Making a good replica is hard.
Depending on what you’re making, first you have to pick the materials. Should you make it out of metal? Or perhaps resin, a chemical compound that sets into a tough plastic-like material? Is it machined, or cast in a mold?
And how do you even make it the right shape?
Most replicas are cheap, mass-produced, and don’t look very much like the real thing — especially when we’re talking about the Master Sword. A cursory glance at sites like Replica Dungeon reveals results that are, well, less than satisfactory. And precision-crafted steel replicas that approach acceptable accuracy levels don’t come cheap, not to mention they aren’t convention-safe.
When we got wind of the da Vinci’s Room Master Sword replica, it looked like someone had finally found the perfect middle ground between an expensive, accurate replica and a cheap, throw-away model. Something you’d be proud to own and display, take to a convention, or take outside of your house and swing around a bit.
Fast forward to today, and we were able to get a first-run model sent to us in all of its handcrafted glory.
The da Vinci’s Room Master Sword is easily the most accurate resin-based Master Sword replica on the market today. Its design is traced from the official artwork released alongside Skyward Sword, and it’s just gorgeous. Da Vinci’s Room has just about nailed the actual size of the Master Sword, right down to its seemingly ridiculous inch-thick blade.
da Vinci’s Room has just about nailed the actual size of the Master Sword
The whole thing is made of solid resin and feels super high quality. Resin is a pretty incredible material if you’re not familiar with it. It’s the same stuff you’ll find on top of bar tables that protects the wood from forces of evil. It’s remarkably strong and light, making it ideal for props.
There’s also a steel rod running up the length of the sword for structural reinforcement, preventing the blade from snapping in half after you whack someone’s precious vases with it. Because the entire sword is one piece and there’s no chance of it falling apart, I’ve been swinging this thing around for days. It really shouldn’t be this fun to swing a giant sword around. The steel rod inside definitely makes the entire prop feel solid and sturdy.
Usually, props like these are painted with car paint, and the da Vinci’s Room model is no exception. Though there’s nothing remarkable about the paint itself, the paint job is well done. In just the right light, the blade really does look like metal. However, the model I received was particularly prone to scratches. It would have been nice to see it come with a sheath of some sort for protection; without one, storage is a chore.
It really shouldn’t be this fun to swing a giant sword around
Although the paint might make the replica look a bit less realistic, it’s lucky that it isn’t made of real metal at this size. With a solid metal blade measuring one-inch thick, the real Master Sword would weigh over 50 pounds. But make no mistake — this sword is still heavy. A few moments with it will make you wonder how Link ever holds the Master Sword one-handed.
A lot of that comes down to issues with the blade’s balance point. At under 10 pounds, the sword isn’t heavy if you hold it from the right spot. It’s just a shame that spot is on the blade, past the embossed Triforce. Holding the sword from the hilt is tantamount to weight training. If you’re planning on taking this sword to conventions and standing around all day in costume, you’d better have a place to put this down. But without a sheath, that’ll be tough to do without scratching up your precious investment.
If you plan on taking this to conventions, you’d better have a place to put it down
For their part, da Vinci’s Room says that they’re aware of the balance point issues in these prototypes and are working on a solution, which relates to the positioning of the steel rod inside of the replica.
There are also several other inaccuracies and build quality issues with the replica. The hilt is crooked and the pommel isn’t quite the right shape. Several of the gemstones and part of the wings look like they got squashed or stretched somehow. There are dimples in the blade, and the embossed Triforce looks a bit like it was glued on after the fact (although we’ve been told that is not the case). There are visible seams on the edges. Most offensive might be that the sword itself is painted the wrong color; the Skyward Sword Master Sword is purple, not blue.
However, the dimensions and features of the sword are almost spot-on. Da Vinci’s Room tells us that the molds for the sword were created straight from the Skyward Sword official artwork, so it’s no surprise that the profile of the blade is almost perfect. However, da Vinci’s Room also went a step further, correctly inferring the thickness of the sword. The embossed Triforce — which we’ve never seen properly done on a replica before — is a really thoughtful touch.
For cosplayers, this is your dream replica
Da Vinci Room’s Master Sword replica is the most accurate we’ve ever seen, despite its flaws. But should you buy it? The answer is … it depends what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for a cosplay prop that you want to take to conventions, this is your dream replica. From a distance anyone would find it tough to tell this sword apart from the one in the game (except maybe that blue paint). And, at $300, it’s cheaper and safer than more high-end steel replicas. But if you just want something for next year’s halloween costume, this might be overkill.
Ultimately, when buying the da Vinci’s Room Master Sword replica, you’re asking yourself one question: Do you want to be somebody who looks like Link, or do you want to be the real Link?
The da Vinci’s Room Master Sword replica is currently up for pre-order and ships in the second quarter of 2015.