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Here's where the magic happens. I'll be posting about all of my experiences and experiments (both failed and successful ones), introducing you to my costumes, sharing fun stories, linking tutorials and useful products, and who knows what else!


Many Emblems Gently Flaming

Michael MacWolff

Yes, I'm back to talk to you about more Fire Emblem stuff because... well, why the heck  not? As you probably gathered form my last entry I'm minorly..............ok, majorly obsessed with these games (though not to the point where I've played the old ones released only in japan, I should get on that), and recently I've had the fortune of having several of my prop commissions actually be Fire Emblem weapons. They're all from Awakening too, which is not at all surprising considering that it's the most recent game and certainly the most popular.

Interestingly enough my first prop commission was also a Fire Emblem item, though it was from the Tellius series since Awakening wasn't out yet. I made a lovely little Lehran's Medallion for someone. I went into it thinking "this is going to be easy" and as soon as I looked closer at the reference artwork I quickly realized the error in my thought process. Every time I'd seen it in the game it just looked like a disc with some carvings on it... but not so much.

In order to get the proper shape for the interior of the medallion I needed cereal boxes, paper straws, some modeling clay (which you can't see in the photo) and those wierd teardrop stickers. Then the outside was a masking tape roll that I cut in half... which was a royal pain in my ass.

There was also come craft foam, brads, and a couple of little metal rings that went into creating the final shaping.

The end result turned out really nicely but it was much  more of a beast of a project than I was expecting.

Thankfully for my three recent FE props, I had much more experience under my belt so I could much more easily and quickly come up with a creation strategy for each one. Also, they're all bigger and more fun to play with because they're all weapons. Yay shiny instruments of death!

The first was a Lightning Axe I made for my friend Josh. He was a friend I made specifically because of Fire Emblem cosplay so I suppose it's only appropriate that he's up first. As with many of the larger props I've been making recently, the axe head is a floral foam base with lightweight filler putty coating the outside.

I like using this method for stuff because shaping the foam is pretty easy with a knife, and if you accidentally do something wrong or cut out a chunk you weren't supposed to, you can just glue it back in and smooth it over with the putty. Good as new! It does take a long time to sand the whole thing, but hey, you've gotta do what you've gotta do. It's also nice and lightweight, which is good for props you're carrying around all day and makes shipping a lot more reasonable too :-)

The rest is pretty simple: pvc handle with a cap fixture embedded in the axe head so you can remove the handle for easy storage & transportation. The knobby bits on the handle are made of paper clay, which works well for that sort of detail because it's strong enough to stand on its own and can be sanded when you gloop on too much.

A few hours of painting later and you have one lovely axe.

A note about painting for all you lovely folks out there: Spray on your metallics! It will save you a lot of time. Additionally, when you have multiple overlapping metallics, like I do with this axe, you should always paint a base coat of regular acryllic that's a similar color to your metallic. This will save you a good bit of time and aggravation later, because it'll take fewer top coats of your metallic paint to get it looking good and any spots that you may have missed won't be very noticable.

Anywho, there's Libra's axe! So let's move on to weapon # 2... which is somewhat less of a weapon and somewhat more of a healing tool. It's Brady's staff!

Once again, we started with a foam base, which thankfully they make wreath foam so I already had the base circle! Thank god because it would've not been nearly as properly round. More carving and frosting with putty!

The smaller details are all done with paper clay, as is my standard. Although, since it's all kind of a layered look with the details, they didn't stick very well so I had to glue a lot of them back on when they dried. Alas.

The nice thing with that pole, it's actually a flagpole and therefore it unscrews in the middle!

P.S. That shade of gold is probably my favorite color ever for prop stuff, and it makes me really angry that all of the brands that have this color or something similar have discontinued it. Come on, guys!

Well, now that it's painted, all we have left is the little leathery wrap for the handle and BOOM. Done. This is also where the benefit of having worked at Joann's comes into play because I rotated out the faux leather bias tape that I used for this detail and therefore got to snatch all of it up when it went on clearance! It's the small victories that count :-D


I can't wait to see photos from Acen this weekend with an actual Brady wielding this thing, I'm sure it's going to be awesome.

And to continue with that trend, the last of my trio of weapons (and this one is much more dangerous than the healing staff) was also constructed for Acen this weekend, for the wonderful and talented Mochici Cosplay! This time, I got to make a Brave Sword for Lon'qu, and I'm sure he will wreck some Plegians with it!

This one started with a wood base using a thin craft board. I usually use craft boards for my swords because they're sturdy, fairly lightweight, and the proper thickness for making a sword! Not to mention, I've gotten pretty good with my jigsaw!

The central details on the blade could have easily been done in wood, but cutting out all of the small spaces with a jigsaw was going to be rather difficult, and if I screwed up, it would have been rather difficult to fix. So instead, I decided to use foamcore board (my new favorite prop-making material) as it's a lot easier to cut, and is a lot cheaper to remake things if I mess something up!

After the foamcore part of the blade was glued in, the last bit of construction was using paper clay to build up the hilt of the sword... which of course I'm a dummy and didn't take a picture of that step. So let's just skip ahead to the part where we paint! Remember that important rule: Paint your metallics first!

The last step, much like with the staff, is to add the wrap to the hilt. A little bit of drying time with the glue and it's all ready to go!

And of course, being the good little crafter and FE fan, I naturally had to test out my newly forged sword so it's PLAY TIME!

Needless to say, I am super pleased with how all of these things turned out and I can't wait to see some photos of them with their proper costumes. Perhaps I can manage to post some of those soon.

Thanks again for tuning in, my loves!