Xander & JB's London Details
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Notes from the London Exhibit

== by Xander and JB, a trip report from London, fall 2003

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy The Traveling Exhibition, Science Review, London, England

Straight into the notes....

Frodo: cloth covered (wooden?) buttons, natural toned fabric, coarse, not like any of the garments. Clear roundish ridge around the edge, with deeper flat center.

The second age elf 'maille' is an open kind of fabric, consisting of V-shapes joined at the top and bottom by straight horizontal lines. There must be a seam in the CF of the layer, because the right body part is running different from all the other parts. Only looks anything like maille from a distance.

The Rohirrim spearsman has a cloak just like Dernhelm's, the colour and texture match that of the picture on the box of the action figure. Also equally ratty looking at the edges.

I've found some real maille, no plastic! Sauron's 'loincloth', chausses and sleeves have 'round rings', unlike the plastic maille. I ran into a bit of a maille conundrum with the third age Gondorian maille, the rings seem to have a groove running around the outside, they almost look like keyring maille without the thread ends showing. Very strange.

Some notes on what was said about the plastic maille: they are made of 2mm thick polybutylene rings, half of which were cut open with a knife, on an angle to make them stronger when closed. After weaving, they were melted closed with a hot knife, and metalplated. There were two patches of their plastic maille you could touch. One was coppertoned with smaller rings (8-10mm, sorry no calipers on me), the other was silvertoned with bigger rings (20mm or bigger). Especially the small rings weren't much lighter than aluminum. There were also some Rohirrim and elven swords on display in the epoxy, steel and alu versions, which you could also touch and they challenged you to guess which was which.

Elrond's crown was displayed, but the haircombs were removed, by the look of it with some force, leaving scars on the inside of it.

Saruman's mandarin-collared layer has a zipper in the back, for some reason. You can only see it from the back, and only on the collar, as the rest is covered by another layer.

 Sketch of the back of Saruman's robe.




Galadriel's Mirror Dress/Greeting of the Fellowship cloak had one interesting detail. The cloak seems to be held closed by the brooch. At closer inspection though, this was done by two extra dark silver leaves in the style of her brooch, but not actually attached to her brooch. They attach to the cloak a few inches away from the brooch. The best shot of these we could find on ACS was this one:
http://www.firstscience.com/SITE/IMAGES/editor/26/galadriel.jpg You can see them as two dots the same colour as the brooch to each side of it.

Galadriel's crown is starting to look a bit shabby. The gold leaf on the gold parts is starting to chip/come off at the edges.

The Fellowship cloak fabric was on display at the gift shop. It was very pretty with its wave pattern, but felt a bit coarse and prickly, almost like sackcloth!

Frodo's mithril maille coat:

  • As stated on ACS, the direction of the maille on the sleeves is at right angles to the direction on the main body of the coat.
  • Rather than a silver ribbon, as stated on ACS, the keyhole-collar is edged with a loomed strip of mixed silver and transparent seed beads, with the occasional gem. Something which looks like cord/string wound with gold thread, about 2 mm in diameter, is stitched on top of this in a swirly design. (there's probably a good name for this embroidery technique). Or it may be machine embroidery done on dissolvable stabilizer, we differ of opinion here.
  • The vest has a hook and eye closure.

Frodo's velvet vest:

  • As stated, the vest is a dark rust colour, a warm reddish-orange-ish brown.
  • The buttons are half-domes, either bronze or horn.

Chase dress:

  • The sash appears to be purplish grey silk. The edges are finished with very narrow and tight zig-zag.
  • The princess seams (and only the princess seams), both front and back, are stitched with a baseball stitch, as can also be seen on the pictures at ACS.
  • At least one hook and eye at the top, with a zipper starting a bit down (you can see where the shape of the zipper tape is, this area is more worn around the edges, kind of like washed jeans)

Requiem outfit:

  • The 'silver trim' mentioned on the ACS site is, as I recall, a band of seed-beads. And on close inspection, looks more white with clear, AB and silverlined beads than completely silver. The pattern looks a bit random.
  • The sleeves are silk brocade, silver on white, in a pattern of flowers and vines.

Aragorn's ranger outfit:

  • The 'bedroll' is a coarse grey woolen blanket, with a brown leather covering strapped over it. The straps are of the same leather.
  • The boots probably started out as black before they were aged and distressed.
  • (These are the 2nd pair he wears, the first ones are softer.)

Boromir's shield:

  • The half-globe (shield boss) in the center of the shield is plain steel, but it is surrounded by a brass decorative band, decorated with the seven stars along the top, and the wings of the sea-kings along the bottom.

Gandalf the Grey:

  • The trousers are made of a cloth with a fine weave, but (probably) regular trouser-weight. This has an imprinted pattern, possibly all over, but certainly the entire area visible at the exhibition (up to about ankle height). The bottom hem of the pants legs is imprinted with one horizontal line, then a band of swirls, then four lines. This band is 3D in nature, much like imprinted velvet. Then the other patterning starts, shaped like leaves and vines. This lower band may be trim, but we're not sure.
  • The hood appears to be attached to the robe, as does the cloak.
  • The shirt or underrobe is laced up, but does not appear to have any grommets. Instead, the lacing goes through holes, of which six were visible. The neckline is very frayed.
  • The edges of the riding slits on the robe have the same embroidery on them as the sleeve hems (as already stated on ACS)
  • The satchel strap appears made out a single long, twisted strip of canvas, probably wrapped around something, either rope of more twisted canvas. It seems to be tied or coarsely stitched with thin string to the main body of the bag.

Gondorian ranger

Lacking Faramir's outfit to obsess over, I've transferred all attention reserved for it to the Gondorian ranger costume which was present. I have composed a breakdown of the layers, although for some of it I don't know many details. Generally I noted material and colour, though.

Also, I'm under the impression that different rangers wear different colours. There was only one of their outfits at the exhibit, though, so that will be the one I describe.

  • Grey linen undershirt, reaching to below the knee. It is visible only there, where it peeps out from under the other layers, at the inner part of the elbow, and (possibly) at the neck, where I think the bit of cloth the Rangers use to cover the lower half of their face might actually be the shirt's collar.
  • Black leather boots
  • 'Shoetoppers' covering the lower legs and the tops of the shoes/boots, in rust-brown leather, with a strap running along the bottom of the boots.
  • A rust-brown leather coat, down to the lower part of the calf. No info above that, sorry.
  • Brown woolen tabard/surcoat, edged with black leather. The bottom is shaped like a very flat 'V'. The leather edging is about 4-5 cm wide (slightly less than 2 inches)
  • Black or dark grey leather jerkin, with a brown woolen underlayer to it. The front is held shut with laces through grommets (lots of them), the sides each have four pairs of D-rings through which lacings pass.
  • Olive-green bracers, quilted fabric (linen?). These extend over the back of the hand, with grommets in the corners for a lace running over the palm of the hand. The quilting-stitching runs lengthwise, along the arm. Closed with laces and grommets.
  • Rust-brown leather vambraces, two-tiered, with the Gondorian wings tooled into them. Closed with buckles and straps.
  • Rust-red suede quilted pauldrons, same as Faramir's, closed with laces though grommets.
  • Rust-brown leather gorget (yoke), laced up with (probably) 11 pairs of grommets. It appears to be made out of one piece, with no shoulder seams. The strap holding the cloak in place disappears into the gorget through a pair of reinforced slit in the front.
  • Olive-green cloak, semi-circle, with a heavily frayed bottom edge. The material is quite thin, about the weight of a light denim. The cloak is hooded, the hood it double-layered (lined with the same material).
  • Three 'belts': a swordbelt, a quiver-strap, and a single strap of thin leather to which a couple of pouches are affixed.
  • Each ranger is equipped with a standard Gondorian soldier's sword. The swords are 'hand-and-a-half' swords, with brass pommels and crossguards. The grip is either dark wood or dark leather. At the crossguard the grip is square in cross-section, but it is rounded until completely round at the pommel.

2nd Age Gondorian Soldier / Numemorean

The Numenorean (or rather, second age Gondorian) soldiers wear a black woolen or linen tabard over what looks a lot like a standard third-age Gondorian breastplate. The tabard reaches to below the knee, and is edged with black leather, like the Gondorian Rangers. On the chest it sports the second age White Tree and Seven Stars design (and possibly the crown...I don't remember), same as on their shield, tooled and painted on a separate piece of leather which is then stitched to the tabard. Under everything they wear a white linen undershirt, also reaching to below the knee.

The Second-age Gondorian shields are made of wood, with black leather covering the front, and some iron reinforcement around the edges. The leather is tooled and painted with the second-age white tree, seven stars, and crown devices.

One of the Rohirrim costumes displayed came with a round shield. The shield boss was decorated with two running horses, with their hooves towards the center of the boss.

Detail of the decorate scales on Theoden's armor  
Moria Ocr sabatons  

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This page was last updated 04/22/08