A mass of any kind of clay that is easily modeled and fairly stiff must be prepared and kept moist and well kneaded for making the models over which paper is formed to make the shape of the articles illustrated in these sketches. A modeling board must be made of one large board or several pieces joined closely together upon which to work the clay, says the English Mechanic, London. The size of the board depends upon the size of the work to be made.
Armor and Clay Models
An open chamfron of the fifteenth century is shown in Fig. 1. This piece of horse armor, which was used in front of a horse's head, makes a splendid center for a shield on which are fixed the swords, etc., and is a good piece for the amateur armorer to try his hand on in the way of modeling in clay or papier mache work. The opening for the animal to put his head into is semicircular, and the sides do not cover the jaws. As the main part of this armor is worn in front of the head the extreme depth is about 4 in. The entire head piece must be modeled in clay with the hands, after which it is covered with a thin and even coating of sweet or pure olive oil. A day before making the clay model some pieces of thin, brown wrapping paper are torn in irregular shapes to the, size of the palm of the hand and put to soak in a basin of water in which a tablespoonful of size has been dissolved. If size cannot be obtained from your local painter, a weak solution of glue will do equally well. All being ready, and the clay model oiled, take up one piece of paper at a time and very carefully place it on the surface of the model, pressing it on well and into and around any crevices and patterns. Continue this operation until the clay model is completely covered on every part. This being done, give the paper a thin and even coating of glue, which must be quite hot and laid on as quickly as possible. Lay on a second layer of paper as carefully as before, then another coat of glue, and so on until there are five or six coats of glue and paper. When this is dry it will be strong enough for all ornamental purposes. The ragged edges of the paper are trimmed off with a sharp knife and the whole surface smoothed with fine sandpaper. Then carefully glue on sections of tinfoil to give the armor the appearance of steel. The armor is now removed from the model.
A mitten gauntlet of the fifteenth century is shown in Fig. 2. This can be made in one piece, with the exception of the thumb shield, which is separate. The thumb shield is attached to the thumb of an old glove which is fastened with round headed nails on the inside of the gauntlet.
Corrugated Breastplate and Former
The part covering the wrist is a circular piece, but the back is not necessary, as it would not be seen when the gauntlet is hanging in its place.
In Fig. 3 is shown a gauntlet of the seventeenth century with separately articulated fingers. This gauntlet may be molded in one piece, except the thumb and fingers, which must be made separately and fastened with the thumb shield to the leather glove that is attached to the inside of the gauntlet, the same as in Fig. 2.
A breastplate and tassets of the sixteenth century are shown in Fig. 4. The tassets are separate and attached to the front plate with straps and buckles, as shown in the sketch. There is a belt around the waist which helps to hold the back plate on. Attached to the back of the plate would be two short straps at the shoulder. These are passed through the buckles shown at the top right and left-hand corners of the front plate. For decorative purposes the back plate need not be made, and therefore it is not described. The method of making armor is the same as of making helmets, but as larger pieces are formed it is well to use less clay owing to the bulk and weight.
An arrangement is shown in Fig. 5 to reduce the amount of clay used. This triangular-shaped support, which can be made in any size, is placed on the modeling board or bench and covered with clay. This will make the model light and easy to move around, and will require less clay. It is not necessary to have smooth boards; the rougher the better, as the surface will hold the clay. The clay forms modeled up ready to receive the patches of brown paper on the surface are shown in Figs. 6 and 7.
A German fluted armor used at the beginning of the sixteenth century is shown in Fig. 8. The breastplate and tassets of this armor are supposed to be in one piece, but for convenience in making it will be found best to make separately and then glue them together after they are taken from the model. A narrow leather belt placed around the armor will cover the joint. Fluted armor takes its name from a series of corrugated grooves, 1/2 in. in depth, running down the plate. A piece of board, cut into the shape shown in Fig. 9, will be very useful for marking out the fluted lines.
The helmets, breastplates and gauntlets described in parts V and VI can be used in making up a complete model for a full suit of armor of any size, as shown in Fig. 1. All of the parts for the armor have been described, except that for the legs. Figure 2 shows how the armor is modeled on the side of the left leg. The clay is modeled as described in previous chapters, the paper covering put on, and the tinfoil applied in imitation of steel. The chain mail seen between and behind the tassets is made by sewing small steel rings on a piece of cloth as shown in Fig. 3. These rings may be purchased at a hardware store or harness shop.
The whole figure when completed is placed on a square box covered with red or green baize. The armor should be supported by a light frame of wood built up on the inside, says the English Mechanic, London. Two vertical pieces are firmly attached to the box so they will extend up inside the legs, and at the top of is attached a crosspiece on which is placed a vertical stick high enough to carry the helmet. The two lower pieces must be built up and padded out with straw, then covered with red. cloth or baize to represent the legs.
Full Suit of Armor
In making up the various pieces for a full model it will be found very convenient to use rope, a stout cord or strings in making up the patterns on the parts. Instead of using brass headed nails, brass paper fasteners will be found useful. These can be purchased at a stationery store. Secure the kind having a round brass head from which hang two brass tongues. These are pushed through a hole and spread out flat on the opposite side. Other materials can be used in the place of tinfoil to represent steel. Silver paper will do very well, but if either the tinfoil or silver paper are found difficult to manipulate, go over the armor with a coat of silver paint put on with a brush. When dry give the surface a coat of varnish.