Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: Foam Excalibur Sword!

Let’s flash back to a build that was part of Adam’s preparation for this year’s Comic-Con! For his King Arthur armor cosplay, Adam needed a foam sword that would be suitable for the convention floor. He turned to the LARP community to find a prop, and today’s build is making that sword look better with different techniques for metallic finishing. To the airbrush!

Comments (16)

16 thoughts on “Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: Foam Excalibur Sword!

  1. Can you specify a brand of not-gold leaf?

    I am reliably informed that if you do not clear-coat the not-gold leaf, it will tarnish. (It’s mostly copper.)

    Do you think a clear-coat on the silver would dull it or protect it? (or both)

  2. Yep, same question on the gold leaf. Doesn’t it have to be varnish or something
    ? So that it does not peel off?

    Glad to see I’m not alone leaving my airbrush not cleaned
    after a job…I guess sometime we are all into a rush of things….

  3. The reason why the Moltow marker paint is so robust, durable and eyecatching is the same as it was with the Montana spray paints you used on the Shining labirynth. They are both designed with street art or graffiti in mind.

    It’s a great looking sword with not too much hassle. Another cool one day build

  4. Looking back would have sprayed the sliver first and then done the gold leaf? Would that have eliminated the need for the mask?

  5. ROFL, oh my… yikes! There are many “serious” airbrush-ers cringing, looking away, covering their eyes… seeing that clogged dirty airbrush. Putting away a dirty airbrush is like “putting your horse away wet”. I did an impression of Chihiro and Yubabba from Spirited Away smelling that “stink spirit”.


    I don’t do airbrushing anymore, most of the work I did back then (print illustration) can be done on the computer now with less space and mess. Dang even the clothing and fabric painting I did can be done with printed transfers or printing direct.

    Years ago at the height of my airbrush obsession I had about 10 I think? Most of them were those big badger workhorses for doing t-shirts. They had a huge thick needle (few clogs) with a big comfortable handle body and could take a serious beating. Even with huge needle they could still spray fine detail if needed, as long as the needle and nozzle are straight. Can’t remember the model type, just that it had a big red plastic handle.

    The other airbrushes I used had much finer needles for very tight detailed work. Cleaning was the least of the problems for me. Most of it was keeping those needle tips and nozzles from getting damaged. As thin as the needle is the nozzle opening is that small as well.

    Cleaning after airbrushing was pounded into my brain from day one. You don’t clean your airbrushes kiss them good bye. They just wouldn’t last as long. The parts would need to be replaced. You couldn’t get fine spray patterns (without globs and blops). Cleaning causes the needles to get stuck and you have to clean out the nozzles yes… but worse than that the “finish” on them would also get corroded and you couldn’t clean that later. And all of this was only using water based paints for my work! I never even used solvent based stuff.

  6. There is a humming sound in the background that is new for the cave shop. Would be great if that could be turned off or EQ:ed out of the audio.

  7. I noticed Adam is using a really fancy looking ergonomic X-acto knife handle, when he cuts the styrene for the mask, is that a particular brand?

  8. I think it’s not “moltow” but “molotow”. At least in Europe we have this very famous brand about markers and spray paint.

  9. I remember seeing a “New Yankee Workshop” or some such where Norm brought in a “master gilder” to gild the frame of a mirror (if I’m remembering correctly).

    In any event, the master used a flat brush for handling the gold leaf (never his hands).

  10. Do not fear that what are the two actions! Even if you have issues with fine motor functions (like I do), you only actually need to manage one action – paint flow. The other action is simply a toggle for airflow, such as it is in a single-action airbrush. You press down the trigger prior to starting paint flow, and release it after killing paint. That’s all there is to it. And paint you can always, always ease in careful like. There’s no need to be able to instantly hit the desired flow during the countless hours you’ll spend building confidence and routine with the tool.

    The key difference is the mode of operation of the complete piece. A single-action airbrush behaves a bit like a rattle can due to the inherent effects related to simultaneous release of paint and air. It is very good for uniform (and heavy) finishes on rather flat surfaces, but requires some actual skill to paint complex or small surfaces with since it relies heavily on the ability to vary distance and cone movement in exact proportions as well as adjusting the screw-type paint valve on the fly if necessary. This is probably very subjective, but I find that the control of distance, paint flow and movement with a double-action jobbie comes much more naturally and it’s your best insurance against unwanted buildup. And we’re not even talking shapes or gradients yet!

    What works for me is a .5mm single-action airbrush to lay down primers and clearcoats and .3mm and .2mm double-action pieces for everything else. Except when painting minis, that’s when I like to do everything with the latter. It’s also nice to be able to pick up cheap, external mix single-action airbrushes for next to nothing if you need to use nasty solvents that leave an annoying residue, such as mineral spirits, and can’t afford a large collection of proper units for each application.

    Regarding starting with airbrushes in general – if you’ve routinely used a mouse for many years, you already have a sense of how the movement of a remote object (the mouse pointer, or the contact point of spray and surface) is related to the movement of your hand. Then you add a third dimension to the formula. At least that’s what did it for me, I think.

    Hope there was some sense in any of this.

  11. Great video. Such a shame that the floor walk was without this. But hey, at least we got to see you finish it! Thanks.

  12. A “Moltow Cocktail”? Haha. A bottle of silver paint with a rag it it. Throw it at a tank if you want to chrome it.

  13. is there gold pigment from Molotow that has the same nice metallic finish as the silver? or is leafing the best way to go in that department?i have some badges for a film that arrived silver but need to be gold. just cheap chromed plastic. would leafing even bond well to that material?

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