Reference image used to make my template.
Vector template drawn with Adobe Illustrator. I find it easiest to place a line down the center of the reference image and draw one half of the template, then copy and flip the template to the other side, making one complete symmetrical template.
basic handle shape
I poured polyurethane into a piece of PVC pipe and let it cure. The cured piece was put into my lathe and turned to shape.
I used a small metal ruler and calipers to gauge the correct ring widths and distances in the handle. The benefit of polyurethane compared to a block of wood is the lack of wood grain. There is a downside though; without a pressure pot there are air pocks to be filled in the final piece. To hide them I leave the piece on my lathe and use spot putty/filler to fill in the air pocks. Once the putty is cured I turn the lathe on and sand the putty smooth with a high grit sanding sponge.
My final step in hiding the air pocks is filler primer. 2-3 coats of filler primer on the piece, then wet sand the primer with a high grit sanding sponge while the lathe is running.
All of the extra handle details were made of polystyrene plastic. For the butt details, I first made a paper template and then traced that onto two pieces of polystyrene.
The first piece of polystyrene was attached to the butt of the handle. The second piece had the middle cut out to fit properly and form a "plus" shape.
All of the gaps in these pieces were filled in with spot putty. They were then smoothed out and rounded off with different grits of sand paper/sponges. I forgot to photo document this step.
I also forgot to photo document these detail pieces. They were done the same way as the butt pieces. Paper templates first, then transferred onto pieces of polystyrene plastic. I made a center line down both sides of the handle to properly align these pieces. Any gaps were filled in with spot putty.
The spots where the gems would be mounted were first marked, then drilled out with a hand drill. The bigger holes were slightly irregular, so I used spot putty to make them more symmetrical.
My last step for the handle was to check for final touch ups. I put primer paint on it so it would all be the same color. This makes finding problem spots a lot easier. I checked and fixed the problem areas, then wet sanded the whole handle for a smooth finish. A wooden dowel was adhered to the top of the handle to form the pour spout of the mold.
handle mold making
I rolled out a schlab of non-sulfur clay big enough to fit the handle and leave room for registration keys for both the mold and the mold jacket. I put the clay onto a piece of foam board so I could move it around as necessary. I laid the handle on the clay and "traced" it out with a sculpting tool. I then dug out the unnecessary clay. I make the dug out hole slightly smaller than the piece that's going in it. This makes smoothing out the seam line easier.
After the piece is pressed into the clay, small clay worms are laid where the clay and handle touch, then smoothed out to fill in the seam line.
After the seam line was finished, I added registration keys to the clay. These keys are to insure proper alignment of the two mold halves.
First print coat of Smooth-On Rebound 25 silicone. I do 1-3 print coats before thickening the silicone for brushing on.
A few coats of thickened silicone, along with registration keys. These registration keys are to insure the mold is properly aligned with the mold jacket. This silicone is thickened with Thi-Vex from Smooth-On.
The outside edge of the silicone was cut off to make a clean edge all the way around the mold. I then cut mold jacket registration keys out of the clay for proper jacket alignment and then the mold jacket was added. I made the mold jacket for this mold out of an epoxy clay called Free Form Air, another product from Smooth-On. I usually make fiberglass jackets, but for this project I needed to work inside my house which isn't an option with fiberglass because of the mess and toxic fumes. Free Form Air was a perfect option because it's 99% less messy than fiberglass and has no fumes. I colored the jacket clay with blue pigment.
After the jacket clay was cured, I turned it over and pulled the clay off of everything and cleaned the clay from the seam line. Everything got a coat of Ease Release 200, which prevents side B of the silicone and epoxy clay from sticking to their side A counterparts.
Side b of both the silicone, and epoxy clay go through the same processes.
Finished mold and mold jacket.
I used 3/4" MDF for the base of the crossguards build. Using my template, I first cut out the crossguard shapes. Next, I drew a taper guide on the tops of the shapes, and cut-tapered the pieces on a band saw.
Polystyrene was used for all of the crossguard details. To make sure the pieces look the same, I cut them out, hold them together and sand all the edges to the same shape/form. I really could use a laser cutter and will happily except a free donation!
I adhered all the detail pieces with cyanoacrylate (super glue). Once all the detail pieces were on I sanded all of the edges flush with one another. Polystyrene sands down very easily so I used high grit sand paper/sponges for minimal touching up.
I used spot putty to even out gaps and fill in anything I couldn't make flush by sanding.
eye of thundera base
The base was cut out of 1/2" MDF. Polystyrene was used for the front and back details, adhered with cyanoacrylate.
1/8" thick pieces of wood were added to the sides.
I penciled in guides on the bottom of the base to start the detailing. These areas were filled in with Milliput, which is a two part epoxy putty.
A piece of 1/8" thick wood was centered and added to the base. I penciled in more guides for the next addition of Milliput.
I roughly shaped the Milliput within the guides and let it cure.
Once the Milliput was cured, I sanded each side to the proper shape.
The edges of the Milliput were cut off flush with the wood with an X-ACTO knife.
eye of thundera
The base of the Eye was made from PVC pipe and polystyrene.
The polystyrene was adhered to the inside of the first piece of PVC with cyanoacrylate.
The second ring of PVC was added to the polystyrene ring. I then attached the Eye base to its respective piece.
I used a strip of faux wood blind to build up the space between the PVC rings on the outside of the Eye ring.
The "wood grain" pattern gets hidden in a later step.
Polystyrene discs were cut out slightly bigger than the hole they would be sitting in. I adhered them to the PVC with cyanoacrylate.
To make the dome in the disc, I heated the disc with a heat gun just enough to make it pliable and pressed into the center of the disc with a round object until it cooled. The opposite side was harder to do and I had to end up shaping it up correctly with Bondo body filler.
All of the gaps were filled in with spot filler.
Spade shapes cut out of polystyrene.
The spade was cut in the middle and adhered to the base.
Center guide made of polystyrene.
Spade filled in with Milliput. I shaped the Milliput close to the desired shape of the spade. Once cured, I sanded it to the final shape.
Eye made of polystyrene was added.
The base of the blade is polystyrene, cut to the shape of the blade. I used the edge of a faux wood blind, slightly tapered, to make the spine of the blade.
The frame of the blade was filled in with Bondo body filler.
The first details of the blade were cut out of polystyrene. I glued the ends together and made a sleeve that would slide onto the blade making sure the two pieces were properly aligned.
Polystyrene triangles were adhered to the blade, then the sleeve was adhered into place. All gaps were filled in with spot putty. The bigger gaps in between the sleeve and the blade were filled in with Milliput.
I used the same PVC pipe that I used to make the Eye to mark the sleeve for cutting.
I used my Dremel with a sanding drum and sanded this piece to the proper shape. Ready to attach to the Eye.
I primed and wet sanded this piece before adding the textured areas because I didn't want the texture to lose any detail. The textured areas were made with a medium grit sandpaper. The most efficient way to prepare sandpaper pieces like this is to mark them using their respective detail pieces, before the detail pieces are glued into place.
The blade was adhered with two part epoxy adhesive.
dagger mold making
The same exact procedures used to make the handle mold were used to make this mold. Clay pancake with the dagger traced and cut out of it. Seam line created and registration keys added. I did have to make a second level on the clay pancake because of the height difference of the blade compared to the eye.
Several layers of silicone with registration keys. Silicone edge trimmed and registration keys added to the clay.
Free Form Air support shell.
Clay removed from bottom and everything is given a coating of Ease Release 200.
Castings made with black pigmented polyurethane. These mold turned out really well, with the only flashing showing up at the top half of the blade.
I forgot to photo document the assembly of the dagger. I will do so on a future assembling of another dagger.
He-Man's battle axe. This template was put together quickly. I wasn't going for an art award, I just needed to know the shape of things, and where to put them.
I wanted to start with the axe head. The size of the axe head where it meets the handle will determine just where I need to put the rings on the handle, where the two pieces meet. I was originally going to do this similar to the way I made the Blades Of Exile sword, by sandwiching a piece of styrene between two pieces of MDF. I decided not to because the styrene would not have enough support to keep itself true and straight, it would have had a bow, or wave to it. I needed something strong, and was going to try out acrylic. When I went to my local plastics supplier, they suggested polycarbonate instead. If you don't have the proper blades/instruments to cut acrylic, it easily chips and cracks. I went with polycarbonate and am quite pleased with the results. I printed out the templates and adhered them to the polycarbonate with spray adhesive. I cut out the templates using a coping saw.
To make sure there would be proper symmetry on both sides of the axe head, I taped together the two outside pieces and sanded them to shape at the same time. I sanded the sides first, then added tape to the sides and removed the tape from the top side, and sanded it.
Next, I added spacers to achieve the thickness I wanted. One piece of styrene on both sides of the center piece, to add overall thickness, then a polycarbonate spacer on both sides of the end, to give the axe head a taper toward the blade.
I might be overcautious, but, when I glue plastics together, I do all I can to make sure it's grippy and bondable. The cuts on the edge are to add grip, and the textured looking area is cyanoacrylate, commonly known as superglue. The superglue on the styrene is for a future step.
"Give him the clamps!" That's a line from a different cartoon. I glued these pieces together with two part epoxy and let it set over night.
The outer edges were filled in with Bondo body filler to level everything out.
The thickness of the polycarbonate edge was toned down with a piece of styrene half round. Using this is so much easier than trying to sand out a perfectly centered bevel edge.
The top pieces in this picture are the outside detail pieces of the axe head, and are cut from styrene. The bottom pieces are the texture that will go inside of the top detail pieces. I cut the texture pieces out using the top detail pieces as templates.
Styrene strips were added along the outside edges of the curve of the top pieces. This serves two purposes. The first is to even out the minor inconsistencies in the edge of the curve. The second is to add height to the blade bevel, and give it more character.
The bevel is filled in with Bondo body filler.
Once the bevel was completely filled up, the final smoothing out was done with spot filler.
The axe head is primed. I only wet sanded the blade area. This was done so that it would have a much smoother feel than the rest of this piece. This will only make a difference when doing a cold cast of this piece.
Molding. Same hideous routine.
The first two test castings of the He-Man Battle Axe head. The blade on the right was done first, with the mold halves together, and the resin all poured at once. The blade on the left was cast by doing a print copy on each mold half first, then putting the two halves together and filling the cavity in. Both techniques have their advantages, and disadvantages. The first technique yields a better seam line. The second allows you to see where all of the resin is going, guaranteeing that you won't have any void spots.
Most of the rest of this axe was made using a lathe. Some of the pieces are turned from wood, and the others are turned from polyurethane. This is the very center piece that the axe heads attach to. All of the handle pieces were made with opposing male or female ends. I did this to make assembly of kit versions more straight forward.
The top piece of the axe was made from three different turned pieces. All three pieces were adhered with two part epoxy and screwed together.
The next piece down on the handle was made from four different pieces put together. The three rings are polyurethane, and the column is wood. This was put together the same way, with epoxy and a screw in each end.
The grip of the axe was made by turning an eight ring section. I made a mold of it and then cast several copies and adhered them together. It would have been quicker to just turn the whole grip in one piece, but I was worried that I wouldn't have uniformity with that many rings. The very end of this piece is not in the picture, but it was another separately turned piece adhered to the rest of the grip.
All of the turned pieces primed, touched up, and ready for molding.
This is what it looks like without the axe heads. These pieces are not adhered to one another, just sitting on top of the anothers opposing ends, male to female.
I made a mistake. The axe head master that I already had molded was flat where it needed to join the center column. I had to alter the master unfortunately. Using a contour gauge, I got the curve of the center piece that the axe head joins to, and traced the curve onto the head master. Following this guide, I removed the unwanted material from the axe head using a dremel tool with a sanding drum. What I did was remove enough material to get close to the curve I needed, without taking away too much. Next I wrapped a piece of coarse grit sandpaper around the center piece and used it to hand sand the new curve in the head master to a matching fit.
Lots of tedious mold making. Two smaller pieces have yet to be made and molded.
To make the last two small parts, I needed to have the axe head area assembled. I first adhered one head to the center piece with two part epoxy. I then pre drilled a hole through the center piece into the head, and screwed them together with a 3" screw. The screw head was not flush, so I filed it flush using a dremel. The opposite head was done differently. I first put a screw into the side of the center piece opposite of the first head, then pre drilled a matching hole into the second head. After testing the hole for proper fit and alignment, I put two part epoxy into the pre drilled hole in the head, and onto the joining surface of the pieces, and put them together.
The next piece I made was the "ring" that goes between the two heads. I turned a piece of polyurethane to the necessary size, and cut off a piece a little bigger than what I needed. I then shaped it to size the same way I did for the curve in the joining surface of the head, by placing a piece of coarse grit sandpaper onto the axe center that I wanted it to match.
The last thing to be made was the center "cap" piece. I made this exactly the same way I made the "ring" piece, except I used wood instead of polyurethane. The anchor rivets were sanded to fit this cap the same way the "ring" was sanded to fit the center piece. The minor gaps were filled in with spot putty.
Final assembly was done as follows. The top piece, along with the "cap" pieces were adhered with two part epoxy. The grip, column above it, and axe head area were put together with an assembly method I use a lot. A 3" screw is set in the joining end of one piece. A matching hole is drilled into the piece that follows it. Polyurethane is poured into the hole and sliding the screw into the hole, the two pieces are put together and properly lined/centered up before the urethane sets. Once the urethane sets, the pieces won't move/separate.
Completed Battle axe
A client of mine asked me if I could make the grapple gun from "The New Batman Adventures" cartoon series. There were no reference images of this gun to be found on the internet, so I had to find the gun in some of the episodes, and take a screen capture.
With the images I found, I made several plans until the client and I were satisfied with the look of the gun. I printed out the scaled final plan, and adhered it to a sheet of styrene. These pieces were then cut out to form the base template to build on. Acrylic would have made a stronger base, but, I didn't have any, and styrene is far easier to cut. Also, for my guides, I needed something thin and flexible.
To make the base stronger and unable to flex around, I glued faux wood blinds to the styrene template. I did this to both sides making sure that the joints ran opposite of each other. A weak spot would exist if the joint was made in the same spot on both sides of the template. These faux blinds are some of the extras we didn't need with our blinds. I'm not sure what the material is, but it cuts easy.
Once the base was sturdy enough, I added my styrene guides. The gun tappers down a half inch from the center area, so all of these guides had to follow the same tapper. The inner curved areas took a little trial and error to get right.
It's hard to tell in the first picture here, but, I filled the void area in with more of the faux wood blinds material. I then covered that in Bondo body filler.
After the piece was completely full, I made a template in the shape of the curve where the gun and the launch piece meet, and scribed in the joint.
I am not as good as I would like to be with mold making, which is why I don't go into detail with this process. This was the first side prepared for silicone. With my last replica, I started using two sided keys for better registration.
I did not use enough mold release on this mold, and I thought I was going to have to cut it open. Once I got it started though, it came apart. The mold seam line, which I spent a lot of time on, has some spots that require some work on in the castings.
This is what I call the "street" version of the grapple gun. Heavily used, gouged and scratched with paint wearing off, exposing the metal of the gun. I didn't photo document the techniques I used to beat it up or to give it the worn off paint look. The next one of these I make, I'll document the process, so that if you would like to make one yourself similar to this, you'll know what I did to get this look.
The illustrators of He-Man used the same sword design for He-Man, She-Ra, and Skeletor. I potentially have three swords in one.
So this build starts out the same as the others. I made a scaled vector blue print of the sword. I transferred the image to a sheet of styrene using a method that involves acetone. With this method, the image is placed face down on the surface you want it applied to, which was styrene in this case. Pure acetone is applied to the back of the image and before it evaporates, which happens very quickly, the print is rubbed with a hard flat object onto the surface of the styrene. Because of the quick evaporation, it's easiest to do small sections at a time. If the styrene is to be your final finished surface, you should try a different approach as pure acetone melts styrene.
I enjoy using styrene because it can easily be cut with scissors.
All of the guides are made from, what else, styrene. The longer guides going down the center of the sword are supported with strips of mdf. This is done to prevent them from getting wavy or leaning to one side. This took awhile to do, but it isn't as complicated as it may look. The guides are either following the outline of the sword, or the lines of the transferred image. They were all set in place with super glue.
The buttons that go in the corners were made from discs I cut out of 1/4 inch plywood using a hole saw. I wrapped them in styrene for a smooth outside finish.
The tops of the buttons were made from urethane poured into a paint tray.
I added half round to the ridge of the domes for a cleaner look.
The biggest cavities were first filled out with foam to make the piece lighter. The remaining voids were then filled with Bondo.
I wanted the pieces that went from corner to corner to have a beveled center. This was easily done with half round glued to the center of those pieces.
All of the empty spots were filled in with milliput. For small areas like this it is far easier to use a sculpting clay/putty than to use a body filler like Bondo. Body filler is sticky and has a very short pot life which is great for filling in big areas, but harder to handle in small ones.
I covered this entire sword with spot filler. This took a little while to do, but I knew there were lots of scratches and small blemishes that needed filling out.
Spot filler sanded smooth and the piece is ready for primer.
I primed this with a filler primer. This was the first time I used it on an area this large. Filler primer is supposed to fill in any minor defects in your piece, so it has a thicker consistency than typical primer. This made wet sanding less fun than it should be. I didn't like using it too much, but I have a good bit left so I'll have to use it some more.
Once satisfied with the surface I made a mold box. I make a lot of my mold box walls out of faux wood blinds. They are easy to shape with just your hands, but not so flimsy that they won't hold that shape. I shape the pieces as necessary, score them, and snap them in half. Hot glue is used to adhere the joints together. It's cheap and easy. I put supports across the top to keep the walls from bowing out and creating more space to have to fill with silicone.
The handle for this sword is a very simple design. The grip is a piece of one inch pvc pipe. The ends are turned mdf. On the bottom piece of mdf I added a piece of urethane that I cast in my paint tray. All of these pieces are glued together with a two part epoxy adhesive.
Just a little bit of work was necessary to make this look like one uniform piece. Spot filler to hide the joints.
Primed with my favorite primer, Krylon ruddy brown. Ready for wet sanding.
Since this is a two part mold, I needed taller walls than what the blinds could provide. I used cardboard to make the walls. This was a test to see how low budget I could go with a mold box. I also decided to try registration keys facing both directions.
When making a replica in this way, one side to be mirrored, there is a bit of worry at this point. Nothing is laser cut and everything is done by hand. Will it all match up properly?
I had to do a few castings to figure out how to get the most accurate pieces, and overall they line up pretty well. Of course there is the inevitable joining seam line. Once the pieces were adhered together ( using two part epoxie ), I filled all the seam gaps with milliput.
Once the milliput was cured I smoothed everything out with spot filler.
The piece was primed to check for accuracy in the seam and to prepare for paint.
I drilled a hole about 3/4 of the way down into the handle. A piece of rebar was put into that hole and joined to the handle with urethane. Another hole is drilled into the blade. The other end of this rebar will be mounted into the blade with more urethane. This is how the handle will be secured to the sword and have full support.
Base coat of purple.
The black markings were made using a technique I use for rust spots. I paint the spots globing more paint in some spots than others and let the paint get a skin. Next I dab water onto the paint and let it set shortly. With a wet brush or small sponge, I remove all the loose paint. If too much comes off, I go over it again.
I didn't document the handle texturing with photos. I primed and applied several layers of paint onto a medium grit sandpaper. The sizing was figured up and cut out of the paper. I super glued the paper to the handle. I added super glue to the seam to make sure it wouldn't peel apart.
After making several replicas of the Power sword in He-Man, She-Ra, and Skeletor versions, I came to the realization that I needed to make the blade of this sword using a two part mold. Casting each side of the blade, then gluing it together, and then painstakingly hiding the joint line was taking far too much time to be productive. I have since made myself a two part mold of a full blade I put together. Now when I cast it, it's one full piece. I still have to touch up the seam line, but now I don't have near the amount of work that I was doing to get these ready for paint.
blades of hades
blade of olympus
little sister needle
I have had most of the parts to build this for sometime. I just need to make myself do it.
This knife has everything for me from end to end. The shape of the blade and the detail on it is great. I also really like the uniqueness of the glass handle.
This build probably won't happen until I have a vac former.
borderlands 2 guns
There are soooo many guns in this game that it will be hard for me to pick one out to make. It's enough to decide what category of gun, let alone which gun from that category.
borderlands 2 - psycho bandit melee weapon
I like the one in the middle best.
The main weapon used by Weiss Schnee from the anime RWBY.
These are the prints I made for this project. The one on top is the design for the web detail on the sides of the sword. The bottom one is the outline of the sword. I also printed out a scaled picture of the sword for reference.
I marked the outside of the sword onto two pieces of mdf. The blade outline from my print was transferred to sheet styrene. All pieces were cut and I glued the styrene in between the two pieces of mdf to start the body of the sword.
To make the bevels on the blade, I cut guides out of styrene. Once one side was glued in place, I faced it toward a light so I could see the guides shadows on the side without any guides. I marked the placements and glued on the other side. Now both sides match.
All of the styrene edges were filled in with Bondo. I also rounded out the handle using Bondo. Starting to look like a mean weapon!
Oh to have a laser cutter! This is the detail that goes on both sides of the sword and it was an intricate piece to cut by hand! I only made one of these with plans to cast copies of it for both sides. The best way to do this is with a block mold. I learned this because I made a brush-on mold of it and it is a little wavy, so I have to be very careful when casting it so that I don't have lumpy and light areas.
To start the detail of the handle, I cut several strips of styrene and glued them into place.
Before adding anymore detail to the grip, I made the handle butt. Two pieces of styrene were cut to the same shape. I used a heat gun to warm them up and put a curve in them. I made a sandwich with them using a two part epoxy.
Why is the lining detail of this piece green? Styrene is available in varying sizes of both full and half round. I was lazy and wanted to save a few dollars so I went to my garage and grabbed some weed eater string. It worked, but it is really hard and frustrating to use compared to styrene.
You may have not noticed in the shot above, but I marked where all of the channels would be. I used a template so they would all be the same size. It took quite awhile to cut these areas out. I filled the empty channels with more weed eater string and this was when I absolutely knew I didn't want to ever use it again in replica building. You can also see in this picture I filled the space between the handle and the butt piece with a two part epoxy putty.
The butt of the handle has a nice little head bashing spike on it. I didn't have the luxury of a lathe at this time, so I came up with a technique that isn't perfect, but looks the part in the end. A circle of styrene was cut to the widest part of the spike. The center of the circle is marked and a toothpick is put through it. Next, a wad of Milliput is added and rolled back and forth on a flat surface until a cone shape is formed. When this was cured, I sanded the wide end of it to fit the shape of the handle butt and glued it on. Half round was added for detail.
Once the green string was all on I lined it with half round. Next I made the piece that leads to the "ramps". I measured the width and length necessary for this piece, cut it out, and glued it to place. I added a piece of half round that was the thickness of the depth of epoxy putty I wanted to add.
I tapered epoxy putty 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 this process. For each ramp, a piece of styrene was cut, bent in the middle to fit properly over the sword, then glued in place. I marked where the next ramp would be then filled up to that mark with Bondo. I did each ramp one at a time.
The last area of attention for this part of the sword are the grip detail pieces. Sheet styrene was cut to shape. I next outlined these shapes with styrene half round. The half round ended up giving it a cartoony look, so I sanded the rounded edge down to get the look I was going for.
What is that!? This is the beginning of Mr. putty face; an attempt to try a technique I had seen other makers use. For each piece, 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 is 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. A coating of Bondo is applied to give the foam a strong shell to work on.
Because the jaw of mr. putty face would be the easiest part of the head build, I worked on it first. This is how it looked after I sanded the Bondo smooth.
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 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.
When I came back to the top part of the head, I was not at all happy with the piece I had made. I started over and made it a little bit different. 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 strong shell. The eyeballs were made with polyester resin. I don't remember what I used for the mold.
I had never done any real sculpting before so I used a two part epoxy putty called Milliput for all of the sculpting, hence the name, mr. putty face. It is easy enough to shape with sculpting tools and has a good amount of work time before completely curing. I started with the eyes 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. Also seen in this picture is the nose template. Styrene was cut to the basic shape of the nose. I made holes in it to ensure that the putty would bond to itself and not come loose.
With the sculpting of the face finished, I thought it a good time to make the horn. Again, styrene was cut to shape for the length and width 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 Milliput on top of the Bondo to make it easier to get the correct shape. I marked where the grooves in the horn would be and carved them out.
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. 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 ridges are sunken in. Easy enough to do with a heavy grit sand paper.
Thin strips of styrene were added to define the sunken in areas of the cheeks. All the sunk in areas were feathered with spot putty.
Both pieces are hollowed out; he needs teeth though. I just happen to have a minor degree in the dental field.
No, not really.
These were made with the same technique I used to make the 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 of mr. putty face.
I came up with an idea to make the teeth installation much more predictable and uniform. I marked the teeth locations and them made holes at those spots. This allowed me to position the tooth at any angle and depth that I wanted. I used a five minute setting two part epoxy adhesive to adhere the teeth so that I would have time to correctly position each one. I used the same procedure for the jaw.
Looks like he flosses regularly.
The last thing to do was put some holes in the handle end piece to hold the chains in place. Also I made a peg that holds the chains in place on the jaw. I used the peg to make push molds with regular non sulfur clay. All the masters are finished at this point. Obviously I made molds of everything but I didn't document the process. I used a brush on silicone for the molds, and made the support shells out of fiberglass.
All pieces were cold cast with aluminum powder. The gold on the chain and sword detail were done with gold Krylon spray paint. Because the chains are real metal, I used an etching primer on them first so the paint would bond properly. The rest of the painting was done with acrylic paints. All pieces were glued together using two part epoxy.
This is a great way to start a project and while it is best to have multiple views, I did this project with just the one view. I traced a reference image from the ThunderCats cartoon using Adobe Illustrator. If you compare this print to my final build you will notice some slight variations. I changed some minor details to what I thought would have a better end look.
The blade of this sword is identical on both sides (top and bottom) so I made only one side of it. To do this I cut two pieces of styrene plastic. One the width, and the other the height of one side ( one quarter ) of the blade. Also cut was a thin strip of mdf for support. I did this for both halves of one side of the blade.
Each half of the blade has a peak to it. I marked where the peak would be at on the width cut piece of styrene.
With the peak of the blade marked, I glued the support strip of mdf to the width piece of stryene. Once that was set I glued the height piece of styrene to it. With this all set in place, I now have the proper guides for the widths and height of each side of the blade.
Now I get to see how the guidance system worked out. Both sides of this piece are filled with Bondo and then more evenly filled with filler putty. Low and high spots are marked accordingly and added too, or taken from.
I took this picture at a bad angle for this example. Even though all the guide pieces for both sides of the blade are measured and cut to the same size, they don't end up perfectly the same, unless they were cut with a laser cutter. To help correct this I taped the pieces together and sanded their edges to match one another.
With everything lining up, the two blade halves are glued together and any gaps between the two are filled in with putty filler and sanded smooth.
I don't know what this piece is called on a sword, but it was stupidly frustrating to make. It's the parts you think will be the easiest/funnest to make that can give you the most grief. I cut a piece of styrene plastic to the shape of the peak of this piece and glued it to the center of the sword. I filled the sides in with a two part epoxy clay and sanded it smooth once cured. The unevenness was taken care of with filler putty.
Another bad example shot. I covered the end of the blade with more plastic and cut it (which is not shown in this picture) to the shape of the Eye of Thundera.
This unfortunately is the only development picture that I took of the Eye of Thundera. I discovered that the ring to a jar lid was perfectly the size I needed for the eye piece. I smoothed out the sides with Bondo. Next I cut out the bottom of a plastic container and glued it to the top of the inside of the lid. I then transferred an image of the cat from the Eye of Thundera onto a piece of styrene, cut it out, and then glued it onto the rest of the piece.
The blade and eye have been primed and made ready to be molded.
With the eye piece being molded I could finish making the whole Eye of Thundera piece. To do it I made two copies of the eye piece and put spacers between them. I lined up both sides so that the angle of the cat would be correct no matter which side of the sword was being looked at. I used tape to hold them in place while the glue dried.
The base that the Eye sets on is made from two 1/2" pieces of mdf laminated together. I covered each side with its own piece of styrene and closed up the gaps with filler. To get the rough textures, I cut to shape a heavy grit sand paper and glued it on. I used this technique for all of the handle pieces.
One area of design on this sword I thought strange is the spade piece. I thought of leaving it out, but knew I couldn't so I didn't. It grew on me and know I like it and am very glad I didn't leave it out. I started out by cutting two spade pieces, then cutting them in half where they set on different planes of the piece that they go to.
These pieces were glued in place and then a center guide spine was added. Once all the glue was dried I filled each side in with epoxy clay and sanded it smooth when fully cured.
I did final priming and touch up of the cross guard and Eye of Thundera and made molds of them.
A paint test of one side of a cross guard and the excitement of a glimpse of the final piece.
Next in line was the fabrication of the grip. I turned a small cylinder of urethane on a lathe to get the width of the grip correct as well as getting the rings that go around it properly spaced. The detail on the sides were made with styrene. Also in this picture are stones that will go on the grip. The stones are made from epoxy clay. The grip and stone masters were molded next. I made one part block molds for these.
The pommel was the last piece to make. I laminated pieces of mdf and turned it on the lathe. The detail on the top half was done with sheet styrene. The bottom half was done with half round styrene.
To ensure this would never come apart, I hollowed out all the grip pieces and the top half of the pommel. I glued each piece together one at a time using a two part epoxy adhesive. This allowed me enough time to move the pieces around for proper alignment, but still have it set up quick enough to keep adding pieces. Once all of the pieces were set properly, I put a hollow tube all the way through it. The tube had several holes drilled in it and I filled the empty cavity with urethane. The urethane fills every empty spot making it all one inseparable piece. This worked really well, but it will be just as easy to use a piece of rebar from now on, and it will add just a little more weight to the handle.
I used the same technique for the cross guards. I drilled holes into the sides, stuck a piece of rebar in it, and filled the cavity with urethane. Holes were drilled into the sides and from the top to the bottom of the Eye of Thundera. Once the cross guards and grip were glued into place, I filled all the holes with urethane. This made the entire handle from the pommel to the top of the Eye one solid bonded piece.
I forgot to document the assembly of the blade with pictures. I put thin support strips along each peak of one side of the blade. I made cavities in the other side of the blade to fit the support strips and then glued the two blade halves together. A small amount of urethane was poured into the cavities of the support strips to help hold the blade halves together. A thin metal rod was slid part way into the blade along one of the supports. An aligning hole was drilled into the top of the Eye and the rod was slid into place. Two part epoxy was used to adhere the metal rod to the inside of the blade and Eye. The one thin metal rod doesn't sound like much, but I tried to pull it apart with everything I had in me, and it wouldn't budge. None the less I will probably use two rods next time. The blade didn't meet perfectly with the Eye. That's a good thing. I closed the gap between them on one side with Bondo, and once cured, I filled the cavity between the Eye and the blade with two part epoxy. Once that was cured enough, I filled the gap on the other side with Bondo. Some light sanding and it was a perfect fit! Final painting was next along with the satisfaction of a finished product.
lets make it!
If you enjoy the step by step process of how my replicas are built, and/or want to build one yourself, this is the place to see how they came together.