Praetor Claudius Glaber

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Active Member
Good evening, RPF!

A couple of months back I decided I wanted to do a costume from a show that I particularly like. What show? Spartacus. Some people love it, some people hate it, I'm one of the former. So, I set out to make this:


Pretty ambitious project, considering the most I'd ever made from leather was a few pouches and a belt for my ROTJ Luke. Well, I'm not one to back down from a challenge, so I took to the internet and Facebook to learn everything I could about making leather armor. I came up with a plan, and took a trip to Tandy for a few sides of leather and some buckles, rivets and other little whatnot.

I had previously purchased a steel breastplate that I was going to try and convert into a previous season version, but the work involved with that was going to be insane, and I wasn't going to be happy with the end result. The plus side? I ended up with an amazing form.

I cold soaked the leather and stretched it over the chest:

Pardon the sink. I lightly heat-gunned the armor to harden it up. Think of it as boiling the armor without having to wear gloves or worry about burning myself. After I trimmed it down, I used an awl to scribe the line between where the colors would be different. Don't know if this has a technical term, I'm not a properly trained leathersmith.


After two coats of black, I was pretty pleased, and starting making straps. In hindsight, I made more of a headache by attaching the straps before dying them, but now I know (and at the time, that was exactly 0% of the battle).


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Active Member
The next day I started work on the backplate. I didn't take any pictures of it, specifically, but I used the same method (only with a thinner leather). Soaked it in cold water, then stretched it over a form, and heatgunned it to harden it up and set the detail. In the end, it seems like a lot of work for something that is going to be covered by a cloak, but *I* know there is detail back there.

I did a better job on the straps where they were going to be visable. Not bad for my first time making straps.



Also, I made bracers.



Active Member
I took a couple days off, because I was out of leather. A trip to Tandy after payday, and I was back in business. I started cutting out strips for the belt, and then cut the 'fringe' in the bottom, and glued the two layers together.


From this process I learned that if you get excess glue on the leather, it doesn't take the dye as well. Mental note to dye first, glue second.


I dyed all the belt pieces, and attached the short ones to the armor via rivets, and the longer ones are attached to a belt that goes under the armor. I need to take pictures of the belt by itself.



Well-Known Member
the leather work is really good, from the pic you posted it doesnt look like he has any of the shorter strips, just the long ones that hang over his leg. Don't know how accurate you are going for, if your doing the artistic license then ignore my ramblings.

by the way i long for the day that claudius and ilithia meet their end.


Active Member
No artistic license:


He just doesn't have any of them on in the promotional shots, which more than likely means that someone forgot to have him put it on. You can see it a fair amount in the show, and I've been using these two photos a lot to figure stuff out.

Figuring out the shoulders was probably the most difficult thing for me, and was my most 'aha!' moment. It came to me in the shower, and I jumped to it yesterday. I grabbed some paper, sized it out to what looked right, and got to cutting. I cut two of each side, and then cut the raised details out seperate. I dyed them *before* gluing, so no weird voids in the dye.



As far as attachment goes, I put snaps into a small square of leather, then adhered it to the back side. It's all covered by the shoulders, and you never see him wear the armor without them. It's not period accurate, but it works, and it's going to keep the cape from just pulling it off.


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Active Member
Today was making the shoulder 'danglies'. It looked odd without them, and since I'm waiting on quite a few things to show up (boots, posts to hold the cloak to the shoulders, gladius, pugio) I couldn't really do much other than this and start working on the belts and strap for the sword.

Used the same pattern for the long belt hangers, just shortened them to fit the shoulder. No pics of them unfinished or glued, but...


One shoulder down, one to go...

The attachment on the back side. I added another snap to the front to help distribute the weight of the cloak. I'll take some pics when I *finish* the belts.

I also cut and dyed the belts and sword strap. I still need to make the ornamentation for them, and I'll probably end up using sheet styrene with a nice coat of Hammered Black or Gunmetal.

The hardest part of the armor, for me at least, is left. I need to sculpt the winged scorpion on the chest. I plan on doing it in clay, then molding it and casting it up in resin. After the resin has cured by while it is still soft, I plan on pushing it on the chest while still in the mold to give it the curve it needs to fit. Plus, if it ever breaks, I can just pull a new one.


Active Member
Good evening, the RPF!

Got a piece (two actually) in the mail today. The rings for holding the cloak to the shoulder armor. I tore the net apart looking for what they used, but I've decided that it was probably something custom manufactured.

That being said, I found something I'm happy with. A set of pulls from an 1880s sewing machine.


They are filthy, and while I like it, a Praetor shouldn't have messy armor, and certainly not 130 years worth of crud.


It took some doing to take it apart, but after cleaning the pieces with some gun oil and a fine wire brush, I'm pretty pleased with the shine. I had to engineer a shorter bolt by dremeling the top of another bolt, because it had too much curve and the head was a little too wide.


Got it all together and mounted. Need to do the other side tomorrow.
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Great job. Although I know this is just a costume, and it probably is a bit late to make these sort of changes. Those "danglies" on the shoulder and what appears to be a belt underneath the armor are actually a single piece of clothing called a "subarmalis"

To see a plain subarmalis with Roman chainmail, scroll halfway down: SOTW Custom Leather Subarmalis

The subarmalis acts as a cushion against blows (putting a pan over your head, and having someone hit it would hurt, putting a small pillow between your head and the pan absorbs the kinetic energy). Armor is ineffective if there is not something to absorb a blow.

As you may have guessed from my avatar, I am a Roman reenactor. Ohh and trust me, friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, strangers... will all hit your armor to see if you can feel it. They are even more so willing to test your armor out when alcohol is involved lol.

Aideon if you need some help being pointed in the direction of Roman gladii, caligae (military sandals) and all that good stuff, let me know. I can steer you away from the crap that falls apart after being worn for an hour.

Good job so far

*EDIT: The "danglies" on the subarmalis are called "pteruges"
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Well-Known Member
Hey Jason maybe this is the time to try out that new stuff from Smooth On ... the flexy stuff we were talking about a couple of weeks ago!

Hows the sculpt of the winged thing going?

Looking forward to seeing this in person in a couple of weeks!

Darth Mule

Sr Member
Very cool! And the costume suits you. Looking forward to seeing more.

Might I suggest latex for the chest emblem. We used it a lot for Roman armor emblems when I worked at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival costume shop. It's malleable, so it moves with the leather armor, which does have a bit of flex to it.


Well-Known Member
Loking good, I've been watching the show as well and every time I see Claudius' armor I try to figure out how to do it. Keep up the good work I like where it is going.


Active Member
New parts came in. Boots and Gladius.

I need to modify the boots to be laced, so I ordered a pair of used black motorcycle boots.


Problem is, they need to lace up. So, I had to get to cutting.

I started to make a second piece to do the 'raised bit' that goes around the opening, but I realized after I got it cut and started clamping it to glue that I had loaned my leather glue to a friend. Guess I'll pick it back up tomorrow. In the mean time, I wanted to work on the strap for the gladius.


After looking at lots of photos and screencaps, I came up with something I'm happy with. I used small leather rivets to attach the front, and the back strap is held to the scabbard by a snap. There is a buckle adjustment across my back so I can lengthen or shorten the strap if I ever feel so inclined. Now I just need to make the 'decorations' for the strap and sculpt the scorpion and finish the boots and I'm done. The light is at the end of the tunnel, considering I absolutely have to finish this before the 15th, plus do a little hand sewing on another costume my wife is doing all of the sewing work on for me.

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