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Unread 08-23-2010, 08:48 PM   #1
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Sylvanas Windrunner bow - help?

I'm currently working on a Sylvanas Windrunner cosplay (her current appearance in Wrath of the Lich King). I'm planning on making her bow to go along with the costume, but I'm aiming to do the one in the game art of her instead of the one seen in the game.

I've never done props before, so I'm a little lost on how to approach this. I considered buying a cheap fiberglass bow already in general shape of the bow and just building onto it with epoxy or polymer clay to get the correct width and look of the bow as well as using the clay to make the details. I'm worried though that this won't work if I try to change/loosen the string (so it can't launch a projectile) that it'll make the fiberglass bow lose its shape.

I also considered using PVC pipe the make the shape then going from there to to get the shape and look right, and even just buying wood and cutting it to the basic shape of the staff, sanding it down, then again using clay for the details.

Would anyone happen to have a simpler method of how I can make the bow? I plan on keeping the entire costume (props and all) for future use as well, so any ideas that would make the bow durable would be great
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Unread 08-24-2010, 10:57 AM   #2
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Instead of using clay, you could use craft foam; it's light enought to carry around, and you can shape it into pretty well anything you need. I would go with PROBABLY the PVC pipe to start, and then build the craft foam around it. You wouldn't have to worry about it losing its shape as much, and you can get as crazy as you want with the foam.

I'm sure others will come along with ideas as well, some more expensive than others. If you're skilled in wood carving, or have anyone that can help you, that would be another way you could go to get it to look really good - I've seen people on Deviant art make the Kingdom Hearts Keyblades out of wood, and they look fantastic as well.

It's really up to you on how you want to approach the prop-making. There are people on here as well that do weapons comissions, but her bow would not be cheap, I don't think.
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Unread 08-24-2010, 12:41 PM   #3
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If your worried about the string, you can still string it as long as you use ribbon, or some other non-functional material to most cons. Or, since halloween's coming up, check your local stores, you might find a "toy" or non-functional one around for rather cheap.
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Unread 08-24-2010, 02:23 PM   #4
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Featherweight's cardboard Katana tutorial can be used a rough guide to make this. What I would do is treat the bow like a double ended sword, having the main support dowel as the hand area on the bow, then separate dowels reinforcing the two arms. In order to get the roundness found in some areas you can use the strategy he (Featherweight) uses to make the round parts in his Kingdom Key tutorial. The fine detail could the be done using thin card stock or thin craft foam (as mentioned above). The final product would then be sealed as per the tutorials and then painted.

Another method, which would take longer to do and requires wood carving skill would be to get thin, 1/4 inch strips of a hard wood and combine them into a solid block with wood glue, clamping it closed such that its around 80% of the overall thickness. You would then, once dried, soak the entire thing in hot water for a couple of hours. Remove it from the water and clamp it right into a form that will curve the bow as needed, if it won't bend fully, soak it longer in the warm water. This form can be made using dowels of wood screwed to a board and spaced correctly. Let the bow dry and cure for about 5 days or so. Once its done, remove it from the form, it should hold the shape. Now you will need to carve the details out of the raw bow. Once done, sand, seal, and paint the bow.
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Unread 08-24-2010, 03:03 PM   #5
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I'm bringing in a friend to help me construct the body of the bow out of wood since he has some experience with stuff similar to this.

I definitely would love to do the entire body of the bow with woodcrafting/carving but I have no experience or the tools for it right now.

The details I'm thinking over doing a combination of craft foam and clay (for the parts that have detail carved into them)
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Unread 08-24-2010, 07:29 PM   #6
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You probably won't want to make or use an actually bow as a base, for a couple of reasons.

- If they make you unstring it at a convention, it loses its shape.
- If you try to draw it, movement and tension along the actual bow might cause your embellishments to crack (not that you would probably be allowed to draw it... considering most weapon rules).

One thing I found while doing my Princess Zelda armor (the first time around) is that clay and craft foam don't mix very well. I recommend doing raised designs either by layering more craft foam on top of the base or by using hot glue to create the raised designs (Amethyst Angel does this in her armor work).

Also, if you're going the craft foam route, remember to consider durability. No matter how much craft foam you use, it will still bend/warp/get dented. I'm personally a fan of fiberglass over craft foam, since you can use the foam to get your model and still end up with a hard, paintable surface.
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