Blizzard Entertainment recently announced their partnership with EPIC Weapons to create a limited edition replica of the legendary rune blade Frostmourne – measuring over 47” long and 12.5” wide, weighing a massive 16 lbs., and is now available for pre-order. For more information, please visit the Frostmourne replica site.
Frostmourne is the legendary evil rune blade that bound Prince Arthas Menethil’s soul to the will of the Lich King in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.
Many fans around the world are awed with the care to detail by EPIC Weapons in crafting this Frostmourne replica, while others wonder how many of these replicas will be made, or why the first ninety-nine replicas are going out on auction bid this March 31st. For this matter, Blizzplanet contacted EPIC Weapons Chief Executive Officer Gina L. Bennett to unravel some answers.
1. Can you introduce Epic Weapons to fans who are new to your company, your goals and when was the company founded?
Gina: Since its inception in 1998, EPIC Weapons has positioned itself as a premiere designer and manufacturer of officially licensed swords, weapons, and other collectibles. Our team’s designs have appeared in blockbuster television with “Deep Space Nine”, “The X-Files”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and numerous films to include “Spider Man 2”, “Star Trek: Nemesis”, and “The Chronicles of Riddick”.
Our management and creative team has more than 75 years experience as it related to product development, design, manufacturing and distribution in many different business verticals transaction business throughout the world – including the gaming and entertainment industries.
EPIC Weapons strives to protect the brand and integrity of all products, it designs, and manufactures for its strategic partners and customers. One of our main goals is to successfully transition digital weapons from all types of media online and console video games, anime series and movies while keeping the original artist concept intact.
2. How was born the idea of crafting the Frostmourne replica? Did Blizzard approach Epic Weapons, or the other way around?
Gina: Our company approached Blizzard Entertainment in early 2006 regarding the development of Frostmourne. EPIC Weapons focuses on unique weapons when deciding on product development and Frostmourne certainly proved to be the ultimate challenge to design and manufacture.
3. Who designed the Frostmourne replica produced by EPIC Weapons?
Gina: Frostmourne’s development was a collective effort between our design team and Blizzard Entertainment. Our company works extremely close with our partner throughout the product development process to ensure the products’ original integrity remains intact through the design stage. Kit Rae, our Director of Product Design, is an intricate part of EPIC Weapons we’re very proud that his illustrative and creative expertise was part of designing the Frostmourne replica. Kit is an award-winning Knife designer and fantasy artist with a worldwide following for his unique weapons and sporting knives. Kit Rae’s knives have appeared in blockbuster television shows such as “Deep Space Nine”, “The X-Files”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and numerous films such as “Spider Man 2”, “Star Trek: Nemesis”, and “The Chronicles of Riddick”. In addition to designing the Indiana Jones Khyber Bowie and the Swords of the Ancients Collection, Kit Rae has also supervised many licensed movie knife reproductions for such films as: “The Shadow”, “Total Recall”, “The Mask of Zorro”, “Blade”, and “The Lord of The Rings Trilogy”. He has also created custom knife designs, for brands like United Cutlery, Harley-Davidson, and Colt. In 1996 he won the Blade Magazine award for his Colt Knife/Axe Combo. In 1997 Kit created the highly successful Kit Rae Fantasy Art brand, a line of his edged weapons with companion fantasy art prints.
4. What material was used to craft the Frostmourne prototype that would be used to mass-produce the replica, and why?
Gina: The primary cast material that was used in the manufacturing process is Zinc. EPIC Weapons chose this material because it can be plated to give the aged look that Frostmourne demanded. Additionally, there are fewer issues with miscellaneous structural defects such as loose parts and irregular textures during the manufacturing process.
5. What material is each Frostmourne replica made with?
Gina: The blade is made of 420J2 Japanese milled stainless steel, the other detailed parts are made of cast metal, and the wrapping of the handle is made from leather.
6. What is the process made step by step to craft this replica? It is not exactly a common design since it originates from a fanstasy-setting.
Gina: The design and manufacturing process of Frostmourne truly is cutting edge from a technology and manufacturing perspective. The entire process took nearly two years to become a reality bringing the sword to life from a digital environment was a tremendous challenge and a true labor of love for all parties involved. A major concern of EPIC Weapons is the protection of the brands of its clients. Our company manufactured Frostmourne utilizing the most technologically proven factories we took extraordinary precautions during the tooling and production stages by splitting up the manufacturing deliverables and engaging three separate manufacturing plants to complete the sword’s final production. EPIC Weapons included Game2Gear Authentication RFID technology in each sword produced to protect Frostmourne from illegal duplication, while providing the sword’s owner with a tracking and verification method – ultimately increasing the collectible’s value. Never before has any weapon designer been able to successfully manufacture such a complicated designed collectible weapon at the level of detail and quality that Frostmourne has possessed.
7. How many replicas will be available for purchase?
Gina: The initial production run is for 5,000 swords. EPIC Weapons has had such a strong initial response to Frostmourne that we plan on manufacturing the sword far into the future.
8. Many fans will ask, why is there an auction bid for the first 99 replicas?
Gina: It has been our experience that many sword collectors want access to the 1st production run of a weapon of this kind. We decided to hold the auction to accommodate these serious fans as well take the opportunity to introduce Frostmourne to the World of Warcraft fans.
9. Winners of the Auction bid are automatically drawn as members of the “Arthas’s Army of Disciples” Club. What are the benefits of this club?
Gina: EPIC Weapons and Blizzard Entertainment wanted to acknowledge the auction winners and we thought this would be a great way to do so. The auction winners will be part of a special group which include very special Blizzard Entertainment principals and special guests. This club is to commemorate the first fans that wielded Frostmourne through this historical event.
10. What is the technical reason the Frostmourne replica is not crystal-encased to mimic the shape of the ice-crystal encasing the Frostmourne rune blade from Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos?
Gina: EPIC Weapons original design intent was to create a real weapon that was sturdy, could be held and touched without fear of damage under normal circumstances producing the sword blade in steel accomplished this. One of our company’s and Blizzard Entertainment’s top priorities was to manufacture Frostmourne at a reasonable price point had we gone down the road of adding high end facades or treatments the price would have put the sword out of reach for many fans. In the end while these types of treatments may look cool EPIC Weapons did not feel the technology was available today to sufficiently accomplish the design and manufacturing high standard required for Frostmourne.
11. Does Epic Weapons only focus on swords? Or do you craft medieval armor and axes as well?
Gina: EPIC Weapon is an equal opportunity designer and manufacturer. We welcome the opportunity to design and manufacturer a varied assortment of weapons, including armor, helmets and costumes.
12. I really have to ask on behalf of those who have purchased or will purchase one of these Frostmourne replicas. Are there any plans to craft the helm of the Lich King, and/or the chestplate-shoulders set which are part of the in-game Frostmourne set and/or the ornamented knee-boots set? If there are no plans for these, would you consider it if members of the Arthas’s Army of Disciples Club request it?
Gina: EPIC Weapons is not currently in the process of designing or manufacturing the helm of the Lich King, or the chestplate-shoulders or the ornamented knee-boots set. We would absolutely consider bringing these items, or any other agreed upon item that Blizzard Entertainment desires our company to design and manufacture, from its digital game into reality.
13. World of Warcraft and Diablo games have a wide range of in-game weapons with epic-characteristics not usually seen in real-life. Would you consider crafting them if fans or even Blizzard requested it? Let’s say … The Ashbringer, the Blades of Azzinoth (Illidan) or Gorehowl (Grom Hellscream’s Axe).
Gina: A resounding yes!
Blizzplanet: Many thanks to Gina Bennett and EPIC Weapons for this interview that may be informative to those World of Warcraft and Warcraft III fans who were curious or undecided about purchasing the Frostmourne replica.