Here follows the saga of how a smith tirelessly worked to forge Mjolnir using the metal of Uru.
Without metal or forging.
First up, if I wasn’t going to make it from mystical metal what I would make it from? Foam? Foam plastic? 3D print? Something else, or may be a mix? I spent a few days experimenting and it turns out my EVA skills aren’t up to scratch. I did pretty well with the 3D modeling, but settled on a mix of printed and hand made parts. I may go back later and try to finish the full model. The blueprint I used in this build is available on my Etsy store here.
Creation of the 3D parts
I learned a lot though while playing around with modeling programs, most importantly that drawings from inkscape can be imported into one program I have; 123D design*. This turned out to be a breakthrough and I was easily able to create the detailed panel designs. Using the blueprints, I imported the back panel, head panel, top cap and pommel designs into the program. Then I spent some time fixing any issues before extruding the parts. In the case of the pommel the design was shaped to fit the model I had made. All parts were then printed out on high quality to make sure there was no loss of detail. It also reduced sanding time YAY!
With these parts printing I started work using my go to material – foam PVC as a core. To keep the weight down in case it was used for cosplay, I planned out hollow spaces, while making sure to keep the structural strength. I started with an inner box, using my bandsaw to make sure everything was accurate. Care was also taken to make sure everything was kept square while building. No one wants a crooked hammer on a wonky stick To each side I added further raised up panels to which I would mount an outer skin. In hindsight, I could make the four sides over lap at the ends so I would only have had to add one strip of plastic.
Before adding the skin I measured out where the handle should go and drilled out a hole. To the inside of the box I added two 5mm sections with holes for the handle to slot into and provide strength to the hammer head.
Using 2mm styrene I covered the bottom, front and top. This would give a hard covering and smoother finish than the foam PVC. A 3D printed ring was slotted over the handle and glued down to further secure the handle.
With the sides covered I filled some of the space with scrap plastic and then miliput to create the beveled edges. These were filed and sanded until smooth.
The channels on the bottom of the hammer also go half way up the bevels on the bottom. To make these I marked out where they should be and then filed in matching channels. I figured this might be easier than doing it when filling the space. When I was happy with them they were tidied up with more milliput and sanded.
To the last side, after being glue together and sanded I added a 3D printed panel with symbol. Next I checked that the open ends of the hammer were square and level, making any adjustments as needed. With that done I cut out two pieces of styrene to close of the ends and when attached, these were sanded so everything was flush.
The hammer heads
With the detailed panels all printed out, sanded (5-10 minutes of clean up each) and primed I used them to work out an inner wall. This would support them and form core of the heads. To make them more stable, supports were added to each corner and in the center of the space. With the addition of milliput bevels on each corner and a cap of 2mm styrene on top, the heads are quite solid despite being hollow.
The last piece to attach to the top of the hammer was the top disc. I’d never tried printing something with very small details and gave it a test. Turns out my printer can’t do 2mm runes and I had to scale up the letters a little and reprint it. I also learned that eagerly using your scraper to take a still warm print off the bed causes it to bend. Apart from this the print turned out great this time, and I was able to CAREFULLY fix the issue with my head gun.
The handle and pommel
The handle has 10 rings running down it’s length. These were modeled and then printed. Due to the way I printed them with supports there was a little more clean up to do, but they turned out nicely. Before gluing I worked out the positioning and them got them all stuck down.
The pommel was the most complicated part of the build and took the most time for me to model. I almost gave up at one point, but persevered. The final result was well worth the effort. In order to make sure the details came out well, the model was split and two halves printed flat with support. When cleaned up they were attached and then filled. The finished pommel was not attached at this point so I could add the strap and leather to the handle more easily.
Before painting I wanted to check to see if there were any spots I had missed when filling and sanding. I first sprayed it black, followed by red, which really showed off the places which needed more work. The process of sanding/filling/spraying was done slowly until the hammer had a smooth finish with no visible seems or print lines.
After looking at reference images there was one paint job I wanted wanted to replicate. So I gave a different technique a try to the one I normally use to paint metal. This would be used on the hammer head and pommel.
Over the final coat of black spray I painted dark silver mix making sure to avoid brush strokes. Next, taking a sponge, I slowly built up 3 layers using 3 different shades of silver paint making sure each was dry before moving on. The really helped to bring out the details and produced a beautiful, if time consuming effect.
The rings on the handle are a brighter flat metal and were tackled differently and had a more simple paint job. The first coat used some silver paint normally used in markers, to give a flat base, followed by coat of shiny liquid silver leaf.
With everything painted the only thing left to do was add faux leather to the handle, a strap to the pommel and then glue it on. Rather than buy a strap, I created it by using a strip of the faux leather to which I glued a strip of faux suede. This ended up being a passable substitute for a real leather strap. This was glued to the inside of the pommel. A disc of plastic the size of the inner diameter of the tube was cut out and screwed into the pommel securing the strap further. This slotting inside the tube, along more glue and a close fit over the rings and faux leather of the handle made it really secure when attached.
(Expert arm modeling by my friend Jim )
How did it turn out? Really well, the combination of 3D parts and paint job made a great looking replica. I’m really pleased as this is my best prop to date in terms of construction, detail and finish.
* This is an Autodesk program and is a simple modeling program. It is now no longer available on their website and support has ended. It has proved to be a good step into 3D modeling for me and still may be available on some other sites.