Introduction: Mehrunes' Razor - Skyrim
Time to veer away from Star Wars and Batman stuff to try some video game inspired props. Specifically Skyrim, as it has some fairly unique looking armour and weapons. One of my more favourite weapons in the game was Mehrunes' Razor, not only because of the reference to Oblivion but the random chance of a insta-kill was always fun.
I've made this prop using some different materials this time, with the batarangs I used craft balsa wood, cast that into a rough plastic shape and used that as a master to mold (fairly expensive method). I was able to find PVC sheeting at a local hardware store, which is a stiff sandable material that can be cut with an exacto knife, which makes it easy for these types of props. Most materials and techniques I use are
Materials Used for this build:
Craft knife - Preferably one with replaceable blades so they stay sharp.
PVC sheeting - Can use polystyrene sheets or similar material. I used a 3mm thick sheet.
Wood Glue/Super Glue.
Sandpaper - low and high grit, I went from 60 to 1500 wet sanding.
Rotary Tool - Not need, but very helpful making the stacked sheets even.
Clay - I used Monster Clay, but any sulphur free clay will work for molding.
Small ball/sphere - I found a cheap bouncy ball for the pommel, anything around 3cm wide will work.
Dowel - Bought a 25mm thick balsa dowel for the handle.
Spot Filler - Some car body filler or spot filler helps hide any scratches or dings in the prop.
Silicone for Molding - I used Pinkysil Silicone (Aus version of SmoothOn Rebound), it's self removing from casts and mixes 1:1 in volume.
Mold release - I used a petroleum jelly to stop the silicone fro sticking together, but would have preferred a spray on one.
Resin for Casting - I used EasyCast polyurethane resin (Aus version of SmoothOn 300), mixes 1:1 for volume, cures off-white and is fairly rigid (shore 70 hardness).
Paints - Primer and base colour spray paints (Mine was flat black, brown can work as well), metallic acrylic paints and a clear coat to protect everything.
Step 1: References and Templates.
Went onto the Skyrim wiki and saw they had a very nice front on image, so I took that and turned it into a vector outline in Photoshop. It was pretty much an outline of the outside and free handing the inside indent and hilt layers, and I used the wooden dowel as a reference on how large the handle would be to scale the template appropriately (made the handle about 13 cm from the bottom of the hilt to where it meets the pommel, making the whole blade 47 cm tip to tip).
Print that template out and transfer it to the PVC sheeting. I did this multiple times due to 'prototyping' (ie. mistakes, so many mistakes), and found doing the blade and hilt as 1 solid piece works best. Made the blade and hilt 3 layers thick (9 mm), and cut out additional smaller pieces for the hilt details (those wings and layered body, twice for each side). Trim them with a knife so they fit snugly together and glue them down, if you're fast you can used super glue but safer to use a 5 min epoxy or wood glue to nudge them into place.
Eventually you will have a 1/2 of Mehrunes' Razor already 'done'. Time to sand and shape.
Step 2: Sanding, Shaping and Prepping.
Now we need to make the blade more 'bladey', i.e sharp. I traced a guide along the edges for where the edge would stop on the face and in the middle of the 3 blade layers. Then using a rotary tool, hold it on an angle and carefully shape the edges down until they meet the guidelines. Now I found on another project I did just after that if I had left a 'gap' on the blades edge (ie make the face layers thinner along the sides) I could have filled them in with car body filler and sanded them down really easily. So if you don't have a dremel that would be better to do. Once that edge is made, take some sandpaper and smooth it out, going up several grits. Use the dremel to also clean up the sides of the hilt so the multiple sheets are are flush and smooth, with no seam lines.
We also need to prep for some paint and eventual molding, so take some higher grit sand paper (I went 240, 320, 400) and sand every side/face/edge. PVC sheets without prep doesn't take spray paint very well, so roughing it up slightly helps a lot. Hit it with some primer and fill in any imperfections with some filler, while the final product will be aged/damaged it's better to have a clean initial cast to work from. I drilled a hole in the bottom of the hilt so I could spray the whole thing at once by just spinning the drill around, really sped it up.
And the 'blade' half is done. Time to work on the handle and pommel.
Step 3: Handle and Pommel, Mini Projects in Themselves.
I wasn't too sure on how to do these pieces, just they had to be done separately and attached later. I cut some dowel to 13cm and marked on it where the metal rings would go. I counted 11 in total on some higher resolution images, so I had one be the handle/hilt join and another would join the pommel/handle together, so I needed to make 9. I took some monster clay and wrapped that around the dowel, and did my best to smooth them out/line them up. I made a smaller box mold for that with the PinkySil, cut out the wood and clay and cast a copy in resin (I'll go over the process later), and cleaned/sanded that down a bit. Honestly I should have used a curing clay like Apoxie sculpt or Sculpey oven clay to harden the rings, sand them and then just use that as a base for the master, but I didn't think of that til afterwards (of course I did the expensive option...). Attach that handle to the base of the blade with glue or screws, and you're almost done.
I did actually find Apoxie Sculpt at a kinda local store hidden away for cheap and mixed up a small amount for the base of the hilt to hide the glue join. It's a 2 part apoxie which cures hard a rock after about 3-4 hours, fully in 24, just take equal amounts and blend them together (WEAR GLOVES WHILE MIXING, the stuff is probably not good for your skin un-mixed).
Next is the pommel. Take a small ball (bouncy ball works great), and start claying out the metal casing. I made a small ring out of PVC to make sure it would attach to the handle properly and built up from there. I cast some tiny domes by pressing the end of a brush into some clay and dropping in the resin, and pressed in 4 indents so I could glue the 'wings' in later. Made a 2 part mold for the pommel as they would be recast for every Razor made, cast a copy out as a test and set that aside for later.
Step 4: Molding and Casting the Master Copy
Now if you are just doing a personal copy for a cosplay or display piece, you could just paint a primer layer over the whole thing and skip to the final painting step. The PVC sheet is very light and fairly durable, and would work as a personal copy as is. I wanted to sell this thing later as a solid plastic piece to recoup some costs, and to do so I needed a 2 part silicone mold.
I used the monster clay to block out an area surrounding the Razor, and used a clay tool to make sure the clay was joined at 90` angle along the edge. This should allow for a neater seam line and allows the silicone to capture more detail. Take a stick or paint brush and press the end into the clay, making some registration holes so the 2 parts of the mold can 'lock' together later in the correct place. I used some foamcore sheets to build a wall surrounding the clay, sealing the open gaps with some hot glue and more clay. We need a pour spout for the resin, so you can use clay to make it, I glued a thinner dowel piece to the end for that. Once this half is prepared time for silicone.
Pinkysil is a 2 part silicone, pour it by equal volume and using a small amount make a detail coat. This thin layer ensure all details are captured by the mold and allows you to easily get rid of any bubbles that may form are ruin casts. Let that set and keep add more until the whole piece is covered. You can see some blocks of already cured silicone in one image, that was so I could fill some of the volume up with some scrap pieces, as silicone is very expensive (so expensive, ugh...). Let that cure, flip it over and very carefully remove all the clay on the other side without removing the master piece, you may need to wash it with soapy water depending on your material. Reset the walls of the mold and apply your mold release. Silicone will stick to itself, so the mold release makes a thin layer of material to prevent this. I smeared petroleum jelly across all of the silicone, cleaning anything that stuck to the prop, but a spray on one would have been much easier. Repeat the previous steps, let that set, peel it apart and remove the master copy, and now you have a reusable mold. Take something rigid (like the PVC sheet) and cut out some pieces to sandwich around the mold so they stay together when casting.
Casting this was fairly simply as my mold was self-releasing from resin. Yours may need a releasing agent for every cast, check just in case. Keep the mold open for now and mix up a small amount of resin. EasyCast is a 2 part mixture by equal volumes, so I mixed up some small batches and poured them into places where air could get caught if I did 1 single pout (the tips of the hilt edges and along the rings of the handle). This stuff cures very fast, so I left it for 10 minutes and stuck both silicone pieces together and secured them together with rubber bands and clamps. Mix up a larger batch and pour that through the spout, making sure to move the mold around to let lose any bubbles and make sure the resin gets everywhere. Let that cure for a hour or so and you can remove you own plastic Daedric Artefact!
Step 5: Prep for Paint
Now I forgot to take photos here, but it's fairly simple. Lightly sand up the entire prop with some high grit sand paper (I finished at 800 wet sanding), and clean up any seam lines or bubbles from the mold. Once it seems good we can age it a bit, it is a Daedric Artefact which has seen lots of combat over the centuries. Take a marker and draw some lines across the whole piece, where you thing there would be damage, scratches or gouges in the metal. Using a file or cutting wheel on a dremel, cut into the prop until you are satisfied with the damage look. Spray it with a primer and give it a base coat of a dark colour. I went a cheap flat black spray can, may do some black and brown layering on other copies, and seal this up with a matt clear coat to protect it for weathering.
For the final paint job I drybrushed the whole thing using a number of metallic paints, mostly bronze, copper and some silvers for some toning and depth for the metal. Punished Props on youtube actually has a good video on this technique which helped me out a bit (link below). Basically take a old frayed brush, wipe most of the paint of the end with a paper towel, and lightly paint the higher faces of the Razor until it looks metallic. You can do it in light layers and change the colours to add some depth/realism to it, I made the handle and hilt have a copper/bronze tint compared to the blade edges and added some brown to the metal in the middle of the blade. I painted the pommel separately and the glued it on. Coat everything with some matt clear coat to protect the paint job and you have finished.
Step 6: And Done!
And there you go, an in depth guide on how to mold, cast and finish your own Daedric Artefact. I've got some close up shots of the individual parts of the Razor, and overall I am very happy with how this piece turned out. It feels very light and looks great next to everything else I've made. Good luck with your own props, and hopefully you can take some techniques from this and apply them elsewhere.