This is the staff of Parthalan we made from the game Dragon Age 2. The following illustration is how I made it. I have made 2 now so if you see slight differences in the pictures along the way it is because they are mixed from both builds. Sorry if the article jumps around a bit as well. The reason for this is as things are drying I would be working on another part. During the build I do use proper personal protection such as safety glasses and dust mask if necessary. Please be careful when working with power tools!
The first thing we start out with is a 1.5″ by 48″ dowel rod and flattened 6 sides on one end.
For the opposite or “orb” end I needed a way to take the end off and on easily and also conceal a light source. In this instance I use a single AA LED flashlight which you will see later. I found a BBQ sauce bottle top worked nice.
After carefully using progressively larger and larger drill bits, a boring bit, and the sanding barrel on my Dremel tool I was ready to attach the top using Gorilla Glue.
For the blade I used 1/2″ thick exercise mat foam. Using a paper template I traced a pattern on the foam so I could cut it out. Make sure you flip the template over for the 2 pieces so they will line up.
To give the foam blade rigidity I used a couple of steel rods and bent them so they would not interfere with the split in the middle of the blade. I lightly spray painted over them while in place so I would know where to notch the foam for the rods to sit in before gluing the 2 halves together.
After gluing the 2 halves together I used different shaped bits on the Dremel tool to smooth the edges and create the notch down the center of the blade. To give the blade an edge I very, VERY carefully used a bench grinder. If not done properly this can cause you to have to start all over.
Back to the staff. With a combination of a couple of different saws and a sander I created the warped and worn look of the staff.
To create the look of rivets holding the splits in the wood together I used a Dremel bit that had a hole in the end.
Using a wood burning tool I added “stress fractures” to the wood, hit it with a hammer and bounced it a few times on the grinding wheel to make it look like it had seen fights.
Now we start to have some fun. I took a section of 2 x 4 and using a boring bit and Dremel tool to make the hole big enough, I used Gorilla Glue to insert and hold the BBQ sauce bottle top.
After the glue dried I cut and sanded to create a base for the orb to be attached to. I also drilled 4 holes and glued in 4 sections of copper wire to use for the “fingers” of the base that holds the orb. The copper adds a bit of strength and work-ability while the Apoxysculpt cures. The orb is made of cracked glass and came off of a solar powered lawn light.
For the fingers I used Apoxysculpt. Once mixed you have about 3 hours of working time which can be real nice in some situations. It takes about 24 hours to fully cure and is quite hard afterwards.
Time to bring the wood to life. Using stains and paints we give the staff some color and aging. All the imperfections we added to the staff on purpose really start to stand out here.
I found some red translucent model paint at the hobby store. This not only gives it a nice color but allows the flashlight to shine through brightly.
Here is one of those points where the pictures are going to jump back. I wanted to show that I created a notch at the end of the staff for the blade to sit in. I also drilled holes down the staff for the steel reinforcement rods we used in the blade to go down into. Sorry I do not have a good picture of this.
The blade gets coated more than once in Plasti-Dip, primered, then painted.
We’re on the home stretch now. I used Gorilla glue to attach the blade to the staff. I devised a way to hold the blade in place while the glue setup.
Using ribbon from a fabric store and some industrial spray adhesive I put the bands around the staff that appear on the model in the game.
And there you have it! Below you will also find a video explaining how I did stuff as well as additional photos. If you want to see the staff with the outfit hop over to the Female Hawke page and check it out.