Forging the Inquisition Longsword

Many swords of myth and legend are found in Dragon Age, but most remain confined to their digital world. That’s why we asked local blacksmith Shawn Cunningham of Front Step Forge to bring the Inquisition Longsword to life.

Watch Shawn use a mix of modern and ancient techniques to shape blocks of steel into a masterfully crafted blade worthy of any Seeker.

You can learn more about Shawn and his work on his website: www.frontstepforge.com

Fan Creation Feature: Garm the Krogan Battlemaster

Remember Garm, the Krogan Battlemaster from Mass Effect 2? Inspired by his reputation as the tough-as-nails leader of Omega’s Blood Pack, prop maker Matthew Walther built a full-scale wearable Garm suit. We sat down with Matthew to see what it takes to put together such an ambitious build, and it turns out creating the warrior Garrus called a “freak of nature” takes a lot of work. And red paint.

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What inspired you to create Garm?

I’ve always wanted to build a Krogan, so I looked at all the different suits in the game and decided which one I wanted to make. You see people create Wrex or Grunt, but not really any others. I really liked the design of the Battlemaster armor, so I went with him!

How did you make the suit?

I put a 3D model of Garm into a program called Pepakura Designer that “unfolds” the model by flattening the parts to paper so you can make printable patterns. Once printed, I cut out the parts, traced them onto foam floor mats, and cut those into pieces to assemble like a gigantic puzzle.

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I used floor mats because they’re light and really cheap. I cut all the parts with a hobby knife, glued everything together with contact cement, built a frame with PVC pipe and an old camping backpack, then sealed it all up with white glue so the paint wouldn’t seep into the foam. I brushed on the main colors and lightly dusted other colors to add some realism, added straps and foam tubes to hold parts together, and covered the open areas with black cloth to really sell the illusion of a massive Krogan.

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How long did it take you to make Garm?

It took me between 250 and 300 hours, over a couple months. The hardest part was his head, because of the bone crests, but even that didn’t take long. Good results come with practice—and trial and error—but working with foam is easier than it may seem. That’s why I love the stuff.

300 hours is a lot of time! How did you learn the skills to pull this off?

Trial and error, mostly! There are hundreds of resources online to learn things like this. When I first started, I learned from my fellow self-made prop makers, gleaning what information I could and applying it to what I was doing. You can find prop makers all over Facebook, YouTube, and their websites.

What’s it like inside the suit?

Hot. Very, very hot. The suit is no more than 30 pounds, but the foam doesn’t breathe at all and it gets hot inside very quickly.  The hardest part, though, is seeing where I’m going! I need a handler with me because I can only see through the mouth.

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Any plans to do another Mass Effect build?

I’ll definitely have to do something from Andromeda once we start seeing more.

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You can find more of Matthew’s work on his website. Matthew has created other cool Mass Effect builds, including Threshy the Thresher Maw.

If you’ve spotted a community creation that you think we should highlight, tweet us!

Concerning Our Forums

This message is also available in French, German, and Polish.

After great consideration, we are closing down the BioWare forums, effective August 26, 2016. The Star Wars: The Old Republic forums will continue to operate; however, our public boards for Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and legacy BioWare titles will no longer be available.

This wasn’t an easy decision.

Our players are important to us. Your feedback, stories, and love for our games drive and inspire us.

In the past, our forums were the only way we could speak to you directly. They allowed our developers to talk with fans, and gave our players the opportunity to talk with each other about our games. But with the rise of social media and geek culture, there have never been more ways for us to connect.

Now we can travel around the world, meeting with you face-to-face at events like PAX, SDCC, and even shows in our own backyard. We can share stories with you on the go, giving you a look behind the scenes on sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

In turn, you’ve built your own fantastic communities in places like Tumblr and Reddit. You’ve created comprehensive Wikis and countless pieces of fantastic art, fiction, and cosplay.

With so many great things so widely available, our developers today find themselves spending more time on other sites, and less time in our own forums. And to our fans and players who came to those boards looking to talk to us, it was a great disservice.

So it is with a heavy heart that we will close our public forums on August 26, 2016. We will maintain some private boards, and may use these in future for beta feedback or other special projects.

Because we know there is a lot of information on there you may want to keep, the public boards will remain in a read-only state until October 25, 2016. After that date, they will be taken down.

While we are saying goodbye to this venue, we remain committed to our community and will always be here to listen, share, and support you. Online and in person, we will continue to seek out opportunities to interact and share in our combined love of games.

Expanding the Mass Effect Universe

This past weekend, information came out regarding our new series of Mass Effect novels from Titan Books. These novels will give us the opportunity to expand the Mass Effect universe and bring new stories to life outside of the games.
Unfortunately, it’s still too early to go into more detail about the books or when they will be released. But don’t worry, we’ll have a proper announcement with all the juicy details at a later date.
We are still in the midst of the creative process, but we are working with a talented group of writers to bring these exciting new stories to our fans.

Fan Creation Feature: Solas Bust by Caroline Lui

In our latest fan creation feature, we take a look at a masterfully crafted bust of Solas by Caroline Lui. A largely self-taught sculptor, Caroline gave us a look at what it takes to bring an infamous Inquisition elf to life in stunning detail.

What made you want to sculpt Solas?

Solas is one of the best-written characters in any work I’ve ever read, watched, or played. I’ve rarely been as captivated by a story as I was by his. From arrogant elf to trusted friend, humble apostate to reluctant enemy, aloof spirit-lover to the most painful love interest in all of Thedas: whichever way you see him, he has so many complex facets that it’s impossible not to be fascinated.

Did you have a concept for the bust?

I wanted his design to express his slight stiffness, his careful reserve, and also his unexpected passion and intensity.

How did you build the bust?

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To start the head, I molded and cast a skull I’d sculpted previously in Apoxie Sculpt, a 2-part epoxy clay. I built up the face on top of the skull using small pieces of clay to get the general shapes down quickly. This step is a sketch, and while I was being mindful of resemblance, the goal was more to simply build mass.

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After it had cured, I added a “skin” layer of Apoxie, and began carving and sanding everything into place, using an X-Acto knife, calipers for measuring, and flexible, cloth-backed sandpaper.

Once I was reasonably happy with the face, I built up the neck, back of the head, and ears. I leave this for last for ease of handling—half a head is easier than a full one.

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The head complete, the bust itself began as a layer of clay over an appropriately-shaped aluminum foil armature, giving me a basic shape to work with.

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After further shaping and adding details to the bust, and ensuring the two parts fit together, the final touch was sculpting his jawbone necklace.

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How long did it take you to finish the bust?

All in, it took about two months to complete, give or take a week. I’d like to sculpt the entire Inner Circle and Advisors, as well as some characters from the first two games.

Sculpting such a big cast of characters may seem pretty ambitious, but Caroline’s already done Dorian and Cullen busts in addition to Solas. There are tons of photos of all three busts on her website.

If you’ve spotted a community creation that you think we should highlight here, tweet us!

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