Skyrim Elven Dagger Prop Build – More Elder Scrolls Cosplay
Like many of my prop and cosplay builds, the seed for the Skyrim Elven Dagger prop build was planted with a moment of idle thought. “That Orcish Dagger looks a bit lonely” my notoriously troublesome internal monologue concluded. It was but a matter of moments before I had surmised that I would have to build all the daggers from Skyrim.
How To Build a Skyrim Elven Dagger Prop
If you’ve read my Skyrim Orcish Dagger build, then the materials and techniques will seem familiar. For those that have not, I will cover the basics here. The vast majority of the Skyrim Elven Dagger is constructed from a material my American friends call Sintra. Sintra is a brand name for a material called Foamed PVC. This is a sheet plastic material that has thousands of tiny bubbles inside its structure. This makes for a light, strong and easy to shape material – perfect for prop and cosplay building!
As with all my prop build projects, the Skyrim Elven Dagger started off as a template that I drew in Adobe Illustrator. If you want to build your own version, feel free to download the Elven Dagger Template.
After tracing the shape of the body and handle onto some 10mm Sintra I cut the shape out using my bandsaw. Foamed PVC materials cut beautifully and can be easily cut with hand tools. Machine tools are a luxury item that help speed up the process, but are in no way essential.
The next stage of the Skyrim Elven dagger build required me to rough out the shape of the blade. This was done slowly and carefully with a sanding drum in my dremel, and then finished off with 120 grit sandpaper. Members of the class that are still paying attention will notice that I traced the outline of the detail pieces onto the body of the dagger before starting the sanding process. This would help me make sure that the sharp edge of the blade was in the correct place.
Next up, the large side detail pieces were cut from 5mm Sintra. I chose not to glue them onto the body at this stage to make it easier to shape the parts.
Elven Dagger Details
The dagger has a stylised Eagle’s head on the pommel. This was constructed by laminating 5mm Sentra onto the main body and then sanding away to get the correct profile. It is important to cut the eyes into the plastic before you glue these parts together!
The side detail pieces of the Skyrim Elven Dagger were given some love with some more 120 grit sandpaper. I took my time over this stage of the build. Having learned from mistakes I had made on other builds, I knew that rushing this stage would produce a poor result. Once I was happy with the shape of the parts I glued them onto the body of the dagger using normal CA glue (superglue).
The most distinctive part of the Elven Dagger design must be the feather motifs that run along both sides of the blade. I cut these sections individually from 2mm Sintra and carefully glued them onto the body of the dagger. This stage took an unbearably long time. But it was critical to get all of the fine parts fitting nicely.
The last stage before paint is our ever present, ever tedious friend; sanding and filling. I sanded every part of the Elven Dagger with 240 grit sandpaper to make sure all the surfaces were flat and true. Following on from the sanding was the application of filler. As you can see from the photo, when you laminate multiple pieces together, this stage is essential! Once the filler was dry I sanded it back with 240 grit paper. Finally I gave the whole surface of the prop a light sanding with 400 grit sandpaper to prepare the surface for primer.
Painting the Skyrim Elven Dagger
For the sake of brevity, I’ve rolled 3 stages into one here. First up was a coat of automotive filler primer. This provides a nice thick coat of paint that fills in small surface blemishes and can be sanded back to produce a silky-smooth finish. I then did just that using 600 grit wet and dry paper. Finally, a coat of black Vallejo primer was applied with my airbrush. Normal spray primer will work just as well here. As you can see from the photo, I gave this a light sanding with 600 grit wet and dry paper to make sure my finish was super smooth.
The next task was to paint the blade of the Elven Dagger with silver paint. I used Vallejo silver, applied with my airbrush, but in retrospect using one of the Krylon silver spray cans may have produced a more reflective finish.
I masked all of the areas that needed to stay silver with, err, masking tape.
Next up was the gold. I used Vallejo Old Gold, but again, I feel that the Krylon spray paint range may have produced a more reflective finish here.
Finishing the Elven Dagger
The final stage before weathering the prop was to cover the handle in leather. I ended up diverging slightly from the in-game model here. The “real” item has beautiful triangular feathers all the way along the handle. However, in practice I found this impossible to replicate with real leather. When I used thin leather, the feathers didn’t lay in a pleasing way. But when I used thicker leather, they all stood up like a porcupine. You sometimes run into issues like this when you are making an item that was never meant to exist in the real world. To cut a long story to a medium length, I chose a more conventional leather handle covering. To do so, I cut a scrap of leather to size and glued it to the prop using CA glue. Simples!
And now we move onto my favourite part of any build, the weathering. As this is an ancient weapon, the metalwork needed to look as such. However, it’s also an Elven weapon, made from fancy metals. Consequently, a light touch was needed here. I made thin wash using a reddish brown and dark grey acrylic paint and liberally applied it to the whole prop. I then quickly wiped away 95% of the paint, leaving only a trace of it in the recesses of the model. This provided the gold with a slightly aged look as well as providing accumulation of dirt on the other areas of the dagger.
After a coat or 2 of gloss varnish (again, I applied this using my airbrush) I was happy to call the Skyrim Elven Dagger prop build complete.
All things considered, this was a fun build. And it looks great sitting on top of our prop cabinet with the Dragonbone Sword and Orcish Dagger. I hope you found this blog interesting. And if you’ve made your own Skyrim dagger props, share them with me. I crave their pointy goodness!
Next time on the Prop-Up-Shop overly Skyrim-centric blog for the criminally bored: Do Mudcrabs Make Quality Footwear?
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I’ve been making things since I was old enough to pronounce Lego. Consequently my maker life has been spent constructing, kit-bashing and scratch-building anything and everything that has taken my fancy. After dedicating my time to Wargaming, Model Armour & Railways, I stumbled across what has now become an obsession – Prop building.