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Tjarand Matre




Location: Nøtterøy, Norway
Joined: 19 Sep 2010

Posts: 158

PostPosted: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 4:28 am    Post subject: Brigandine from Steel Mastery         Reply with quote

Just got back from the medieval festival in Oslo where Steel Mastery from Ukraine were selling their stuff. I have ordered some minor items from them a few times and have always been impressed by the quality. Yesterday I had the opportunity to handle their gambesons, brigandines and helmets and now I'm even more impressed. Their prices are very low and the quality is very good. I ended up buying a brigandine at a very fair price and was utterly annoyed by my limited budget.

I also now understand why communicating via email can be challenging, their english is about as good as my russian ;-)
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A.V. Dolan




Location: Tokyo
Joined: 24 Dec 2010

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon 20 Jun, 2011 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I also have a steel mastery brigandine. I've been doing SCA fighting in it, and I have to say I'm very happy with the level of protection afforded by the brig and the robust construction. Looks great, too.
Vincit qui se vincit
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Reading list: 46 books

Posts: 936

PostPosted: Mon 20 Jun, 2011 9:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

while i like there stuff, their brigs always make me wonder. i don't know if its cause tehy look more like coats of plates than true 15th century brigs or what it is.
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Posts: 552

PostPosted: Mon 20 Jun, 2011 9:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a custom made Gambison from them that I love and fits perfect. Their quality and price are excellent.
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Tjarand Matre




Location: Nøtterøy, Norway
Joined: 19 Sep 2010

Posts: 158

PostPosted: Mon 20 Jun, 2011 10:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From what I could see they offered both coat of plates (numerous horizontally curved steel plates, wrapping around the back and buckled at the back) and a few flavours of brigandines. The brigandines were all buckled at the front or the sides. The basic look of either product was more or less the same (black wool, 3 rivets per attachment point) however the functionality was very different. They also have a pop-riveted version that somehow is more expencive.

Edit: attached a pic of my brig. Sorry about the headless knight phone cam quality. Surely money can buy a better brigandine. But for the price these are more than adequate both for being fairly authentic, being very solid and being extremely mobile.



 Attachment: 11.88 KB
brig.jpg

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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 21 Jun, 2011 7:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As I am fairly ignorant about brigandine, what in your mind could improve the historical accuracy of theirs?

Three other questions:

1) I noticed they offered two thickness options for their Visby armour- which seems to be a coat-of-plates, rather than brigandine. Their options for the cold rolled steel are 1.0 mm thick and 1.5 mm thick. Which is more historically appropriate?

2) The exterior for their "brigandine" can be wool, leather, deerskin, velvet or silk. Which of these is most historically accurate?

3) How flexible, and how mobile, is their Visby armour? It seems like their Brigandine with fastening on the sides might be significantly better for motions, particularly when practicing with a sword.
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Jens Boerner




Location: Erlangen, Germany
Joined: 10 Jan 2008

Posts: 62

PostPosted: Wed 22 Jun, 2011 2:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
As I am fairly ignorant about brigandine, what in your mind could improve the historical accuracy of theirs?

Three other questions:

1) I noticed they offered two thickness options for their Visby armour- which seems to be a coat-of-plates, rather than brigandine. Their options for the cold rolled steel are 1.0 mm thick and 1.5 mm thick. Which is more historically appropriate?

2) The exterior for their "brigandine" can be wool, leather, deerskin, velvet or silk. Which of these is most historically accurate?

3) How flexible, and how mobile, is their Visby armour? It seems like their Brigandine with fastening on the sides might be significantly better for motions, particularly when practicing with a sword.


Well. I just took at look at their offerings. What they offer concerning brigantines and coat of plates bears some similarities with historical coat of plates and brigantines, but that's about it.
The very first thing about historical brigantines: they are tight. They are very tight. They are very very tight. A brigantine with loose fittings does not make any sense. Of course it will protect your body, but the movement will be awkward. Just like a gothic cuirass it has to fit very tight at the waist, so that you can move your upper torso over that line, and that no lever exists between your body and the armour. Especially there must not be any hindering of movement at the armpits. If you look at surviving brigantines (which I call all armour consisting of smaller plates after lets say 1360), you will see that it has a very significant waist line. Which also is important for the historical look of that period.
Similar for the coat of plates: it has to fit tight enough that you don not look like a barell- so the absolute opposite of the images on steel mastery Wink Additionally, the plates must move easily against each other, or you won't be able to bend your upper body. Also it should reach to the groins, and not to the belt line! It must protect the lower stomach area, and the lowest plates should sit arround the hip bone.
The thickness: you cannot generalize that, up to my information for instance the Küssnacht coat of plates has a thickness of just under 1mm, but is hardened. I would not make the plates thicker then 1,5mm for a coat of plates, since it'll get too heavy then. This applies even more to a brigantine consisting of more plates, which do have more overlapping areas: more then 1mm and you have much more weight then a whitr cuirass, which does not make any sense.
So it depends on the steel you use. Generally I would not use mild steel for a coat of plates, at least C45.

Next: Fastenings. Yeah, of course you can use any kind of bucklers and straps, but the orginal ones and images show a very distinct strapping. It does not make sense to rivet the straps to the outer shell (like steel mastery does).
The Armour from the battle of wisby book shows good examples for how it was done.

Outer cloth: I remember mentionings of coat of plates being oncovered, but very seldom. Generally the images show colours, and the effigies at least in germany show them being worn without a coat of arms. There are bills for silver gilded rivets being ordered for coat of plates, so it is quite unlogical to use some grindy leather for it, or cheap woolen cloth. Surviving brigantines show either silk velvet (the majority) or silk. Which makes sense, after all, it should look fancy. The surviving brigantines do generally have a linnen cloth as inner shell (so the layers are: velvet, linnen, plates), I presume for coat of plates also leather was used, since the single plates are heavier.

Sewing: a decorative lower border should not be sewed with ugle thick yarn and huge stitches. You can see the stitch type used for that at some german effigies (same as the one used for sewing button holes), some other show a decorative border.

Plates: they have to ovewrlap. All of them. Also at the sides.

Rust protection: As far as I know some later brigantines are tinned. No black dye here (of course).

Rivet holes: for cloth they have to be stabbed though, not using a holemaker. This will kill the cloth and end up in rivets tearing from the outer layer.

Washers: Round modern ones are baah! Either use self-cut ones- or: decorative mounts with a large rivet hat . When using nails you don't need any also.

General bashing: you cannot use osprey paintings as a source, like they did.

So conclusion: The brigantines and coat of plates steel mastery offer on their website are everything but historical. They may do the job for happy-bashing-with-blunt-iron-bars, but if that's enough for you, si up to you.
For anything like reenactment and living history, fingers off.
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Craig Shackleton




Location: Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 20 Apr 2004
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Posts: 307

PostPosted: Wed 22 Jun, 2011 4:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Veering slightly off topic, I recently bought a coat of plates from Wintertree Crafts. It fits beautifully, and while I am sure there are some elements that are not 100% historical, its fir and general design are much closer. All of the plates overlap, and the side plates are curved to actually conform to the body where it wraps around.

The fit is hugely important though. When i first put it on, I can feel the weight on my shoulders, but as soon as it is tied and buckled on the back, the weight pulls in and then disappears. I can wear it comfortably for hours, and it hampers my movement less than my fencing jacket (although admittedly some of that is to do with the arms).

Additionally, I have worn it with a mail hauberk, and the coat of plates pulled the mail into my body and took up its weight as well. This was just a lightweight shark-mail hauberk, but the benefit was still immediately noticeable. I look forward to doing this with a heavier hauberk when I can get my hands on one.

Here's a video of me fighting in it:

http://www.youtube.com/user/OttawaSwordplay?f...nwsnEaY5Xk

Ottawa Swordplay
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Tjarand Matre




Location: Nøtterøy, Norway
Joined: 19 Sep 2010

Posts: 158

PostPosted: Wed 22 Jun, 2011 5:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree to many of the points above and they should be valid for a museum replica. However, they look far better in real life than on the pictures. Mine is very tight. It does not show in my picture but the waistline is well tailored and well defined. There is no restriction of movement whatsoever. I am fairly slim though, maybe the Ukrainan models actually are barrel shaped ;-)
Once strapped in I can not feel it's wheight at all.
All plates overlap, everywhere.

Anyways, at that price it can never be a museum replica so I'm going to ignore it's shortcomings. I don't do much reenacting but for my use it's a good compromize. It's inexpensive, it looks good (I think), it does not interfere with my mobility and it actually protects me when fencing. I have a background from history studies and I do agree that reenactment / living history have a responsibility for being authentic. For soft kits, no problem. However I feel for hardware (and proper padded garments) thats not very realistic. I can not afford to pay 10 times the price for a slightly better product and I do not have the skills or time to make my own armour. So in my case I'd rather see a army of 100 happy bashers in fairly good representations of medieval armour than 10 people in really expencive museum replicas standing around discussing the molecular structure of their armour (this actually happens ...).
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