[TUTORIAL] Soul Eater Cosplay - Maka Albarn's Scythe

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Hi everyone!

As mentioned previously, for Manchester MCM 2015 I was finally able to debut my Soul Eater Maka Cosplay!!

I'm pretty excited to show you every step of the way on how I made this scythe.

This took a lot of time to make, construction took a week in total. I originally made a CAD model of the scythe in blender, which was great until this idea was later scrapped, but it was probably for the best as I actually would not recommend making a prop of this size out of papercraft and and casting it as the prop will become too heavy to handle a thin and hollow pole. Keep in mind, you need a prop to be functional, not a hazard and easy to transport. 
The blade using this method is thin and will not cause any damage, it's so light that it feels like walking around with a picket.

Buying the materials

Firstly I went to a diy store and bought a PVC pipe with 32mm diameter - linked here

  As this is a PVC pipe, the inside is hollow making it more lightweight - meaning a thicker diameter won't be much of an issue.
32mm felt like a pretty good fit to give the illusion of a metal pole! If the pole is too thin then it will look unrealistic and unbalanced. 

I also went and bought the grey foam to cover the top of the pvc pipe. This was the same diameter, 32mm to match and fit over the pipe without it slipping down.
Getting started with all of the tools

After this trip I went into a local craft store.
I bought A1 sized foamboard for £5 in order to make the blade.
I also picked up Black, White and Red acrylic paint. I bought some rub and buff, which dries instantly and two different shades of metallic silver paint.
Along with a horizontal brush and clay tools.
The clay I used was DAS clay. This is different from fimo and sculpty, it can be airdried but needs to be added with water before use. Add water to the clay little by little as you don't want the clay to become too slippy. DAS is harder to use than fimo, but it feels so much more secure.

Once the materials are all bought we can start construction!

Pole Construction

To begin with we need the pole to be split so that it can be separated, this is for health and safety reasons. If you're going to a convention with this then they will have their rules. You can do this by hand or buy a joiner tool. I did this by hand without the joiner tool.

If you're cutting the pole then it's best to place the connector at the level where your hand would cover over. I saw some scythes at the convention with obvious connectors so try to make it hidden if you can!

The insulation foam will need to be cut in order to cover the top of the pole and then you will slide the foam over the pole. For a 32mm diameter you need 32mm foam, or 23mm foam for 23mm foam. It's a good idea to test this out in the store before purchase.
The pipe covered with foam

Once the foam and the pole are both slotted together the accessories can be made!

The pole can be painted with metallic paint once it is sanded down. Metallic paint or rub and buff can be used. Rub and buff dries instantly, so using a tissue to get even coverage is advised. I've tried both methods and there isn't a vast difference, so it is up to your personal preference. For painting, use a flat brush for the your even coverage. Spray paint too can be used as another alternative if you want to do so.

Screw top

The screw placed on the top of the scythe was made used DAS Clay. Add clay onto the top of the foam and smooth it out until it is the shape of a screw top. Using clay tools you will cut into the clay to make the screw top insertion. Don't worry if it isn't perfect yet, we can sand it down later to make it smooth.
Screw top cover made out of DAS clay
Once the clay is dried then it can be painted with metallic paint

If you want to go another step further, I took some craft foam and heated it to wrap around the foam and later painted it. When using craft foam, I often wrap a hair tie around the craft foam to keep it in shape and stuck around the circular object while it dries and holds into place. 

When using craft foam, it is easy to shape and as a result, the piece can shrink with heat so be careful.
Any colour of craft foam can be used, I used black and then painted it white to get a nice base colour. 
Afterwards I added a coat of silver paint to complete the screw attachment.
I did this mostly to get a smooth finish look for my screw top. 


Soul's Eye

Using some more of DAS clay make a bloated diamond shape onto the body of the foam. This will create a nice 3D effect for the scythe. The clay tools will come in handy at this step. Once done you can sand down in order to keep the scythe lightweight. The use of clay will also make painting Soul's eye much more easier.
Soul's eye helps to bring the 3D element to the scythe

Once the clay has been made we need to wait a few hours for it to airdry. I think the clay drying while stuck onto the foam helps to prevent it from falling off. Once it is dry you can sand it for a smooth finish.
Coat the clay in a few layers of PVA glue to get a nice glossy finish and keep it nice and secure. I also used my hot glue gun around the edge of the eye to be extra safe.

Paint the eye, first paint the white sections, then red, and lastly black. Use a thin and straight edge brush to paint the black lines. As the eye piece is embossed, it is easier to find the guidelines to paint.

Scythe Blade

Whilst this is being done, we can use the foamboard to make the blades.
I expanded a photo of Maka's scythe on the computer and printed this onto A3 sized paper to give an accurate template that I can alter until I was happy enough to trace it over onto the thick piece of foam board.

After researching photos of the scythe... I discovered the size of the blade varies, even more so as it reaches the end of the blade.
I copied this template twice (as it needed to be mirrored for the opposite side) onto the A1 foamboard and then cut the templates out.

Sand down the foamboard to get rid of any frayed pieces of paper.

 With some leftover foamboard cut out the side insertion piece.
 It's a straight forward shape. Use a knife or a blade to cut out the three small circles.
 After cutting the template out with scissors or a knife, sand the edges for neatness. A nail file is useful for sanding inside the cut out circles as you can easily move it around the circle that has been cut out!

Painting the scythe

Now we can start our painting!

I used Chrome Grey Paint to make the pole look metallic.
A few layers is needed and a horizontal brush will help to give good brushstrokes.
A spray paint would work best as it would show with no paint brush lines.
I also painted the foam, however this material is porous so I added a few layers of PVA glue to help solve this.
If you have two shades of grey, which I did. I used a slightly darker shade of grey for the screwtop and the bottom section of the insulation foam.
Using a ruler it is simply easy to draw the triangles with straight lines and equal lengths.

Soul's Eye was firstly covered with PVA Glue in order to keep it secure, this is important!!
afterwards I painted it with white acrylic paint before painting the eye red. The clay addition helps to easily paint the black outline around the eye.

Using a triangle, measure out the triangles so that the black triangles and red triangles are both equal sizes. 
This part is quite tricky to do if you're a perfectionist.

There should be one half of a black triangle at the start of the blade and 3 black shorter triangles at the end. 

Paint a few layers of black paint onto the scythe blades first keeping within the lines.
Next once the paint has dried, paint the red sections next. 

It is also important to remember done that you can paint black over red, but not red over black! 

I also further mixed red paint with metallic silver paint, and likewise for the black paint. This helped to give a shiny and metal look but is not necessary

Once it is all dry, cover these blades in PVA glue for a shiny metallic effect. 

Constructing the parts together

We managed to make the pole attachable but now we need to add all of the final pieces together!
Using a hot glue gun, glue both of the two foam board blades together. I added left over foam to cover any gaps that was visible.
The foamboard blades should fit into the split of the insulation foam that was already create on purchase. If your foam didn't have this, then cut a large split that is wide enough to fit the blade inside.
The blade should be attached to a metal piece that allows for screws. Create two screw holes into the top of the PVC pole which allows the blade to be screwed into the pole.
  Add screws to attach the blade to the pole.
Create an insertion on the other side of the insulation foam to slot inside the other foamboard creation.

And now it is done!!

For the costume tutorial click here for the separate detailed tutorial

Thank you for reading!
If you have any questions then comment below and I'll try to reply to them as soon as possible!

1 comment on "[TUTORIAL] Soul Eater Cosplay - Maka Albarn's Scythe "
  1. Thanks I appreciate all of this I will be using your Maka outfit tutorial as well!!


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