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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > New Armour!Product Review Reply to topic
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Sean Flynt
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Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 7:25 am    Post subject: New Armour!         Reply with quote

I ordered a Mercenary's Tailor breast with fauld in mid-December and it arrived Jan. 31. Especially considering the holidays, that's an amazing turnaround time for a custom piece (made to measure and not even in MT's catalog). In fact, customer service was exceptional and personal throughout the process. Not only did Allan nail the design brief I gave him, he also managed to fit me perfectly based on a few key measures. I was worried about price--both that the price would be high enough to expect quality but low enough for me to afford. It turned out to be easy--Half the catalog price of a full cuirass plus fauld and shipping. That came to just under $200, which I think is an outstanding bargain.

I told Allan I wanted an Italian or Austrian single-piece breast with fauld ca.1500--the sort of thing often depicted on lightly-armoured soldiers and militia of the period. Allan owns, knows and clearly understands The Medieval Armour from Rhodes, which is packed with information about armour of that period. He incorporated into his work for me details that I'd overlooked in my research (sliding rivets on the fauld). Looking back at TMAFR, I see what Allan already knew.

The breast arrived well-packed, with perfect fit and articulation in the fauld, good weight, properly rolled edges (even on the fauld) sliding rivets, stout straps and painted breast interior. Allan left the straps extra-long so I could trim them as needed.

The finish is excellent. As others have noted, historical finishes vary greatly. What I have here is an almost perfect surface with what I'd classify as a medium polish. There are what I guess are rotary polish marks over the whole surface, and I think that's what sometimes makes MT armour hard to photograph well. If you want to do serious living history I think you'd want to lightly finish the surface by hand with a sanding sponge or something to remove those, but very few folks will be bothered by the finish as-is.

For just under $200 I have functional, made-to-measure armour that gives me the option of leaving it as-is or doing any amount of further refinement to suit my taste, usage and collection.

I waited for many years to buy armour and decided that this is a good time for me personally, but also a good time to support a knowledgeable, skilled and generous armourer. I'm very pleased with the results. Big Grin



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-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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Robert Hinds




Location: Whitewater, Wisconsin USA
Joined: 15 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 8:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations on buying an awesome piece of armour! Happy That is surprisingly cool looking for just being a breast and faulds. Or maybe I'm just so far obsessed with armour that an elbow cop would look like the Mona Lisa to me...

This is yet another reminder of how much I want to buy something from Mercenarys Tailor...do you think Allan would be up for making an Italian 2-piece breast/3-piece back? I know he does "munitions" grade armour but I'll at least have to ask him.

"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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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

He didn't appear to miss a beat when I asked him if I could order a-la-carte and sent him a photo of what I had in mind. Best just to drop him a message and see what he can do for you.
-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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Simon G.




Location: Lyons, France
Joined: 02 Jun 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, very nice... and a custom piece, under $200? It's a steal!

I love the brass accents given by the rivets and buckles. Adds a very nice touch to this armour, makes it simple-but-elegant. Only thing I find a bit not to my taste is the way the very long straps fall on the front when the armour is on. Are you thinking of shortening them, Sean? Or would that be impractical/unhistorical? Not a big deal anyway, and far better to have them too long than too short! Razz

If I ever get around going from weapon collecting to assembling a complete kit, I'll be sure to think of Merc Tailor... I love the ca. 1500 half- and 3/4- armours.
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allan left the straps long so I could cut them to the appropriate length. Yes, they'll be much shorter, with not more than a few inches protruding. That should give me all of the sizing options I need. I wanted to show the piece exactly as shipped. I'll probably make some changes in coming months but I haven't decided exactly what I want to do. Bluing to match my Italian sallet of the same period is probably the main option, but I might also decide to make new buckles or add an integral belt. I chose the simplest suspension possible on the theory that it's easy to add a belt later if I want to do that. One thing that didn't occur to me until I had the piece on is that a belt not only helps keep the lower part of the armour in place, but also allows you to carry the weight on your hips, just like a backpack. Duh! A separate belt seems to serve the same purpose, though, so it need not be integral.
-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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Greg Mele
Industry Professional



Location: Chicago, IL USA
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congrats on your first custom armour, Sean.

Allen is a rare bird: an armourer who often comes in early on his work. As has been said here many, many times, his customer service is also so far above and beyond it makes us all look bad! Wink

Seriously, though, I am glad you are so pleased with your armour and it is a fantastic value for the cost.

Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
www.chicagoswordplayguild.com

www.freelanceacademypress.com
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Jason G. Smith




Location: Quebec
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

<sigh> It looks like Allen will be getting some more of my money.
Les Maîtres d'Armes
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... above all, you should feel in your conscience that your quarrel is good and just. - Le Jeu de la Hache
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Scott Hrouda




Location: Minnesota, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 10:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That looks awesome! Big Grin

My congratulations on your new uber-cool toy. Do you plan on free play sparring with the breast plate?

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 11:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Hrouda wrote:
That looks awesome! Big Grin

My congratulations on your new uber-cool toy. Do you plan on free play sparring with the breast plate?


Nah. Might end up wearing it for Halloween if I can put together decent soft kit. Otherwise, it'll be on display. For me, half the fun of this stuff is just learning from it.

-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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Christian G. Cameron




Location: Toronto, Canada
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 11:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Clean, neat, and excellent.

But i'm a fan...

Christian G. Cameron

Qui plus fait, miex vault

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Dustin R. Reagan





Joined: 09 May 2006

Posts: 264

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 11:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks great. It's amazing what a difference properly fitted armor makes, even to it's photographed appearance.

You mentioned it's finish and said it's a good fit, but how does it feel while being worn?

Thanks,
Dustin
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 11:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dustin R. Reagan wrote:
Looks great. It's amazing what a difference properly fitted armor makes, even to it's photographed appearance.

You mentioned it's finish and said it's a good fit, but how does it feel while being worn?

Thanks,
Dustin


Surprisingly comfortable. I specifically requested the simple X strap arrangement because it's so common in artwork. I didn't know exactly how that would feel, but it feels perfectly natural and secures the armour very well. It doesn't shift when I move, the fauld moves with me in any position--it's just a very simple and smart piece of technology.

I haven't weighed the piece, but the weight is well distributed over the back and shoulders. Adding a belt does make a noticeable difference.

I really think that fit is the main thing that makes this piece comfortable. Too long or too short in the body and it just wouldn't feel right. The crease of the flange is level with my natural waist. The fauld covers to my hip joints. If I raise my legs, lean over, sit, etc. the fauld moves out of the way but it doesn't interfere with normal walking.

Also, if the breast were too wide it would be almost unusable because it would be difficult to do much with the hands together in front of the body. I can easily fold my arms in this armour.

-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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James Anderson III




Location: Charles Town, WV
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 11:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations, Sean. Allan does quality work at a great price, and hopefully will be working on a few things for me in the coming months.

Be careful ... once you own a couple pieces of armor, you'll want more.

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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well welcome Sean to armour addiction. Wink Razz Laughing Out Loud Cool

Allan seems to have changed his business model to more custom or semi-custom work because before he didn't want too much custom work to disrupt his idea of having " Off the rack armour " that he could ship without any delays as they would be in stock armour: Because of the " challenging " current economy and a slowdown of business it makes more sense for him to produce on order, when there are orders !

But his production times and delivery times for his custom work is still very fast since custom work done under 3 months is still outstanding and his quality/price/customer service is AAAAA+ as usual.

So maybe people should ask Allan about custom work or custom modifications to his standard catalogue offerings if they have something in mind close but not exactly what one sees on his web site.

And if we want this great resource for us as a maker to still be available to us, giving him business if we can afford it now, is better than waiting and having him struggle to stay in business.

Thanks to Sean for his great review and it does give me ideas if I have some armour I want to have made that aren't in Allan's catalogue.

NOTE: There are other worthy makers of arms and armour out there that also deserve our support but I give priority to the makers or vendors who give good customer service like Allan of Mercenary Tailor's.

Anyone giving bad customer service in this economy doesn't deserve our money and is foolish, a bad business person and commercially suicidal in my opinion.

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


Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Thu 03 Feb, 2011 8:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Thomas R.




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Sean,

a nice piece of armor, you have there. I hope you will have a lot of fun wearing it! Big Grin

Congrats,
Thomas

http://maerenundlobebaeren.tumblr.com/
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M. Alesia




Location: Illinois
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow. Awesome. Well done sir!
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 6:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Soft kit really will be the key. Especially if you plan to build out into other components. A fitted arming coate with arming points will make a world of difference. Will probably cost more than the core protection. Might just be harder to come by too!
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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