Then, having done an exhaustive
search of reference pics on the internet,
as well as numerous viewings of the film
for inspiration and information (the fun
part), I realized Gladiator's costume,
even his chest armor, undergoes an
evolution in the film...

The woman and child (under the left
horse) appears in his second fight,
against Tigris of Gaul.  And the angel
(under the right horse) appears in his
last fight, against Caesar.
Accessories for this figure
include:

-   blue-gray tunic
-   chest armor, w/ metal buckles
-   shoulder armor, w/ buckle
-   wrist armor, w/ working laces
-   leather-like wrist wrap
-   chain mail on upper arm
-   chain mail skirt
-   leather straps w/ metal studs
-   helmet
-   head, w/o helmet
-   head, w/ helmet (one piece)
-   leather-like boots w/ real
  leather laces
-   black metal figure stand
-   certificate of authenticity

and possibly on future versions:

-   round shield
-   necklace with wolf teeth
-   small pouch with wife and son
   figurines
Russell Crowe as "MAXIMUS DECIMUS
MERIDIUS" in GLADIATOR, 2000

This was, by far, the most time-consuming,
most complex custom I've done...

Sometimes, I get to kit-bash, swipe parts
from some mass-produced figure.
Not this time!
Every item on this figure is
custom, hand-crafted.  It
was quite the scavenger
hunt, finding the right
color/texture fabric, the
right vinyls and pleathers,
the right tools for making
things I couldn't find...

I knew I was going to do
this custom the first time I
laid eyes on a Dragon
Russell figure.  It wouldn't
be hard to cast a duplicate
of the head, sand off the
features, and build up a
new face on a head that
was already structurally
and proportionally
accurate (except for the
hair).  I didn't know,
however, how much time
I'd spend hunting,
creating, designing it...
...Five months!
(This is where I realized
I'm a die-hard customizer
and absolutely insane!)

And I'm not talking on and
off for five months!  I
mean a few hours almost
everyday, driving,
shopping, hunting,
looking, sculpting,
molding, casting, painting,
gluing, stitching and
problem-solving.

There seems an infinite
variety of solutions to any
problem, and the plethora
of custom Gladiator
figures out there are
testament to the fact that
a little creativity goes a
long way, as no two
figures are alike.  Where
some used leather, others
used vinyl, plastics, or in
my case, castable
urethanes (for the main
armor, for example).
Also, the chain mail
under his armor, as
well as his helmet, is
present only in his
first fight (The Battle
of Carthage) in the
Colosseum.  The
studded leather
straps hanging from
his waist are also
unique in this fight.  
And in the third fight,
the shoulder armor
changes (back to the
style he wore as a
General at the film's
start).
Thus, the outfit on this figure is really an
amalgam of all the best features from
each of his three fighting ensembles.  I
chose not to make the shin guards (as
they were rarely worn), and would only
hide the detailing of the boots.
The helmet proved to be an interesting
challenge as well.  I experimented with casting
the helmet in several materials--urethane (too
soft), clear resin (stickty residue), white resin
(bubbles), and even Cerrosafe (nearly
impossible to slush-cast an even
thickness)--and eventually settled on white
resin (multiple thin layers help minimize
bubbling)...  Resin, however, at the right
scaled thickness, is fragile, so I had to cast
thicker than scale, which meant the helmet
couldn't  actually fit on the head (unless I cast
an over-sized one, but I hate going
out-of-scale...)  So, I sculpted two
interchangeable heads: one with helmet, one
without!
Maximus uses several different swords throughout the film, most of them fairly
short (as Roman gladiators swords were), but the most notable was the one he
held as a General at the beginning, and which he did not again use until his final
death-match with Caesar, I believe...  Full-scale replicas of this popular sword are
always available on eBay, and so reference pics were also handy!  My 1:6
version of this sword in these pictures is crafted entirely from wood, but I plan on
molding and casting resin duplicates in the future.





The next stumbling block was the boots.  Should I sculpt and cast
them?  Or should I hand-craft "real" boots from material? Casting
always brings a host of potential problems, so I decided to do it the
long way, and hand-stitch/glue them together out of a pleather-like
fabric I found. The laces, by the way, are genuine leather straps!
Other notable details include the real metal
buckles (four of them) which hold his chest
armor on, and the one which holds his
shoulder piece in place.  The metal studs
on the leather straps hanging from his waist are real metal
(aluminum) and individually pressed, punched, and glued on!

The "chain mail" is a specially imported "fabric" which costs $120 a
yard and is apparently available only at a distributor here in Los
Angeles!  (Or so they tell me!)  His wrist armor has real working
laces, and is cast in the same material as his main chest armor and
shoulder piece.

I haven't yet added up the tremendous amount of time i spent, or
the cost of materials, supplies and tools needed to create this
figure (I'm kind of afraid to, actually!), but I do feel it's worth every
cent!

This figure was the biggest challenge so far, but it's by doing such
difficult figures that you really get to hone skills and invent creative
solutions.  When one compares this to the earlier pages of the
other figures, one sees not only a wider repertoire of tricks/skills in
customizing, but I hope improved photography techniques as well!
I finally settled on one of those mail-order
dome night-lights that you press on or off.  I
popped the plastic out, cut it down, detailed
it, painted it, weathered it, and the sealed it
all up.
I spent a great deal of time in all kinds
of shops looking for something,
anything, made out of plastic that has
the subtle curvature of the shield in
one-sixth
scale -- salad bowls, plastic bottles,
etc -- that I could customize
into the shield...