifts from Admiral Tavira. durindfire, diamond and emerald.
Power Cell: generic modern power cell.
"At the center, to work as my continuous energy lens, I used the Durindfire. That same stone gave my grandfather's blade its distinctive silver sheen. I used a diamond and an emerald in the other two slots. I wasn't certain what I would get in the way of color tints from the emerald, and with the diamond I hoped for a coruscation effect."
Unfortunately for Corran when he originally constructed his lightsaber, what he thought was a diamond gem stone was in fact a kubaz xurkonia. Resulting in his failing and the fake diamond melting. Alas, the hazards of making a lightsaber quickly. I did really enjoy the irony of Horn using Admiral Tavira's gifts of attempted seduction to contruct the instrument by which he used to defeat her and rescue his beloved Mirax.
How practical is such a weapon?
"The longer length is useful for surprising an enemy, but not that practical in a fight. A simple block and a good swordsman would be inside my range and carving me up. Blade that long will also cause a lot of collateral damage, which would be fine if I was needing to do a lot of property destruction, but other than that it's really just an impractical novelty item. Sithspawn, I don't even know of any fighting styles to use with a blade that long."
While the dual-phase lightsaber is an especially novel variation with little utility, it makes sense that as accomplished a lightsaber dualist as Horn became later in the EU, that he could integrate this novelty more comfortably into combat. I hope we get to see Horn in some action against the Lost Tribe of the Sith in the later books of the Fate of the Jedi series.
For more information on Dual-phase lightsabers or Corran Horn see the Wookieepedia.
For a tremendous Star Wars novel starring Corran Horn please read Michael Stackpole's I, Jedi.