Witch King of Angmar- First major build! (pic heavy)

StrikingCosplay

New Member
Hello everyone! :)

As a long time lurker here I have benefited immensely from the knowledge these forums contain and I wanted to give some back. It was about a year ago after attending my second con that the idea popped into my head to do a Witch King build. I started looking into how/if it would be possible and I can honestly say I under estimated what the project it would become. :p

Thanks to some awesome posts on here and similar sites I managed to finish it and got to wear it to its debut convention two weekends ago!

So on to the good stuff. I wanted to do a write up about the processes I used to make my Witch King build, mistakes and all(I'll admit up front that I am a bit of a perfectionist) !

Where to start...

I suppose the first major thing I did was the helmet. I was familiar with Pepakura and paper craft but had never done much with it before. I looked around and found a great paper craft for the Witch King helmet. The first one I printed out was too small :facepalm... so for the second round I sat down the figured out the dimensions better and it was perfect!

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Next it was time for resin and fiberglass. I started out coating the outside with just resin and this worked great to provide some stability to the paper form. I did find out that the card stock loses a decent amount of its rigidity when wet with resin. Thankfully this didn't cause any major issues.

Next I applied fiberglass to the inside of the helmet. This one is a bit odd because unlike traditional helmets there is only a ring for the back half of the helmet and the spike is in the open. I did something I had seen online and applied all the fiberglass mats ahead of time using some spray adhesive. It worked great to hold all the mesh in place and allowed me to coat it with resin all at once without having to worry about placing new mats as I went.

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With the fiberglass done I moved on to the spikes. The best way I could come up with at the time was to take a wood dowel and chop it down to look like a spike. It ended up looking really good but took forever. They are a bit bigger then what you see in the movie but I ended up liking the look better anyway haha.

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Next it was time for Bondo. This was the first time I had really worked with Bondo and man did I pay the newbie price for that in sanding lol. It took much longer then I would've wanted it to but I got it looking pretty good.

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Once the sanding was done I happily painted...

This is when my first major mistake showed itself... :facepalm I was unhappy with some of my bondo work. It was smooth but in a few places it had the wrong look. I know I should've seen this before I painted everything but I guess a part of me was in a hurry(impatience won out over perfection). Due to this mistake I went back and sanded off the paint and did some Rondo (resin/bondo) crude casting. I did this in the nose area and around the head band. In the end with was one of the best things I could've done since it helped make everything very solid and looked 10x better!

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With the helmet repainted and in good condition I moved on to the gauntlets.

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The build for the rest of the armor will be in later posts! :)
 
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StrikingCosplay

New Member
On to the gauntlets!

This was going to be so much more complicated then I had originally thought that it's not even funny ><

I started out by picking out some good movie stills and blowing them up a bit. There are two versions of the gauntlets that I saw. One for the regular nazgul that does not have spikes on the knuckles and is overall less elaborate. The Witch-kings can be seen very well when they are suiting him up in return of the king. Once I felt that I had all the parts in mind I went about making a paper model to use as a base for everything.

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Next I used what I would come to believe is the best cosplay product ever made! Worbla!! This thermoplastic is simply amazing. It allowed me to do things I thought impossible... not to mention being very noob friendly. I traced all the paper bases on to the worbla sheet and cut them out. Worbla sticks to itself so I left the paper on as a kind of backing to isolate the parts from one another as I formed the pieces. The finger pieces took the longest by far! In order to get the slight bend in them I put them on a small glass candle holder and heated them with a heat gun. Once they had cooled I was left with a nice uniform curve.

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The hand and wrist pieces were done in a similar fashion. The ridges you see are made by placing toothpicks and forming the worbla over them. Pretty low tech way of doing it but it gave me exactly what I was looking for!

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I didn't get any pictures of me making the vambraces but the process was very similar to the gauntlets. I added leather straps and brass buckles to keep everything in place. The fit is very snug but I can still move around reasonably well. The gauntlets were glued in place with rubber cement. :) I was very happy with the results, here are a few pictures of my first full fit test of them.

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Next it was time for the pauldrons!
 
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StrikingCosplay

New Member
Next I worked on the pauldrons. This was a bit of a challenge for me because of the compound curves and getting the size correct. I did my best to make a paper form and mock things up. Once the form was made and I was happy I did the normal resin, fiberglass, and Bondo. The one thing I would like to say is that the pauldrons look different from others I have seen people make for this costume. After watching the extended footage I determined that the popular version you see out there is a little off when it comes to styling on the bottom of the main plate so I did my best to match what is seen in the movies.

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This is where my second major mistake came in... :facepalm

When I made the paper forms I didn't get the curve just right but thought that I should be able to make up for that in bondo... I was wrong. After getting things sanded down I was unhappy with the rather sharp curve the sides had.

In order to remedy this I carefully cut out the middle section of the main plate and then added paper back over the hole. I got the curve just the way I wanted it and then did another rondo casting.

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Lesson learned... take more take with paper form.

The lower plates were made from Worbla and curved to fit my arm. I used a leather strap and rivets to hold the plates together and the bottom plate would later have an elastic band attached to hold things in place.

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The lines on the armor were done with puffy paint! It was a simple solution to a problem. Once the puffy paint was dry I painted over everything and it looked like it was there the entire time.

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Finally it was time for the sabatons!
 
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StrikingCosplay

New Member
With the pauldrons out of the way I turned my focus to the sabatons. At this point I felt a little more confident with my process and these went very smoothly. One thing to note that just like the gauntlets there were two different types made. One type for the regular Nazgul and a dressed up version for the Witch King. The only scene where you really see his is at Weathertop and only for about two seconds haha. After my research was finished I made up my traditional paper base and then cut out Worbla to fit out over it.

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I decided to make a back plate to keep them from sliding forward on the boots. Hinges seemed like the best way to make this somewhat functional and dress things up a bit. I found very small brass hinges and made up another leather strap and buckle to tie it all together. I later found out that I did not have to undo this to put things on which was nice but at least I know I can if I wanted to!

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Once all the rivets were in place I used elastic straps to hold it on the bottom of the boot I used. I then applied EVA foam over the straps and to the bottom of the boot to stop the elastic from wearing away as I walked around.

Then it was on to the cloak/robe!
 
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StrikingCosplay

New Member
The cloak/robe was a bit strange for me. I don't normally work in fabric and thankfully was able enlist the help of my wife and her sewing machine!

I found a few sites that helped me figure out what they did/used in the movies. The best I could tell is that they used 5 layers of heavy wool and some silk... Needless to say this was not very practical in terms of price, weight, and long term wear. After roaming the local fabric store for an hour we selected three lighter but still heavy looking fabrics to use.

The first layer would be burlap, a nice course texture that was slightly lighter then the others. The second was just plain old linen and the last was a polyester mix.

We traced out the pattern on the floor and made the first one like a robe.

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The second one (linen) we made the same way but cut it up middle to let it flow more.

The polyester mix was then cut up into smaller pieces along with the left over linen and stitched on to the first two layers. We also put a few stitches in other places to help the fabric drape more and look as if it was really flowing. The end result is something that looks like it has many more layers then it does. As I move around the layers kind of peak out and so it looks like it is very heavy and full.

Don't get me wrong this thing is HOT to wear but it is still within reason.

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There you have it my whole Witch King build! (I'll put my swords in another post in the prop section) I got to wear it a few weeks ago to a local con and it was a huge hit.

I also entered in the craftsman competition and managed to take away best over all craftsmanship! I was very happy with this whole build and it has certainly invigorated my desire to make more costumes!

Once again thanks to everyone for your help and for sharing your stories and knowledge!

Also if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask! I attempted to cover everything but I likely left a bit out.

My Facebook page has way more shots of this whole build in case anyone was interested :)

Here are some finished pictures!

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TazVader

Sr Member
A job extremely well done and a great post. Thanks for sharing and congrats mate:)

T
A
Z


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
 

Blaxmyth

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This is excellent! Great build! This thread is pure gold as a tutorial. Thanks for the excellent photos. :thumbsup
 

StrikingCosplay

New Member
Thanks! If you are talking about the pep file I used Movieman's unfolds Witch_King helmet - Download - 4shared

The rest of the costume was all hand made by me. I mainly used movie stills as my references to make the rest of the armor pieces. As you can see with the gauntlets I used the references to make paper patterns that I traced on the worbla.
 
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