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Sylke Gosen




Location: Schouwerzijl
Joined: 20 Dec 2010

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue 21 Dec, 2010 8:31 am    Post subject: Advice needed on armour sets.         Reply with quote

First it seems appropriate to introduce myself. I have been interested in history for a long time (not really a long time since I'm 15, but for a relatively long time). I live in the North of the Netherlands in a small village with about a 100 inhabitants. I have had some weapons (just a few good ones (most them are decorative swords I bought when I was a bit younger)) and a shield or two for some time, but now i'd like to create a cohesive armour set. Because I'm the kind of person that likes to think about something very thoroughly before buying it I decided to join this forum and ask for some advice.
First, I will have to choose a time period...
I'm currently making a (chain)mail (it's almost finished) so it would be logical to incorporate that into my amour set, but mail goes well with most eras.
I'm tending to favor let's say around 700-900 because I won't have to buy a lot of things. I would probably be finished with clothing, a shield (made one) and a spear or axe. Maybe add a helmet, chainmail, a gambeson and a sword for a chieftain or rich man's outfit. I'm also doing some german 14th and 15th century longsword martial arts so it might seem appropriate to create a 14th or 15th century armour set, but the main problem with this is that I don't really feel like buying plate armor just yet. This is because it's expensive and I'm afraid I will have grown out of any plate armor I buy now in a few years. I could try to make a "poor" outfit with a gambeson, mail and a brigandine (I could make a brigandine myself).
I'd like to sort of combine the two eras by buying generic clothing and a generic gambeson (that might be difficult) at first to create an early medieval set and later buy or make a brigandine or cuirass (I will probably not be able to make a cuirass) and a 14th/15th century helmet like a bascinet (I like the looks of that one) or a sallet to combine with my early medieval set to make a late medieval set.
The things I would need would be:
- Generic clothing.
- Shoes (What type of shoes should I buy?)
- A generic gambeson.
- A spear and an axe.
- Possibly an early medieval helmet, but that is not a neccesity.
Then later I will add:
- A cuirass or brigandine.
- A 14th/15th century helmet.
- Maybe some partial plate armor for legs or arms.

I'm also into longbow archery so i'd also like to create a set to combine with my longbow, but I will probably just use the generic clothing I will buy for my other sets and nothing else, maybe a hood to make it look a little better.

I'd like some advice on how best to combine these very different periods in history (if it's possible) and advice on where to buy good quality items for a reasonable price. I will probably buy machine manufactured clothing and weapons because I simply can't afford anything better right now. I'm also a bit wary for LARP items because they might be partially fantasy and favor comfort instead of historical accuracy, but perhaps I'm biased about this. I'm willing to spend more if it gets me something I can use for a long time. I need to find a balance between price and quality really.
- There are some things I specifically want to know more about:
What type of gambeson is suitable for use with both eras (if there is any)? Of course it will be (partially) covered up by armour so I'm fine with a somewhat historically incorrect gambeson. Should I buy one with an opening at the front or not?
- General advice about what armour 14th and 15th century soldiers used. Especially the poorer ones since I'm not going to buy a gothic harness.

Any other advice is always welcome.

Thanks in advance.
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Christopher VaughnStrever




Location: San Antonio, TX
Joined: 13 Jun 2008
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 382

PostPosted: Tue 21 Dec, 2010 12:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

At first glance of this post Slyke, I was hesitant to respond. As i have a few spare minutes i'll impart what i can to help you out.

The questions asked may not actually need to be answer'd. As far as making your own things, well this is a great way to go about getting your "kit" put together. All the interests that you display to have may not be as important as you may think. Now before you get mad at me, take a second to read further.

When I first started my interest into this medieval history of Arms and Armor. i built myself a suit of mail, that suit took on a different form and look and was finally completed 3 years after my initial interest. I was very proud of the poduct I had made. However well into the 5th year of my medieval interest... I found that the mail I had made... well was rather fantasy then historical. And now I am in the process of making riveted mail that will take me longer then 3 years to finally complete.

My passion for these subjects of Arms and Armor was very broad. I wanted to know everything right then and there. Though that was ill-logical for myself. I was getting ahead of myself. Everytime I thought i was making something historical, well it wasn't. My interest has lead me to want to know more and more about the 15th century in particular. i have a wide knowledge base about the orgins of Knights and even the death of Knights.

The wonderful thing about Arms and Armor is that the variety is vast. And that only people with huge wallets can afford perfect Historical Accuracy in their Kits. But everyone else out there (you and I and many others) have a choice on what to represent. We can wear things that are historically inaccurate, though it is up to us to tell the people who see us that historically things were different than what they see.

To be plain - Take one topic at a time. Search the topic, look at the multiple forums online, read books, and search anywhere possible for historical truth. myArmoury.com has proffesors, people with educated backgrounds to learn from.

Also look into past topics, there are hundreds of spotlight topics, DYI projects, and even more articles about anything you want to know. Alot of questions you have asked have been answered before it just takes time to learn it as you search for it.

I hoe the best in your passion for Arms and Armor!

Experience and learning from such defines maturity, not a number of age
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Thomas R.




Location: Germany
Joined: 10 May 2010
Likes: 4 pages
Reading list: 17 books

Posts: 395

PostPosted: Tue 21 Dec, 2010 12:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher VaughnStrever wrote:


To be plain - Take one topic at a time. Search the topic, look at the multiple forums online, read books, and search anywhere possible for historical truth. myArmoury.com has proffesors, people with educated backgrounds to learn from.

Also look into past topics, there are hundreds of spotlight topics, DYI projects, and even more articles about anything you want to know. Alot of questions you have asked have been answered before it just takes time to learn it as you search for it.



Christopher is right. My advice:

1. Concentrate on one century, better some 20-30 years of one century.
2. Research this century: weapons, armor, clothing, manners, history, country-specific culture
3. Decide, who you want to be: Knight, men-at-arms, peasant, smith? And where do you came from?
4. Begin to build your kit due to what you researched. Don't ever buy in a hurry: Not a sword, not a helmet. No nothing! Don't buy cheap or you will buy it twice.
5. Talk to other reenactors about the items you want to get for your kit, get their advice.
6. Finally you will have a nice kit!

And THEN you beginn again at step 1. and chose another century to start with...

Have fun, it really is!
Regards, Thomas

http://maerenundlobebaeren.tumblr.com/
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,235

PostPosted: Tue 21 Dec, 2010 1:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not very knowledgable about clothes, but I really doubt there are clothes fitting for both viking age and 14th or 15th century... And for viking age you don't need a gambeson, there is no evidence they were used. Just use multiple layers of ordinary clothes...
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Sylke Gosen




Location: Schouwerzijl
Joined: 20 Dec 2010

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue 21 Dec, 2010 2:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the answers so far.

Quote:
1. Concentrate on one century, better some 20-30 years of one century.

This might be really difficult for me as I'm extremely bad at choosing. I can't even choose between two chocolate bars when buying one. I'm interested in a very wide time span and have a decent knowledge about most of them.
Quote:
2. Research this century: weapons, armor, clothing, manners, history, country-specific culture

I guess I will pick dark ages then, thats the era I have researched the most and have the most books about.
Now for the exact time span and area...
I have a few time periods in mind:
- Anglo-Saxon England 870-900 AD during the rule of Aelfred the great. An interesting time with many changes in military and social aspects.
- Vendel era Sweden 760-790 AD at the dawn of the viking era. Again a time of change + they have nice helmets Razz
- Byzantine empire 570-600 AD during the rule of emperor Maurice. I have a translation of the manual of war he wrote: "Strategikon" which provides a lot of information about armies during his rule. I like the fact that there is a book written during that time instead of about that time. He also writes about the equipment of each individual soldier which comes in handy when one is making a kit. They also use a lot of horses which is interesting as I also started taking horse riding lessons some time ago. I could make a mounted kit in the future Happy
- Carolingian empire 770-800 during the rule of Charlemagne. A very interesting time period, well I will sum it up in a few words: Carolingian renaissance, Saxon Wars, mighty empire.
- Pre Viking Anglo-Saxon Enland. I like this time because, as far as I know, it's not portrayed very often.
It's hard to distinguish between short time spans of 30 years during this time like you can do in the late middle ages , but I will just try to pick time spans of just 30 years instead of 200-300 as I would have done before Razz
- Anglo-Saxon England 730-760 AD during the rule of Aethelbald, a time of Mercian supremacy.
- Early Anglo-Saxon England 560-590 AD. A time in which Anglo-Saxons conquered parts of west England.

Hmm, that is actually not a few, but quite a lot. How on earth am I supposed to choose between these equaly interesting time periods Confused
Quote:
3. Decide, who you want to be: Knight, men-at-arms, peasant, smith? And where do you came from?

Hmm, I guess I will have to be a chieftain or veteran warrior to make wearing a chainmail viable. I don't really like that most reenactors from this era seem to wearing mail armour because in fact only a few would have been able to afford it and that's why I'd rather wear little to no armor, but a chainmail looks good and I would like to wear my my homemade chainmail. I don't want to be a leader so I guess I will be a veteran warrior from from a chieftain's warband. The only problem is that I'm to young to be a veteran warrior Razz, and young warriors don't have chainmail very often so the only option that remains is to be the son of a rich chieftain (He has to be able to afford nice armour for his son...). That has to be it: A son of a rich/succesfull chieftain.
Quote:
4. Begin to build your kit due to what you researched. Don't ever buy in a hurry: Not a sword, not a helmet. No nothing! Don't buy cheap or you will buy it twice.

I'd like advice on this one, I don't really know what price I should pay for things to get decent quality.
Quote:
5. Talk to other reenactors about the items you want to get for your kit, get their advice.

That is why I joined this forum Wink
Quote:
6. Finally you will have a nice kit!

Happy

Quote:
When I first started my interest into this medieval history of Arms and Armor. i built myself a suit of mail, that suit took on a different form and look and was finally completed 3 years after my initial interest. I was very proud of the poduct I had made. However well into the 5th year of my medieval interest... I found that the mail I had made... well was rather fantasy then historical. And now I am in the process of making riveted mail that will take me longer then 3 years to finally complete

I'm actually making a "wrong" chainmail aswell even though I knew it was not authentic when I started making it because
I wanted to start with something easy and relatively time efficient (not that making a chainmail in any way is time efficient, but at least it takes a lot less time then making a riveted mail armour).
Quote:

I'm not very knowledgable about clothes, but I really doubt there are clothes fitting for both viking age and 14th or 15th century... And for viking age you don't need a gambeson, there is no evidence they were used. Just use multiple layers of ordinary clothes...

I'm convinced to pick just a short time span so picking generic clothes won't really be a problem. You are right about that there is no evidence to support gambeson's being used during the late viking age, but there is no counter evidence either and it might seem logical to use such a thing because the materials and level of technology were sufficient to make them. So I could use them although it might not be 100% accurate.

So two questions remain:
Which of the dark age time spans should I choose? I know that is a personal thing, but maybe I have overlooked certain aspects and perhaps you can help making a choice.
As soon as I make a choice I will make list of the exact things I need and I would like some advice on where to buy these things other then major webshops. I don't really know which manufacturers make high quality items and I don't think I'm really good at judging that so I'd like some advice on that.

Thanks in advance
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Robert Hinds




Location: Whitewater, Wisconsin USA
Joined: 15 Sep 2010
Likes: 4 pages

Posts: 245

PostPosted: Tue 21 Dec, 2010 4:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As for manufacturer's GDFB is relatively inexpensive, but the main drawback with them is that you usually have to modify them quite a bit. Usually re-lining them (they have a horrible non-historic all leather liner) and maybe replacing the chin strap. But since you don't seem to mind non-historical things as long as they are not visible, that might not be a big problem with you.

So you can have a cheap helmet now, and a DIY project to make a nice helm in the future. Wink

One warning, GDFB stuff usually is pretty big, so make sure to measure your head and try to get the closest helm to your head diameter. Even then you might need to add some padding into it so your head doesn't feel like its in a bucket. I had to do that today by stuffing 3 rolled up hand towels up in my sallet, which worked pretty good TBH...

A lot of people don't like GDFB with good reason, but if you do your research and get the right stuff its not bad if your on a budget, especially if it can be worked on later to be more historically accurate.

This isn't exactly a "high quality item" manufacturer, but it is an inexpensive option that you can turn into a good item with a bit of work.

"Young knight, learn to love God and revere women; thus your honor will grow. Practice knighthood and learn the Art that dignifies you, and brings you honor in wars." -Johannes Liechtenauer

"...And he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one..." Luke 22:36
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Sylke Gosen




Location: Schouwerzijl
Joined: 20 Dec 2010

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed 22 Dec, 2010 8:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Currently I have the following items in mind:
- For the clothing I'd like to buy this set: http://historicenterprises.com/outfit-anglosa...ath=99_190
It's a bit more expensive then GDFB's clothing, but it seems to be more accurate and I'd rather have linen then cotton clothing.
- On a site where you can buy second-hand items I found this helmet: http://gdfb.com/cart/spangenhelm-1-p-16.html
offered for 55 euros and it seems like it's a fairly good quality one. One problem might be that the one offered is size L: till 64 cm head girth while my head girth is more like 59-60 cm, but I think I can solve that with some padding.
- Over the clothing I will wear my own chainmail.
- I will also need dark-age shoes, but I'm not really sure yet on where to buy them. I guess I will buy some sort of turnshoes. Anything you can recommend?

Now for the weapons:
- I think I will buy and axehead and spearhead from GDFB (Probably blunt versions). They seem like fairly cheap and decent quality items.
- I will also need a shaft for both of these weapons. Where should I buy a nice shaft? Or should I just go to the local hardware store and buy some sticks normaly used for building?
- I will make a nice roundshield myself (I have done it before, but I would like to make it a bit more authentic next time).
- I guess I will also buy some sort of seax. Anything you can recommend?
Maybe I will buy a sword later, but an axe and a spear are good for now. Ofcourse if you know any sword(maker) you can recommend, please tell me.
Maybe a dane axe somewhere in the future, I really like them.
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 683

PostPosted: Wed 22 Dec, 2010 11:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sylke Gosen wrote:
Which of the dark age time spans should I choose? I know that is a personal thing, but maybe I have overlooked certain aspects and perhaps you can help making a choice.

Personally, I'd like to keep as close to my own heritage as possible. Then again, there was probably not so much difference between Continental Saxons, Frisians and Ango-Saxons, especially in the 6th-7th C...

But it also depends on any group you may want to join in some future.

Sylke Gosen wrote:
Currently I have the following items in mind:
- For the clothing I'd like to buy this set: http://historicenterprises.com/outfit-anglosa...ath=99_190
It's a bit more expensive then GDFB's clothing, but it seems to be more accurate and I'd rather have linen then cotton clothing.

Maybe it's better to make clothing yourself. It may end up to be cheaper, will fit better and be more authentic. And it will give you a chance to learn more about period clothing.

Sylke Gosen wrote:
- On a site where you can buy second-hand items I found this helmet: http://gdfb.com/cart/spangenhelm-1-p-16.html
offered for 55 euros and it seems like it's a fairly good quality one. One problem might be that the one offered is size L: till 64 cm head girth while my head girth is more like 59-60 cm, but I think I can solve that with some padding.

Too big helmets look silly, although people probably did wear helmets of the wrong size... And it's probably too late for your period, depending on what you choose. Lower classes didn't wear helmets anyway.

Sylke Gosen wrote:

- I guess I will also buy some sort of seax. Anything you can recommend?
Maybe I will buy a sword later, but an axe and a spear are good for now. Ofcourse if you know any sword(maker) you can recommend, please tell me.
Good saxes are really hard to find... I'd suggest contacting Jeroen Zuiderwijk. Although he's not a professional maker, he does occasionally make some items for sale.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,199

PostPosted: Wed 22 Dec, 2010 12:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sylke Gosen wrote:
You are right about that there is no evidence to support gambeson's being used during the late viking age, but there is no counter evidence either and it might seem logical to use such a thing because the materials and level of technology were sufficient to make them.

That way of thinking leads to highlander ninjas. It is a logical impossiblilty to prove a negative. Until evidence presents itself then the only reasonable assumption is that it was not used.
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Sylke Gosen




Location: Schouwerzijl
Joined: 20 Dec 2010

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed 22 Dec, 2010 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
That way of thinking leads to highlander ninjas.

Hey, that actually sounds kinda cool, no just kidding Razz
I have already decided against using a gambeson for any dark age outfits, I just went a bit too far with my plan to try and combine multiple time periods.

Quote:
But it also depends on any group you may want to join in some future.

I'm not really sure I will do that and I don't really know about any major dark-age reenactment groups in the north of the netherlands. Do they even exist?
I think my dark age set will be more my own project really, perhaps I will once join a 14th or 15th century group because more is know about that time and there are more groups and events based around that time.

Quote:
Maybe it's better to make clothing yourself. It may end up to be cheaper, will fit better and be more authentic. And it will give you a chance to learn more about period clothing.

I have never made any clothing before, but perhaps I should give a try. Currently i'm busy making a chainmail and a shield so that is why I chose to buy clothing, but I will think about it.

Quote:
Too big helmets look silly, although people probably did wear helmets of the wrong size... And it's probably too late for your period, depending on what you choose. Lower classes didn't wear helmets anyway.

When making that list I had 900 AD in mind and since I'm wearing chainmail I',m obviously not lowclass, so a helmet is appropriate, but I'm not yet sure about which time to choose.
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