Info Favorites Register Log in Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Where to start obtaining a plate harness? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Francois d'Auzon

Location: USA, Virginia
Joined: 12 Jul 2019

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon 15 Jul, 2019 8:00 am    Post subject: Where to start obtaining a plate harness?         Reply with quote

Hi all, I've browsed these forums for some time but just signed up recently and this is my first post here!

So. I'm looking to get a suit of plate. I'm not 100% sure on the details, but at this point point I'm generally looking for something along the lines of 15th century Milanese. This is obviously an expensive project though, so it's quite possible I'll change my mind as I conduct further research.

I'm very excited for this. It's something I've wanted to have my entire life, but only now am I in a situation where I have enough income to make it an actual possibility. Unfortunately, unlike buying a new car, well over 90% of my google searching simply lands me on sites featuring information of no use. Nearly all results tend to be cheap, poorly made, historically inaccurate plate for LARP or whatever (no offense intended to anyone who enjoys LARP. It sounds fun and I have nothing against it at all. I'm just looking for something more authentic/higher in quality).

To be fair, I'll never need plate that can protect me from a warhammer. The most actual use it would ever see would be messing around with my HEMA buddies and our blunt feders. Still, I'd like my purchase to be as authentic as possible. As for the remainder of my google hits, they lead me to people who may or may not be skilled armorers and, unfortunately, I have no idea how to discern where they land on the skill spectrum.

So, just to get me started, I thought I could come here and people might be able to help answer a few questions/offer a few suggestions/pieces of information.

1) Are there any examples of where I might I want to look for
a) "cheap" (relatively speaking),
b) middle of the road, and
c) ultra high end options that are probably out of my budget, but gorgeous enough that 'm curious about them anyways.

2) what distinguishes cheap from middle of the road from ultra high-end options in terms of craftsmanship and features (ie: what should I be expecting for X dollars?). I have a fair idea of the decoration techniques that can be used on the top end of spectrum, but I'm not sure what else to look for (or be afraid of).

3) Is it a horrible idea to purchase pieces of a plate harness separately? Financially, I would be able to buy something nicer if I didn't need to pay for it all at once. I'm worried that buying pieces separately might lead to issues with the harness as a whole fitting together optimally...

4) Has purchased anything from Historic Enterprises. I've made some non-armor purchases from them and been reasonably happy. They seem to offer custom armor as well, though I know nothing of its quality

Of course, any other advice for someone in my position would be appreciated and gladly welcomed as well.

Thank you all in advance for your help!
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Harry Marinakis

PostPosted: Fri 19 Jul, 2019 11:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Start by developing very clear and precise specifications for the type and style of armor that you want. You will answer many of your own questions in the process.
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard

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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,636

PostPosted: Sat 20 Jul, 2019 1:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many people who rush into getting armour later regret not spending enough time or money on their soft kit.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
View user's profile Send private message
Joe Fults

Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,646

PostPosted: Sat 20 Jul, 2019 3:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Many people who rush into getting armour later regret not spending enough time or money on their soft kit.
This. This. This. This. This. This!
"The goal shouldn’t be to avoid being evil; it should be to actively do good." - Danah Boyd
View user's profile Send private message
Ed W.

Location: New Zealand
Joined: 27 Mar 2016

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sat 20 Jul, 2019 2:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A couple of insights from my experiences that may be of help:

-Most of the really good armourers have wait lists before they'll even have time to start on yours. Over a year is normal, the guys I have custom armour from are now booked up three years in advance. So even if you're not exactly sure what you want yet, once you decide on an armourer get a deposit down to get a place in the queue.
-With this time, do as much research as you can. Spend as much time as you can looking at artworks, surviving examples, effigies to really get your head into the space of the aesthetic.
-As others have pointed out, get onto your softkit and arming doublet. A couple of reasons for this: the best armour in the world will look crap and not function if you strap it on over jeans and workboots. Getting a good fit for the armour will depend on accurate measurements taken with the right arming garments underneath. Good softkit and arming clothes can look really awesome even without plate armour on top, so it gives you something to work on that you can be really proud of while you wait for your turn with the armourer. I like to think of the undergarments as a foundation. Lay a good quality foundation and the armour will come together a lot more smoothly.
-in terms of quality and making it 'warhammer' proof, all good armourers will be working with spring steel that can be well hardened and tempered. If you're getting custom pieces made don't bother with mild steel. The price difference isn't that much, it'll keep options open (maybe one day you will take up jousting? Who knows). Resale value will also be much higher.

-in terms of the difference between cheap, mid-road and high end, it's quality of materials and also getting armour that doesn't just look nice, but functions as it should. I like playing around and tinkering with things, so I do have a couple of items from cheap indian manufacturers that I have tweaked and modified into decent bits of kit. 99% of cheap armour you see on KOA and the like isn't worth the steel it's made of, but with a bit of practice you can spot the occasional diamond in the rough.

-If you can afford to drop the cash to commission a whole suit from a single armourer there are some advantages to this in terms of the whole thing looking and functioning as a complete package. In saying that though, buying armour in components is also acceptable, as long as you have a clear vision of how these components will all go together. This has the advantage that you can build it up as funds become available. There are plenty of examples in artwork of knights wearing 'light' armour configurations. As I shift focus from the late 14th to the 15th C this is the road I'll be taking, with the funds available I'd rather have a really good quality light harness than a lesser quality heavy harness. Just be careful to avoid the 'cobbled together' look that is so common if you go down this route.

-I don't own any pieces from Jeffrey Hedgecock (from Historic Enterprises) myself, but he's been in the game a long time and is well regarded. He's also an experienced jouster so has plenty of first hand experience in the end use of his products.

In terms of other advice choosing an armourer: there's huge advantage in finding one close by enough that you can visit for fittings. Also, have a look at their previous work and see if they've done work before that tickles your fancy.

Hope this helps, good luck and look forward to seeing how things progress!

View user's profile Send private message

Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Where to start obtaining a plate harness?
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum

All contents © Copyright 2003-2023 — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum