Battlestar Galactica TOS Cylon Sword Build

Corellianexports

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Battlestar-Galactica-Cylon-Sword-Sheath-2.jpg

Research thread:

This is a project that I've had shelved for a long time and it's actually the last of the BSG props that I need to complete to finish off my collection, so I'm a little anxious to get this sword put together.

Oddly enough, this prop has sort of faded away from the public eye. No one is currently selling them either assembled or as kits, and the originals seem to have found permanent homes in someone's collection.
At some point in the past, someone was making resin casts of an original sword and selling them as kits. I was actually lucky enough to acquire two parts from one of these kits. This includes the guard and the knob that's attached to the very bottom:

IMG_3785.JPG

Today, I'll be marking and cutting out the blade, then cleaning up the two resin parts. I'm using some standard 1/8" x 1.5" x 4' aluminum stock. I found this aluminum at ACE hardware. Oddly enough, I'm using the same size aluminum for a current run of ROTJ Jabba's Guard Pistol parts.
One of the nice things about working with aluminum for this prop is the fact that it can eventually be polished to the point where it can resemble the original prop, although it looks like the original was chromed plastic.

Using some reference photos and the parts I have, I've come up with some scales used to create a template for the point of the sword along with measurements for the entire prop. I used the template to mark the aluminum and then the remaining measurements to mark the rest of it:

IMG_3786.JPG

I used a hack saw, mill and a belt sander to clean up the two resin pieces. At this point, I don't know if the knurled section of the guard will be useful when it comes time to attach the wooden handle, so I'm going to leave it as it for now.
The other side of the guard will be milled so that the blade can fit inside of it for stability, so that area will definitely need to be cleaned up:

IMG_3787.JPG

After watching a you tube video on making swords, I've decided to simply cut a notch at the end of the aluminum handle and attached some standard 1/4" threaded rod, which will allow the installation of the resin knob. The knob actually came with a built-in wood screw, but I don't think this will be enough to stabilize the aluminum.

The aluminum is cut down and then milled, so here's the finished section with most of the parts in place:

IMG_3788.JPG

At this point, we're ready to play. :)

The next step will be to finish machining the aluminum and then work on the wood for the handle.
 
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Riceball

Master Member
Just as an FYI, the "knobs" on the bottom of the sword are called pommels, not that it has any effect on your build. They were sometimes used for providing a counterweight to the blade and were also used as a means of holding the blade in place.

Anyhow, cool build, and best of luck with it. If you want to get really fancy with it and make the blade a touch bit lighter and adjust the balance, you can try giving what's called a distal taper. This is where the thickness (as opposed to the width) of the blade changes from the bade to the tip and this was something that was done to a lot of historical swords. But that would require a good bit of grinding along the flat of the blade and probably wasn't present on the actual prop which appears to have a simple flat piece of metal that comes to a point for a blade.
 

Corellianexports

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Just as an FYI, the "knobs" on the bottom of the sword are called pommels, not that it has any effect on your build. They were sometimes used for providing a counterweight to the blade and were also used as a means of holding the blade in place.

Anyhow, cool build, and best of luck with it. If you want to get really fancy with it and make the blade a touch bit lighter and adjust the balance, you can try giving what's called a distal taper. This is where the thickness (as opposed to the width) of the blade changes from the bade to the tip and this was something that was done to a lot of historical swords. But that would require a good bit of grinding along the flat of the blade and probably wasn't present on the actual prop which appears to have a simple flat piece of metal that comes to a point for a blade.

I've seen some medieval swords on eBay made in this style. I did find a photo of what appears to be a fan made sword, but taper is along the edge. Notice that the pommel has no grooves:

bsg-props-adamas-cylon-centurion_1_65a87ce0be6cd3544cbb6ca3cda187fa.jpg
 

Corellianexports

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I just finished most of the machining work on the blade:

IMG_3805b.jpg


I used a belt sander to round the edges and then a grinder to polish it a bit, mostly to see what could be accomplished with it.
The next step will be to mill out a slot for the threaded rod to attach the pommel. After that, I might mill the guard so that it fits properly onto the blade.
 
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Metalalien

Well-Known Member
Love it.. I grew up in the 70s and while all the other kids were star wars fans and wanted those toys, I was asking for BSG toys and obsessing over that.
 

Corellianexports

Sr Member
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Love it.. I grew up in the 70s and while all the other kids were star wars fans and wanted those toys, I was asking for BSG toys and obsessing over that.
I still remember the kids in grade school, bringing their brand new BSG toys to recess on the playground. I remember being fascinated with the vehicle detailing and the missels that fired either completely or partially. On Mondays, we would always talk about the latest episode of the show because we had just seen it, the night before.
 
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Corellianexports

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In order to attach the pommel, I decided to use a standard 1/4" - 20 piece of threaded rod, left over from some blaster projects. I decided to make the piece 2" long: 1" for the pommel and 1" for the handle.

I milled out a 1" long area about 7/16" wide. To help keep the section in place without splaying, I milled out a couple of 1/8" thick pieces of aluminum (see below) and clamped them in place before threading the makeshift hole. Then I centered, marked, drilled and threaded the pommel. It turned out to be easier than I had originally thought it would be. Here it is attached to the handle of the sword:


IMG_3809.JPG


Up next, milling out the guard part and getting it installed before adding the wooden handle.
We're almost done. :)
 

Corellianexports

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The next step is to mill a couple of slots into the hand guard for the blade to fit into. The first slot will go all the way through the guard for the handle section. To mark the center, I used a see-through ruler with a sharpie. I then used a large X-acto Knife to mark that area that needs to be milled. Here's what the guard looks like after it's milled:


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With the guard installed. It's nice and snug:

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Because of the small size of the end mill and the large size of the guard, I used a 1/8" drill bit to drill straight through the guard and then flipped it over to finish milling the other end.

The longer area on the blade side of the guard is marked and milled. I used an endmill that's just under 1/8" in diameter:

IMG_3840.JPG

The indentation is about 1/8" deep to help keep the blade in place. I used a square file to remove the rounded edges so the edge of the blade fits properly:
IMG_3841.JPG

I don't need the area on the blade marked "guard", so I mill that section out and then polish the blade a little bit more:

IMG_3842.JPG

Here's a shot of the blade fitted into the guard. It's nice and tight, which is exactly what we want:

IMG_3843.JPG

Up next, making the handle out of oak. :)
 
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Corellianexports

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For some reason I thought this would be a quick and easy part to make, but it turns out that the handle is actually "pear" shaped rather than square or rectangular as I had first thought. Also, after trying to drill through the piece to keep it as one part, I discovered that this is just too much work without a very long end mill, so I decided to make the handle two parts with a channel milled down the center of each piece. Since the wood will be stained or painted black, I don't think there will be much of a seam left, although the original appears to have a seam.

To start out, I've cut the wood the wood in half and then shortened it length wise by about 7/16" using my mill:

IMG_4264.JPG
 

Corellianexports

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The overall dimensions are good, but before I start making angled cuts, it's a good idea at this point to mill the channels needed for the aluminum part of the handle. The aluminum is 1/8" thick, so the grooves are 1/16" deep per piece of wood. The width is 1/2", so I used a 1/2" end mill to make the indentations:

IMG_4265.JPG
 

Corellianexports

Sr Member
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I didn't see a need to keep the resin, knurled knob on the wrist guard, so I milled it off. I think the purpose of it was to help keep the handle in place, but since my blade is basically part of handle, the extra resin isn't needed.

I marked both parts of the handle and cut them down to their proper length. I then marked off where they needed to be angle-cut and then used a mill with a belt sander for the cuts:

IMG_4266.JPG

While cutting the pieces, I realized that it would be helpful if they were already glued together, so I sanded the inner surfaces around the milled areas and then applied some wood glue to them. I'm done for the night, so I've simply clamped them in place on the aluminum hilt. Once dry, I'll just remove the handle and then continue milling and sanding the corners until it's done:


IMG_4267.JPG

As for working with oak, from what I've seen, it's a nice, hard material that's fairly easy to shape with basic cutting tools and it has a nice look to it. I'll be interested in seeing how it looks once it's stained black.

Up next, finishing off the wood handle and painting the resin parts.
 

Corellianexports

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After removing the clamps, I evened the sides, rounded off the pommel end and angled the opposite end. The pommel end was threaded. I thought about drilling it first, but it wasn't necessary.
I still need to round off a few corners, but here's how it's looking so far:

IMG_4275.JPG

I discovered that the wrist guard isn't completely straight, so I'll need to clean it up a bit, along with the pommel.
The sword itself seems to resemble a dagger, just judging it by the overall size.

Up next, cleaning up all the parts and re-fitting everything.
 

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