Happy 100th Post!

Yes, believe it or not, this is the 100th post that I’ve made in this blog. And so far, it’s been a while ride. I began this blog to chronicle my journey while making paladin armor, and I think it turned more into a cosplay blog/personal social networking site/creative writing forum. But it’s been so worth it!
So, for my 100th post, I decided to show you all one of my projects I’ve been working on which hasn’t even been mentioned, I don’t think. Basically, when I was at ConnectiCon last year, it felt very silly to be walking around without Saber’s sword, Excalibur. But ConnectiCon doesn’t allow “live” steel (ie, metal weapons of any sort). So Saber went swordless last year.
But this year, since I’ll have the armor to go along with it, I decided to give Excalibur a shot. Especially since I’ll be in cosplay chess, in which would look very odd if a battle piece didn’t have her very recognizable weapon!
So, I’m making Excalibur. It’s going to LARP battle-ready so that it’s safe for the con, but I also want it to look accurate and not silly. When you Google “Saber cosplay,” you come across many different attempts at making Excalibur. The best ones are lovingly constructed from balsa wood, and the… um… not-so-great ones are made from cardboard. But since I didn’t have the time or resources to make a wooden sword and wouldn’t sink so low as to go cardboard, I decided to take a completely different route and make an actual LARP weapon that I could bop people with… meaning that the sword would have to be made out of a soft material.
In this case, I chose to modify a pre-existing sword for the job: the NERF Marauder sword, which is a full-size foam sword with rigid core which would actually probably be appropriate for live battle sessions (don’t hold me to that, it just seems right). Here’s the sword as it began:

It’s actually a pretty good approximation of where I’m going with Excalibur’s shape, too, though there are some differences:

In order to keep with the original softness of the sword, I decided to make my modifications to it by utilizing craft foam. This would also serve to add the colors I needed to the sword (gold and blue). I also bought a bottle of gold fabric paint which will add just a little extra sparkle when I’m done.
Anyway, right now I’m working on building up the half-circle hilt that you see in the picture. I wanted it to cover up the original sword hilt and to look true to the actual sword it’s based off of. So, placing the sword over a piece of paper, I began tracing. Basically, this has all been a trial and error method of trying to build up the sword. I should probably also point out at this time that I’m using a glue gun to keep it all together as well! It’s so far so good with what I’ve done using the layering and glue gun method, though at one point the hot glue just completely severed from the sword itself and I had to completely re-glue an entire piece. But I think it let go either because of air bubbles or because of how cold it was in here last night (A/C is both a gift and a curse).
So, when it was all said and done, the sword hilt is built up from 6mm craft foam, 3mm craft foam, cardboard, hot glue, and a few strategically-placed pieces of duct tape:

Before I begin encasing the hilt in yellow craft foam (which will then be painted gold) I think I just want to fill in some of the empty space in the hilt so that it won’t crush under pressure. But I might just do this with more cardboard. Then, I plan on encasing the edges in cardstock for a smooth appearance before I cover it over with the craft foam.
All in all, this is a nice break from my armor project which is at a bit of a standstill at the moment since I made a silly mistake with my gauntlets. But that’s drama for another post…

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