INTRODUCTION TO LARP WEAPON MAINTENANCE
It's a special feeling when you get your first LARP weapon, the swing of the blade and the feel of the weapon in your hand, but you might be wondering why your latex blade feels like it is coated in oil or silicone, that is to protect the blade from drying out and keep the form of the weapon.
WHY DO LATEX LARP WEAPONS NEED MAINTENANCE
LARP weapons are designed first and foremost to be safe when you get hit by a LARP sword you expect it to be softer, the same goes for shields and some hilts on weapons. You would generally want a soft strike surface that hurts less when you get hit, but still firm enough to not completely lose shape when you hit a hard surface.
The issue with the normal Latex used for LARP weapons is that it cannot handle drying out, slowly starting to shrivel up and crack, if left for too long without a silicone coating, leaving the weapon useless.
This is why silicone or silicone gel is used to maintain Latex LARP weapons and why you should always endeavor to do it after each LARP session, if possible.
The basics of maintaining a LARP weapon
Before receiving any LARP product, make sure to read up to see if it requires any special maintenance, such as a coating of silicone, Normally latex Shields, and bladed weapons for LARP will require being coated by silicone. When you get a Latex coated product, it will normally feel moist and oily, this is because most LARP weapons come pre-coated with silicone. DO NOT wipe off the silicone, let it stay on as wiping it off means that you have to give your weapon a new layer of silicone faster than you normally would have.
A way to make sure that your silicone-coated product does not dry out while being in storage is to make sure that you place it somewhere where there is little to no sun, the is a modicum of temperature control and that it is not being squished by other things. Ideally, a small storage room would be the best location to store them.
Another important point is to not wrap the silicone coated product in cloth, which some would be inclined to do, like in the movies, the simple reason for this is that the cloth will invariably dry up the silicone coating, which would make the sword crack and lose shape much faster.
You can use any silicone that is heavy metal, and solvent free to coat your LARP sword, however, we suggest using the Epic Armoury Maintenance Silicone and the Protection Gel as both of these products are designed specifically to keep LARP weapons and shields coated. Try to avoid applying silicone on leather handles, and remember you can never use to much silicone on the latex parts.
Using the Epic Armoury Maintenance Silicone
In order to use the Epic Armoury Maintenance Silicone, you simply need a dry cloth and the bottle. Spray evenly across the latex surface and make sure to avoid any non-latex part of the product.
Use the dry cloth to wipe off any excess silicone and help distribute the layer evenly across the surface. Be careful to not wipe off too much, make sure to leave enough so that coating is even across the sword.
It is suggested that you coat your product at least once after each LARP session.
USING THE EPIC ARMOURY PROTECTION GEL
The Epic Armoury Protection Gel has a higher viscosity than the spray variant, this means that it is thicker and creates a tighter coating. This coating protects the blade much more effectively than the spray does, however you will have to be more firm when coating the entire product.
The Protection Gel has been specially developed for the Stronghold Master Collection. This makes it ideal for strike surfaces such as axe- and sword blades or shields, for Live Action Roleplaying weapons. A coating from the Protection Gel will help reducing friction and preserves details such as form and paint.
To use the Protection Gel, pour an even coating onto the silicone coated product and slowly rub it onto the area with a dry cloth, making sure to not rub it too hard as to remove the entire coating but being firm enough to make it spread out across the affected area.
Due to the thickness of the Protection Gel it will have a harder time filling up nooks and crevices compared to the Spray.
Check out the video below for a video demonstration of how to apply the Protection Gel onto a Larp sword.
Should I get the Epic Armoury Maintenance Silicone or the Protection Gel?
If you have gotten a Stronghold Master Collection sword, and intend to use it for LARP combat, then you should absolutely get the Protection Gel, as it was designed for this specific series. However, the Protection Gel works well with most strike areas such as sword and axes blades, since the thickness of it also makes the coating last longer.
The Spray's more liquid nature makes it ideal for coating complex areas such as handles and shields with ridges and edges, while the Protection gel is designed for use on strike surfaces the Maintenance silicone does also work in reducing strike friction on blades, thereby keeping the form and paint intact.
Whichever you choose, it is important that you maintain your weapon often and create a routine, there is nothing worse than looking forward to LARP through the winter only to find out that you will need a new shield or sword, because it dried up during the winter.