Earlier in the year, Ellen commissioned me to cook up a sword and shield for upcoming Rose City Comic-Con. She commissioned another friend to cook up her dress, but needed a couple props to round out her outfit.
The sword was easy enough, as I just fastened a closet-rod dowel to a pine board, and a couple trips through the bandsaw, table saw (to get the blade bevel), and sander, and the structure was done. Hand guard was shaped from floor mat foam, and the rose pommel was sculpted from clay. This was my first time making something from clay, and it turned out more fragile than I anticipated. I used ‘all-natural’ sculpting/pottery clay, and in the future I will probably try out polymer clay.
The shield took a lot longer, because I originally wanted to make it from plastic. If you look online, there are ton of people who have made awesome shields using translucent plastic. However, after scouring the web, I couldn’t find out exactly where they were getting their awesome blanks. In the end, I just gave up and decided to cut the whole thing out of flat MDF wood.
I had plenty of nylon webbing, fasteners, and buckles leftover from when I was making assault rifle slings, so fortunately getting the adjustable straps installed was a breeze using the staple gun.
After the shield was done, I was somewhat dismayed at how heavy it was. Even thin MDF sheets really pack on the weight, and I probably should have used thin ply as the backing material, since it’s not so dense.
I also cut out a Sailor Uranus sword for her alternate costume out of Dollar Tree foam core board. However, the hydrocarbons in the spray paint started eating away at the polystyrene foam core, and the moisture of the paint caused the paper of the surface to gently warp ever so slightly.
Making the whole sword from foam core seemed like a good idea because it was super lightweight, but the structure itself was somewhat flimsy, and in the future I will most likely first cut a thin ‘skeleton’ sheet out of MDF for rigid structure, and then put the foam core on top of that to add dimension without adding weight. And also use much, much thinner layers of spray paint to minimize warping.