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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

Posts: 486

PostPosted: Mon 07 Jan, 2008 10:43 pm    Post subject: The Mercenaries tailor, good or bad?         Reply with quote

So ya, I was looking around on Albions website and found these pieces of armor. They looked relatively cheep to me so I was wondering if any of you had experience with them.
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Reading list: 15 books

Posts: 790

PostPosted: Mon 07 Jan, 2008 11:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I do not have any personal experience with Mercenary Tailor, but I can give you some info to start your research. Mercenary Tailor has their own website at http://www.merctailor.com. It's my understanding that they are run by Allan Senefelder (at the very least, he is involved in the business (he is also, by the way, a member of this community)), and they did recently announce a price increase effective today (you can see that info in this post http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=12020). EDIT: That price increase is effective yesterday (technically speaking). I didn't look close enough at the clock.

I am not certain to what extent Albion's info from Mercenary Tailor is up to date. My impression has been that that portion of their site is just vestigal information from when they were a retailer rather than manufacturer. Thus, I would be much more confident ordering through Allan or the Merc Tailor website rather than through Albion's page.

If you do a forum search for Mercenary Tailor, I am fairly certain that you will find a good number of posts about them. People seem to be happy with their products, and I believe there were even a couple of threads started specifically to point out the good service or quality received. I don't remeber who posted those thoughts in particular, but I am fairly certain that Jean Thibodeau was among them (hopefully he won't mind me dropping a dime (as I'm told some people say)).

As with anything in this hobby, don't hesitate to contact the manufacturer. The single biggest issue with makers seems to be response to inquiries, and it is much better to learn about their response time while researching than it is to find out after a payment or two has been made.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 12:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson Brown wrote:
If you do a forum search for Mercenary Tailor, I am fairly certain that you will find a good number of posts about them. People seem to be happy with their products, and I believe there were even a couple of threads started specifically to point out the good service or quality received. I don't remember who posted those thoughts in particular, but I am fairly certain that Jean Thibodeau was among them (hopefully he won't mind me dropping a dime (as I'm told some people say)).
-Grey


Yes that would be " ME " as I have basically all the pieces for a full harness from Allan and various helms. Wink Laughing Out Loud

Customer service is AAA if not AAAAA.

If one is satisfied or not depends on expectations: Allan makes " munitions " grade armour and seems to be favoured by many people who actually use the stuff for jousting. I just like to collect and costume use myself. Also, one can get this armour in weeks if not days as opposed to waiting years for a custom order. Other armour made in India can be better looking in finish " costume " armour but will often be " costume " only armour. ( This is also very variable: Very good, good,
adequate, mediocre, awful ...... for any variety of reasons: Function, fit, historical accuracy etc ...... ).

If one is looking for perfect surfaces or 100% period living history accuracy then one won't like this armour as one can see some armour marks and the finish is not intended to be highly polished, and modern things like buckles might be used to keep the prices manageable.

Fit and durability seems good from what I have read before from jousters who have had pieces donated to them by Allan for destruction tests and the armour seems to be able to take the damage one would expect of functional armour.

Oh, and what Greyson wrote seems accurate as far as I can see. Oh, and yes, the Mercenary Tailor's site is up to date while the information on the Albion site isn't up to date as it doesn't show a lot of the current production.

If you do a search on this site you will see various opinions about Allan's armour but in my opinion any negatives are based on judging the armour for what it is NOT, and if you read all the posts you will get a good range of these opinions as well as rebuttals from me and others.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 1:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm about to order their steel buckler myself, just need to have my bank un-blunder my account!

I'll leave feedback here about it.

M.

This space for rent or lease.
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Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 3:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Does Allan spin his bucklers? I know A&A does. The pictures are not clear enough to tell for sure. Spun bucklers aren't permitted in my Living History group due to modern manufacturing methods. I need a buckler that is planished only.
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 4:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Blair wrote:
Does Allan spin his bucklers? I know A&A does. The pictures are not clear enough to tell for sure. Spun bucklers aren't permitted in my Living History group due to modern manufacturing methods. I need a buckler that is planished only.


Nope: Hand hammered according to the site: http://www.merctailor.com/catalog/product_inf...ucts_id=57

The steel target shield, same thing:
http://www.merctailor.com/catalog/product_inf...ucts_id=77

Oh, and I have both. Wink

You would have to ask Allan about any other " modern " features that might disqualify these for you like the use of modern rivets or the materials used for the handles and padding inside the buckler or target. He might be able to modify some assembly details to conform more to your " living History " needs ? Just send him a P.M. or e-mail him any questions.

If it's do-able, without it becoming prohibitively expensive, I'm sure he would make the necessary changes: He does some custom modifications to his stuff and does the occasional semi-custom work if it doesn't disrupt his regular production flow.

But you would have to confirm the above with him. Big Grin

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Shawn Henthorn




Location: Amarillo TX
Joined: 25 May 2006
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 4:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

MT is great, the finish is on the rough side a little but the construction is exalent. Allen uses sliding rivet construction on many of his pieces (one of the only non-high end makers i have found that does so) and the customer service is jaw droppingly good. I have the full 14th/15 century arms and the splinted greaves, I also plan to use MT for my planned upcoming project almost exclusively.
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Allen Andrews




Location: Maine USA
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 4:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I got the chance to speak with Allan and company at a CHT seminar in upstate NY last year. First thing I would say is the guy knows his armor. He is obviously extensively read, and can converse intelligently on the subject. I ordered a pair of mitten gauntlets and I think they are great. They do not have a mirror polish, but the satin finish they do have is very serviceable and easy to care for. They are rugged, well articulated, well made, and reasonably priced. His communications and turn around time are excellent. I would certainly buy from MT in the future.
" I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood. "

Faramir son of Denethor

Words to live by. (Yes, I know he's not a real person)
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 5:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allen Andrews wrote:
I got the chance to speak with Allan and company at a CHT seminar in upstate NY last year. First thing I would say is the guy knows his armor. He is obviously extensively read, and can converse intelligently on the subject. I ordered a pair of mitten gauntlets and I think they are great. They do not have a mirror polish, but the satin finish they do have is very serviceable and easy to care for. They are rugged, well articulated, well made, and reasonably priced. His communications and turn around time are excellent. I would certainly buy from MT in the future.


A yes, here are mine that are semi-custom and I think partially based on what he was making for you on this Topic thread:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...mp;start=0

Having a great helm made by him some time later this year. ( We are still at the early design stage and I'm not in a rush for it as I have a few other things to pay for first ).

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James Barker




Location: Ashburn VA
Joined: 20 Apr 2005

Posts: 365

PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
If one is looking for perfect surfaces or 100% period living history accuracy then one won't like this armour as one can see some armour marks and the finish is not intended to be highly polished, and modern things like buckles might be used to keep the prices manageable.


Ok I want to preface my post by saying MT has a fantastic rep as a maker of armor for doing fair business and getting things done on time and if you spend time looking into armor you will know this means something.



How ever I wish to comment of the product and what you are getting. Armor has many uses in the varing hoddies related to armor in the world and thus there are many different levels of reproduction qualities out there. MT is great for the American Joust scene, ren faires, and the SCA but has no market I know of amoung the seroius living history groups in the USA. If you are looking to join a Living History group with the armor your best bet is to ask before buying.

Jean talks about things that keep prices manageable; beyond the items he listed what you have to understand is an armorer who charges and arm and a leg is creating far more complex shapes and does not use loose rivets or sliding rivets to accomplish what was done with shaping historically; lower end armors are not putting the same hours in on a piece. Labor was cheap in the middle ages but it is not now; buying high quality armor is costly.

Really each buyer has to look at the needs they have and figure out what they have to spend and what their goal is before deciding on the level of armor they are investing in. The Mercenaries Tailor might be right on the money for what you need but I cannot say he will fit every bill.

James Barker
Historic Life http://www.historiclife.com/index.html
Archer in La Belle Compagnie http://www.labelle.org/
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Allan Senefelder
Industry Professional



Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

Posts: 1,563

PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 12:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For examples of historical slot riveting please see, gussettes of breast plate pages 39-40 Imperial Austria,gussettes on breast plate p.51 Imperial Austria,gussettes on breast plate p.84 Imperial Austria, mitten gauntlet p.47 Arms and Armour in the Cleveland Art Museum,Gothic mitten gauntlet p.178 A&AOTMK, inside of tassets p.180&181 A&AOTMK,inside of leg harness p.232 TOMAR,gussettes on breast plate p.42 Fine Arms and Armor, Dresden Collection. I will try to figure out how to scan pics of pauldrons from The Tower and The Higgins but the suit from the Higgins that folks who've been might remeber is one of two Maximillian suits posed fighting on foot. Additionally the Maximillian leg we own as well as the two sets of lower lames from left pauldrons and the tasset. Also the lames from the right shoulder of an almain collar and the paudron from a childs armour i've owned previously. In discussing slot riveting with Chris Poors of Arms and Armor and David Edge of the Wallace Collection at AEMMA in 2004 ( they are good friends and avid collectors of period arms and armour) Chris shared with me that virtually all the period armour he had was slot riveted.
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Andrew Shultz




Location: Boston MA
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 12:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know much about the armor world but I do know customer service, and when I needed a longer strap on some armor I bought from him his service to fix it was excellent. I had to bascially refuse to let him pay for shipping both ways because I felt it was at least partly my fault, so I paid to ship it to him and then he put new straps on and shipped it back.

It was AAA customer service.
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James Barker




Location: Ashburn VA
Joined: 20 Apr 2005

Posts: 365

PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I do not mean to imply sliding rivets are not correct for all periods or armors at all only many armories out there use them in the wrong place and time. I also do not know when and where MT uses them and do not mean to imply they are using them wrong as much as I mean to talk about the things one needs to look for in Living History quality armor.

As I stated Mercenaries Tailor is just not right for every need and one should know what they look to accomplish with the armor they are buying before picking a vendor.

James Barker
Historic Life http://www.historiclife.com/index.html
Archer in La Belle Compagnie http://www.labelle.org/
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 2:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Barker wrote:
As I stated Mercenaries Tailor is just not right for every need and one should know what they look to accomplish with the armor they are buying before picking a vendor.


Basically I'm saying the same thing except that it works for me now: If I was into living history it wouldn't ! So satisfaction will depend very much on the type of use or collecting goals: So the usefulness of this Topic is in informing the buyer so that he will know was he is getting and not buy an " orange " expecting or wanting an " apple ". Cool

I'll leave the technical details of what is or not period authentic/per period to others more qualified.

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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

Posts: 486

PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 3:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nevermind, I visited their site and teh helmet I was looking at had doubled in price, and now it's not cheap at all.
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Allan Senefelder
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Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Uhhh.... what site were you looking at Michael it certainly wasn't ours if you saw a doubling of prices, we've had the same prices since 2004 until we instituted a 10% increase on Monday. Are you sure its us?
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 6:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My bad, I was looking at the Casquetel and I mixed up it's previous price with a different item.
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Allan Senefelder
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Location: Upstate NY
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 7:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael not at all, I was worried that perhaps we had screwed up a key stroke in adjusting the prices and maybe had made something appear to be twice its normal price ( i'm scary unkeyboard savy). Actually you did me a favor it made me go back through the pricing and find one we did screw up so thanks.
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Jason G. Smith




Location: Quebec
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Jan, 2008 5:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just checked in and found this post, so I'd like to chime in here.

I've had my harness almost completely done by Allan at Merc Tailor, and I have to say that the customer service is exemplary - not just for an armourer, but for any business I've ever had the pleasure (or displeasure) to do business with, bar none.

I use it for armoured WMA practice, and it is perfectly functional and durable, and actually fits very well for munitions grade armour. If you have any concerns about fit (as I have, being a fairly large man in the shape of a barrel Razz ), shoot off an email, and they'll make it fit.

I've had my harness made over the course of the last year, kind of piecemeal (sorry, Allen...) for, well, monetary reasons, of course, but it all fits up nicely. FYI, here's a list of things I've had done:
Breast and backplate (currently being adjusted for fit)
Spaudlers
Articulated arms w/rerebrace and closed vambrace
Besagews
Articulated knees
Greaves
Kettle Helm
"soupcan" knees and elbows (used for light sparring with my gambeson)

And it will probably keep coming...

I'm quite happy with everything Mercenary's tailor has done for me, but I harbour no illusions as to historical authenticity. As has been said before, some details won't pass muster in a living history group, but I'm fine with that as I don't do living history. My armour needs to be functional, and is as historic as it needs to be in order to be functional. I don't care about the buckles and whatnot. Essentially, as has been said before - it suits *my* needs quite nicely, but as with every armourer, you need to research according to your needs.

Now, if only Mercenary's Tailor could finish prototyping their hourglass gaunts, I've got a half-dozen guys looking for some. <hint, hint>

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Shawn Henthorn




Location: Amarillo TX
Joined: 25 May 2006
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Jan, 2008 2:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason G. Smith wrote:

Now, if only Mercenary's Tailor could finish prototyping their hourglass gaunts, I've got a half-dozen guys looking for some. <hint, hint>

Yes indeed, hint hint Wink
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