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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Did You Ever Notice... the Helm's Deep Elven Armor?

Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


May 16 2008, 8:36pm

Post #1 of 21 (16912 views)
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Did You Ever Notice... the Helm's Deep Elven Armor? Can't Post

  

This is a very intricate and (imo) very beautiful set of armor made for the Elf extras at Helm's Deep.

Report from Ty about the armor in Te Papa as reported on AlleyCatScratch: "It was beautifully chased and draped, the armor composed of steel highlighted with brass over two pieces that will drive reproducers mad. The undersleeves may look like a fine chain mail, but they're not; they're a black fabric patterned with close silver diamonds. The armor "skirt" looks like a below-the-knee scale mail hauberk split for riding, but it's thousands of fingernail-sized pieces of silver leather patterned like fine lizard skin and sewn to a backing. Somebody went crazy to make this one! The cloak and underskirt were of grey Lorien cloak fabric and silver fabric respectively."

Step 1: the underclothes. Notice the use of little cheats here. The areas covered with armor use a cheaper, easier to obtain fabric to conserve the fabric they need.



The armor itself is a mixture of leather and metal plates with very delicate scrollwork on it.

You can see at the top of the armor a "dickie" or false shirt of tiny, fingernail sized leather tabs sewn to a collar. This is repeated in the skirt. Can you imagine sewing all of those on?


The belly is covered by leather:


The emblem in the center indicates which house the Elf is from. These were apparently modelled on some drawings Tolkien himself left us.


The back of the armor (notice the distinctly unperiod zipper up the back of the shirt):


The shoulder:


The hip: If you look closely, you can see a black piece of elastic that was used to hold the plates together. And again you see this fake mail made of tiny pieces of leather sewn onto a skirt.


And of course, don't forget your helmet!


Not much protection in the back, I'm afraid (elves must never retreat from a battle Cool):


Today, I send you off to some new sites for pictures. AlleyCatScratch is still the premier site for details. Ben Britton was the actor who modeled this armor in most of these images. He was in the movie beside Legolas and was the model for the action figure! His site has lots of pictures. Ian Smith's blog has images of the armor being put onto a victim at ComicCon 2003. And lastly, Haldir's Elven Archers is a site for questions about recreating this armor in the real world, should anyone be inspired to try it.

So, any thoughts on this armor?


Did You Ever Notice? is a roving discussion about the work Ngila Dickson and Richard Taylor put into the costumes for LOTR. It doesn't appear on any particular day, but I do try to post something once a week.



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One Ringer
Tol Eressea


May 16 2008, 9:00pm

Post #2 of 21 (11968 views)
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I've never really noticed . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

All of the color in the armour. I've always noticed the green, but that's it. Afterall, during the sequence of Helm's Deep, the night darkens the colors and make them invisible. Thanks for posting these images! Smile

Ash nazg durbatulūk, Ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulūk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.


Magpie
Immortal


May 16 2008, 9:51pm

Post #3 of 21 (11944 views)
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Is there any distinction between the HD armor and the Prologue armor? // [In reply to] Can't Post

 



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


May 16 2008, 10:15pm

Post #4 of 21 (11989 views)
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Absolutely! [In reply to] Can't Post

They are, in fact, two very different sets of armor. The two are meant to look like the Helm's Deep armor might be a natural progression from the Prologue armor. You can see the Prologue armor better here: http://alleycatscratch.com/...or/Second/Second.htm





My LiveJournal
My Costuming Site
Screencap of the Day Schedule for May

See my Photos from Japan!!


Compa_Mighty
Tol Eressea


May 16 2008, 11:42pm

Post #5 of 21 (11983 views)
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My favorite armor of the trilogy [In reply to] Can't Post

That one was really amazing. The helmet has a nice Classical Greek quality to it that is quite evident in those pictures. Have you noticed Gil Galad's costume? That's quite impressive as well!

Here's to Del Toro becoming the Irvin Kershner of Middle Earth!

Essay winner of the Show us your Hobbit Pride Giveway!


Nimloth
Lorien


May 17 2008, 5:01am

Post #6 of 21 (11916 views)
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I love your costume threads [In reply to] Can't Post

Arwen's Daughter. The Elven armour is beautiful, it's great to see it in such detail. The amount of work put in to create this is amazing. It's part of what makes the LOTR movies so outstanding Smile.


Magpie
Immortal


May 17 2008, 1:23pm

Post #7 of 21 (11930 views)
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LOL [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Absolutely!
They are, in fact, two very different sets of armor.


okay... on first glance the look exactly the same to me. But after looking again, I think you've posted both the prologue and HD armor next to each other, right? I first thought both were prologue and I was noticing the one on the right (thinking that looked just like the HD one!)

I have great fondness for my ToyBiz Prologue Elf and for my HD Haldir. Oh, and I guess I have a HD Elf, as well. Having those figures has made some of the costuming come a little more to the forefront of my awareness. I have to say, I don't think I ever would have thought I'd be interested in armor but the details of the HD armor you've discussed are astounding and fascinating. I still wish I could see these all close up.



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Elven
Valinor


May 17 2008, 2:36pm

Post #8 of 21 (11936 views)
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Just brilliant! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Arwen's Daughter! These are just wonderful shots!

Once more I am blown away by the amount of detail here - it is really spectacular! - buckles and all!
What a work of art they are!

Awesome! Thankyou!!

Cheers
Elven x


Were off to Hobbiton finally!

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!



Compa_Mighty
Tol Eressea


May 17 2008, 5:53pm

Post #9 of 21 (11884 views)
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Precisely! [In reply to] Can't Post

You are right Magpie, those figures really make you notice the costumes, they are SO detailed.

I guess that's where I noticed my favorite armors were those of the Prologue Elves, Gil-Galad and the Easterlings.

Here's to Del Toro becoming the Irvin Kershner of Middle Earth!

Essay winner of the Show us your Hobbit Pride Giveway!


weaver
Half-elven

May 17 2008, 5:54pm

Post #10 of 21 (11934 views)
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The clothes makes the elves, I guess. [In reply to] Can't Post

More so than pointed ears, or the physical body types they chose, there's something about all of the elven clothing that seems, well, very Elvish. There's clothes and there's clothes to improvise what Sam would say, but the elven clothes in the films, this armor included, seem to be more than your average kind of clothing.

This armor is amazing -- the kind of thing that is a work of art as well as being something useful (to a point anyway, as they were all killed wearing this stuff). I did remember Richard Taylor, I think, talking at some point about how the armor style reflected the passage of time with the elves, and the two shots you posted separately comparing the prologue and Helm's Deep armor show that.

And now I know the name of the actor in the prologue who has that great hair shot when Sauron implodes and causes that vacuum effect. A very fine specimen of an elf he is...

Thanks for another fascinating post -- the details you post every time are really great...!

Weaver



Patty
Immortal


May 17 2008, 6:16pm

Post #11 of 21 (11904 views)
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Beautiful. I spent a good deal of time.... [In reply to] Can't Post

"noticing" the armor when it was on display in Indy. Thank you for these photos, Arwen's daughter.

Hanging out with the Lonely Isle elves.


Magpie
Immortal


May 17 2008, 7:21pm

Post #12 of 21 (11912 views)
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Ben Britton [In reply to] Can't Post

I went to great trouble to get the Toybiz Prologue Elven Warrior. I've since thought of Ben as 'my' Elven Warrior and I looked for his name in the credits for a long time (not as an actor but in whatever capacity he worked at Weta).



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weaver
Half-elven

May 17 2008, 7:25pm

Post #13 of 21 (11885 views)
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everyone should have their own elven warrior! [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, you can have Ben.

**goes to Prologue, looks for elven warrior for weaver...**

Weaver



Magpie
Immortal


May 17 2008, 9:26pm

Post #14 of 21 (11868 views)
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you can have the one on the left. ;^) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 



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weaver
Half-elven

May 17 2008, 11:06pm

Post #15 of 21 (11887 views)
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works for me! [In reply to] Can't Post

**pats Elven Warrior on head, goes back to grindstone..**

Weaver



mae govannen
Tol Eressea

May 18 2008, 7:03am

Post #16 of 21 (11919 views)
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The emblem indicating which house the elf is from... [In reply to] Can't Post

What an incredible detail again, so nice from a psychological point of view, especially considering that it is all for the simple extras who will play those warrior elves at Helm's Deep...! The spirit of Tolkien's own drawings was put even in such details no one was likely to ever notice - but you did!!! Thank you, it's great!... I am awed... Shocked

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)


Smeagirl/Girllum
Gondor


May 18 2008, 1:22pm

Post #17 of 21 (11880 views)
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A zipper?!?!?! [In reply to] Can't Post

OK, that just ruined the entire movie trilogy for me. :-/

Seriously, this is incredible stuff though. I really like the leafy shapes and the art nouveau swirls. Thanks for posting the pics.

Has anyone figured out the bits of writing on the hip pieces?

When I made an elf costume in '06, I was partly inspired by this one and partly by just my own ideas of what a LOTR elf would look like. I was lucky enough to find a burgundy leather jacket in a thrift store that had a similar chevron design to what we see on the belly here, and incorporated that into my design. But I didn't have armor, just leather and fabrics.


Magpie
Immortal


May 18 2008, 1:29pm

Post #18 of 21 (11872 views)
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Elvish writing.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I just checked Gwaith-i-Phethdain and, as many translations as they have on there, they don't seem to have this.



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OhioHobbit
Gondor

May 18 2008, 4:32pm

Post #19 of 21 (11890 views)
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The Elven armor is terrific! [In reply to] Can't Post

They did a fantastic job on these designs. It looks very Elvish without having a “fantasy” look. They wanted it to look historical and cultural without anyone thinking that it looks like this culture or that culture and I think they accomplished that. I guess that boils down to looking Elvish without looking fantasy. This is the first time I have seen these close-up details and they are absolutely beautiful. About the un-period zipper in the back, they could get away with that because, just as an Uruk would never turn his back to the battle, an Elven warrior would never turn his back to the camera. Wink

Movie Technical Discussion -- Index


Smeagirl/Girllum
Gondor


May 18 2008, 6:01pm

Post #20 of 21 (11844 views)
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Thanks for checking [In reply to] Can't Post

and for the link. That's an interesting site -- I'll surf around on there later.


grammaboodawg
Immortal


May 19 2008, 1:44am

Post #21 of 21 (11899 views)
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Awesome Costumes! [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's a link showing some of Tolkien's emblems I love that detail, Arwen's daughter! WOW! I'm going to have to add that to our geeky observations list :D

I saw this armour at the LotR museum exhibit, but it was behind a border and impossible to see in such detail. This is fantastic! Layers and layers create such an incredible effect!

I just LOVE these posts! They're a lot of work to put together, and I appreciate them SO MUCH! :D Thank you!



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