View Full Version : Mububban's LOTR leatherwork

11-11-2005, 02:58 AM
My Faramir armour is finally finished! Please forgive the crappy rushed late night photos, and the fact my armour has boobs and a booty, but I photographed it on my girlfriend's dressmaking dummy :-)
The undershirt is suede, with the front and back pieces made from 2 halves each, cut down the centre. I glued a reinforcing strip of thicker suede behind the joins, then punched holes and X-stitched the 2 sides together for extra strength. I did the same for laying the shoulders together.
The tree of Gondor chestplate is made from ~3mm veg tanned leather. The tree shape was cut from MDF (like a compressed cardboard) using a scroll saw, which took ages because of all the curly bits on the branches. Then I wet (cased) the leather and gently hammered the tree design into the wet leather.
When it was dry, I dyed it dark brown (the light brown wouldn't take evenly) and I painted the tree with silver Cova leather paint, which is flexible and won't flake off if the leather flexes. I then sealed it with satin leather seal.
I'd originally planned to sew it onto the suede undershirt, but ended up using dark brown pop rivets for ease.
Forgive the blue fabric pen marks in the arm holes. I need to refine the suede and remove more once I've worn it in combat.
I did up the sides using looped leather lacing, which sits snug and flat and it historically accurate. Each loop below gets fed through the loop above it, then pulled down so the loop below it can be fed through it, and you repeat all the way down. I reinforced the holes with strips of the veg tanned leather for strength to hopefully avoid tearing.
All up it cost me around $80 Australian, for the suede and the veg tanned leather and dyes etc. If I'd done it like the movie version, I would have used kangaroo leather, which would have cost $150 for the leather alone and was out of my budget, and wouldn't have protected me as well as this will.
But it's finally finished!!! Woo hoo!

11-11-2005, 03:01 AM
The movie armour is made from much thinner, flexible leather and sewn together like a thick shirt. And it was made by a professional leatherworker. So it looks fabulous, and it also fits very wel and moves well.
Mine was made to be used as functional protective/decorative armour in combat archery (http://www.ucforums.com/showthread.php?t=2753), and by me, a chump with minimal leatherworking experience. So concessions needed to be made. But it's turned out how I'd planned, so that's all I could hope for :-)

11-11-2005, 03:03 AM
I also attached buckles on the shoulders of the Farmir armour, to which can be attached these pauldrons that I made. I based them loosely on Eomer & Theoden's pattern, with the lamed arm cover and basically the same shape for the shoulder piece. I then X-stitched the shoulder joins together, and attached the lames with more dark brown pop rivets.

The flat angle and lack of an arm to curve them around make them look pretty ordinary, but on, they look okay.

There's a strap and buckle on the second bottom lame, as with Eomer's, so they'll stay nice and snug to my arm as I'm moving around. And the single attachment point at the shoulder means they move around quite well, and the leather will squash and move as I'm reaching around at extreme angles.

Yes, the leather is different. In my inexperience many moons agi, I bought chrome dyed leather, which was cheap, but looks ugly. Chalk it up to a learning experience. I don't have enough money to throw it away and buy more veg tanned leather, so I went with the ugly stuff. At the very least I've learnt valuable lessons and added to my leatherworking skills!

11-11-2005, 03:05 AM
And here are the Gondor-inspired bracers I made. Again, pardon the crazy background. I had to use our bedspread as a background :-)

The bottom layer is the ugly brown chrome dyed leather, and the outer layer is more of the veg tanned leather, dyed a lighter brown for contrast.
To get the feather pattern, I drew the design on paper, transfered it onto the leather, cut it, then wet the leather and used a hammer and embossing tool to depress the lines so as to give the feathers a 3D effect. Thanks to Christophe of Grey for his great advice on the techniques of embossing leather.

The bird on the bottom of the bracer is meant to be a raven, the symbol of my re-enacting group, The Grey Company (http://members.iinet.net.au/~bill/greyco.html). It unfortunately looks like the Budgie of War, but hey, it comes from a historical banner, so it's good enough for us :-)

Basic buckles are used for fastening.
I made a boo boo by marking the stitching holes flat, failing to account for the final curved result. So that explains the few visible stitch holes around the edges. Live and learn!

If I can find some suitable thin reddy-brown leather, I'll make the padded underbracers to go with them.

11-11-2005, 10:46 AM

Thats all I can really say. Wow. Everything looks great! It doesn't matter to much that its not completely accurate... they look great regardess! You have a great talent for making and designing things. May I suggest that you continue to learn your skills and maybe one day you'll find yourself pumping out great works of leather... which may even be compareable to Weta's.

Great job!

Do you have any other projects on the go?

11-11-2005, 01:14 PM
Yeah, dude. awesome! I'm superbly impressed at the white tree embossing. Honestly when you said you were gonna try it, I thought you'd never get it to look good. And it looks great!

And from one who spent 3 months doing my own Gondorian bracers, yours are quite the awesomeness.

Grima Wormtongue
11-13-2005, 01:29 AM
My God! Your Faramir leather armour looks awesome! Nice job, I'm sure your one the nicest armoured member's in your archery/reenactment group. Thanks for showing us the finished product

11-13-2005, 09:11 PM
Thanks guys, I guess we're all our own harshest critics. Having spent so much time and energy (but thankfully not huge amounts of money!) on each of them, all I can see when I look at them is all the compromises I had to make, and all the things I got wrong in the learning process :-) But your positive comments really made me feel good, so thanks!

I'll have to take some photos of my Legolas-inspired leather back quiver too...I made that baby years ago, to wear to The Two Towers premiere, so it was a rush job. But as with all the stuff I make, it's got to work on the combat field for my re-enactment group, so most of the concessions to lack of accuracy are to do with making it totally functional before looking pretty.

Christophe of Grey
11-27-2005, 06:41 PM
You did an outstanding job on your armor. I particularly like the way you "extended" the original design, i.e. added the shoulder pauldrons for your CA. Don't be so hard on yourself for using the chrome tanned leather. I think you'll find that the majority of "fighters" if using leather armor are using chrome tanned leather. However, you are right, it just doesn't look as good as veg tanned. I can't wait to see what your "replacement" pauldrons are going to look like. Going to tool those designs in the pictures here? Right (said in an ever hopeful manner)?

04-10-2006, 12:01 AM
Well, months after its completion, I finally got to wear my LOTR armour on the combat archery field! I was quite the hodge-podge, I had an elvish back quiver, worn over Gondorian ranger leather armour, incorporating leather Rohan-style shoulder pauldrons :-)

And I'm pleased to say it all worked well. I got nailed in the chest and hardly felt a thing, and the shoulder pauldrons didn't restrict my arm movements at all for reaching for arrows or firing my bow.

Bending is a real problem, having a semi-rigid piece of leather on my chest. The movie armour was made of beautiful soft leather that moved like a stiff cloth rather than damn stiff leather which is what I've used. The bottom of the V of the chest plate sits on the top of my pubic bone, so when bending or kneeling down to retrieve arrows, it pushes my groin protector down which is rather distracting! But other than that I'm really happy that it works as well as I'd hoped. Pity about getting stabbed in the groin every time I bend but you can't have it all I guess!

So this was me at the end of a long day of shooting. Hip quiver, back quiver, bow, arm shield, padded gambeson, plastic baseball leg guards peeking out under my pants, and you can just make out the sword i used a bit as well

04-10-2006, 12:09 AM
Hodge podge indeed! But setting that aside, the pieces look great!

I am also very envious of your archery club. From the pictures you've posted before and this one here, I really feel like I'm missing out on something really fun! It's all about Paintball here and I really don't care for it. But archery.. that would be awesome.

Do you plan on finishing one costume? Or are you going to keep up with the hodge podge creation? :)

04-11-2006, 12:26 AM
No plans to do a whole Ranger costume, or Rohan costume, or Elvish costume (although I did make a Legolas tunic to wear to TTT premiere).

My normal costumes are dark ages, I wear the baggy pants to fit the leg guards under. I loved Faramir's leather tunic so much I made a thicker, armoured version able to stop our blunt arrows. The padding is enough, but more layers don't hurt and it's not too heavy.
I always wanted pauldrons of some sort, and I love Theoden and Eomer's designs, so I modelled mine on theirs.
And the back quiver I made in a rush for TTT premiere as well, it was never designed to accomodate big blunt arrow heads but it still works very well.

So I shall remain a dark ages/Middle Earth hodge-podge :-)