X/1999 is a Japanese manga and anime series dealing with superhumans battling in apocalyptic Tokyo. I was commissioned to make two of the Shinken (or Divine Sword).

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Since I had to build two identical swords, I needed to make one master, make molds and cast plastic resin copies. The sword is over 59″ long and very thin so it would need a reinforcing core within.

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I had a friend weld a 5/16″ steel rod to a 3-16″ x 3/4″” steel bar. I planned to make half the blade and guard cast cast copies to glue together around the steel.

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I sculpted 1/2 of the guard from clay. I worked on a mirror thinking that it would give me a better view of the complete guard. I think it was too flat to make much of a difference, though.

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To fabricate the ring around the star at the pommel, I inserted one PVC pipe inside another and cast resin between them.

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The star was made from 1/4″ square styrene rods.

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The grip was lathed out of pine stock. I then sealed it with gloss black paint.

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A thin rail runs down the center of the blade from the hilt. I laminated 2 layers of styrene and dremeled the characters into the surface.

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I made half of the blade from 1/4″ Poplar and glued it to a sheet of MDF. A resin copy of the hilt was also glued in place.

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I drew a grid on the MDF to make sure the half would be symmetrical.

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After I cleaned up all the flaws with putty and primer, I made a silicone mold with a plaster jacket.

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The next day I slush cast two halves with plastic resin. I reinforced the resin with chopped fiberglass mat.

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I used a trim router to cut a channel in each half to make room for the steel.

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I mixed up a small amount of resin to glue the steel into the channel and then the two sides together.

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I cut the lathed grip master into its components and cast them in silicone rubber.

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I inserted brass tubing into the mold and cast plastic resin around them

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The cast grips. Now to trim off the extra tubing and sand down the rough edges.

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To make the basket guard, I glued together 4 layers of MDF. I then shaped it on the belt sander.

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I used a Dremel to carve some of the surface detail into the guard.

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To make the shield, I heated a piece of styrene with a heat gun and molded it to fit. I attached it with Bondo and carved the edge scallops into the shield.

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I heat formed some more styrene to fit the shield and cut two pieces of trim. After they were attached, I Dremeled the characters into the styrene.

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The completed and primered Basket Guard. I made a silicone mold from this.

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I slush cast resin in the mold to make a hollow basket guard.

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Here are all the pieces in a quick test fit.

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The grips are wrapped in a purple thread. To simulate this, I picked up some cotton twine and a box of Rit dye.

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I did a quick test wind to find out how much it would take. The answer?….25 feet!

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I notched the end at an angle and CA glued the end. I coated the grip with Elmer’s wood glue and started winding.

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I painted the blades with a gloss black to show any last flaws and to act as a base coat for the metallic paint and then applied a Krylon Chrome paint for the blade.

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I masked off the silver and painted the hilt with a Krylon gold leaf paint. The sword was then coated with a protective top coat of Future.

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The sword features a red hemispherical gem on either side of the hilt. I cut a disk from 1/4″ red acrylic.

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I used a Dremel sanding drum to shape the dome. Once it was sanded, I hit it with a propane torch to glass over the surface.

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Here is the gem in place.

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I inserted a bit of threaded rod into the bead between the grips. One end of the basket will attach here.

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The other end of the guard attaches to either side of the hilt. I attached these with two small brass nails.

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The final assembled swords. They are REALLY long (59″)!

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The swords in action at the 2008 SakuraCon in Seattle.

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