Gladiator Maximus Germania

Beetroot

Member
Hi all,

Here is my Maximus build from the first battle in Gladiator. I will put the build over the coming days/weeks as I get time.

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Beetroot

Member
Thankyou for all the kind words. I'm glad I bit the bullet and put up some pictures as it has now motivated me to put up the build.

The soft parts:
Included in this will be the tunic, pants and cloak(cape). These parts were some of the hardest to plan as in the movie they are often covered in armor. They were also difficult to color as the movie is desaturated. To account for this I used as much reference as I could from external sources as well as screen shots from the HD version of the movie where I could. Where I couldn't come up with something accurate to the movie I went with something as historically accurate as I could (This is where I discovered how inaccurate this costume is compared to what we know about ancient Roman army uniforms but what are you going to do).

The tunic: As there was little reference in the movie to go off I went with a basic tunic in a crimson. In deciding what fabric to use the historic roman fabric of choice was woolen, followed by linen. Since wool would be hot and expensive I ended up going with a linen/rayon mix as this was suggested in some reenactor circles as close enough. With that knowledge it was off to Joannes to get some as well as some scarlet dye. After finding the rough dimensions for the tunic from another reenactor (http://www.larp.com/legioxx/tunic.html) I went to work. After building my Tusken Raider Robe from last year I went with a larger pattern then what I thought I needed to make sure it wasn't too short. This worked out well and I ended up ripping off a couple inches at the end as it wasn't needed.
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As you can see it is pretty simple design. After looking at the final pictures I might go back someday and darken it with a brown but overall I was pretty happy.
The Pants:
This is where it gets extremely inaccurate. As I didn't have a whole lot of fabric left I decided to go with a tighter pant then in the movie or historic. The reason for this is that in the movie you don't really see it and it is wrapped up tight with the greaves and other wraps. Instead of having the extra fabric create heat and a lot more work while putting it on I went with a rough pattern from an old pair of jeans and went to work.
They look ridiculous without any of the armor but once the armor is on you don't really see them and overall match the costume.
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The Cloak:
Next onto the signature piece, the cloak complete with wolf. Well I didn't have a wolf but I did have a beautiful Coyote left over from my trapping days in North Dakota. After receiving this beautiful skin back from the taxidermist I was determined to complement natures work as best I could. That was how this whole project started and how I ended up picking this particular costume.
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The cloak itself was from a reenactor source and once I find the website I will update here and is made out of a scarlet wool. This turned out perfect and all I had to do was cut it in half to get the right length (only needed to fall to about knee length), gather the top and attach some straps for my arms.
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When looking at reference the straps seem to be attached by 4 little round circles. I couldn't figure out what they were so I used some earring studs and glued them in place.
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Finally the coyote was attached using some safety pins as I didn't want to store the skin with the costume.

The remaining soft parts that were used were just some scraps left over of the linen/rayon fabric to be used for various wraps and some leather to wrap up my hands/arms in. Overall, I wouldn't change any of these part except adding a bit more darker coloring or weathering.
 

Beetroot

Member
Now that the boring part is over its time to move onto the key peice of the whole project.

The Cuirass:
When I started this project my plan was instead of spending hours and money trying to make something look like the real thing instead I would just use the real thing. The primary example for this was the leather work. Instead of using foam or some other material and making it look like leather I would just use leather. The base cuirass was purchased already formed (Seemed like a good deal off ebay at the time) with the back piece made out of some Vege Tanned leather. This was formed by wetting the leather and laying it over a dress form.
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The pauldrons were made out of the same leather and wet formed in the same way. The leather was then stained with gold and silver water based dyes where appropriate.
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Some soft leather was then used to combine all the pauldron pieces together. Initially I used split pins as I though the flat look at top was more accurate but ended up settling on rivets that were a lot stronger.
The leather skirt was made of more of the soft leather. This was cut to shape and a seam sewn using my wife's sewing machine. This was all glue together using barge cement.
My 3 year old daughter was impressed with this and proclaimed "Daddy has pretty skirt" so I knew I was on the right track. Finally some left over vege tanned leather was combined with some buckles to connect the front and back. I ended up joining the skirt to the cuirass to simplify putting the costume on. The actual costume seems to have these as two separate pieces.
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When going back through this build I had forgotten that I had mocked the whole cuirass up in cardboard (complete with hot glue sculpts) before buying anything.
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Beetroot

Member
pics look great, nice work on the build
Thanks Gothic. I thought I had some more pictures floating around from the build but it seems if you take too long on a project these get lost.The braces and greaves will be up tonight hopefully.
 

Beetroot

Member
Braces and Greaves: This is another time where instead of molding and casting which is how I believe the originals were made I decided to go with leather since I had no idea how to make fiberglass/resin castings look like leather. In researching these pieces I found something disconcerting ... the originals don't look that good. Since they spend so little time on screen in close up (greaves specifically) you don't actually notice the details (or in this case that lack of). After noticing this I decided to go down a route of make it look similar but better (in my opinion of course). So onto the details

Greaves: After making duct tape copies of my legs and feet I wet molded the leather to get the right shape. I then used leather rivets to connect the 3/4" Clips and D-rings to the leather. The leather was stained with a dark brown stain and then darkened some more with shoe polish. This gave a nice worn appearance with an appropriate amount of shine. I was then planning on adding some filigree similar to the greaves worn in the final fight scene, however after completing them thus far I decided this simple look matched the overall costume quite nicely and left it alone. Finally I used some leather cord to attach to my leg.
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The Braces:
This followed a similar thread to the Greaves. I intially planned on trying to mimic the original as best I could, however my initially attempts failed so I followed my own artistic guidance after this. The patterns was originally made by getting some string and beads and making a negative that would be imprinted into the leather. This failed to work so I ended up purchasing some filigree metal works from the local hobby lobby beading section and made a negative impression out of it. I then wet my leather that I was using for the braces and attempted to imprint the pattern into the leather. After various attempts at using a slip roll (tool for creating rolled metal sheets), hammering, driving over and simply pressing the pattern in my final technique involved literally jacking my car (Subaru Outback) on top of the wet leather and pattern. This worked quite well and gave a nice subtle pattern even if it was time consuming.
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After hitting it with the same gold stain I used of the Cuirass the pattern was acceptable visible. The edges were covered with Gold Automotive trim which I used on the Pauldron pieces as well. This how Gator Fett did his build which can be seen here
http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=129624&highlight=maximus
of the Carthage armor. After purchasing it and using it I believe this wasn't how the Germania armor was made or I had the wrong type.
Finally I punched holes and used more leather cord to join the two pieces. This isn't even close to how the actual pieces were joined (I believe they were molded and cast as one piece) but I didn't want to make a hidden mechanism to join the two pieces. This is one piece that I may go back and change however with the rabbit furs hiding a majority of the braces it looks close enough.
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Beetroot

Member
The Boots:
At this point I should mention if you would like to forgo the pain of building this costume you can purchase the whole thing at Todd's Costumes.
http://www.toddscostumes.com/costumes/movie-costumes-gladiator/maximus-gladiator-costume-germania/
However I prefer to use it as a reference (even though I ended up disagreeing with a lot of it due to personal taste) specifically to what you should be looking out for in the movie. However when it comes to boots, $150+ was again a little too much to bear so using his pictures as a reference and checking the movie to match I chose to purchase some suede boots of ebay (used preferably) and modified to match. The boots I found (for $50 I believe) had no laces so I ended up purchasing some "matching" (not quite as close as I wanted) suede and created a tongue for the shoes. Punching some holes and threading some more of the leather cord, gave a believable equivalent for the movie version. Fortunately the greaves cover most of the shoe so I didn't have to worry to much.
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You can see here how the difference in colours can be seen if the flash and angle is right, however in the other picture you can see that in most cases you would never be able to tell the difference.
 

Beetroot

Member
The Sword:
This was one of the first things that I fabricated. Using a wooden gladius from ebay I cut the guard, pommel and blade off (meaning all I kept was the grip) using a wooden sphere purchased at the local hobby store, some scrap wood fashioned into the guard shape, some wood planed down to a blade shape I had the basics. After this the pommel and guard were stained, the grip painted and the blade covered in Aluminum tape.
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Some brass buttons were added and the sword was almost complete. For the brass accents I attempted to sculpt and cast the correct shapes ... and this is where it didn't quite meet standards. I ended up with a sword that was close but not quite close enough.
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This whole sword was created before any of the armor was started or any other materials were purchased as a first attempt at mold making and casting as well as show of commitment. If I was willing to finish this sword then, in my mind at least, it proved I would be willing to finish the whole costume (this was underestimating the whole endeavor but turned out to be correct). Anyway, through out this build I knew that the scabbard would probably be beyond me and with the sword would not be accurate enough for me. This all lead me to purchasing a cheap copy that would need a little modification. This sword would not be wasted and the blade was switched for a small foam board version so the sword could be carried in public without having to worry about local laws or safety.
The sword purchased was close enough and all that was required was a little bit of stain on the leather portions to darken it to the correct colour. At some point I might go in and replace the fake wood parts for real wood but overall I was happy with the result.
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Beetroot

Member
The Greeblies:
For the details on this armor there are 3 main parts. The front of the chest sculpts, the coin/round parts on the skirt and the edge parts of the shoulder and skirt.
Sticking with the same theory used throughout the rest of the build the goal here was to use the real thing rather then fake it, so early on I decided I would try and cast this in low melt alloy (lead free pewter). Initially I was hoping to find the iconography (wolf/griffon???) available as belt buckles or other form of sculpt/carving so I wouldn't have to sculpt anything myself. Unfortunately I couldn't find one single piece so I had to sculpt this all from scratch. Using cheap water based clay I created the sculpts, using Mold Max 60 I create 1 piece molds and cast the parts.
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The overall look was perfect however some of the detail work turned out to be quite brittle and the first time I wore the costume I snapped a couple pieces off and had to fix it (turns out a soldering iron works perfectly melt and rejoin the parts).
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If I was to change anything that would probably be the part just to make wearing the costume less nerve racking. Bolts were cast into the metal and used to connect to the leather.
This was my first time using this process. Here is a short video explaining the process briefly if interested.
https://www.facebook.com/HageHands/videos/1648974192061036/
The "buttons" on the skirt were created the same way as above but instead of sculpting I managed to find an actual button that looked "correct" (the actual movie reference looks more like a face but I was unable to recreate it to a satisfactory level). These were again connected using bolts cast in the metal. These were covered in some gold ruff'n'buff to get the colour correct.
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Finally the details on the edge of the shoulders were difficult to recreate correct. I'm still not a 100% sure on how the movie costume did it (I assume mold and cast) but I managed to find some filigree that looked the part. After getting these I burnt them to remove the silver colour and bring out some of the copper underneath. These were then riveted on.
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After putting it all together you get this...
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Beetroot

Member
Storage: Since I have had this sitting in our bedroom on a dress form for the last year as I worked on it, I decided now that it was complete it was time to put it away.(My wife's costume occupies that place for now, but more on that later). I have seen previous threads on how people store their costumes and decided I would add this last little part just to show how I solved it.
After searching all the local hardware stores and other storage stores I came across a rather odd shaped tool box.
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After adding some foam to protect the front I created a hanger that would basically hang the costume from the shoulders.
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Finally all the soft parts were put in the base of the chest with one of the soft pieces layered on top to stop the whole piece from moving too much.
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It is a little awkward getting out but I feel confident it will hold up to the abuse of being moved around.
 
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