I have an upcoming photoshoot with some really AMAZING black scale armor. I wanted to have a spear to use as a prop in the photoshoot. I thought about making one from scratch, but decided that I didn’t really feel like doing that at the time. So I ended up purchasing a cheap toy spear from Amazon. It obviously didn’t exactly look that great, so I wanted to touch it up. In this post, I will show you the steps I took and the progress of the spear transformation throughout the process. Enjoy!
As you can see, the original is pretty, pretty, pretty ugly (<— You have to say this part like Larry David in “Curb Your Enthusiasm”). It’s clearly a cheap toy/costume spear, so I had to do something to jazz it up a bit.
Now is the fun part of the post! Let’s turn this cheap toy into something much cooler.
Scuff it Up
First off, I have to scuff it up. Not only does that give the paint I’ll use later something to hold onto, it puts some scratches into the plastic to make it look like it has some wood grain and is no longer just a crappy piece of plastic.
I started off with 150 grit sandpaper on the spear handle, wrap, and tip, and stroked the handle up and down to make the marks parallel with the handle. After that, I took a rasp on the handle of the spear and tried to get some scuffs that were a little deeper in it.
It’s already looking a million times better and I just started!
Once everything was sufficiently scuffed up, I painted the entire spear from top to bottom with a coat of black acrylic paint. This served as my primer and would really help bring out the grain texture I put on the handle of the spear.
Now that the base coat was dry, it was time to add the top coat. This is where things really start to pull together. I mixed together different brown acrylic paints I already had around the house to get a brown I was happy with for the spear handle. I dry brushed the brown onto the spear handle to allow the black base coat to show through. This is what really makes it look more like wood and less like plastic.
For the spear wrap, I dry brushed brown on top of the black base coat, but I ended up going back over it some to make less of the black show through. I wanted to keep some there for more depth, but I didn’t like it with a lot showing through.
After the brown was added, I wasn’t 100% happy with it, so I ended up mixing a really light brown paint together and dry brushing it on top of the darker brown. I am thrilled with how this part turned out.
Now for the tip of the spear. I ended up mixing a dark grey and dry brushing it on top of the black base coat (I forgot to take a picture of it at this point). It needed something more, so I ended up drying brush a little bit of the light brown I mixed together for the wrap on top of the grey on the tip. I gave it more depth and a little more of a worn look
The Finished Spear
And now the spear is completed! I am debating on adding that red strip of cloth back on it. I’ll probably play around with it some before I make my final decision on that.
For some reason the company that made the spear wanted the grooves for screwing the pieces together to show on the outside of the spear. I’m not really a fan of that, and I didn’t pay any attention to it when I was ordering the spear. In the end though, it was a very cheap spear, so I can’t complain. I am extremely satisfied with the transformation of it. I’ll be able to edit out those grooves easily whenever I use it for photoshoots.
What kind of cool props would you like for your photoshoots? I love being able to improve cheap props or make props and costume pieces from scratch. I would love to hear what kinds of things you would like to be photographed in or with!