When I first started my search for a Star Wars Droid Caller, I looked for the Kobold BC Flash. I soon realized that finding one would be an almost impossible task, but then I stumbled across one by luck and great google fu. In my search I also came across a thread that referred to another camera flash that looks almost identical to the Kobold called the Linhof Flash. Both Kobold and Linhof were German companies whose headquarters were in West Germany. Both companies produced a model that had a silver and black color scheme. Kobold also produced one that was mostly black. The biggest difference in appearance is the obvious bright red Linhof lettering. There are other subtle differences, including the bulbs used, number of ridges in the etching and the screw on bottoms. From my research both flashes could have been used in the Star Wars movies, although most people believe Kobold’s were the only ones used.
One thing that really interests me is who actually produced the flash. Was it Kobold or Linhof. I haven’t gotten a definitive answer on the subject. I am quite certain one company produced the flashes for the other company, but I haven’t come across any material that states who did.
The Linhof Flash is considered a battery-capacitor flash gun (Kondensator – Blitzgerät) or (BC Flash Gun). This means that instead of relying on direct current of the battery to fire the flashbulb, the battery is used to charge a capacitor, which in turn fires the flashbulb. The manual says that 22.5 Volt batteries were used and had a life span of about 1 – 1 1/2 years. The bulbs used were the Giant Flash E-27 thread types.
Here you can see Han Solo in full uniform with the Droid Caller attached to his belt. In this case, the droid caller was probably a Kobold with the
black color scheme or a silver one that was painted black. In the Star Wars movies Luke Skywalker and the Jawas also used Droid Callers.
Here we have the Kobold Flash with the Linhof Flash. Both were made in Germany. They used the Ever Ready 22 1/2 volt battery or whatever the German equivalent was. The British model Ever Ready
was called the B122.
Here you can see slight differences in the ridges at the top and bottom. The Linhof’s are much closer together and not as thick.
A little closer shot of the different bulb setups. You will notice the Kobold on the right also has a set screw above the bulb. The set screw is used to hold the flash ring holder at the top in place. When using the Kobold for a Halloween costume, I somehow lost one of the set screws, so now I only have one. Sort of a bummer.
My Kobold’s Flash shield has the letting “West Germany”. The term “West Germany” started being used in the 50’s.
The buttons of the Kobold and Linhof are slightly different. The Kobold allows the camera mount to be screwed in without a camera shoe attached. The
Linhof has the camera shoe that must be present if you want to screw something into the bottom.
Ever Ready made a blue B122 22 1/2 volt battery in Britain and a Red 22 1/2 in the States. Not sure what battery was used in Germany.
Here is a video someone put together talking about the battery.
As with many products, there may have been modifications during the production cycle, which would add slight differences. Having either a Linhof or a Kobold flash should excite any Star Wars fan and will certainly impress anyone who is not up on all the technical Star Wars props and what were actually used in the movies.
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