The xiphos is a double-edged, one-handed shortsword used by the ancient Greeks. It was a secondary battlefield weapon for the Greek armies after the javelin.
After reading Frank Miller’s “300”, I became interested in the ancient Spartans. I based my pattern on actual spartan swords from museum collections, not the movie.
I cut out three 3mm sheets of plastic based on two photos of actual swords. Clamping them together, they still had too much flex. I got a piece of flat 3mm steel (3/4″ wide) and cut out a channel in the inner layers.
I added two more shaped layers to build up what was described in my research as a “diamond profile”. On retrospect, I should have used full blade width layers as the shaped ones caused gaps that had to be puttied later.
I used the long blade from my Swiss Army knife to shave a blade edge on the sword. Hold the knife’s edge PERPENDICULAR to the surface of the plastic and you can shave the plastic into shape. This also works as a alternative to rough sanding.
Next comes the boring part where you fill all holes and imperfections with model putty. Be prepared to apply multiple coats and spend some time sanding.
The pommel was constructed by cutting elliptical disks of different sizes with a rectangular hole. The “cap” I made separately to make it easier to get a file into the hole.
The hand guard was constructed as a box which fit over cross members that were cut as part of the sword body.
The grips were cut out of 1/4″ walnut and Dremel sanded to shape. Note the tabs at either end to tuck into the pommel and hand guard. I then used some stain to bring out the grain and seal the wood.
After painting, all the pieces were glued on completing my Spartan Hoplite Xiphos!