Sunday, January 10, 2016

Leatherworking and mongol armor from coke cans

We regularly go to the Medieval fair in the Adelaide hills. Last year I tried my hand at metal working and came up with a great helm and a sort of crusader costume. This year I started playing Magic, like many nerds I played it while young, only recently have I found time (and money) to get back into it. I took inspiration Mardu Skullhunter on cover of B/W warriors event deck. This armor is sort of in the Mongol style if the very well funded Netflix show Marco Polo and wikipaedia are to be believed. The upshot was that I had to learn leatherworking and make a lamellar armor which would stand up for a whole day of walking through crowds and kids.
With the aim set I decied to do it on the cheap. I have made things out of coke cans before. The aluminium there is really easy to work with and readily available. I gathered raw materials for 6 months from Coke and assorted soft drink cans from colleagues. Finally I cutting them up into little pieces using stress fracturing and sealed all the edges by folding them in.

Affordable leather was surprisingly easy to get. I picked up a 16 squarefoot sheet of treated cow hide, just the right colour from the local leather shop - D.S. Horne for $50. They also have a good selection of hand leatherworking tools. This cheap leather is not armor thickness, so I backed it up with some craft foam glued and then stitched on.  The stitching proved pretty hard so I got assistance from the local upholstery shop. When you are rushing to make complex armor piece by piece in a week, you should use any help available.


The next stage was stiching on all the coke can lamella onto the leather and foam backing and making some eyelets for attaching all the pieces together. I used any left over leather to make straps for attaching sections.

Next came the accesories, what is a skull hunter without any skulls ? So I ordered a miniature skull mould from eBay and my friendly sculptor and fellow armor maker at Pointy Ears Creative Studio made a few expandable foam and plaster skulls for me.



It was all done just on time. The glue was still drying on my skull belt when we rolled into the fair. A whole day of amazing fun followed with lots of pictures being taken through out the day.

 
We even went to local pub in character and took some more photos, they let my coke can morning star through as well. By the end of the adventure some of the thin lamella got bent and the whole armor will need some repair before the next outing. I am thinking of laser cutting some shiny decorative lamella if possible. More notes on that this year.

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