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)
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).
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.
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.
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.