Alcaria Cosplay
Cosplay and Props

Props-Content

Lydia's Skyrim steel sword and shield

I was surprised with how quickly I finished both those props, since I only had the chance to craft them during my 2 short trips back home (Cyprus). The sword was finished in only 5 hours total,  and the shield took 18 hours, 2 days of full-time crafting. One of the things I truly miss from Cyprus, when it comes to crafting, is the weather. Winter or summer, the temperature is always perfect for primers, paint and varnish. Everything dries so quickly, my least favourite part is dealt with in mere minutes. 

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Again, the crafting was done so fast, I forgot to take pictures of the progress. I quickly sketched out a pattern, traced it on thick cardboard, cut it out, layered it, carved/shaped it and added craft foam (the red part on the top picture) for the details. Then I covered the whole thing with black Worbla (thermoplastic) since it needed to be solid. Black Worbla is my preferred type of thermoplastic because it requires less priming and sanding, and it's less textured than the other types of Worbla. It also doesn't tear easily when you stretch it enough. One thing that's missing from the pictures is the decoration on the pommel. That was made post priming, pre-painting, with a 3D acrylic paint. Too much detail, too thin lines for craft foam or sculpting. 

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After priming, sanding and the fine details on the pommel, I painted the sword with the base colour (black) and then rubbed silver leaf for the metallic look (a gilding type of paint). 

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During my second trip to Cyprus, I already had the pattern drawn digitally and sketches of how each layer will work. Everything was planned out and recorded, and all I had to do was print out the pattern, buy the materials and start crafting. The weather was even warmer than the time I crafted the sword, so I could sit outside and everything would dry so much faster: the glue, the primer, each layer of paint, everything was faster!

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So, I took a 10mm foam tile and cut the main shape of the shield. I made incisions for the arm strap and the grip, which were glued on the other side of the foam (face), for extra stability. Then I cut the main shape out of thick cardboard and glued it on the face of the shield, onto the foam. Then I had a smooth, hard surface to add the details.

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Cutting and arranging craft foam strips to look like wood boards. It's not just about aligning them. There has to be imperfections. I left bigger gaps at places and poured extra glue to make it look like dried resin. Then the round shape and extra pieces were added. The rivets and screws on the face of the shield (not pictured below) were done with large googly eyes and smaller thumbtacks. 

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Priming took 1 hour! Starting upwards, moving down, by the time I was done applying the first layer, the top was already dry and ready for the second layer of Gesso. Primed (with 3 layers), sanded and ready for painting. Next up, was the base colour, black acrylic. Then my favourite part: the wood texture. A soft brown coating, over the black base. Then dry brushing with a darker and a lighter shade of brown

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Lastly, silver leaf paint, and the shield is done! Of course, don't forget to paint the back of the shield (like I did) because last minute painting and blow drying isn't fun! 

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