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Kat Johnson

Location: Atlanta, GA
Joined: 13 Jun 2008

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat 14 Jun, 2008 4:45 pm    Post subject: Armor for girls?         Reply with quote

So hi everyone, I guess let me introduce myself first, my name is Kat and I am an avid competitive kickboxer, I also practiced german longsword with ARMA back in 04 for a couple years and am recently getting interested in getting back into HEMA. I find myself particularly interested in the idea of getting suited up in full harness and really going at it.

Now, I am not a small girl, i'm 5'10" 145lbs and built very athletically, but I went by the museum replicas store today )I am in atlanta GA) and nothing they had would fit me at all. Everything seems to be designed for 6t+ 200lb guys. To make matters worse, my partner is only 5'6" and about 125lbs and would also like a full suit of harness so that we can play together.

I make a pretty good living so money isn't really an issue, but I am hoping to get away with under 6K or so each for both of us to have a functional and reasonably period accurate suit of armor. It doesnt have to fit like a glove, but it needs to be reasonably close.

Someone please help point me in the direction of where I can get some reasonably historic steel armor. I'm not interested in SCA fantasty stuff with silly things like built in boobs. Just armor small enough to fit a decently sized woman and a smaller sized woman Happy

Vae Victus
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Jason Elrod

Location: Winchester, VA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
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Reading list: 38 books

Posts: 707

PostPosted: Sat 14 Jun, 2008 5:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Welcome Kat.

Other more knowledgeable people here will be able to help you more than I can but you might want to also check out Armour Archive Not only do they have a forum but an extensive list of Armorers and supplies.

Good luck.
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Allen W

Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Sat 14 Jun, 2008 7:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With your budget my first inclination would be to give Peter Fuller of Medieval Reproductions a call. He is extremely talented and his website can be found in the links section of this site.
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Chris Gilman

Location: California
Joined: 07 Dec 2007

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Sat 14 Jun, 2008 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It all depends what you’re willing to settle for. It also depends on the period of the armour. Some armourers are better at some styles and not at others. I have about 20 suits, most of them made for me, some by myself, others by many different armourers. I didn’t know what proper fit was until I wore my Maximilian (1525) made by Robert MacPherson. (Difference from driving an old 1965 Lincoln and a modern Porsche 911.)
If you say money is not real an issue then you’re going to want to ramp up to the 10K+ for something that will be worthwhile for fighting. (I’m talking the serious study of historical fighting.) Otherwise the armour will not allow you to move the way real, well made armour would. (Like learning kick boxing in ski boots.)
Under 6K will get you something perhaps a tiny bit better than MR, but not much. (M.R. stuff is not that good for any serious fighting.) For 5k to 8k you will be looking at a second or third tier armourer. Some nice pieces from Eastern Europe, but if you plan on learning anything real while trying to fight, then you have to have fittings and the armour needs to be tuned to your body. A good armourer will do this with minor fussing. But most armourers I know of, won’t know how to make a great fit. Mainly because most of their customers don’t know what a great fit should be, so they don’t need to get any better at fitting it.
Here in the states (or overseas for someone really good) a good harness is going to be well over 10k. More like 25k for something that will really move with you.
Robert MacPherson is by far the best, at both making and fitting and in any style. However Mac is not actively armourering these days.
In his place, I would recommend Greg Wosnack (“Krieger”), Per Lillelund Jensen or Jeff Hedgecock. All very good armourers and well versed in proper fitting.

Jiri Klepac, Eric Dube, Stanislav Prosek all make some nice looking stuff, but I have no experience on their engineering abilities. (Function and fit)
William Hurt III is good, but doesn’t take commissions, per say. If you’re looking for something in the visually fantastic, Ugo Sarrano is your guy.
I would recommend someone working in spring steel. (1050 alloy) This will get you closest to what real post 14th C. armour was trying to be (Metal wise.) It will also resist dents and scratches a 1000 times better than mild steel while being made from the correct gauge of metal. Remember, depending on the style, a harness for you should be 35lbs to 50 lbs max. Anything more than that, then metal gauge used is probably too thick.
Hope this helps.

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Kat Johnson

Location: Atlanta, GA
Joined: 13 Jun 2008

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat 14 Jun, 2008 8:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well my budget is flexible so I am more then willing to expand it i that's what it takes to get what I want. We'll see what the research yields, the PM's I have received so far along with the posts have been most helpful, thank you.

Edit: I did want to clarify in my original post however that I was talking along the lines of 6K or so per suit Happy It seems some people misunderstood me and thought I was asking about getting 2 suits for a total of 6K Happy I don't know a lot about armor, but I'm not quite that naive Wink

Vae Victus
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B. Fulton

Joined: 28 Dec 2004

Posts: 180

PostPosted: Sun 15 Jun, 2008 6:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just so you know...... SCA=not fantasy.

But making armor (made for men) fit women (which are definitely built different) does take some work. And especially in the SCA (with full contact combat, albeit with limitations) you will find enough women wearing armor to know what to fix and how.

If you're doing WMA and want're probably as noted above going to have to go custom.

Having seen a friend (female) who was intent on getting into plate, and at 5'8, and exceedingly well endowed (44DD) due to genetics......the tribulations she went through were probably worse than yours and she had to make some concessions before she finally reached a workable and historically at least mostly correct setup.
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Jean Thibodeau

Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jun, 2008 7:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote


Welcome to the " myArmoury " site and forums. Big Grin

You could P.M. Gordon Fry who is a member here and who does jousting. He has a jousting partner who is a woman and who should know all the pitfalls to avoid getting armour that works well for the female form.

Link to his profile, I thought it would be faster for me to find as I'm more familiar with the site. ( Sure that you could have found it yourself. Wink );u=1792

His website, here you can see " currently " a pic of Gordon in a parade with his training partner in armour:

So, P.M. or e-mail him and he can give you some advice about " using " armour ( Less expensive types ) and can possibly put you in touch with his training partner who has a more expensive " high-end " armour that I think is custom work.

For using armour that works, but not costly, I would recommend having a look at Mercenary Taylor's:

One good thing is that his customer service is the greatest and his stuff is in stock as opposed to having to wait months or years for custom work. Might work for you as starter armour while you wait for " fitted " custom armour to be made.

Size may be a problem as with most of the rack armour: One size fits " most " not " all " but Allan can do some modifications but not really a full custom fitting. I just recommend getting in touch with him and asking questions: he can tell you what he can or can't fit to your sizes and he can also give you good advice about other armour makers that might be able to give you what you are looking for.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Gordon Frye

Location: Kingston, Washington
Joined: 20 Apr 2004
Reading list: 15 books

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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jun, 2008 10:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote


If you want something soon that you can get into and will work for you, Allan Senefelder of Mercenary's Tailor makes decent "munitions grade" armour that he can adjust to fit you, I'm sure. He is fast, reliable and communicative. I've bought several pieces of armour from him, all were very well executed and in a timely fashion, and at a very reasonable cost. Good, reasonably authentic, but a bit heavy.

I you want something REALLY nice, that fits you to a "T" and you can be proud as punch about, I strongly suggest you check into Stanislav Prosek, in the Czech Republic: He made a very nice suit of late-15th Century Milanese export armour for my jousting partner, who like you is a athletic woman. Stanislav made the corselet and complete arm harness of vambraces, rerebraces, pauldrons and reinforces for them, and they are dead-on sexy. She also has a gorgeous black-and-white corselet and burgonet that Stanislav made, and I have a beautiful pair of his gauntlets. He is becoming quite well known now, so get on his list while the getting is good!

Here are some photos of the Italian Export armour belonging to my pard. Gorgeous stuff! (The gizmo fitted to the right side of the breastplate is the lance arrét.) In the parade photo, she's (obviously) the blond rider on the left side of the photo. BTW, I'm the other rider, and you can check the Mercenary's Tailor pauldrons and vambraces I'm wearing. (Sorry, it's the only one I could find of her with all of the arm defenses on.)



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"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team

myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Joined: 21 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Mon 16 Jun, 2008 9:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Thaden and Ugo Serrano made this armour for a fantasy film a couple of years ago. I don't know if PT is still working, but he and Ugo obviously have some recent experience in making custom armour for a woman.

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"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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