Andy Rimmer has turned his hobby into a business as a LARP Maker. Following a long career in social care, Andy has moved up to Scotland and become a full-time maker of foam weapons and props for LARP players, re-enactors, film and TV. Andy also accepts custom commissions.
His business is Offa Studios and he works from a workshop in Murkirk along with 4 other makers.
Andy has won several awards since turning pro and has been awarded multiple prizes in the “Best Producer Foam and Latex” category at the UK Larp Awards, winning the top prize in 2022.
LARP – Live Action Role Playing
Live Action Role Playing is a game where the players use costumes and props to enhance the experience. Players take on a persona or character and act our scenarios set by the game makers. These are often quests or battles and nearly always take place outdoors. Andy commented that you just have to step out the back of the workshop and you are in the rugged moorland of Ayrshire, the ideal location to meet a band of orcs or zombies. The games often have an aspect of combat which is where Andy’s weapons are used.
There are many different styles of LARP such as medieval or fantasy, horror, SciFi and historical. Andy has recently worked on props for a StarGate group and is currently repairing some shields.
The physical aspect of the games drives some of the design decisions for the props. A lightweight core of plastic tubing or fibreglass is used for many props and this is wrapped with foam sheets and tape. The outer layers are glued in place and carved to shape. Any “pointed” ends are designed to collapse rather than pierce, although care is still needed to avoid injuring your fellow larpers or the weapons themselves.
Once the basic shape is formed, the props are sprayed with latex rubber. At this point, extra detailing can be added in the form of cast parts that are backed with foam and glued in place. These are created using plaster-cast moulds.
The last step is painting, a layer of primer is used as a base coat and followed by airbrushing to provide contrast to show off the intricate designs. A transparent topcoat provides protection.
As well as props and weapons, Andy has been involved in the creation of hats and “familiars” for those who play fairies and witches as their characters. Using patterns similar to those used in traditional dressmaking or millinery, foam can be formed into curved shapes and made to look like cloth or leather.
Andy has also been involved in bigger projects such as creating a dragon head. This is where it is useful to be part of a collective, where there are other makers who can lend a hand or provide complementary skills.
Working alongside Andy at the Skian Mhor workshop are: