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Should I do it?
Of course you brilliant öidiböidi!
 37%  [ 6 ]
You are mad
 6%  [ 1 ]
Mad as a flying meatball!
 0%  [ 0 ]
I like meatballs!
 56%  [ 9 ]
This poll... is just plain silly.
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 16

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Henrik Granlid

Location: Sweden
Joined: 17 Apr 2012

Posts: 103

PostPosted: Wed 31 Jul, 2013 5:04 pm    Post subject: Deconstructing 15th century Swedish Armour for future wear.         Reply with quote

Hello gentlemen!

I come to you all for help, infinite wisdom and the secret to life eternal.

Let us start with the help, and the premise on which I ask it.

I have been lured, entrapped, coached, sirened, dragged, poked, prodded, pushed and enticed into joining a group of good friends in their SCA Heavy Fighting antics, and I have also looked at Harnisch Fechten with hungry eyes.

As such, and by virtue of being from Sweden, I am looking to put together a Swedish 15th century armour progressively in the coming year, and I'd LOVE a good discussion with the expert knowledge from all of you gentlemen and noble ladies of this forum.

I am looking at a period of ca. 1460-1490

Now, first of all, this is what I know:

1. Most pieces and suits of armour were imported from Germany and from Lübeck, as well as some pieces being imported from Italy. Basically, if you were somebody who were somebody, you would get the armour imported, because Swedish armourmaking was really not that much there. I have heard that there WERE Swedish breastplates, a variation on the milanese (I believe) where the chest had a center groove/flute-ing that ran along the sternum and divided into two diagonal groves at the lower ribs, but this is only what I have heard and I have no solid sources.

2. The gambeson techniques varied between the German Waffenrock
(on my other computer, I have paintings of it as well)
This either had arms with slightly puffy shoulders, or was worn over some sort of jack with padded arms and voiders as previously refferenced on this forum in the form of, amongst other things, a small copper cast of St George.

The German waffenrock seem to have had no Points, rather sometimes, having straps that held a breastplate on through buckles. Arms were seemingly not pointed, but rather, again, held on through buckles and straps, shoulders are unclear.

The Italian Arming Jack on the other hand, is long sleeved and uses points to put the armour in place.

3. One of my main sources for this (although not exclusively) will be the statue of St George and the Dragon, made by Bernt Notke in 1489 to comemmorate a battle in 1471.
As can be seen in the original wooden statue, we are looking at a nearly completely encompassing plate with a chainmail skirt and what looks like chainmail voiders (maybe the "vest" discussed in another thread) worn underneath the arm-armour.

However, in the bronze cast of the same statue, albeit without colour, we see strong creasing on the thigh and what appears to be chain underneath the arm COULD be potential cloth rather than chain, although, considering italian and german trends at the time, for such a high profile armour, I doubt it myself.

Now for the questions:

1. In the bronze cast refferenced above, is it likely that the armour is held together with thick hinges rather than normal buckles and straps? I.e. hinges on the sides and on top of the shoulders, removing the spring of both shoulders and one side to open and put it on and then re-seal the hinges.

Any dating on this sort of armour-lock?

2. The skirt appears to be in four parts, one front, one back and one on each side, connected by something that is riveted underneath the armour, be it leather (with or without the chainmail skirt attatched) and a chainmail skirt somehow attatched to this. Is this correct? The metal skirt seem rather short, more of a hip-cover than anything, with the chain being there for loin protection.

3. What sort of shoulders are worn? On the bronze, it appears to be normal "small" segmented shoulders worn at the top of the arm, possibly attatched to something underneath the plate shoulders of the chestplate. However, something wide is peeking out from behind the raised sword-arm on the gilded, wooden original.

4. What sort of gauntlets would be good for this armour? Fingered gauntlets are, unfortunately, out, due to the safety-rules of SCA Heavy Combat, and I do value my fingers, budding writer that I am.

Could this style of gauntlet be worn with a late 15th century kit without feeling too horrible about it?
(No idea who this gentleman with a GORGEOUS harness is, credit is where credit's due still.)

Or could gauntlets with this kind of ridged lobster design work?

Or do I just go for plain-ol short-hourglass, globular lobster claws deluxe?

Gauntlet advice would be MOST welcome.

5. Since I will be starting it all out peacemeal and build toward an eventual plated-up version, I will need to start somewhere. That somewhere COULD potentially be a brigandine (let us NOT talk of what goes on the inside of the satin and the riveting rivet-work), would this be a good idea for an, ultimately replaceable chestpiece? Would it be somewhat in period at least?

6. What kind of padded garb would people suggest? Waffenrock (with or without arms?) Padded Jack? Gambeson?

7. Shoes or boots?

9. In the name of "getting started", do I make myself plastic forearm-protection with a proper metal cup, or do I get a proper metal cup (period) with a leather forearm that I pay premium for? The Leather Forearm is, far as I know, very much NOT 15th century, likewise, splint of different forms is not to be worn either.
Do I just bite the apple and get good cups from one armourer and good forearms from another? Or do I go with these and call it "done until I've gotten everything else"?

(Note, this guy DOES do forearm protection in metal as well, but he does not have any of these in stock far as I am aware, and they'd also cost about 70 or so dollars more but could potentially be tailored to proper length.)

I have now asked a lot of questions, presented a lot of the information I have in my head, and now I ask you one final question.

How would you armour a late 15th century Swedish man in plate (for do note, the Landsknecht drawings show mostly padded peasantfolk).

What questions would you be asking if you were in my position?

And do you have any opinions, answers or ideas, please do present them.

For you are many, and you are brilliant, and I am but one person with a crazy idea.

(P.S. Sorry for the plethora of links, the forum did not like me when it came to formating these images. D.S.)

EDIT: Finally at home, time for pictures!

 Attachment: 68.54 KB
Vaffenrock with armour and only frontal tassets. No mail skirt.

 Attachment: 64.03 KB
Waffenrock with only chestplate. Note the mail voiders coming from underneath the padded cloth.

 Attachment: 58.58 KB
Waffenrock with arms.
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Henrik Summanen

Location: Stockholm
Joined: 14 Aug 2013

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed 14 Aug, 2013 3:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Albert Collins made a very good research for the armoured soldier in the Museum of Medieval Stockholm. Check that one.


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Boris R.

Joined: 15 Feb 2007
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 143

PostPosted: Thu 15 Aug, 2013 4:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote


fascinating topic. Altough I have only a single question, it could be interpreted as an offtopic, but in the end, it could help you with your kit. That statue of the St. George and the dragon: does he have a plaque belt worn over his plate armour? That far in 15th century?


Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
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Henrik Granlid

Location: Sweden
Joined: 17 Apr 2012

Posts: 103

PostPosted: Thu 15 Aug, 2013 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ty Henrik for a wonderful armour!
It not only looks great, but also within my budget and easier to lug around than extra plates here and there would. I love the shoulders being lengthened rather than wearing a separate upper arm plate underneath them. Interesting lack of maille voiders for the inside of the arm though.

Some modifications will have to be made for security, but that pic sure has helped me a LOT on the way to what I want.

And Boris, I'd say yes he does wear such a belt, at least after a lot of peeking and zooming. It could be that it is of a different design and acts more as an armour-lock than a "fancy belt" but is probably highly ornamental.

One possible explanation is that it is a statue of a saintly deed and that the belt is used to show an older time period than the current armour would suggest, like using 50-80 years old armour in paintings to show "ancient events".
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Henrik Summanen

Location: Stockholm
Joined: 14 Aug 2013

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon 19 Aug, 2013 4:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Under this link you can find several more photos of the armour:

I think the arming doublet should have had maille protection under the arms as mentioned in the sources as "flekkja".

cheers, Henrik
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Henrik Granlid

Location: Sweden
Joined: 17 Apr 2012

Posts: 103

PostPosted: Tue 20 Aug, 2013 1:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've tried finding more pictures of the armour on the site but I just can't seem to find them. All I get is that very picture you have posted.

As for the general thread. I have, unfortunately, stumbled across an offer I can't refuse, a Burgonet that's seen 12 years of use and still looks as good today as the day it was first worn, and at a price of 1000 sek at that, meaning that I'll just have to take it. The Sallet will thusly become the very last piece for this kit that I get, and I will, unfortunately, be building a 15th century kit over time whilst wearing a burgonet. The anachronism might well deserve a very modern boot to the head, but student-budgets are student-budgets.

Thankfully, however, I'll be able to sell the burgonet onward to another member of the troupe when I do go for the sallet, so the upgrade will come, just not as quickly.

What pieces of a 15th century gear can one "get away with" together with a burgonet? The gauntlets (if somewhat slimmed crabclaws) seem like one of them. Elbowcups perhaps? The 15th and 16th seem to have a similar style.

I have seen some 16th century armour with the sort of long shoulders that this Swedish 15th rider is displaying, would that also be a piece of viable "visible" kit?
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Peter Johnsson
Industry Professional

Location: Storvreta, Sweden
Joined: 27 Aug 2003
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Posts: 1,757

PostPosted: Tue 20 Aug, 2013 2:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If the burgonet is calling you that strongly, go for another time period or persona all together!

To my limited knowledge, I think a burgonet is not a very good match. I think it could be good for a soldier serving Erik XIV or some suchlike. (but I would be very happy to be corrected on that point!)

Rather pick pieces that can go together for a less high class/ fully armoured peson. Get a kettle hat and a breast plate to begin with. Then add arms and knees.
In time you can flesh out the armour to be more complete and while you are at it you can still travel to the 15th century all you want and still look the part.

Let the burgonet pass you by and be happy you made the difficult choice.

Listen to me:
-*You will not need to buy this helmet. This is not the helmet you are looking for*.

But that is just my evil little thoughts.
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Henrik Granlid

Location: Sweden
Joined: 17 Apr 2012

Posts: 103

PostPosted: Tue 20 Aug, 2013 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The decision will be truly difficult indeed.

One option would be to wear most of the armour underneath clothing until such a time that it can be displayed out in the open. Building it over time does mean there will be plenty of barrel-plastic armour hidden underneath pretty garbs. I might get the burgonet and a pair of good gauntlets as my only metal-starters until I can pile enough money to get that sallet from Merkel at Swedish Armory.

But yeah, that is one evil, evil voice you have there!
And I bet that any second it's going to tell me that my liechtenauer that is arriving any day now is not enough and that I desperately need another Albion, aint it? Wink

But a big thanks for a very valuable and quick response to my burgonet-thoughts. I DO want a set of Knecht clothing so I'll just have to see what comes out of the barrel-plastic armour-workshops we're going to have. Damn that is a fine helmet... but the 15th century is just so much better.

¤still reeling from being star-struck by a Peter Johnsson reply¤
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