If you've booted up the Genshin Impact reddit recently, one of the the first thing you’d likely see is a stunning replica of the Engulfing Lightning Polearm - the trusty weapon of the fan favourite Raiden Shogun. This hand-built piece was created by Russian user Selerinity, who is trying to maintain a business on Reddit by creating such replicas.
Alongside their work as a craftsman, Selerinity has been a fan of the free-to-play action RPG for about a year and a half. At 58 AR, they try to log into to the game every day. They had been creating and selling weapons like the Engulfing Lightning via online marketplaces like Etsy, before the platform became unavailable to Russian users on April 4. This is as a result of the reprehensible Russian invasion of Ukraine and following sanctions, which has left many present in the country with work reliant on international websites and online storefronts with newfound business struggles.
As such, their typical work order used to be roughly 2-3 orders a month prior to the war in Ukraine. When asked about their current situation when it comes to work orders, Selerinity told me via DMs “if i'm lucky then one per month.” They’ve turned to the Genshin Impact Reddit as a source of work as a last resort: “the fact is that I am from Russia and because of recent events my usual avenues for finding work are no longer available. This is all that I can do and would like to do in my life, but many paths are now closed. I have to look for clients here.”
Rather than shipping his replicas out via popular delivery services and getting paid via Paypal or online marketplaces, Selerinity is currently only able to take payments through Cyptocurrency, as banking services and online marketplaces have become unusable in Russia since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine. As for how these projects are actually delivered, they used a courier service with extended delivery times. Using this method, they say "there are always risks that it can be broken along the way, but I am ready for this and have strengthened my parcels".
Selerinity has been working in workshops for around four years, but broke away from their previous director in pursuit of their own direction, building a new personal workshop where projects could be created at their own pace. For around a year, they've been creating Genshin Impact weapons based around their own enjoyment of the game, and the "good design and interesting ideas for execution" present in the RPG.
Each weapon replica takes around two weeks to complete from start to finish. “The first stage is a sketch, after that I cut out the PVC parts and make all the necessary cutouts for the electronics. Afterwards, I glue the parts together with the LED and align according to the sketch. With the help of a building hair dryer, I bend small details. Finally, I cover the seams and irregularities with putty and treat the surface with sandpaper for painting before applying paint with an airbrush.”
The results of these process are fantastic copies of some of the game’s most beloved weapons - including a past build of the Primordial Jade Winged Spear, which like the Engulfing Lighting is packed with LEDs so the spear head glows with energy like it would in-game. The result of this work is overwhelming praise from the community hub this creator now relies on: “Each of my work is very popular with people. After so many years my skills have found recognition, this is really important to me. Well, it's still nice to get money for it, of course.”