Brynden Tully, also known as the Blackfish, made his debut on Game of Thrones in the third season. He’s Catelyn Stark’s uncle and a formidable commander and warrior. I don’t think I’ve seen a cosplayer tackle the character until recently. Replica Props Forum (RPF) user PaxAddict did though; he finished the build in about six weeks. The costume features chainmaille, a custom Tully sigil, a basic shirt and pants, and the real kicker: the leather armor. The armor is made from a series of plates — they look like fish scales. It’s fitting since fish figure prominently into the Tully sigil.
PaxAddict wanted to make the armor look as historical as possible, so he used extended lamellar plates to assemble the armor. He was able to find someone selling leftovers from a belt making business, and since they were roughly the correct width, he cut them and started punching holes. He figured out he’d need 600 lamellar plates. That’s a lot of hole punching. He used the vinegaroon process do dye the leather black:
The process is essentially two ingredients. White vinegar (or urine, if you believe the tales), and rust (most easily achieved with steel wool, right out of the package) together in a mason jar for a few days and it’s ready. If you plan to use it, look up recipes, and how to stabilize the leather afterwards. The vinegaroon changes the Ph balance of the leather, so you need to dip it in water, dry immediately, and oil immediately to normalize it. It’s a process.
The reason I love vinegaroon, though. Is because it doesn’t dye the leather. It doesn’t add anything to the top of it, it chemically changes the composition of the leather, which interacts with the tannins I guess, and the change in composition manifests by showing up black. What this means is that it’s not a thin layer of color. If you cut the leather in half, it’s black all the way through, so scratches and wear wont discolor the leather. Sorry about the in depth explanation, it’s just fascinating to me.
Read more about the build and see additional photos at The RPF.
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