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Unread 10-18-2007, 05:41 PM   #1
A19Riku
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Lightning FFXIII Sword Tutorial

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

Reference: http://s124.photobucket.com/albums/p...=lightning.jpg

MATERIALS:

* 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

http://www.cosplay.com/gallery/76884/p2

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).

Layers: http://www.cosplay.com/photo/1112105/ 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****

Seam: http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p...zing/help3.jpg


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
http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p...g/HPIM1372.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.

~A19riku

**** April 11, 2009 *****
I updated the tutorial and added some images.
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Last edited by A19Riku : 09-22-2009 at 02:48 PM.
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Unread 04-23-2008, 01:56 AM   #2
Liquidfire3
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Wow, that's a great tutorial! Especially for a somewhat not so well-known prop/cosplay. I'm in the planning stages for making my own Lightning cosplay, and this is definately gonna help me out perfectly. Thank you so much for making/posting this!
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Unread 06-04-2008, 02:14 PM   #3
hinaxchan
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omg you're awesome! i was planning to make Ragnell for my boyfriend but i had no idea how to go about using foamboard @_@

now i can make the sword! =w=~
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Unread 06-22-2008, 09:33 PM   #4
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did you spray the primer straight onto the foamboard without having it melt?
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Unread 07-07-2008, 01:35 PM   #5
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No I used a paint on kilz not a spray primer. I used a spray primer on my storm sword and If i remember correctly It worked and didn't melt the foam but didn't cover as well as just painting it on yourself. If you are going to use a spray primer just make sure to check it on a scrap first and then do multiple coats.
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Unread 03-04-2009, 11:40 PM   #6
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How thick is the foamboard that you used?
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Unread 03-05-2009, 10:21 AM   #7
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Thank you sooooo much! I would also like to ask how thick the foamboard you used was. I'm cosplaying Lightning for MCM Expo London (I'm from England) and taking this on the train is gonna be fun...
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Unread 03-05-2009, 05:08 PM   #8
A19Riku
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3/16" thick

XD oh lord good luck with that LOL I carried the one I made into the postoffice and all the little old ladies mailing their letters just stared at me the entire time XDD
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Unread 03-05-2009, 07:59 PM   #9
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Would there be a problem carrying it onto an aircraft? Because I need to bring it up north with me back to school. :P
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Unread 03-05-2009, 08:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meitachi View Post
Would there be a problem carrying it onto an aircraft? Because I need to bring it up north with me back to school. :P
That's probably not be a good idea. I would recommend finding a cheap gun case, like the ones with foam inside for protection, then just have it as your checked luggage.
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Unread 03-05-2009, 09:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquidfire3 View Post
That's probably not be a good idea. I would recommend finding a cheap gun case, like the ones with foam inside for protection, then just have it as your checked luggage.
Ooh, good idea. I was rather hesitant about going through security with it. Any idea where I can find said gun case? Or even just improvise and make my own?
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Unread 03-06-2009, 04:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meitachi View Post
Ooh, good idea. I was rather hesitant about going through security with it. Any idea where I can find said gun case? Or even just improvise and make my own?
Hmm, I'm sure you can find them at Wal*Mart for about $20-$35, depending on how sturdy it is. I know that's where my brother got one of his nicer gun cases. All it was made of was a semi-thick outer plastic, then lined with that egg crate foam. You could also google it and see if you get any results.
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Unread 03-06-2009, 04:57 PM   #13
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So, basically, it looks something like this:

http://airsoftnow.blogs.com/photos/u...zed/peli_2.jpg

Ah, well, if I want to be really thrifty, all I need is the foam, essentially, and improvise on the case.
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Unread 03-06-2009, 08:24 PM   #14
A19Riku
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Actually the first sword I made was first shipped by ups to my friend who I made it for then she flew corsscountry to anime expo with it so It can be taken on the plane or you could mail it to yourself ... depending on how far you are shipping it mailing will probably be cheaper because if i am remembering correctly its 15 $ on most airlines to check a bag while to ship it from tennessee to california I think it was also 15 whenever I last looked that price up. So if you weren't flying cross country then its probably cheaper to just ship.

But ya liquidfire3 said You would have to check the sword bc I'm pretty sure its too big to carry on in most cases and ya you deff. wouldn't get through security with that. A gun case is a good Idea but If you are looking for a cheaper route my friend just wrapped hers with a lot of bubble wrap and put it in a large box. Also she didn't do this but I do when I ship these swords. If you take a long box that is longer than the length of the sword then cut/ fold the box so that it is a triangle rather than a rectangle(lengthwise) that it gives the box more strength and is less likely to bend. Also you can take a piece of cardboard and bend it in half so that it folds over the entire length of the blade (since it is the part most likely to obtain damage) and tape it on the other side this acts as a sheath and just helps keep the blade from breaking even more. With this sword in particular I would make the sheath longer than the blade so that it extends past the tip and I would also make it so that it rest on the edge of the silver things that fold up in sword form but extend in gun form. This way if the box gets tossed around and the sword moves back and forth the force would hit the end of the sheath and not the tip ( because it can break ) and then transfer that force back to the stronger portion of the handle.

I hope this makes sense XD
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Unread 03-06-2009, 09:08 PM   #15
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Surprisingly, I understood all that XD Not because you're bad at explaining; I'm pretty bad at visualizing what people say. But, it really did make sense. I only ever have a carry-on duffel bag when flying back and forth, so to have a check-in luggage is free for the first item. Thanks so much for the tip on the make-shift sheath. I never would've though about using it to shield the blade and the using the guard to prevent the tip from smashing. You have some pretty ingenious ideas! Kudos to you And thanks, of course.
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