“Shadow of the Tomb Raider” Bow, Square Enix

This bow is Lara Croft’s primary weapon in the latest game by Square Enix, Eidos, and Crystal Dynamics – “Shadow of the Tomb Raider.” SoloRoboto Industries was hired to produce 6 identical copies of the bow for use at the initial worldwide launch events in London, Montreal, and Los Angels, as well as subsequent convention and promotional appearances.

Square Enix provided the in-game 3D model, which required substantial adaptation to prepare it for 3D printing. Once printed and assembled, the ABS plastic model was sanded, cleaned up, and “wood grain” was added by hand with assorted sculpting tools, blades, and sandpaper, as were “carving marks”, to create a facsimile of hand-carved wood. Sections were carved out to allow space for metal supports to hold the bowstring, and to allow the bow to break down for easy transport.

Each half of the finished master was then molded in silicone rubber, and copies were cast using a semi-flexible urethane plastic. Fiberglass rods were inserted the length of each half, allowing the assembled bow to flex and bend just like real wood but still snap back to proper form, while remaining impact and drop resistant. The two halves of the bow interlock inside the handle, and a brass pin, disguised to match the woven texture of the handle, locks them together.

Paint was brushed on by hand to create a faux-wood grain effect before adding more paint to simulate the grime and “wear and tear” of rough jungle life.

Bow strings were added using non-stretch twine, so that the bow “draws”, and provide enough support that the bow can be slung across the chest or over a shoulder, much like a real bow would.