Nazgul Gauntlets - building history (2007-2014)


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Starting in 2007, I went on an adventure of building Nazgul gloves for me and some friends.
I this tread I will try to show how I did it, what I did wrong, how problems were solved and methods refined, etc.

If you want to look at the pictures and a little discription, only, you may have a look at my Album on Facebook.
I will build up the documentation simultaneously here and on FB over the next days and weeks, but I will give more detailed description in this thread + respond to your questions :)

These are my most recent gauntlets, build for HobbitCon2014
sm 5081.jpg

And here is a comparison between my first version and the most recent one.

Materials are fibreglass, resin, leather and some other stuff, which I will explain for each task.

I hope you will enjoy this documentation! :)

EDIT: currently making some of these again, check out the LTDRUN-Thread if interested:)
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This was my first mock-up for the gauntlets in may 2007.
Materials are some wireframe, cardboard (frozen-pizza boxes), tape and for the rivets I used cord with some knots on either side of the pieces I connected with it.
I learned a lot about the machanics of intersecting plates on this. E.g. the holes are elongates to allow bending my hand from side to side.
The white tape, you see on the cardboard in the "bent down" position, had to be attached to keep the individual plates from "popping out". I had cut them to short, so I used the tape to correct that error.

From my mock-up, I created patterns, cut them out from more cardboard and folded them into shape.
Balsa wood is used to keep them in shape.
I'm actually not shure, if I supported all of them with fibreglass from their backside and I didn't take pictures of that step.
All the cardboard had been infiltrated with epoxy-resin and at least the arm-guards had been fibreglassed to keep their shape.


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So I actually DID take pictures from the strengthened pieces!
(But this is actually taken AFTER molding...which is a strory in its own...)

The arm-guard is already sculpted with NSP soft clay.
For texturing, I used a sheap dish scrubber... You will be able to see that in later pictures.

Tune in next time, when DISASTER STRIKES!! (or what to avoid when molding with silicone...)


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After sculpting all surfaces with NSP soft, I got everything ready for molding. This was the first time I ever used molding silicone...

Sadly the silicone did never fully cure!! To this day I'm not shure why. The NSP clay is usually specially designed to be low in sulphur.
Maybe it was the old waxed tablecloth???
What was left was a gooey mess which I wasn't able to clean up.

There were lots of nasty residues of silocone left, but here you can see the surface structure much better, than on the previous pics.

Of course this was a HUGE setback for me, which made me to rethink everything I had done up to this point.
Finally, I decided to start all over again!
The main reason was, that the pieces were rather tight. They needed to fit not only my hands, but those of my friends, too.


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To do the next version better, I started by plastering my hands in order to get something to build on.
My goal was to make both hand castings as symmetrcally as possible, because all the plates would be created on one side and then mirrored to the other hand.

Using the experience I gained by making the first prototypes, I carefully constructed the new version beginning with the "lowest" plate (the arm-guard). Then, piece by piece, adding the overlapping parts.
Ordinary bits of 3mm foam rubber served as spacers to accommodate for later material thicknesses and backlash.


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Next, I wanted to fibreglass (polyester resin) each plate individually from its backside so I would have a rigid piece to sculpt the surface on...again.
But Idid not want to loose the shapes for the plate by just taking them off.
For that reason I temporarily attached a piece of cardboard to each plate to ceep it in shape while fibreglassing the back. Hot glue worked great for that, because it fills in some gaps between the supporting cardboard and the plate, so I did not have to cut them very precise. Also the supporting cardboard made it easy to place them upside-down, like it's shown in the sketch.

When the insides were fibreglassed, I detached the supporting cardboard and removed all bits of hot glue. Then I soaked the outer surface in polyester resin, too.

I forgot to take pictures of the sculpting and molding tasks, so I'll try to explain the important changes contrary to the first attempt.

I did not use NSP soft, but ordinary "Kids-Clay" like this (Staedtler 8416, "Noris Club aquasoft")
I'm not exactly shure what compounds this is made of, but it is light (does swim), does not dry out and is soft, which enabled me to apply a very thin layer, where needed.

In the first molding attempt, I didn't have some kind of backing structure and basically just poured silicone over the parts in thin layers.
This time, I did mere research on moldmaking, especially concerning the mother mold. All the pieces were now backed with cardboard in a way that it sticked outwards at each side. A border was made of EVA-foam (or insulation matt) to get a more precise edge on the silicone (in the next picture you can see the black foam at the edge of the molds)

Using flexible foam was really a lucky guess!
At the time of preparing the pieces for molding, I was just looking for a material which would make it easy to create a border. I had in no way thought it trough to the process of demolding the actual casts. Also I did not intend the foam to become a substantial part of the mother mold.
The result was: only because my border-material was flexible, I was even able to remove the casted parts!
A quick sketch to show the dilemma:
The foam border bonded with the fibreglass, which makes it a bit tricky to remove the casted parts, but on the positive side, it serves as a "key" to keep the silicone in place.

And these are the molds


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Absolutely awesome build thread! I love medieval gauntlets and the LOTR nazgul are among my favorites. As you have made molds, are you going to offer kits and finished pieces? Can't wait to see then entire process -subscribbed!


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Thanks guys!
I try to explain in as much detail, as I can remember ;-) If it's to much/to few, please tell me. I plan on posting more builds, like the scabbard for my Nazgul sword, so tell my if you see room for improvement :-D
In the past years I made some 8-10 pairs of these, and a couple of my friends are also interested...
Right now I have to care about university for a month or two, but after that... already familiarized myself with the rules here on theRPF, so I might upgrade to premium member in the near future :ninja I hope thats what you wanted to hear ;-)


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The whole idea about theses gauntlets was to make them as suitable and convenient for wearing at conventions, as possible.
An important point was, that I didn't want to repaint them each time I scratcht them and the fibreglass would show trough.
My solution: Ironpowder! (the kind I used was made for sandblasting)
This is not, what I later learned is called "cold-casting", where you cover the molds surface with metallic stuff, but I completely filled the polyester resin.
Although it's a little tricky to laminate with this mixture, because the iron tends to sink quite rapidly, but the result is really amazing.
This stuff - after some steel wool treatment - doesn't only look like iron, it also feels like it (cool to the touch) and does rust on its surface:

On the right is how the casts look, when taken out of the mold. On the left: after beeing treated with steel wool

And with only a little bit of wet paper tissues stuffen in a plastic bag for 1-2 days... NO PAINT AT ALL!!! :D

Unfortunately, for the first convention I wasn't able to give this treatment to the gauntlets, because of a serious lack of time :facepalm (and the way)
So all of the first generation gautlets had a mat grey look...with chromed rivets.
Here is what my production line looked like:

FUN STORY: I remember sleeping so few the last days before the convention, totally forgetting about day-night rythm. At one point my neighbour (and landlord...) called me at 3am, asking, if I could please stop hammering rivets together in my living room :rolleyes

Another lesson I learned during this project: POLYESTER RESIN + LIVING ROOM for 2 months = NOT FUN!! (it was during the summer and I vented a lot + forced ventilation, but you know how this stuff smells, right?!!?)


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a scabbard for the Nazgul sword too?? would that be the UC sword?
YES, the united cutlery "handcrafted in Taiwan"! :D You can see the scabbard, as it is now, in the first picture of this thread.
This is it in "brandnew" contition, without weathering


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Well, now I'm gonna jump a little bit back and forth in time, because I didn't take that many pictures back in 2007.

Here you can see how I put the plates together. I made a rig in order to make ths easier and more precise.
Basically there is a pin where I put the lower part of the rivet on, which holds it in place. Then i can stack all the parts I would like to rivet together on that lower part of the rivet.
Next, I stack on the top part of the rivet and slide down the "stamp". The stamp is a bought tool, which has a concave curved end to match the convex rivet head.
The metal structure is simply there to align the top and bottom parts of the rivet correctly.
In the case of this particular rivet, you see in ths picture, I would hammer it down completely. In the case of joints which need to be loose, I have made another tool to stick in between the rivet parts while hammering it down. Its a thin metal sheet witch has a groove at the front end with the diameter of the rivets core.
After hamering down the rivet with this tool insertet, I can then pull out the tool. The joint is then able to turn and slide as necessary for the flexibility of the gauntlets.

Here is another pair of gauntlets, this time WITH steel wool treatment, but without weathering.
I made the structure of the inner arm guard in a way that allows for the leather strap to rest smootly on there.


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Sorry for the silence...been a little bit under the weather lately... + university + work
The pics I've posted so far are almost all that I've taken while building these, so to explain more of the process, I will have to make some new ones.
If there's something in particular, you would like to know more about, ask for it, and I'll start there! :-D


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While I've not yet decided if I should disassemble my Gauntlets again for making new molds (I reworked the surface quite a bit...) I took on a little side project, which I always had planned, since I first build the scabbard for my Nazgul-Sword: A matching BELT :cool
The most difficult part was to find nice belt buckles for it, which... after a while...I could not find. So what to do? MAKE THEM YOURSELF :rolleyes

Here's a little collage of the process so far: Drilling and filing from 5mm Steel

and what I have so far (bending the spring steel pins was ... interesting :wacko)

They need some finishing, but I'm not going to clean them up too much, because they are going to get weathered substantially ;)

For the belt itself: I'd love to punch some inscriptions into the leather, but I'm not shure if there are tools for punching blackspeach!???