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Archive for the ‘Armour’ Category

I published this earlier (14 June 2011) at another blog under the title: The Thorax So Far. I have also included  some content from one or two other previous posts. Its a lot of text that may or may not be interesting for war gamers but if nothing else this post illustrates why I get rather passionate when reviewing hoplite miniatures.

Ancient Greek body armour of the tube and yoke shape is often called linothorax. For the period and places I’m interested in there are many reasons to avoid that term and its connotation, i.e. that Archaic/Classic thoraces were made of glued linen. There are good arguments that Athenian corselets in the tube and yoke shape were made of leather, sometimes reinforced with metal scales and plates, and referred to as spolas/spolades or thorax/thoraces. Any tube and yoke corselets made of linen were most likely quilted rather than glued together. I decided to experiment by making a composite of four materials. The foundation is quilted linen and the outer layer is leather and, when I get a hold of the material, bronze scales. Will also have steel plate inserts

One of the inspirations for my tube and yoke corselet is this Achilles and Patroclus imagery.

Achilles_Patroclus_Berlin_F2278

Here is one of my concept sketches.

TY_concept1_DS

I carved and stamped the leather breast-piece. The flower pattern is pretty historically accurate although I have never seen it on a breast-piece. I nevertheless went with this as I liked the idea.

SAMSUNG Thorax tooling

I painted the leather white. To avoid brushstrokes I painted several layers of very thin acrylic paint. I applied it so liberally, and filled the brush so regularly, that there couldn’t be any strokes at all. It however took me a while before I learnt this trick so on the first leather painted some brush strokes can still be seen through the outer layers of paint.

Thorax_Front_DS Thorax_FrontLeft_DS

Thorax_Closeup_DS

There are no archeological evidence of steel plate inserts from this particular time and place (see the Vergina cuirass though for a later example of plates under fabric). I am however experimenting with plate inserts. I still need to roll the bottom edges of this thin steel plate but you get the idea. Will cut plates for the yoke also.

SAMSUNG SAMSUNG

 

The biggest stumbling block that remains is to buy bronze plate and cut, drill holes, and shape scales. The main issue is that the type of tin-bronze that I would prefer is difficult to get a hold of unless I buy a big roll which I can’t spend money on right now. Trying to figure out which shape the scales should have by working on some brass scales.

Scales1_test1_DS Scales2_test1_DS

Will also use bronze for any visible metal borders etc.

The main defensive equipment of a hoplite was the shield and helmet so I try to make the corselet light and easy to wear in a warm climate. In hindsight I believe the end result might be a bit too fragile and I’m not really happy with my short-cut of painting the leather white rather than sourcing leather that is tanned white naturally.

I have benefited greatly from seeing other reproductions and from receiving comments at forums but I also have a couple of contributions of my own. My primary contribution is that the thorax sits snugly and tightly around the waist with a waist-line that appears horizontal when standing straight. This fit is further improved by cutting the pteruges in a corresponding manner. Many reproduced linothoraxes/spolades I have seen are cut more like straight tubes with too long back sections, with the result that the waist-line ends up too high at the front, making all but the thinnest reenactors/martial artists look more pot-bellied than they really are.

I think that people want to achieve the sort of boxy appearance seen on vases by cutting the material boxy. However, the human body always distort those types of straight edges so the end result is often not what intended. By taking into account the human body when cutting the pattern I think the end result can look a lot tighter. My inspiration for my pattern comes from making medieval armour, which is always taking into account the shape of the human body.

A minor contribution, which others might have already beat me to, is cutting the individual pteruges tapered. This gives a nice shape that is true to some of the ancient illustrations (but probably not the majority of the illustrations).

A lot remains to be done. I would even like to start making another corselet to take into account what I’ve learnt from making this. For instance the linen around the waist need to be cut tighter and made stiffer so it doesn’t fold so easily. Most likely I will continue with this and aim to complete it in another year or two.

The purpose of this blog is to discuss wargames and I don’t want to stray too far too often. But if you do like the occasional post about armour or other related subjects, like historical martial arts, let me know in the comment section.

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I published this previously to another blog under the title Upper and Lower Arm Cannons (Arm Guards), 5 August 2012. I would love to get plastic minis from around this time-period (ca 1335-1355) when armour went through amazing transitions and came in many variations.

I am soon finished with these upper and lower cannons which have been at the work in progress stage for years. This summer (2012..) I finally got some time to planish, grind and polish them to a standard that I find acceptable (not so acceptable to me any more now in 2014). These are based on a number of effigies and other depictions ranging from the Low Countries (The Romance of Alexander) through present day Northern and Eastern France, and present day Western Germany. Note the obvious resemblence between my lower cannons and so called bazubands.

What remains now is to roll a couple of edges and to fasten straps. Rolling edges means that the edges that are likely to cut into the arm are turned over into rolls.

IMG_5272 IMG_5283 IMG_5284

Inspiration from the Sleeping Guards and the Romance of Alexander.

1340-50_HolyS bazuband__2__702

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I originally posted this to another blog 8 February 2011 under the title Hand-sewing a pour-point and aketon, some lessons learnt. Additionally, this post was first published at the armour archive forum:http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=127780. I share it here as it may help some war gamers learn more about armour and how crucial it is to have a correct and tailored foundation underneath armour. 

Introduction
So I got fed up with the bulk and ill fit of my GDFB (Get Dressed For Battle, a brand) gambeson under armour and decided I needed a slimmer option with greater range of movement. In the end I settled for a sleeveless pourpoint, to which I will point the leg armour, and a sleeved, long, aketon that provides the foundation for the armour. My hard-kit will fit the style of Western Germany/Northeastern France 1345-1355. For my soft kit I decided to go a more speculative route and deviate a bit from the more exact dating of the hard-kit. I did this as I want the solution that I feel work best, while at the same time I’m not building my kit for re-enactment but for WMA/HEMA (Western Martial Arts/Historical European Martial Arts). From my perspective that means I have more leeway in experimenting with the hidden parts of the kit.

I’m not sewing by hand to be historically accurate — its just that I’m really bad at using sewing machines. It went faster for me to just sew everything by hand than to borrow a machine and try to learn how to use it.

Pourpoint
The sleeveless pourpoint is made of two layers of linen that I patterned to be really tight around the waist to help pulling in the stomach and alleviate some weight from the shoulders when pointing leg armour. To facilitate that I also used the type of seam used for tents or jeans on the shoulders. Don’t know how historical that is but it gives a flat and strong seam. I haven’t done the holes for the points as that will wait until I’ve finished my leg armour.

Ppoint_front_DS Ppoint_side_DS

Aketon
Over the pourpoint goes the aketon with “grandes assiettes” sleeves. Doing the sleeves would have been impossible without:http://www.cottesimple.com/blois_and_sleeves/grande_assiette/grande_ assiette_overview.htm, and http://www.cottesimple.com/gores/gores.html. Thanks to Tasha Kelly McGann for sharing her work online! Deciding to do grandes assiettes is another instance where I went ahead of the evidence since as far as I know there is no unambiguous evidence to wear that type of sleeve 1345-1355 (although Tasha has a reference to the Romance of Alexander that was good enough for me). What I did to get the period look was to have a long skirt that reaches down to just above the knees. The top part of the aketon is made of three to four layers of linen. The skirt has about three layers of linen and three layers of cotton. I wanted the skirt a bit thicker as the added bulk is no problem, while I want the extra protection under my mail skirt.

Aketon_front_DS Aketon_Northeast_DS

Lessons Learnt
Although I’m not skilled at sewing I really like making patterns. That’s the reason I made these garments from scratch without buying patterns. There are however some lessons I learnt when doing something like this without solid sewing skills:

-I should have made some more patterns and tests before making the final version of the grandes assiettes. As you can see the upper arms have some folds and bulk where they should look smoother.

-Creating well-functioning lacing is harder than it looks (for instructions see:http://www.festiveattyre.com/research/lacing/lacing.html). I should probably have gone with buttons on the aketon to get a tighter appearance around the arms and to get the closure further down on the front of the aketon. I can’t continue the lacing down the part of the skirt that flares out as that would mess up the tight fit in the waist. One solution would be to have a separate lacing down the skirt.

-I thought that some of the period sewing techniques looked a bit weak. However I now realize that I have gotten too much bulk around some seams since I didn’t follow this resource in all respects: http://www.medievaltailor.com/demosSeams.html.

-I also wish I would have made gores on the sides of the skirt of the aketon to get a fuller flaring. As I did it I just had the front and back cone-shaped to get the flare. The skirt would probably have a more correct flow if I had done it the more correct way.

All in all I’m really happy with the functionality of the garments and have learned some lessons that I never would have without doing it myself.

 

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I originally posted this to another blog June 14 2011 under the title “The bascinet is almost finished”. This is part of a project to create an armour from ca 1340-1350. The bascinet is raised from one piece of metal.

Having attached the vervelles*, the lining and the mail the only thing that’s left is a slight trimming of the mail and to attach the rings to one another in the front. What bugs me now is the inferior leather work. The band is too thin and the mail is not attached to it properly so it looks too bulky. It will work for now though.

Bascinet_back_june Bascinet_front_June2 Bascinet_leftback_june Bascinet_rightfront_june

*The vervelles are the tunnels that comes through the leather band to which the mail is attached.

Edited to add progress pictures:

Bascinet1 Bascinet3 Bascinet9

And here is my equipment stashed away at my parents place (200 kilometers up North so rarely used). The propane burner works fine but the railroad anvil is not properly hardened and is not stable enough. When there is a will there is a way..

Gear1 Gear2

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