Blah blah blah <excuses>.  I moved, took a few courses… and now I’m back in gear for 6 months.  I’ll yammer about last year then go get my butt going on this year’s projects.  My cat also passed away, which took away a lot of time from my life (you can see him trying to “help” with my sheaths a bit later on).

For my SAO project I tried two different techniques for making my sheathes.  The Dark Repulser, made from foamboard, received a foamboard sheath and the Elucidator, made from wood, received a worbla sheath.

This post will discuss how both cases were made and I’ll make another post for the final Kirito details, including how I got the sheathes to free hang from my back.

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This photo again, getting sick of seeing it yet?

Worbla case:

This case was spawned from an over whelming need to use the four rolls of worbla I had purchased in some sort of way (currently it is over a year since I purchased the worbla for this project, I still own 2.5 sheets but it will be put to good use shortly).  At this point I was also sick of dealing with wood as a result of my issues with filing the Elucidator.

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The pieces were cut, and I went about sealing the foam in inside the worbla.  It was at the point I started to worry about how strong and secure it would be, just the foam seemed a bit wiggly.  As a result I switched out using foam in the sides in favour of balsa wood.  This meant that the sides were stronger and would stand well, this helped to make the case rather strong.  For those not familiar with thermo plastics for cosplay sealing/base covering is simply sealing a core material (normally foam) inside of the thermo plastic.

Once the base covering is completed I connected one side piece to each face piece.  The face pieces were kept flat on the floor to insure their shape.  To make sure that the sides were squared to one another I placed a square doweling against each connection I made.

Each side was then fabric lined and the two sides were connected, for this part I inserted the sword inside the piece to make sure the pieces correctly lined up.  The end was then closed off and the top was shaped properly.

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The case was then covered in my new cosplay bff, spackling.  This stuff can be applied to anything to smooth it out.  It turns from pink to white when it is dry.  I covered the case in this then sanded it with a mouse sander with a low grit on my deck.  Make sure to wear a mask and clothing you hate when you do this, you will be covered in dust.

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After this it was covered in gesso, sanded again up to a 220 grit then painted with black paint.  The black paint for this was slightly lighter than the sword, it was a lower quality (cheaper) paint made by Amsterdam.

Once the paint was dry the case was covered in a matte varnish.  I used stick on foamies to create the top details, covered them in rub n’ buff, buffed them and sealed them with future floor wax to keep their shine.

Foamboard case:

This case was spawned from a dislike of my worbla case at the time (it was half done) and an excess of foamboard from the Dark Repulser.  Of the two this case was much faster to put together.

The pieces were cut and glued together using hot glue.  Just like the worbla case they were felt/fleece lined to protect the paint job on my sword.  I had some issues with shaping the top portions and ended up having to sneek in some extra foamboard to make them fit the pommel on the Dark Repulser.

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I covered the exposed foamboard texture on the sides of the case in paper clay and used this to cover up any small dents that had occurred during the building process.

There was no gesso applied to this case and only a bit of light sanding on the paper clay areas.  It was then painted with a lighter paint that the Elucidator’s case, covered first in Future floor wax to give it a hard coating then in matte varnish by liquitex.  Sticky foam was applied to the top to, covered in rub n’ buff, buffed, then sealed with future just like it was on the other case.

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Which method to I prefer?

Both have their strengths; the foamboard case went together much faster, was much lighter and didn’t require much sanding beyond the paper clay I used to cover up the texture of the board’s siding, where as the worbla case was much stronger and I had few fears about my beloved Elucidator being protected inside it.  The worbla case took much longer and also cost about ten times as much to make (the foamboard case cost me maybe $3 to put together) it also took a lot of sanding work to be happy with.  The foamboard case was much weaker, could take damage (and did take a bit over 2 con days, a lot of rough handling and 6 months on my couch exposed to house guests).  The extent of this damage was a small bit of the clay covering on the foamboard peeling up, which was easily repaired.

If you have a wooden sword which is well sharpened and you don’t want to risk damage to, and have the money for worbla or wonderflex (either will work), go with a worbla or wood case (not discussed here, as I avoided building one).  If you have a wooden sword that you are not so deeply in love with, or isn’t very sharpened then a foamboard sheath will work for you, they go well with a foamboard sword and are very cheap.  Paint included the foamboard sword and sheath cost me maybe $15, but I’m likely over estimating.

My next post will deal with how I hung the sheaths from my back without the use of belts, strings or anything but the chest strap and other remaining details on this cosplay.

Toast signing off  o7

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With the 2013 con season over it is time to post some tutorials/builds of my 2013 work.  This will work through both of Kirito’s swords and sword cases; each was built in a different manner with different materials because I wanted to play around with materials this year.  It’ll also discuss how the swords were mounted and a bit to do with the few pieces of armour Kirito has.

First off, The Dark Repulser (The green sword for those that aren’t into Sword Art Online)

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This is foam board and a square 1” wooden dowel for a handle, the same dowel I used for Homura’s bow.

Base:

Cut the basic shape from foam board, you’ll want two of each piece, I use a straight edge  and foam board cutter  from Logan (foamwerks).  These simply made the cuts easier and faster, this process is perfectly possible with a ruler and an exacto knife.

Once the base is cut the edges need to be cut to a 45 degree angle.  I suggest doing this afterwards so that you can watch the angle closely and make any needed adjustments as you create it.  With the foam board cutter this can be simply done by setting the cutter to 45 degrees and running it along the sides.  Take time on this, you want as clean of a cut as possible so you have less retouching and clean up to do later.

In my case my foam board was smaller than my sword, so the top bit is a different piece.

Please excuse the cat, he seems to believe that he can help with cosplay props.

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At this point you are going to cut channels for doweling.   You’ll want ¼” doweling.  Place it upon the foam board piece on the backside and trace it, then check that you have right around a ¼” apart set of lines.  You are going to very carefully cut into the foam board, but not far enough to pierce the entire piece.  Peel out the foam and you’ll be left with the above featured picture.  I used a screw driver with a flat head to dig out the foam surface, be careful not to damage the front covering or it will show on your final sword.  Do this to both pieces such that the channel lines up exactly on the two sword pieces.

For the top a ¼” aluminum rod was used in place of doweling, as this will connect into the handle.  The detail pieces also contain small bits of doweling.

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Glue the doweling into the first piece, and then glue the second on so that it perfectly lines up with the first.  You may have some small touch ups to do with cutting at this point, any errors you made in cutting the angles will be fixed shortly.

Once everything is placed correctly you can either do angle fixing or detailing.  I did my detailing first, then my patching/fixing.

My detailing was done out of craft foam, worbla and extra craft foam.  There is foam with an adhesive backing on it that is perfect for work like this.  The handle was connected by drilling a hole into the square doweling, after sanding it to soften the edges, then attached to the sword with glue in both the hole and on the base of the sword.

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The edges now all need to be seal and fixed.  I used paper clay to do this however it would also be possible to do this with bondo (I believe) or spackling.  Use whichever material you would like to use for patching, the application is all very much the same.

Smooth the patching material over the edges and fill in any spots that were cut funny and any places on the face of the sword that require touch up.  Sand the patching to create a smooth edge; I suggest getting to the range of at least 220 on sanding if not 400.

Once you are satisfied with your patching apply gesso to the entire sword, including the foam board face.  Apply 3-6 layers then sand the entire sword to 400.  I’m a fan of wet sanding, but it isn’t mandatory.

The paints I used were Folkart Plaid metallic aquamarine for the main part of the sword, emerald green for the details and a custom mixed teal for the handle.

Just the aquamarine paint & the Elucidator’s case in paint prep stage.

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The gems are resin cast out of a custom made mold.  To do this a base gem was first created with fimo, baked, used to create a mold out of Easy Mold (handy silicone mold maker) then cast out of polyester resin.  The backing of the gems is painted with the aquamarine colour.

The final detailing on the handle is some strips of styrene and a very thin strip of the adhesive foam, coloured in aquamarine paint.

The entire sword is seal and finished with Future by Pledge, a great high gloss hard coat for cosplay props (and floors, apparently).

I was happy with this sword, it was light, it looked good and was fast and easy to make.  If you don’t want to put the love and attention into a wooden sword and I would absolutely recommend this technique.

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And as required, a photo of my finished cosplay taken by BD MacDonald

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My other 2013 con photos are posted on my facebook.  Some nice photos of my Haseo cosplay with a new prop, his scythe Shadowy Death.

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