After spending eight days on this prop display, I can now deem it complete. How does it look, person?
--- Inspiration ---
With the new Legend of Zelda title releasing in March 3rd (Basically tomorrow), I discussed a project that my local Makerspace could contribute with their 3D Printer. Before even receiving it, the president offered to try and get this sword displayed at Gamestop for the game's release. Knowing that chance, my motivation was skyrocketing!
---- Process ----
When it comes to 3D printing, you need a 3D model. At first, I looked around Thingiverse.com to find any STLs of the Sword. I found two, but one was based off of Twilight Princess and the other a direct rip from Hyrule Warriors apparently. Ya see, when it comes to accuracy, I try my very best to achieve a 100 percent representation of the item, so the model from Twilight Princess wasn't going to work because the sword featured in BOTW is a slightly updated variant of Skyward Sword's design. Whereas the ripped model from HW is from the game, meaning it's low poly and a lot of detail was through the textures. So, I decided to 3D model one myself using Blender 3D. It was a day and a half worth of modeling, getting everything just right. (Although, I sadly missed a crucial detail only after I had printed, assembled and glued everything together. More on that later.) I received the printer, sliced everything up in Cura and started printing the pieces.
The whole sword is comprised of seven pieces and I added an additional piece to extend the blade length because I noticed it was a tad short, but that's only because I hadn't added more length in the ricasso (The tapered piece that occurs under the triforce emblem), thus ruining the scale in a sense, the handle also lacks a bit in length too. But those two problems don't really detract from the prop unless you're a perfectionist like myself.
Anyway, the guard was split into two haves to make it more structurally sound, the first half was seven hours in total, before that I printed the handle for a sense of scale. Printing the second half was saddening because the motors on the printer jammed up, causing a disturbance in the print, alas another problem occurred. Which was: the feeding tube. Not to worry tho because the printing Guru was there to help with answers and solutions. We met up and he handed me a new SD card as well as a replacement piece for the feeding tube's socket. Minutes after repairing the thing, I returned to printing the sword. With the second half completed, the blade parts came next. While those began to print, I spent many hours sanding, filling in any gaps with lots of spot putty and continued this process with each and every piece.
Finally, the sword was completely printed, all I had to do was remove the support material, clean up the socket and socket holes and everything should piece together perfectly. Took a lot of tedious clean up work between those two portions but everything began to fit in place. Satisfied with fit, I glued everything together with some sort of welding glue, (It was something laying around in my Dad's tool box, pretty old actually but held up quite well.) Filled with joy on how everything came to be, I continued to sand off the dreadful support material. I had a hiccup that made my heart sink to the floor: the pieces began to break away from their adhesion. Luckily I asked before hand what I could use to weld PLA together, one of the recommendations were to use a wood burner and weld each part together. Having everything welded together, my mind felt more at ease and once again, back to the tedious sanding of the horrific supports.
Got carried away though with the sanding and I manage to split one of the seams. Crap. Welding PLA is an easy task, so quick fix really. She was set, me and the sandpaper got back to work but being much more delicate to the piece. An entire night spend on cleaning the piece and filling in the gaps. But once I was finished, she was prepped for painting. I waited for the sun to rise, a painful wait but I managed to greet the sun. I sprayed my base coat of silver for both sides, and then with an hour passing, the purple coat was applied to the hilt. With the base coats applied, I took my share of sleep. Four hours later, I woke up and began painting in the golden accents of the ricasso and jewel. At the same time, I applied the gray corrosion onto one side of the blade as I waited for the gold paint to set. Many coats of gold later, it was almost ready, sadly some of the paint peeled off when removed the painter's tape. Damn. Nothing a little rusty lookin' paint can't fix--- Hehe... Anywho, between those gold coats I started applying the rusted color pallet to the sword. Going from a light brown to a dark brown-red mix and in time I received the final product you see pictured. I waited for morning once again to apply the clear coats and like last time, the sun greeted me with a smile and a gentle weather. The sword was 95 percent complete!! I took a day's worth of sleep and the next day (Wednesday) I head off to a friend to have him cut out a rugged piece of styrofoam from some boat for the pedestal.
Lots of figuring out how to get the proper triangular shape and we eventually got the basic shape cut out, and with that, we did the detail work like the bevels and sword slot. She was cleaned up and we started cutting the top plate with insulation foam. Easier to work with than Mr. Pellets. Few trial and errors with size and we managed to get the shape. Once all set, I applied some patching paste to remove the icky looking styrofoam texture we had going on. While this was being applied, I had my buddy apply the leather wrap which came out great for what we had, although, we had to paint it in with some green acrylic due to the leather being a brown color. One empty can of patch and I almost filled it in. Being such a thick coat, the dry time extended its average thirty minutes and we decided to call it a day. Today, (Thursday) we did the priming with Plasti-Dip but sadly ran out of it due to it being used on a previous project. Sigh. But I remembered! PVA glue works great as a priming coat. After searching for some, we applied what little we had to the any exposed areas. In time, the glue dried and we applied the textured paint. And we ran out. Dammit. Luckily I had my ride pick up a can from our Local Ace store, different color but didn't matter since I think it added a depth to it. We covered the thing and waited for the paint to dry. Bid farewell to my friend and stayed at the driveway to allow the paint to dry for me to handle.
It dried, I grabbed it and took it home. Noticed that one corner of the top plate was lifting upward so I glued it back in place and after that, I did some quick dry brushing of green to give it a mossy look, not too happy with it, but hey, it's not the centerpiece really. The sword is, although I'd most likely apply some fake moss of sort later on in the future.
Overall, a very stressing, elbow work project with a satisfying ending. Sure, few things are off but it's minor really. I love how this came out being my first official prop. I've learned lots of things from this, from 3D modeling, to painting, even working with styrofoam. (Which I'll never use again.) This 8 day was a lot of fun, I was pretty impressed how the painting came out as well as the pedestal for being a rushed piece. But now, it is time for the launch of the Nintendo Switch and the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I'm exhausted from this project but dammit, I gotta play this game for a few hours!!
----- Backstory -----
[Due note that the game hasn't been released at time of this write up, meaning everything written below is based on my own theory after gathering chunks of information from the trailers and certain articles]
Featured in the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Both Link and the Master Sword have fallen in battle after trying to protect Zelda from the mechanical beasts known as the Guardians. With the Hero and the Blade of Evil's bane defeated, they must enter a slumber in order to heal from this conflict. Thanks to Zelda's efforts, she places Link into the Shrine of Resurrection and the Master Sword under the Great Deku Tree's watch, allowing the two to heal from their wounds. One hundred years have passed and Link has reawakened into a new world terrorized by the Calamity Ganon. Our Light, our Hero must now regain his memory and search for the mighty blade once more and restore peace to Hyrule once again.
------ Credits -------
3D printer and filament provided by my local Kauai Makerspace
, while the modeling, clean up work, painting were done by your's truly
, pedestal was a duo work done by a Makerspace member who I shall not name under his wishes. Photography was done by my father
Thank you for viewing!