Behind the scenes with the Royal Armouries Licensing Team

October has been a busy month at the Royal Armouries museum in Leeds with the opening of our new ‘Make: Believe’ display; showcasing some amazing arms and armour from classic films, TV and theatre productions.  Featuring new acquisitions like this Star Wars E-11 blaster above, it explores the influence and role of arms and armour in popular culture. Highlighting the ‘behind the scenes’ craftsmanship that ensures authenticity; you can see how these stunt props emulate their real-life counterparts.

Imperial Stormtrooper Blaster


Sterling L2A2 Submachine Gun, PR1413. The real-life weapon that inspired the E-11 blaster


In the Licensing team we have been working hard photographing and digitising these objects and images which you can explore in our Film and Fantasy collection here. We strive to ensure our objects are captured and documented authentically, right from our dedicated photography sessions to digitising and editing the high-quality image you see on our Image Library website. Like any stunt or prop object, it takes a lot of time and skill to produce an accurate representation that is inspired by the original.


Before and after: photo taken during photography session and final edited image of the Lancelot armour.


Our photography sessions require help and expertise from across the museum. Firstly, the objects must be moved to the photography studio. Due to the size, weight and sometimes condition of the objects, our specially trained Technicians and Conservators assist to make sure everything arrives in one piece. During photography, our Curatorial team are on hand to point out the talking points on each item and to ensure no detail is missed. The final stage is down to the Licensing team to digitise; edit; catalogue and store all the files securely before being published on our websites. This process helps to ensure high quality images are created that can be accessed by the public for as long as possible before technology catches up and the objects need to be re-photographed.

All images of objects from our ‘Make: Believe’ display are now available to licence through our online Image Library. Every purchase you make helps fund the Royal Armouries and the work that we do.


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