Art Gallery: The Violet Torso-cutter

That title is not, in fact, the name of my new series about an incredibly flamboyant serial killer (OC, do not steal). Torso-cutter is a literal translation of the Japanese term Doutanuki, referring to a particular style of nihonto known for their solid construction and (supposedly) power to cut through Samurai in full armor. I’ve made one of these swords, except it’s digital and can’t be held in the hand. A lot of these renders are extremely HD (several are partially 4K) so I recommend opening them in a new tab and zooming in for best results. See below:

The obligatory scabbarded shot. A sword without a sheath is no sword at all. Or, at any rate, very dangerous to walk places with.
And there’s the whole thing, representing about 15 hours of work. For reference, that’s about 1/30th of the time it’d probably take to make this in reality.
This is the first sword I’ve modeled in katate maki, sometimes referred to as “battle wrap” style. I’m not sure if it necessarily helps a weapon handle any better, but it sure looks snazzy.
No intricate designs on the cap for this one, which is fortunate since the texture’s not mapped 100% accurately there and it would’ve gotten stretched horribly.
Backstraps like this do exist on historical nihonto, but they’re quite rare. Note the sort of bronze-gold speckling all through the grip fittings.
The first shot of the blade, also showing the right-hand side of the habaki (scabbard sleeve). By dimensions, I believe this is the most accurate model I’ve done to date. The nioi (bright white line on the blade, formed of martensitic crystals) and hamon (larger blue-gray pattern running to the edge) are also pretty close to real models.
From the left-hand side, showing subtler lighting and the other side of the habaki.
A close-up of the left-hand side of the habaki. See if you can determine what the heck is going on in that little circle.
Now, just as with presenting a real one, enjoy all these blade shots. ADMIRE THE PATTERNS, DAMMIT1
Note the discoloration near the point on this side. The tip of a sword is more likely to incur scratches than any other part of the blade. Let’s just gloss over the fact that this “battle damage” happened when I mishandled the selection channels in Gimp…
Every hamon I texture is unique, again, just as with real ones. This, however, is in a special category of not being uniquely terrible. So that’s nice.
Shots from the point towards the guard are always fun, since the blade reliably reflects the fittings. A splash of color never hurts.
Why have one pic point-on when you can have two?
The scabbard is intended to represent one fully wrapped in rayskin, then lacquered. I’d say it’s pretty successful on that count.
On a katana, this is where the sageo (scabbard wrap) would be secured through a knob (kurigata). This is a tachi, so the knob is on the other side, where I totally forgot to take a picture of it.
One final shot showcasing the mouth of the scabbard, which has a nice luster to it.

Fun fact: this sword almost exactly matches the proportions of my O-tachi. This wasn’t a deliberate decision on my part, but I find the serendipity fun.

3 thoughts on “Art Gallery: The Violet Torso-cutter

  1. Hi,
    I met you at Denny’s blog party. In response to your post, I see the weapons here. I am a medieval history teacher and teach about weapons of that era. I actually just displayed a katana on Thursday.
    Maybe you can check out my blog. My site offers blogging tips. I also have regular blog parties like Danny. I actually host 10 blogging events each month. I blog at

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Janice, sorry for the delay on this end. It’s been a busy afternoon. I can always use tips on how to blog more effectively. Does your blog happen to include any snippets from your work in history? I love finding new voices in the field.

      See you ’round the blogosphere!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi,
        Thank you for your reply. Yes, my blog also include snippets of my work in history. If you can use tips on how to blog more effectively, I would love to have your readership.


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