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Turning video games' deadliest weapons into art you can hold

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Don't call them toys. Don't call them collectibles. To the team at Triforce, the arsenal of life-sized video game weapons they sell is art.

It all started with a Lancer and a dream, said Triforce CEO Robert Baricevic.

Unhappy in work, Baricevic took money he had methodically saved up over the years and made a prototype, a single, perfect, one-to-one replica of Gears of War's iconic weapon. He took it to Epic to show off his handy-work and they become some of his biggest fans. A single limited run of the weapon (which sold out in four days) and Baricevic had a new career, a new company and a growing passion.

Triforce worked methodically to recreate the sometimes muddy art work of video game weapons into pristine, precise in-world replicas. Nothing was spared in creating what Baricevic sees as art.

The studios work now includes statues pulled from games, official collector editions created for titles like The Last of Us, Max Payne 3 and upcoming Batman: Arkham Origins and those marvelous weapons.

On display at New York Comic Con is a gallery of the company's work, much of it already sold out. There's Batman's batarang clutched in the gloved fist of Batman. If you look closely you can see that the weapon floats between the fingers, held in place by strong magnets and allowing an owner to pull it free and examine it more closely.

The Green Arrow's bow and a collection of his arrows is one of the center pieces of the exhibit. The weapon, which Baricevic says could be strung properly and used, sits on a meticulously crafted rack. In the back of the display a secret compartment opens up to reveal what Baricevic and his team refer to as Green Arrow's "hurt locker." Inside are spare arrowheads, bow string wax, a picture of the Black Canary.

It's that attention to detail that has won the company so many fans, and it's part of the reason the studio is now finding itself creating artwork for use in games.

Baricevic said that as they worked with game developers to create high-resolution versions of the sometimes low-resolution weapons, studios began to ask them to share their assets for use in games.

With the coming of the next-generation of consoles, and the need for cleaner art, Baricevic's company now finds themselves working on a number of future, unannounced titles, creating character and weapon art that will be used in games.

But Baricevic says the company's heart is still in the art of replication, of plucking the whimsical weapons of video game out of the virtual and giving them artful substance.