Boorman's Excalibur (1981) 1/6th scale doll arthur armour


Last modified: 04/11/99

Excalibur (1981) Arthur on armoured horse, 1/6th scale

(Note: Don't be confused by the text, most of which was written before all the pictures were placed.)

First off, the music you might be hearing was composed by Ron Y., (ETRAX web site). Here's a more traditional arrangement of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna" to set the mood: (orff.mid 55k file) This was sent to me by "GC (the artist formally known as George)", whom I alternately know as "GL", but sometimes call "George"... Anyway, he's talented in lots of different artistic areas, does great work (a much better painter than I could ever dream of being), and you should check out GC's web site. I don't know who actually created the MIDI sequence since there's no embedded credit, but it's all over the 'Net, so I'm assuming it's safe to place here.

boorman excalibur doll arthur armour, 1/6th scale THE FINISHED PIECE? Hah! Nothing's ever finished until you're dead. This photo shows the near-final form, but I added a few things after this, and am still tweaking the various fastener straps. I want to remake the shoulder armor to make it more massive, which is why they haven't been detailed much. Of course, you always think of little details to add too, like the lacing which holds some armor pieces together... and spurs. Eventually, I want to make a shield, a mace, and an armored horse... but later on that. (Note: For the photo above, I used a "Soldiers of the World" horse, which is undersized and resembles a mule. The piece needs a lot more work!)

This outfit looks more detailed than it actually is because of all the separate parts, and all the rivets. The 16th century Italian & German armor suits were incredibly detailed, with intricate engravings and fluting-- those would be a real nightmare to make, and I can't wait to see the one Resaurus comes out with. Here though, you just get lotsa rivets: The rivets are made of castings, pinheads and snipped styrene rods. I wasn't real happy with my initial choice, but I suppose you have to make a decision and move on.

The plates are joined by leather/elastic straps, fixed with a jump ring and a hook. This seemed like the most practical way of making fasteners, since they're quick & fairly easy to undo. There are so many of 'em and I didn't want to hassle with threading buckles. The other nice thing about them is that they're small and low profile.

excalibur doll arthur This is probably as close as I can get to Nigel Terry's likeness using the stock Joe head. It sure was a lot easier than attempting to sculpt one!

excalibur figure, 1/6th scale arthur's shield In the movie, the shields are used in jousting tournaments, but not in hand-to-hand combat (at least, that's what I've noticed). The armor I've been approximating comes from Arthur's first meeting with Sir Lancelot, and his shield looks something like this.

The dragon emblem is a touched-up frame from the movie (I had to fill in the missing feet), printed with gold foil on decal paper. This is a lot glitzier, cleaner, & shinier than the one in the movie, but how could I resist since it's such a cool gimmic? Well, okay... it is a little cheesy. Maybe if it gets inadvertent handling damage I'll tone it down & weather it some.

excalibur doll arthur

AN EXCUSE FOR T&A: Heresy! the back piece isn't accurate... oh well. Also, the shoulder section should be clipped out, but I didn't want to do it.

I finally snipped away at the chainmail glove-- you know the thing I yammered away about in the first part of the article? It's kind of anticlimactic, since it turns out to be a nice touch, but I could have used something else. Certainly not a project killer, like I initially thought. Before I added the chainmail, I reasoned that the draping wasn't really that important, since that's a dynamic quality-- it matters if you move the figure, but for static display, a properly shaped piece of ribbon would probably be just fine. Since this really isn't a toy, the proper scale is probably more important. It's like the oversized real buttons that they put on some Joe clothes-- hey, they're real buttons, but they're not as in-scale as the cast buttons that are glued on. And like embroidered patches too. They have a quality feel, but move the figure closer to the "toy doll" side than the "modeling" side. So why did I use the chainmail? Because after that intro hype, I felt that I had to!

The real lesson is not to believe anything that I say, since I'm making this up and learning as I go along! So forget everything I said earlier-- you can't plan everything out in advance, and it's best to be alert and adaptive as you go along. I think.


excalibur doll arthur

"Behold the Excalibur, Letter-Opener of Kings!"