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HeySailor

LOTR: Royal Armouries Museum

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From Narnia to Middle Earth: Arms and Armour from the Movies is a free exhibit of 230+ WETA's weapons at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds; many have never been displayed before. Aragorn's sword, Legolas' back rig, Sauron's helmet will be there along with objects from LOTR, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Samurai, King Kong and Hellboy. Visits from key WETA designers and master swordsmith Peter Lyon are planned. This is the only UK stop for this exhibit. No word if the exhibit will move to the Royal Armouries American branch in Louisville, KY.

The Armouries Senior Curator of Historic Edged Weapons, Bob Savage, also advised on weaponry for KOH and WETA made KOHs chain mail. You learn something new every day. :wink:

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Thanks for the information HS, there isn’t any word on the Royal Armouries site so I will have to keep my eyes peeled. I thought the weapons and armour produced by WETA were so very beautiful; I particularly liked the organic style leaf structures they worked into elvish armour.

My in-laws only live a few miles from Leeds so I it should be easy to arrange a day out.

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I just googled a bit and a few sites seem to have the same recent press release on them. However I can only add that it runs from 12th July to 16th November and is open from 11am to 4pm daily. It sounds really interesting and I shall make an effort to go myself and take my son.

T.

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Thanks for the info, HS, although I doubt if it will get anywhere near the SW USA. I would make a trip the TN and then to KY if it ends up there sometime in my lifetime! It sounds infinitely interesting!

Louise

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Ok. I went on Monday. I'm trying to write a review of the museum and the exhibition but my first draft is far too long. I'll get back to you all tomorrow probably.

T.

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The museum is FREE and well worth a visit at any time. The nearby multi storey carpark is not free. I gather that there is a small charge for the falconry displays and the jousting events when they are on. The armourers workshops, falconry mews, and stables are to the right of the main entrance. I was accompanied by my son and a couple of his friends.

Anyone who found Orlando's period films interesting would probably also find plenty to interest them here. Although the majority of items are in glass cases, there are specific touch or try items here and there. We were there for four hours altogether and didn't see everything, but I am sure we could have been a lot quicker. There were men in plate armour and in chain mail, who were at the side of one gallery with a table of weapons and helmets answering questions and letting children try on a helmet or feel the weight of a sword. We stopped there for a long time having technical discussions about construction and use peculiarities of swords and shields.

I expected the main museum to be laid out chronologically but it wasn't. Instead they are roughly themed galleries, some with areas for live displays. I forget how they described it, but in my words you had one gallery for hunting weapons, one for oriental, one for 'war', one for recreation (jousting) etc. etc. We skipped the twentieth century stuff and the 'educational' stuff for kids. The shop is just inside the main entrance and they also have a cafe. The building is actually two large blocks with walkways across the covered space between them. There is a large feature staircase at the far end flanked by two lifts. A great many small items are arranged inside the stair well.

There is a crossbow shooting range on the top floor which costs £2.50 for 6 quarrels (or was it 8? I forget) The

'instructors' seemed surprised how fussy the lads were at selecting quarrels in good condition. I saw no reason to explain that they were re-enactors who were accustomed to crossbows. They weren't actually doing very well due to shooting a relatively short distance.

Weta

The Weta exhibition is also on the top floor and did not seem very big after the rest of the building. I think I missed some of it as I was being constantly bombarded by technical criticism or approval from my companions. The Samurai and King Kong items had a wall case each before you get to the main exhibition. You enter past two security staff who make sure you know that you are NOT allowed to take photographs. The first part is on Narnia, however it is purely from the first film. The display includes full armour for Peter and Edmund, centaurs, minotaurs and various others. I felt the centaur armour suffered from lack of a model horse underneath it. (A human mannequin at the front and a pair of wheels at the back just didn't look right!)

Through a hobbithole shaped archway is the larger Lord of the Rings section. For some reason the lighting was much darker in here. I have seen mentions of costume display exhibitions a few years ago and I got the impression that this exhibit includes more ordinary soldiers. For instance there was a second age Gondorian and elf, as well as third age examples and a typical Rohirrim outfit. Theoden's armour was there but not Eomer's. Sauron's helmet was there but gave no sense of his great size, whereas the witchking's display did include that huge mace they made for him. The fellowship's weapons were all there, and some bits of armour, but not clothes. Thus Legolas appeared to be represented only by his white knives and the Lothlorien bow and quiver. A lot of the outfits were on stands in the middle and the individual items arranged on the outer walls. There was a section of plastic chainmail hanging where you can handle it, which is gold coloured like Balians fancy mail.

The final item proved that the craftsmen at Weta have a sense of humour. Imagine please a full set of steel armour for a small dog! I wish I could have photographed it!

Sorry this report still looks rather long.

T.

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A few pics of various sizes.

Lurtz stands in the entrance hall, under the stairs. There was no sign nearby explaining his presence, but I suppose it wasn't needed! My son is there for scale, but he is standing about four feet further away.

Lurtz.jpg

The upper levels of the stairwell, taken from below. The circles are viewing holes from the stairs.

stairwell.jpg

You appear to be allowed to take photos in the museum itself as long as you do not use flash. I got told off for taking this one.

centrepiece.jpg

Most of the trained birds of prey were too far from the fence for me to get good pictures, except this young sparrowhawk which is being hand reared by the falconer.

young%20sparrowhawk.jpg

Enjoy!

T.

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Tahiri. Your report is precisely the length it was meant to be. This looks like a great outing for you and your son and his friends.

My, isn't Lurtz large!

Aliza

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Thanks for the great report, Tahiri. I really enjoyed it. And I can just imagine the constant running commentary from your re-enactors. :rolleyes: Truthfully, they are probably the best set of companions you could have gone with. I'm sure you learned plenty. I love the Lurtz picture and I would have loved to see the falconry.

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Yikes! Lurtz in full umbrage! :fear: Wow! That is some museum and thanks for the tour, Tahiri! Well done on the descriptions. I would dearly love to go there but it's just one of those dreams. Maybe it will come to some place closer here in the states. Thanks again for sharing!

Louise

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Thanks, Tahiri, for the report and pictures. I would never have the chance to see this in person, so this is the next best thing to being there. I love your photo of the stairwell; it is something artistic and beautiful that might otherwise have been missed.

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Thanks Tahiri for the report and pictures. I love birds, so I really like the one of the hawk. That's too bad they didn't have Legolas' costume. I would love to touch see it.

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My, isn't Lurtz large!

Difficult to guess, as he stands on a plinth as well as being nearer the camera, but I would have said about seven foot six. According to IMDB Lawrence Makoare is 'only' six foot four inches. Either there is a lot of artists licence or my guess is way out. Where is our local Lurtz lover? If I am right she even lives in the same county and could check for us!

T.

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Thanks Tahiri for the wonderful tour and pictures.

Lurtz is huge.

Debbi

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Thank you for your beautiful photographs and well written report, Tahiri. I would love to have been there.

I really enjoyed seeing Lurtz.

:hug:

Charlie

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Tahiri, thanks for your report and sharing your pictures. I also enjoyed the Lurtz picture. He is so huge! :O That is a cute little bird too. :)

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