first time prop maker.

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Aniwaya

New Member
This has probably been posted elsewhere, but I couldn't find a similar post so here it goes. I'm planning out my first prop to take with me to a convention coming up in late May, and I have a couple of questions. If it helps it's Neptune's weapon from the anime RWBY. The first is what are some good materials to build a lightweight prop out of and have it still look like it has an edge. The second is, what's a good budget to hold to when building a prop?
 

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novacat17

Active Member
Hey Aniwaya, welcome!

To address a few of your questions:

I would highly recommend searching for any previous builds of the item you plan to build. By checking out others' work you can find a good material that you know will work. That being said, almost any material can be utilized, but it all comes down to tools, experience, budget, and time (and more, but this is a basic outline).

Foam (eva foam) is often a nice and cheap place to start, though wood (often MDF) is another alternative if you have access to some better tools and workspace. MDF would probably be too heavy for your purposes. If you are working on a super budget and have extra time, cardboard or foam board can make awesome props, but they require quite a bit of finishing to achieve more realistic aspects (true of most materials though). Paper craft is another good approach, but also time and labor intensive if the paper is hardened with resin.

My best recommendation would be eva foam, as it is con-safe, light, and very easy to work with compared to some other materials (i.e. it is cheap and forgiving). It also requires fewer tools (sharp knife, hot glue, and sand paper will do it all, but time is your price).

I am not sure which "version" of Neptune's weapon you are attempting, so picture would help.

A word on budget:

Ask anyone here and you will get a different answer. This is largely a hobby where money is "sunk," sometimes in massive amounts, to achieve a desired goal (screen accuracy, scale, the perfect look, etc). As such, your budget for any project will most likely double or triple regardless of your initial plans (this is not always the case, but I have found it especially true if it is the first time your are attempting a process). As such, do you best to limit your scope on your first build. Since you seem set on an ambitious item, then consider simple and cheap materials that allow for error and learning. You do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on tools, materials, and other stuff to make mistakes that can cost quite a bit.

Check out any build thread you can find on items that are similar to your chosen item (guns, staffs, etc) to get a feel for others' methods, as these are the key learning tools for many hobbyist, especially for cosplayers.

I am sure many here could elaborate further, but more detail is needed.
 

CynderBloc

Active Member
Firstly, due to the fact that you're building this for a convention, it immediately answers the material question, as you will have to make it out of foam.

Forgive me, but I can only remember seeing Neptune's weapon in ranged form during the highway scene. So another question would be which form are you planning on building?

I haven't been active on here for quite a while, but I have been working on multiple RWBY projects, all which have stopped since the horrifying news about Monty. I had planned on sending him some of my pieces but now I am finding it hard to even look at them.

I would really like to see your project completed though.
 

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BAK55

Well-Known Member
Have you considered cardboard? It's available anywhere as a discarded item, therefore no cost for material. Simple hand tools can be used, exacto knife, file, sandpaper, etc. Elmers glue can be used to assemble the project and is not toxic.

Check out some of the builds on this site by myself and other members and be amazed what can be done with this medium.
 
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Cephus

Sr Member
You also have to consider the weapons policy of the convention you're going to, it doesn't matter what you make if they won't allow you to take it onto the show floor. Check with the convention to see what is permitted, virtually all conventions require you to have your weapons checked and tagged when you arrive and simply will not allow anything that can be used to injure either people or merchandise on the floor, even accidentally.

That means you're going with foam, pretty much.
 

Aniwaya

New Member
@novacat17,thanks for the link it was very informative on what to do with foam, though I'll probably use a wooden dowel as a core instead of metal. BAK55, I'm going to make a prototype out of cardboard so I don't waste any materials, but the final prop will probably be foam.
I would like to know anyones input about making the blade out of a clear resin dyed blue so that I get the effect of it glowing like it does in the anime, though that may be infeasible.
 
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novacat17

Active Member
The blue-clear resin is possible, but it can be a bit more work, and there is, of course, the issue of con guidelines, as Ceph mentioned. If you want resin to be clear, that usually means pressure casting to lessen bubbles, which can be a pain and possibly very dangerous. It is completely doable (I pulled two clear casts with a blue hugh this morning) but it gets expensive.
 
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