Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:45 pm Post subject: Hello from Triad, North Carolina
My daughter and I joined European Medieval Arts of Arms last fall. (This is something that she has wanted since she was 3 1/2!). We are joining the Greensboro school's Brigade Demo Team (Steel and Full Armour) and beginning to piece together our armour.
My daughter is 19 and has trouble with written communication (due to dyslexia and dysgraphia).
I would like suggestions on possibilities for her to decide on when choosing her armour. In perusing armour archive and this site, I have tried to compile choices for her - but the information is overwhelming - and I am not a woman.
My wife is making our gambesons and arming caps, but has no knowledge of armour.
1. Nothing pink or "girly". She says "I need armour, not a boyfriend."
2. The armour must be of 12-14 oz leather or hardened leather and/or
3. steel (16g, 14g, but not 18g).
4. We can wear padding / gear under any armour (like bmx or lacrosse).
5. Armour can be mixed periods (appx 15th century or less).
6. We are fighting against Starfire Swords (non-edged and non-pointy tipped). This is not choreographed combat.
If anyone has armour they have upgraded from and wishes to sell pieces, please PM me.
(I honestly can't afford $200.00 gauntlets, $150.00 legs, a $400.00 helm, $200.00 boots, a $300.00 cuirass, etc. and still have enough to feed the family.)
Any help you may be able to offer, I would appreciate it. It is not easy finding someone who has been through getting armoured up from nothing. Members of the Triangle area Demo Team have been able to get armour from others who were leaving the school or came up through groups like the SCA and had friends who could make armour for them.
Getting armour together can certainly be overwhelming. Have you checked into the SCA at all? It is, um, far cheaper, and you could spend more on armour. I couldn't find any armour requirements on the EMAA webpage, so I am not sure how complete the armour you need is. I would spend the vast majority of your money on a good, well-fitted helm and gauntlets, and the prices you list are not at all unusual or unreasonable there. Body armour can pretty easily be made at home, and elbows and knees are cheaply available from Rough from the Hammer. I don't know how sturdy your daughter is - if she is slight, body and limb armour of 16 ga steel will add up to a fair bit of weight for her.
Really. I know the SCA plays with rattan rather than steel, but.... now we have cut and thrust, which does use steel, if that is your issue. The SCA has 40 years of experience depth and many fine people in your area who will teach you for free, (and possibly be able to help with armour starts). And armor requirements are a bit easier to manage in the beginning than it sounds like EMAA's are.
You might be able to experiment with the fit of leather armour by originally making it in plastic. Barrel plastic is typically free or nearly so, and you could check that your pattern works nicely without cutting into a pricey side of leather.
Typically women's armour is not particularly different from men's, except that you will want to give extra attention to fit and weight, so that she can fight others rather than her armour. Try to get the advice of experienced people before you spend a lot of money on whatever particular thing you are purchasing. Some vendors are unfortunately unreliable and some look like a good cheap thing, but are not worth even a bargain price. Keep us in the loop with your efforts.
Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:59 am Post subject: Daughter requirements
A friend of ours was in the SCA (I don't remember where) before she moved to the west coast and she talked at length with, Pan, my daughter. Based upon her experiences, which were good, she thought that Pan would be more suited to a different type of instruction. We lucked into seeing EMAA at a renaissance faire and after spending the day asking questions of the instructors and students we were hooked.
The female fighters we have have different kinds of armour and what they prefer to do to armour up. We have a father / daughter who are fencers and use lighter armour. Another fighter bought her whole set (helm included) for $150.00 from a woman who was moving. When I ask "What do you want to wear?", her answer is "I don't know what will fit me." And there is no one her shape and size to "shop" with. Oh and Pan HATES shopping with a blue-tongued vengeance.
I am assuming that plate would not give her a lot of mobility. I wonder if brig would work better for her?
Pan is 5'3" (appx) and broad-shouldered, and so is not a twig. She knows the armour will be heavy. I am just trying to see if I can help in giving her options so she can feel like she can move and be protected. (I know - you sacrifice flexibility for protection.)
I was hoping to find some used armour that she could test out - but finding heavy armour used is difficult. There is a LOT of beautiful 18g steel, 9-10 oz leather, and alum. maile that would be wonderful to get her - but would not protect her.
We don't have the requirements up as yet. The minimum required is:
(assume all steel is 16g, 14g, or 12g - assume all leather is 12-14 oz or equivalent boiled / wax hardened)
1. steel helm with padding and strapped. Perf. plate required under any openings.
2. gorget (leather or steel)
3. Chest plate / leather cuirass / brigandine and/or maile .
4. Pauldrons, spaulders, couters (can be under armour also, if hi impact sport), bracers/vambraces.
5. Gauntlets and heavy leather gloves or protective gloves covered in leather under gauntlets.
7. Boots with very low heel for combat traction & support. Boots can't have buckles and zippers.
I don't know how steel really compares to rattan, or how the club you're playing in hits, but you can make a lot of stuff at home with minimal tools out of leather/plastic/aluminum, pad it, and achieve a pretty protective kit on the cheap. _________________ It's not the most powerful animal that survives. It's the most efficient. -Georges St-Pierre
Okay. A coat of plates style would probably work well and be fairly easy to make for body armour. 16 gauge is way overkill for this, but probably the cheapest alternative if you can get scrap metal and have the ability to cut it. I'd put something on her thighs even if it is not required and is just covered plastic. (Made this mistake when I was 20 and pulling armour together, and found 'something/anything' to put on my thighs before the next week. Hiking type boots or combat type boots work pretty well. I buy them in thrift shops a lot - not sure how your selection is there. Sports stuff can often be very cheap used and made some use of. Typically new it is not very economical. Ironmonger can probably handle perf plate if you ask him. He is a good, reliable guy who has been around for a long time and works to custom fit even very basic gear. Ask for a munitions grade finish and you won't have to pay for someone else to do a bunch of polishing. It may take some months to get your helm, though. (This is not just him. It is standard if you are not buying off the shelf.) Gauntlets are going to be the toughest thing - both to find a good, affordable pair and to be able to be confident that they will work. I would not like someone hitting my hand with a starfire even a little bit. (They are far on the heavy crowbar end of sword simulators.) Some people here have recommended Blue Monkey gauntlets. I can't really recommend much because I've been through 5 pairs of gauntlets and not been very confident with any of them.
You might still try going to an SCA fighter practice. They are completely free and you don't need to be a member or anything, just sign a waiver. This seems to be the most local to you:
The thing with anything SCA is that stuff varies incredibly given the shifts in the people involved at any given time and place. So whether your experience would be like your friends, or any use at all, is really hard to know. I do know Sir Marc personally and he is a fine, thoughtful guy who I'd recommend without hesitation. You probably will get more drill and linear instruction at the EMAA classes. But supplementing with the SCA is a possibility you should look into. At the least it will hook you into a larger network of folks who may be able to help and guide you.
Personally, I think if you are on a budget, spending money for a quality helmet and hand protection is really the way to go. You can make a lot of things without much in the way of skill or special tools, and that leaves more of your budget for buying quality stuff you can't make.
There's quite a bit of information on some easy DIY projects in the Arms and Armor section. I wrote a bit on making splinted legs and a C belt, and you can make splinted arms in a similar way.
I wouldn't recommend patterning anything with foam. You're going to have a hard time getting the mockup to match the materials you might make the armor itself from. When I patterned my splinted legs I used a pair of old jeans, then draw out a final pattern on posterboard. You can do the same stuff with a tight undershirt to make splinted arms.
I think the most important thing when you are looking to put together a first kit is to do a lot of research before you buy anything. Have a firm budget worked out. Research the requirements and needs for your organization, then look for reviews and information on armor vendors to find who can provide you with what you need for the best price while also being reputable. _________________ It's not the most powerful animal that survives. It's the most efficient. -Georges St-Pierre
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