(Suikoden III) Hugo’s Sword and Dagger

I love Hugo so so so so much. It’s been a dream to cosplay him for many years. Here is a walkthrough explaining how I made his weapons. I will cover the rest in another walkthrough.

First, here’s Hugo:

There aren’t any great images showing off his sword and dagger but this gives you an idea. I looked at many official artworks and screenshots to put together a comprehensive diagram.

I made a mockup in Photoshop to help me understand the dimensions of these items. Each of these shapes represents an important edge along each weapon. I wish I could give a better explanation of how I decided on these shapes, I just “felt them out” as I went along. If this image doesn’t make sense hopefully the subsequent photos will help.

I printed them all out at life size and traced them onto a piece of styrene. Tip #1: you can get styrene easily and cheaply in the form of large plastic signs. Tip#2: punch a hole through the image and put tape over the hole to stick a stencil on a thing without breaking the outline.

Once I had all the pieces cut out I used hot glue to put them together. Now you can see what those cross-section shapes are for.

Next I mixed up a whole mess of bondo and slathered it into all those shapes I made. Each of the styrene “edges” becomes a guide for my putty knife and gives me a way to shape my weapons. I had to put the bondo on in layers, so it took a while. By the way, in case you are wondering why the handles look so thin, it’s because I’m leaving space for the handle wrapping.

I’d put on a bunch of bondo and sand it smooth. Then I’d spray it with this red primer which would help me identify places that needed more sanding or more bondo. Repeat ad nauseum.

After I got it nice and smooth, I used a dremel to carefully etch in the details. This is another primer coat you see here. After this I coated everything in silver paint as a base color.

Over the silver paint I applied gold and silver Rub-n-Buff. Rub-n-Buff is like a waxy goo with powdered metal in it. You slather it on and then buff it off with a soft cloth. The friction from the cloth warms it and polishes it to a reflective finish. It looks a lot nicer than spray paint, in my opinion.

After the Rub-n-Buff I did several things. First, I antiqued it a little. I mixed up some drab, dark-brown acrylic paint and worked it into the crevasses, then wiped the excess off with a damp paper towel. This gave it a little more character and helped those etched details really stand out.

Next, I wrapped the handles with suede laces. The dagger has an 8-strand braid and the sword has a 12-strand braid. These kinds of braids are cylindrical and go all the way around the handle. (There are some good tutorials for doing this on youtube!) The strands are secured at the top and bottom with a tiny bit of hot glue. To make it look a little more neat I wrapped them with what are essentially hemp friendship bracelets. I made myself a zig-zagging pattern that I thought would compliment the costume.

Finally, I dripped a little bit of hot paraffin wax on the handles to age them. Above is with wax, below is without. The effect came out kind of heavy, so I wrapped the handle with paper and heated it with an iron… which was a truly awkward process but removed the extra wax and left a really nice finish. It made it looked like the handles had spent years gripped inside someone’s gross, sweaty palm.

MEANWHILE

To make the scabbards I started with a chunk of raw top-grain vegetable-tanned leather. I cut out pieces the approximate size and shape and soaked them in warm water for about 30 minutes to get them good and pliable. Then I wrapped them around the weapons and trimmed them just enough that I could clip them taut with binder clips. I let them dry overnight.

Once they were dry they kept their shape well enough that I could trim off the excess, punch a lot of holes, and stitch them together with fake sinew. Here you can also see my plans for the details.

I cut out all the pieces I needed and dyed them!

 The green triangles are painted directly onto the scabbard. I did the painting and hardware first before gluing everything together with barge cement. Immediately after taking this photo I rubbed everything down with antiquing gel, which is the same process of antiquing with acrylic paint — goop it on, wipe it off, and let live everything that stays in the cracks.

And then a belt appears by magic! (I’ll cover the belt in another walkthrough.)