This is part two of a three part series about the first costume I made for my kids. If you haven’t already, make sure to read part one.
When we last left off, I had described in detail how I made the sword for the costume. Next I needed to finish the rest of the kit:
The first thing I needed was a scabbard for his new sword. This was the first leatherwork I had ever done, and it went much better than I thought it would. Some advice I read that I always pass along to anyone that wants to get into leatherworking is this: make it out of cardboard first. If you can make it out of cardboard (and crudely tape it together), then you’ll be able to make it out of leather. Don’t try your design for the first time on an expensive piece of leather.
I etched a weave pattern down one side and attached a baldric to hang the sword over his shoulder.
Next, I got to work on the Germanic warrior’s standby, the most common weapon of the time: the spear.
Copying a 10th century Scandinavian artifact I made a wooden half-scale version of a typical Viking spear:
I used a dowel to attach the spearhead to the shaft. The shaft was just a smooth wood rod that I hacked up with a chisel before sanding it smooth to make it look like it wasn’t made in a factory. I added a little Nordic weave accent and a rune of victory (which ended up looking more like a warning arrow indicating the dangerous end).
Next I started on the shield.
Since they were mostly made of wood and leather, which decomposes over time, there aren’t very many pictures of actual artifacts beyond an occasional boss seen to the right (this is the metal disc in the middle of the shield that protects your hand). This meant that I would have to have faith in modern reenactors’ abilities to create authentic looking shields for reference.
…like this group here:
For the design on the shield face, I knew that I was leaning away from the pinwheels, crosses, and quartered paintjobs, and more towards the animal paintings. I found a good source for my painting on surviving runestones:
Copying the style of the mythical creatures on these stones I finished the shields I had made with a blue dragon:
My only mistake was with the board thickness, which I forgot to scale down (if it’s a half-scale shield it should be half as thick as I made it), so it’s a little heavy. At the time I made this, I had no metalworking experience, so I cut the boss from a muffin pan that made hemispheric muffins, and hammered it a little bit to make it look homemade. I also chiseled a small rune of protection to the upper-back side (click on the picture for a closer look).
After that I started on his axe. I copied the design of a Gothic artifact (“Gothic” as in from the island of Gotland…not angsty and spooky-looking with lots of black eye-liner). You can see it pictured below:
Based on that design I made this:
I used the same basic technique I had used with the spear. It was just a more complicated shape for the faux-metal parts. Meanwhile I was trying to piece together a belt with an axe-ring so that he could carry all this stuff (sword in the scabbard, axe in the axe-ring, spear in one hand, shield in the other).
Now that the weapons were done I needed to start on the armor, but I’m going to save that for the third and final part of this little series.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my toy-making exploits. As always, I enjoy reading your comments, so don’t be shy, let me know what you think.