These Daggers Tho: A talk with Made It Up Studios’ Martin Veznaver

If you’ve been hanging out on Twitter, you may have seen previews of Martin Veznaver’s Assassination Artifact Weapons in process. This pro-maker has created an absolutely stunning real life prop version of the green Heart Stopper skin. Now that the daggers are complete, he has agreed to chat with us about them and about what he does.

Obviously, you have some familiarity with the game – do you rogue?

Yeah, Rogue was the first class I ever played on WOW, I got into playing around the time of Wrath of the Lich King. I have always been a fan of stealth growing up playing games like metal gear solid and splinter cell so the rogue class definitely jumped out at me when creating my first toon, there’s something very enjoyable about lurking in the shadows and dealing DPS like only a rogue knows how. Unfortunately, I don’t really get the opportunity to play anymore, but I love that my work allows me to remain part of such a great community.

What do you enjoy most about the game?

I definitely consider myself a bit of a collector so My favourite part of the game is the ability to track down and collect rare weapons, mounts and gear. I remember flying around storm peaks for longer than I care to admit getting my Time lost proto drake. That aspect of the game gives me a real buzz.

They look so fetching!

Are these daggers your first WoW project?

Yes, these daggers are my first project from WOW but certainly won’t be my last, I always love seeing what the developers will bring us with each new expansion and really love the aesthetic of the gear, it also offers me a really fun challenge in that I have to figure out how to create the magical aspect of each item and how it will be replicated in a real world prop that you can physically hold.

Why these daggers?

I was really inspired by some of the material that was released for Legion and was drawn to the artifact weapons and in particular, the sets that were available for rogues. Most of the sets piqued my interest but I settled on the Heart Stoppers as they look diabolically badass.

What inspired you to choose them?

I wanted to set myself a bit of a personal challenge, both with my technical ability but also push the boundary into using some materials that I haven’t worked with before. However, in hindsight, it was a large undertaking as the finished daggers have 42 individual parts that each had to be hand sculpted. The design of these blades instantly stood out for me, I love the fan of knives style fins, the completely unnecessary spiked pommel hanger and the poison phial that crowns each blade. The whole design screams rogue.

Thanks to Wowhead’s model viewer for the in-game version.

They look so real – what are they made of?

The finished daggers are cast in two types of Polyurethane resin; one clear and the other that cures opaque white. There is also some glass and of course as a rogue weapon it needed some leather. The parts are then sprayed with automotive paints to emulate the appearance of various metals.

 

How long did it take you?

Quite embarrassingly this build took me a grand total of 2 years start to finish.

And now, the same in real life…

This was a personal project with no client commissioning it to be made, so repeatedly had to be pushed to the side as other paid work came in. At the time that I started, I only had a selection of power tools and hand tools to work with so each piece was meticulously hand sculpted (no 3D printing was used in the creation of this project.) Since then I now have 3D printing capability in the studio so some of the time-consuming aspects of prop making can be sped up.

Tell us a bit about your process and materials.

For the basis of this project, each piece starts the same way. Initially, the artwork is processed in graphics software so that I can reduce it down to a simple line drawing of the full sized dagger.

This linework is drawn out full size so I have reference to build to and can also cut out paper templates which I use to cut each piece out of MDF (medium-density fibreboard). The cut pieces are then shaped using saws files and abrasive papers to get the shape that I require. MDF is very porous and does not like to hold a sharp edge, so each part is stabilised with CA glue (super glue).

The glue is allowed to fully cure and then each part is then sanded smooth and primed with automotive primer. Each of these pieces becomes my mould master which I use to create a silicone mould so that I can replicate each part over and over again in Polyurethane resin. The PU plastic parts are then primed assembled and painted with automotive paints to match the original artwork or customers requirements.

Click here to see the build step-by-step

For the basis of this project each piece starts the same way. (Wowhead model viewer)

Initially art work is processed in graphics software…

…so that I can reduce it down to a simple line drawing of the full sized dagger.

This line work is drawn out full size so I have reference to build to and can also cut out paper templates which I use to cut each piece out of MDF.

The cut pieces are then shaped using saws files and abrasive papers to get the shape that I require.

MDF is very porous and does not like to hold a sharp edge, so each part is stabilized with CA glue (super glue)The glue is allowed to fully cure and then each part is then sanded smooth and primed with automotive primer. Each of these pieces becomes my mould master which I use to create a silicone mould so that I can replicate each part over and over again in Polyurethane resin.

Image 1: An oversized piece of styrene is cut to form a base for the mould, oil based clay is laid down around the half way point of the part to be moulded. Image 2 & 3: A retaining wall is built up around the part using styrene and super glue. Image 4: Registration marks are added using the back of a paintbrush, which will ensure both halves of the mould line up properly later on in the process. Image 5: Silicone is measured, mixed and then poured into the lowest part of the mould and left to find its own level. Image 6: The silicone is left to fully cure, with this silicone it is 6 hours. Image 7: Once fully cured the retaining walls are removed the part gets flipped over and any residual clay cleaned from the part. Image 8: Retaining walls are rebuilt to form the second part of the mould and everything gets sprayed with mould release to prevent the freshly poured silicone sticking to the previous layer. Image 9: Pour spouts and air vents are added using dowels, these will form risers for air to escape later in the process eliminating air entrapment. Image 10: A second batch of silicone is measured mixed and then poured over the part. Image 11: The silicone is left to fully cure. Image 12: Once fully cured the retaining walls are removed. Image 13: Pour spouts and air vents are removed and the two halves of the mould separated. Image 14: Finally the mould master can be removed from the newly formed mould. Image 15: The mould is closed back up, and two plates are cut to match the top and bottom of the mould. Elastic bands are applied to keep everything together and then resin is poured into the mould to replicate the part. This process was completed for each part of the dagger.

The PU plastic parts are then primed assembled and painted with automotive paints to match the original artwork or customers’ requirements.

Making props is obviously something that you are superior at. Is this what you do as a profession or is it just a hobby?

For as long as I can remember I have always been making things, I find it very relaxing and enjoy the challenges and skills that each new project requires to complete. Initially, it was my hobby but has grown into my full-time profession and I founded Made It Up Studios, I take on private commissions for everything from replica film and game props to industrial commissions for bespoke pieces used in events and advertising. If you can’t find what you are looking for in the shops, chances are that I can make it for you. I love the diversity of work that I get asked to create.

A couple of months ago I was in New Zealand at Weta Workshop. Seems like the kind of place you’d fit right in. Any aspirations to go in that direction?

Funny you should ask that, it is actually my dream to move over to New Zealand and join the talented team at Weta Workshop, I would love to work in the film industry, so if anyone from Weta is reading this please hire me.

How do you learn all of the skills that you need for your projects? Do you take classes or figure it all out for yourself?

I have been formally trained to use all of the machinery that I use on a daily basis, but the majority the skills needed are learned along the way, I love tackling a new project that will require me to learn a new skill I feel very lucky to be part of this industry of makers, there are some incredibly talented makers and content creators out there that share their techniques so that others can start making things for themselves.

You mention that you are trained on the machinery that you use. I imagine that you must have more traditional skills as well: leatherworking, metalsmithing, sewing, etc. As a silversmith and former cosplayer myself, I can appreciate the amount of work that each of these skills take. Do you pick up skills like these as you go along, or do you have a solid foundation of traditional skills that you can use to supplement the more modern casting, 3D printing, etc.?

The 3D printing aspect is a very new development in the methods that I use for prop making and has been self-taught, the training needed for creating 3D models digitally however I learned at university studying Design for Industry. The software capabilities now are far superior but the overall method remains very similar. The high school that I attended was a technology college, so we had the opportunity to study everything from electronics, textiles, product design and graphic design which I have continued my learning keenly over the years and went on to study 3D Design at college; the wealth of skills I picked up there come in extremely useful when designing and building props. It is very rare to produce something and only use one medium, I find that on most builds the line blurs between disciplines so it is fortunate that I am as comfortable using a sewing machine as a band saw or sculpting tools. I find that most skills are transferable and make learning new techniques easier, I quite often have to tackle a new problem and learn a new skill in the process, which is one aspect of my work that gives me a huge sense of job satisfaction.

What’s next? Any more daggers on the horizon?

I hope so, I love creating real-world objects from iconic games and films. I accept commissions from individuals and companies and can be contacted through my website www.madeitup.co.uk or by email martin@madeitup.co.uk

Fantastic, thank you for talking to us and showing us these amazing daggers. I can’t get over how great they look. Also, I was going to ask Horde or Alliance…but I guess it’s For the Horde!

Follow Martin on Twitter: @Madeitupstudios
Check out some of his (amazing!) other projects on his website: www.madeitup.co.uk

Weta, don’t pass this guy up!

 

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An Interview with Paryah

Hey everyone, Haileaus here. I thought it would be cool to interview Paryah post-Blizzcon, so I did! Hope you enjoy!

Part 1 – Legion

Ok, so I’m way out of the loop. What happened with the whole Legion thing? Did we win?

We did! We…um…defeated the Legion? We assume? …since the last raid isn’t quite here yet. But yes, Sylvanas and Anduin, at least, live to fight another day. And fight they will.

What is the current state of the rogue class? I know Legion brought lots of changes, are there any generalizations you can make that would help old fogeys like me decide if we want to learn the new ways?

The state of rogue is good. There are always things that we might like tweaked or changed, but for the most part Assassination and Subtlety are both acceptable. Outlaw boasts fun gameplay but damage-wise it falls a little behind the other two. What it lacks in competitiveness, it makes up for with swagger, so all is not lost.

Even before Alpha there was drama about the rogue HQ being in Dalaran instead of Ravenholdt. In your eyes, how did it turn out?

When I first visited the rogue class hall I was super impressed with the detail and care that they put into it. It really is an amazing place and very roguelike. That said, as the expansion wore on, I began to wish once again that we had been put at Ravenholdt. Being able to get away from Dalaran to our own space that felt more like a rogue enclave and less like a seedy bar would have been nice. There is a teleport to Ravenholdt item that spawns in the class hall that you can pick up. Delightfully, it allows you to get to Ravenholdt from anywhere. I did find myself wishing for a permanent portal though, rather like the one that the monks got to go to Kun-lai Summit. And the druid hall is spoiled for portal choices. When all is said and done, I think it worked. Just <stares wistfully into space>, I like Ravenholdt…

 

Part 2 – Blizzcon and Beyond

Ok, now to the more relevant bits. You attended Blizzcon. How was it? Did you get a chance to say hi to Daxxarri?

Blizzcon was amazing. My expectation was that I’d be able to see more panels than I have in previous years on the Virtual Ticket, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. There was so much going on and so many people to meet…it was differently awesome than the Virtual Ticket. It was much more of a social experience. I met so many super cool people. Relevant to us, I met Celestalon who is a total sweetie and Perculia of Wowhead who I think is a Demon Hunter now but certainly used to main rogue. I also met Mitch and Matt of Blizzard Watch who write awesome stuff. I even got to shake Ion Hazzikostas’ hand and we exchanged a few words. He was wonderful. Sadly I did not get to meet Daxxarri. I would very much have liked to. Next year!

What upcoming feature(s) are you most excited about?

I think that I’m most excited about the new races. I’ve wanted to be a Zandalari troll since Mists and I am gratified that my prediction that Horde would get Nightbourne turned out to be correct. I had predicted High Elves for Alliance, but Void Elves are the next best thing – though I confess I’d hoped that Alleria would join Sylvanas on the Horde side. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to trying them all out. I may even roll a Dark Iron Dwarf. Maybe.

I read Fans and Ravenholdt’s Rogue Recap and I see we’re getting a bunch of new races. My question is, when will the Tauren rogues finally come out of stealth?

Ha. Only with the judicious use of toys, I fear. Despite being a fairly common ask, rogues have once again dodged the bovine bullet.

I hear PvE servers are going away, which could mean a legitimate return of world PvP. As the traditional master of ganks, what do you think this means for the rogue class?

This will be interesting. PvP mode will be toggleable, but only in major cities so you will have to go forth into the world having made the decision to PvP. My first thought was that the PvP targets may be reduced, but on reflection, with higher rewards for PvP mode and those who are really opposed to PvP able to opt out, I think it will make for a livelier and overall better experience for everyone.

Finally, Vanilla servers are coming back. Thoughts?

This is an interesting one. I was never among those who called for support of vanilla servers, but I find myself thrilled at the prospect of revisiting old haunts and getting to remember old quests. I will be an enthusiastic vanilla tourist. That said, my suspicion is that a large number of those calling for vanilla servers (not all to be sure) are wanting to relive the social experience and the newness of the MMO. I feel that those people, many of whom are in different places than they were in their lives, will find themselves disappointed and I fear that they will blame their disappointment on Blizzard for giving them exactly what they asked for. This is all speculation, of course, because Blizzard still hasn’t totally decided how they are going to implement the experience. Will we get a vanilla world and vanilla quests but with modern graphics and optimizations? Will there be flying and other more recent conveniences? Or will we all be in a way-it-was, more pixelated world, jogging about trying to figure out how quests work and what herbs are pickable? Will the Classic servers remain vanilla, or will they get expansions as time passes? Only time will tell but I’ll be excited to see how it all plays out.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I thoroughly recommend the Blizzcon experience. For getting the straight information, the Virtual Ticket is great, but nothing beats being there in person. The people and their energy make the con. It is so apparent how hard each Blizzard employee works to pull this thing off. And you still get the Virtual Ticket as well.

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Interview in the Underbelly: Alaizabel

Welcome to the second in the series Interview in the Underbelly. We’re going to be talking with Alaizabel. I previously raided with Alaizabel in Hellfire Citadel in eXample, and he’s re-rolled to Rogue this expansion so I thought it would be great to hear from him.

Tell everyone about yourself

My name is Alaizabel and I’m playing Rogue in eXample on EU-Kazzak. Previously, I played Death Knight in Warlords of Draenor. I’ve been playing in eXample for two years, and I enjoy our semi-hardcore atmosphere a ton. I used to spend a lot of time and resources on Death Knight, and Death Knight gameplay, and I was very visible in #Acherus (back when it was an IRC-channel). I no longer have a lot of extra time besides university to delve deep into theorycrafting, unfortunately.

When and how did you start playing World of Warcraft?

I started playing the game back in the beginning of The Burning Crusade when I was 11 or 12 years old. I remember spending a copious amount of time convincing my parents that paying monthly fees for a game wasn’t completely insane. I played through TBC and WOTLK with no breaks, and then quit when MoP came out, because of IRL commitments.

How did you choose the name for your Rogue?

It is originally the name of my Death Knight on EU-Ravencrest, when I played there through Warlords of Draenor. I decided to rename the Rogue from Alaizqt to Alaizabel, since it would be my new main, after we came to EU-Kazzak. It’s origin is from the book “A Haunting of Alaizabel Cray” by Chris Wooding. A brilliant book, by the way.

What do you enjoy most about playing Rogue?

I enjoy being able to do a lot of jobs on a fight: always being useful, basically. Secondly, I enjoy doing a lot of damage, and Rogues do a lot of damage in this expansion.

What do you dislike most about playing a Rogue?

My main dislike is not about Rogue specifically, but playing Rogue in this specific expansion. The fact that you “have to” farm legendaries and AP for 3 specializations is a lot of work. I dislike that a lot about playing Rogue in legion.

Tell everyone an interesting situation that has happened while playing a Rogue

Hmm… Well, playing Outlaw Rogue on Cenarius, and re-rolling for TB to clear brambles, while ranged players are screaming soak at the top of their lungs, was pretty interesting. And then there is obviously all the Death from Above situations, where it either takes you to another galaxy, casually displaces you 1284 degrees and puts you on a mechanic, or puts you through the floor. All of them interesting and hysterical first time they happen. It’s like all the memes with driving vehicles in PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) but in WoW.

What would you play instead of the Rogue, and why?

I would probably play Mage if Rogue somehow was unavailable. It has similar cheese capabilities with Invis and Ice Block to the Rogue. My second and third option would probably be DH (pretty close to mage), and Shadow Priest (because I just like the play style).

Which expansion has been your favourite?

Even with all it’s flaws, I must say that it’s a toss-up between Legion and WotLK, Legion for the gameplay, WotLK for the nostalgia.

Which expansion has been your least favourite?

Probably Warlords of Draenor, of the ones I’ve played, even though I liked just raid-logging. There was simply absolutely nothing to do outside raids. The last tier of the raid (HFC) was also 13 months long, which was super unbearable.

You previously played Death Knight, why the change to Rogue for Legion?

Death Knight simply seemed super legendary-dependent with Unholy Bracers being like the only crutch carrying Death Knight DPS to any meaningful level. Rogue was my main alt, and I swapped to it as main 6 or 7 days into the expansion because of anticipated soaking jobs, better DPS etc.

What has been your favourite boss in Tomb of Sargeras for Subtlety Rogue?

Even though this boss has been completely and utterly destroying raid morale, Kil’jaeden is a super high-skill boss for subtlety Rogue. You have a butt-load of mechanics to do, while keeping your priority target DPS high.

What changes would you like to see for Assassination or Outlaw Rogue?

Assassination needs to have better AOE, or at least comparable single-target damage to the other specializations. I think Assassination was in a really good spot, tuning-wise in Nighthold. It would have been interesting debating what specialization to play if Shuriken Combo was a thing at that point.

Do you think it’s possible to remain loyal to a spec and still succeed in Mythic raiding?

Yes, definitely. The Mythic raiding spectrum is super wide, and you can easily play whatever spec you prefer in a Mythic environment that is relatively casual at the same time.

Thank you Alaizabel!

Thank you Alaizabel for taking the time to answer our questions. If you would like to follow Alaizabel on Twitter or follow his stream on Twitch, I’m sure he would appreciate it.

Next interview, we’re going to look at having an interview with a member of the Rogue theorycrafting community.

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Interview in the Underbelly: Paryah

Our very first post in the series Interview in the Underbelly. We’re going to be hearing from the one and only Paryah. As one of the founders of Ravenholdt, I thought Paryah would be a great guest to start the series.

The goal of the series is to interview a member of the Rogue community maybe every 1-2 weeks. Hopefully we’ll have a range of people from all walks of life within World of Warcraft. We’ll grow this series over time and hopefully everyone enjoys the content!

Tell everyone about yourself

I am Paryah. I currently double main Rogue and Vengeance DH. I am an officer in a guild that I started about six(ish) years ago. We raid Heroic and dabble in Mythic. I am not hardcore but I do love the Rogue class. I have been interested in the Rogue community and in providing the best possible resources for all Rogues since before Ravenholdt existed. Currently Ravenholdt is divided into three primary sections: the main site, the Discord, and the theorycrafting site. I run the main Ravenholdt site.

When and how did you start playing World of Warcraft?

When WoW came out I was immersed in Neverwinter Nights (I think… Wow that was a long time ago). A friend wanted me to play WoW and had me come over and check it out. But he played a Gnome mage! Seriously! That did not sell me on the game and it was a few years later that I got a real look at the real not-Gnome WoW at another friends house. I went home and immediately created an account. That was either late BC or early Wrath. I consider myself to be a Wrath-baby. My first character was an Orc Warrior and my second was my undead Rogue. The Rogue was so much fun that I have actually never gone back and finished leveling my poor Warrior.

How did you choose the name for your Rogue?

This is probably the same story as half the players in WoW, lol. I had an old D&D Dark Elf Rogue called Pariah. The name seemed fitting for a Forsaken but was taken. So I messed with the spelling and Paryah was born.

What do you enjoy most about playing a Rogue?

OMG everything! I love stealth. I love doing quests while killing as few NPCs as possible, just because I can. I love being able to explore without having to worry about fighting a bunch of mobs along the way. I love the pickpocketing content – I think that’s a lovely little thing that no one else has. Rogues are special.

What do you dislike most about playing a Rogue?

Visual clutter in melee. Nuff said.

Tell everyone an interesting situation that has happened while playing a Rogue

So there we were, fighting Ultraxion. I swore I would not hit Shadowstep… But it was there and it called to my finger and the next thing I knew I was perched on a ledge with that accursed dragon way above me. And I was stuck there til we killed him or wiped. So here I am, enjoying the view of a devastated Dragonblight, watching my DPS on Recount plummet, and suddenly there is this tiger sitting next to me. I could not for the life of me figure out where he had come from or why he was there. The Hunter’s pet wasn’t a tiger. After a little bit he faded out. You guys, I thought I’d discovered some hidden content! Seriously, there are invisible tigers living in Wyrmrest Temple! OMG! What could it mean? It wasn’t until years later that I figured out that the Hunter had Stampede or some such Hunter ability and one of his little fellows must have done just what I did and got stuck on the ledge too. Yeah, I felt like an idiot.

Of course there was that other time on Thok when I thought I was talented into Burst of Speed (I miss Burst of Speed) but I’d forgotten to switch talents. Thok targeted me and I hit Burst of Speed…and Shadowstepped right to the jailer… Good times…

What would you play instead of a Rogue, and why?

If Rogues did not exist, I would probably be a druid. Before this expansion my second main was my bear. Love the versatility. Love bear, love kitty.

Which expansion has been your favourite?

Mists of Pandaria. OMG that expansion was so gorgeous. I loved the zones. I loved the story. I was so ashamed to be Horde. The raids were fun. And to top it off, my guild was flourishing. We started in Cataclysm, but in Mists we really came into our own. It was a lot of fun.

Which expansion has been your least favourite?

I hate to say this, but probably Legion. Don’t get me wrong, least is relative, I still love WoW. But Legion feels so big that I can’t quite get a handle on it. I’m a completionist and it really feels like I can’t do everything. Professions feel obstructed. AP feels infinite. There are thing I love, like the class mounts and the zones and Suramar (which was so made for Rogues) and Demon Hunters (Vengeance is so much fun!), but I feel like I am constantly playing catch-up. Maintaining two raiding mains along with a stable of alts is a losing battle.

How did Ravenholdt come about?

Once upon a time Rfeann was the Rogue columnist at WoW Insider, a news site that is now gone (it is the reason that Blizzard Watch now exists – but that’s another story). At that time WoW Insider had to downsize and laid off a bunch of writers, including the class columnists. In his personal blog, Rfeann mentioned that he had some ideas for a Rogue community website. I did too. I currently had a site called One Rogues Resources which pulled together Rogue news and listed useful Rogue sites but I was interested in more. I shot him an email saying you, me, awesome? He replied with the idea that the four active (at the time) Rogue bloggers should talk about creating Ravenholdt. He and I, along with Fierydemise and Haileaus got talking… And the rest is history.

Tell everyone a fun fact about Fierydemise

A fun fact. Hmm. Well FD is about the most perfect person: cute, smart, great taste in class and entertainment, and about the sweetest kindest person you will ever meet. But beyond that, he has to be the world’s best ranter. I don’t know how fun a fact this is, but it’s super fun to listen to. Get him started on a topic and he’s off. I don’t think he even takes breaths. Also, he lives on Soylent.

What is the best transmogrification for the Trial of Style?

The one I’m wearing because I always win! No really, I did ToS (Trial of Style) twice, got Freestyle, and won both times in my everyday transmog. I think that means my moggery is awesome and I should quit while I’m ahead.

What is your shoe size?

7 but being undead my sharp little toes just destroy footwear – so it doesn’t really matter. If I like it, I can make it fit.

Pineapple on pizza, yay or nay?

This is a complicated question. There is a pizza place near me that does a Hawaiian pizza with pineapple, ham, and cream cheese. It is to die for. You cannot judge until you have tried this pizza.

Thank you Paryah!

We would like to extend our thanks to Paryah for answering our (and some from Patreons) questions. You can find Paryah on Twitter, or managing Ravenholdt.

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