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Leona’s Zenith Blade (League of Legends) – MAN AT ARMS


Weapon: Leona’s Zenith Blade [League of Legends] I’ve been a blacksmith armorer for over thirty years. I’ve created weapons for over 200 feature films. This is Man at Arms. I asked you guys what you wanted. You said you wanted the Zenith Sword from League of Legends, and I made it happen for ya. To extrapolate an unfeasible, over-sized design and make it into a real weapon is always difficult. Normally, for video game builds, we’ll make the blades out of 7075 aircraft aluminum. In this case, we’re using 5160 spring steel. I made a paper pattern and traced it out. I had a forty two-inch long blade about 4 inches wide. That was, in turn, transferred to a piece of 5160 spring steel that was quarter inch thick. We cut that out with the ban saw to the outside profiles, and then I forged the tang to a longer length to the thickness that I needed. I’ve also patterned out the aluminum spikes that come out of the doughnut at the hilt, and those are cut out of one-inch thick 7075 aluminum. We’ve threaded those with a 1024 threaded insert, and that will thread into the doughnut when I spread that open. I’ve taken a nine-inch length of delrin plastic, drilled a hole through it, and that will be the grip for the sword. The difference between blacksmithing and machining is if I try to drill a quarter inch hole in quarter inch material through the side, it’s going to split the material. With blacksmithing, I can punch and drift out the hole and give enough space, and that’s kind of what I did, cutting a slot, opening it up to a round and spreading the round out, giving it the doughnut for the hilt. After Brian had drilled the three holes to attach the aluminum doughnut, there’s one section of the 5160 steel blade that was still too hard. So we had to anneal the hilt. Annealing is a process where we heat it up to the critical temperature, which is about 1500-1600 degrees. And then put it into vermiculite, which is like expanded mica to allow it to slow cool, so that a regular drill bit will be able to drill through the metal. We’ve hole sawed some pieces of three quarter inch aluminum and cut out the profiles of that. And then Brian has drilled four quarter-inch holes around the perimeter that the two aluminum doughnuts will be riveted on there. I’ve also taken a thick ingot of bronze and forged it to the pommel. I also punched a hole through the middle of the bronze pommel. And then we took a square punch and punched a diamond shape in the middle. I cracked it in a few places because bronze is not really a material conducive to hot forging. So it got a little bit too hot and separated. But it does weld very easily so I was able to tig weld it with a bronze welding rod and got everything cleaned up. There was an imperfection, but the welding made it perfect again. I’ve done some detail work on the exterior of the bronze pommel. Brian will be working on the interior file work on that with a die grinder and a carbide bit, opening up everything, so that’s looking really nice. I took a long length of inch and a half thick delrin plastic, drilled a hole through the middle of the lathe, and then hand carved a spiral flute into it. I wrapped the piece with black leather, and I’m going to inlay a twisted silver wire up into the grooves. I know the one from the game doesn’t have that kind of handle, but it just kind of lends itself to it. I started grinding the bevels on the blade. We tapered down the tang and threaded that to three eighths of an inch in diameter with sixteen threads per inch. The discs or the doughnuts have been turned on the lathe when we cleaned that up, and to insert the side spikes, I had Alicia cut some slots for the separating discs with the abrasive cutoff saw. And we tig welded a coupling nut on there, so we can screw the piece in. Just pulled it out of the electric heat oven treating oil at about 1550 degrees, and then quenched it in heat-treating oil. That gives the full hardness. Then we put it back in the heat-treating oven for about 600 degrees, allowing it to temper so it toughens the metal. The Zenith Sword is a lot of work, but it’s all done. It was a very technical piece to make and I put my feel to it, changing the pommel and the grip around, but it was a balanced, working piece. I was pretty happy with it. What was particularly cool about this project was that the designer of the weapon was Michael from Riot Games, and he was able to come out and see the finished piece realized. Michael: Oh my god- oh my god, I get to hold it! This is amazing! This is literally what I imagined. Simply because I imagined this way back in the day, and I drew it, and we put it in a video game. But now here it is in my hand. And that is an experience beyond words. We have teams of dudes, of modelers, concept artists, visual effects artists, splash artists that make these characters themselves. It’s not just one guy, so this is an amazing thing for any of them to see. Protect the faith! You don’t need a sentry ward to find the subscribe button. It’s right here. Check out the rest of the Man At Arms armory by clicking here. Special thanks to the team at Riot. And as always, leave a comment letting us know what weapon you’d like to see next.

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