Royal ArmouryThis summer the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds will be showcasing the weapons and armour from some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters of recent years including The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (the second installment, Prince Caspian opens in the UK 26 June).

The free exhibition From Narnia to Middle-earth: Arms and Armour from the Movies opens on 12 July and will feature some of the most iconic props from the films including Aragorn’s sword, Legolas’s back rig, Sauron’s helmet and one of the plane mounted guns that killed King Kong.

Craftsman-made by the world-famous, Oscar-winning WETA workshops in Wellington, New Zealand, many of the 230+ props have never been displayed in public before. The exhibition runs until 16 November and will be the only opportunity for movie buffs and the general public to see these exquisite items in the UK.

From Narnia to Middle-earth: Arms and Armour from the Movies has come about because of a personal friendship developed between the Armouries Senior Curator of Historic Edged Weapons, Bob Savage, and Richard Taylor who, along with the director Peter Jackson, is one of the co-directors of WETA.

Many of WETA’s weapons and armour are based on medieval European and Eastern designs and are bespoke items individually built for both ‘beauty’ shots and for stunt-combat, often using contemporary techniques. Curator Bob Savage has advised on weaponry for a number of movies including Rob Roy and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, for which Weta made the mail armour.

The exhibition will feature objects from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Samurai, King Kong and Hellboy (Hellboy II released August 2008) and includes visits from New Zealand by key WETA designers including master sword smith Peter Lyon.