Just About the Scythe of It

Con season is upon us, and Grim D. Reaper is getting ready to make his rounds. I’ve been working on a few cosmetic upgrades this year, mostly in terms of paint and improvements to allow the costume to be worn better for longer periods of time. People ask to have their picture taken with Grim D. all the time, and I’d like those close-up shots to look as good as they can.

Believe it or not, there are hundreds of decisions that have gone into my Reaper cosplay outfit, from little things (did you know there are white Velcro strips on the top of the skull mask that pair up to black Velcro inside the hood so that the cowl moves with my head turns and keeps it in the right position without risk of falling off?) to big things (a fully collapsible scythe so that it slips easily into a gym bag). The scythe in particular has been an ongoing project to improve its look.

I wanted a more realistic look for the blade (since that’s where people’s eyes are drawn to when looking at the Reaper’s signature “farm tool of choice”) and initially painted it a metallic silver. It didn’t have the effect I wanted; it looked like poorly painted wood. I also wanted to reinforce the tang and ring assemble (the part that holds the blade onto the snath/staff) because the blade would bob a bit (making it look very fake), and I came up with a simple, light-weight way to do that. Over all, it looks very heavy (it isn’t) and very rigid. There is no actual blade edge, but you can’t tell from looking at it straight on; the illusion is complete.

The added bonus was filling the holes that I had to drill (to mount the assembly onto the blade) with bolts that reinforced the hold onto the snath but also made the entire blade look more realistic. Finally, I gave the entire rebuilt blade a few coats of coppery fleck paint to give it an oxidized look, and the finished product (mounted on the collapsible snath) is the product you see here. I think it turned out pretty good!