How to make swords with scabbards

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This tutorial will step you through the process of how to create a sword with a functioning scabbard for Oblivion using Blender as the modeling tool.


This tutorial assumes the following and is not covered in this tutorial:

Please download the file called "Sword Scabbard Tutorial" that is attached to this Blender page which contains the examples files mentioned in this tutorial.

Software used in the creation of this tutorial:

  • Blender 2.47
  • Python 2.5.2
  • Blender NIF Scripts 2.3.7
  • PyFFI 1.0
  • NifSkope 1.0.12


It has been asked many times on how to create custom scabbards because the process is tricky.

Currently, it is not possible to create a 100% custom mesh with a working scabbard. If you export it directly from your 3D application and try to make it work in-game, it will not happen. The NIF structure can look identical to a vanilla weapon but there is something that is not yet known that prevents us from doing this.

The process to make this happen is to arrange our model so that it matches the expected structure, export to NIF and copy the parts of the model on top of a vanilla weapon that already has a scabbard (completely replacing the original models)

  1. Create your sword model
  2. Create your sword's scabbard model and rename the object to Scb:0
  3. Create a UV Map for your model and add a material with the appropriate settings and attach an image to it
  4. See example file called "MySword1.blend"
  5. Add an "Empty" and rename the object to Scb
  6. Select your scabbard, then Shift+Right-Click the Scb empty and press CTRL + P, Make Parent
  7. If it was done correctly, you can grab the scabbard and move it around with an attached line always pointing to the Scb empty object and the Scb does not move
  8. If the parenting is messed up, select both objects and press ALT + P to clear the parent then try to re-create the parent relationship again
  9. See example file called "MySword2.blend"
  10. Select all objects and export to NIF such as MySword_WIP.nif
  11. On the export to NIF screen, make sure the following settings are made:
    • Oblivion button is depressed
    • Smoothen Inter-Object Seams is depressed
    • Stripify Geometries is depressed
    • Force DDS Extension is depressed
    • Export Geometry + Animation (.nif) is depressed
    • Weapon button is clicked (does not stay depressed)
    • Metal is depressed
    • Solid is depressed
    • NOTE: If your model contains more than a single collision object, make sure Use bhkListShape is depressed.
    • NOTE: Newer versions of Blender NIF Scripts allows for a Weapon Body Location selection such as Back or Side.
  12. See example file called "MySword_WIP.nif"
  13. Take a vanilla sword such as the Steel Longsword (longsword.nif) and copy / rename it to MySword.nif and treat this as your template and end-result file
  14. See example file called "SteelLongsword.nif"
  15. Use NifSkope to open MySword.nif and delete both NiTriStrips but take care not to delete the Scb NiNode (this is the special scabbard container)
  16. See example file called "SteelLongsword_Template.nif"
  17. Open a new NifSkope window and load MySword_WIP.nif and Copy Branch the NiTriStrip called "Scb:0" which is your scabbard mesh
  18. Switch to your MySword.nif, select the NiNode called Scb and then Paste Branch which should put your scabbard mesh under the Scb NiNode
  19. Switch to your MySword_WIP.nif and Copy Branch the remaining NiTriStrips one at a time and paste them into MySword.nif at the Scene Root
  20. Save MySword.nif and delete MySword_WIP.nif since it is no longer needed
  21. We need to specify this weapon as a BackWeapon or SideWeapon. Right-Click on the NiNode called Scene Root and choose Node --> Attach Extra Data --> NiStringExtraData.
    NOTE: This is not necessary in newer versions of Blender NIF Scripts as the export screen gives you the option of picking the correct weapon placement slot.
  22. Change the value of NiStringExtraData to "BackWeapon" for a 2-handed claymore or "SideWeapon" for a 1-handed sword (for scabbards, you had better use "SideWeapon").
    NOTE: This is not necessary in newer versions of Blender NIF Scripts as the export screen gives you the option of picking the correct weapon placement slot.
  23. Select the NiNode called Scene Root and from the NifSkope menu, click Spells --> Sanitize --> Reorder Blocks
  24. Save MySword.nif and exit NifSkope
  25. See example file called "MySword.nif"
  26. You might need to make adjustments to the collision model or create custom collision and if you do, you would also copy the bhkCapsuleShapes from your WIP file to replace the same objects in your target NIF file