Warcraft, a movie that I’ve come to really like after not seeing it in the theaters and only catching up with it a few months before the first Propstore online sale which was just a bloodbath for many of us collectors. I remember my main goal was to obtain a suit of armor and just feeling so beaten by the end of the sale.
It later came out that many of the costumes were bought en masse so that didn’t help to find multiple people with more than one costume. A year later at the follow up sale pretty much the same would happen again although there were a couple of deals including a reverse of last year where a slightly incomplete King Llane sold for less than 1/3 the price. That was the deal of that sale.
But I digress this article is all about the swords and some of the info I’ve discovered over the last few years. Let’s start with the types and some prices from the first auction to get an overview of what was sold.
First up here according to the auction are the types of bladed weapons, keeping out the poleaxes and Spears (although I suspect material wise you will find replication of the materials from the swords).
Swords include the regular soldier sword.
Then the Knights and lothars early sword.
Then lothars main sword
And finally Llane’s king sword seen in this still from the film.
Now what changed the value of some of these pieces during the auction was what they were made of.
First up there are the foam. It’s incredibly hard but due to the makers abilities to paint different materials and yet make them look almost identical it’s hard to tell sometimes which type of sword is which. Here is a closeup example of that. You can see the visible seam lines on the side and marks on the blade paint of this foam sword but from a distance it’s much much harder.
These are soft and flexible with a self skinning foam on the outside of a light fluffy foam inside. I’m sure they have a core to keep them from drooping but have not been able to 100% confirm that. They are not to be used for fighting but merely distant carrying or some were used on weapons racks shots like the one below.
Interestingly enough the original urethane Weta swords according to key production personnel were too heavy to use for usual shooting periods of time. Quickly stuntmen would tire from holding the original swords and thus the foam ones were made to replace them in Canada by local artisans.
Here are examples of the urethane swords which whilst beautiful ended up not being used as much due to the weight.
You can clearly see the casting and paint is incredible. Weta did a fantastic job on that but having to use these for hours on end in armor on a full days shoot was too much to ask.
Funnily enough after all that when you watch the film you will see the hand canons used far more than the swords. These too were made of lightweight foam and urethane depending on the situation used in.
There was two other types of materials used on the Weta swords being aluminum and steel. There were very few of these beauty props made and of course commanded the highest prices.
Here are examples of the aluminum: winning bid $6000
And the steel $4750
None of these versions seemed to have been used for fighting and there is a very good reason for that. Careful auction watchers would have seen a single solitary bamboo sword in the and may not have understood its importance. Let’s dig into that now.
So the closeup Llane swords for instance were used in shots like this below.
There were only two made for the film due to the expense and one of these sold for $51,000 at propstore.
But the artisans in Canada have long known the value of bamboo being a fantastic fighting material from Chinese martial arts movies. It takes damage better than metal, foam or resin and doesn’t crack or splinter like those materials. This way the swords could actually meet each other instead of being cheated and never connecting. It also if damaged could be changed out quickly by using a resin handle with a bamboo blade. Here is an example of that:
As you can see the blade goes all the way into the handle and then locks in with screws. This method makes a light, durable, and most importantly camera ready prop that when I knew what I was looking for became much easier to find on screen since the screws and the way the blade fit into the handle made obvious tells. Here is a great example of that below featuring lothar with a bamboo bladed sword.
The gap between the blade and the handle is very pronounced resulting in a lack of fit. Perfect in close up pics to see when they are used.
In the propstore auction the lucky winner of the only bamboo sword lot 354 got a wonderful piece. If he pulls out the blade it would be interesting to see what number he gets in the handle.
And what of the original title of this article. Well I own two swords in my collection and both I love for different reasons. First up the Llane foam sword is a wonderful memory of sitting thru the two propstore auctions and being part of another collectors journey to get the pieces he wanted. I thank him very much for including me in that and taking advice on the pieces to look at etc.
The second sword is just a conclusion to talking to several key personnel on production, hearing their stories and getting a beautiful prop that was used more than people were aware of. So I love them both for different, very close to the heart reasons. I’ll post some pics below and I can’t wait to finish their displays in the future.
P.S. if your wondering about the replica swords made by Weta they used polyresin for the whole sword but did use the original molds pictured below so they are quite nice in some ways visually but material wise far different to the screenused version