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
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.