Sunday, December 28, 2008

Preparing for Glory ... Part IV: The Aspis

The what?

The aspis is actually the correct term for the shield carried by Leonidas and his soldiers, not a hoplon.

As I had mentioned, I had asked JJ to do the shield after I had originally commissioned the Spartan armor. Due to the fact that the vambraces needed a bit of back-and-forth alterations, the present weather was not conducive for me to take shots in nothing but a bit of metal, leather and a thin red cloak. I will just have to wait until spring when it's a bit warmer to take the outside shots.

I got a call from JJ sometime in mid-December telling me that the shield was nearly done. When it was done, he sent final shots before boxing it up and sending it to me. Again, JJ outdid himself in terms of the quality and sheer detail he puts into his work.

The front:

and the back:

I got the aspis on December 24th - what a wonderful Christmas present! It feels incredibly good and balanced in the hand - just like one of his swords.

JJ based the suspension closely on the movie shields, both from studying both the "behind the scenes" featurettes and also the Leonidas action figure. In the movie they used what appeared to be a canvas half-tube riveted to the back of the shield for the arm; the action figure uses what appears to be vinyl. He used stout leather for the half-tube and welded brackets to the inside of the shield, then bolted the half-tube to the brackets (avoiding having rivet heads showing on the front side of the shield). The bolts are covered by pieces of suede to make them look less obtrusive/old-fashioned, not modern. The handle appeared to be of metal (a rigid handle and not a strap) so he made one of steel that he welded to the inside of the shield.

And a movie factoid:

There's a part early in the '300' film that you might recall where young Leonidas is sitting with his father and they're looking at a spartan shield; the father knocks on the shield with his fist, and it makes a deep ringing metallic noise. During the commentary, one of the guys asks the director if that was a real shield because it made that noise, and the director says something like, "Oh, no the shield is plastic, we had to add the sound in post production." Well, MY shield really makes that cool sound without added sound effects, because it's metal.

Bring on those Persians!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008


Old habits die hard.

I've finally decided to do something that would have a number of my former elementary and high school teachers spinning in their graves at a rate that could power the country for a few decades.

I'm going to wear my shirt untucked (at least on some casual occasions).

Yep - it's amazing what baggage gets picked up during eight long years of catholic elementary school and four years of catholic high school.

They would be APPALLED. Absolutely horrified. The fabric of the cosmos is being torn asunder as I write this entry.

It all began in second grade with Sister Jane (more like BDSM Mistress Jane - now looking back) in getting us little ones ready for first Holy Communion. The primary order barked at us was "Keep those fannies off the seat!", followed closely by "Tuck in that shirt!" (we also had to perform standing, sitting and kneeling based on the number of 'clicks' the evil woman demanded of us with her Holy Hand Clicker of Antioch).

The "Tuck!" command was not aimed at me - but the commandment insinuated itself deep into my subconscious - "Thou shalt never wear thy shirt outside of thy pants!"

Along with a number of changes this 2008, I decided to try the forbidden fruit ... during a friend's holiday party, I wore a white shirt and jeans with a hoodie and by God, it felt marvelous! The fact that those shirttails were peeking out beneath the hoodie not only looked great, but felt great too!

Decadent. Wickedly sinful. Depraved. I can see Mephistopheles rubbing his hands together in glee.

I wonder if this is what Eve felt when she took that first bite ...

So this adds yet another notch on the belt of iniquitous things I've done this year.

Poor Sister Jane. I've succumbed to temptation at last.

And my fanny is firmly on the seat when I kneel.