Katana FT – For expands his Katana Collection

Hello Everybody and welcome to my new Star Wars Visions inspired design. I think I previously mentioned that I had watched Star Wars Visions, the anime inspired TV series but was finding individual characters to build a hilt for difficult. Most of the big characters already had sabers but I really wanted to build a Japanese inspired hilt from scratch so I modelled one for myself – after a bit of a struggle. I did make some Katana styled hilts before but they were either using the old Adaptive Saber Parts builder from Saberforge that I stopped using or the hilts I modelled in Blender didn’t have the iconic Tsuka Ito handgrip wrapping. Well today I set that straight. First however I need to explain the issue I had modelling that handgrip!

One of the reasons I hadn’t gotten round to modelling a Katana is the fact a Katana is very simple but very stylised. Almost everyone on the planet would recognise a “Ninja” or “Samurai” sword from the long narrow blade with a subtle curve and the diamond patterned handgrip made from a wrapping of silk. The blade I initially managed to model using a “Curve Modifier” that allowed me to model a straight blade with the cross section shape I wanted then I created a Curve Object to match the Katana blade’s bend then instructed Blender 3D to “bend” the straight blade to match the “Curve Object”. But the diamond pattern handgrip was a whole different problem. I have modelled a leather wrap before on a saber (such as my The Quartermaster and Nerf Frightener hilts) but that entailed curving a flat strip along a spiral path. Blender has a function called the “Screw Modifier” which like the Curve Mod takes an object and morphs it along an outline path except the Screw Mod curls the object into a spiral or screw like shape. (See picture 1)

Picture 1: Basic strip

The problem is that a Katana has a “criss-cross” pattern and it is easier to make using two long strips curled into spirals – so I duplicated the strip seen in Picture 1 and rotated it so it would overlap to form the criss-cross. Only problem? It didn’t because both strips just interlaced to form a nice looking regular wrap. This was because I needed an anti-clockwise strip to overlap a clockwise strip and no matter how I rotated or altered the settings in the Screw Modifier I couldn’t work out how to wind an object Anti-clockwise (See Picture 2 and 3).

Picture 2: Two strips but both wind clockwise
Picture 3: Two clockwise strips just interlace as one.

I finally turned to YouTube and looked up Katana modelling and in one video the 3D artist made one spiral strip rotating clockwise which he duplicated as I had done BUT here was the magic, he then RESIZED the strip so the height, width and length values were NEGATIVE.

Picture 4: One strip (L) wound clockwise and second (R)wound anti-clockwise after resizing it to negative

This resulted in all the geometry being twisted Anti-clockwise! I went back into Blender and duplicated my spiral strip then resized it into Negative values (Seen in Picture 4) and I had two strips which, when positioned together formed a criss-cross or plaited arrangement. I just had to tweak the size of the duplicate strip so it fitted over the original and gave the illusion of being woven or plaited. The final step was to add some thickness to the strips then apply textures to them. You can see the final result in Pictures 5 and 6.

Picture 5: Both strips overlapped, creating the “Diamond Pattern”
Picture 6: Strips with textures applied and adjusted to appear “woven”

Sorry if that explanation was long winded but it’s sometimes hard to describe something in 3D so that people can visualise what you are talking about. So I think you deserve to enjoy the Glamour Shots, here is Katana FT…

I am kinda proud of this saber as I can now say I’ve ticked another Iconic blade off my “To Do List”. On an actual Katana handgrip there are usually small metal plaques visible in the diamond cut-outs but I left those off as they are usually decorated to represent particular clans or families that own the hilt. I did add some etching on the gold accent parts – the pommel end cap and the oval handguard called a Tsuba. I also envisaged the activation switch would be incorporated into the handguard – by pressing one of the inlaid panels created by the etch meaning the switch is “hidden” in the pattern…but I did add my initials as a decoration on the pommel end cap (the letters FT are in Aurabesh which looks a bit like oriental text). And of course the blade has a plasma edging to it – I could have had a regular lightsaber blade but when you extinguish the power the blade disappears but with this Katana you retain the metal blade to allow you to sheave it in a scabbard.

And with that I think I have covered everything and I am coming near to the end of this post. As ever I’d like to thank you all for checking this design out and hope you liked it (ok maybe the design lesson was boring but it gave context to the design!) I sincerely hope you will al return for future posts as I have some more LEGO Forge builds including a Mandalorian ship and speeder bike! I also hope to have more news on my recent Nerf blaster purchases too. So again, thank you for calling in today, it is much appreciated. Till next time….

“Katana FT” is a For Tyeth Editions design and was modelled and rendered in Blender 3D. The model and image renders are ©Copyright of For Tyeth/FTSabersite 2016-2022. “Star Wars: Visions” is Trademark/©Copyright of Disney/LucasFilm ltd.

16 thoughts on “Katana FT – For expands his Katana Collection”

    1. Hi there EF, it very nearly broke me! And I’m trained in the ways of the Force. There didn’t seem to be any option to spiral objectsanti-clockwise so when I saw the “Resizing” trick which turned the object to negative was like magic.

      1. Hahaa The corkscrew is a formidable foe! Still kinda baffles me how the simple machine works. But I can tell the negative values trick must have been a magical feeling of discovery💡

      2. It is one of the big “obstacles” in Blender that puts people off unfortunately – the fact there are so many ways to achieve a result but no obvious way that stands out. For example, if you wanted to model a cube you can either just place a Default Object cube, or you can place a square plane on the screen then grab the surface of the square and drag upward to extrude the 2D square to form a 3D cube. Blender is so flexible/powerful it makes it confusing too. But I know how to do wrappings now so I might make a few more Oriental themed hilts in the future.

  1. This lightsaber looks very “Japanese” particularly the hilt – amazing as always FT! Looking forward to seeing what else you come up with, keep up the great work 😀

    1. Hi Julie, thanks so much, I did hold off on doing a “proper” Katana until I worked out how to do that iconic wrapping. It still isn’t perfect but Tsaka Maki (the process of wrapping hilts) is a work of art in it’s own right. Future designs I do will have more traditional textures/material (which is usually silk not leather) and I’ll add the decorative metal plates in the diamond cut-outs.

    1. Hello Mei-Mei, I really did benefit from watching that YouTube video explaining how to achieve it, but I forgot to note the name of the Artist so I’m currently looking to find it again and give credit.

    1. Hi TVTA, That wraparound made all the difference and I have found the video again so I can credit the gent who taught me the trick. His name is Mac Coyzkie and the link to the video is:

      Hope it works, if it does at the 8min 25sec mark you will see the process of wrapping the 2nd strip anti-clockwise.
      And I gotta say you have impeccable taste in colour schemes!

      1. Well found! The colour scheme rocks – very FT of course! My bike is essentially black with green accessories added over time. I thought of it because your wraparound reminded me a little of the old-school tape you wound around racing bike handlebars, and I imagined then how cool that style would look on a modern day mountain bike handgrip!

      2. Hi, I recall that tape very well as I must have wound quite a few rolls of it on my cycle’s handlebars. When I was younger I was into athletics and cycled 3 times a week and wore out a lot of wrappings. Then my younger brother “sold” my bike without my knowledge!

      3. Damn, that would have hurt coming back to a missing bike like that. I remember replacing my handlebar tape once and making a right old mess of it lol, had to ask a mate to help. As I remember it was like a thick plastic. Sure there was a skill to it.

    1. Hello Resa, I’m so glad I seem to make some sense! And sorry I made a bit of a mistake and didn’t include a clear picture of my initials. They were “hidden” on the bottom of the hilt on the endcap and written in the Star Wars typefont of Aurabesh. Here is a picture showing the initials in Aurabesh compared to a regular typefont…

      And here is a better picture showing the decoration on the saber itself!

      Thanks as always and hope you’re well!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.