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Giulia Clark




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2011 10:46 am    Post subject: Suit of Armour needed for TV documentary in New York         Reply with quote

Hi there

I work for a company called Lion TV and we are currently producing a major new 'history of science' documentary series for National Geographic Channel called 'The Link'.

My episode contains a segment on plate armor and how this was used to augment mail armor as weapons in the middle ages became more effective. From here we will talk about iron production and how a suit of plate armor
requires a good deal more iron to produce.

I'm trying to put together a scene where our host wears a suit of plate armour (I know these were made bespoke, but I'm hoping we can rent something that fits - our host is 6 foot 4 inches tall!) and carries the appropriate weapons of the day to demonstrate the sheer weight of iron involved.

I'm looking for someone who might be able to rent us a replica (but authentic) suit of plate armour made from steel, probably in the style of something from the 15th century. Regular costume shops are obviously no good so I thought I would see if anyone here had any advice? We will probably be filming this in New York so the nearer the suit to that location the better.

Many thanks!

Giulia


[/b]
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2011 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm guessing that a rental/theatrical harness is probably not going to represent anything approaching reality and it's going to be hard to fit your man in any case.

If you could film that segment in GB, Royal Armouries-Leeds probably could set you up.

In the US, you could look to the RA's partner--The Frazier International History Museum in Louisville, KY. They have a couple of fine Jeffrey Hedgecock harnesses--German and Italian-- made for their demos:

http://historicenterprises.com/armour-full-ge...th=104_154

http://historicenterprises.com/armour-full-it...th=104_154

You might be able to find some good plate of the correct size in upstate NY. You should post a request here: http://www.thearma.org/ and also check out their local group contact info.

Good luck!

-Sean

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Justin H. Núñez




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2011 11:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would second the vote for Jeffery Hedgecock harness.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2011 11:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Valentine Armouries does rentals for the entertainment industry. They may have something.

http://www.varmouries.com/

Happy

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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2011 1:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris Gilman at Global Effects in L.A. has terrific harnesses for rental.
Awesomely knowledgeable fellow that knows his way around the film & production industry.

http://globaleffects.com/

I must say I'm a little concerned by your comment "sheer weight" of the harness and weapons... Modern soldiiers carry far more weight in the field than any medieval man at arms did. And they usually rode into battle back then!
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Adam Bohnstengel




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2011 2:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel Rekuta wrote:
I must say I'm a little concerned by your comment "sheer weight" of the harness and weapons... Modern soldiiers carry far more weight in the field than any medieval man at arms did. And they usually rode into battle back then!

Ain't that the truth! I once weighed my flak jacket with the SAPI plates and full ammo, etc., and it was very close to 80lbs! No weight distribution either, it was all on the shoulders. Add my M240G, M16, helmet, etc., and marching 20 miles was a pain in the butt!

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T. Arndt




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2011 2:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Suit of Armour needed for TV documentary in New York         Reply with quote

Giulia Clark wrote:

....From here we will talk about iron production and how a suit of plate armor
requires a good deal more iron to produce....
[/b]


" a good deal more iron" Is this even true? Aren't we talking about a 5-10 lbs difference?

None of the books I have read mention material availability as a factor in armor evolution in the middle ages.

Giulia Clark wrote:

...demonstrate the sheer weight...


Uh oh. It sounds like another TV documentary that is going to portray knights/men-at-arms as very heavy, when as mentioned above, the weight is less than a modern infantryman carries.

Giulia please say this isn't so.

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Last edited by T. Arndt on Tue 13 Sep, 2011 5:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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William P




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2011 9:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

^^^ uim thinking the same thing as arndt

and if dan howards research is anything to go by, full suits of plate were more a product of improved methods of working plate and the fac that maile was so labour intensive and heavy on the shoulders being more of the real reason for going from maile to full plate

as opposed to it being a result of weapons becoming more effective against maile
that said dans explanation doesnt seem to factor in the process of having coat of plates OVER a hauberk. plated mail fits in with his conclusions though

well while the premise is to show knights as heavy, no-one said that the results of a man wearing a harness had to fit that, theres no reason that the actual result cant be a surprise. is there?
you could also try and persuade them to change the script maybe? maybe for comparison you could have the guy wear a full maille hauberk for weight comparison.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2011 9:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If the objective is to give an accurate and true idea of what armour weighed, how it was made, how agile or not someone wearing it ( in good shape ) could be, then the script should be adapted to the facts rather than the facts adjusted to common " assumptions about armour and medieval weapons based on what is seen in movies and perpetuating the myths about 10 pound swords and knights needing to be winched onto the saddle or not being able to get up by themselves if they fell down.

There are YOUTUBE clips on the net showing people in full armour doing cartwheels.

As to materials used to make armour and how much wasted material would be involved I'm really not sure but in period labour was generally cheap but materials where expensive, so waste was avoided and iron or steel generally recycled.

Any scrap or metal dust produced in the making of armour was likely collected and melted back into usable metal for something else.

If you are open to be surprised and change your assumptions ( I myself am assuming that you share in the erroneous myths ) you might actually show the opposite of what you think are the facts about armour.

The suggestions for armour suppliers are good ones but you should also be aware that " authenticity " of the armour can be at different levels of accuracy: You can have very functional armour that fits your actor well but may have subtle period accuracy issues that only an expert will notice and you can also have armour that would please the strictest " Living History " reinactor where every little detail is period correct down to buckle styles and the proper weave and stitching on the arming clothes.

The people at Valentine Armoury or Historic Enterprises might be good to use as technical consultants and not just as armour suppliers.

Hope this helps. Big Grin Cool

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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2011 9:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Considering you're from the UK, Guilia, I'd suggest trying to get in touch with William West of Englysh Plate Armourie or Dave Hewitt of White Rose Armoury. They probably both have suits or know of fellows (including themselves) who would be willing to work as part of your demonstration in authentic 15th century plate harnesses and also introduce you and your crew to the finer points of how plate armor functioned and was crafted. William West is a professional jouster who competes on an international level and is very handy with his craft... I cannot say I know much about Dave Hewitt except that he has an excellent reputation as an armorer.

Cheers, and good luck!

-Gregory
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Giulia Clark




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Sep, 2011 3:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi everyone, thanks so much for all your thoughts thus far, keep them coming!

In answer to some of your concerns I think I was a bit simplistic in my original post as I didn't want to make it too long...

...this documentary is about linking together things from history that you wouldn't necessarily have thought of...I know that the issue of armour in general and the transition from/augmentation of mail armour into plate armour is not straight forward...I also know that modern soldiers carry incredibly heavy loads, I have witnessed this first hand...

...what we're talking about here is the fact that there was an evolution from mail to plate armour (as weapons and fighting techniques became more sophisticated), that for a man in 2011 who is not accustomed to wearing it, that this armour is heavy (we will use this to make the point that the knights of the day were strong and well trained so as to be able to fight for long periods in the armour) and that as the blast furnace became more established in Europe this allowed iron/steel to be made in much greater quanties, to be used in the production of armour but also for many other things across society...iron production is where our story takes us next...

...I've been working in documentaries for a long while now and I'm always determined to be accurate, our scripts are rigourously fact checked so anything that's not true simply wouldn't make the cut...

...I hope that puts some fears to bed...I'm really grateful to everyone for their thoughts - any further suggestions would be most welcome!...

Thanks again everyone...

Giulia
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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Sep, 2011 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I really must second the concerns of everyone here Giulia. While an out of shape person will certainly find additional weight to be heavy, the 45-70lbs. of a 15th century harness is less than a modern combat load. My cousin's ESAPI plates all together weigh some 15lbs. and that isn't including the kevlar jacket they are inserted into, nor his helmet, nor ammunition; weapons, radio, and sundry other equipment.

While we would all love to see an accurate depiction of the 15th century harness, I don't think the world needs another, "needed a crane to get in a horse" documentary.

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William P




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Sep, 2011 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Giulia Clark wrote:
Hi everyone, thanks so much for all your thoughts thus far, keep them coming!

In answer to some of your concerns I think I was a bit simplistic in my original post as I didn't want to make it too long...

...this documentary is about linking together things from history that you wouldn't necessarily have thought of...I know that the issue of armour in general and the transition from/augmentation of mail armour into plate armour is not straight forward...I also know that modern soldiers carry incredibly heavy loads, I have witnessed this first hand...

...what we're talking about here is the fact that there was an evolution from mail to plate armour (as weapons and fighting techniques became more sophisticated), that for a man in 2011 who is not accustomed to wearing it, that this armour is heavy (we will use this to make the point that the knights of the day were strong and well trained so as to be able to fight for long periods in the armour) and that as the blast furnace became more established in Europe this allowed iron/steel to be made in much greater quanties, to be used in the production of armour but also for many other things across society...iron production is where our story takes us next...

...I've been working in documentaries for a long while now and I'm always determined to be accurate, our scripts are rigourously fact checked so anything that's not true simply wouldn't make the cut...

...I hope that puts some fears to bed...I'm really grateful to everyone for their thoughts - any further suggestions would be most welcome!...

Thanks again everyone...

Giulia

would the show by any chance bear resemblence to richard hammonds engineering connections??? because thats what it sounds like.

ok, ive checked the lion tv website. NOW im curious considering that these gys were responsible for broadasting, arguably two of the best history programs in a while, weapons that made britain, and horrible histories'

as for fact checking, i might check wth other but the prevailing wisdom is becoming that the move to fll plae was indeed more about that once the trip hammer and blast furnace were developed you could crank out plates that did just as good a job as a maile hauberk (and in a few departments, even better) and were cheaper to churn out. as you point out

but another thing to possibly consider as pointed out in dan howards article mail: unchained was that the rise of platearmour is also curiously not that long after the black death it more or less ended by 1400
it could be put like this,
'previously maile was the dominant form of armour in the form of a long shirt called a hauberk that often reached down to the knees, it was also sometimes complimented with a coat of plates, and other pieces of armour. while mail was a mostly adequate defense aganst the arms of the period, it was extremely time and labour intensive tomake meaning it was very expensive, the problem of finding raw manpower to helm make the rings was not much of a problem. until in 1347 (i think) a devestating plague known as the black death began to sweep through europe, in some places reducing the poplation by as much as 75% this drastcally reduced the available labour force in many areas particularly italy which was hit hardest. this encouraged people to look at new ways of making armour that was less labour intensive.
which is where the water powered trip hammer and blast furnace come into the story. although both had been used since the 12th century.
which shows just how much factors like plague can have an effect
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William P




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Sep, 2011 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
I really must second the concerns of everyone here Giulia. While an out of shape person will certainly find additional weight to be heavy, the 45-70lbs. of a 15th century harness is less than a modern combat load. My cousin's ESAPI plates all together weigh some 15lbs. and that isn't including the kevlar jacket they are inserted into, nor his helmet, nor ammunition; weapons, radio, and sundry other equipment.

While we would all love to see an accurate depiction of the 15th century harness, I don't think the world needs another, "needed a crane to get in a horse" documentary.

wait, 70lb's? then what does that mean for this suit http://www.casiberia.com/prod_Detail.aspx?id=AB0063 suit of milanese armour 72 inches tall, 16gauge steel (helmet knees and elbows are 14gauge)l, weight 188lb's thats more than 90kg's
that doesnt seem right...
http://www.casiberia.com/prod_Detail.aspx?id=AB0024 gothic plate armour 18 gauge steel (helmet, knees and elbows are 16 gauge) 72 inches tall, and 135 lb's

am i missing something here... last i checked 18 gauge is pretty thin, howcome this suit still weighs 135 lb's thats at least 65kg still. and somehow http://manningimperial.com/item.php?item_id=4...amp;c_id=4 manning imperials suit weighs half that even with accompanying maile defenses

what gives??
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Terry Thompson




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Sep, 2011 9:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Those include the wooden base and a stand to hold the armor as if an individual were wearing it. It also may include the boxes that are required to ship. E.g. it could be shipping weight. Which would be rounded-up a bit of course.
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T. Arndt




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Sep, 2011 11:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have heard that is a rather low quality harness also, which will add weight. However, I cannot speak from experience.

If you go to The Mercenarys Tailor and spec out a full harness you will find it is far far lighter than the armor linked above. And while very good, it is not high end armor.

I have been thinking about the material requirements and it seems plate would only use drastically more material if the comparison includes the plate components where there is no analogous mail component. It seems far more likely that the increasing popularity of plate had more to do with new weapon systems.

I am skeptical of the iron scarcity hypothesis a driver of change:


From what I can find in the way of numbers it seems a man in the mid 1300s would use more Iron that in the 1200s or 1400s. Here is what I was thinking about in terms of harness:

    1. A man-at-arms in the mid 1240s will be primarily protected by mail.
    mail hauberk + coif + mittens + chausses + helmet

    2. A man-at-arms in the mid 1360s will be protected by plate over mail.
    mail hauberk + coat of plates + hourglass gauntlets + some degree of plate arms + plate legs + helmet w/mail aventail

    3. A man-at-arms in the late 1400s will protected by plate with only mail voiders
    full plate harness + mail voiders


Looking at the weights of components provided by good reproduction vendors I expect harness #2 to be the heaviest and presumably use the most iron/steel. (If someone has access to the a database of historical weights I would like to see if this is correct)

This seems counter to the idea armor is evolving to use more and more iron. Not to mention we are talking about the wealthiest segment of society- that is those least likely to be affected by scarcity. Also my understanding is that even into the late middle ages war horses could cost more than harness.

*Note: Arming clothing is outside the discussion scope since it contains no iron.

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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Sep, 2011 12:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T. Arndt wrote:

I am skeptical of the iron scarcity hypothesis a driver of change:[/b]

From what I can find in the way of numbers it seems a man in the mid 1300s would use more Iron that in the 1200s or 1400s. Here is what I was thinking about in terms of harness:

    1. A man-at-arms in the mid 1240s will be primarily protected by mail.
    mail hauberk + coif + mittens + chausses + helmet

    2. A man-at-arms in the mid 1360s will be protected by plate over mail.
    mail hauberk + coat of plates + hourglass gauntlets + some degree of plate arms + plate legs + helmet w/mail aventail

    3. A man-at-arms in the late 1400s will protected by plate with only mail voiders
    full plate harness + mail voiders


Looking at the weights of components provided by good reproduction vendors I expect harness #2 to be the heaviest and presumably use the most iron/steel. (If someone has access to the a database of historical weights I would like to see if this is correct)

This seems counter to the idea armor is evolving to use more and more iron. Not to mention we are talking about the wealthiest segment of society- that is those least likely to be affected by scarcity. Also my understanding is that even into the late middle ages war horses could cost more than harness.

*Note: Arming clothing is outside the discussion scope since it contains no iron.


Mike Loades, in Weapons that Made Britain suggests that it's not sheer quantity of iron, but with the technological progress of furnace design, temperature control became easier, and thus larger furnaces became more feasible and usable. This produced larger individual yields of iron and steel which could then be forged in to larger and larger plates. Total mass of iron may be higher on a hauberk than a breastplate but you need big chunks quality material to make a large plate, and the technology of of the 13th century couldn't produce a large enough continuous block of iron to pound into a large continuous plate. I'm fairly confident he touches on this in the Weapons that Made Britain: Armour episode. So overall mass might be lower, but higher quality, larger furnaces, with better temperature control allowed the production of plate armor to succeed.

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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Sep, 2011 12:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ian S LaSpina wrote:
Mike Loades, in Weapons that Made Britain suggests that it's not sheer quantity of iron, but with the technological progress of furnace design, temperature control became easier, and thus larger furnaces became more feasible and usable. This produced larger individual yields of iron and steel which could then be forged in to larger and larger plates. Shear mass of iron may be higher on a hauberk than a breastplate but you need big chunks quality material to make a large plate, and the technology of of the 13th century couldn't produce a large enough continuous block of iron to pound into a large continuous plate. I'm fairly confident he touches on this in the Weapons that Made Britain: Armour episode. So overall mass might be lower, but higher quality, larger furnaces, with better temperature control allowed the production of plate armor to succeed.


What about the one piece helmets that became popular and were used by most knights by the 12th century, and consisted throughout the era before plate defenses became prevalent. These require a disc of iron sheet larger than any individual components until single-piece globose cuirasses became popular in the mid-14th century, and were probably commonplace among warriors equipped by feudal estates. I find it hard to believe that technology or availability of material had much to do with this transition.

In my opinion, and using an entirely under-studied theory, the changing forms of armor also have a ton to do with what weapons were popular at any given time. Throughout history armor and weaponry has developed in an armor > weapons, weapons > armor, armor > weapons evolutionary pattern that suggests that by the early 14th century the popular pointy things were probably defeating mail so easily than it became necessary to make plate defenses available for the limbs rather than just the head and chest (which was becoming popular in Central Europe in the form of early-style coats of plates). More time and energy was spent to develop plate defenses simply because they were now being demanded by men-at-arms who wished to remain as invulnerable to attack as they were in full mail perhaps a century earlier, when different weapons and tactics didn't justify such heavy protection.

- Gregory
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T. Arndt




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Sep, 2011 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

@Gregory: I agree completely.
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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Sep, 2011 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would guess that feasibility of mass production can't be outright discounted. But yes, the arms vs armor necessity is still what drives advances today. I saw it first hand when we'd get a new toy for our helicopter or a new tactic based on results from something that no longer worked or got someone killed. I would guess that the arms > armor at the time is what forced the development of better production techniques since now not JUST helms required large consistent plates, but the whole body did. That's a considerable increase in the amount of viable plate per man on the battlefield. Arms vs armor is indeed the most obvious driving force though.
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