MOVIE ARMOUR FUN FACTS
DOG ARMOURThere 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."
SUSAN’S QUIVERThe arrowheads are shaped like the leaves of the ash tree. Her horn is decorated to look like the roaring mouth of a Lion.
CENTAUR ARMOURWeta 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 DAGGERThe 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!"
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!"
ROHIRRIM ARMS AND ARMOURRohirrim 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 HELMETSauron’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 HELMETThe 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."
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!"
ARWEN’S QUIVER AND ARROWSThe 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."
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."
THE ARMS AND ARMOUR OF THÉODEN, KING OF ROHANThéoden’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."