Since The Descent DLC was released, Silencer has quickly become one of my favourite weapons for my duel-wielding rogue, but sadly the mesh is bugged. I did come across a mod over at Nexus to fix it once I decided that I would be making Silencer with a matched dagger in the style of the Stone Stalker Blade schematic… and then found that I can’t take screenshots anymore, which made doing research for this one somewhat interesting.
As it’s my first foam weapon build, in retrospect a simpler design would have made my life significantly easier but, hell, I always like a challenge. I used as many screenshots as I could gather to put a couple of sketches together, then drew out the template onto a thick piece of card.
Once it was cut out and sellotaped together, I decided that I wanted to add the details of the grip last, so I trimmed them off, traced around the shape onto EVA play mats and hot glued the whole thing together.
I must have watched a dozen or more tutorial videos for foam weapons, most of which used either a hot blade or Dremel multi-tool to shape the edges. With neither a hot blade nor a multi-tool, I made do with what I had on hand (some rather elderly Stanley knife blades) and hacked the edges into submission. Subsequently, a multi-tool is now at the top of my “to buy” list!
Since it was looking a bit raggedy, I’ve spent this evening sanding it down to make a reasonably smooth edge to layer Worbla over. I’ve never used the stuff before and (as usual) tutorial vids make it look ridiculously easy, so I expect that I will spend several hours irritated, swearing, burning my fingers and trying to wrestle it into place without making a complete mess of it.
I’m still deciding whether to do the detailing in craft foam first and stretch the Worbla over it, or whether to Worbla first and use off-cuts to create the patterns along the blade. Either way, I still have the grooves to mark in along the edges with my pyrography tool and any nicks or scratches that I want to add as weathering. Part two will be prepping and applying the Worbla and part three will be painting (definitely the best part of the process!). Once I’m happy with it, I get to do it all over again to make Silencer a partner!
I knew when I started that I wanted to use the upgraded arms as my reference, but it was surprisingly difficult finding an image of the first layer of the gloves, with all of the detail visible. I spent a ridiculous amount of time going through my (many, many) screenshot folders trying to hunt down a few good reference images and managed to make a few usable by lightening them to a ridiculous degree to make the stitching stand out. The inner seam is fastened with six studs per arm, so I figured I’d make the gloves separately from the arm, make the shape of the arm from craft foam, cover the whole thing with faux-suede and sew the glove and sleeve together.
Ta-da! One pair of gloves and a pair of foam sleeves. I was puzzling out whether to do the detailing as an extra layer of foam before covering it with fabric, or whether it would be better to sew the detail onto the fabric before finding a way of sticking it on (or better yet, making a slip cover for the foam) when I managed to get my hands on some decent leather (thanks, Mom!) and decided to take a completely different approach….
My mother machine stitched the detailing, purely to save a bit of time, and then I spent most of Wellingborough Museum’s Victorian Day carefully hand-sewing the pieces together with linen thread. I still have the left hand fingers to finish, then I can trim the inner edge down a bit, stain the leather and start fitting the studs along the seams. Then I’ll decide whether to go for the straps and buttons of the un-upgraded version, or if I want to start figuring out how to do the cuff and cover to go over the top.
Stitching the folios together is always the worst bit of it! I settled on 200 pages (50 A4 sheets), simply because it was what I had to hand at the time. In retrospect, another hundred would have probably been better but I will just have to put the majority of the notes and letters in as separate pages, as if they actually were picked up and tucked away.
And once all my folios were ready, they were glued to a strip of the leather I had chosen for the spine. In the absence of a vice, laundry pegs also do an admirable job for this stage!
The covers are cut from a heavier leather and hand-punched for decorative stitches. My original plan for Mahariel’s codex was to tool the Grey Wardens’ griffon on the front but the longer I thought about it, the more appropriate it seemed to use the Sabrae clan’s halla insignia instead. It seemed like it would be the sort of thing she would have brought with her when leaving the clan, a Dalish hunter’s field journal turned into a collection of notes on the blight and other potentially useful odds and ends of information collated on the road.
Once I was happy with the design, I moved on to the messiest bit – staining!
I left the spine and covers overnight to give the glue plenty of time to dry, then got out my trusty laundry pegs again to help hold everything together while the folios were fitted to the covers.
And, as they say in Orlais, voila! One codex book.
I still want to do some more weathering – after all, it was dragged around Ferelden in the midst of a blight – and then decide which entries are going in, which will be cut and how best to order them.