Alice: Madness returns was a horror game that I was too scared to play, and yet really intrigued by its game designs and story telling. When I first saw the weapon used by the game's protagonist, named the Vorpal Blade, I fell in love with the design straight away. I thought, I have to make this.
Side by side comparison of in-game weapon and prop replica.
So I started my usually research, looked everywhere, google, videos and in-game action, taking screenshots to get as many reference materials as possible. It is then that I realized that there were already replicas available for sale online. As I looked through the images, I discovered that the replicas for sale has a different design than the in-game model.
Feeling a little disappointed, I decided to craft one that is based on the in-game model. However, there was a little problem. All the reference materials had a part of the design that was covered by "blood".
Using several reference materials, including free paper model templates available online, I was able to gauge the size of the prop and scale the design appropriately.
Using photoshop, the design was traced out with the pen tool. Areas that were covered by the "blood", however, could only be done with guess work.
For this build, I decided to use MDF for the blade. MDF is cheap, easy to handle and quite sturdy, making it an ideal option. Of course there were other options, but ultimately, this was what was readily available to me.
After tracing the design out onto the blade, I started using my wood carving tools to carve out the design. Everything was done in a few hours and I was quite happy with the result. However, that was only until I hit the piece with spray paint.
There was a horrible bumpy and furry texture on the areas that were carved. Due to the detailed patterning, it was almost impossible to sand away the texture. The details of the patterns also did not turn out as well defined as I thought it would be after several coats of paint.
Thinking that maybe it will look okay after adding a layer of silver paint, I proceeded on. However, boy was I wrong. That bumpy furry texture showed through and the entire piece looked terribly fake.
I decided to take a break from the blade and started working on the handle. Using MDF as the base, the handle was bulked up and sculpted with cheap paper clay. After drying/hardening, the pattern was sketched out directly onto the handle. Using Liquid Sculpey, a type of liquid polymer clay, I laid out the 3D pattern onto the blade. I had to bake it constantly to prevent the polymer clay from deforming.
Being happy with how it turned out and I decided to hit it with black spray paint again. This is where things went wrong again. Turns out, polymer clay was reactive towards lacquer based paints and the whole piece remained sticky no matter how long I waited.
A break was taken from the project.
I proceeded onto other projects while taking a break from this. It was difficult to pick this back up after a while. A new piece of MDF was used and cut to shape again for the blade while the handle was reshaped.
After making sure that everything was fine with the blade, the patterns and the handle, I proceeded onto adding the metallic paints.
A first pass of silver was dry brushed on, follow by a few other different values of metallic paints, like bronze, copper and gold. They were all dry brushed lightly onto the blade, built on layer by layer.
A new layer of silver paint was brushed on again, as seen on the top left photo. After letting it dry, I proceeded on to patterning the handle with some porcelain relief paste. That stuff dries and hardens well without the oven, making it less time consuming to use.
Side by side comparison between prop replica and paper model from the net.
Different values of metallic paints were also dry brushed onto the handle in layers to give it a more interesting look. Finally, the entire piece was sealed with a protective water based acrylic glossy clear coat.
The piece is complete for now, but I might be doing a little more weathering to it in a few week's time after completing my other projects.
#game #alicemadnessreturns #vorpalblade #prop #replica #blade #weapon
Image and scaling references
Paper model reference