Arms & Armour

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Contents
Grinding Wheel

Making a grinding wheel from a rotary tool grinding disc.

Weapon Racks

Making a variety of racks to hold weapons and shields.

Kite Shields

How to make kite shields from an empty plastic milk bottle. 

Textured Shields

Making textured shields from an empty plastic milk bottle. 

Shield Bosses

How to make shield bosses from superglue caps.

 

Shield Handles

Making handles for shields from an empty water bottle.

 

Shield Designs

Adding designs to your shields using adhesive tape.

 

Maces

Instructions for making a variety of maces from beads and cocktail sticks.

Rapiers

How to make simple rapiers from dressmakers' pins. 

Swords

How to make a variety of swords from plastic card and other cheap materials.

Practice Swords

Instructions for making two styles of practice sword from pop-rivets. 

Polearms

How to make a variety of polearms from cocktail sticks and other cheap materials.

Grinding Wheel (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Equipment

Grinding disc for a rotary tool

Basswood strips

Cocktail stick

Plastic tube (cotton bud stem)

PVA

Craft knife

Pin vice & drill bit

Razor saw & mitre box

Paint & paintbrush

Stage 1

The cocktail stick will provide the axle for the wheel - check that it fits through the hole in the disc.

Paint the grinding disc with thinned black paint.

Allow to dry.

Stage 2

Trim the tapered part from one end of the cocktail stick, then cut a piece 23mm in length. Cut a piece of the plastic tube about 1.5mm in length and push it onto one end of the stick.

Stage 3

Fit a drill bit with the same diameter as the cocktail stick into the pin vice. Drill a hole near one end of a piece of 3mm square section basswood. Cut to a length around 15mm long for one of the vertical supports. Make a second identical piece.

Stage 4

Cut two pieces of 3mm square basswood 22mm in length for the base of the sides. Cut two more pieces  12mm in length for the cross-braces.

Stage 5

Attach the two vertical supports to the centres of the two bases with PVA. Check the holes for the axle are pointing the right way. Allow to dry.

Stage 6

Cut a piece of a coffee stirrer to 12mm x 4mm. Drill a hole near one end of the piece to fit the cocktail stick. Trim and sand both ends to round off the corners as shown.

Stage 7

Round the cut end of the cocktail stick. Cut to a 6mm length and add a 1.5mm collar of the plastic tubing.

Stage 8

Thread the axle through one side support, the wheel, the second side support and the handle offset piece.

Stage 9

With a little PVA, glue the two cross braces in place between the side supports.

Allow to dry. 

Stage 10

Cut four bracing pieces as shown, to fit against the side supports. 

Stage 11

Glue these pieces in place with a little PVA. 

Stage 12

Glue the handle in place with PVA.

Stage 13

Add a small drop of PVA to hold the wheel in place on the axle, and another to hold the turning handle.

Allow to dry.

Stage 14

Add paint or stain to the wooden parts, and paint the two plastic collars to complete the model.

Weapon & Shield Racks (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Tools:

Basswood or Balsa

Coffee stirrers

Razor saw and Mitre block

Guillotine

PVA

Sandpaper / Emery Board

Brown ink wash

Stage 1

Cut two side supports for the rack using the razor saw and mitre box. I made mine 50mm (2 inches) tall from 12mm x 3mm (1/2" x 1/8") basswood strip.

Stage 2

Cut four pieces of coffee stirrer to the width of your rack. I opted for 64mm (2.5"). I used a home-made guillotine to cut the strips to length, but you can use the razor saw instead.

Stage 3

Lightly sand the pieces with sandpaper or an emery board.

Stage 4

Apply a small amount of PVA glue to one side of one of the coffee stirrer pieces, and attach it near one edge of a second piece. Allow to dry for a few minutes.

Stage 5 

Glue the piece to each of the side supports near the bottom front edge. Use the other cut strips to keep the spacing correct, and spare pieces of wood or plastic as supports. Allow to dry for a few minutes.

Stage 6

Attach another coffee stirrer near the upper-back corner of the side supports with a drop of PVA. Allow to dry for a few minutes.

Stage 7

Using PVA, attach the fourth strip about halfway up the rack as shown. Make sure the rack is square and allow the glue to dry thoroughly for at least an hour.

Stage 8

Apply an ink wash to the wood to stain it to a suitable brown colour. If you prefer, you can paint it, but I like to preserve the natural wood-grain.

 

Swords / Rapiers

Option A

To make a rack to hold pole-arms or spears, you can drill holes and cut slots to form the upper cross-piece.

 

Example A

A rack for pole-arms or spears.

 

Pole-arms

 

Option B

For shorter weapons or shields, you can have two layers. The middle shelf is made in the same manner as Stage 5, but is glued with the vertical strip at the back, to support the lower layer.

 

Maces

 Kite Shields from Milk Bottles (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Equipment

Empty plastic milk bottle

Craft knife / sharp scissors

Primer

Acrylic paint

Brushes

Stage 1

Wash and dry the milk bottle, and remove the label. Cut out one or more of the corner panels as shown.

Stage 2

Draw or print a template on paper, and attach it to one of the panels with masking tape. You can get about 10 shields from one of the panels from a 2-litre/4-pint bottle, assuming they are roughly 25-28mm scale.

 

Stage 3

Carefully cut out the shield shapes with a sharp craft knife. You can use scissors if you like, but they will need to be very sharp or you won't get crisp edges.

Stage 4

Undercoat the shields on both sides, allowing ample drying time before undercoating the second side.

Stage 5

Paint designs on the shields to finish them. I mounted mine on a rack, but they could also be used to decorate castle walls or on the sides of a Viking longboat.

Templates

Click the image to open a PDF file with templates for 72 variations on shield shapes. The outlines should be about right for 28mm scale shields when printed at Actual Size.

       

Textured Shields from Milk Bottles  (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Equipment

Empty plastic milk bottle

Craft knife / sharp scissors

Primer

Acrylic paint & ink

Brushes

Option 1 - Stage 1

Wash and dry the milk bottle, and remove the label. Cut out one or more of the panels at the shoulder of the bottle in the marked position. It is much easier to remove a larger section first, and refine the shape afterwards.

Option 1 - Stage 2

Draw a circle around a coin or using a circle stencil, and cut out the shape with a sharp craft knife. You can use scissors if you like, but they will need to very sharp or you won't get crisp edges.

Option 2 - Stage 1

Cut out the panel shown here, which is suitable for making textured kite shields.

Templates

Click the image to open a PDF file with templates for 72 variations on shield shapes. The outlines should be about right for 28mm scale shields when printed at Actual Size.

Option 2 - Stage 2

Attach a template to the plastic, and cut around the outline with a sharp knife.

 

Stage 3

Undercoat the shields on both sides, allowing ample drying time before undercoating the second side.

 

Stage 4

The plastic has a texture which looks a little like rough scaly skin. First I applied a green basecoat to the shield, and then an ink wash to accentuate this texture.

 

Example 2

This is a kite shield variant, made using the second option, with a boss attached. This time I opted for red scales.

 

Shield Bosses from Superglue Caps (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Equipment

Cap from a tube of superglue

Craft knife

Model shield

Superglue

Tweezers

Primer

Paint & brushes

Stage 1

Take the cap from an empty tube of superglue. Clean the cap if necessary.

Stage 2

Using the craft knife, remove the five spikes around the edge of the cap, as shown.

Option 1 - Stage 3

Carefully remove the top of the cap using the craft knife. You should end up with a piece around 1mm thick at the edges with a central bump.

 

Option 1 - Stage 4

Attach the piece to the centre of a round shield with superglue. You will probably need tweezers to avoid getting glue on your fingers, and accurately position the pieces.

 

Option 1 - Stage 5

Apply primer and then paint the shield in your chosen colour scheme.

 

Option 2 - Stage 3

Carefully remove the small cone from the top of the cap.

 

Option 2 - Stage 4

Attach the piece to a kite shield with superglue. You will probably need tweezers to avoid getting glue on your fingers, and accurately position the pieces.

Option 2 - Stage 5

Apply primer and then paint the shield in your chosen colour scheme.

Shield Handles from Water Bottles (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Equipment

Empty bottle with flat sides and ridges

Craft knife

Model shield

Superglue

Tweezers

Primer

Paint & brushes

Stage 1

Wash and dry the bottle, and remove the label. Cut out one or more of the panels at the side of the bottle in the marked position. It is much easier to remove a larger section first, and refine the shape afterwards.

Stage 2

Cut a small rectangle from the panel using the craft knife. The ridge will form the strap of the handle.

Stage 3

Carefully remove the material shown in the image using the craft knife. Trim all the sharp corners.

 

Stage 4

Attach the piece to the back of a shield with superglue. You will probably need tweezers to avoid getting glue on your fingers, and accurately position the pieces.

 

Stage 5

Apply primer and then paint the shield and handle in your chosen colour scheme.

 

Shield Designs from Adhesive Tape, from an idea by George Fisher (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Equipment

Electrical Insulation Tape or Graphic Arts Tape / Whiteboard Marking Tape or Copper "Slug-Barrier" Tape

Model shields

Superglue

Craft knife and tweezers

Primer, paint & brushes

Stage 1

Start with some model shields. You can prime and paint them before adding the tape, or add the tape first and paint over the raised design. Instructions below for making shields from an empty milk bottle.

 

Milk-Bottle Kite Shields

Stage 2 - Option 1

Cut a design from the tape using a sharp craft knife. Place the design carefully onto the shield using tweezers. Burnish the tape with the back of your fingernail to ensure good adhesion and remove any air-bubbles.

Stage 2 - Option 2

Cut a strip from the tape to the desired width. Fix the tape in place on the shield, as before. Trim the tape around the edges of the shield with a sharp craft knife.

 

Stage 3

If you aren't happy with the finish or colour of the tape, spray with primer then paint as desired. If you wish, you can coat the seams with a little superglue first, to strengthen the joints.

 

Examples 1

#1 - design cut first, then placed

#2 - strip cut, placed and trimmed

#3 - metallic copper tape covering the whole shield

#4 - tape fixed in place, then trimmed

Examples 2

These are some of George's designs using the Graphic Arts Tape

#1 - two strips of colours forming a bend sinister

#2 - two strips forming a cross with the overlap carefully removed from the intersection

Example 3

Another of George's models with  interesting design variations.

 

Example 4

This is the shield with the copper tape. I added some scratches and dings with the corner of a file, then applied an ink wash.

 

Maces from Beads (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Equipment

Beads

Cocktail sticks

Plastic tube (cotton bud shaft)

Masking tape and cotton thread

PVA, Superglue

Craft knife, Tweezers, Sandpaper

Paint and brushes

Stage 1

Sand the tip of a cocktail stick to fit through the hole in a bead. Attach the stick to the bead with a drop of PVA. Trim the point and handle to length - around 15-19mm looks about right.

Stage 2 - grip options

Add a grip from a piece of plastic tubing, cotton thread or a thin strip of masking tape wrapped around the handle.

Stage 3 - pommel options

Add a pommel from a short length of plastic tubing or a small bead. If you use a bead you'll need to fill the hole and then glue it in place.

 

Stage 4 - optional

Make spikes from short lengths cut from the tips of cocktail sticks. Attach these to the mace head with superglue. You will probably need tweezers to avoid getting glue on your fingers, and accurately position the pieces.

Stage 5

Spray with primer and allow to dry. Paint in suitable colours - I used a gunmetal basecoat with silver highlights.

Example 1

I glued six different maces to a weapons rack, but you could add them to treasure piles or display them on the walls of the Great Hall.

 

Example 2

The rack in a Hirst Arts room with a figure for scale.

   

Rapiers from Pins (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Equipment

Round-headed dressmakers' pins

Bugle Beads or fine plastic tube

Plastic card (old ID card or similar)

Superglue

Craft knife, Tweezers,

Map Pin or Pin Vice and Fine Drill Bit

Paint and brushes

Stage 1

Slide a bugle bead onto the pin. Alternatively cut a section of the plastic tube to length and use that instead.

Stage 2

Cut a small rectangle or diamond from the plastic card. This will become the hilt of the sword.

Stage 3

Using a map pin, make a hole in the centre of the hilt piece you just made. If the plastic is too stiff, you may find it easier to use a pin vice and fine drill bit.

 

Stage 4

Slide the hilt into place. If necessary, secure everything in place with a tiny amount of superglue. You may wish to use tweezers for this step.

Stage 5

Spray with primer and allow to dry. Paint in suitable colours - I used a gunmetal basecoat with silver highlights and deep red for the grips.

Example 1

Here are two of these rapiers along with four other swords on a rack.

 

Sword Instructions

Example 2

The same rack set in a room made from Hirst Arts blocks to show the scale.

   

Swords from Plastic Card (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Equipment

Plastic card (old ID card)

Plastic tube (cotton bud shaft)

Beads, sprue

Superglue

Primer, paint and brushes

Craft knife

Tweezers

Stage 1

Cut a blade shape from thin plastic card. Blades can vary a lot in length and width, but between 12mm and 30mm (1/2" - 1 1/4") works well for 28mm scale figures.

Stage 2

For added detail shave the edges of the blade by back-scraping with the craft knife - place the knife blade at right angles to the plastic and scrape along the edges.

It may help to colour the plastic using a Sharpie to make it easier to see how much you have removed.

Stage 3

Cut a small rectangle from the plastic card for the hilt. You can vary the shape from a simple rectangle by trimming the corners at different angles, or rounding them.

Stage 4

Cut a piece of the plastic tube for the handle - 6mm (1/4") looks about right. For a simple variation, wrap the handle with a thin strip of masking tape.

 

Stage 5 - pommel options

Craft beads and pieces cut from old sprues make a variety of different pommels.

 

Stage 6

Attach the pommel to the handle with a small drop of superglue. You will probably need tweezers to avoid getting glue on your fingers, and accurately position the pieces. If you use a bead for the pommel, you can thread wire through to strengthen the joint and fill the hole.

Stage 7

Attach the sword blade to the centre of the hilt piece with a small drop of superglue. Use tweezers to help. Allow the pieces to dry before continuing.

 

Stage 8

Glue the two pieces of the sword together. Use tweezers to help keep the pieces aligned.

 

Stage 9 - optional

Add more small pieces of plastic to the junction of the blade and the hilt for extra detail.

 

Stage 9

Prime and paint in your choice of colours - I used a gunmetal basecoat with silver highlights for the metal parts and deep red or white for the grips.

Example 2

Here is a rack of swords made using the same techniques, along with a couple of rapiers.

 

Rapier Instructions

Practice Swords from Rivets, from an idea by Gabriel Tullis (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Equipment

Pop-rivets

Metal file

Hammer and anvil (or a second hammer)

Pliers

Primer, paint and brushes

Version 1 - Stage 1

Using the file, make a blunt point on the end of the shaft of the rivet.

Version 1 -Stage 2

Prime & paint in wood colours and it is done. The image shows one of each version primed in black.

Version 2 - Stage 1

Hold the head of the rivet with a pair of pliers, and hammer the shaft into a flat bar. Be sure to work on a firm surface. This is quite difficult to do, and the process could be less arduous if you heat the metal before hammering, but be careful if you do.

Version 2 - Stage 2

File the end of the shaft to a blunt point.

 

Version 2 - Stage 3

Prime & paint in wood colours.

 

Polearms (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Equipment

Cocktail sticks, beads, kebab skewer

Plastic tube (cotton bud shaft)

Plastic Plant Labels with rounded ends

Craft knife, Superglue

Hole Punch

Primer, Paint & brushes

Stage 1 - (Universal)

Remove the point from one end of the cocktail stick. Cut a cylinder of plastic tube about 1mm in length and push this onto the cocktail stick, at or near the trimmed end.

Option 1 - Stage 2

Take one of the plastic plant labels and draw line across about 2mm from the end of the rounded portion.

Option 1 - Stage 3

Remove the base plate from the hole punch. Looking from below, you can now align the plant label on the line to remove a semi-circle of material from each side.

Option 1 - Stage 4

Shave the edge of the blade by back-scraping with the craft knife. It may help to colour the plastic using a Sharpie to make it easier to see how much you have removed.

Cut the label on the line.

Option 1 - Stage 5

Attach the blade to a cocktail stick shaft with super-glue.

Option 2 - Stage 2

Shave one edge of the plant label by back-scraping with the craft knife - place the knife blade at right angles to the plastic and scrape along the edges.

It may help to colour the plastic using a Sharpie to make it easier to see how much you have removed.

Option 2 - Stage 3

Cut a blade shape from the plant label.

Polearms come in a vast range of styles, so you can vary the shape as much as you like.

Option 2 - Stage 4

Add a plastic collar to an un-trimmed cocktail stick and attach the blade to the shaft with super-glue.

Option 2 - Stage 5

Trim the point from the other end of the cocktail stick.

 

Option 2 - Stage 6

Attach the point to the back of the shaft as shown.

 

Option 2 - Stage 7

You can add a second plastic collar at the base of the shaft if you like.

Option 3 - Stage 2

Shave one end of a cocktail stick to allow one of the beads to be slid onto the wood.

Option 3 - Stage 3

Attach the bead with a drop of superglue if needed. Trim the point, or leave it if you prefer.

Option 3 - Stage 4

Sharpen the end of a kebab skewer or plastic rod with the craft knife. Sand the point to smooth it.

Option 3 - Stage 5

Cut the pointed end off the skewer and attach it to one side of the bead.

 

Option 3 - Stage 6

Add a blade cut from the plant label as shown above.

Option 3 - Stage 7

I added a couple of small triangles to help strengthen the joint and add extra detail.

Examples 1

The picture shows some of the completed polearms.

 

Examples 2

Here is another batch of polearms made using similar methods.

 

Examples 3

Six polearms painted and arranged on a rack.

 

Weapon Racks

 

 

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