Borderlands Psycho Bandit Buzz Axe 1:1 Scale Cosplay Prop




About: Steven (aka SKS Props) is a seasoned member of the RPF and a Pro Builder on the site Instructables. He has made a name for himself by creating extremely detailed costumes/props based off of popular video gam...

Once again because of the great response I got from my Isaac Clarke Dead Space cosplay build thread

I figured it's about time to start another walk through. I have decided to make a full Instructable on the iconic Borderlands Psycho Bandit Buzz Axe!!!!! This awesome prop was by far the most detailed and complex weapon I have ever attempted to create. The build took about 20 days and was so cool because I got to try out a bunch of new tricks and techniques.

I decided to make this weapon to compliment my rendition of the Borderlands Psycho mask.

Before we begin let me say some of the products that are used in prop building can be bad for you :(

So read all warning labels and be safe!!!

Always wear eye protection, wear gloves, and use a respirator when needed. Lets get started!!!!

Head Form from CFX

Monster Clay

Smooth-On Rebound 25

Smooth-Cast 65D

Plasti Paste

EVA foam 1/2" and 1/4"

Craft foam 1mm-3mm


Loctite Super Glue

Rattle can Primmer and Colors

Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics

Plasti Dip Rattle Can

Painters Tape

Step 1: Templating and Building the "puzzle Pieces"

Materials Used:

MDF 3/4 and 1/4 inch

Apoxi Sculpt

Weed eater line

1/4 inch Wooden Dowels

Metal Bike Break Handel

Dewalt Saw Blade

Loctite Super Glue

Smooth-On Rebound 25 silicone

Smooth-On Smooth Cast 300 resin

Krylon Rust Red and Flat Black Primer

Rust-Oleum Etching Primer and sandable filler

Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics

Tools Used:

Table Saw

Table Router

Scroll Saw

Belt Sander

Sanding Blocks


Drill Press

Flat Files

Various knives and sculpting tools

So for the folks that have never played Borderlands and are wondering what the heck a Buzzaxe is here is a breakdown. A vicious melee weapon that is gas powered and looks post apocalyptic with rusty nails, bike breaks, and a saw blade. Screen captures are tough so the axe dimensions were taken and scaled off of the action figure I own. The axe ended up being 25 1/4 inches long and 11 inches at the widest point.

I still do things "old school" so I drew out my template by hand on MDF and cut out the pieces using a scroll saw. The axe is built in two halves so that I can make a single pour mold and glue the two halves together. The body of the axe is traced onto 3/4 inch MDF and levels are made using 1/4 inch MDF. The different layers don't need a ton of detail yet they just need the basic shape.

After these puzzle pieces were cut out I used a table router to bevel the edged and make everything a little cleaner.

Step 2: Refining and Basic Shape

So here I have the buzz axe pretty much laid out in its basic raw shape. The mdf pieces have been attached to each other using wood glue to start building up the layers of the axe. A belt sander and Dremel are used to start refining the shape of the vent on the back, the finger grips on the front, and the bike handle at the bottom.

Yes that is a real saw blade up there in the top. I use a 5 1/2 inch Dewalt wood blade and I sand down all of the points so that it's not dangerous. I just couldn't get the look and feel from a cast blade.

Step 3: Sanding, Priming, More Sanding, and More Priming

So here is where the build slows down in the endless sanding stages. I use an auto body filler primer on the MDF to seal it and fill in the material. This takes multiple passes of sanding and priming using decreasing sandpaper grit to achieve the desired surface texture. As you can see by the first pic the axe still is able to break apart which helps to get to some of those hard to reach places.

Step 4: Finally the Details!!!

Here is where the fun begins. The surface texture is exactly what I want so it's time to start adding in the details. This was my first time using the 2 part clay Apoxi Sculpt and I absolutely love it!! Part A and part B are mixed together and added to the axe to give it the appearance of metal plates and grungy distress. The texture achieved using the Apoxi Sculpt is amazing! I was even able to add faux rivets by pressing a ball point pen cap into the clay.

Step 5: Ready for Molding and the First Cast

The Apoxi Sculpt has cured and the axe is now ready to be molded. I prime the MDF with Krylon Rust Red to give it a uniformed texture for the silicone to adhere to. The mold boxes are made out of foam core that is just cut to fit and shored up using hot glue and packing tape.

I prefer to use Smooth-On products for my molding and casting. For this project I use Smooth-On Rebound 25 for the silicone mold and Smooth-Cast 300 for the resin cast. There are 14 individual pieces cast to make up a single axe and I am really happy with how the cast came out.

Step 6: Primimg and the Base Colors

So the cast is out of the mold and assembled using Loctite professional grade superglue. The bike handle and rusty nail holes are drilled out using a drill press and glued into place. The assembled cast is sprayed with an auto grade etching primer. This will bite into the fresh resin a bit so that the paint sticks a little better to the surface. The saw blade is coated with krylon's hammered metal series to give it some texture. The axe is primed at the top using the Rust Red again and the handle is primed just using flat black.

Step 7: Hand Painting and Weathering

After the axe is primed the entire axe gets a black wash of Liquitex heavy body acrylics. Then I dry brush the axe using Liquitex Raw Sienna, Bronze Yellow, and add Iridescent Rich Silver to accent the rivets and bike handle. Additional black washes can be added to give the prop more depth. The dry brushing just highlights the raised detail areas.

The gas line coming out the back is a weed eater line that has been primed black and cut to fit.

Step 8: The Complete Costume

So here it is the completed Buzz Axe!!!

It looks perfect with my custom made Psycho mask / cosplay and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. The Psychos pictured are John Pinnell, Mike Prost, and myself.

Thanks for taking a look at my build I hope it inspires you to go out and get creative :)

You check out more of my prop and costume builds on my Facebook page

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    23 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    This is incredible! Are we able to get the templates from you?


    3 years ago

    I have no words... You are just... Brilliant. There's no other word for it. Brilliant...


    4 years ago

    Can you send a link to your template for the mdf pieces please? Id quite like to make this :)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    From Dead Space to Borderlands, I like your style sir. Great build and documentation!


    4 years ago

    looks great. I would like to see that entire costume at the end done. the one with spikes. awesome job.


    4 years ago

    My God that's beautiful work! I am completely in awe of your craftsmanship! MDF is a great and flexible media, if you have the patience to discover what it can do.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Cool looking prop. Can you put a full list of materials and maybe add the dimensions? Thanks for sharing your creation for the world to build.

    1 reply