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The Armorer

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"We have a good arrangement. He makes the weapons. I use 'em."
Blade, Blade (1998)

If The Hero, the Caper Crew, or whomever needs a camera that can be cleverly disguised as a cufflink, a wristwatch that conceals a handy garrote wire, or one of those discreet amphibious sports cars, they turn to this guy. The Armorer tends to be strictly non-action; they are not The Smart Guy. Their usual role in the story is to introduce some fabulous new toys for the main character to use (basically serving as a specific variation of Mr. Exposition), so said toys can save the hero at the last minute, usually after a strategic absence to allow the audience to forget about them. If the Armorer has any presence beyond that, it's probably to help keep any fuming, obstructive superiors off the main characters' backs.

This is one possible answer to the question Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?. Gadgeteer Genius, The Engineer, The Blacksmith and Mr. Fixit all describe skills an Armorer should or may have (though, to be clear, an Armorer is not required to be an inventor themselves). Personality-wise, they stand a good chance of being a Bungling Inventor, an Absent-Minded Professor, or an Insufferable Genius.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball, Bulma serves as this for the Z-Fighters, providing them with all their gadgets and technology whenever they can't use their ki powers to solve the problem. Notable examples include the Dragon Radar used to locate the Dragon Balls, several spaceships to travel between planets, and capsules which allow shrinking large objects for easy storage.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • The setting has this on a wide scale with the Support companies, who provide heroes and heroes-in-training with their costumes, gear, and other technology that they might need.
    • For U.A., the local Superhero School, Hatsume and Power Loader are the Support Department's representatives to the plot. They are constantly tinkering with gadgets in the laboratories and help the students upgrade and modify their equipment.

    Comic Books 
  • In Agent of the Empire, Jahan's tech guy is Alessia Quon. Not only does he keep Jahan's favorite droid in working order, we learn that they can confide in each other when they step out of bounds, Jahan being one of few Imperials who doesn't have any anti-alien bias.
  • The DCU:
    • Batwoman: One of Jacob Kane's roles is making or acquiring hardware for his daughter's war on the Religion of Crime.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): While she usually relies on her lasso, any time Diana wants new or different armor and weaponry, she turns to the Amazon blacksmith Io.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Gyro Gearloose is a Bungling Inventor variant. In the Paperinik stories, he creates the titular hero's various super-gadgets.
  • The Mexican version of Fantômas has Professor Semo. It's not clear why he gives so many gadgets to a self-professed criminal. Presumably, he's just happy as long as his stuff gets a field test.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • As an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury relies on Sidney "The Gaffe" Levine (a mechanic who took care of Fury's flying car) and Boothroyd, who mostly gives him personal effects like guns, armor, invisibility pills (comics, everyone)...
    • On the villainous side, see the Tinkerer from Spider-Man. Shocker, Vulture, Rocket Racer, Jester, Diamondback, and too many others to count go to him for their equipment.
    • Reed Richards (Fantastic Four) and Tony Stark (Iron Man) also work as this when they're not doing their usual superheroics. It's stated several times that their tech is crucial for S.H.I.E.L.D., and when Tony is in the hospital for life-threatening injuries, they even post guards outside his door.
    • The Punisher: Micro fulfills this role for Frank, both outfitting him with assorted gadgets and vehicles (Frank goes through a lot of battle vans) and helping with electronic warfare and surveillance. At one point he claims Frank's total bodycount would have been a third of what it is without his assistance.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Lucius Fox fills this role in The Dark Knight Trilogy, providing Bruce with all the Wonderful Toys he needs, while helpfully pretending he has no idea what Bruce is using it for.
    Fox: And before you ask, yes, it comes in black.
  • James Bond:
    • Q fills this role in the films, as in the books. See the entry under Literature for further details.
    • In The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond visits Lazar, who takes pride in creating custom weapons and ammunition for the discerning customer, including Scaramanga. As an example of his work, Lazar shows Bond a hunting rifle he made for a customer who lost his trigger finger.
      Lazar: Here, you will find only craftsmanship and quality. Mass production — your Walther PPK, for instance — I leave to others.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Howard Stark from Captain America: The First Avenger is an eccentric industrialist who offers Captain America an array of experimental shields to choose from to tackle the Nazi threat. Cap quickly gravitates to a light-weight, invincible shield he takes with him until the end of the war.
    • Tony gives Peter Parker a high-tech Spidey-Suit in Captain America: Civil War, but working out all its bells and whistles (which Tony kept restricted for, frankly, Peter's safety) is up to Peter and his pal Ned, sort of a back-alley Armorer, in later films.
    • Shuri from Black Panther (2018) is Wakanda's greatest mind, allowing her to give Black Panther the tech he needs to pull off his superheroics. His nano-Vibranium panther suit, sound-proofed sneakers, and car-jacking Kimoyo Beads all come from Shuri and serve him well to the end of the film.
    • Eitri the Dwarf becomes this for Thor in Avengers: Infinity War, helping him make Stormbreaker after Mjölnir is destroyed (from the sound of it, he was already this for Asgard well before that, as he is implied to have made Mjölnir too).
  • Santa Claus: One of the many baffling additions made to the Santa mythos are his two partners, the wizard Merlin and the deity Vulcan, who provide him with the flowers he uses to disappear and a master skeleton key.
  • John Wick: Chapter 2: The "Sommelier" provides John Wick with several customized weapons, while the Italian Tailor fits him out for his very nice suits (two, one for day and one for night: Italian, two buttons, tapered trousers... and the tactical lining).

    Literature 
  • Foaly in Artemis Fowl invents and parcels out tech for LEP agents and is willing to help the main characters off-the-books, since he doesn't like most of his superiors.
  • Barry Trotter and the Unauthorized Parody features Zed, a purveyor of magical toys who's a clear parody of Q.
  • The Day of the Jackal. The eponymous assassin visits a gunsmith to build the rifle he needs with unique properties that can enable it to be smuggled past the elaborate security cordon around the President of France. He respects the man as a fellow professional, unlike the forger who provides the Jackal's false papers and foolishly tries to blackmail him.
  • Discworld:
    • Leonard da Quirm operates as this in several stories. The poor guy has several dozen brilliant ideas for inventions every day, but is too naive to realize how dangerous some are, so the Patrician keeps him locked up and top secret. It doesn't bother Leonard; you can imprison his body, but his mind can't be held down.
    • Another parody of the Trope Codifier is Qu, who fills this role for the History Monks, providing neat little toys like the Procrastinators that allow you to speed or slow time.
  • The Trope Codifier (to the point many examples on this page are direct parodies of him) was Major Boothroyd in James Bond, better known to modern audiences as "Q". Originally just the quartermaster who kept track of MI6's handguns, the films cemented the popular image of him as a master boffin whose presents for 007 got increasingly elaborate and in some cases downright absurd, and who would always admonish Bond to return what he gave him on a mission in "pristine order" (which wasn't always possible).
  • The Drood Family in Secret Histories has the Armorer, in charge of all the family's magical items.
  • Possibly von Herder, the blind German mechanic mentioned in some Sherlock Holmes stories. According to Holmes himself, von Herder made the air rifle used by Professor Moriarty's henchman, Moran. Some adaptations, like The Hound of the D'Urbervilles, expand on this scant information to make von Herder Moriarty's personal Q-Branch.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alias: Whenever Sydney Bristow is going on a mission, Marshall Finkman supplies her with helpful gadgets to aid her.
  • Invoked in Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Buffy compares Xander and Giles to "her Q" after they build a training course for her.
  • A villainous (at first) example in Daredevil (2015): Melvin Potter (better known to comics fans as Gladiator), who has unspecified psychological issues and a savant-like ability to craft sophisticated body armor and unique weapons.
    • Wilson Fisk buys his tailored suits from Potter, all of which have a thin, undetectable layer of knife- and impact-resistant material sewn into the lining.
    • When Matt offers to protect him from Fisk, Potter agrees to build him a custom suit of body armor — the classic suit from the comic. During the second season, he provides upgrades and repairs, replacing the horned helmet with an even stronger one — after the first one already lets Matt survive a bullet between the eyes (albeit not without a severe concussion). He also builds Daredevil's iconic, telescoping, multi-functional billy club.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • Cisco is, in his own words, the one who "makes the toys". Almost all of Team Flash's many gadgets come from Cisco, most notably Barry's Flash suit. Dr. Wells occasionally pitches in to help Cisco out.
    • The Season Four Big Bad, Clifford DeVoe/The Thinker, has his wife serve as his engineer, constructing all of his impossible equipment, from his Thinking Cap to his Cool Chair and even their pocket dimension lair.
  • One of the characters in The Mandalorian is explicitly referred to as "the Armorer". As with the others in the Covert, her name and her face are never revealed; all that's really known about her is that she's a full-fledged Action Girl, and she supplies her people with both equipment and lore. She's the one who tells the titular Mandalorian about the Jedi and tasks him with reuniting the Child with his kind.
  • Barney Collier in Mission: Impossible builds the electronics and mechanical contrivances that the IMF uses.

    Myths & Religion 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Adeptus Mechanicus in Warhammer 40,000 are the main supplier and developer of advanced technology in the Imperium of Man — and in this context, "advanced technology" means war machines. "Developer" is also a bit of a stretch, since their methods discourage inventiveness.

    Video Games 
  • The Assassin Brotherhood of Assassin's Creed has had several historical inventors help their cause by building them special equipment. To name a few: Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Graham Bell.
  • Funky Kong in Donkey Kong 64 takes on the role of arms dealer and provides the Kongs with various weapons and ammo.
  • GoldenEye: Rogue Agent, in keeping with the prevailing Evil Counterpart theme, has Francisco Scaramanga serve as the Q stand-in to the "Evil Bond" main character. Mostly this means adding upgrades to his, ah, Golden Eye.
  • In Mega Man Zero, the Resistance's scientist robot Cerveau supplies Zero with new weapons that he builds from studying Zero's original weapon, Z-Saber.

    Web Original 
  • Man at Arms are a group of real-life armorers. They have created realistic weapon props that have been used in feature films.

    Western Animation 

 
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Howard Stark provides Captain America with his signature shield.

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