Time to recap this most interesting of builds I've done thus far: the Sword of Ahrah, from Dust: An Elysian Tail!
First things first, I made a blueprint after scouring the interwebs for pictures. I would have taken them myself, since I own the game, but my system was (and still is) packed away in the moving pod.
I scaled the sword at three and a half feet long, both for the size of my client and because anything larger than that would have been too unwieldy. Even then, though, the blade section was longer than the foam I have, so I had to make it in two parts.
Now we come to the first of many conundrums for this build. Because it's so bulky, I decided on 4 layers of foam. That meant a lot of cutting at once. Since I needed to do work on the inner layers as well, I needed to keep them all separate from each other. Since I am no good cutting by hand exactly straight, and since I would have to do each piece as identically as possible, box cutters and xacto knives were out of the question. Normally I would reach for my band saw at this point, but guess what?
Remember how my console is packed away? Yeah. Every single one of my tools/power tools is too. No band saw, no scroll saw, no belt sander, no nothing. So, I went and got a cheap electric knife, something I could use and throw away when it's done because I knew the torture I was about to put it through would kill it utterly. What I didn't anticipate was how quickly it would die.
Yep, that's right: cut out the bottom bit of the blade, and a small part of the upper bit, and gave out on me. Thing still turned on, but the blades wouldn't move. After trying to figure out what else I could do, I splurged a little and grabbed a coping saw, along with the cheapest dremel I could get since I knew I needed it soon. Not pretty, but the saw got the job done finally.
Now I could start on the inner workings. I grabbed a dowel that was lying around, cut it down, marked out where it would slide in and support as the blade's tang, and cut the trench out with a box cutter.
I then glued two layers of each side together, keeping the halves separate since there was still a little more work to do inside. Since the client wanted it to light up, I went out and got some turquoise acrylic, then traced a small section out for where the runes would go.
I would have preferred to cut out each rune and install them that way, but I don't have access to a laser cutter, and there was no way I could hand cut such intricate details out of two layers of foam - twice - to install them. Not only that, but the foam is malleable, whereas the acrylic is not, and given that this was a big sword going to an anime convention I didn't want to risk them popping out. So, I opted to cut a larger section out with the coping saw, to give it more surface area to glue.
I traced that larger piece onto each half, and cut them out. Part of the dowel stuck out into these sections, which would make things easier for the lights. I also cut out the cross-guard, and wrapped the end of the dowel in foam for the grip.
Once the fit was right, I made a stencil for the runes and cut them into the protective sheet on the acrylic. Once I removed the larger area, this left behind the rune shapes, which saved me from having to re-tape them later just to do the same thing.
Since I didn't want to replace all my soldering stuff, I decided to get a string of prewired LEDs attached to a battery pack, which had an on/off switch. Made things simpler, and man those lights were bright! Glad of it though, since I needed as much light as possible to make it through the opaque acrylic to be seen.
Secured the lights and acrylic panels in with hot glue, then glued the blade together along with the hilt/dowel. In hindsight, I should have waited to install the hilt, but there it is.
Now the real fun begins! Remember those lines on the blade? I marked those out so I knew exactly how far I had to bevel it down. This took ages with the dremel, and literally covered me head to toe in foam dust. Thank goodness for goggles and a respirator!
Now it's reeeeeally starting to look like a proper sword! You can see that I also took the dremel to the grip, to give it the wavy look of the game model. From here, I took my xacto knife and scored in the pattern at the base of the blade, then took a heat gun to it to separate the cuts and make a nice etching. I also made the snake-head pommel, did the same trick to etch the eyes, and attached it. Finally, I took a bit of craft foam and used it to cover the battery pack in the hilt, accessible via a small bit of velcro.
Home stretch! Time for one of my favorite parts: painting. Threw on several layers of black Plasti Dip, as a base.
Then painted the cross guard and pommel a goldish bronze, let it set, and taped it up. Once that was ready, I covered the blade with an automotive silver paint, which gave it a nice shine.
Taped it up some more, then covered the central part of the blade with a nice, deep blue metallic paint. Once that all set, all the tape came off, plus the rest of the protective paper from the acrylic!
You can still see the seam where the acrylic meets the foam, which I tried to hide as best as I could but still never fully worked. The biggest issue was going from a solid piece of acrylic to the softer foam, but I also should have waited to put the two layers together until I had evenly glued in the acrylic piece. Oh well.... Hand painted in the yellow filigree on the blade, using the etched lines as a guide. Also did the red gems in the blade and pommel, and threw a basic black wash over the silver of the blade to give it a little bit of weathering.
Once that was all done, I could add the finishing touches: the wrap. Got a simple brown lace from Walmart, glued one end down, wrapped the grip up to the top and wrapped the hilt, then went back down with the excess and glued it down too. Worked perfectly!
Really happy with how this turned out, even with the visible acrylic edge and the craft foam cover that refused to stay down, and a seam on the top opening after everything was done. Given how I had to use tools I wasn't used to, having to go without the tools I would have liked to use, and still turning out how it did makes me feel really good about how my skills are improving.
Hope you guys liked this build! Here's a send-off of some outdoor pics I took to show off the details a bit better.