One Piece Roronoa Zoro swords

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ObiWannabe

Well-Known Member
Forgive me, boys, but I have to brag. :D

I'm a costumer, not a prop-maker, but I've been hanging around these forums lo these ten years or so in order to learn from you guys and have the info I need for those rare occasions when I need to make my own props. And I owe a bunch of you for helping me with the woodworking questions I had while working on these.

After a year and a half of labor, I have finished my Roronoa Zoro swords! The costume isn't ready yet, I have to finish styling the wig, but I wanted to show these off because I'm pretty damn proud of them. They're not perfect, because at the last minute I rushed some of the detailing on the sayas - I thought I was going to get them ready for Anime Detour, but alas, the wig stalled my progress. But the swords themselves are some of my own personal best work and I love them to bits. So I wanted to share them with you.



The swords IN their sayas, as they'll be carried on my person while in costume. From top to bottom it's Wadou Ichimonji, Kitetsu III, and Yubashiri. I decided to do Yubashiri instead of Shuusui because it gives me a greater range of outfits to match - he's had all of two with Shuusui at his side and they're both not that pretty.

Wadou Ichimonji features a "lacquered" saya built out of paperclay over Rigid Wrap, with a core of 1/2" upholstery foam to protect the blades. Kitetsu's is wrapped in fabric, which is hand-stitched for perfect seam lines, and has a layer of quilt batting underneath to smooth it against the Rigid Wrap under-structure. Yubashiri also has the same "lacquered" finish as Wadou. The pommel caps are Fimo but all the rest of the detailing is real metal - embossing brass.



The blades with their sayas. The swords are 100% wood! Full tang wooden blade (3/8" poplar) honed with a hand-planer, wooden tsuba made from 4 layers of 3/32" basswood, and the handles filled in with paperclay. Wadou's handle is wrapped with twill tape, Kitetsu's is wrapped with leather and has an embossed brass grip, and Yubashiri has the "black lacquer finish" as stated word for word in the manga with brass detailing. The pommels on the sword hilts are also paperclay over a small structural base of Rigid Wrap.

And yes, I masked and painted them three times in order to get the tempering marks on Kitetsu and Yubashiri, although the flash sort of washed them out, oops.



Just a quick detail shot of the hilts and handles.


If I had to do it over again I might choose something else besides the foam for the protective inner layer, because it's so firm that I have trouble getting the swords in and out easily. Granted, that means no one is going to be able to run up and grab them out of my possession, but it will make posing for photos a pain in the ass if someone wants an action pose. I also would take my TIME on the saya detailing so that I didn't have to rush and patch some of the ridging on Kitetsu.

But I'm not repeating this feat. At least not with these three katana. The sword-building method is great for me, and I'll be making all my swords out of poplar from now on.
 

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Weaselhammer

Sr Member
I had to read the part about the blades being WOOD several times, you did an amazing job on these ! great detail too, especially including the tempering patterns on the blade. I'm blown away, great work !
 
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ObiWannabe

Well-Known Member
Aw c'mon you're making me blush. :D

I owe it all to the RPF, though. I came back here to get advice on sanding sealer and how to finish the blades, as well as how to seal and topcoat the metallic spraypaint. I just hope people who aren't really good with props can look at this and know that it's not as hard as it seems. I'm a terrible prop builder and I managed this.
 

MadMike

Well-Known Member
okay, i'll be honest. at first i just looked at the pictures and already had something in mind like "nice. BUT..." concerning accuracy (although that is always hard concerning anime-props i guess)

but now, after reading what you wrote, i just wanna give you kudos! this is so darn fantastic!
 

ObiWannabe

Well-Known Member
Thanks!

I know I could have probably filled out the sayas a little more, they're not as perfectly smooth and unblemished as I would have liked. It's my fault for rushing. But I have every last detail on there, I triple-checked it against the settei sketches of all three swords. That, I think, was more important to me than anything. I'm tired of anime replica swords that are anywhere from slightly to ridiculously inaccurate.

My blank was measured and patterned off a real katana, at least. Not a prop sword, but a friend's iaido blade he graciously allowed me to gingerly trace and measure down to the milimeter. In the end, though, I didn't sand the blades down to be "real" width because I still want to be able to carry them around cons without security being ******** about how realistic they look. And I don't want fanbrats breaking them easily, either.
 

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