Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Josh C's Helmet

click on the images to enlarge. Above is the barrel helm from the front. I am using nice warm incandescent light, the real colours are actually pretty much what you would see below.

Not a bad looking helm. Not ever going to get used to a barrel helm with a grill face though!

Here it is from the side. The clean up from the welding meant the black of the metal got scuffed away pretty thoroughly. I thought about colouring it with a blackening agent, then simply decided to go with the shiny surface. I used the blackening agent on the top, because I ran out of hot rolled 14 gauge steel. It doesn't quite match, so rather than going with the near-match, I went with the total contrast. Seems to work.

Above is a close up of the lion and nasal in front. Looks mean doesn't it?

And a three quarters view of the finished helm. The eyeletted holes on the sides are where laces anchor the chin strap. The sport that Josh is going into, they hit pretty hard, and I really like the idea of a chin strap which a paramedic can cut from the outside. Without bending his head back...which could be fatal if there is a neck injury.

This helm is 14 gauge steel throughout, with 3/8 inch bars spaced 1 inch apart on centre, and will stand up to anything the SCA can throw at it. I should point out that I didn't do the welding, that beautiful welding job was done by local artist-gate maker here in the village. (I'll put your name here if you like...I know you read this blog....not a void or a bit of bad metal anywhere in all those joints! Kudos.)

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The Stibbert Museum

The armour above is surprisingly not terrifically complex, but thw simple and basic lines provided a canvas for the finest repouse work I have ever seen!

The Stibbert Musum in Florence, Italy, would be considered a world class museum in any city of the world except for the city which is top heavy with museums....Florence. The armour in Stibbert's Tuscany home is the most amazing I have ever seen, rich in its diversity, and stunning in how complete it is. These pictures need to be clicked on to see them in their full glory, but it is obvious from these pictures where I got the inspiration to design my own own armour.

What a great collection! These are three major different styles...it will take me years to be able to develop most of the armour pieces from this small grouping alone!

Later period, with those really cool tassets that turn into knee cops. 15 lames! Oh my!

The old standby Milanese armour used by the Knights in Malta. Like meeting an old friend.

They gave me only 5 minutes in this room, and I was not allowed to take pictures! What torture!!! These pictures are from the Stibbert Musum's web site.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


these images look better enlarged.
This shows the articulation of the armour even with my hand raised, like I was about to strike somebody.

And across the body. Normally the problem is that the front wing will slide up into the neck in cross body shots....this seems to have minimalized that effect a lot. There is still a little of the "neck gouging" going on, but hopefully, my gorget will stop most of it. It is a lot less than a real period spaulder though, which were notorious for banging into the neck.

Here the articulation is not too bad...fairly standard. The bottom piece (called a lame), the one with the chunk taken out, technically should be the top part of a two-part rotating cannon arrangement. I didn't bother with that....

Here you see all of it. I think the wings should have been bent in a bit more, but then, they were made to fit a big guy like me. And actually, considering that they are supposed to fit over the body armour, this might not be too bad. Easy for the client to bend them in a bit if he wants though. So possibly a little more curvature in the wings..... hmmmmm???? Always thinking of ways to improve.

And as you can see, it provides zero underarm protection against thrusts. But then, they all have that flaw.

So here is the armour, as worn by me, and delivered to Mr. Merino last Friday. Hope he sends me a picture of him wearing all his armour.

This armour took about 30 hours to design, build, re-fine, and get almost right. It took 7.5 hours per side to build. So, a full long day, about the same as a breast plate or a back plate. It should be selling for around 400 Canadian dollars, (which come to think of it, is pretty much the same in US dollars right now!) but that figure might go down a bit as I get to making them faster. Though I dunno....it might be hard to shave off an hour from this job! I was working pretty fast, and not much went wrong. Maybe after I make a dozen more of them, I'll learn a few shortcuts.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008


This breastplate is a little different in that I put all the deep compound curving into the breasplate, and made the belly nice and flat. There is a 10 foot radius in the belly (plackart) and a 4 foot radius in parts of the upper breatplate. Should make the client look good.
Other details, double sliding rivets in back and picadills attached to the outside plates...those are the little bits of leather which keep the armour from scratching itself....they are held on by the copper rivets you can see in the above picture. The holes to lace the fauld into place are eyeletted....and should last a long time.
Not bad for what amounts to my "bottom of the line" armour.

Mr. Merino's Armour.

This is the collection of backplate, breastplate, faulds, elbows and vamraces which I am getting ready for delivery this week. Customer may yet choose some more straps instead of all those laces. What is missing is the shoulder armour "spaulders", the knee cops and other leg armour.

A close up of the vambraces. They fit over the forearms, and are pretty straightforward....heavy enough to take the shot, light enough to be able to swing a sword. A dichotomy which makes for a considerable amount of dispute on what makes for a "good" vambrace.

These are the tassets which hang off the faulds below. Rounded at the bottom and flared out a bit. Nice gentle compound curves should keep them from caving in under the first blow. I have seen them curled up like old shingles on a south facing roof. All you can really do is make them so that they are fairly easily repaired, because even dented or curly, they protect the gap between the top of the leg armour and the fauld which seems inevitable.

These are teh faulds. The way they come from the shop. Each piece has a good overlap, and is finished with a "ten foot" radius ball on the wheel. One of the most gentle curves.

The elbow cops. Simple, one piece elbow cops. Note how the edges have been flared by stretching the metal with the cross peen (wedge shaped) hammer.

Back plate is fairly standard. I included an extra strap in the middle...not sure if that was a good idea or not. In this backplate, I put the picadills on the underlying plates.

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