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Making Scale Mail For a Thorin Oakenshield Costume

thorin oakenshield scale mail 1

The final film in The Hobbit trilogy came to theaters this week. The Battle of The Five Armies is the last on-screen Middle-earth story for the foreseeable future. Thorin Oakenshield is a lead character in the films (and the book), and as with all of the primary cast, his costume is extraordinarily detailed and well-designed. His tunic is covered in scale mail and when Ruby’s (of Learn Something New) godchildren expressed interest in dressing like Thorin and Kili, she decided to make the scale mail for them.

thorin oakenshield scale mail 3

She started by using reference images to make replica scales from polymer clay. She created negative molds from her initial sculpts and cast the pieces one by one. She also painted each piece one by one with silver paint shaded with black paint to make the scale mail look weathered and aged.

She molded and painted an incredible number of scales:

I made a total of 434 scales, not including the trials and errors. For Thorin alone, that’s 116 for the sleeves, 110 for the breastplate, 98 for the thighs and belt. The rest are for Kili’s collar, baldric, and vambrace.

Wow. She made the tunic and glued each of those scales on, too.

thorin oakenshield scale mail 2

Read more about every step of making and sewing the scale mail at Learn Something New.


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