Tutorial time - here’s another of my older tutorials on how to make your own relatively simple weapons out of plasticard. You’ll need plasticard of at least two thicknesses - I find Gale Force Nine’s Plasticard variety pack (google it to find a nearby supplier/ebay) is a good way to get a bunch of different thicknesses of plasticard all together.
For weapons I’ve found plasticard of about 1.5mm/0.06″ thick is the most suitable, along with thinner plasticard of about 0.4mm/0.015″ for adding detail. So!
1. First off, plan your weapon out and draw it onto the thick plasticard. Use pre-existing bits if you have them for size reference, and err on the side of slightly too large rather than slightly too small. It’s easier to trim a weapon down to the right size rather than trying to make it larger later if it started out too small.
2. Don’t try to accurately cut out the weapon immediately from the plasticard, it’s more difficult than it really needs to be. Just start off by getting the rough shape first, then begin trimming away the excess from the sides bit by bit.
This whole thing is a messy process, by the way. Be prepared to have plasticard shavings and bits EVERYWHERE.
This pic shows some of the ways I shape the plasticard - trimming it away strip by strip, almost like peeling an apple. Or for larger chunks, cutting in slices, then trimming those off. Plasticard’s much easier to deal with if you just cut off thin layers or small sections, instead of trying to carve out large chunks.
The drawing will most likely rub off the plasticard while you’re working, so you may have to re-draw it on every now and then to remind yourself where everything goes. Or you can coat it with a thin layer of PVA glue and let that dry, to act as a protective coating for your sketch. The glue will peel off easily once you’re done. Or you can just keep a copy of your design on a piece of paper or something nearby, that works too. XD
4. Once you’ve cut out the rough shape of the weapon, you can use sandpaper to smooth out all those rough areas and refine the overall shape. Cut out a small piece of sandpaper, then fold or roll it into the desired shape to get into those awkward areas.
5. When you’re happy with the weapon’s overall shape, now comes shaping the blade properly. Use your knife to carefully begin carving away thin slices of the plasticard to shape one side of the blade’s edge. Don’t try to take off a lot at once - if you accidentally take off too much, it’s very difficult to fix it. And remember you need to do this on the other side as well, so again, don’t take off too much! It can help to alternate which side you’re carving, to gradually get the edges to meet halfway. It may help to practice carving on some spare sprue first, to get used to the process.
6. Once most of the carving’s done, you can use sandpaper to help smooth out any uneven areas and get rid of any knife marks. By this point the blade should be pretty much finished.
7. Now onto the hilt! I roughed out the hilt’s shape, then cut out a piece of the 0.015" thick plasticard to glue on and shaped the edge the same way I did with the blade. This can be very fiddly! Don’t worry about getting a perfect fit though - it’s better for it to be slightly larger than you need, so you can trim off the excess later.
8. Here’s both of the hilt pieces glued on, but not yet trimmed down to size. Once the glue’s dry though, you can use your knife and sandpaper to trim off the excess and shape the hilt the same way you did the blade.
9. And here’s the hilt and guard trimmed down and shaped. I just used my knife to scrape off the corners of the guard, round it out, and shape the pommel, then used sandpaper to smooth everything off.
10. There we go! Your custom weapon’s now ready to attach to your model. Plasticard works just fine with regular plastic glue, as it’s pretty much the same material as plastic models. Superglue also works if you’re using metal or resin models.
I hope this has helped, and let me know if you have any questions! :D