September 13, 2015

Kenshin cosplay ramblings and herpderp sword

Hello everyone!

I've kinda semi-promised earlier on at least my Facebook Page that I would cosplay Kenshin this summer but, well, I didn't. Sorryyyy. Some of you maybe wonder why and today I thought that I'll show you guys what made it so that Kenshin got pushed back!

You see, several years back or so I got a sword from Hitsu, a very good friend of mine.
It's a sakabatou (reverse bladed sword) that she had originally planned to use for her Kenshin cosplay but, well, when the sword arrived she was very disappointed in the quality. :/ She didn't want to use it and so it had just been lying around at her place. Later on I mentioned having an interest in cosplaying Kenshin as well – and she just gave me the blade for free. 
I wondered if it was really as shitty as she said and so I pulled it out of the sheath. It probably didn't take more than a few seconds until it became obvious that this sword was so crappily made that I didn't know if I should laugh or cry; it looks so cheap that I don't even have words for it, seriously. I still thought that I could use it as a base and modify it to be usable for my cosplay, so I kept it with that in mind.
This sword was lying around in my apartment for a couple years before I figured out what to do with it. At one point, earlier this year, I unsheathed it to check if it was really as bad as I remembered and yes, it still was. But this time I saw that some random brownish spots had appeared on the blade – they hadn't been there before!

Brown spots...
Still the brown spots but shown in a different light.
I'm unsure if these spots were rust or whatnot; they seemed to be only on the very surface (on both sides) and they just suddenly appeared out of nowhere, even though the sword had been in the same room for years. I have no idea what the blade is made out of; if it's stainless steel it shouldn't be able to rust...?
Whatever it was I did some quick research – I read somewhere online that rubbing it with some iron wool should get rid off it. I didn't give a shit if the blade would get scratched because this thing looks like shit to begin with and well, some scratches would just make it look a little bit cooler. Battle damage, heheh...
Some iron wool rubbings later the brownish color had gone but you could still tell where the spots had been. It was as if I had only rubbed the surface color away and you could still see, on the damaged area, where the spots had been because the contours of their placements were intact. Err? I don't know how to explain.
I should maybe mention that the only area of the blade that got affected was the part that's the closest to the habaki (blade collar) and like, maybe 15 cm into the blade.

But that brown surprise problem was the smallest of my issues with this sword. The thing is that this sword is so poorly constructed that it doesn't even deserve to be called a sword – it's a wall hanger at best. But yeah, as soon as you pull it out you'll notice that something will do a moving/rattling sound as soon as the blade part is out of the sheath and not supported by it. I don't really know how to explain all the things that are wrong with this waste of metal – but I'll at least try.
The most notable problem is that the tsuba (guard) can be turned and spun around at least one quarter around itself. The habaki jumps around and you have to "click" it in place by pressing on its side every time it jumps out of its proper position. The tsuba is doomed to always be off-centered too and well, it looks retarded to say the least...

But instead of trying to explain every single thing that's wrong I'll just show some photos now! I hope that the whole "a picture tells more than a thousand words" is true in this case... x)

Off-centered tsuba. It's easy to notice if you look at the non-detailed
oval golden part in the middle. You can see where the hole is and how much
the habaki part is off the mark.
This is what almost always automatically happened as soon as you took the sword
out of the sheath; everything would just go out of their proper positions.
This thing is not solid...
This photo and the photo below it shows me turning the tsuba with my thumb.
Notice how much it turns out of position!
(the blade part turns a bit with it but not the handle itself)
The blade also turns ridiculously much! Compare the blade's position
with the handle. It's waaaay off.
Seeing the sword doing all of these derpy moves made me wonder how the heck I'm supposed to work with this thing. I then started wondering what it actually looked like under it all...
And so I decided to take this sucker apart! Solve the mystery!

First I took off the kashira, the end pommel, by hitting it with a hammer. It came off by itself after a few strikes. I just lifted it off and was met by the sight of the photo above.
I rolled off the hex nut thingy with my bare hands and lifted the ring under it after that. I then just pulled out the tsuka (handle) and I was greeted by an underwhelming view... to say the least.

Hello, rat tail.
I was expecting to find a rat tail and that's what I found. Poor quality decoration swords like this one are pretty much never full tang. These "rat tail swords" are outright dangerous if you swing them around. I cringe every time I see an obvious wall hanger being sold as a "battle-ready sword", by the way. And I cringe even more when some uneducated person buys a shitty sword like this and starts swinging it around, thinking that it's gonna hold up to the action, and then the blade breaks and just flies off in whatever random direction it feels like flying off to and, well, fucks someone up.

But yeah, as I mentioned earlier I was aware all along that this was a bad quality sword and the reason I took it apart was so that I could possibly fix whatever was wrong with it. I would just keep the main blade part itself and then modify the rest of the pieces – or make new ones from scratch since, well, the tsuba for example doesn't look anything like Kenshin's.

This is just to show that the tsukamaki ends were just... glued in place, randomly. Eh.
The hole that the rat tail was in...
The main issue became obvious as soon as I had separated all the pieces and saw the naked blade – I mean, just look at this weird asymmetrical disaster from hell!

That explains why the habaki was living its own life and why the tsuba could spin as it did!
I need to somehow come up with a way to make the whole thing at the very least symmetrical. But I don't have any tools that makes it possible for me to work with metal and, well, currently I'm a bit at a loss with how to do this whole thing anyway. I need to think what options I have and yes, when I found this out it was also decided that Kenshin would have to be postponed to possibly next year; going as Kenshin without his signature sword is a no-no for me – I need to solve this crap first.
I do wonder if I could possibly use something to build on top of the metal, to make it symmetrical... but I'm unsure what material would be a good choice. Hrmm...

But if we detach ourselves from the sword project for a while I do have almost everything else ready for my Kenshin cosplay; I only need to fix the wig (add wefts and style it) –besides the sword– and I'll be done!
I did a super quick outfit test-run just to see what it looked like. I'm not wearing the wig because it's not done and well, I couldn't find it lol. I might wear a different white juban under for the actual cosplay, it depends.

This doesn't show the real color of the kimono, but close enough...
I didn't want to go with the anime's cerise pink kimono; I wanted something a bit calmer. I've seen that Kenshin's kimono changes colors a lot, depending on what picture you're looking at – it can be anything from the aforementioned cerise pink to a deep red. My fabric is some mix between coral pink and watermelon pink... I guess. xD It's really hard to describe colors!
I wanted to have a light colored kimono since my wig is a light-ish orange. I'm gonna be pastel!Kenshin lol.

That's all I have for now!

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