As part of my research and interest in Viking culture and fighting that I developed when researching Dragon Heresy, I got involved with Asfolk, a Viking re-creationist martial arts and crafting group (mostly martial arts, but the instructor Arthur is also a traditional weaponsmith and has done some pretty cool experimentation).

They’ve got lots of equipment, but one of the things that’s encouraged is to make your own. I finally got a good start on that this weekend, as some of the pieces of what will become a viking shield came in, and I finally have/took the time to get going.


I ordered a basic shield boss from Viking Shield: the semi-conical Shield boss, for $20.

I also procured 6 half-inch thick, 6″ (true) x 36″ basswood planks. This cost basically $75.

Note that a plywood shield with this boss costs $100 or so. The only shield made of actual planks on that site is poplar, not basswood, and costs over $600. A 4′ x 4′ plywood sheet made of alder (which will be large enough to make yourself a shield if you’re over 6′ tall) costs $45 or so, so if you want a plywood shield, just get a boss, a handle, and save $30-40 and it’ll be sized for just you.

Anyway, I still need a handle; the handle on the Danish two-handed axe from Arms and Armor seems like a nice fit, but I will likely see if I can procure a nice hardwood (hickory or ash) piece of lumber about (true) 1″ x 1.5-2″, and cut it down to provide the required stiffening, as well as a handle more tailored to my needs. I’m going to maybe make a bit of a D-section oval, with a few flats for my fingers and thumb, and oriented a bit more like the weapon it is. Continue reading “Making a Viking Shield”

As always, my family hit Comic Con in Minneapolis. We have, for the last two or three years, made it kind of a thing, where we go all three days. That wasn’t in the cards this year, since my wife was in Chicago having a meet-up with an old friend, and for a while it very much looked like few folks of interest were coming.

But . . . that changed a bit, and we made plans to pick up Alina from the airport, and go directly to the con. My daughter picked an unusual hero this time – Carol Ferris/Star Sapphire, probably since she’s been watching the Green Lantern animated series, but she’s got very good breadth of knowledge for a 7yo in both Marvel and DC, so even without that, perhaps she’d have landed there.

The costume was fairly simple – purple leotard and tights, and iron-on inkjet heat transfers. I put too much heat on the first attempt at the blaze , and so my details washed out. She didn’t care. The embellishment I did for her abdomen was modeled from a champion female fitness model with great abs, used as a mask to outline a purple nebula image taken at high resolution from Hubble. With more time, I’d have put armor places on her thighs, knees, and gloves (which we had but she left at school, alas).

Go-Go’s Wonder Woman costume is off-the-shelf.

Anyway, we went, and the kids got to knock around for a few hours. They always love it, but the convention had been laid out differently this year . . . in order to (seemingly to me) hide the fact that it was freakin’ tiny. Far fewer artists and crafters there, so you could walk the floor for a half-hour or an hour, at most, and see everything. Especially since there were some repeats – three booths selling the same “sword-like object” video game replica weapons.

Anyway, while hopefully next year all four of us will have a theme for costumes, this year we went autograph hunting. Continue reading “Brief Visit to ComicCon Minneapolis (Wizard World)”

Not too much going on.

It’s ComicCon (technically Wizard World Minneapolis) this weekend, and unlike most times when we spend the entire weekend there, my family was helter-skelter this weekend, with my wife in Chicago, me needing to attend a few Viking planning sessions to build curriculum for classes, and generally playing single-dad with young kids in activities. Plus the toddler/preschooler being . . . her charming self when balked.

This phase really can’t end soon enough.

Anyway, I did see minor progress on the game building front. Venture Beyond saw some discussion, and Michael continues to work art for the covers in the background. His prelim sketch and coloring work is very much in the Dungeon Grappling style of brushing, but obviously different subject material. My feedback to him was very brief, ’cause he’s on point with nearly everything. One comment about how to hold an axe (and I need to get him a reference picture) for fighting, one more about foot position when using a viking shield, and a suggestion but not a correction on a dwarf spear-tip. One comment about overall coloration. But it’s going to look good, and I can’t wait to see how the final covers turn out.

Still waiting for writing and editing on both projects.

Otherwise, it’s about time to go swoon and blush and act like a complete fanboy in front of Charisma Carpenter, and introduce my daughter(s) to Nichelle Nichols. My wife will probably have palpitations over John Barrowman (fortunately for me, he’s not his character).