Friday, February 10, 2012


These are the gauntlets I made for Mr. Plummer (who played Barrymore playing Richard III) back in February. Like many items made for movies, they show signs of unhappy haste. They are oversimplified, but even considering they are rushed, they don't look all that bad. I gave them a quick matt black spray before delivering them...remove some of the "star wars storm trooper" look the white primer paint gave them!

Above is a close up of the roping. Keep in mind that the very worst job in armouring is the dreaded "outside roll". These gauntets had the outside roll, which get this! It needed to be roped as well. This roping was done on the "flat" like all roping, and when it was all done, then it was shaped over the horn of the anvil with a rubber mallet which hopefully would not leave too many dents. The material was sixteen gauge aluminum, which was even more annoying because that stuff dents when you drop it, toss it on the "finished" pile or whatever. And aluminum has the unfortunate habit of once you dent it, you can't fix that dent!

The first part of the job, of course, is to roll a bale into the metal. (a bale is a wire which supports the edge, and prevents it from "kinking".) I used a copper wire as the bale, which worked better than the steel wire I usually use. Once the roll was made, I divided the edge up into several little squares and drew diagonal lines which would correspond to the chisel marks. Then I had to make a chisel with a curved face, not too sharp. I used a railroad spike for that purpose. Each groove is made with four strikes, which progress over the bale. Its okay to give a bit of a backwards curve as you only makes it look more like a twisted rope.

I have had people tell me that scaled fingers are not period. I wonder what source they are referencing! They are certainly easier to make than the articulated fingers. Below is a Milanese gauntlet with scaled fingers and a bell cuff with a nice roll to it. The rivets would have attached a leather inside cuff which would probably flare out over the vambrace...both protecting the metal of the vambrace and giving a punch of colour to the harness.

Below is a German "gothic" armour with articulated fingers. They should not be any harder to make than the scales, however, I find that if you don't get the articulation joints in 'exactly' the right place, they have to be redone until you do. In that respect, they are much more fiddly than the scaled fingers, and consequently much more difficult to get right

And below is a close up of the stunning "gold armour" which was actually used in the joust. This incredibly complex armour is more pretty than useful, but because it shows signs of having been used in the joust, I think we can presume that it was useful as well. Not just a pretty statue. As you can see, this wonderous armour has scale'd fingers.

All these armours are on display in Leeds at the Tower of London Armoury.

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