"Need lightsaber do I? hmmm?"
Although the 800 year old Jedi master doesn't carry a lightsaber in The Phantom Menace, one was specially created for him for the Star Wars Episode I: The Visual Dictionary. It was built by Ed Maggiani and Steve Dymszo.
The lightsaber is shown actual size in the photo at top. It is 5 7/8" long and the aluminum tube has a diameter of 1 1/8". Following the tradition of the lightsaber props in the classic Star Wars films, this weapon was also constructed from an antique camera flashgun, a modified Praco Flashmaker.
The mounting bracket and reflector dish were removed from the flash. Two contact pins were removed from the black collar at the top of the flashgun. This collar was turned upside down and repositioned to form the center band. The contact pin hole closest to the edge was cut away to form a notch for the small metal stud on the side
A small metal fastener was added in the lower contact pin hole at the top of the flash. This piece is a PEM self-clinching nut (part #CLA-440-2). It has smooth sides and is threaded down the center.
When the bulb contact spring was removed a round black piece was added in it's place. This is a Lamborghini Countach front wheel from a 1/16th scale Fujimi model kit. Another model car part was used for the lightsaber's activation box, a Monogram 1/12 scale Corvette oil sump pan (probably the 1967 model). The piece covered the long slot in the side of the black band. The grips are custom made molded rubber grips, similar to those on the Skywalker and Vader lightsabers but lacking the ridge and cut down to 1 7/16".
Uncut grip from the original mold.
While this lightsaber started out as a fan made item, it was made official once it appeared in Star Wars Episode I: The Visual Dictionary. ILM subsequently picked up the design for Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The computer generated model of Yoda's lightsaber seen on film differs slightly from the original model. In an odd twist, the original prop builder Steve Dymszo is now a partner in Master Replicas which is recreating the official replica Yoda lightsaber as seen in Episode II.
Click here for more images of the original.