Prop Projects,  Tutorials/Guids

Build: Dark Rey Lightsaber – The Rise of Skywalker

The Rise of Skywalker got everyone talking when they released a trailer showing ‘Dark Rey’. She had a pretty unique Lightsaber, and I wanted to build it – So I did!! Here’s how I did it…

Before we start on the build, I like to include a list of some of the general things you’ll need for this project, for those who wish to follow along, and build their own. You can download the 3D files for this build for free over at Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4026233

Things you’ll need:

  • A 3D printer – duh!
  • My 3D files (See link above)
  • Sandpaper – Various Grades inc wet sanding paper
  • Lolly Sticks – or Pre-made sanding sticks
  • Glue – Epoxy and Superglue
  • Filler of choice
  • Cosmetic Screws – Allen bolt
  • Captive Nut – M3
  • 12x 5mm x 5mm magnets
  • 8mm studding – 2x 274mm long pieces
  • Primer
  • Alclad Gloss Black
  • Alclad Stainless Steel
  • Alclad Chrome
  • Alclad Aqua Gloss
  • Alclad Transparent Red
  • Alclad Hot Metal Blue
  • Alclad Hot Metal Violet
  • Matt Black of your choice – I used Hycote rattle can
  • Black and Brown acrylics – for weathering

I modelled this back in December of 2019, and intended to do it alongside my Reforged Kylo Ren Helmet Build but that took up a lot of time and attention, so instead I waited until I had finished that before cracking on with this. I intended for this to be a ‘quick and easy’ wind down project from Kylo, and it should have been, but I came across some blocks in the road along the way, but we’ll talk about those later.

Printing

Printing for this was pretty easy. The bulk of the pieces were printed on my Wanhao i3 Plus in black PETG. Some of the more fiddly pieces were printed on my Elegoo Mars

My printer isn’t in the best of health at the moment. She held on throughout the Kylo pieces, but went to the crapper a little after that, and so the parts for this came out OK, but not great. Nothing a little sanding and filling wouldn’t fix though!

Sanding

Sanding for this wasn’t too complicated, just tedious…very, very tedious. I should have printed more parts in resin I think…

If you’ve read any of my other builds, then you’ll sense a familiar pattern with what I’m about to write. I started with some 80 grit sandpaper to knock down the build lines. For the more fiddly parts, I relied on my needle files initially.

Then, using my M3 Spot Putty, I did my regular ‘nuke’ fill, where I basically smother everything in filler and then sand back.

After sanding with 120 grit, I realised that it was still a little lumpy in places, so I went back down to 80 grit for another pass. This smoothed out the pesky parts.

The next thing I did was – yep, you guessed it – covered the pieces in some XTC-3D.

I applied a decent coat – not too heavy, but not a light one either.

Once this had dried, I sanded it with some 120 grit to smooth it all out. There were a few drips at the bottom of the pieces, which needed to be cleaned up.

Before and after sanding with 120 grit.

The pieces you see above were the most difficult to work with. There are a lot of sharp angles and geometry that needed to remain crisp. To make this easier, I made my own sanding sticks from some lolly sticks, ranging all the way from 120 grit, up to 3000 grit.

It’s as simple as cutting some lolly sticks in half along their length, and then using some PVA to glue the sandpaper. Once dried, just cut away the excess.

Back to sanding; Once I had sanded all of the pieces with 120 grit, it was ready for it’s first coat of primer. The parts all looked clean, but only the primer could tell us for sure.

Nice! Near perfect, which is always nice! Now that the primer had confirmed they were ready to go, I sanded up to 320 grit prior to wet sanding up to 3000 grit.

Test fitting the resin parts

The resin parts were also sanded. They didn’t need a great deal of sanding – but I started at 180 and moved up to 3000 grit.

With the sanding done, it was time to move onto painting!

Painting

Painting. The easy bit…or so it should be. Painting for this is actually pretty simple, when you have the right paints. Most of these parts are metalic, and so once again, I turned to my favourite metalic paints – Alclad. For this build, I used stainless steel as the base metal.

As with all Alclad metal paints, we started off with a coat of Alclad Gloss Black, sprayed straight onto bare plastic. The parts that would be a simple matt black were left alone for the time being.

After the black layer, it was time for the Stainless Steel.

You can see in the image above that the parts that would be red on this piece are taped off. This should be done before the black is painted on. It’s kinda backwards, but…you’ll see later.

Once the stainless steel had dried (I left it a day to be safe), I taped up the metal parts, leaving only the parts that were to be red exposed. I then did the same thing as what we’ve just done – Gloss Black, and then metallic coat; but for these parts, I used Alclad Chrome instead. This is because it’s much brighter than Stainless Steel, and so it’s a better coat for the red to go onto. The following day, before painting the red, I gave the chrome parts a coat of Aqua Gloss, to seal the metallic layer. After letting it dry for a little while (it’s water based, dries super quick) I applied my red color – Alclad Transparent Red. This was done in 3 coats, being super careful not to over do it. The bottle says to apply a ‘wet’ coat – whatever that means.

Example showing the metallic parts taped up

Once the red was done, and looking good, it was time to remove all of the tape, and show the finished pieces for the first time!

For the burnt metal parts on the emitter shroud, I used Alclad Hot Metal Blue and Violet. I sprayed the violet on first, and then applied the blue, blending the colors together. I also added a little bit of blue onto the emitter itself, but just a little on the tip.

The black pieces we left from earlier were just primed and painted like any normal paint…nothing special. And that was the painting more or less done. Easy, right?

…….le sigh

Prop making Gods giveth, Prop making gods taketh away

This project was cursed! Cursed I tell you!! I don’t know what I’d done to displease the prop making gods, but I’d clearly pissed them off, as they did EVERYTHING in their power to make me yeet this project out of a window!

Here is a small tale of the prop making gods smiting me…

So, err…paint. Easy, right? Ha…NO! See those red parts which look all nice and wonderful? Well…they didn’t always look like that. Let’s rewind almost exactly a month to the 22nd March. Originally, I had planned to use some Alclad Candy paints for this. Unfortunately, my color was wrong – a little too pink. But I did have some Hot Metal Red lying around, so intended to use that as a substitute. First item came out fine..

But…here is where the problems started. This day was quite the day…

So, err…that wasn’t good! Annoying, but I thought, OK, I can just remove the paint, and try something else. At that point, I wasn’t too annoyed. But then, when trying to paint the hot metal parts on one of the shrouds, this happened…

I dropped it, and it broke!

Quite the set back. Repairing it would have taken about aslong as sanding and filling a new one, so I decided I’d print a new one. But by luck, I had a spare, untouched print on my desk waiting for me. I have no idea how it got there or why! Spooky…

So I sanded it, filled it, and painted it. Easy! (No really, it was…)

A few days later, the postman bought a new paint. Since the original batch of candy paint I used went down well but was just the wrong color, I went with a slightly different shade, and attempted again to paint the red parts.

But again, the prop making gods were merciless, and the paint wouldn’t just not stick, it just wouldn’t do anything! It vanished. I sprayed, paint left my airbrush, it touched the plastic, and disappeared. Very strange…(probably the work of nargles)

Desperation began to creep in, and I even tried a new base coat – a rattle can chrome I had lying around which I’d previously used with the same paint. Nothing…nada, Zilch, Niet…

Increasingly perturbed, I ordered yet another paint – the candy base which this paint needed. Due to the virus, post is very slow at the moment, so another week we waited. The candy base arrived. I applied it to bare plastic as it instructed on the bottle. It went on well. I waited an hour, as instructed, before applying the candy red.

This is how well it went down…

It wouldn’t stick. I was close to yeeting it out of the window at this point, but instead, I decided to try ONE…MORE…PAINT! I’d seen the result on the interwebs; Alclad Transparent Red on top of a Chrome base. I prayed to the old gods and the new, and waited for the postman to bring the paint to me…all the way from the fiery pits of mount doom – or at-least you’d think so with how long it took…(It’s fine…I understand why!)

Finally…the prop making gods lifted their hold over me, and the paint worked a charm! See how much crap I went through for this build? huh? HUH?! All so you, fellow prop maker, don’t suffer the same fate – you’re welcome!

Assembly

With all of the painting done, it was time for assembly. This was pretty straight forward, and took a couple of hours. I started by cleaning all of the parts up, removing any hot glue from painting and test fitting the parts to make sure they all still fit correctly. I’d stuck the magnets into the hinge pieces with some Epoxy the night before.

I designed the files with easy assembly in mind, and I was actually surprised with how easy this went together. Good job past me, I guess…

I started by adding the small metal details and switches. I added screw holes to make aligning the parts super easy, but obviously, because I’m a twit, I bought screws which were slightly too short, so I ended up having to align them by eye. One of them slipped a little in the epoxy, which was a pain, but it was good enough in the end.

The parts were glued with epoxy, and though it would have been nice for the screws to have reached their holes, it made little difference. Once all of the individual parts were ready, I could get the lightsabers assembled. Not much to it really – You start at the top, and work your way down, using more epoxy on the rod and joints to make sure everything is secure.

A few parts were scuffed where necessary with some sand paper to make sure the glue was touching bare plastic and not just the paint. One down, one to go…

Minus a couple more cosmetic screws, and a screw in the hinge, construction was complete, and I could move onto the final stage…

Weathering

I don’t really have any pictures of this process, but I’ll do my best to explain the general process. The screen used prop is pretty gnarly, but I didn’t want it to be as grimy as that, and so dialled it back a little, whilst still making it look a little beaten and used.

I started with – as you almost always do – with some black paint. I just used some Vallejo black. I watered it down a little – but not into a full wash, though the general process was the same. Instead of wiping excess paint off however, I dabbed it off with some paper towels, being sure to leave some of the paint on in areas where I wanted it.

I worked on each lightsaber section by section, slowly blending it all in. I did a few passes, sometimes making the wash a little thinner, sometimes a little thicker. Once I was happy with the black weathering, I moved onto a small amount of Burnt Umber acrylic. This was a little thinner than the black wash, but rather than covering large areas, I would sporadically add the odd bit here and there, where it made sense, and then dabbed away.

The final part of the weathering process was to dry brush a little silver onto some of the hard black edges. It’s subtle, but just helps to sell the weathered look.

With weathering done, the project was…COMPLETE!

Final Piece

This was a fun project to work on, even with the problems we ran into along the way. But I’m glad I persevered, as I’m super happy with my finished piece!

If you’ve printed my files, I’d love to see your results! Feel free to contact me on Twitter @Magnavis_

Thanks for reading, and may the force be with you…