Done with this project and glad to be. As usual I learned a number of things while building this particular Curtana that will assist me with future builds.
First things first, after some experimentation I found that I could use my Silhouette cutter to cut contact paper WITHOUT having to mount it to the sticky cutting boards, which meant I could cut a piece as long as I wanted, provided I didnt go over 8.5 inches in width. This meant that I could cut a piece that would let me mask off the center part of the blade and spray on the silver edge. It worked very, very well and I was very, very happy with the result!
Next time I get ready to build one of these I might make sure I am invested in a cheap airbrush system, as using spray paint works, but naturally paint from a can comes out thick and is kind of difficult for me to control for small details. Maybe I just need more practice, I dunno.
I also needed to add some blue gems to the hilt. Last time I just glued them on by eyeballing it, but I wanted to be a little more uniform this time so I made a little jig that would keep them uniformly spaced from one another. It worked really well, but I think I need to make some adjustments to it so that I can position it on the hilt better next time.
The gems are uniformly spaced, but one side of the weapon has the gems placed a little off center and I dont care for it, but it looks better than the gems being all wonky.
After that I needed to add the gold blade deco, which I cut out of vinyl as well. Unfortunately, however, the gold vinyl from Cricut is very thin – thinner than the other colored vinyl, which I have used before for other projects. Because of this it started to bubble and peel when I put a layer of clear coat over the finished piece, so it doesn’t look great. My options going forward are to find an off brand vinyl that’s thick, like the colored vinyl, or to cut a template from contact paper and spray paint the deco on to the blade.
Now, originally the gold paint on the hilt was horrendous because I painted the scales before I glued them on (more on that below). I tried to fix it using a brush to touch up the scuff marks but that just made it worse. In the end I was forced to learn how to do a bit of masking and got a thin coat of spray paint on there that made the job look tolerable.
And now – completion!
So, a few take aways from this build:
- Using 1/2″ thick boards for the body instead of 3/4″ boards made the whole thing lighter, naturally, yet it still feels very substantial and strong. I will be using the 1/2″ from now on.
- The last, failed, Curtana I made found me experimenting with gluing the scales onto the hilt BEFORE painting them. It had the main advantage of allowing me to sand the edges of the hilt and main body together, creating a smooth and gapless edge that is hundreds of times nicer than what gluing up after painting produces, but my inability to properly mask and paint the thing made me give up on it. However, I had an epiphany the other day and, taking the plywood template I use for routing the shapes out I put some contact paper underneath and ran my razor blade along the edges. Bam! Instant paint mask! Sure there was a little bleed over, but it worked very, very well and I may try to glue up and sand first again next time.
- USE THE VINYL CUTTER! The ability to make masks and templates for painting is incredible beyond words!
I bought a couple of sheets of plastic and made an AutoCAD file so that I could have a new template cut since my plywood templates are getting old and beat up, but I will have to wait until spring to get that done, since financial issues prevent me from allocating the 100$ needed to have a local fab shop fire up the high pressure water cannon for cutting. As a result, I won’t be building another Curtana until then.
I do like this one, and I will likely put it on sale.