Name of Commissioner:
Character commissioned and series:
Prop, Oathkeeper and Oblivion keyblades from Kingdom Hearts
Links to picture(s) of your commissioned item:
(his final photos)
(A photo of me with Oblivion, as reference to its size.)
I messaged Ben near the end of July 2010 for a quote + decided to commission him. Work on the keyblades started shortly after, and I received both keyblades in the middle of October 2010. My deadline was April 2011, though I had said I wanted them asap if possible, and he said October would be the earliest he could get them to me.
Describe your Experience:
I asked for these keyblades to be made out of fiberglass (FRP), so they weren't cheap, but if you want an AMAZING prop worth your money, Ben is your guy! He was always very fast and patient in responding to my (numerous) emails and attentive to the details I wanted. He updated his blog quite frequently with progress shots, so I basically saw every step along the way, which was really great because I get paranoid about small details. He was very open to what I wanted - for example, when painting Oathkeeper I actually emailed him specific color of paint I wanted for a certain part, and he managed to get it in perfectly! Ben is very detail-oriented and we discussed how to make the keyblades as structurally sound as possible.
I received both keyblades quickly, and they are stunning. They fit my grip perfectly and look absolutely amazing. The paint work is absolutely perfect. Ben put so much time and care into working on them, and it really shows. He is truly talented. Seriously, if you need a Keyblade (or any prop, really) and are willing to pay, he is your guy!
There was ONE snafu with this whole deal, however, though it wasn't Ben's fault at all. When they arrived, Oathkeeper had a fairly significant crack near the handle. It wasn't broken completely and it still looked great overall, but it was definitely something that needed to be repaired. I'd seen photos of the blades before they were shipped out and there was no crack, so it had occurred during shipping (*shakes fist at UPS!!!!*). I contacted Ben in a panic about what to do, and he offered to fix it if I sent it back, but I thought I'd just do it myself, so he told me to buy a specific adhesive and rub it into the crack to help it stay together. I did that, and I haven't taken Oathkeeper to a con since, but hopefully it should be alright now. (At the very least, I'm going to be extremely careful with it.) Oblivion, on the other hand, arrived without fault and I have taken it to a con, and it served me well. Obviously I'm not too happy about the crack in Oathkeeper, but these kind of shipping accidents do happen, unfortunately. I ended up filing a claim with UPS, and after months of processing it came through not too long ago, which is awesome. Most of the work to get the claim through had to be done on Ben's side as the shipper, and he was very cooperative in going through with it.
Overall, working with Ben was a pleasure. He was very friendly and helpful throughout the entire process and he obviously works really hard to ensure his customers' satisfaction. He has a great sense for detail and his work is superb. The Keyblades are perfectly sized and are honestly the best I've seen anywhere - they look like they could've come straight out of the games. His communication was great throughout the whole process and his progress blog is a real bonus - I love being able to follow every step with his frequent updates. He is a great commissioner, and I would definitely go back to him in the future should I need another prop.