Here are my construction notes for RWBY's Yang Xiao Long's weapon, Ember Celica, both the small and expanded forms. I used craft foam.
I added about 8 coats of mod podge onto the 5mm craft foam (accidentally got newspaper on it). Then I painted it with several layers of yellow acrylic paint. I drew the lines on with black acrylic paint by hand. I added a few coats of glossy varnish on top.
I cut out all the pieces from Tatsutetsu's blueprint on paper and taped them together. I adjusted it so that the tip ended around my elbow.
Black tube: I cut out a rectangle in this length and then super glued the ends together. This will be inserted into the gauntlet at the end.
I made sure to cut 2 of each and to flip parts over when necessary, since we're making one for each arm.
I wrapped the craft foam around the current piece and traced around it with pen. I cut out 4 layers in total. This is necessary for the moving mechanism to work.
Layer 1 - normal base piece
The following layers only include the top part, not the bottom fins past the cylinder:
Layer 2 - cut for gun + wide cut for top fin
Layer 3 - cut for gun + narrow cut for top fin + straw
Layer 4 - narrow cut for top fin
The straw goes into the cut for gun and covers layers 2-3.
I-piece: I cut out some small rectangular pieces and assembled it into an I-piece.
I-piece: The I-piece will slide through the cut for top fin. More on this later.
I super glued the 4 layers together. Do this outside or in a well-ventilated area.
Base cylinder: Layers 2-3 will have cutouts for the bullets like this. I used an x-acto knife, but a bigger knife may be easier.
Base cylinder: Layer 4 will have a big cutout like this. I used an x-acto knife, but a bigger knife may be easier.
Bullets: I cut bubble tea straws into smaller pieces. I cut out 24 bullets, 12 for each arm. I also cut out a longer straw for the gun hole.
Bullets: I covered them with scotch tape. Next I added newspaper strips dipped in paper mache (1 cup flour:2 cups flour), and then coated them with gesso. At this point, I stuck them into the cutouts from earlier and had to make some cutouts bigger, since some of my bullets were too big. I made 24 bullets, 12 for each arm.
Bullets: At this point, I stuck them into the cutouts from earlier and had to make some cutouts bigger, since some of my bullets were too big. I made 24 bullets, 12 for each arm.
Bullets: Then I painted the bullets with red acrylic paint and as a finish, varnish. I stored them in egg containers as I waited for them to dry.
Bullet hole: I used a long piece of bubble tea straw and added scotch tape to the end. I only added enough for it to only be in the visible portion; the rest of the straw will be inside the foam. Then I added paper mache newspaper and silver acrylic paint. I also stippled it with some black paint as well. I painted a little bit of the inside with silver paint since it may be visible.
I-piece: I used super glue to make everything in the I-piece stick to each other. I glued fabric onto the bottom and the side. I also used the x-acto knife to curve out the bottom piece to make it slide better. Once the I-piece slides well, just leave it in the slot.
Back Fins: Cut 1 long fin piece and 2 short fin pieces. Super glue the long fin onto the end of layer 1. Glue the 2 short fins onto the long fins. For the short fins, I cut 1 that was 5mm and one that was 2mm because that was the only way to make the fins level.
Sealing edges: I dipped newspaper into mod podge and put it onto the edges to hide the seams. I had to tear the newspaper to make sure it would fit. You can see the back fins in the first picture.
Fabric backing: I added a fabric backing to the foam and then painted it yellow with acrylic paint. I sanded it to smooth it out. Exposed foam should always have a fabric backing.
Top Fin: Cut out 2 copies of the top fin. The top fin(bottom) should have a slot for the I-piece. The top fin(top) does not have a slot. I glued them together, then mod podged the pieces and added newspaper to the sides.
I added about 8 layers of mod podge to all the craft foam pieces and newspaper to all the seams. I did not add mod podge to the top of the I-piece or the inside of the cylinder.
Spray Paint: Before spray painting, I covered all the exposed foam pieces with Painter's Tape.
I spray painted primer, yellow spray paint, and lastly glossy finish.
Black Outline: I covered parts of the top fin with painter's tape before painting the black outline with acrylic. This was too time-consuming, so I just did it by hand for the other pieces.
Black Outline: I painted the rest of the outline by hand and then weathered the edges. I just used my paintbrush and painted remnants of my black paint. I also rubbed it with some toilet paper. And now I finally attached the top fin to the I-piece with super glue and foam glue.
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