Keyboard Control Stick

Research: X-wing Control Stick

I was browsing through TheRPF, as one does, and I came across a necro-thread that was on the ANH X-wing Control Column Stick. Reading through it I found it exciting because most of the parts have been identified. I thought, I can make one of these, but unfortunately I could not find the some of the major parts around for sale. But I kept scrolling and reading until “Wavey” made a comment about how the safety pin is still in the trigger and posted the above pic.

It’s away!

This really peaked my interest. It’s not the same control stick that the thread was about, but it is a X-wing control stick. I re-watched the Death Star attack just to confirm it is an X-wing control stick and not a Y-wing, or belonging to any other ship.

The other control stick

This “Keyboard Control Stick” as I have dubbed it is like the hero control stick. You only see it on screen for a few seconds in one shot, the rest of the time the other control stick is used. It’s kind of like in Return of the Jedi most of the time Luke is using the V2, but that one shot where Darth Vader is holding the Hero Lightsaber a.k.a ISYHCANL. Maybe it should be called the “It’s away” Control stick.

There is virtually no information on this stick to be had. No other reference photos that I’ve been able to turn up. No parts lists. Nothing.

Probably everyone that has a little interest in Star Wars props can identify the big white switch on the side of the keyboard, it’s the same on Vader’s chest box and the same that is on many rebel pilot flight suit chest boxes. It does have a small difference in that it has a sub structure that is not seen on chest boxes. It looks like a rectangular box that it’s sitting on, perhaps it’s there on other props but obscured from view.

Update: There is no sub-structure like I had though. It’s a little black tab that sticks out from the side of the keypad that is partially blocking the white switch. Thanks to Juan for figuring that out.

Highlighted the switch contours
Highlighted the switch contours

The next Part also comes from Vader’s chest box, it’s the big red button in the bottom left of the keyboard. Thanks to Chris and Ian for identifying that part for me.


It’s time for some discovery. To find the keyboard itself I just typed “vintage calculator” into Ebay and started scrolling until I found something that matched the pattern of the buttons. I came across Texas Instruments TI-3000, it matched if you turned it upside down. They are super easy to find on Ebay and for cheap right now. Here are the latest listings for them: TI-3000 Calculator

The bubble rectangle on the bottom right of the keyboard was not the part I thought it would be. That part being a light sensor from the Eumig, but unfortunately it’s not correct. The bubbles on the Eumig are staggered, but on the keyboard the bubbles appear to be in straight rows. Back to Ebay I went, I searched “Vintage camera” and just started scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling. I went through several pages before I found what I believe to be the correct part. It’s another light sensor, but this one is from a Perma Matic 618 Camera. It has the bubbles in straight rows and has the correct number of rows and columns. These are a bit more rare, only a one or two listed on Ebay. There could be other cameras that could work for this, some might require cutting the light sensor.

Perma Matic 618 Camera
Perma Matic 618 Camera

Leads/Unconfirmed Parts

Aluminum Tubes
Aluminum Tubes

There are two flanged tubes next to the big red button that I have not been able to identify. I have some leads/similar finds, but nothing 100%. Below is a list of things that are pretty close, and possible theories to the source. This part could be manufactured fairly easily too.

  • Camera internals – A theory
  • Bunting bearing
  • Flange bearing
  • Blind nut insert
  • Sleave bearing

The next part is on top of the stick itself. It’s the metal, slightly domed circular part. It looks just like a part that is on the side of the bowcaster. I don’t know the source of the stick yet, so I can’t confirm that it’s the correct scale.

Bowcaster Part
Bowcaster Part

Just Theories, No Similar Parts

Ok, the big major part that I’ve not had any luck finding anything at all that resembles it, that is the control stick itself. I’ve searched and searched for anything that resembles it. I’ve had Teecrooz, Mugatu, and The Ninja looking for it and offering their own ideas as to what the source could be. So far, no luck. Here is the list of theories. It’s possible that the red button is part of the control stick, but I’m not discounting that it’s a separate part they glued on.

  • Powertool handle
  • Helicopter collective
  • Camera handle
  • Motorcycle handle bar
  • Pop rivet gun
  • Airplane control stick
  • Ejection seat release

Totally Unknown* (UPDATE: Possible part found)

a blurry something
a blurry something

There is a part of the far right hand side that is too blurry for me to recognize. It could be anything really. I’m not super concerned about it, Most of the keyboard has been identified and is recognizable. *UPDATE – My fiend Chris (aka Teecrooz) came to me with a theory about what this part could be. It looks like it might be the same part as the red button that is used on the keyboard (also on Vader’s chestbox), but in white instead, and there would be two of them. I do agree with this theory, it looks very convincing (see below photo).

I need to locate a second white switch cover.

What else

There are parts that we can’t see like how is it all attached. Maybe once the control stick is found it will become obvious. There is the dots that are on the keys, they appear to be stickers and the same that are seen on the rebel x-wing pilot chest boxes.

My Build So Far

Just for fun I took apart the calculator, which revealed that it is 100% the correct part by the tray that the keys sit on. It just needs a coat of black paint. I stuck the red button and the white switch on the side with some sticky tack just for fun. I haven’t popped the light sensor off the camera just yet.

So Far
So Far

Shopping List

Some progress and experiments

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