Every year now, I travel to Nerdtacular in Utah. This year I decided that I wanted to contribute a new, custom replica prop to the amazing prize pool at the event. I took a poll from the Frogpants community and the overwhelming majority wanted me to make Illidan Stormrage’s Warglaive of Azzinoth from World of Warcraft. So, I did!
I wanted to make the edges of the blade glow, so I decided to make it out of layered pieces of material and have the middle layer be clear acrylic so that I could shine LEDs through it. The outside black pieces are foam PVC.
I got my LED strips from superbrightleds.com. I picked up two 1 meter lengths of green LED strips. They are each 12 volts so I got some of those specialty 12 volt batteries so I wouldn’t have to do any math. I cut a groove into the acrylic so that the LEDs would have a channel to run through and end up in the middle of the foam PVC sandwich facing outward. I also cut out a piece of wood that would serve as the handle and connector for the two blade pieces. These were all epoxied and screwed together. I then added a switch and carved a groove into the handle to connect the wires between both blades. I also had to make a AAA battery holder shorter so that it could accept the specialty 12 volt batteries I would be using.
Once everything on the inside was taken care of, I epoxied and screwed on the top piece of foam PVC.
To give the blades more thickness I added another layer of foam PVC to each side. This was a little thicker than what was already there. Before attaching it to the blades I used a belt sander and sanding drums with my drill press to shape the edges a bit. Then they were glued in place.
To shape the edge of the blade I used the belt sander/drill bit sanding drum combo again. I can’t stress how awesome those sanding drum bits were. Once I had the edges down to where I wanted them, I slapped in some Bondo to fill in or build up wherever I needed some mass. Bondo is one of my favorite things ever! Then the Bondo bits were sanded down flush with the rest of the PVC.
Finally at this point I could hit it with a coat of primer spray paint (I like Painter’s Touch) primer. The first layer of primer gets sanded almost completely off, it’s just used to show where the low spots are that need some extra sanding. That’s why most people use red primer for this; it shows up well. Once it was all smooth, I gave it a shot of gray primer and it was ready for painting!
The shield bit of the warglaive was also made out of foam PVC. I layered three pieces and epoxied them together. For the detail pieces on the shield, I used 1/8th inch styrene. These pieces got epoxied to the large shield base. The shield also got the prime, sand, and prime for paint treatment. I put holes through the shield on either side. These are for 1/4 inch bolts that I used to attach the shield to the blades. Hell will freeze over before that shield falls off of those blades! The bolt holes were filled in with Bondo (yaaaaaay Bondo!) and then sanded flush. Then the whole thing was primed and ready for paint.
Most of the paint was a metallic paint that I got from Ben Franklin’s. I sanded all of the paint off the edges where I wanted light to come through. Here is the finished product with the light on and off. You can see more shots of the finished warglave on my flickr page.
Also! At Nerdtacular, I asked the lovely and talented Veronica Belmont to pose with the finished warglaive and she was amazingly gracious! I got this spectacular shot of her being totally badass!
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