Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Project Log: The Emperor's Champion, Part 7

With the Champion's body finished, it's time to tackle his accessories...

The original figure had its gun and sword in opposite hands from the new pose, so I removed the weapons. I also added pins in the wrists to make attaching them easier later on.


I kept the sword as the basis for the black sword. I cut off the power sword details and used flat needle-nose pliers to crush the hilt detail, providing a little more surface area at the bottom. The black sword is much longer (measuring about floor-to-shoulder on the figure), so I needed to extend it significantly. I used a thick bass wire to build a new "core" for the weapon. The thicker wire was left at the bottom and would form the grip. I peeled off some of the outer coil and slid the wire through a hole drilled in the hand. Then the remaining coil was removed, leaving the central wire, which was inserted into a hole drilled in the bottom of the blade itself.



I left some space between the blade and the hand, and pressed some putty over the gap to fill in the missing portion of the blade.



Once that putty had hardened, I carved it down to the shape of the blade, and then added another layer of putty over top. I used a ruler and my sculpting tool to press a groove along the center of the blade, and then let the putty cure. 



I carved and sanded the rough form into the shape of the blade, and trimmed the bottom to match the flared shape of the small black sword.

At this point I realized two mistakes I had made: The bottom of the blade needed to be a little higher to make room for the skull and cross guard. And, I should have added the cross guard first, so I could have pinned the wire through the cross guard, ensuring that it would be centered and straight.

I thought I could correct this by peeling away the wire below the hand, and sliding the hand down, but I just ended up ruining it.



The hand was glued on so tightly it wouldn't budge. I was worried that I might crack the putty on the blade (which thankfully did not happen), but I ended up breaking the wire below the hand. In all my struggling, the putty came free, and the blade slid off of the wire.



I couldn't get the remaining wire out of the hand to replace it, so I left it in. I drilled two holes in the bottom of the hand on either side of the wire and inserted a bent paperclip to form the new grip. I was hoping to use the ribbed guitar wire as the hilt, but now I would have to sculpt a hilt from scratch.

I made the cross guard from a thick styrene rod. For the notches, I rolled the rod under my hobby knife to make shallow cuts all the way around. Then, I used the edge of a half-round file to widen the grooves.



The cross guard was then slid over the wire which was then reinserted into the blade at the proper height. In the end, this new sword construction worked out for the best, I just wish I had done it this way from the start so I could have avoided all that struggle.



For the skulls, I used two wheel scythes from a Tomb King's chariot. The skulls were already "halved" and had a nice angle to the bottom. I just cut off the back and filed away some material behind the teeth so they could wrap over the round cross guard.



I filled the gap with putty, and pressed the skulls into position. Excess putty was used to cover the gaps in the fingers and fill in the hilt. (I forgot to mention it earlier, but I cut and bent the trigger finger so it was properly in line with the rest of the hand.)



When the putty had cured, I cleaned up around the skulls, and sculpted the wrappings around the grip. 



The final step was to sculpt a pommel on the end of the grip.



I sculpted a cuff around the wrist...



...and finished it off with some styrene bits for the hinges.



To chain the sword to the champion's wrist, I used the large chain from the rat ogre on the Skaven Screaming Bell.



I cut out a section of the chain, trimmed off the spikes, and cut the ends to fit around the pommel and connect to the wrist cuff. The final touch was to sculpt little spikes on the knuckles to match the opposite hand.



And here's the reforged, scaled-up version of Magnus Romero's black sword:



'Til next time!


  1. The sword turned out so well! The issue with the hilt turned out for the best, because your sculpting was better than the guitar wire would have been.

    1. Thanks! I feel like the coil of the guitar wire would have been more futuristic, rather than the leather-wrapped hilt (it also would have been less work). But I'm still happy with it.


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