I was approached by Riot to make a full sized Trundle Ice mace for their upcoming YouTube show, /ALL/ Chat. You can see it adorning their weapon wall along with a number of other excellent stabbing/bashing tools.
I only had 2 weeks from their first email to show day, so I had to build this very quickly. Having never done a prop with so much.. MASS before, I had to come up with a quick and effective way to make it lightweight, strong, and use what I had available immediately. I wanted to make it out of Insulation foam, but there was decidedly little of it on hand in Sunny San Diego and I had to go with an old staple, Pepakura!
This was the goal! I dug into the game files and pulled out the model for Clubbems, and quickly turned it into a useable pep file (I have included this file below for any who want to use it!)
I had to make this thing strong, and cardstock just wasnt going to cut it. The finished version of Clubbems has deep cracks, gouges and blemishes in its face that would require me to take a lot of material out to make believable. Since foam wasnt available, I decided to use 3mm Expanded PVC as my pepakura base. After getting my file ready, I printed out to paper, cut out, transferred to PVC and labelled each face. Yes this was exactly as tedious and mind numbing as it looks. There was a lot of beer involved. Bless audiobooks.
After this process, I cut all of the pieces out using an Exacto knife and even more beer. I was regretting my choices at this point, even as the crystals forming the side of the mace started to take form. Loctite pro superglue was used to glue all these pieces together, aswell as each one being heat shaped to fit whatever end shape it needed to be. Since the model I was using was not meant for being made of pep using a 3mm thick medium, there were a huge amount of gaps, cracks, and things to fix.
More cutting, gluing and cursing later, the spike bases are done! This process took a day or two of evenings.
I used Apoxie sculpt and bondo to fill seams and sand the edges of the ice shards to fine points. I also started getting the faceted body together from more pieces of 3mm PVC.
Building up the body more. I had to keep it hollow so it stayed light, but since strength was an issue just gluing the faces together like that I ended up having to make PVC strips, heat them, and glue them onto the seams as additional support. It ended up being very strong this way. I started to attach the spikes aswell here.
More shards! What a shardy mess!
At this point, I needed to figure out how to mount it to the handle. It didnt need to be pretty, but it damn well needed to be sturdy as hell. In the end, I took a can of Great Stuff Expanding Foam and filled the entire lower cavity/shard area with it. I let this set for a little bit, then violently shoved the dowel rod through the stiffening foam and clamped it in place until the foam set. This might be the most ghetto way to set a handle ive done… ever.. but I’ll be damned if it wasnt VERY firmly held in place, and lightweight as all hell. To further increase strength, I did the same thing in a big ugly ring lining the top inside of the mace and attaching to the rod. I never took any photos of this, must have been the shame.
All said and done, I had a very sturdy, lightweight mace body to work with! After attaching the end cap, I was able to heft it around and weigh it. 5.5lbs!
The time for filling and sanding had come. There was a lot of cleanup to do here, and after a full day of sanding and cleanup work, I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. While the apoxie sculpt was drying, I took a couple big chunks of Expanded PVC, pressed them together with superglue, and lathed them into the hilt and pommel of the mace. PVC is so versatile!
There was still a lot of finish work to do at this point, so after another full day of filling, sanding, priming, filling sanding priming.. I was finally able to start getting ready for the fun part – GOUGING THE EVERLIVING HELL OUT OF IT. I took a sharpie and roughed out the general shape of the gouges and cracks that litter the surface of this prop.
Then I took an exacto knife and cut deep grooves and channels out of it. I was not gentle with this. This is my favorite part.
After this and a bit more cleanup, it was ready for paint! I have never painted “Ice” effects before, and since I still dont have an airbrush.. I had to make due with spray paint! After a lot of research and staring at ice pictures, I started with a basecoat of white, then covered that with a deep cyan blue. I then dusted it VERY heavily with white and sanded down through the white to pull the blue back out and spread it around a bit. What I ended up with was a pretty cool effect for what it was.
I ended up going back and redoing this paintjob to darken it up a bit, but using the same technique. At this point I was a clearcoat and some dirt and crime away from a finished prop!
After clearcoating it with high gloss, then going over the whole thing with a wash of black and brown acrylic, the prop was ready for the show!
And thats it for Clubbems!