I was ridiculously excited about the prospect of making a sword and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s turned out fab and I’ve been happily standing in the middle of rooms, swishing it about and prodding my long-suffering family members with it. So here’s how I did it!
I started back in August with a length of balsa wood that I sat and whittled roughly into shape using a Stanley knife or box cutter, depending on where you’re from. I drew which bits I wanted rid of onto the wood to keep in mind what I was doing and not get carried away. I ended up with a rough shape and a mess on the carpet. I sanded that down with my dremel to take off any square edges and generally tidy it up.
Then it was worbla time. I cut two long strips that were slightly longer and wider than my wood shape and grabbed my heat gun. I had to do this in sections because the worbla would have cooled too much to stick at one end if I tried to do the whole thing at once. It was awkward, but I got there in the end. Simple sandwich technique – wood in the middle, worbla either side. I trimmed the excess worbla with a knife to tidy it up.
Next was detail. The hilt of Warlord’s sword is covered in the same motifs that decorate her outfit. Assuming these were raised in order to add grip, I used foam clay to sculpt the fiddly shapes. After I’d done this bit, I also cut a cone-shaped guard out of worbla, attached it and used more foam clay to add the detail to that as well.
Obviously swords tend to be shiny when they’re the real deal, so I knew I had to get the surface of my blade as smooth as possible for the finished product to look even close to real. So. I dremelled the worbla with 120 grit sanding drums, then I hand sanded with 200 grit paper and then again with 600 grit paper. THEN I added six (yes, six) coats of PVA glue primer. This all took a while, maybe a week in total (allowing for me to have a full-time job as well). But look how shiny it is!
Painting my super shiny primed work consisted of brushing two coats of black acrylic onto the hilt before going over the raised detail with three coats of gold metallic, with a coat of matte varnish to finish. The blade had two coats of silver spray paint and a dry brushing of grey on brown oil paints added to give it a more realistic effect, along with a coat of varnish as well.
I’m so pleased with this! And although I can see places where I could improve it and things I’m not as happy with as I could be, its been a really good learning experience.