Please Note: I do NOT take credit for constructing the body armour, thigh plates, gauntlets or pauldrons. Those were rented.
In March of 2012 I was put in contact with Richard Olak.
For the previous five years Richard had been working on his brain child, ‘The Battle of Burgledorf’
It’s a really clever story. If like me, you’re a geek, nerd or similar breed of basement-dwelling troglodyte, you’ll love it. I had heard of it back when we were working on Pokemon Apokelypse. Our ‘Jessie’ also plays the the scantily clad elf you see in the trailer.
Richard had managed to get a local metal band called ‘Unleash the Archers’ to contribute some music to his film and in return he would make them a music video. The song they chose was called The General of the Dark Army.
Already being quite the metalhead I was excited to get on board.
Time was an issue. We were shooting in a month. I came up with some sketches for what I thought we could put together in that time.
The original plan was to have one heavily armoured arm, a lightly armoured sword arm, a helmet, a chainmail skirt and shin protectors.
We were going to bulk out the shoulders using some lacross pads to imply he was wearing a lot of heavy armour, then mostly cover the torso in a tabard. If I had time to make it, I was going to have the chain mail go part way up his body, and rip the tabard just to give the illusion that he was wearing more armour than he actually was.
I spent the first week shopping for materials and running tests to make sure they’d suit my purposes .
First thing I made was the main piece of the left shoulder pauldron. It required some fairly heavy dishing which is tough work with cold rolled steel and no proper way to anneal it.
The chainmail was going to be made of plastic using the technique that have the chainmail in Lord of the Rings it’s iconic look.
The jig for cutting the rings was not working out and I didn’t have time to experiment. Instead, I found some thin aluminium which we were able to cut into scales for a scale armour skirt.
My sister and a friend of ours did the work for that while I worked on the shin guards.
I had just finished the shoulder pauldron when I got a call from Richard saying that someone he knew had made a chest plate and gauntlets for themselves and was willing to rent them to us. This meant I didn’t need to make any arm coverings. A godsend for the time we had, though I was kind of looking forward to doing it all myself.
This also allowed us to show that he was in fact wearing armour under the tabard.
We wanted to use the pauldron I made just so he’d be a little asymmetrical, but the ones we rented were designed to fit into the gauntlets a specific way, so mine was left out.
Just as well. Having only seen the rented armour in pictures, I couldn’t gauge size. I don’t think we would have had the desired effect using mine.
Fabric took more thought than expected. It seems like a no brainer for a metal video, just use black! But we wanted some contrast.
In the end, the only available fabrics that really fit the bill in the textures and weight we wanted, were black.
The cape and mantle needed to be a thick, woolly material and the tabard I wanted to be linen.
I found a cotton/synthetic linen-like blend. It had texture and reflected a little bit more light than the synthetic/wool blend I got for the cape, which just looked jet black.
In the end they looked beautiful. Plenty of thanks to the cinematographers (Other music videos they’ve shot have since won Junos and they’ve worked with Sean Bean!)
I love how the moisture collected on the wool during the shoot, giving it some contrast.
I had a few bumps in making the helmet. The upper section was going to require some very deep dishing which I just didn’t have the equipment to do.
I was able to tweak the design. It involved cutting out more pieces, but it was a sure bet.
Had it done just under the wire.
Total material cost for everything I did was about $170. I think the fabric alone was half of that. It could have been less if the original rivets I ordered ever came in.
They really are an incredible band. I think just about everybody who worked on the video became a fan.
Check them out.
Also, here’s the behind the scenes video. I even did some camera work for this. I’m a Jack of all trades!