Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wall of weapons!

When the Turks attacked Vienna, they were thrown back.  There was a lot of good stuff lying on the battle field, and it all ended up in the War Museum.   At the very bottom of this pile of closeups is the original wall.
      Some of the pics are a little blurry.  Oh well....

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Nice little cuirass

nice little armour     

This is one of the Armours in the War Museum in Vienna.  I like it because it  is so clearly USED!

Wonder how it got used.  Who did the damage.  And most importantly, why was such a fat man going into combat?    (Well, I suppose I only need to look to myself)

It is fire blackened, with those nice lead lines across the top.  No buckles under the arms, but a belt to go under that rather cool peascod placqart.

Its a heavy one though...likely 16, maybe even 14 gauge.  The back is light 18 gauge iron.  The surface plate was probably a plain anvil which left a lot of scars on the surface.  The owner probably liked it that way!

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Vienna Armour, close up.

 A random piece of armour in the war Museum in Vienna.   Unlike the Kuntsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. (a monument to the sport of jousting.  Over there in the new palace is the huge collection brought together by the Hapsburgs.  Basically,  Arch Duke Ferdinand of Tyrol,  Maximillian's collection. There is a war armour section as well.  There will be a lot more of that in the months coming!)   The war museum on the other hand,  is  Below are some close ups with some of my commentary.  First of all...check out the above full view.  A beautiful fire coloured armour with symmetrical shoulders.  This does not look like a jousting or sport armour...the fellow who wore this was prepared for some serious war work.  Its footman's armour...

Lots of good visibility.  I note that the cheek pieces are long enough to be intercepted by the gorget. So its not as open as you might think.  OTOH, I would not want to look up into the arrow storm. 

The barrels on the upper arms are very interesting.  I don't think they are attached to the spauldlers. That is to say, they don't have that interlocking rotating thing that was all the rage at the time.  I suspect the arms are held up by internal leather strapping.  Same as most of the arms that come out of my shop come to think of it.  But the total wrap around of the upper arm is unusual enough for me to point it out.      And look at that beautiful spaldler.  The body is in lames as well as the usual lames up above.  Mobility would be stunning.  I love the matching armour nails (rivets) for the picadills on the topo and bottom.   Lend a nice "boiler" look.

If you look closely, you can see that the harnesshmidt  made the upper arms rounded to fit the arm underneath.  I "should" do them that way...but it takes time and adds to the price. I just leave them flat, same as most of them did back in the day.

The gorget in the picture above is interesting.  It seems almost like a "dog collar" gorget.  Never saw one like it anywhere else.  I wonder if the row of rivets we see along the top held a sort of grande guard of heavy leather once upon a time.  I see that the breastplate is uncomplicated. 

The elbow is very nice.  It would have a LOT of mobility 

The gauntlets are, again, very "ordinance".  The deep flute in the thumb base is interesting. 

 And you can so easily see how nice the tassets and the leg armour come together with those pins at the waist.

Well, there you go.  A nice close up of a random Vienna armour.  I have no idea of its provenance, its age, or anything else.  But it IS the bar we try to conquer here in the shop.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Metal-work books.

There are so many great books on the subject of metal work and armouring.  Here is one which I really enjoyed.

Knowledge is priceless.  But I won't leave you with a homeword assignment like that.  How about a sneak peak at one of the Vienna armours.  Pictures from the back of armour are rather rare.  Lets see what knowledge we can squeeze from this one hmmmm.  

The picture above is worth examining closely.  Its pretty late period, what with the big buff coat.  However, keep in mind that it is pretty much at the end of the armoured period, and of course, it would be state of the art.   So lets look at it closely.
      First of all, the  crisp clean lines show stunning workmanship.  The metal has never seen a wheel, every hammer mark on the surface plate shows clearly. ( Once in a rare while, I have been asked to make a surface finish which looks like that rather than using the wheel. The double price usually changes their minds! You have to do it all )  The protective picadills have all vanished of course, one wonders how it would look in the day with bright red or gold frills on those spaudlers.  Or maybe not...this is pretty "ordinance" and maybe the picadills didn't show. 
      I will have to make a proper rolling stake to be able to do that beautiful outside roll.  Oh, how envious I am of that! 
       The cute little fan like flutes on the backplate argue that this is not just an ordinance armour, but it is certainly a functional one.  This is not a parade armour for sure.  How heavy would it be?  Well, having lifted many of  the real armours  over the years, they tend to run in the eighteen gauge range.   This armour might even be steel and tempered, though I doubt it highly.  Back plates tend to be pretty light and assay out as mostly iron.

        The faulds are beautiful.  Note the flat surface which would fit neatly to his saddle. I kind of like the turn key which allows his squire to unclip it if he decides to use a riding saddle instead of a high back jousting saddle.   This was sufficiently unusual to warrant a picture on its own!

        Keep in mind by this time, the armours were commonly being made from old armours.  So the blacksmiths in Northern Italy were cutting up old bullet ridden stuff and forming it into new stuff all the time. You can often see the joins on the inside, but NEVER on the outside.  So a lot of armours will assay differently depending upon where you take the sample from.  An assay of a helmet in the Palace Museum in Malta I had the honour to peruse noted that there was high grade steel on the brow, and the rest was iron.  You could not tell that from just looking at it.  This phenomon has resulted in hundreds of on line forum hours of nonsense.  Clearly they used what they had, not what would be best for the purpose. (Now that threw the cat in amongst the pigeons.)
             Comments are welcome.  Positive ones.