The useless staff collection is growing - Tactical Ninja
Nov. 26th, 2012
09:24 am - The useless staff collection is growing
So it's done. This is the bit where those of you who are new here find out how much of a dork I really am, and those who've been here a while roll their eyes and go "Ah yup." This one took a bit longer than the previous one because it was fiddlier, hence there are more pics.
For those who don't know, I'm currently obsessed with creating replicas of the staffs that are featured in Dragon Age. I'll probably expand to other games one day but DA seems to have almost a monopoly on cool looking ones that might actually be useful in a fight. This is the latest:
This is the one Anders comes with in DA2 - you walk into his place and he brandishes it at you. It's something of an empty threat - bloody thing only does 9 damage and it's dinged-up all to hell and only worth 2 silver 48 to sell because, well, he's poor. But it looks cool. Here's how I made it.
First, cutting bits out of wood using a jigsaw. I could have made the dragon head all in one piece but that would have required buying wood and I was trying to use what I have around, so two parts it is. Also there are the spiky bits to make the stabby part on the bottom end.
Since this staff has an obvious handle, that part had to be whittled out of the dowelling that forms the main body:
Next, the fun part. I had to learn how to do a 16 strand handle braid. Normally you'd do this sort of thing last, but because the handguards would go over it, I had to put this on right at the start and then try to protect it from the rest of the process. I think this came out pretty well for a first go:
Also necessary to do first because of moulding that needed to go over the top were the spiky bottom bits, and I figured painting them first would mean only having to touch them up at the end. Keeping them from getting broken while I did the rest of it was.. impossible. Two got chipped. Luckily, wood is gluable.
Next up, dyeing the braid that lovely shade of red, and attaching the blade that sticks out from the centre of the staff. Nice touch, this - although I'm in two minds about how useful it'd be as a melee weapon, it's still better than the usual nothing your mage has to defend themself if things get up close and personal. And, gluing the two parts of the head together using my fancy clamps and some nails and glue and wooden splints.
Then, attaching the head to the top of the staff, adding the dark staining to the ends of the leather handle cos it's old and huckery looking, and putting on the cardboard base shapes of the hand guards. They are just a guide to show where to put the mache goop.
Then, the inevitable mache goop. It's paper/plaster mache, and once it's mixed you have to apply it within half an hour or it sets on you. I've found the best way is to make about a cup at a time, and add slightly more than you need so you can sand it back.
*interlude here playing elevator music while Tats sands, and sands, and sands some more, to get it into shape*
Sanding is boring. Luckily, I have a dremel and this sped the process up some. However, I discovered that plaster mache forms a crust under which it's a lot softer, and if you go through the crust accidentally it becomes quite hard to only remove a little bit. Luckily, I have modelling clay to fix those kinds of fuckups.
The clay part is a matter of adding tiny bits to fill holes and make sharp shape edges, then adding a small amount of water and smoothing. Then more sanding. The sanding was the longest part of this process, and took about three weeks of puttering about whenever I had time to get it as good as I wanted. Then, prior to painting, the inevitable gesso:
I spent a lot of time reading about how to make wood/plaster look like metal. Most things said "Sand, sand and sand some more, then use spray paint." I'm not set up for spray painting, however since my staff is supposed to look old and cruddy and would have been made by hammer smithing rather than casting (so there'd be imperfections), I figured careful brushing over a good coat of gesso would do the trick. So, first three coats of iridescent silver:
But it's supposed to be old and that doesn't look old, so next up a wash using a colour called graphite. It's basically a dark silver/black colour, and with enough water mixed in it stains rather than paints, and settles in my carefully-applied hollows and gouges and corners:
However, the graphite has an inherent problem in that it's reflective, so even while it's looking dark in the corners, if the light catches it right it might as well not even be there. So the final touch was very careful addition of a wash of burnt umber and black paint (heavier in the corners), to make it look grimy and dirty. I've never done weathering before so I'm pretty pleased with the result.
After that it was a matter of adding the strange leather strap thing around the middle, cleaning up the splashes, and voila! Freedom's Call:
I've no idea what purpose that leather serves. It doesn't seem to hold anything anywhere. Anyway, it was made from an old gun belt I got at the army surplus shop, cut up the centre and oiled to make it dark:
And here's the newly-repaired spiky bottom. It would break if you actually hit anyone with it, but it looks the part:
It's kind of hard to get a picture of the whole thing, but here's one taken from the top of our bed:
And for the sake of authenticity, here's a compare/contast shot of me looking fierce.
You wouldn't take me on, would you? That other fulla, so not scary.
Why do I do this? I still have no clue. But while I'm still getting a kick out of it, I'll keep doing it. Next up, Cold Blooded. I think the ice will be an interesting challenge.