My Aragorn costume (lots o pics! 56k may take a while)

Discussion in 'Historical Re-enactment' started by defyitall, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. defyitall

    defyitall Art House Member

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    Some people have asked if I could talk about my Aragorn costume. I love talking about it since I have recently put a ton of time into it. So here goes:

    I started an Aragorn costume for Halloween this year. I have always loved the Anduril design from the movie so this gave me a reason to buy it. So I went with Aragorn's outfit when he entered the Paths of the Dead. If you don't already know:

    [​IMG]

    I started way too late and it didn't turn out to my satisfaction, so I continued to work on it. I'm kind of OCD and perfectionist when it comes ot maing good costumes. I guess I wanted it to look real good for The One Ring Celebration in Pasadena (about 20 mins from me) and for San Diego Comic Con in July. Here's where I am at now, after a few months of work and money.

    I started with the New Line adult Aragorn costume. It's not bad quality but just kind of cheesy. I never used the belt, the cloak, or the boot covers. The jerkin/vest came with smocked sleeves attached that were too short, so I cut them off.

    Shirt:

    [​IMG]

    It's a extra large red shirt I bought at Target and cut off the cuffs and collar and dyed a darker red. Added the split neck and the braided ties. I'm not too happy with it but not much of it shows. I currently have a seamstress making me a better version in cotton linen. I psyched for that.

    Jerkin:

    [​IMG]

    I took the costume jerkin and (with the help of a seamstress friend) altered the size and shape. We split the sides and removed about 3 inches of fabric per side. Then rolled the seams and I added the leather lace whip stitching. I braided some black leather lace and sewed them on the front for the front ties. It's a little short and not really suede but the material is pretty nice and doesn't fray. Some day I'd like to make my own jerkin in suede but I need some extra cash before I do that.

    Belt:

    I bought the Museum Replicas Kingly Belt because the buckle is pretty accurate and would require me to either find a jeweler or metalsmith or learn how to cast metal to make it myself. It doesn't have the runes or the metal piece on the end of the belt like the movie prop. I plan on adding the runes soon. Eventually I would like to sculpt the metal end piece out of epoxy sculpt and attach it to complete the look.

    Pants:

    I bought some black women's workout tights. Just cotton. Needed women's to get them to be sufficiently tight as men's sweatpants are always baggy. I swear that's the only reason!! I'm super manly!!

    Boots:

    Currently I have some cheap brown Medieval boots I got at a costume shop and weathered pretty good. You can see them in the pic of the red shirt. They aren't the right color, shape, or height. So I looked around for some replacements. Not really having the time to learn how to be a shoesmith, I settled on buying some leather replicas.

    [​IMG]

    You CAN buy the replica boots from the guy in New Zealand who made them for the movie. But they are like 600 bucks AND look way too new. Sure I still need to weather the boots I have but that kind of the fun part. Breaking out the wire brushes and sand paper and going to town.

    Duster:

    [​IMG]

    I bought the Museum Replicas coat. Sure, I could have made it. but I'm not that great at sewing regualr fabric and I don't have a sewing machine; not too mention sewing leather. It's pretty nice. It look a bit different than the one in that picture. The sword arm padding is black. The sleeves and bottom hem are rolled not like the raw leather of the movie prop. So I have ripped those seams and worked the creases out with Lexol. Now I just need to start weathering it with some brushes and wire brushes.

    Bracers:

    I was always a big fan of the Gondorian Bracers with the sea bird's wings and the white tree. I really liked that Aragorn took them from Boromir at the end of Fellowship.

    So this was something I was lookign forward to having in my costume. I didn't want to spend a lot of cash on them so I strayed away from the kropserkel replicas. I decided to make them out of cheaper materials than leather like vinyl. I found a tutorial online where a girl did the carved leather part on top by embossing Fun Foam (like you'd buy at a craft store) with clay sculpting tools. I decided to try that.

    Here's the first attempt:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see they are pretty shabby. But I made them in a week and I didn't really know what I was doing. They were all drawn and cut freehand so they are different even from the other in the pair. They also started to fall apart about 20 minutes into the Halloween party I went to.
    So I started making a second set. I did the patterns and templates on the computer this time so they are more accurate. I cut up paper mock-ups to check the sizing. Then I did a plain prototype to make sure everything worked right:

    [​IMG]

    So I was really happy with the way these turned out. Got some new materials: black vinyl for the bottom layer, real leather for the straps, D-rings, tried like four kinds of thread until I found one at Tandy Leather that I liked, and a new contact cememt that worked wonders on anything BUT vinyl. Made sure the embossing was as perfect as I coud get it and all the pieces were cut just right.

    I even got some tan vinyl and made the lace-up padded under bracers. They are two layers of vinyl with a layer of cotton quilt batting sandwiched in the middle. They are hand cross stiched for the quilting effect and have a rolled, handstitched edge. I got some nice aged grommtes and leather cord for the lacing:

    [​IMG]

    I had to smooth the suede out a little. So a friend recomended Gum Tangarath and a burnisher. It worked really well. So I was ready to assemble. Here's the result:

    [​IMG]

    Cloak:

    I got a seamstress to make me a Elven clock replica out of silk noil fabric. It's a true half circle design with the long pointed hood. She picked a great olive green color. It fits really well and is really light and easy to wear around your neck.

    Weapons:

    I bought the UC Unlimited Anduril and had to find a cheap leather scabbard (since I am still waiting patiently for the UC Anduril Scabbard). Did a little metal effect painting and made my own leather suspension system with some old straps I got at the local Army Surplus store.

    I have a cheap knock-off of the Elven hunting knife. It's okay, though I had to refinish the scabbard because it was the wrong color and finish. I made my own suspension system for the knife too.

    Accessories:

    I made the fingerless leather glove out of an old glove I got at the Army surplus store. I need to add the suede padding on the back of the glove, probably this weekend.

    I have a costume Lorien leaf clasp that came free with my New Line costume.

    I bought a Ring of Barahir rip-off from eBay. It's a little big but it's hard for me too spend 170 bucks on the official NC version if I don't think I would wear it everyday.

    I bought a costume Evenstar pendant from an online costume store for a few bucks. It actually looks really nice though I have to shorten the chain a little.

    And here's the result:

    [​IMG]



    Thanks for sitting through my wordy speech. Hope you enjoyed it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2005
  2. Nienor

    Nienor Administrator Staff Member

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    We'll keep your little secret. :X

    Really though, nice costume! I can't begin to imagine how much time you spent on that.
     
  3. defyitall

    defyitall Art House Member

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    I don't mind the time I spent. I enjoy it whenever I am not just sitting around watching TV and actually flexing my creative muscles. The money I spent bothers the thrifty part of me.
     
  4. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Dude, those bracers are awesome. I'm getting into leatherworking, can you describe again the tools and methods you used for the tooling and colouring of the wing and tree of Gondor designs on the bracers?

    Cool costume, the bracers are definitely my favourite part, great job! The padded underbracers with the over-bracer is something I definitely want to work on for my next pair.

    I made a cheap-ass quick Legolas costume to wear to the Two Towers premiere, but the next one I really want to make is Faramir's ranger costume complete with leather chestplate. $$$ is the limiting factor there though!
     
  5. defyitall

    defyitall Art House Member

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    well, they're not really leather.

    the embossed layer is brown Fun Foam from Michael's. I cut the foam to the desired shape and then ironed it to flatten it and darken it a bit. Then I drew the sea bird/tree motif in light pencil (taking into account where the stitching would be) and slowly pressed and embossed the pattern into the foam with a variety of tools. Mostly I used plastic clay sculpting tools I found at Michael's but also some old intaglio etching tools I had lying around from my art school days. After a lot of pressure and time, the pattern will become embossed in the foam.

    Then I darkened the foam with a dark brown fabric marker in a series of criss cross strokes; which also gave it a nice uneven texture and color. Then I covered it in decoupage finish to give it a slight sheen.

    The silver is just some Tester's silver model paint I had lying around from a light saber project. I applied it in a dry bursh fashion to give it a weathered look. I have talked to people and I think maybe silver leaf would have been better. I could rub it off more and get a nice aged quality.

    Here's where I got the idea from:

    http://www.jedielfqueen.com/lotr/costumes/Boromir/vambraces/vambraces.htm

    The wrapped edge on the first layer is brown suede remnant I got at my local Tandy Leather store (I say local but I had to drive and hour and a half to Orange County). I gave it a shine and finish with some Gum Tagnaranth and a lot of burnishing with the back of a spoon.

    The bottom layer is black marine upholstery vinyl I bought at a local foam and upholstery shop. It is two layers, held together with contact cement, so that only the vinyl side is out.

    The straps are the same suede as the first layer but more highly burnished.

    The whole thing is hand punched with a 4x/3/32 square punch tool and stitched with a 0 sized harness needle and waxed thread. I tried like four kinds of thread be fore I settled on something I liked. I tried real sinew, artificial sinew, waxed thread, and finally settled on the thread made for one of those auto stitchers. the kind that allow you to punch through and do a lock stitch without much effort? Well, anyway the braided wax thread that you use with those was my fav.

    The padded under bracers are a lightweight vinyl upholstery fabric that has a thin, black, fuzzy backing. I sandwiched some cotton quilt batting between for added padding. I hand punched and stitched these as well. I stupidly used standard brown thread which liked to unravel and thin out as I went. If I did it again I'd get some quilting thread or some heavier nylon thread.

    That's about all the knowledge I can give since I didn't really make these in leather. I plan to do them in heavy ounce veg-tanned at some point and really do the carving myself. Buit I don't know when.

    I can, however give any advice or help with making templates and sizing since I went through a lot of grief over that and learned a few things about how to make the Gondorian Bracers specifically.
     
  6. Jessehk

    Jessehk The introverted

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    It is an extremely good looking, and well made costume.
    Great work Defyitall!
     
  7. Wisconsin

    Wisconsin Art House Member

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    Wow! That is a great looking costume youve got there!
     
  8. doleniel

    doleniel Elven High Priestess

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    Very impressive indeed, I love to see it when people actually want to put time into this kind of thing instead of just settle for only what they can buy pre-made.
     
  9. defyitall

    defyitall Art House Member

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    thanks guys, I try. Some of my stuff is store bought. I try to modify that stuff anyway if I am unhappy with it. Just so it's a little more personal.

    I bow down to those guys that buy leather and make everything themselves. That impresses the heck out of me.
     
  10. elrond243

    elrond243 The Fighters Guide House Member

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    where did you buy that jacket from?
     
  11. defyitall

    defyitall Art House Member

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    Museum Replicas.
     
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