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Yes, itís time to make a javelin! All of us should own at least one. Javelins are the most essential at Dagorhir because they penetrate armor. Our skill with them is the big equalizer, and has won us battles in the past. Dagorhir-legal javelins are the most difficult to make. Why? They have to be safe for impact against the head, and they have to weigh in at under 1.5lbs. We are Romans. Every Roman soldier (depending on the time period) carried at least two javelins into battle. If each of us had a javelin, we would be even more tactically devastating than we are now. This helps you at least as much as it helps Rome. You get to enjoy the luxury of reaching out to touch someone. Construction is easy. One javelin should take no longer than an hour.

YOU WILL NEED:

1 5íxĹ" Fiberglass Rod (Golf course flag poles are perfect)
2 3"x1"xĹ" sections of Closed Cell Foam
2 9"x4"x2" pieces of Open Cell Foam
1 12"x4"x2" piece of Open Cell Foam  (I recommend Computer Packing Foam)
4 3í lengths of Pipe Insulation
2 12"squares of Yellow and Black Fabric for covers.
Roll of Duct Tape (duh!)
1 Exacto Knife with a new razor blade.
1 Can of Weldswood Contact Cement (Optional)
2 12"square Black and Yellow Fabric for covers

 

Once you have gathered the necessary materials, you are ready to begin. Wrap the ends of your fiberglass rod with duct tape. This helps to prevent it from pushing through the foam later. If one of our javelins becomes unsafe, they will all be suspect. Then cut your two pieces of Closed Cell foam into roughly diamond shapes and apply them to both ends with duct tape as demonstrated in Figure 1 on the right..

Figure 1


Figure 2

In Step two, you will be applying the smaller sections of Open Cell Foam to both ends of your javelin. I highly recommend that you use 2" thick computer packing foam. It lasts much longer and never gets that squishy quality that standard upholstery foams degrade into. The trick to constructing a safe javelin is in the application of the Open Cell Foam. NEVER pull down on the foam. You want to gently fold it up and over the tip of the javelin, as demonstrated in figure 2.

Figure 3 details how the duct tape should be used to secure the first layer of your Open Cell Foam. ALWAYS start wrapping at the bottom (where the foam meets the rod). It helps to have someone hold the foam in place for you when you start. Working from the bottom bunches the foam towards the tip to protect the person you will be nailing in the face. Thatís good.

 

Figure 3

Wrap the foam tightly with duct tape, just past the fiberglass core. See that section of white in Figure 3? It is right between the dark gray of the Closed Cell foam and the lighter gray of the Open Cell. This is not a mistake in the graphic. There should be a tiny gap there as the result of wrapping from the bottom. Thatís perfect, provided the tip doesnít move back and forth appreciably. Repeat this step for both ends of the javelin

Your final step in the process of constructing your safe javelin tip is to apply the last layer of Open Cell foam over the safest end. Remember to gently fold the Open Cell foam up and over the tip. This step is basically identical to the previous one, except that this piece of Open Cell foam must be considerably longer in order to cover the previous layer and still extend down to fiberglass rod. As before, wrap the duct tape tightly from the core up. The duct tape will extend well past the position of the core. As displayed in Figure 4, the duct tape should extend almost to the top of the previous layer of Open Cell foam, but not beyond it. Again this method of wrapping from the bottom forces the foam to bunch at the top. This ensures the key to safety. That key, to coin an old Dagorhir expression, is PROGRESSIVE RESISTANCE. This means that the foam layers become increasingly firm as you press towards the core.

Having completed the tip, you are ready to pad the shaft. Use the pipe insulation for this. Measure the length to fit. Pipe insulation is 3í long, so you'll need two pieces to completely cover the javelin's shaft. A second layer of pipe insulation along the shaft makes it safer and longer lasting. I recommend that you cut a slice out of the first layer and actually glue it to the fiberglass core. Why? It keeps the foam from sliding back and forth and increases your control over the entire length. Cover each layer with duct tape, and secure it to the tip and butt.

Figure 4

Once this is achieved, you are ready to cover both ends in cloth. Dagorhir has a rule that the striking tip must be covered in bright yellow cloth for easy identification, and this rule has been strictly enforced in recent years by Dagorhir's very conscientoius Weapons Checkers. Cover the butt in black, red or gray cloth so as to prevent confusion. Write your name on the yellow tip so that you (and your opponents!) know which javelin is yours.

Tip #1: Never use your javelin like a walking stick. More importantly, never use MY javelin like a walking stick! Why? It compresses the foam at the butt, and youíll find your weapon failing before its time. Your weapons will always last a lot longer if you baby them. Keep them dry and in a warm place. Never stack armor or heavy objects on top of them.

Tip #2: Romans called a javelin a pilum. Gurrundi Pontifex Maximus will tell you this was pronounced "PEE-loom". I certainly donít feel comfortable saying that in public. I much prefer "PIE-lum". Sorry, Gurrundi! This is a prime example of an Americanized pronunciation being far more dignified than the Latin.

-Allaricus Xirinius Dominus