Last year I was commissioned to make some feather-covered armour for a friend going to Empire LARP here in the UK.
She plays a Kallavesi Grimnir from the Wintermark faction at Profound Decisions Empire LARP, a mage type character that gain mystical insight by absorbing the discarded thoughts from the feather of birds.
The main structure of the pauldron was built using the Dark Horse Workshop Pauldron Pattern from 5mm (~12oz) veg tan leather.
The pattern was cut out (using my hand-forged head knife) and stitching holes punched before dyeing.
Her character colour scheme is blues, blacks and cream/bone colours so I stuck with those as they work well with the colours I was making hairpin feathers at the time.
The parts were then stitched together (following Dark Horse Workshops excellent instructions) and then riveted together using copper saddlers rivets. The strapping should provide a degree of articulation and the copper rivets will mean very little chance of equipment failure in the field.
Enlisted help from the Weeman for peening over the rivets (while watching Windrose's epic Diggy Diggy Hole!)
The main feature of the armour was to be the huge black and iridescent blue feathers that hung down from shoulder to wrist.
Previously I'd made small (10cm) feathers to be used as hair barrettes but never anything this size! One of the big considerations was the weight of the overall piece, using the 5mm veg tan that I used for the pauldron was out as was the thinner 2mm I use for most other things.
After asking around I found DLB Leather on Facebook, he supplied me with some really thin 0.6mm veg tan that was perfect.
I drew out a few feather patterns, blew them up to A1 size in photoshop and printed them out on a huge A1 roll printer I was lucky to have access to at work.
That gave me the template to start cutting the feathers out.
If in doubt do it in paper first! Its a lot cheaper to make your mistakes in paper than leather.
I made four huge arm length feather, seven shorter upper arm length feathers and more than a dozen small and tiny feathers to fill in the gaps. They were all dyed black then taken to the spray booth and sprayed with Vallejo's Mech Blue acrylic paint.
Then came the most labour intensive part of the build, attaching them all.
Putting it all together
The large feathers were copper riveted to the pauldron.
The smaller ones were hand-stitched on (through all three layers of leather!)
Once finished I got my friend to lend me her costume so I could photograph the whole thing together. The results, I think, are very impressive and are sure to make her stand out from the hordes of Wintermark soldiers!
Hopefully, once the season commences in April she will be able to get me some action shots of it in use!
If you are interested in commissioning us to make a piece of armour please use the form on the main page.
We love making your ideas become a reality.
Not only do we provide the final piece but a 5-year guarantee on repairs as well as full documentation, keeping you informed and part of the process as we build.