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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Where To Get Armor (For Longsword) Reply to topic
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Kurt Gerhard Studenroth




Location: Springfield, Oregon
Joined: 16 Apr 2008

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon 07 Nov, 2011 11:58 pm    Post subject: Where To Get Armor (For Longsword)         Reply with quote

Guten Tag,
My name is Kurt Stutenrot. I am a student of Sean Hayes' Northwest Fencing Academy and am actively learning Armizare. I have gotten myself a sword and basic equipment for the class like gloves, appropriate shoes, things like that.

I am getting to where I want to look into armor, helmets, gauntlets, et cetera. Many of Sean's students used/use Fiore Sparring Helmets and Sean himself uses a Tindill helmet. Thus far he's recommended Revival Clothing for things like gambesons which, to the best of my knowledge (again), most persons in class who have their own equipment, use.

I have stumbled on Albion Swords Ltd and Arms & Armor, Kult Of Athena, and Get Dressed For Battle. Also a place called Outfit4Events. I was wondering if anyone has experiences with these places, their products, and if no, if they could recommend me other places, and why.

A student (and friend of mine) made his own gambeson, has a mercenary gorget from the Albion armor place that went out of business, steel cops and a Fiore Sparring Helmet from Windrose Armory and Steel Gauntlets - AH6024 from Kult of Athena. I know multiple persons in class have these gauntlets but they seem to be having problems with them.

I am curious if anyone has dealt with Outfit4Events and if they could steer me toward or away from them as I know of no one who has dealt with them before.[/img]

"Young knights learn to love God and honor women that your honor may grow. Practice knightly things and learn arts that help you and grant you honor in war. This you shall know, that all things have length and measure. Do what you wish to do with good understanding. Never give an advantage for nothing. He is a brave man who fights his own weaknesses. Do not strike at the sword but wait for the openings." — Liechtenauer
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Michael Anderson




Location: Nottingham, England
Joined: 09 Mar 2011

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2011 3:05 am    Post subject: Armour choice         Reply with quote

Outfit 4events is basically a distributor of Marshall historical goods which as far as I know are an Indian company. The products are not very good quality or well assembled. The outfit 4 events staff are very helpful and friendly and its a shame they don't stock better made products.

GDFB are about the same quality Indian made again as far as I know. Robustly put together armour but clunky and inaccurate. Ok starter kit but still not cheap so I'd save pennies and speak directly to an armourer. Some of the best fitting and looking armour I own is actually from eastern Europe. You have a large amount of choice and great value for money ( some more expensive than others.

In the UK
St George armoury
Matt black armour
White rose armour
ASH

In eastern Europe
Best armour
Willy trambone
Pavel marek
Mac

The above as some armorers that I've used and been happy to recommend. In the states I've bought armour from Jeff Wasson but his prices are a little higher

Apologies to the plethora of other great armourers I didn't list, I'm just going on experience

I hope that helps. Just be patient, it's worth the wait and you end up with armour that actually fits you, works well and looks fantastic! Off the peg armour with questionable sizing and compromised functionality seems the easiest as you can often just click " add to basket" but in the long run you'll only end up replacing it a year down the line! Believe me Ive learnt that lesson

Check out armour archive classifieds and wants section. Many of the eastern European guys post some real bargains on there and it's the best way to contact them.
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2011 3:09 am    Post subject: Re: Where To Get Armor (For Longsword)         Reply with quote

Kurt Gerhard Studenroth wrote:
Guten Tag,
I have stumbled on Albion Swords Ltd and Arms & Armor, Kult Of Athena, and Get Dressed For Battle. Also a place called Outfit4Events. I was wondering if anyone has experiences with these places, their products, and if no, if they could recommend me other places, and why.


Hmmmm... Albion? Kult of Athena? GDFB? Sounds familiar... Wink




Ok, I'll be serious now. Many people on this site have experience with one or more of those. In fact I would say most of the "senior" members have years of experience with all of them.

I am not one of them however, at least as far as it goes for actual armour. I could repeat the advantages and disadvantages of various items, but it would be better to let those who actually have the experience do so and focus on what I do have some experience with.

What I do have experience with is largely purchasing swords and a couple of other items from Kult of Athena. I, and most others on these forums highly recommend this vendor. They put a lot of effort into customer service, listing statistics of their merchandise, allowing you to search items based on price or "battle-readiness" (when they label something battle-ready they actually know what they're talking about and mean it), have the items in stock or list the items as something that will need to be ordered up front, are more than willing to answer questions, assess the condition of items before shipping them, replace or exchange any damaged or defective items that do get through... I could go on, but you get the idea. Laughing Out Loud

Ryan Whittlinger, the head honcho of KOA, is a member here and can probably answer any specific questions you have about the business. I can vouch for his patience and friendliness, as he has had to answer a number of e-mails from yours-truly that may or may not have seemed a little off the wall or strange to him. (Us sword nuts are a little strange in general, so he's probably used to it by now.)

I recall a discussion in one thread here where someone was wondering if a certain scabbard on the market would fit their sword, to which a reply was that KOA sold both items and Ryan would probably take the time to try fitting one of those swords into that type of scabbard. Though I don't know if it came to pass, I do believe that the suggestion was in all seriousness and that if asked nicely Ryan would have done it.

I ask you: When was the last time you could call up a company and get them to go try out some of their products for you?

Another thing worth mentioning is price. I have only seen a few places online with cheaper prices than KOA, and all had bad reviews for customer service and other such issues. I will gladly pay an extra $10-$20 to deal with people who will do all the things I listed above.

Trying to save $20 on a $200 purchase by taking a chance with a site rumored to do things such as shipping late, not answering e-mails, shipping the wrong item or a damaged piece and refusing to so much as say sorry about it, and even outright stealing your money and claiming you received your new toy just doesn't make sense to me.



So, long story short, many people here can and will give you a good review on Kult of Athena. I'm afraid I can't personally speak to the quality and suitability of the armour they might sell without simply parroting what I've heard others say, but I'm sure you can get some good recommendations here and a good price on whatever you might want to buy there.

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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Michael Anderson




Location: Nottingham, England
Joined: 09 Mar 2011

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2011 3:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Whilst I entirely support the points about KOA after reading many posts about their fantastic customer service, great value pricing and general amazingness it doesn't change the fact they are a conduit for others products and stock a range of qualities at varying prices.

The armour they stock is GDFB which is not the best quality for your money. That is no reflection on KOA obviously. Just that spending some time researching what armour you want and speaking to the armourer directly will generally always end up with a happier customer. I'm certainly not trying to take money out of KOAs register but I don't think it's the best route for armour. Great for swords and weapons tho I'm certain.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,126

PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2011 1:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Where To Get Armor (For Longsword)         Reply with quote

Colt Reeves wrote:

I recall a discussion in one thread here where someone was wondering if a certain scabbard on the market would fit their sword, to which a reply was that KOA sold both items and Ryan would probably take the time to try fitting one of those swords into that type of scabbard. Though I don't know if it came to pass, I do believe that the suggestion was in all seriousness and that if asked nicely Ryan would have done it.



That would have been me asking Ryan if he had a scabbard that would work with the OlliN Morehead sword and he found that the Robin Hood recent movie sword scabbard worked well with this sword i.e. perfect fit, by the way. Wink Just a happy coincidence. Big Grin

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...head+Sword
http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...+%26+Pouch

Kult of Athena also makes on demand simple leather scabbards that work fine if one wants a minimal scabbard for a scabbardless sword KoA carries and I recently got one for my OlliN falchion also available from KoA.

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...+Belt+Frog

( General note: I really like buying from KoA because of their reliable customer service and that if they have a sword in stock, or can make a special order for one, I find it more reliable and fast to deal with them than at times with the production makers who can have variable levels of quality of customer service and let Ryan deal with any of the " possible " problems or delays. With Ryan/KoA I know that if it's in stock I won't have to wait 3 to 6 months for an ordered sword to be made, and if anything goes wrong with the order that I won't have a problem getting a refund if the order ends up being cancelled. Wink ).


At least this is my advice for swords and other products, but as Michael Anderson has suggested for higher quality and fitting armour one might have to look elsewhere, but I do find that some of the GDFB armour is serviceable, if at times heavy, like the Helms I sort of like and the really inexpensive GDFB breast plate that worked out fine for me.

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




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,392

PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2011 3:22 pm    Post subject: Armor buying tips from an amatuer hobbiest!         Reply with quote

1) Get the soft kit right first. I mean really nail it which means deciding what period of armor you're looking for. Gambeson works fine for some types of armor, not so well for others. If you eventually want plate, you want an arming doublet with proper attachment points for laces which will be much less bulky than a gambeson (don't need all that extra padding with plate).

I don't have experience with much from Revival Clothing so I can't speak to their arming clothes but my purchases have been smooth.

Historic Enterprises offers some good "off the peg" arming clothes that are great if the stock measures are close; easy folks to work with who really know their stuff.

Matuls.pl does tailoring and IMO makes a great arming doublet and other things at a very tough to beat price. Simply put, their work will fit you, perfectly, which I found to be brilliant. They are also unusually easy to pay and turn time was very good.

2) Seriously, get the arming clothes right first.

3) If you don't your other armor bits are never going to fit right. People told me to do it this way, I didn't listen (nobody does). I finally got it right on what I'll call my second plate suite.

4) Could move this up the list I suppose, but look at a whole bunch of museum photos to get an appreciation for what armor should look like. There are reasons for it to look the way it does in historic example that go beyond it being old. One thing you should pick up on is that the waist in period armor is generally higher than the waist on modern clothes. Also pay attention to curves and shapes.

5) Look at modern reproductions, especially when you know who made them. Look at lots of them and pay attention to detail. If something seems to look off, see if you can figure out what it is. Even if you can't, pay heed to the feeling. For example, if you look at a modern armorer's gallery of work and notice the torsos seem long, think about other options!

6) Email more than a few of these guys and ask questions. How does their process work? Do they ship to the US? How long is their queue? What kind of suites do they prefer making? What do they recommend for your application? What steel do they use? Will they heat treat? If so how much? DO THEY REQUIRE FULL PAYMENT IN ADVANCE (this is a big deal when due dates come and go, and they will)?

7) If there are communication problems or you're not satisfied with answers, look someplace else.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Sean Hayes




Location: Eugene Oregon
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2011 10:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Where To Get Armor (For Longsword)         Reply with quote

Hi Kurt,

A couple of notes. First, I still recommend studying up on arms and armour before making any decisions, as this will give you some context. The Eugene library has several good sources with which to start. Bear in mind that our general armour standard is 1350-1450, since it best fits the context of Armizare.

The gauntlets we have in use are actually a heavily modified scale-fingered model picked up on closeout from ThinkGeek. Tyler modified them with saddle leather reinforcements and other mods. The upside of these is that they're cheap (about $80 when he was done with them) and will definitely protect the hands. The downside is that they're heavy and have extremely limited mobility. They're intended as a stopgap while people save for and order better models, such as my off-the-rack gothic gauntlets, or my custom hourglass gauntlets. Both of these offer excellent protection and good mobility (the hourglass are fantastic in this regard).

Luke has the only KoA gauntlets, and they have proven unsatisfactory. He's constantly repairing them; fortunately for him he has the skills to do so. At this point I think he's essentially remanufactured them from scratch.

As I mentioned to you, both Arms & Armor and Albion make excellent swords. We have several of the A&A fechterspeile in house and they have given excellent service and will do so for years to come. Oufit4events is completely unknown to me. The gorget you mention came from Mercenary's Tailor, which unfortunately has gone out of business. He ran a good shop with excellent customer service and I'm sorry to see him go. The Revival gambesons are excellent off-the-rack choices, as are the custom Fühlen Designs gambesons.

Re-read the comments by Joe Fults. He makes some great points. There is kit that works over a gambeson - we've discussed some options in class - and kit that doesn't. Look again at my harness in the display arch: that doesn't work with a gambeson under it. It's made for an arming coat, such as the red linen or the black linen ones that I use.

The most important thing is to start by educating yourself on European armour - the library is your friend! Recall your fist sword purchase, and the different choices that occurred to you afterwards. Don't rush things!

Best,

Sean Hayes

Sean Hayes
Maestro d'armi
Northweast Fencing Academy
http://www.fencingacademy.net
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 600

PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 8:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kurt,

I think you are falling into a very common trap that you will eventually regret unless you listen to the wise advice from your instructor. Many people rush to accumulate bits and pieces of armour as they are just beginning to learn how these things might be used - eventually. Inevitably these folks rue their misinformed purchases when these prove to be unworkable accumulations of elements that might work on someone, somewhere but not on you. The second round goes better but buying twice is always more expensive. Wink

I am an instructor at AEMMA in Toronto, Canada. As I tell my students interested in harness, first learn to fight out of it. Read, read and read some more about armour and weapons. Since you are studying in one of the best schools in North America, you have ample opportunity to observe advanced students sorting out solutions to real training issues. Watch, ask questions, learn from other folks' failed experiments. This costs you nothing except the patience to do so.

When you get to the point where you can express armizare with some competence, you will have had the time to decide what armour you prefer, based on historical examples. More importantly, you will have had time to accumulate the funds to buy appropriately constructed foundation garments and harness that fits you. Let me repeat that: that fits you. Then you can put that stuff on and learn to fight all over again. Seriously, armour has to be worn in regular training to learn the art in harness. Our scholars that choose to fight in harness literally practice every play of abrazare and daga they learned to become scholars but now in harness. It is similar but not the same. Then they get to play with long weapons and not until then. When they have, they can be trusted not to kill each other accidentally once they get to free play.

I implore you to direct your enthusiasm to learning the art and not to worry about accumulating equipment. Get only those things you need to train and play as unarmoured by your school's equipment standards. Sadly there aren't any good solutions for inexpensive hand protection that I can recommend. Some modern sport gauntlets will do to some degree. The Indian made designs are all for decoration, they are a very poor value. Most of our people use hardened leather gauntlets made by one of our folks.

Train hard and then buy Sean a beer. He deserves it. Cool
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Greg Mele
Industry Professional



Location: Chicago, IL USA
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 9:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Read what Kel wrote, especially that first paragraph. Then read it again.

We've all been there, and have a closet or horrors to show for it! Read up, educate yourself and keep training. Sean trains and fights in harness, and is an awesome teacher, so everything you are learning in class will work toward performing in harness well.

Then go back to what Joe Fults wrote - start with the soft kit. Revival Clothing will take good care of you off the rack, Fuhlen or Matus for 'bespoke'.

Meanwhile, immerse yourself in 14th and 15th c harness. We old timers poo-poo the Osprey Men at Arms books, but they are a nice snapshot of the basics, if you combine it with the work of someone like Claude Blair.

Meanwhile, there is a wealth of information on this site and a few others.

Take your time, and you'll like the results better - as will your piggy bank!

Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
www.chicagoswordplayguild.com

www.freelanceacademypress.com
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Kurt Gerhard Studenroth




Location: Springfield, Oregon
Joined: 16 Apr 2008

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 11:34 pm    Post subject: *blinks*         Reply with quote

-Takes A Deep Breath-
So what you're saying...
...is that I really need to buy Sean a beer.

"Young knights learn to love God and honor women that your honor may grow. Practice knightly things and learn arts that help you and grant you honor in war. This you shall know, that all things have length and measure. Do what you wish to do with good understanding. Never give an advantage for nothing. He is a brave man who fights his own weaknesses. Do not strike at the sword but wait for the openings." — Liechtenauer
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