For my power sword, I first putzed around in a 3-D modeling program called CATIA. I played with dimensions and looks to decide what I liked. Below you can see my final model.
To start, I wanted to be sure my sword wasn't the typical foam and duct tape kind you usually see at conventions. To help with durability and rigidity, I cut a blank from MDF in the shape of the blade and its tang. Next, for the core of the grip, I cut a piece of 1" PVC pipe to length, and notched the upper end to fit over the MDF. If I were to do this again, I would try to make the groove deeper.
To build the blade section, I decided to use two pairs of foamcore blanks sandwiched onto the MDF. I cut these into the same size and shape of the MDF, less the tang. The foamcore was laminated using simple white glue, was weighted, and then allowed to dry overnight. To get the edges shaped correctly, I used an old R/C airplane trick. If you use some type of iron, and control it, you can shape foamcore. Basically, you are melting the foam and pushing it around with the iron. Once this cools, the foam is denser and harder, which means extra durability. I placed the edge of the blade along the edge my table, and slowly, using a normal clothes iron, pressed the edges down, following guidelines on the center of the blade. The goal is to get the cross-section of the blade to be a 6-sided diamond.
To build the =][= hand guard, I simply cut foamore to fit. To bulk up the grip, I used 3 1" PVC couplers, which slid over the main grip easily. These were cut to fit around the hand guard. Note that I left excess room in the bottom coupler. This is to hold the pommel. To stiffen the assembly, I drilled holes through the grip assembly, countersinking at both ends, and bolted everything together. This keeps the tang from shifting too much, and lends a good deal of rigidity. With all this done, I started the Bondo phase, which I am still doing. Every few layers, I spray paint to highlight problem areas and to use as a guide coat. I am trying to get the blade as smooth as possible, as it will have a brushed-on metallic finish. The hand guard is not as crucial, and I'm not being too anal about its smoothness.
As mentioned before, this PowerSword gets a pommel. I am using a 1" PVC plug, which fits neatly into the bottom coupler. For the decoration, I am using a chrome skull that is sold in auto parts stores as a shift knob. To attach the two, I drilled a hole to set the ridge of the knob into, and engineered a fastening method. This involved a galvanized bolt, the end cap from a superglue container, a washer, and a threaded fitting. The fitting had to be ground to fit inside the skull, but after this, the rest was easy. The fitting was fastened tighly into the skull, the washer was ground to fit into the PVC plug, and the bolt was run though the superglue cap, the washer, the plug, and finally screwed onto the skull. The weight of this skull will help greatly in balancing the sword, as most of the weight is in the blade.
After a whole lot of Bondo and sanding, I finally got the blade to be very smooth, and got the =][= hand guard to an acceptable finish. The guard is extremely difficult to work with, so I left it fairly rough. I don't think it will be too noticeable, and if anything, it makes it look more like a wrought iron. After a final sanding and rubdown with a tackcloth, everything but the grip was primed a flat black. After an hour or so to allow for proper curing, this coat was lightly sanded, tacked, and recoated. I took my time with this priming process, as I want a good basecoat to paint over.
Once the primer coat was completely cured, it was time to finish the PowerSword. I used Pewter Liquid Leaf to paint the blade of the PowerSword. I originally intended to underpaint with neon blue "electrical bolts," but I found that the Liquid Leaf is too opaque to show them, so I chucked the underpainting idea. I took my time laying down this finish, using a soft brush. This stuff contains Xylene and other nasty stuff, so paint outside or with a fan going. The hand guard was painted over with a cheap acrylic black paint. I just use the $0.99 stuff from the local crafts store. I like this paint because it is fairly thick, easy to use, and looks nice. After this dried, then entire PowerSword was clearcoated with a semigloss sealer. The skulls on the hand guard were finished separately in Rub 'n Buff and glued to the =][=.
After completely priming the shifter knob skull, it too was finished with Rub 'n Buff. The PVC plug was painted black and clearcoated. Once both parts were cured, the were reassembled and installed into the handgrip. I should note that I don't clearcoat the Rub 'n Buff peices, as they tarnish/polish, and I feel this lends to a nicer finish.
With all the painting and such done, the last thing to do is wrap the grip (and hide my mistakes). Using the same method as my Power Maul, I cut a strip of burgundy vinyl the width of my yardstick. Basically, I do this at it's the easiest way to make a uniform strip; I line up the table edge, vinyl edge, and yardstick edge, and cut the vinyl along the yardstick. I measure the circumference around the grip, and make that the length of my trim cut. Using my ruler, I first put the "zero" of the ruler on one edge on the strip, and swing it so the forementioned length is on the other edge. This angle will make the first wrap of the grip nice and even, with no trimming required, and it sets the wrapping angle. After fastening the trimmed bottom edge with glue, pull the vinyl fairly tight and wrap it up the grip, glueing now and then. I finished the wrap just under the =][= guard, and glued it securely.
Now I used scrap vinyl and filled up the space between the bars of the =][=, and then wrapped a strip of vinyl, cut to fit, around the top of the grip. Another peice of vinyl was cut to fit around the base of the blade and guard. This helps cover up all the junk at the base of the blade, and makes the =][= stand out a little more. I should have spend more time fitting and trimming this part, but it came out alright.