Grey Warden – Regalia of Weisshaupt

NOTE: If you have any questions at all about how this was made, please ask. I love talking about my work.Ā  šŸ˜‰

Time taken: Approximately 120 hours in total, over the course of 5 weeks.
Materials: Jacket – dark blue cotton drill, wool batting, thread, nickel pyramid studs, black acetate lining for collar, leather front strap and 20mm buckle, nickel 12mm pyramid studs, eva foam, velcro dots for armband, 20mm leather strips for armbands.Ā  Tabard – royal blue cotton drill, hessian for backing, thread, 2000 small galvanised steel scales, 4000 5mm stainless steel rings, waxed heavy thread.Ā  Armour – cardboard and sellotape for templates, Wonderflex, eva foam, 20mm, 38mm and 50mm leather strapping, buckles (2 x 38mm, 1 x 50mm, 4 x 20mm), russet leather dye, 810 cap 9mm shank rivets, black felt, Rub ‘n’ Buff in silver leaf, acrylic paints (graphite, burnt umber, mars black), mod podge in matt.Ā  Gauntlets and knee guards – brown leather poached from an old jacket, 38mm, 32mm and 20mm leather straps, russet leather dyes, buckles (6 x 20mm, 4 x 32mm, 4 x 38mm), Wonderflex and eva foam, Ados F2 contact glue, waxed heavy thread, pair of gloves from op shop, own boots.
Tools: Scissors, pen, steel ruler, pins, sewing machine, pliers, speedy stitcher, craft knife, sponges for dyeing, heat gun, paint brushes, hole punch, rivet setter and anvil, leather edge beveller.
Techniques: Basic sewing, applique, leatherwork, thermoplastic moulding, maille making, awl stitching, fabrication, some basic modelling.
Difficulty level: Over 9000?Ā  Not really but it helps to have OCD, strong hands, a willingess to take the time to be finicky and a lot of determination.

I used these pictures for reference:

Legacy2 Legacy 3 Legacy 5 Legacy 4

Jacket
The jacket is made from cotton drill with wool batting sandwiched between, sewn together to make a quilted fabric. Once the fabric was quilted I added 250 pyramid studs.

jacket quilting jacket sleeve

Each stud has a small square of eva foam behind it to prevent the legs from pulling out. I only put the studs half way down the sleeves because they would be hidden by the gauntlets anyway.

jacket stud application

The jacket was made up using a dress jacket pattern modified to make a bolero, with a mandarin collar from another pattern added on.

jacket made up

The lining and final piping wasn’t added until after the breastplate and tabard were completed because I wanted to fit them over the bulky armour before finalising the shape of the bolero to get them to sit right.

Tabard
The tabard was made in two parts – the maille and the tabard base. The base was made using a hessian lining because the cotton drill of the outer part didn’t seem as though it’d be strong enough to support the weight of the maille.Ā  I cut a basic shape from the hessian and tried this on myself till I was happy with it, then cut the same from the blue drill. The maille strips in the ref pictures seem to lie in channels with fabric overlapping the edges, so I cut long strips of the drill and sewed them onto the base, creating four channels ready to receive the maille.

tabard hessian tabard stripes

I had never made maille before and didn’t really know how much I’d need. My calculations came up with 2500 scales, which I ordered online, along with twice as many tiny rings. I chose galvanised steel because anodised aluminium (which is lighter) was too shiny for the weathered look of this armour, but plain steel was likely to rust. Making maille is easy but time consuming. Here’s the start:

maille started

I realised quickly that having the strips only three scales wide would not be enough, so I widened it to five.
*insert elevator music here, that plays for about a week while I do nothing but make maille*
I made 8 strips, each approximately 60cm long. (next photo contains some blood since I stabbed myself a few times with the pliers).

maille half completed

Once the maille was finished, each strip was sewn into its corresponding channel using waxed heavy thread.

tabard sewing maille on
Because the stitches from this went through the hessian and showed on the back, I’d left adding the reverse lining and piping until the end. Sewing this in with 3kg of maille attached was.. interesting.

tabard sewing

The finished product:

tabard finished

Armour
To make the armour pieces, I spent an afternoon drawing and cutting various shapes from cardboard and trying them on myself to make a template. The tassets were quite fiddly because they not only had to fit my body, but they had to fit inside each other and hang straight as well. I went through a lot of sellotape!

Once I was happy with the templates, I cut out two of each piece. At the same time I cut and prepared the shapes for the knee and elbow guards. These were my ‘practice run’ using Wonderflex for the first time, as they’d be covered with leather so I didn’t matter so much if I messed them up.

wonderflex cut out

The knee and elbow guards were lined with eva foam to give them a bit more structure. To make the main armour pieces, I made a sort of sandwich, with the pieces of Wonderflex on the outside (smooth side out), and a piece of yoga mat foam in the middle, with the edges pinched together to seal it. This was to make the armour thick the way it looks in the pictures, and strong enough to handle movement when worn.

wonderflex sandwich

It was tricky lining all the holes up, especially on the uppermost tasset pieces which needed holes for three belt loops (also made from Wonderflex). This process took maybe 2 afternoons, and once they were done and shaped, each one had a very thin strip of Wonderflex run around the outside edge and the holes, to resemble the edges in the picture.

The next step after shaping the armour was to add the gryphon relief to the breastplate and armband. I started by sketching them into a quad book for the size and shape.

gryphon sketch

The armband one is bigger and more stretched out, so I needed two templates. These were cut straight from the quad book and used to cut out the same shape in eva foam. The breastplate one was glued straight onto the armour piece, and the armband one onto a piece of Wonderflex which was then shaped to fit the curve of the arm.

gryphon half completed

To get the relief that’s shown in the reference picture, I used heavy artist’s gel medium, which is normally used to create texture in paintings. This was spread on thickly with a palette knife and then the hollow parts scraped away. This made the relief stand out really well but looked sharp-edged, so I smoothed the raised parts off by adding Mod Podge with a fine paintbrush. It then went into the pile for gesso layers.

gryphon relief work

Meanwhile, I tested the tasset pieces with their supporting leather straps to see how they’d fit together, and was very pleased with the result.

tassets formed

The belt loops in that picture are made from two layers of Wonderflex, heat shaped and poked through holes in the main piece. I needed these to be strong as the belt supports most of their weight, and the lower strapping means each step you take pulls on them a little.

And then, each piece received 7 coats of gesso to create a smooth surface and also make the top layers of paint stick.

gesso armour

Sanding back the gesso to create a smooth surface can only be described as tedious. It probably took a week overall to do the prep work for this, doing a couple of hours each day after work. So finally getting to add the Rub ‘n’ Buff was exciting. I used just over a tube to cover the lot.

breastplate painted armour weathering 2

And then it needed weathering. I first gave it a wash with acrylic paint in graphite colour, which darkens it to a sort of patina and also gives a better surface for the next layers to stick to than the Rub ‘n’ Buff, which is a kind of wax and therefore often repels washes.

armour weathering 1

After that, I mixed burnt umber with mars black, and did a heavy wash over the whole thing, then followed up by wiping most of it off again to leave darker colours in the cracks and hollows.

breastplate weathering

Once the weathering was done, the whole lot was sealed with Mod Podge. I used matt because the armour in the pictures looks old and not shiny.Ā  The final touch for the armour was to glue a layer of felt-like wool fabric to the back. This was partly because I hadn’t painted the back and didn’t want to have ugly bits, and partly to prevent the hard Wonderflex from removing paint on the parts where the tassets would rub together.

All this armour is quite heavy, and needed to be held on somehow. The strapping as shown in the reference pictures is complex and it ended up needing 11m of leather to make it all. I bought 1.5m plain belt blanks in 20mm, 32mm and 38mm, which then had to be cut to length, bevelled, punched, and dyed. Working out how long each piece of leather needed to be took a whole afternoon – in total there are 25 separate pieces of strapping, and each needed to be estimated and then measured against my body for how they would make the armour hang before cutting.

I had also bought a pair of leather gloves from an op shop, and an old leather jacket which was to be cut up for the elbow and knee guards – these needed dyeing as well. It took three bottles of dye!

gloves dyeing

Each piece of leather strapping needed a corresponding buckle and keepers. Some of the keepers were from Wonderflex, and the others were cut from the old leather jacket, depending on what the picture showed. If I were to do this again I’d use heavier leather because they are a bit stretchy and floppy.
The buckles were riveted on using 810 cap 8mm rivets in antique brass colour, and then the pieces that are directly attached to the armour were also riveted on. While I think stitching would be stronger, I didn’t want to spend that much time, and also I wanted the look of rivets which seems to work better with the armour aesthetic.

adding leather

added leather

The tassets are suspended on a piece of leather strapping which goes through the holes front and back, and then buckles down by the knee. The back strap crosses in the small of the back and then comes around to buckle to the bottom of the breastplate.
To keep the tassets from moving up and down their suspension straps as I move, I added a leather stopper behind each one so it couldn’t descend. Each stopper had to be added as its corresponding tasset piece was threaded onto the leather. This was very fiddly and involved some swearing as the whole piece got heavier and kept sliding off the anvil. This is somewhere where stitching may ha ve been easier than riveting.

tassets support

Gauntlets and knee guards

The final parts of the costume were the gauntlets and knee guards. I had some brown boots already and I didn’t want to wreck them for normal wear, so instead of sewing the knee guards on I made a leather wrap that tucks inside the top. The boot zips up over this and then a thick strap goes around to make it look as if it’s all one piece. The gauntlets are similar, although they wrap around the outside of the gloves to the elbow.

knee guards sewing

Each guard is covered in leather inside and out, which is stitched around the outside edge with the Wonderflex part inside, and the straps and buckles all held in place by the same row of stitching.

knee guard made

Both the knee and gauntlet pieces have three straps each to hold them on – this outfit is all about the leather and buckles!

So – 20 buckles, 11m of leather strapping, 2000 galvanised steel scales, 4000 tiny stainless rings, 200 pyramid studs and a heap of Wonderflex later, the Regalia of Weisshaupt was finished (gloves not included in pics because I couldn’t work out how to hang them on the dummy).

almost done front almost done back

The outfit weighs 10kg in total, but is pretty comfortable to wear and when we did the photoshoot I walked 3km in it without damage to myself or the costume. I’m pretty proud of how rugged it is, and pleased with how it turned out.
It took just over a month to make, but that was spending a couple of hours every weekday, several hours a day each weekend, and having a week off work sick in which I did nothing but work on this. Probably about 120 hours in total. It’s the first thing I’ve made that I’ve used a Gantt chart for, and I definitely found the challenge I wanted.

40 thoughts on “Grey Warden – Regalia of Weisshaupt

  1. Hi, thank you for putting all this together! It’s really beautiful. Can I ask, how is the armband attached? Is it velcro?

    • Aww, thanks for your kind words. šŸ˜‰

      Yes, the arm badge gryphon thing (I don’t really know what it’s called) is attached using velcro dots. I had to sew them because the sticky wouldn’t stick.

      The other armbands (the brown ones) are stitched on. Hope this helps!

  2. Hello!
    I recently launched a Dragon Age themed blog that is aiming to hold DA news discussion and also feature the awesome creations of the DA fandom. I was wondering if you would mind if I did a short post about this tutorial there? It would just be a couple of pictures of the costume and a paragraph or two about it, plus a link to the full tutorial here on your site. šŸ™‚ Thank you for your time!

    • Hi! Yes, you are most welcome to share this on your blog. I got so much help from tutorials when I was making it, I want to put it out there so others can benefit too.

      • Yay thank you! šŸ˜€ I want to do a Grey Warden cosplay myself and I’ll definitely be following this tutorial! It will be my first time stepping out of my comfort zone of simple spandex super-lady costumes haha!

  3. This is really great! I was also looking for Dragon Age armor to make for my first cosplay outfit and was delighted to find that a tutorial had been made for what I wanted.What size scales did you use, the large or small?

    • Thank you!

      I used the smaller size from ringlord.com. I think the larger would be more accurate to canon but once I’d paid the heinous shipping to get them from Canada to NZ, I wasn’t keen to repeat the exercise just to change the size. šŸ˜‰

    • No worries. šŸ˜‰

      If you use the anodised aluminium scales they’ll be lighter and cost less to ship than mine did, with the added advantage of being lighter to wear as well!

      I don’t know if you’ve seen this group on Facebook, but it’s full of Wardens comparing notes on how they make their uniforms – fantastic stuff. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheVigilsKeep/?fref=ts A lot of the people there have been able to find ready-made navy quilted fabric. I didn’t even think to look for it, I was so in the DIY frame of mind. Doh! šŸ˜‰

  4. I have seen your cosplay photos around the internet but I stumbled across this gem today šŸ™‚ Good job on the costume! I am beginning to make mine and I will be referring to this often. Thanks for sharing! šŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciated tutorials on the internet when I was making this, so I’m glad mine is useful to people too. šŸ˜‰

  5. I just wanted to thank you for this blog.
    I’m currently in the process of making a grey warden costume(rogue) and this has been the biggest help!
    So yeah, your costume looks fantastic, thank you and have a nice day šŸ™‚

  6. Hello,
    Hope I’m not late to the party. I’m also making a Warden outfit, and I was wondering how/where you attached the smaller straps under the big ones that holds the breastplate; the one that crosses in the back? I’ve been looking at reference shots, and I can’t make heads or tails of where those two straps are going or where they’re coming from.

    Also, do you know if the Facebook group is still active? I tried to look at it, but it seemed down.

    • I attached them just in front of the main straps on the breastplate, and them they go round the back, cross over, and thread through holes in the back of the tassets down to the knee, where they wrap round the leg and buckle to another strap that runs down the front of the tassets. Hope that makes sense.

      The Facebook group is still active, just not very since the Warden Commander stopped posting.

  7. Hi!
    This has been super helpful!! I was wondering, how exactly did you stitch the scale mail on? I’ve only just started putting them together and I haven’t quite figured how to make them lay nicely and sew them on.
    Any tips?

    Thanks!!! This has been a life saver. šŸ™‚

    • I used waxed thread and sewed the rings on the back of the maille directly to the tabard. It’s more or less a stitch each side and one in the middle, all the way along the strip.

  8. Hey I was wondering what you wore under your tabard? It’s looks like just black under shirts and black pants, but I wanted to be certain.

  9. You have done an incredible job with this cosplay and I am totally inspired to do one myself! I am very interested in learning the specifics of the material you have used as I want to assemble a version of the Male Full Plate Grey Warden armour. The leather and how you assembled the studded jacket is my main concern. I have no idea where to get any of the materials required as I am merely a neophyte when it comes to cosplay. I plan on doing a Blackwall cosplay as I now have the beard to match!

    • Thank you for your kind words! I probably can’t help much with sourcing materials as I live in New Zealand, but I can tell you that I got the leather and the pyramid did from the same supplier so it’s likely that if you find a good leather merchant they’ll also have studs, buckles, rivets as well. šŸ™‚

  10. I just want to say this is a thing of beauty! Fantastic tutorial, and omg, I want to make a Grey Warden costume even more than I did before.

    • Hi, A conservative estimate would be approximately $1200NZ. Some of this was shipping – the maille cost more to ship than to buy because it comes from Canada and is heavy.

    • You could probably do it cheaper using vinyl instead of leather, EVA foam instead of Wonderflex, etc. I’ve seen a few people make really realistic looking scales with vinyl.

      • ohhh i think iv seen something along those lines ill have to test everything out.

        thanks for the estimate btw

  11. Hi! Fantastic Warden cosplay! I’m inspired to make one from your tutorial for AwesomeCon this year, but I need help with the jacket (bolero?) most of all. Do you have a pattern or anything? I can’t seem to figure out what shape to cut or anything… I’m pretty beginner at this.

    • No problem. šŸ™‚ I used a pattern I have for a standard jacket with a mandarin collar and no shoulder pads, and just cut it to a shorter length. Any jacket pattern that fits you would do, but I found it easier using the mandarin collar one because it had that shape already and I didn’t have to alter it.

      I’m not quite up to making my own patterns yet but I’d love to learn! I mostly just modify existing ones.

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