Lord of the Rings Guardian of the Citadel costume

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Active Member
I wanted to share my latest costume project - it's been awhile since I posted here.

I don't have a ton of WIP pics (I'm so bad at that) but I have a few.

Here is the final costume.
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With the exception of the helm, the armor is made from sintra. Just as a note since sintra contains PVC, it's wise to heat it in a well ventilated area while wearing a respirator. The longest part of this process wasn't making the patterns because they are all fairly simple shapes but making everything so it's proportional to every other piece. That is what I struggled with the most. I had help in making the helm. It's a very complicated piece beyond my skill level but I learned a lot of new techniques that I can apply to other projects. I wanted to make the proper Citadel Guard helm where the side wings are detached from the top of the helm but that became too difficult because of time and budget constraints. So, I just went the regular soldier's helm since I knew it would look the best.

The armor decorations (tree of Gondor and flourishes on the armor skirt) were created my making a stencil out of adhesive backed Foamies and filling the stencil in with bondo. The raised edges of the armor skirt were simply made by heating the sintra and pressing a hard edge (I used a piece of wood) into it to create a depression.

All of the pieces were finished off with silver leaf Rub 'n Buff. I really think for many applications, it's has the best metal look. I painted everything in a dark gray primer - since Rub 'n Buff is applied by hand it gives the armor parts a hand forged look and there are areas where the dark primer color is barely showing through the silver that gives the armor a very subtle patina effect.

I just realized these are the most WIP pics that I have - lol. I modeled the belt buckle, sword belt fasteners, sword hilt, sword handle end, and scabbard topper in the free version of Sketchup Make. I then had the parts printed by Shapeways in polished plastic. Shapeways has metal printing options available but it's super expensive even for small items. The sword handle is wood, I used my small drill press as a lathe to shape it. The blade is a full tang remainder Windlass blade I picked up off of eBay for less than $20 thus the rusted look which I decided to keep. The other scabbard parts are just pieces molded from a cheap plastic garage sale sign using a heat gun. The scabbard is wrapped and sewn in real leather.
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Since I don't sew I worked with a seamstress to make the cloak and tunic. We found some good patterns and modified them to make the cloak and tunic. Navy blue twill was used.
I ended up purchasing real chainmail. I tried to make my own out of plastic pvc rings that I cut from a pvc pipe (the way the chainmail was created in the films) but it looked like crap. The pvc cuts were very inconsistent (probably because I don't have the right tools) and I had spent so much time making all the other parts to a high standard that I didn't want this piece of the costume to be lousy. I think I spent more time on this than other other part of the costume. I may try my hand at chainmail again, I definitely learned a lot.

Thanks or looking!


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New Member
That looks awesome man! I am actually working on this same thing right now ( or at least starting my research to ). Can you go into more detail about your work on the helmet? Also Was wondering what length did you end up making your sword? Love the 3d work you did on those particular bits. I have to learn how to use a free program so I can get those bits printed myself, hopefully, I am able to! Thanks in advanced!

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