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MOVIE ARMOUR FUN FACTS

DOG ARMOUR

There is a fantastic piece of dog armour in the exhibition. Stu Johnson made it as a gift for Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger.

PETER’S SWORD

"Peter’s sword is a ‘cruciform’ type sword, similar in shape to European medieval swords. The bronze pommel and grip rings add detail, while the highly detailed blade inscription, filling the whole fuller, was a complicated detail to etch cleanly and precisely."
Peter Lyon

SUSAN’S QUIVER

The arrowheads are shaped like the leaves of the ash tree. Her horn is decorated to look like the roaring mouth of a Lion.

CENTAUR ARMOUR

Weta built 50 suits of elegant Centaur armour each made up of 38 components. For the Centaur army they made 30 short swords and scabbards, over 40 two-handed swords, 60 javelins, 10 javelin-quivers, and 20 shields.

At least 50 ‘phoney-pony’ wheeled rigs were attached to actors to create the impression of live Centaurs. The horse-legs were added later as a Computer Generated Image (CGI). Other shots also required fitting the horse armours onto live horses to create the desired effect! The Centaurs stood 35.6 cm (14”) higher than humans and so they performed on raised platforms.

THE WHITE WITCH’S WAND AND STONE DAGGER

The wand and dagger are crafted from clear resin, urethane and silver and appear as though they have been made using silver, onyx, and rock crystal. The dagger looks like a naturally occurring volcanic glass-like rock called obsidian, which produces very sharp cutting edge.

FRODO’S SWORD, ‘STING’

"A beautiful and elegant design; it is too easy to make a leaf-shaped blade overly heavy and poorly balanced, especially on a large sword. To help the balance, I kept the blade thick until just before it widens, then flattened the angle of the edge hollow grinds to make the blade thin and light from the broad part of the leaf to the tip." Peter Lyon

ARAGORN’S SWORD AND HUNTING KNIFE

"Conceptual Designer John Howe based Strider’s Ranger sword closely on a late 15th-century European sword, but with non-historical design features. The scabbard with its by-knife is also based on that style of weapon. The result is a functional and elegant synthesis of history and fantasy. The basic colour on the grip and scabbard is ‘Forest Green’, but the grip of the hero sword is almost black due to the fake Orc blood being absorbed into the leather over months of filming!"
Peter Lyon

BOROMIR’S SHIELD

"The hero shield had a brightly polished steel and bronze boss; on set it was called ‘The Hubcap’ and had to be dulled down, as it would reflect the camera and crew perfectly!"
Peter Lyon

ROHIRRIM ARMS AND ARMOUR

Rohirrim arms and armour owe much to those of the Anglo-Saxons. The helmet designs are loosely based on real helmets, such as the 7th-century helmet found at Sutton Hoo in 1939.

SAURON’S HELMET

Sauron’s crowned helmet was designed by Alan Lee. It is a normal scale stunt helmet made from urethane and painted to look as though made of steel.

THE KING OF THE DEAD’S HELMET

The helmet of the King of the Dead includes the motif of the vulture, the eater of the dead.

WITCH-KING’S HELMET

"We … created a helmet early on but Peter (Jackson) was concerned that it was too close in its design to the helmet worn by Sauron and that some crew members and audiences may be confused by the two characters and therefore we set about designing something that was dramatically different to Sauron’s helmet. It’s got a parody of the Crown of Thorns that Jesus wore, in the form of these horrible metallic spikes erupting out of the helmet, as if this character is an Anti-Christ."
Richard Taylor

NAZGÛL OR RINGWRAITHS ARMS AND ARMOUR

"The most interesting part of working on these (swords) was the extreme aging on them. Until working on these I had always kept swords pristine and left it to the buyer to age them by using them! I had to totally change my thinking on these and come up with ways to age them artificially, quickly. I came up with various techniques using acid resists, acids, fruit pulp, scratching and chopping blades and gunge to darken them!"
Peter Lyon

ARWEN’S QUIVER AND ARROWS

The complex and beautiful quiver, designed by Daniel Falconer, was sadly never used in the movies.

BERSERKER’ SWORD

"The Berserker sword was one of the first weapons I worked on…When Richard (Taylor) said he wanted it ‘real’ I still didn’t understand filmic ‘real’ vs. real-world ‘real’ and so I made it out of 16mm thick spring steel and forged the blade – splitting, spreading and shaping the two prongs while the steel was orange-hot! The blade was massively heavy and the (lighter) urethane versions were moulded from this hero version."
Peter Lyon

ARMS AND ARMOUR OF THE GONDORIANS, GONDOR MEN, OF THE THIRD AGE

"We built 110 suits of Gondorian armour and then all of the hero suits. I’m pleased how it looks so metallic considering it’s mostly fibreglass and urethane that’s been painted. We would buff graphite into the surface to give it that lustre and metallic finish. Putting this armour together was a bit like putting together 3-D jigsaws because it would have components that all had to be riveted together (some) 60 components in each suit of armour."
Richard Taylor

THE ARMS AND ARMOUR OF THÉODEN, KING OF ROHAN

Théoden’s heavily detailed armour weighs 22kg (48½ lbs) and took four weeks to build. Richard even had the leather lining, on the inside of the breastplate, tooled with the ‘Golden Sun’ motif and the inside of the vambraces with horse-head motifs.

THE LAST SAMURAI – JAPANESE WEAPONS

"The replica blades are faithful to originals, right down to the hamon lines, which were replicated by a special process of sand-blasting and re-polishing."
Peter Lyon

HELLBOY’S ‘SAMARITAN’ REVOLVER

The revolver was designed by Conceptual Artist TyRuben Ellingson. Two guns and holsters were built by Weta's Jason Docherty, Dominic Taylor, John Harvey and Mike Grealish. The revolver, which has a fully working chamber, has become the iconic signature weapon of Hellboy, and appears in both Hellboy (2003) and the sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008).

KING KONG

The .30 calibre Lewis machine-gun, manufactured by the Savage Arms Corp. for aircraft use, was one of two mounted on each of the Curtiss ‘Helldivers'.
Royal Armouries MuseumWeta Workshop