First major kit opinions / help
I'm assembling my first major kit and I'd like to ask the extremely knowledgable myArmoury community what they think of it and help on a few issues.

Constructive critisism appreciated! :)

What I'm going for is a 15thc, War of the Roses, english man-at-arms look, with a slight leaning to german style over italian, with possible peices that can be transfered to a knight kit for the same era, whenever I decide to switch in the next 5 -10 years...

Being 18, my budget is pretty thin, so cost is a large concern for me. Thats why most of the stuff I'm looking at is either low end or munitions grade.

So far im planning on a Cas Iberia Jaw Bone visor Sallet Helm...

An MFC Bevor and gorget...

Some Merc. Tailor pauldrons...

And a Merc. Tailor Breast/Backplate with faulds and tassets...

And a pair of Cas Iberia Medieval Gauntlets...

Aside from this I'm going to have a red and black gambeson and maybe some black jeans at first for the soft kit...because I'm not really into medieval hose. ;)

While historical accuracy is a big thing for me, cost over rules it right now and while I wont buy anything thats the wrong style / shape / design for the period im going for, I dont really care if my kit uses modern buckles.

A few issues with my kit are the helmet and bevor/gorget, I know people around here dont like Cas Iberia but its inexpensive and to be honest I cant find another sallet from anyone else under $200...If you know anywhere I can get a better one for at or under $200, please let me know, I would really appreciate it. Especially since the sallet is my favorate part of the kit. lol.

The Bevor/gorget also...I'm not sure if it's period so im worried about that...but then's cheap! and I can attach the pauldrons to it. If anyone knows where I could get a better one, again please let me know. :)

Thats basically it...tell me what you all think! :)
Without having handled them I can't say for sure, but the gauntlet articulation looks a bit iffy. It looks a tad shallow to me.
Thats one of my worrys... :\
If there is one place where I wouldnt skimp on the $ it would be the gauntlets.
Do you have an image that you are basing this kit on? What do you intend to use this kit for? Can you really say you care about authenticity if you are unwilling to wear hose?

The reason I ask this are here:

1: I've never seen a gambeson being worn with pauldrons and no arm armour. That will just look wring to everyone who regularly looks at medieval images.

2: If you're not doing full contact fighting in it, you can always get some cheap thin metal and have a go at making a couple of simple bits yourself.

3: Although you may feel silly wearing hose (I did for the first season), you'll look much better in them than in jeans.

Now as far as I'm aware you have rather a disadvantage over us European types, because you live in America. You have very good armourers over there, but very few in the way of middling abilities, and as such, any accurate armour will cost you more than for us over here. This means you'll either have to get a smaller amount of good armour, or get a larger amount of inaccurate armour. Bear in mind that when you're 18 armour is a bit more of a lifetime investment than when you're 40. hopefully you'll be wearing yours for 30 years instead of 10. That means getting it right first time will save you a lot of money.

Thankfully, you've chosen to be a man at arms rather than a knight. This is a brilliant choice, as it means you can make munitions armour for yourself to cut down costs. Before you start buying or making though, have a look at some images and plan a kit around those, rather than planning a kit around what you can afford in armourers online stores. Search Karen Larsdatters site to try get some original images, and have a look through some of the photos of reproduction kits on some high quality groups websites, like the Company of Saint George, The Guild of Saint Olaus or Diu Minnezit.You will find it much more satisfying in the long run to be able to show someone a picture and look like you've stepped right out of it, than to look like a generic ren-fair type.

Here is an image that I would love to see reproduced, and it would be relatively cheap to do so too. The best thing about it, is that it would be a brilliant starting kit, as all you would have to do is add some legs and you've got a very heavily armoured looking chap.

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Jack and breastplate.jpg

ya there are no gambesons by mid-late 15th century. they are all now arming jackets. closely fitted in order to attach mail and plate too.

you need hose thats your only option.

if you don't have a horse you don't need pauldrons. spaulders are a foot soldiers defense and work just fine. the ones you listed are nice but are more of a 16th century design or late late 15th. you also need to look for a 2 piece breastplate. one with a plackart that is either riveted or strapped to the breastplate. 1 piece breastplates are later than what you are going for i think. take a look at some pictures in my groups 15th century living history page for some ideas. btw, where are you at? ;) we're always looking for new recruits ehhehe
Hmmm... seems like you're throwing yourself into this without much research - and research isn't an easy thing if you are new to the time period or re-enactment.

My first advice is that if you buy cheap, you buy twice - that's not to say that you can't get some very good and well made armour for a reasonable price, but I've been there, and you inevitably find yourself getting something else after a year when you get more experience. What I would say is that you are perhaps not going to find anything even remotely comfortable or fitted to you from an on-line shop which sells a variety of different items - you are better off going straight to source - an armourer who can help you with suitable armour for your chosen time period, from measurements you supply.

Also, don't feel pressured into buying all your kit at once - it makes you try to buy cheaper stuff to get out on the battlefield completely kitted up. Get the essentials first, and then move on up - you may find that you want to portray a level of soldier different to what you have in mind now. I went from archer to man-at-arms to billman in 5 years!

Just like the use of weapons, what a soldier wears is based upon layers, which should all be well fitted and comfortable. You may feel a bit of a prawn in hose, but they are extremely comfortable, and you will definately appreciate them once you delve into the world of the leg harness. Trust me, you will be more comfortable, and better respected by your fellow re-enactors if you get the full kit right.

A linen shirt and braies are good for absorbing sweat, and are more authentic than cotton ones. Woolen hose - separate hose reduces the risk of hose splitting in a fight, but are the preserve of lower classes by mid to late 15th century. You may also feel a bit weird with the wind whipping round your undercrackers. Joined hose are better for who you are portraying, but do tend to split if you're really going for the grappling.

Good leather boots are a must, and I find that hobnails are really good for keeping your footing (though are slippery on stone and concrete surfaces, like new leather soles are). Most cobblers should be able to fit hobnails to boots.

Then comes the essential kits for the battlefield - a helmet. A visored sallet is a great all-rounder, especially if you are doing full contact or anything involving arrows. Ditto a bevor - I would suggest a bevor with the ability to lower and raise the mouth piece - helps with drinking water when it is offered to you on the battlefield.

- a set of gauntlets. Fingerless gauntlets like the ones you have looked at are better for those using polearms, such as a bill or glaive, or a poleaxe, or perhaps even fight with a falchion and buckler. You don't need the finger dexterity for that kind of weapon / set of weapons. If you want to employ a longer sword for half swording, and grappling, you may find that you benefit from having the finger dexterity, and look at fingered gauntlets. It's truely dependant upon what soldier you see yourself portraying, and the weapon you intend to use.

- a (padded) jack. ( body defence - provided it is well made and thick enough layers - will provide you with the appropriate body defence for most first time soldiers. You can have thinner layers in the arms for strapping armour to, or consider the cheaper option of jack chains, which cover the elbow and long bones of the arms. Jack chains have been my staple arm armour for over 5 years now and I've not had much problem with them. They are much lighter than full arm harness, but have no protection for the insides of the arms (I've used maille voiders for my armpits). A jack could be worn with a plackart to the protect abdomen, or a full breastplate, though it would be a bigger size than if you had an arming jack on.

- an arming jack - ( Alternatively, if you see yourself as slowly building up to a full set of armour, an arming jack is what you should be aiming for - this should ideally be made to your measurements, and have a gusset for movement on the back seam, and under the arms. I would also suggest one with a high collar so your bevor strap doesn't rub on your neck.

The armour is entirely dependent upon what status you are trying to portray, and the weapons you intend to use on the battlefield.

Lastly, find a friend or colleague to help you with your purchases. Traders at fairs and such can sometimes be shamefully untruthful about how well fitted a piece of armour may be on you, or whether it is suitable for your time period. Don't rely on the trader solely. Listen to experienced members of your group, and have a look on the internet - there is a wealth of information out there, just mixed in with a huge dose of fantasy!!!!!

Hope I haven't rambled too much and you find this useful!
Hey there

I am going for the same thing as well. Though I'm going for full german gothic :) My kit as it stands consist of GDFB Sallet helm, Deepreka German gothic guantlets and GDFB leg harnesses. Everyone that Iv talked to has regretted buying the jawbone style helm, they have all said that they would have wished they had gotten mine instead. The eye slit on my helm is brought forward and is more narrow, looks much better in my opinion. Now the guantlets that I bought are excellent for the money! They have great articulation and fit my hands perfectly. The only thing about them was the gloves that came with them sucked, so I just got myself some cowhide leather ones and sewed them in :D
The leg harnesses were also great, they fit my legs (leg) like a glove, as if they were custom made for me. I tweaked mine a little bit by adding some flutting on the wings and upper leg. Give it a more gothic look. Here are the links to the stuff I mentioned above

Now what I plan on doing soon is making my own chest, back piece and arms. The chest piece that im getting is from rough from the hammer. He'll beat out the rough shape of the chest piece and I'll do the rest (flutting, rolling edges, etc) Merc Tailor isn't bad, but you can find something that will work much better for you, for the gothic style. You could go for the GDFB chest piece, you can always add flutting to it ;)

Hope this helps!

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this is what I have so far

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here is my sallet.Notice how the eye slit is brought foward

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here are the guantlets

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leg harness

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Frances hit on several very key items (well written!). Here's my $0.02:

Frances Perry wrote:
Hmmm... seems like you're throwing yourself into this without much research - and research isn't an easy thing if you are new to the time period or re-enactment.

Use the internet to find general information for your period of focus, but use it wisely. Stay with sites that are historically based, not fantasy or LARP based. The information contained in the featured articles, reviews and links sections here are a very good start. Then go to the library and read, read, read. :)

Frances Perry wrote:
My first advice is that if you buy cheap, you buy twice

We've all been there and done that. While some of the gdfb stuff is serviceable after heavy modification, you are much better off dealing with an armourer who will make pieces to your measurements and will communicate with you one-on-one. A few that I have made purchases from or had a positive experience with are: (U.S. armourers as you are in Wisconsin)
Arms & Armor
Ice Falcon
The Mercenary's Tailor
Illusion Armouring
No, I dont have an image i'm basing it on. I'm going to try and find one tho.

I'm going to be using it for ARMA free play with long sword and semi-regular hikes....(no one uses the trails around my house so sometimes my friend and I go hiking in kit...a good way to experience what it might have been like being a foot soldier. ;) )

Making or modifying anything is probably out of the question for me, since whenever i try making stuff it ends up being a weird shape or not done correctly. (not talking about armour, just anything in general) :\

You guys have conviced me to wear hose with my kit, now i just need to figure out how to explain those to my

And if they didn't wear gambesons in the 15thc, then what would a man at arms wear under just say a breatplate? Would he wear an arming doublet even if all he had were a breastplate?

And anyone know where else I can get a suitable arming jack for a reasonable price? and that actually fits cuz I'm kinda thin...(it's frustrating when no one makes an arming jack under "large"...)

And chuck I've actually checked out Lord Greys retinue before, and had an "OH COME ON!!!" reaction when I learned they were in washington D.C. area...(i live in wisconsin)

Thanks francis for the padded garment links, they look a bit expensive tho, but since im cutting down my kit maybe I can afford them...and would the puffed sleeves be something that would be worn under a gothic style armor?

Thanks to the wonderful input of people obviously more experienced and knowledgable than me, I have decided to change my idea for my kit...for the 6th time...

As of now im looking at...

a Cas ibera sallet helm, a cas iberia breastplate, possibly deepeeka gauntlets...and some form of good quality jack.

and yes....hose....

Tell me what ya' think. :)

I know alot of the stuff I'm looking at getting is still bad in quality, but its cheap. And since im not looking to be a man-at-arms forever, I wouldnt be sinking a fortune into most of the kit, with the exception of the arming jack/doublet which i can use in the English knight kit i want to have when I have a better job.

Thanks for all your comments and tips, you guys are the biggest help on this subject I can find anywhere. :)

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