The magicians at Weta are back at work casting their spells to make The Hobbit a reality this year, which means amazing collectibles are once again on offer. Like this replica of Bilbo’s sword Sting, which looks amazing!
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At $US7,999, it’s far from a cheap collectible, but given it was handmade by Weta’s master swordsmith Peter Lyon, the asking price is far from ludicrous. Especially when you consider what goes into making the completed blade.
10 years ago when the original prop was made for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the technology wasn’t available to create a grip quite like the one Daniel Falconer designed for Sting. But since then, technology has brought Modern Man just a few inches closer to the skills of the Elven swordsmiths of old.
Peter Lyon therefore proposed an embellishment upon the original prop design.
This is Sting the way the swordsmiths of the lost realm of Gondolin would have made it. Peter took what was a world class hero sword in 2001 and improved it considerably in 2012. It’s the Weta way.
The grip chosen ten years ago for Sting was South American cocobolo wood. A dense and fine grained wood, deep in colour and with a waxy, grippy feel to it.
Little did Peter realise at the time that those qualities also made it eminently suited to the finest and cleanest cuts using computer aided milling.
The 2001 Sting had the elven vine applied as a vinyl transfer. The 2012 Sting Fine Art Limited Edition has had the elven vine pattern machined into the grip with ultra-fine precision and the same pattern is then used to wire-cut a Fine Silver inlay. Fine Silver is the purest grade of Silver, softer and cleaner in colour than Sterling silver. Wire-cutting is a technique that allows for incredibly accurate bends and the sharpest of corners and angles. Precisely what Daniel Falconer’s beautiful design requires.
Peter Lyon then spends three whole days – almost as long as for the rest of the sword – on each grip carefully working the silver vine into the groove in the wood under a magnifying glass. This is a zero tolerance process.
The gently curvaceous blade features etched elven runes ‘Maegnas (Sting) is my name. I am the spider’s bane’ along the central ridge.
There’s a video of the creation process on Weta’s site that shows just how intricate the task of creating Sting is. And if watching it doesn’t make you want to band together with a bunch of Dwarves and go hunting for treasure, I don’t know what will…
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Nick Broughall is the Australian Editor of TechRadar.com, where he gets to indulge his passion for geekery and the lastest technology. He is also the Editor of EFTM.com.au, where he gets to indulge his passion for manliness, from sampling fine liquor to the joys of growing a beard. It's a pretty good life, really.