Friday, June 27, 2008

... less high perhaps ...

Faramir. Brother to Boromir, son to Denethor and Finduilas, steward to Aragorn, Faramir rarely seems to stand just as himself. His character, too perfect in the book and perhaps too imperfect in the movie, is notoriously hard to grasp. Even his looks have been put into question: dark haired, grey eyed and beardless in the book, he is anything but in the movies.

I think, perhaps, that is one of the reasons why he appeals to me (and Andrea) so much. Even given the lifespan of a man of Westernesse, I doubt that you could truly ever understand every facet of this younger son of Gondor.

Here are some shots of Andrea's incredible HOH and Coronation outfits. Of course, JJ's armor doubles for both brothers ...

From the Houses of Healing (cotton velvet, silk dupioni, double gold stitching down the arms)

At Aragorn's coronation (silk velvet, silk dupioni, double gold embroidery with hand-sewn sequins and ruby glass beads at each intersection on the sleeves)

Thursday, June 26, 2008


In one of the comments I had in an earlier post, I was asked how my Strider outfit(s) came out. Thanks to my wonder workers (Andrea, Joey and Reg) the answer was (and still is) AMAZING.

I had a chance a few weeks back to put on the outfits and take pictures. I find it a bit of a surprise every time I put one of these costumes on just how comfortable it is - from the boots to the duster and cape. To some extent, I can attribute that to my being in good physical shape - however, I would never look this good if it wasn't for the folks that have been working with me for several years.

I tried to take as many of the Aragorn "timepoints" as I could. There are definitely times when it is difficult holding the camera remote and the sword!

At Bree:

At the River Anduin, just past the Argonath:

Leaving Lothrien:

Near the Falls of Rauros / Amon Hen:

The Fields of Rohan / The Paths of the Dead:

Helm's Deep:

Friday, June 20, 2008

You Can Never Go Back ...

Owning a commissioned sword is addictive -- you just can't get ONE.

There is a magnificent difference in the handling of JJ's Ranger sword and the other swords that I got through the Internet. It's not that they are bad - in fact the Boromir sword, the Spartan falcata, even the rapier (yes, I have a basket-hilt rapier too - the pirate outfit was so easy, it literally made itself - but I'll put a posting together for that!) feel solid in the hand, but JJ's sword just seems to be an extension of my arm. The Aragorn sword - from United Cutlery - looks great, but feels unwieldy and ill-balanced. That's what you get when you use stainless steel and a rat-tailed tang - great to hang on a wall, not so great to wield. And no real edge.

That's why I had him do a Faramir sword.

I already have a Faramir sword ... Reg sent it to me and did a nice job of leather dyeing the pommel and scabbard a leaf green color. But it still had that indefinable "cheap" quality that just sets my teeth on edge. So when I contacted JJ, I told him I wanted a "quality" Faramir sword good enough for a Steward's son. JJ - being a true Tolkien geek like myself - approached the commission with relish and we discussed some of the finer points of the blade and pommel. For example, the pommel has brass inlays and the intertwined ravens are beautifully executed. The sword itself is complete, and he's now working on the scabbard and suspension harness. I should have everything by mid-July.

And here are some shots of the finished sword (less the scabbard) - in the second picture, you can see the beautifully detailed intertwined ravens and the brass accents on the pommel.

And below is the completed sword with scabbard! The leather is a dark, weathered green, but it's not showing up as such in JJ's photo ...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I've been PODGORNY'ed !!!

As I was going through the comments on the blog (and many thanks to the folks who are leaving comments!) , I came across a rather interesting one. Some kind and generous soul has located the current whereabouts of Gregory Podgorny.

It seems that I am not alone in being hornswaggled by the infamous Greg Podorny. For a sampling of stories that would make your hair curl, check out this myspace link. It seems Greg has graduated to the level of grand theft - he apparently absconded with over $10,000 on another commission. I believe that I can count myself lucky that I "only" lost $2000, plus a $400 commissioned sword.

Several people have tried contacting his brother George (the lawyer) or his daddy George (the doctor) - all attempts have been met with a rather stony silence. Myself included. Greg currently shares an answering service with George (which one, I'm not sure). I left a message and (surprise, surprise!) received no response.

The common response I've heard is "You should get a lawyer." While I would like to get my money back, I am not a fan of throwing good money after bad. I was fortunate to have JJ being able to do the swordwork far better than the piece I received from Eyal, but I don't have unlimited funds. And I would rather spend my hard-earned cash on something material.

What I'm hoping for is twofold: one - I can get a comprehensive listing of all the people defrauded (and dollars lost) and two - some no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners lawyer in the Winston-Salem area would love to spearhead a class-action suit.