I once wanted something new to build, a weapon from a video game. While looking through random internet images for a weapon to replicate, I discovered the "Blades of Exile" from "God of War III", and I fell in love. There are other blades from the "God of War" video game series, but none with the character that this one has.
The fabrication of these pieces uses the following materials :
Bondo Body Filler
Bondo Glazing Spot Putty
1/16" Polystyrene Plastic (will be referred to as styrene)
Cyanoacrylate (will be referred to as super glue)
Polyurethane/silicone (only necessary if you want two blades)
The tools I used to fabricate these pieces were :
Rotary Tool (Dremel)
Clay Sculpting Tool
Sandpaper (low to high grit)
Design Software (for template creation)
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Step 1: Blade Templates
The easier part of this build, is the blade, and that's where we'll start.
Using design software, I made a simple line template of the outer edge of the blade, and one with the inner bevel edge/webbed paint detail on the blade. The template in the top of the photo, is the inner bevel edge/web paint detail of the sword. The bottom template in the photo, is the outer edge of the sword. Not shown, but I also printed out a scaled picture of the sword for fabrication/paint color reference. To get a good scale, I gauged the size of the blade handle, compared to the size of the main characters hand. I used my hand (though probably smaller than the main characters) to finalize the scale of this weapon.
Step 2: Blade Body and Bevel
On my piece of MDF, I traced the inner bevel template twice. I cut these shapes out of the MDF using a scroll saw.
On my piece of styrene, I traced the outer bevel template. I cut this shape out with scissors.
One piece of MDF was properly positioned into place on top of the cut out piece of styrene and traced around. I removed the MDF, applied epoxy adhesive where it was positioned, then set it back in place and clamped it down till the adhesive cured. I did the same thing with the other piece of MDF on the opposite side of the styrene.
Strips of styrene, the thickness of the MDF were cut, and adhered to the outer bevel styrene piece, with super glue. These strips were tapered as necessary to match the outer edge of the blade.
Bondo body filler was used to fill in all of the gaps that create the beveled edge of the blade. Heavily coating the styrene with super glue first is recommended, as the body filler doesn't like to bond to the styrene surface. Super glue bonds extremely well to styrene, and the body filler will bond better to the super glue. Multiple applications of body filler, with sanding in between layers, is easier than one heavy layer, requiring lots of heavy sanding to achieve the proper bevel shape. Use low grit sandpaper moving to higher grit with each application. For the final smoothing out of the body filler surface, spot putty should be applied and sanded off with a high grit sanding sponge.
While I had the body filler out, I used it to round out the handle. This was totally "eyeballed", so you'll just have to apply body filler, and sand it til it looks proper.
The last step of this section of the build, is the web detail that goes on the sides of the blade. This web detail could just be painted on, but I wanted it raised. To make it, I adhered the template to my styrene sheet with spray adhesive, and cut it out using a scroll saw. I cut out just one web, molded it, and made two copies with polyurethane resin.
Step 3: Handle Detail
Several strips of styrene were cut a little longer than the total length of the handle, and adhered to it with super glue.
The Butt of the handle began with two pieces of styrene cut to the same size. I didn't make a template for this, but used my scaled reference image along with the physical handle to gauge the proper size and shape. I adhered these two pieces together with a spacer in between them. The gap between these pieces was filled in with Bondo body filler, sanded to shape, and smoothed out with spot putty.
Don't do what I did next. To save time and money, so I thought, I used nylon weed eater string (because I had it on hand in the garage) for the edges around the handle butt piece. It was difficult to use this material, and made it time consuming. Use styrene rod when you do this step. With super glue, adhere the rod to the edges in a spot where it will be easy to hide the joint. Blend the seam with spot putty, and lightly sand smooth. The inner edges of the rod will also look better if blended into the adjoining piece with spot putty. With the edge details done, I joined the butt piece to the end of the handle with epoxy adhesive.
Next I marked where all of the handle detail channels would be. I used a template so they would all be the same size. Using an Exacto knife, it took quite awhile to cut these areas out. I added more weed eater string to the bottom half of the empty channels, and this was when I absolutely knew I would never use weed eater string again in replica building.
I used a yellow epoxy clay to create the bevel from the handle to the edge of the butt piece. I used the same epoxy clay to form a cone as close to the proper shape and size as in the reference picture. I did this separately from the butt piece. When the epoxy clay cone was fully cured, I did final shaping with sand paper, creating a concave surface on its bottom to allow it to sit properly in place on the adjoining piece. Styrene half round was adhered to the base of the cone with super glue.
The last bit of detail for the handle is the "grips?" These were cut out of my styrene sheet. I adhered styrene half round to the edges with super glue, and rounded out all the edges with high grit sand paper.
Step 4: Neck
Before the neck was built, I lined the outsides of the gaps in the handle with styrene half round.
I made the piece that leads to the "neck ramps" with styrene. I measured the width and length necessary for this piece, cut it out, and glued it to place with super glue. I added a piece of half round to the bottom edge of this piece of styrene. I tapered epoxy clay on this piece and then dug channels out of it with a piece of styrene half round.
I didn't think to take step by step pictures of the next process. For each ramp, a piece of styrene was cut, bent/curved in the middle to fit properly over the sword, then glued in place. I marked where the next ramp would be, then filled the ramp up to that mark with Bondo. I did each ramp one at a time like this. These ramps were filled in and smoothed out with spot putty.
So ends the blade fabrication. Now it gets tedious.
Step 5: Jaw
What is that!? Spray foam, a chance to try a technique I had seen other makers use. For each piece, the head and jaw, two pieces of mdf were cut. One for the height and the other for the width. They were glued together and then the cavities were filled in with a spray foam. When using this technique for a larger project, insulation foam would be a far better choice. I used spray foam because I already had it and didn't want to buy an entire sheet of insulation foam for something this small.
After the foam was cured I trimmed it to the basic shape I needed with a utility knife. A coating of Bondo was applied to give the foam a shell to work on.
Because the jaw would be the easiest part of the head build, I worked on it first. To make the detail ridges I first marked where they needed to go and then glued down half round following the marks I had made. On the image I was basing this build on, the ridges look like they start as one piece and split into two. To imitate this look I filled the gap between the half round at the top and tapered the fill as it came down the side. (This becomes visible once the piece is one color) This was the very easy part of the head build. I still had the teeth to add, but I wanted to do the teeth for both parts of the head at the same time.
Step 6: Face/Horn Sculpting
When I came back to the head, I was not at all happy with the piece I had made. I started over using a different material. I used a block of florist foam and cut it to the basic shape I needed. I again covered it with Bondo to give it a shell to work on. This new head piece was mounted to a board with wire to make working on it easier.
The eyeballs were made with polyester resin. I don't remember what mold I used to cast them.
I had never done any real sculpting before and I thought using a two part epoxy clay for all of the sculpting, may make it easier. It is easy enough to shape with sculpting tools and has a good amount of work time before completely curing. I started with the eye area by building up around them and defining the eye lid opening. I did one side at a time and let it cure, that way I could try to replicate it on the other side without messing up the first side. I continued this process to create the entire face. For the nose, styrene was cut to the basic shape. I made holes in it to ensure that the clay would bond to itself and not come loose from the styrene. This technique could also easily be used during the fabrication of the blade.
With the sculpting of the face finished, I thought it a good time to make the horn. Styrene was cut to the shape of the length of the horn. Another piece of styrene was cut to the width of the horn and glued together. Holes were made to ensure the bonding of the filler to itself. I forgot to take progressive pictures of this part of the build. The major filling of this piece was done with Bondo. It should have been done with foam to make it lighter but I didn't have any to use. I put a thin layer of epoxy clay on top of the Bondo to make it easier to get the correct final shape. I marked where the grooves in the horn would be and carved them out with a needle file.
Step 7: Face Details
Next in line is the head detail. I used two different sizes of styrene half round. I marked where the detail would go and glued it to place with super glue. I used spot putty to blend all of the seams and areas where one piece of half round ran into another.
The spaces between the half round ridges are sunken in. Easy enough to create with a low grit sandpaper, and smoothed out with high grit sandpaper and spot putty. Thin strips of styrene were added to the tops of the sunken in areas of the cheeks, to add greater definition.
The head and jaw pieces were meticulously hollowed out using a Dremel rotary tool, with a sanding drum attachment.
Step 8: Teeth
The teeth were made with the same technique I used to make the handle butt spike with. I made a bunch of them trying to keep them close to the same size in relation to where they would be in the mouth. I formed them around toothpicks. The toothpicks were used so I could pierce the teeth into position before adhering them.
I came up with an idea to make the teeth installation much more predictable and uniform. I marked the teeth locations and then made holes at those spots. The holes were easy to make since I only had to go through a thin shell of Bondo to get to the softer foam. The holes allowed me to position the tooth at any angle and depth that I wanted. I used a five minute cure epoxy adhesive to adhere the teeth so that I would have time to correctly position each one. I used this same procedure for the jaw.
The final bit of fabrication, and unrelated to the head/jaw, was to put some holes in the handle butt piece to hold the chains in place. Also I made a peg that holds the chains in place on the jaw. I made one peg, and used it to make push molds with non sulfur clay. I made polyurethane copies of the peg, one for each side.
I made molds of every piece, but I didn't document the process. This build was my first time making molds, and I made a lot of mistakes, learning a great deal from them. For the record though, I used a brush on silicone for the molds, and made the support shells out of fiberglass.
Step 9: Glamour Shots
I cold cast all of the pieces with aluminum powder, so I didn't have to do any silver painting. The gold eyes were colored by dusting the eyes of the mold with a gold colored powder. The rest of the painted areas were done with either acrylic, or aerosol paints.
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