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How to make 1,800 costumes in six months: Troy turns 20

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Troy, a historical war epic with a big name ensemble cast including Brad Pitt, Brian Cox, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom, with Oscar-nominated costume design by the legendary Bob Ringwood.

It was an ambitious shoot with huge battle scenes. FBFX’s key role, along with making stunt versions of Brad Pitt’s Achilles armour, was to mould original costume armour pieces and create polyurethane replicas for the legions of extras playing warring soldiers. With 450 of each costume to make for the Trojan, Spartan, Mycenaean and Thessalonian warriors, there was a lot of spraying and finishing involved.

It was an early foray into PU spraying for us, with a production line of spraying (a hot and relentless task during a particularly lovely summer), cutting, sandblasting and linishing, followed by proper art finishes for each piece. This involved aging down the plated Trojan armour, leather finishes for the Thessalonians, and intricate paintwork on the wooden Mycenaeans, hand painted a layer at a time with base coat, mid coat and highlights, turquoise for the beading, plus thread and fabric details.

Despite the huge numbers involved, it wasn’t the largest number of costumes we’ve made – that honour goes to Kingdom of Heaven, which came out almost exactly a year later.


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