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Garrett L. Hammonds




Location: Tennessee
Joined: 24 May 2007

Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jun, 2008 8:58 am    Post subject: Buying armor         Reply with quote

Hello, I was recently looking into purchasing quality armor, at a realatvely cheap price. So, I was wondering if anyone knew of any good places I should look to purchase such armor. Thanks for the help.
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George P.





Joined: 14 Aug 2007

Posts: 25

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jun, 2008 9:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A few details might help; material? period? Define relatively cheap.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jun, 2008 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good armour (historically appropriate form, construction and materials) will not be cheap. However, you can save a bit of money if you will learn to do some work yourself. An otherwise unaffordable helmet might become affordable if you'll make and install the liner and straps yourself. Ditto for other items of armour. The more you can do yourself the more options you'll have to choose from. You'll find used pieces that don't command high prices only because they lack historical liners or they're rusted or they need some other kind of work. That's where you'll find real bargains.

All the information you need to do your own finish work is out here somewhere and you'll develop the needed skills as you go. But I'm not talking about $150 vs. $1,000. More like $350 vs. $600. To get any good piece of plate armour (project quality) is probably going to cost you at least $250. That would be for something like, say, an articulated bevor that needs to be lined and/orstrapped. When you're done with it it might be worth $400 but you will have to make the initial investment.

Helmets are especially challenging because they're so high-profile and there's so much information about original examples. There are lots of reproductions out there but most have problems--ahistorical design, poor proportions, poor fit, inappropriate materials/construction, etc. Depending on what kind you're looking for, expect to pay at least $400 for something of historically appropriate form off-the-rack. Cheaper than that and you'll start making significant, visible compromises--oversized, crude finish, no lining rivets, flimsy, etc. Some helmets in that category can be improved at home. You just have to do lots of research and figure out which fall into that category. Don't expect historical helmet form, materials and construction for less than $700. Browse the custom amourers and notice the price difference between welded and single-piece construction.

You can do yourself a big favor by researching what kinds of armour were used in the period of your interest. Most likely, you'll find that you'd be better off getting a few nice pieces of armour and clothing rather than a full plate harness of mediocre quality. Say you're interested in the late 15th c. You could spend $20,000 on a full harness or $3,000 on a kit that's no less authentic and convincing (maybe more)--accurate clothing plus sallet and breast, maybe arms. The latter option is a lot more versatile, too. Take cues from historic artwork.

Here again, anything you can make yourself will save you big piles of cash--a jack or brigandine, belt and buckles, shoes, clothing items, etc. Somebody out here has done it before and can give you tips.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Jeff Kaisla




Location: Qualicum Beach, B.C., Canada
Joined: 09 Jan 2008
Reading list: 9 books

Posts: 106

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jun, 2008 3:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi,
I recently bought a pair of 16th c. arms from Mercenary's Tailor and was very impressed. http://www.merctailor.com/index.php They are currently building a gothic style cuirass for me which should be ready next week. Most of their stuff is 16 guage mild, the articulations are done with slotted holes for the rivets which helps movement. They don't finish their armor to a mirror shine, hence the price, and it does retain some tooling marks, but they classify their stuff as "Munitions Grade", but I think it gives it a very authentic look. Allan is a great guy to deal with as well, very helpful and informative. You can also find some of their armor on the Albion webite. http://www.albion-swords.com/armor/mercenary/tailor.htm I actually got my arms for a bit cheaper there.

Steel Mastery is another good one. http://www.steel-mastery.com/index.php?&m...gory_id=17 I have a set of pauldrons from them and am quite pleased with them. They are a bit pricier but the workmanship is good, and you can choose between satin, mirror, or blued finish.

I also have a 14 guage sallet helm on the way from GDFB. http://www.gdfb.co.uk/acatalog/GDFB_Helmets.html I havn't recieved it yet so I cant vouch for the quality, though it looks promising. If you browse this site you can find some of their 14guage helms. http://www.medievalware.com/Helmets-and-Armor-s/6.htm. This is actually where I got mine from.

Hope this points you in the right direction.

Cheers,
Jeff
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Shawn Henthorn




Location: Amarillo TX
Joined: 25 May 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jun, 2008 5:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I will second, third and forth the advise for Merc Tailor...the armour is a little under finished but the construction, articulation,and over all quality would be very hard to beat for the price(not to mention that its built right here in the US) and Allens service is nothing less than astounding!!! As for Steel-Mastery my bascinet is from them and I have been very impressed with it. However, the service and ability to actually deliver the armour has taken a serious nose dive lately. There has been report after report after report of armour being delivered very late if at all. Something not excusable for a production company IMO.
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Jeff Kaisla




Location: Qualicum Beach, B.C., Canada
Joined: 09 Jan 2008
Reading list: 9 books

Posts: 106

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jun, 2008 6:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have heard this about Steel Mastery as well. In fact I sent them a couple of e-mails regarding a cuirass, arms, and gauntlets recently and never recieved any reply. Since then, obviously, I have discovered Merc Tailor and am more than satisfied. The pauldrons I got from Steel Mastery I actually found on their e-bay store. They have decorative etching on them which is an "extra". My guess is that someboby didn't pay up for their order so they put em on e-bay. I was, at that time ( almost a year ago) happy with their communications and although shipping took a bit longer than expected, it was a pleasant transaction. I'm sorry to hear about their customer service nose dive and can only hope they get back on track. They have some finger gauntlets that look quite nice.....
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Shawn Henthorn




Location: Amarillo TX
Joined: 25 May 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jun, 2008 7:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, I am hoping the can get it together as well. I would like to get another bascinet from them as the one I have I am very impressed with. On the finger gauntlets, I keep hoping Allen will release his version of hourglasses. Of course this will bee a while seeing how busy he now days. I am looking a Mad Matts with some interest. I tried Armour and Castings but no response after 3 e-mails.
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Jeff Kaisla




Location: Qualicum Beach, B.C., Canada
Joined: 09 Jan 2008
Reading list: 9 books

Posts: 106

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jun, 2008 9:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

what do you think of these ones? Apparently he does some custom work to them upon request....brass trim, colored gloves...
http://members.aol.com/knightsarmoury/knightsarmoury_002.htm
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Shawn Henthorn




Location: Amarillo TX
Joined: 25 May 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jun, 2008 9:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good ole Knights Armoury..that is who I was hopeing to get mine from..they vanished off the faceof the earth about a year ago.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jun, 2008 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeff Kaisla wrote:
what do you think of these ones? Apparently he does some custom work to them upon request....brass trim, colored gloves...
http://members.aol.com/knightsarmoury/knightsarmoury_002.htm


Bill Grandy reviewed his here: http://www.myArmoury.com/review_lm_gaunthg.html

Mine can be seen here: http://www.myArmoury.com/chad_othr_lm_gaunthg.html?1

I've also heard Lewis and Clay have been hard to reach for quite some time.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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James Barker




Location: Ashburn VA
Joined: 20 Apr 2005

Posts: 365

PostPosted: Wed 04 Jun, 2008 8:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The question is what do you want the armor for? GBFB and Steel Mastery have a couple of helmets I would use in living history as soldier or maybe low end man at arms helmets but nothing for the knightly level for serious reenactment. If you want to really do a high end knightly portrayal you need to go to someone like McPherson, Historic Enterprises, Patrick Thadden, and there are more I cannot think of off the top of my head. None of these folks are cheap but to serious armor collectors they are worth every penny. Like sword collecting there are many levels in quality.
James Barker
Historic Life http://www.historiclife.com/index.html
Archer in La Belle Compagnie http://www.labelle.org/
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Garrett L. Hammonds




Location: Tennessee
Joined: 24 May 2007

Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed 04 Jun, 2008 3:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the help, but I had one last question, I was recently looking online and found an armorer called ASH CRAFT BAKER. and their prices were very cheap. So I was just wondering if anyone knew if their armor was any good.
Thanks, Garrett

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jun, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Garrett L. Hammonds wrote:
Thanks for all the help, but I had one last question, I was recently looking online and found an armorer called ASH CRAFT BAKER. and their prices were very cheap. So I was just wondering if anyone knew if their armor was any good.
Thanks, Garrett


Links are always helpful. Do you have one for them? Happy

Happy

ChadA

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George P.





Joined: 14 Aug 2007

Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu 05 Jun, 2008 12:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don't even think about ordering anything from steel mastery, personal and other people's experiance has shown them to be liars and pretty incompetant (delivering wrond stuff, wrong sizes, forgetting parts of orders, giving about 10 deadlines and not making any of them...)
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James Barker




Location: Ashburn VA
Joined: 20 Apr 2005

Posts: 365

PostPosted: Thu 05 Jun, 2008 6:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George

Are you sure you mean Steel Mastery and not Arm Street? On the Armour Archive a good number of people have had nothing but great reviews of helmets they got from Steel Mastery while Arm Street has had some bad reviews. Both are Russian.


Garrett Ashcraft Baker is really cheap starter armor for SCA folks; it is not historical in any form or fashion. If SCA armor is what you are looking for there are several places I could send you for stuff that is as cheap.

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





Joined: 14 Aug 2007

Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu 05 Jun, 2008 8:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yep, check the newer reviews on the archive, the last 2-3 months they've been pretty bad. I've never had any experiance with armstreet. Also, both are Ukrainian, not Russian. Trust me, you don't want to call them russian Big Grin
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Shawn Henthorn




Location: Amarillo TX
Joined: 25 May 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Thu 05 Jun, 2008 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah It is deffinatly Steel-Mastery, the report is they have gone down hill rapidly since becomeing so popular. My personal experiance is before they were heard of. Arm Streets reputation is on the rise from what I hear.
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