Tag Archives: Sculpting

Legend of Zelda Master Sword

Legend of Zelda Master Sword Take Two

About a year and a half ago, I worked with The League of Extraordinary Thespians to make a Master Sword for their Legend of Zelda musical. It was a fun project, but I had very little time or money to do it; I thought it was a bit blocky, and the paint treatment was very rudimentary. Since I gave all the original swords away, I decided I would make a new one with some improvements for myself.

I filmed nearly every step of the process and edited it into a six-minute video.

I made the blade out of wood again; on the original swords, I used plywood, which does not really make a convincing faux metal. This time I went with a solid piece of oak. After priming and sanding it, I used some Krylon Stainless Steel spray paint, which, after rubbing it with some steel wool, makes a very convincing metallic finish.

Legend of Zelda Master Sword
Legend of Zelda Master Sword

I decided I would make the hilt as a separate piece, then mold it and cast it directly onto the blade. I wanted a strong connection between hilt and sword that would not break when you played with it. Another reason was that the hilt was a very time-consuming piece, and I wanted the option of making more swords in the future.

Legend of Zelda Master Sword
Legend of Zelda Master Sword

Casting the hilt directly onto the blade was a very challenging and hairy process for me. Despite how awesome I seem, I do not have much experience with molding and casting. The process was far from perfect, but the end result was pretty satisfactory (though you can see some wibbly defects in the picture below).

Legend of Zelda Master Sword
Legend of Zelda Master Sword

I also tried sculpting the quillons out of clay, which is not something I typically do. I used an air-drying clay that was way too soft; if I were to try this again, I would look for a much harder clay. In fact, I would probably be tempted to carve most of it from a solid chunk of wood.

The yellow jewels were a separate piece which I cast in tinted epoxy. I made a video showing the mold-making process on that a few weeks back.

I finished off the hilt with a purple shimmering metallic spray paint. All in all, I was happy with how this sword turned out, and I learned a lot from the process.

Making a Life-Size Dragon

Making a Life-Size Dragon

Here is a very cool video showing how Frank Ippolito made a life-sized dragon. Capcom wanted the front portion of one of their video game monsters for their booth at the E3 gaming conference, so they turned to sculptor and special effects artist Ippolito to make it happen. Tested shot this video, which shows all the stages of the build, from planning to creating the structure, and from sculpting the foam to coating it with a hard shell. If you ever wanted to create your own life-size dragon, this video is a good place to start.

Friday Fun Links

Happy Friday, good props people!

Though a few years old, this tutorial on making paper clay is pretty useful. Paper clay is a great sculpting material if you are working with kids, or otherwise need a cheap and non-toxic medium.

I always enjoy when Lost Art Press posts 19th century texts about workmanship. This recent one on “Good Workmen and Good Tools” is such a post. Take care of your tools!

Designing a vinyl toy with Joe Ledbetter is a bit different than what most of us do. He steps us through the many procedures one goes through when one designs a vinyl toy and works with a factory to put it into production. It’s kind of fascinating.

Finally, if you want a video to zone out to today, check out this mesmerizing one of Philippe Faraut sculpting a human hand from clay.

Friday Links

I totally forgot to remind everyone this Wednesday (July 24th) was Propmaster’s Day. At the moment, most of the US prop masters are at their annual conference in Kansas City; I couldn’t make it this year, but hopefully I can share some of it next week. In other news, today is my last day at the Santa Fe Opera. I’ll be able to share some more things I built here in a month once the operas close. For now, enjoy these links from around the Internet:

At this year’s San Diego Comic Con, Adam Savage dressed as Admiral Akbar, with a mask built from the original movie molds. Check out the epic voyage of molding and casting it took for him and a team of skilled artisans to get there.

In the same vein, here is another intensive tutorial on sculpting, molding and casting brought to you by the creators of the indie film, He Took His Skin Off For Me. This one shows you how they made an actor’s arm appear to have no skin on it.

Disney Research is developing software to help design mechanical creatures and automata. They have videos and animations to help explain it better, but basically, you tell the program how you want something to move, and it shows you wear to stick hinges, pivots and motors to make it happen.

Rich Dionne has a great post up describing how to keep your painters happy. The simple rules he lays out are essential for getting the show up in time and not making everyone miserable in the process. Even if you don’t have a separate team of painters for your prop shop, these are good rules to make a mental note of while planning out the build and finish of each prop.

Finally, I have a post up on The Hill where I talk about my book. A lot. But I also talk about how prolifically it is being pirated and why that matters to those of us in the creative fields.