basically since I have given this tutorial out so many time I thought I might as well post it .
So here is my tutorial on how to make lightning's sword from FFXIII
* foamboard (about 3-4 sheets) * primer
* gorilla glue * silver spray paint
* boxcutter * red and black acrylic paint
* large paper * projector (optional but its the easiest way to go)
*wax paper (recommended but optional)
*sandpaper * some sort of clear sealer or gloss
Before I get started with the explaination here is the link to my gallery with some progress and finished pictures of the first sword I made
I made the sword out of foamboard (you can get it at the dollar store so its cheap). The whole sword can be constructed in about a full dayís worth of work and then however long painting takes so it is not terribly time consuming. Also if you choose to finish the edges in model magic factor about 2 to 3 days for the model magic to fully dry before you begin to sand it.
1. ok first get a good image of the side of the sword head on and then if you have a projector use it to make a large projection on the wall of your sword (about 50" for lightning) then trace the image onto paper (you can tape sheets together or use newspaper ) The image on the very bottom of the reference I provided is what I always use. Now cutout your image so that you are left with a full size paper version of your sword (this is your schematic)
**** You can also make your schematic by gridding off the image and the large paper then copying square by square the lines to enlarge the image. Also you can print out the large version from your computer and then attaching the sheets together. If you do this I would suggest simplifying the image down to just the outlines of the image so you donít waste as much ink. Of course you can always freehand the design too though this is not as accurate most of the time. ****
*** note the 50" recommended measurement was made for someone about 5' 4" *** therefore if you feel this size would not be right for your height then you will want to measure the length when you are standing from the ground to your chest and use this for the length of your sword
2. OK once you have your schematic figure out how many layers you want ( I do 7 for lightings sword (1 base for the whole sword, 2 (1 on each side) inner layers of the blade and all the handle, 2 of just the inner handle, and 2 of the higher parts of the handle).
this is a full view of the layers there are others in the gallery that are close up
***** there will be seams on the sword part because it wonít all fit on the foam board make the single bases seam under the handle so that it is still reinforced by all the layers of the handle then make the 2 inner sword ones cover the whole base seam so that it reinforces that seam but also is having the handle reinforce its own seam****
3. Use your schematics to trace the layers onto your foam board going from largest to smallest. Then cutout the foam board shapes with a box knife.
4. Now glue together the base layer and the 2 inner sword layers (1 on each side of the base layer ) remember these 3 layers will be made up of 6 pieces because they are so long that they need to have seams. Once you get them glued together put heavy objects (ie. books and other things) all over the top of the sword to make sure the pieces stay together (I would suggest having wax paper under it so it wont stick as much)
****** THIS IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS I CAN TELL YOU******* SOME GLUES WILL MELT FOAM so I use gorilla glue it dries in about 1 hour and has a STRONG hold. The only downside is it foams when drying so use very very little near the edges or it will foam out the cracks you can also use liquid nails but personally I prefer gorilla glue and walmart has gorilla glue so ya its easy to find. If you want to try another glue just check it on a scrap piece first.
Once the sword bases are glued glue the remaining pieces the same way
4. Now sand you sword's edges until your happy with it
*** Edges with only sanding will have a layered look still visible on the edges which is not that noticeable but if you wish to make your prop nicer you can either papermache over the edges of the sword or put model magic over the edges and then sand it smooth after the model magic dries for 2 to 3 days. Of these 2 techniques I find that model magic has the nicest finish.****
Sanded only edges: http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p...g/HPIM1371.jpg
Model magic edges : http://s124.photobucket.com/albums/p...t=HPIM1397.jpg
yuna gun but it has the model magic finished edges
Unfinished model magic edges: http://s124.photobucket.com/albums/p...t=HPIM1483.jpg
5. Once you sand you can add the engravings to her sword by taking the end of a pencil and pressing into the foam slightly so that it indents the design you can also paint on the design but I think the indented version looks a lot nicer.
6. now your sword is completely made you just have to paint it BUT some paints will melt foam too (spray paint!!) so first you have to use primer or gesso on the entire sword. I did 2-3 coats to be safe and it gives the foam board extra strength.
Once it is completely primed make sure you didnít miss any spots because any spot not primed will melt and then you will have a tiny hole if you did miss a spot hit it w/ primer in the spot or you can just put a little bit of white school glue over it.
7. Once you have primed the sword I would use silver spraypaint do a few coats of that itís super shiny and you wont get brush strokes.
Then paint on the details with a couple of coats of acrylic paint.( you will have both a dark red and black designs) ****** watch out though because the acrylic can chip off at this stage***
8. Once your sword is completely painted cover it with polyurathane, laquer, or some type of clear sealer or gloss. This will make you sword glossy and prevent the acrylic paint from chipping as easily.
now you are done but if for some reason you need to touch up something small I know I use sharpies to touch up all of my props if I am in a bind or a time crunch.
Finished Sword: http://s124.photobucket.com/albums/p...t=HPIM1513.jpg
I hope this tutorial is helpful. If anything is unclear or you just have other questions feel free to pm me.
**** April 11, 2009 *****
I updated the tutorial and added some images.