Time to assemble the Axe and finish out the last detail items. These include cosmetic items on the axe. The shaft of the axe looks like its made from a spine, and I also need to finish casting the skulls that will place on the flat of the axe. This is a lot of work but most of the steps leading up to it are done.
We start with creating a casting the skulls due to time for the material to set up.
This was a clay sculpt that I knocked out while watching some family guy. I don’t do much sculpting but I though this turned out really well. We had a lot of problems creating a mold for this, but most the problems were outlined in a previous post Do’s and Don’ts.
This is the mold once it set up. very strong and a good amount of flex that would allow us to De-mold with out damage. I needed two casts of the skull.
We decided to use a self skinning two part expanding foam from Tap plastics. This foam expands to 300% volume and worked well for this application.
Very easy materials to work with but it does have some fumes so make sure to work in a well ventilated space.
As you can see the foam expands well outside of the mold but this didn’t matter so much because we will be cutting it down to the correct thickness for our ax.
The pictures are a bit blurry but the positives came out very cleanly but did contain a lot of air pockets caused from the condensation on the cold mold and the heat from the foams chemical reaction.
After some attention with my trusty light weight modeling paste, I smoothed the surface out and have a very solid but extremely light skull to attach to my axe.
We shaped out the axe heads in part 2. Its now time to join them together. I had originally wanted the ax head to detachable or break down into smaller sections. I scrapped this idea when it proved unnecessary for shipping and transportation. To join the axe blades I have used a Loctite product called Power Grab. This stuff is fantastic for a great hold on most applications. It does have a 24 hour dry time, but is very tacky and will not run.I cut out a hollow on the axe head to insert a wooden block into. This gave me a solid mount and was much stronger then the foam alone. When ever you are doing an insert like this check your fit a dozen times over. You can always remove more foam but putting it back is a real pain in the ass.The Power grab worked great for this application. It spreads well and is applied with a caulk gun. 24 hours later and the wood blocks are now forever part of the foam structure.
I took a measure from the top of each ax blade a drilled a 1/2inch hole in each one. Using wood glue and some 4 inch wood dowels I joined both sides together through the center piece I had constructed earlier.
Time for paint and final details. I put a base coat of gray Gesso to help fill / seal the foam and because my final colors would be grays it helped to ensure even color.
The skulls are up next, these were easy once they were dry and sanded out. I checked size, placement and glued.Finaly we are starting to get something that could indeed be an ARCANITE REAPER!!!!!HOOO!!!
I decided model magic will work well to build up around the handle and use some simple foam cones to make the spikes.
This is the model magic around the top potion of the handle. I rolled out a large tube of it and worked it over the handle. Useing a clay shaping tool I worked the lines into the clay and let it dry over night.
This is inital paint out (notice the lack of shading or detailing). I failed to take a few photos of the last steps of construction due to trying to meet the midnight deadline for the Epicweapons.com weaponsmithing contest. Final product turned out pretty well but wasn’t my best work at submission time.
This picture is of the axe slightly unfinished, I went in later with a foam cone that I drilled a hole through and put it on the end of the handle so that the handle tapered properly, then wrapped some craft foam around the handle that wasn’t tapered to make it the right diameter. For the spike on the end, I drilled a hole into the wooden dowel, inserted a metal rod that had bolts screwed on it for counter weight, and molded an end spike using model magic around the rod. In the end, it weighed about 6 lbs, and came apart in two places to have three pieces, the axe head, upper part of the shaft, and the handle. I wrapped the handle in wide blue ribbon first, and then with thinner gray ribbon.
This axe will make its appearance at Blizzcon 2011 as part of a good friend of mine and Alice’s, the one and only Jenny Harris’s costume.
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