Sunday, 24 February 2013

Gladius swords and rocks from space

With the New Year well underway it's time for more info about what we've been up to while hibernating over Christmas. 

We've go big plans for 2013, starting with a line of accessories for table-top games while expanding our replicas and reproductions. To start off we are looking at 3D asteroids for space combat games. 

Plastics are a relatively new medium for us, as we tend to work in metal and wood. Still, they have a finish that is second to none, and in terms of gaming accessories are perfect for table-top use. So we came up with the idea of floating asteroids. Starting with the space rocks themselves, we carved them from high density polystyrene.

Starting block of polystyrene.
Adjustable band sawing the large block into
square, asteroid friendly chunks
Ready to be shaped
Finally in asteroid shape

 Once we have an approximate shape we can finish them with the right colouring. The white layer adds strength to them, giving them a hard shell so that they can take knocks and wear and tear, then the black starts the finished look.

Undercoated and ready.

Spraying black as a base for the final coat.

Lastly we paint them dark grey and highlight them in lighter grey, and there you have it - asteroids all ready to go (more pictures and how we do the bases soon).

We also had an enquiry about swords for stage shows and props. The brief was 'as long as they look like roman swords, and are cheap', so we did some research.
Gladius (picture courtesy of

We found the Roman Gladius, and the designer was pleased with this, so we then had to work out how to make two of these, very cheaply, which would still look good on stage (and also be safe to use!). We got right on it, as you can see.

We started looking at how we would attach the handles to the blades, and came up with welding split pins to them and drilling into the hafts.

Taken with the flash so that the burning rods can be seen.
These are the joins from the blade to the rod which
sits inside the haft

By using the same material as the blades, we got the right joint
size before welding.
The cut blades ready for action, with ground edges and
blunted tips

We made sure we tested the edges and tips several times
to make sure they we completely safe.
In the above picture they were still too pointed, so it was
out with the grinder again.
Post-welding together, the blades and the haft-rods.

Ready to be assembled with the
undercoated hafts.
Trying the hafts on for size.

The final result, ready for the stage. Not as
intricate as would be necessary for a
wall or historical re-enactment, however
perfect for a few chose moments on stage.

The results are clearly visible gladius swords, with theatrical edges (rounded off and blunted), for a low cost and only taking two days to make. The designer was very happy, and we will be selling them off after the production.

To see the production of Cymbeline, go to the Drayton Theatre website  to book tickets,
and for more info on commissioning us for props and replicas visit our facebook page or email us.