Before one tries to make armour, one should examine real armour, find out how it moves, how heavy it is, how it relates to other parts of the armour, and even the style of civilian clothing of the time! The Palace Museum in Valetta is a superb source of information on one particular, very attractive Milanese style of armour. This armour was made at very nearly the end of the great armour making period, so it is consideded to be "late period", but unlike so much "late period" armour, it is very functional. Much of the armour in this collection was funtional enough to have withstood the "Great Siege"for instance. Later, armour in Malta, as in the rest of Europe, became more decorative, less functional, and more indicative of the status of the owner than before that pivotal moment in history.
click on these images to enlarge...
above is a grouping of regular armour. Hard to say who would wear such plain armour...its awfully good workmanship. I suspect that it would be worn by devout knights who didn't want to flaunt highly decorative armour. I don't think it would have been an economic decision...the knights generally had no trouble affording top notch equipment.
You can see in the above suit that it reflects the civilian style of the time..the peascod breastplate. I found upon making this breastplate that is is actually quite easy to create....but it is a real pain to wear comfortably.
Above are splinted armour breastplates. These look much more comfortable, and you can at least sit down in them....the plackart slides up and over the front of the armour. The centre keel is becoming more and more common....at the time these were made, jousting was pretty much the only place you would be wearing armour, and these keels are really good at deflecting lances. The knights found out that they are not so bad at deflecting large caliber, slow moving bullets as well! The more I look at this particular style of armour, the more I like it.
And I just had to include a picture of the nicest General Issue backplate which survives in the collection....this "pots and pans" decorated armour is beautifully sculpted, and shows the Milanese influence of tight roping of the edges, and the double medallions in the centre. 18 guage, and gorgeous.
This is a small sampling of some of the nicer harnesses which I snapped during a visit back in '03. Its all still there...though I notice it seems to be even better displayed now than it was back then.