In my former journal I asked if you would like for me to explain how my Starseeker weapon was made. Since there were quite some people that would like me to do so, I decided to make this FAQ journal. So, I hope I'l answer some questions you might have about this curious weapon and I hope I can explain it well enough for you all to understand. Note that I made the weapon a couple of months ago and I don't remember everything very clear of the making of it. But, I'll do my best.
So, first things first: The Starseeker
Serah's weapon is quite the interesting one. This because it's a transformable one just like her sister's, Lightning. Nonetheless, it's a transformable one from bow to blade, which original form is none other than the cute moogle companion, Mog. Of course, Final Fantasy is all about 'Fantasy', so making an exact working replica of this weapon is just impossible. The transformation cyclus is the thing that makes it impossible since it goes automatically from bow to sword in a zip. However, there are always some tricks to make it almost exact to the original. We've got all kinds of materials that we can use in the hope we can get that far and the most of us achieved it: A working, transformable bow-blade.
So, how did I managed to make it? A little summary of how it's made: First off, we cut the forms out of wood, made the details, painted it afterwards and constructed it.
It all sounds simple, but there was a lot, and I mean, a LOT of work in the making of it.
Materials used: - MDF wood thickness 12mm - MDF wood thickness 6mm (note that I'm not entirely sure of these two measurements anymore. I have to measure the weapon for that, so they might change when I know the exact measurements.) - thin cardboard - split pens - screws - thin and thick wooden sticks - rings - elastic wires - wonderflex - paperclips - rounded PVC tube - copper pipe rings (I don't know anymore what they were called, but I'll look it up and change this when I know it again) - iron pin - agnet - plastic rings - black tape
Tools - laser cutter - files - saw (sawing machine) - super glue (industrial) - drilling machine - spray paint (acrylic) - black paint (acrylic, brush) - hairdryer - pincers - sanding paper - black marker
The whole progress of construction:
Analyzing: The first thing that comes in mind, is analyzing. It's an important start before beginning the actual construction. We had to think about all kinds of important parts to the weapon such as the transformation cyclus and what parts would move when transforming and which not. We didn't only looked at original artworks and CG's of the weapon, but also movie clips. Watching movie clips helps a lot since you are able to see how the weapon exactly works. It might go a little fast, but it's still helpful.
Drawing: After knowing some more about the weapon, we roughly sketched the bow a couple of times and making notes about important parts. The most important parts, are probably the blades and the arrow base part. These parts need to connect to each other when in sword form perfectly.
Digitalizing: When we wanted to make a digital version of the weapon, we got kind of stuck. We didn't quite know were to start and how to make a digital version of it. This is what helped us out the most:
It's a blueprint of the weapon in sword form and bow form and it's made by the wonderful Laitz This blueprint was extremely helpful for the progress of the weapon. Without it, we wouldn't have come this far and it wouldn't look like it does now. After asking, I got the Illustrator file of the blueprints of which borSmulders edited it so it would fit my height. It was made in separate parts since that was needed for the next process.
Laser cutting: This progress was for me the most interesting one. borSmulders told me about laser cutting, which can be done for free at a Fabrication Laboratory. If you want clean cut-outs and/or sharp details, laser cutting is the place to go.
We cut out the smaller MDF wood and cardboard, which was easy for the machine to do. It had some difficulties with the thicker MDF wood. For that, we had the laser graph the form into the wood so that we could saw it out at home. My father in law helped me with sawing out the parts that couldn't be cut out by the laser.
File and sand: To create the exact forms of the blades and arrow, I had to file a lot. The wood, of course, was all messy after sawing and the sides of those parts had to be more roundish. I spent hours on filing those parts to get them to the exact shape the original bow has. After that, it was just smoothing it all up by sanding it all. Results:
Paintjob: I must say, I loved painting it all. For painting the parts, it easier to use spray-paint. First, I used a base layer so the paint would stick better to the wood and the colors would 'pop' more. After that, I painted all parts that had to be silver and purple. It was funny to make the gradients on those small parts close to the blades. For the blades it was slightly difficult. I had to cover up some parts with painters tape to spray the pink and purple parts on it. Getting the painters tape of the blades was a hell since it loved to stick to it... Be careful with that! Most of the black parts, I used normal black acrylic paint and a brush. This because there's not that much black in the weapon and it's all small parts of it. Results:
Detailing: Now, there are still some details missing to the weapon, which were added later. I made the gem(s) out of wonderflex and painted them pink before glueing them onto the weapon. Small and thin wooden sticks and cardboard were used to make the details on the body of the weapon (above the silver handle, underneath the arrow part. To make the other handle above the body part, I used a rounded PVC pipe and covered it with black tape. The purple/black/silver parts that stick out from the sides of the handle are thick copper piping parts, covered with wonderflex.
Construction: First off, we glued the purple parts to the body and added small holes to them to put the small gradient parts onto it. The gradient parts are movable due to the split pens so, when the weapon transforms, they can transform along.
The blades are constructed in between the purple parts with a screw. There's a small wooden brick in between the purple parts as well to avoid the blades from moving too far down to the body when transforming into bow form. The blades have a small magnet around the top parts that will keep them connected to each other in sword form. It's a very small magnet, but really strong. You hardly see it in the blades. The etro script is written on the blades with a black marker. It was easier with that than with a paint brush. It's only on one side though since we lost the marker half way through stupidly enough...
When in bow form, the weapon has wires like the original in game. The wires are elastics. The wires are connected to paperclips, which were bend into small hooks that go into small holes in the blades and in the silver handle. They are wrapped around thick, wooden sticks and are secured with super glue. (industrial glue to be precisely. Very strong, but also dangerous. It's a hell to get it off your skin).
The black handle is constructed on it's place by, again, screws. With a plastic ring around the end parts, they are connected to small wooden parts that connect to the body of the weapon. Those wooden parts are connected to the body with a iron pin that goes all the way trough the body. It's stronger that way and it keeps them on their place.
Now, as stated in my finished Starseeker deviation, the silver handle is slidable. How this is constructed you can see here:
As you can see, the handle slides over a smaller part. It's like a sword sheath meganism. The handle can't go any further due to the screw at the bottom of the inner part. When extracting the handle and the wires are connected, the wires move along and tighten their grips on the blades. This makes it look like you're firing arrows just like in game.
Well, that's about it. I hope this journal was somewhat useful and I hope I explained it all well enough. If there are still some unanswered questions that I haven't treated, please, do ask and I'll put it in here.
Good luck to you all if you want to make this weapon!
This is really cool! You've made it work! Thumbs up!
I have a question, the blueprint that Laitz done is only top view, he didn't draw the thickness and other sides(top, bottom, left, right & back view) so how do you manage to finish up all the details including the details? XD
There are quite some Fabrication labs in France; [link] My french isn't that good but I believe this is the right page. You can see a list with all the 'Fab Labs' in France, as well some information about the concept. As SyrupCookie said they are always willing to help and learn you everything.