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Bard the Bowman Cosplay build: First to honor the builds that inspired me, before I even knew therpf existed as the source for both of them: therpf members Anduril ( Thread 'The Hobbit: Bard the Bowman Costume Build' The Hobbit: Bard the Bowman Costume Build ) and jessamygriffin ( Thread 'Bard the Bowman costume build - The Hobbit movies' Bard the Bowman costume build - The Hobbit movies ) These two builds were film worthy and I had no hopes of bettering these as both looked like on screen replicas.

I was in a remote job away from home and found myself in prime territory for getting a great hide, cheap. Salt Lake, Utah. I got a great full elk tanned for 99 dollars. The original in the film was roo.

I noticed that the hide had very nearly the correct shape to be a one piece coat. I opened slits for the arm holes and added two sleeve pieces made from a nearly similar split leather. The only sewing required was the sleeves.

I then trimmed this back to match the contours of Bard's coat. These trimmings became my leg wraps and hand wraps. I used Dollar Tree 1/4 inch cordage to tie them on.

I spent my weekends looking for second hand thrift matches for shirts and pants. I was away from home at this remote job for 9 months and had a lot of free time. I eventually found a match for the base grey shirt and the very baggy pants, size 8x but had to purchase the material for the near burlap but really silk, overshirt. I draped this on my manneqin form and made a very rough shirt, bound with leather cord.


This overshirt needed some wear and tear so I attempted to match the costume by removing threads near all edges and then sewed a protective and nearly invisible edging to keep the fraying from destroying the shirt.

I had an old moccasin kit that was a garage sale find and colored it to match the shoes but did not go as far as my two inspirations listed above, who had actual fur on the tops.

I continued to let my hair grow and shaped my facial hair to match. No faux hair additions were used on this build.


After nearly a year, the costume was ready but I had gained 30 pounds. I will do another set of poses when I am back down to Luke Evans weight in the show. This first one is me getting caught making a mess in the house and then my final build.


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That coat…. Love it! Looks much more involved than what you actually had to do to make it as you describe.
I was ridiculously lucky on how it hung like a coat without trying. I was unsure I would be happy that the seams wouldn't be there like the onscreen version and even thought about painting in seams with a stain pen. Even the lapel and collar was already there.
Time to pull Bard out and get some final pics. I am finally getting the weight down. My list of to-do is:

Stain the coat

Stain the shirt

Work on hair -
curl mine
color mine
find a believable toupee or figure out a mechanism for the world's most credible comb forward

Possibly stain shoes but I will post some pics for opinions on all of these aging projects.

Bard and at 20 pounds heavier than today....


I don't think I can do much about the fur differences but was thinking maybe some hair gel and purposed clumping?
Shoes and leg wraps:





Now with them side by side, I think the leg wraps need more staining than the shoes.
Outer shirt:

This did not hold the rit dye and only held the shoe polish so definitely more being added tomorrow. Needs a darker brown and some green.

And the coat:

This is still wet so I cannot vouch for the end result but it looks like the rit brown and the shoe polish held. I intend to use some hair gel on the inner hair to clump it up a bit.

The shoes, leg wraps, hand wraps and ropes:


This camera changed the color quite a bit. The toe color of mine is a near match to his, not the school bus yellow seen above.

This coat is so heavy I had to set it up on the handtruck (dolly) to take it outside for painting and drying. The shirt is now much more brown. I will get some better full sun pictures.
Oh and wanted to point out that Bard also falls into the Peter Jackson wholesale color correction that is known as Color Grading. His shirt looks swamp green in one scene and smooth milk chocolate brown in another:



One is in stark contrast to the coat and the other is a near perfect match but just a shade lighter.
Did a bit more work on the coat sleeves. They are a different leather and were slightly gray tint. Now it is down to accessories. I will work on the hair additions, the huge hair ridge, and shave to match..... again. I will begin the bow tomorrow, following rpf's jessamygriffin bow build in her Bard how-to.

Post in thread 'Bard the Bowman costume build - The Hobbit movies' Bard the Bowman costume build - The Hobbit movies
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My bow got a little change from my guide instructions as I wanted it to slim down even more toward the ends. At the point where it separates, I joined the next smaller pipe size. I created an insert that goes into both sizes of pipe and is glued inside and out. It fits perfectly into the larger pipe (does not cause it to bulge) but is tapered on the smaller end to allow the heated smaller pipe to expand around it. This brought the edges of each together smoothly on the outside.

I have pipe glued mine together because I was having problems with the joints staying put. After heating the pvc (outside) I pushed the pipe firm down onto the face of my old horse trailer (round front). This gave it my, hoped for, long arc with one flattened side and the outer face still rounded. Even with the arc, it is still around 6.5 feet.


This will likely go down in history as my roughest prop yet. Brown paint, notching and leatherwork yet to go.
Second coat of brown is drying on the bow. I reshaped the notches to match the movie bow. Keep in mind that the miniature sculpts from WETA have the wrong bow and do not match the onscreen used bow, especially at the notches. Their larger sculpts have the right bow, resembling a nearly round staff for most of its length but the wrong notch, nearly flat and very sharp. Possibly meant to be different bows from different parts of the story. Here is the movie version:

Screenshot_20231121-092858_Samsung Internet.jpg

Also, there are no flat areas on the bow where the width flares out to a nearly plate flatness. His onscreen bow is shaped near round and is not a perfectly round rod BUT it certainly has no large flat areas like are shown in the collectible sculptures of him. The thickness and shape are very nearly round from tip to tip. It is a repro of the english longbow at its origin and not its evolution to including wide flat wing areas.

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I started on the quiver. I did not find anything to scratch build with so I opted for a mailing tube, cut the topd down and then split one side with a hacksaw and propped it open with a jar lid.


Mainly 3 section of color on the quiver and a lot of making custom straps. Mine will certainly be "good at ten feet" and not a replica because this part of the build is crushing my soul. Along with the leather braiding on the bow. But I do have the quiver ready to cover:


I went over the split opening with card stock in several layers and then wrapped it in tape. I am ready to wrap this in faux leather and then will color the sections.
I finally found some passable faux leather but it is very stretchy. I cut it in 1/4 inch strips but left all bound on one end. I realized I needed two layers in order to braid it how I wanted. I glued the leading edge down facing the wrong way so I could then flip it over to hide the glued portion. I had enough strips in a row to go around the bow twice (two layers).


I attempted to braid for at least two hours and nearly went ballistic and chucked the whole project.

I had to give up for my own sanity.

I then realized I could get one layer flat and spiralled around, with little effort, so I did this and then bound the ends.


I could now weave one strand at a time without losing my mind. I only went at about three rows at a time.


I used a spring hair clip because I did not find a knitting needle.

And after a very long time......


I still need to put the ring braids on each end of this section and dress up the bow's end sections. After that, time to make the bowstring.

This is, without question, the hardest part of this entire costume.
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