One of my previous suits of armour (far from perfect, plenty of inconsistencies).Here is the helmet on a shelf.

To start off, my academic education is in creative writing and text-analysis and feedback, whereas my hobbies lie in history. About six years ago, I joined in a show-troupe of knights and started researching sword-typology because I simply wanted to do things right and proper because they spoke so much about historical accuracy when I joined, however, my research drifted into armour, and I came to realise just how poorly the show-knights represented historicity, so I kept on delving deeper.Eventually I fell in with the SCA, and I'm still here. Ever since I joined the SCA, my knowledge on sword typology has taken a complete nosedive and, instead, I've gone completely into the self study on armour, using forums populated with both hobby and professional armourers and historians to learn, as well as reading books and avidly watching documentaries (most of them crap) and youtube channels (some of them really good).

And now, I can easily lose an afternoon or an evening helping somebody source (historical precedence or where to buy) and design armours for reenactment and modern sports such as the SCA and Battle of the Nations.

So, well, AMA

EDIT: Keep asking questions! There is no way to be "too late" to this AMA, I'll keep replying as long as there are questions, be it tonight or a month from now.

That said, I'm gonna take a small pause now, it being half past four in the morning and all that, getting some sleep, and then I'll make sure to check reddit as I wake up and answer any new questions as I do! If you're curious, just ask, I'll be around!

EDIT 2: Told you I'd be back!

And yeah, as said, does not matter if it's now or in a month, if you find this thread and you have any questions, do ask, I'm happy to answer.

Comments: 216 • Responses: 97  • Date: 

JohannReddit62 karma

Which movies or TV shows have had the most historically inaccurate armor?

Neknoh86 karma


Just.... oh god that thing is bad.

It's just awful.

There's not a spear or mail shirt in sight, the clothes are 80% biker gear and 20% renn-fair and the armour is just... jesus christ.

They do have one decent piece of armour in the show, it's the burgonets, the combed helmets worn by the English cavalry in one of the early seasons. It's based on an existing type of helmet.

The thing is, however, that those helmets were fashionable in the middle of the 16th century.

Vikings takes place in the middle of the 10th.

So that's 600 years from Vikings... and 450 years from today's warfare. It's closer to a fighter jet than a viking-era helmet.

For reference, here's a bunch of reenactors and drawings that all would be better suited in Vikings than anything actually in Vikings.

And here's an even better one, which also includes clothes.

Also worth noting is that Saxons (the English) would have worn basically the same types of armour as the Vikings. Frankish mail and swords were the best armour money could buy in Western Europe, and if you could not afford that, you'd throw on an extra tunic, grab a shield and a spear and go to war.

Helmets would be Spangen helms or 4-panel construction Spangen helms, or ocular helmets.

Mail was more common than helmets, meaning that, when following the king and his hird (personal guard/extended warrior family/blood brother unit/every one living together in the same longhouse and fighting together), basically every one would wear a hip/groin-length mail shirt with short sleeves (about elbow length, not big and floppy either) and probably the entire group would wear occular helmets. I cannot source this, I've tried yesterday actually, but allegedly, the occular design was a Vendel-era (pre-viking, also known as Migration, ca 400-700 AD) invention in order to stop the men you slew from coming back to haunt you since they could not see your face.

In the rest of Western Europe, the nasal had started taking over around 7/800 AD, with mostly the Scandinavian cultures keeping the occular helmets.

If you want "action fantasy but pretty decent viking stuff", you want to read a comic/manga called Vinland Saga, available here and there on the internet with a quick search. There are no crazy super-moves and details the journey of a kidnapped child as he grows accustomed to war and ever closer to the man who murdered his father.

Ashen-Knight16 karma

Actually Vikings is in the early to middle of the 9th century. But you’re absolutely right! Thank you for sharing your ideas and knowledge.

Neknoh21 karma

Makes it even more egregious, and yeah, you're right, 870-90-sh, right?

kielbassador10 karma

Appreciate the pictures from Mount and blade

Neknoh7 karma

They get a bunch of things correct or "good enough"

skaliton5 karma

especially the part where you can have 3 spears sticking out of your head and be fine

Neknoh5 karma

Didn't you know of Saint Targitus Practicus?

In all honesty though, "a bunch of things correct or "good enough" in material culture does not equal that the gaming physics, combat or HP calculations are correct.

Cinimi9 karma

The armor inaccuracies is just the tip of the iceberg for that show, they commited way bigger crimes than that....

Neknoh9 karma

At least it gave us more Wardruna

frickking3 karma

As I was looking through those pics it reminded me of Vinland Saga so I was happy to see you mentioned it.

Neknoh3 karma

The writer really did his research and then didn't throw it out!

Platinumsteam45 karma

Could I send you sketches every now and then, of armored characters,for you to critique the shape of the armor? Not how much it protects,but how much it would even be able to move.

Neknoh23 karma


Platinumsteam11 karma

Not sure when tho. I just ran out of supplies

Neknoh16 karma

No worries! Send it when you get something done!

In the meanwhile, make sure to watch Ian la Spina's episodes on youtube (knyght errant), in particular the "Common modern reproduction errors" and "anatomy of" series

If you're on Facebook, there's the XIVth, XVth and XVIth century armour- groups if you want to draw and study historical armour pieces.

shezofrene43 karma

can you make a t-45 power armor with custom paint?

Neknoh32 karma

Nope, but there are some pretty damn good cosplayers and maker-communities out there. Your best bet would either be to make it out of Worbla and other craft-foams on top of a pair of wooden struts.

Other options to reduce weight also include vacuuforming and 3D printing. For a similar build, have a look at James Bruton and his Hulkbuster:

Sodonotcare26 karma

Is there any armor that holds up to today's modern ballistic threats?

Neknoh55 karma

Short answer? No, not really. It is possible that the late 14th century multi-layered armour might if we allow for a heat-treated breastplate (most armour from the 14th and early 15th century are plain steel or just iron).

This would include:

An arming jack/doublet: this is a hip-length jacket made to be sturdy, but not truly padding, it allows you to wear your armour in a more comfortable way and makes sure it is secured.

Note that it isn't padded, it's merely 4-6 layers of cloth sewn together, the quilting is there to stiffen it so that it better shapes the body and holds its form. This particular piece is a civilian garment, but battlefield letters notes clothing made from "cloth of gold" and "silk velvet" taken off of captured prisoners.

On top of this, if we keep an open back on our upcoming torso defense, our armoured fighter (a man-at-arms, a fully armoured soldier, or what most people think of when they think of "knights", despite knight being a title and a squire being the son of a knight) would wear a mail shirt (also known as mail, haubergeon and iron shirt, it is chainmail in modern words). The reason we want a mail shirt on him is that this adds more steel on top of his chest.

This one is 15th century, but would basically be identical to a late 14th century.

On top of his full mail shirt, he would wear a globose breastplate, with or without a fauld (skirt), since we have elected to wear a full mail shirt, it is likely it is without a completely enclosing back-defense, so either strapped from the sides, or including salloon doors (wings that cover parts of the shoulderblades and are either laced or strapped together, leaving a gap over the spine).

One such breastplate is the Churburg S14.

(sidenote, it has quite a deep dish, but I cannot find any side-views right now due to something having changed in Google's search algorithm for the S14, so here is another contemporary breastplate, the S13 from the same castle)

Note how short they are, they stop at or before they reach the navel and natural waist, also note the depth. These are defenses designed to allow you to move whilst fighting and also to have a crumple zone when taking a lance to the chest.

On top of this, in the late 14th century, there would be the Jupon, a thick, quilted garment, sewn around tight rolls of cotton, or stuffed with cotton and linen tow (fuzzy plant fibres).

Here is an original

And here is a reconstruction based off of thorough investigation of said original, this particular page deals with the construction and quilt.

This means that we would have a layer of 2+ cm's of tightly rolled cotton, along with the 6 fabric shells.

Then, center mass, ca. 3-4mm of domed, hardened steel (if allowed maximum technology), followed by a ca. 2-3mm thick weave of steel rings, and lastly another 4-6 fabric shells.

This might, head on, stop a handgun.

However, considering there are plenty of carbines and even handguns able to punch through engine blocks, I'd rather take my chances with a balistics vest.

One final option for defense is to strip away the mail and the outer quilted layer, keep the sturdy jacket and don a 16th century heavy jousting harness, or a 17th century cuirassier or siege engineer breastplate.

These were thick, made to withstand musket balls or heavy, couched lances and built with much sharper deflection angles. However, even so, modern machines of war are just too devastating.

Sodonotcare33 karma

This is lot more complete of an answer than I am accustomed to getting on this sub.

Neknoh33 karma

It's sunday and I had the time, there is no point in blowing people off when you have the time for a proper answer

ratheismhater12 karma

You're a good dude :)

Neknoh12 karma

Having a good day!

Ursus-SCA8 karma

Several folks have successfully tested linothorax against bows, crossbows, spears, and small to medium caliber guns.

Neknoh9 karma

What construction method? Far as I know, linothorax is getting increasingly popular as a quilted rather than glued theory.

Ursus-SCA3 karma

Glue were the ones I've seen, but still using historically accurate glues - not modern replacements.

Neknoh4 karma

Yeah, the glue theory is really cool and I'm looking forward to reading more on it, although I do have to say I am more in the linothorax-were-quilted camp, at least for the moment. I absolutely love good reproductions of ancient greek armour (the Agamemnon breastplate project from a few years ago was stunning) and I'm looking forward to seeing more progress on the research in these areas!

MedievalSerbia2 karma

You can watch a presentation on linothorax - I just found out about it in the videos today.

Neknoh2 karma

Thank you for the link! I think I might have followed the build of this Linothorax on some forum a few years ago! (I recognise it). Going to be interesting to follow the ballistics test!

Neknoh24 karma

Are you in the states? Do you want custom? Do you want to be covered head to toe or select pieces that make you look dope af?

BlueCollarCriminal13 karma

Yours is probably a misplaced reply, but:



Dope af, please

Neknoh2 karma

How historically accurate do you want? Is there any particular helmet or look (even if it's fantasy) that you really like?

madman123083 karma

Can I be cheeky and assume this was in reply to someone requesting advice on a suit of Armour, and if so request the same based on THIS being my favorite illustration of a suit of Armour, with the helmet style being the thing I'm most attached to from that image?

I feel like this is probably an illustration fairly well grounded in reality, but I'm not sure what exactly would be required underneath to make it functionn and fit in with a specific period.

Neknoh6 karma

That's just a straight up high-gothic suit of armour, German sallet and all.

Good news is that we have several survivals:

Bad news: it's gonna be expensive as fuck and you want a really good armourer to get the shapes right, somebody like Wade Allen, Jeff Wasson or Jiri Klepac (Jiri is amazing at end-of-period German armours, both the high-gothic and the Maximilian stuff, he should probably be your first or second pick)

Advice on getting this armour:

  1. Pick one of the existing ones (or depicted, there should be plenty of paintings, woodblock prints etc out there, you want to search for Late 15th Century Gothic Harness if you are looking for paintings) and pick only that one, if it is not complete, confer with your armourer for what pieces would be best to complement it with.

  2. Make sure to get the clothes and shoes worn underneath the armour done first, contact your local SCA or reenactment group, even if you're not joining them, in order to ask for help finding a tailor or seamstress to make the underlying arming doublet and hose so that you can take the proper measurements.

  3. Once you have the proper clothing, get the mail, Tom Biliter of Historically Patterned Mail is your best go-to guy for the three-four pieces you want (voiders or mail sleeves, a mail skirt, a pisane/standard and a brayette)

  4. Once you have the mail, take measurements for the chest piece and the helmet and order them, even if you end up not getting the arms and the legs until later, you will now have a really, really REALLY good kit to start having fun with at reenactment events and, as you keep contact with your armourer, you can then add on the arm defenses and then the leg defenses (or leg defenses first if you have mail sleeves rather than voiders).

  5. It's gonna take a long time to get even the first pieces of armour, and it's gonna cost quite a bit, but if you truly do aspire to get the suit at the top quality, this is absolutely the way to go through with it.

Getting this armour on a budget:

Get the Fechtschule Gdansk Fencing Gambeson from a Hema store, red, white or green are the most historical colours.

Make or buy some Brayettes and Hose.

Get a German Sallet and a Gothic Breastplate, even if it's budget, off-the-shelf stuff, you can also paint the sallet in order to hide some errors in construction.

Go have fun!

parkfyre21 karma

Aside from gunpowder, what arms advancement had the biggest impact on the way armor is made?

Neknoh25 karma

The lance, it was constantly strengthened, forcing better and better chest defenses on a whole 'nother level from other weapons.

Here is a great video by Ian laSpina detailing the development of the lance as a weapon.

What he does not mention is the progression of armour because of the lance.

We see proto-breastplates as early as the 13th century, where knights would tie a purpose made steel plate to their chest, underneath the mail and outer gambeson in order to not get run through by spears used by other riders (we see penetration documented in text through mail, mail + outer gambeson and even mail + gambeson + mail prior to this).

This then becomes replaced by the armoured surcotte, which then becomes the coats of plate which eventually ads the extra chestpiece back in Germany, and then, ultimately, becomes a solid upper torso-piece underneath the fabric and, eventually, identifiable as a breastplate.

Of course, metallurgy also drove this, with increased knowledge came increased ability to make larger pieces of steel more common, allowing for increasingly less segmentation in armour (or more complex segmentation as is the case with brigandines vs coats of plate).

makinja17 karma

What do you think is the biggest misconception about the medieval armor and weponry? Do you use the old tehnicques when creating armor to make it look more authenthic? Which medieval weapon would you consider to be the most effective?

Neknoh38 karma

That it's heavy whilst also being made out of paper and ridiculously inefficient.

Swords weigh 30+ pounds in most people's heads and are blunt as spoons, which is just plain wrong, swords weigh 2-4 pounds depending on size and are usually quite well sharpened. However, despite being really sharp, you can still grip a sword by the blade as long as the blade is neither pushed nor pulled perpendicular to your grip (which WOULD cut your hands up).

For armour, it is the same concept of weight that keeps showing up, that armour was somehow this super-heavy thing that was impossible to move in, and yet, the heaviest armour in Europe at the end of the 14th century, the English armour, was configured specifically for foot combat.

Surviving suits of armour generally range from 22 to 35kg, some outliers sit at 18 respectively 40+ (the heavy outliers are either extra thick overall, or made for the joust).

You can move quite well in armour to be frank.

As for techniques, I only help people design their kits based on what they want and where they want to take it etc. However, there are indeed people out there making armour and they use a mixture of old and new techniques. The problem is that the art of armourmaking died off before modern industry showed up, so what we have to go by are mostly 19th century techniques and newer and making assumptions and conjectures based off of medieval art.

Here is one of the best armourers in the US displaying how he makes armour and talking about the creation of it in general.

As for authenticity: technique matters a lot less than overal shape and finish. You can steal a 14th century hammer and stakes from a museum, but if your helmet looks like a bucket, it's not going to look authentic. Armour has very specific shapes and subtleties to it that, as you study it, you learn to see. For instance, there are differences between how a breastplate is shaped about every 20-30 years between 1360 and 1700 (sometimes it evolves faster, sometimes slower).

As far as finish goes, it's always discussed just what kind of a finish armour should have, however, there were grinding wheels used to polish it as well as cutting wheels (conjecture based on markings differing from files) for scoring grooves into armour.

Here's an album of 16th century woodblock prints showing armour making on an industrial scale

As for my favourite weapon, hands down the pollaxe.

And the one you NEED to see

Sure, there is also a LOT of finesse going in, but in that particular sport, you're not allowed to hook legs behind the knee, nor are you allowed to stab, as such, a lot of the techniques go out the window when using a pollhammer/pollaxe, but hey, it's also part of it!

EDIT: One final note: armour WORKS. It can stop a lance at full tilt, it can stop a windstorm of arrows and it can stop a swordblow to the chest with little effort. Armour works. Here are two videos with Dr Tobias Capwell on the battle of agincourt

Jester8144 karma

Oh man 2 handed weapons being "heavy" aggravates me to no end. Especially in video games where they're arduously slow to swing because they're so heavy.

I do SCA as well. Trying to build a 14th-15th century suit(brig/bascinet/plate joints). Currently ordering a Griffon Bascinet.

BTW, what is your opinion on the authenticity of the Griffon Visored Bascinet?

Neknoh6 karma

If you're ordering a griffon bascinet, look into ca. 1360's-80's coats of plate that aren't the typical visby coat of plates. Some of the finds with lots of smaller plates (that aren't the rebuilt lamellar) were worn by the German mercenaries or Danish soldiers however. Basically, don't look like a barrel of a Visby fighter, which is a very common pit to fall in.

Also, you'll want fully articulated arms and legs to look as historical as possible.

However, one way to circumvent this is to get a long-sleeved Jupon, which can be worn on top of whatever plastic minimums you want to wear and it will still look better on the field than a lot of the kits out there.

EDIT: Authenticity wise: It depends, is it one of Galveskyi's or Quilted Armour's bascinets?

Jester8144 karma

It's from Robert of Stokewood in the states. As for the CoP, I'm getting a Corrazina.

Neknoh3 karma

Then you're pretty spot on, the "griffon style" can be seen a lot in Italian 1380's-isch manuscripts, often alongside a covered breastplate with a back-closure, however, the modern interpretation of corrazinna (same thing with front closure) is also seen in frescoes from around this time. You're good!

Hourglass gauntlets, fully articulated arm harnesses, upper arms covered in mail and then fully articulated leg harness with or without greaves and you're good!

Sidenote: Corrazinna in an italian, historical sense refers to any covered, non-cuirass or breastplate armour, ranging from coats of plates, to covered breastplates to the front opening things we know today as Corrazinna.

Who is making yours?

Jester8144 karma

Tradewinds of the Leviant, a.k.a. Bareena Kalif on Facebook. Getting it made from aluminum. Gotta try and keep up with those guys that fight in minimum armor. Plus you can't tell when it's under cloth or leather, which I love.

Neknoh5 karma

Levant makes okay stuff, and yeah, it should look fairly all right then! Get out there and have fun, that's what's most important!

Jester8145 karma

Oh I'm having fun. Going to Pennsic in ~3 weeks :)

Neknoh3 karma

Good luck and good travels! And remember to drink a LOT of water and pickle juice! Your pee should not be brown!

bobdanderson15 karma

If you’re into video games have you tried out Kingdom Come Deliverance? From what I know it’s incredibly accurate and they were really meticulous in the design.

Neknoh23 karma

They weren't.

They had some really good concept art based on the stuff they were told by their historical consultants, and then they threw it all out the window in favour of rule of cool.

The cliffnotes are:

Professional soldiers wearing 70 year old armour was not a thing (Visby/Kussnacht coats of plate, Visby gauntlets, splinted arm defenses)

General shapes and dimensions are off on some pieces.

Other pieces have been taken from 17 years in to the future or more (as far as modern dating is able to date the original pieces they based them off of).

The jupons and brocade combat vests etc have weird collars, weirder leather trimmed edges and even weirder huge buckles on the front.

Layering is a limitation of the game, but also misrepresents higher end armour of the era.

There are no long-sleeved jupons properly in the game (used over top of armour, like the brocade jacket, but long-sleeved, buttoned and much more shaping).

Clothing is overall pretty good, some weapons are a bit oversized, combat is pretty realistic (although still not perfect) and the environment is A+

It's a game that would have gained so much more if they'd actually listened to the historical consultants, however, it sort of turned in to "Eastern European Reenactor Battle Simulator" rather than "1403 as it was."

bobdanderson10 karma

I’m a little disappointed now haha

Neknoh18 karma

It's more about being let down, it's still one of the most historically accurate games out there, it's just not up to snuff with current knowledge, choosing instead to go for rule of cool.

Other notable games with good historicity in equipment (although that might match it from different eras or get the shapes a bit wrong):

The Witcher 3 (breastplates are generally too long or too far down on the body, clothes can be good or super wonky, mixes ca. 1380 up to 1500-isch)

Battle Brothers (Lots of really good 11th-13th century stuff if you don't look at the fantasy-monster-gear or random 16th century Zweihänder swords)

Banner Saga (really great viking outfits)

Mount and Blade (apart from the random fur wearing barbarians and epoch mixing, it generally deals really well with its 13th century armaments and armour)

snorlz5 karma

how do Witcher 3 and M&B had good historicity when they are entirely fictional?

Neknoh16 karma

Material historicity, Mount and Blade pretty accurately depicts 13th century European knights in the equipment choices of Swadian knights for instance, and Witcher 3 has based a lot of its material culture (except for women's clothing) on rennaisansce (how the hell do you spell that in English?!) and high-medieval clothing and armour.

jwjhuman9 karma

what’s the most historically accurate TV show/film that you can geek out about?

Neknoh13 karma

Terribly sorry, your reply was lost in the pile!

When it comes to geeking out, there are few shows better than old hollywood movies, especially considering how much more knowledge we have now compared to then (i.e. their movies were pretty good for their current knowledge, our movies today are trash)

Henry V 1944

Joan of Arc 1935

But honestly, nothing beats Waterloo, even if I don't even get that hyped about the napoleonic era warfare or material culture:

They used a LOT of people for this, a complete and absolute fuckton, and they also did their research on clothing and formations, these battle scenes are amazing!

GerogeZimmerman9 karma

How much does a suit of armor cost to by? I was looking at buying one so I can go to a renaissance festival and look fly as fuck. With that said, I have no clue where to buy one, how much notice to give, or the price. Any information would be appreciated!

Neknoh5 karma

Are you in the states? Do you want custom? Do you want to be covered head to toe or select pieces that make you look dope af?

Are you in the states? Do you want custom? Do you want to be covered head to toe or select pieces that make you look dope af?

Sorry, my answer ended up going as a separate reply to the thread rather than to you!

SoaDMTGguy3 karma

Not OP, but this site indicates it could cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 for a full suit of plate armor:

A good place to look would be your local ren fair. Talk to some of the armorers there, they could give you a good idea of what’s involved in getting something custom made.

Neknoh2 karma

Wulflund is okay and caters to different levels of budget, but I always recommend to read up on as many armourers as possible, both low-end, middle ground and the top-end armourers before making a decision on what to get.

Depending on the armour, you can lowball it quite a bit, especially if you make a lot of it yourself (splint armour), or you can spend tens of thousands on a historically accurate jousting harness that truly can take a hit!

Generally, I just want people to avoid spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on an armour that simply is not worth the cost (due to a shady armourer, poor shaping, poor choices of materials or just generally bad luck). Make sure to ask around an armour-community of some sort before buying armour, especially once things start getting expensive.

Jester8143 karma

This suit cost me ~1800 dollars from Bokalo's Armory for everything but the helmet, which is from CLANG.

It's full stainless. Aluminum would have been cheaper AND literally half the weight. Bokalo told me to go with aluminum and I didn't listen. I wish I had :p

Now that I've had it for about two years, I'm replacing pieces one at a time for lighter pieces that grant more mobility over time because I'm fighting in the SCA which doesn't grant "armor as worn", but instead assumes you're wearing a certain kind of armor, so full plate affords you nothing when you're fighting against fighters who wear society minimums which is about 15 lbs of armor vs my ~50.

Neknoh2 karma

It affords you the highground and looking absolutely fabulous in crown and rose tournaments, even if you do not win. ;)

As for your new armour, what's your inspiration for it this time? Cool stuff in general or a specific time period, place or piece of existing or depicted armour?

Jester8143 karma

I had just started in the SCA and was making good money, so I wanted to to full plate for my first suit, then scale down once I figured out what I really wanted(which we talked about regarding the corrazina and bascinet).

I wanted to start with stainless then switch to aluminum full plate, but not being able to cross my arms in front of me turned me away from breastplates and towards coat of plates. I'm currently wearing an aluminum visby cop, but like you said it's not entirely accurate with my current setup, so I wear a tabard over it to hide it. But holy everloving crap the added mobility and reduced weight makes the absolute biggest difference. I've noticed a massive increase in stamina on top of articulation since the visby coat weight less than half what the above breastplate weighed.

I can't imagine why they switched away from brig/cops considering the added mobility. Maybe you can shine some light on that? I guess just not as much protection?

Neknoh2 karma

Ah! Yeah, wasn't looking at the usernames but recognised the armour, we've talked before as well (outside of this thread).

First off, your breastplate simply does not seem to fit properly, it looks to be a bit too tall and a bit too wide, likewise, your arms seem a bit big, overall a bit overbuilt, which is common for SCA armour, also, you've gotten a lot stronger from wearing the armour. It adds more fatigue than one might think.

As for the move historically, it's basically about how much the armour can give and take.

A solid chestpiece (such as the 60's and onward coat of plates with increasingly large chest pieces instead of lung-plates) allow you to better receive a lance, and, eventually, to mount a lance rest (the arrette de cuirass, video by Ian la Spina here:

Eventually this turns in to the full breastplate and eventually the full cuirass, it's just overall more protective, allows for better glancing surfaces and crumple zones, can tank a lance without being run through (there is an incident I've been trying to re-source of two 15th century knights having had an argument about wether the brigandine or the cuirass was the better knightly armour, extolling the virtues of their favourite, this letter was, however, written by the survivor, as the other knight died in a jousting accident where a lance went through his brigandine).

Also, the force of a lance impact, even if stopped by the lung-plates of the flatter coats of plates, could still stop the heart of the receiver, meaning that domed chest protection was more important.

And, as violence increases, the need for rigid plates do, the pollaxe of the late 14th century came to dominate ground combat as far as knightly weapons went throughout the 15th century, and although brigandines might protect somewhat well against it, it is a lot easier to cave in somebody's ribs through a brigandine than a cuirass, which offers a more solid "cage" around the body.

However, if you're not expected to face heavy lance or pollhammers, the brigandine, mail shirt and even stand-alone gambesons were all very viable defenses for the professional soldier.

Jester8142 karma

Were coats of plates still used up to and through the 16th century?

Neknoh1 karma

Not as you think of them.

The Visby Coats of plate (or around 18 of them) were outdated by the time of the battle and worn by the Visby militia, pulled from various basements and the bottom of the armoury. These were in line with what is seen in the Romance of Alexander from the 1330's.

By the 1360's, coats of plate had become a lot more weasel waisted, becoming longer and slimmer, promoting a stronger chest and often using a solid piece for the upper ribcage. However, based on the Visby finds and contemporary art, this is also where the predecessor of the brigandines show up (there were 2-3 coats of plates worn by the invading forces that were made up of smaller, rectangular plates "standing up" in shingled rows around the body, giving a more riveted appearance to the outer shell, not unlike the later Chalkis brigandine).

This morphed into the covered breastplate, which became the predecessor of the globose breastplates that later became integral to the first white harnesses and the wear of open plate.

However, the domed shape could also be achieved by shaping the garment and riveting small plates to it (note that these were not so much built up to domed as they were taken in, the Charles des blois doublet does not have an expanded chest, but rather has been taken in a lot in the belly/diaphragm), giving the same look as the silhouette of the domed breastplate.

Also at this time comes the split front breastplate seen in Italian art and found pieces of (the Bashford Deen corrazinna of the Met museum is a frankenstein creation using pieces of several different such armours and should not be copied). One full such armour has been found and is from the Chalkis armoury as well.

There is also still a version of the covered breastplate at this time: it is a back-closed coat of plates made up of many small plates but with a somewhat square and slightly domed center piece over the sternum, surrounded by smaller plates that build up the general shape and protection of the garb.

These three styles continue in to the 15th century, but the front-split breastplate of what we today call a corrazinna shrinks rather rapidly, making it two larger lung plates surrounded by small plates (later seen in the Leeds brigandine), whereas the two other styles get refined, what is notable is that all brigandines transform in shape and cut to follow the fashion in civilian clothing and expected human silhouettes.

Old brigandines are either forgotten or destroyed in order to re-use the plates for new ones or for small metalwork. By the 1460's, the last of the corrazinna have been shown in art (and even then with a flatter, non-domed chest) and the 15th century brigandines and covered or semi-covered breastplates (when you see colour and rivets underneath a placard, it's a solid breastplate) taken over completely.

Once we move in to the 16th century, a similar shift happens, brigandines evolve with fashion, turning in to the Jack of Plates, basically a plated doublet, sometimes riveted, sometimes with the plates stitches in.

Toward the end of the 16th and in to the 17th century, this then turns in to the Pennyjack Plate, a doublet filled with round plates with a hole in the middle, all of it sewn together rather than riveted, making construction even cheaper.

During the 16th century, a "doublet full of holes" also develops; where individual rings are sewn in to or on to a doublet, making thousands of tightly packded, steel-wire reinforced eyelets all over the garment, making it a decently strong defensive garb for those who cannot afford a jack of plates.

Note that earlier terms of armour can show up in later period, however, this does not mean it is the earlier designs that come with them, but rather that names were fluid and that they were not as rigid in classifying things as we are.

TheBigBadPanda9 karma

Do you watch LindyBeige's stuff on youtube and if so do any of his conjecture and analysis hold up to scrutiny in your opinion? I like his content, i just sometimes get worried that some of his theories are nonsensical and i just lack the education to know better.

Neknoh9 karma

Lloyd makes really good stuff with great enthusiasm, sometimes he's wrong, sometimes he hits the nail on the head and he's a great entry point for lots of people. Personally I've started watching less of him, mostly because it feels that we are on the same "level" when it comes to European armour, meaning that his WW2 stuff and generally other things which I haven't completely geeked out in are more interesting to me.

Same thing goes for Skallagrim (who's actually gotten a lot better at not making poor decisions or erroneous statements over the years).

Nowadays, I mostly watch Knyght Errant and Scholagladiatora for my medieval youtube needs.

Also, the thing is, if you broaden your horizons a bit, you'll find that even when Lloyd is wrong, he isn't terribly, horribly wrong and doesn't really damage public perception on all things armour and weapons and medieval warfare. He is doing a lot more good than harm in getting people interested.

EinHaufenMuell5 karma

RE lindybeige: Do you also have a tendency to get triggered by backscabbards when you see them on concept art?

Neknoh4 karma

I keep the word triggered for when I hear somebody running behind me and I get a rush of adrenaline and turn half around in a defensive guard before I realise it's just some kid scraping his feet as he hurries to a bus. Much less now than in the immediate month following a knife-mugging attempt where the dude came up behind me before I noticed anything (music, music, music, step, shuffle, step, hand on my shoulder, broke free, then he swiveled in front of me and threatened me).

And it depends on the context, when somebody says "this is historical" or wants to depict a historical thing, yes, it irks me, it irks me a lot, when it's a fantasy character that is supposed to be decked out to the teeth or display a cool hilt over the shoulder, I'm kinda mostly fine with it.

But it's the constant "this is a medieval thing... with leather and brown and grey and big swords on the shoulders" that just... wears me down you know? It gets so amazingly frustrating and disheartening. I get why people do it, I really do, it's a mixture of ease of burden on an actor (even prop swords get heavy when worn on the side for too long) and the fact that pop culture does not borrow from history, it borrows from pop culture. Fantasy takes influence from fantasy, and it's been going on since ca. 1928, when an american painter broke the victorian trend of basing armour off of historical pieces and just wanted to paint two buff dudes looking manly and staring at each other in "armour".

TheBigBadPanda1 karma

What is the piece from 1928 called? I would like to see it.

Neknoh2 karma

It was even earlier apparently. NC Wyet's illustrations from The Boy's King Arthur in 1908

TheBigBadPanda2 karma

Chainmail tights, nice :)

I just came to think of new question, posted separately as a comment to your OP.

Neknoh2 karma

Also note the ultra-wide shoulders with separate spaulders and very V-shaped tabbards, this is probably the beginning of the hyper-masculine and the chainmail bikinis. This is where lots of modern fantasy tropes on armour have their roots.

Also, your comment isn't showing up in my notifications unfortunately.

Mindstarx4 karma

How do you feel about the medieval stuff from Shadiversity?

Neknoh4 karma

Shad is a bit too incoherent and rambly for me (and has some awful aduio quality), but he makes solid content

Mindstarx4 karma

Thanks for the reply. I was curious what you felt about his accuracy, so thanks for responding!

Neknoh5 karma

That's why I made the thread :)

Mindstarx3 karma

Unrelated to my question- good for you for pursuing something you are passionate about.

Neknoh2 karma

Helping people out with knowledge about armour is fun, it's as simple as that

TheScribbleFish9 karma

I used to be part of the SCA but had a falling out. What kept you in the group?

Edit: Also, what kingdom are you in?

Neknoh8 karma

I don't partake with the people who are there to larp Game of Thrones, I'm there to have fun and because I love the people around me as well as the great events we have here in Sweden.

SoaDMTGguy8 karma

If a woman were to order a plate armor set, would the breastplate have prominent bumps for her breasts as is frequently depicted in modern fantasy? It’s always looked like a way to sexualize female characters, but I don’t know enough to dispute it.

Neknoh16 karma


There's plenty of room inside of a normal breastplate. The big problem with modern depictions and recreations is that they generally make the breastplates too flat for every one.

For reference, here is a 14th century Breastplate

Here is a 15th century Milanese jousting harness made by one of the best modern armourers (his armour is good enough too fool armoury curators into believing them to be originals):

And here is a 16th century breastplate

There's plenty of room for boobs, no matter your gender, as long as the armour is properly shaped.

Now, given, if you have a lot of chest, there are better and worse armours, ranging from kastenbrusts (steel box with plenty of room) and brigandines (tight steel jacket), but, if made to measure, armour should fit the wearer without weird steel boobs.

SoaDMTGguy11 karma

Thanks so much! I am validated in bitching about boob armor!

Neknoh6 karma

Look up Art by Gambargin on Facebook and Deviantart, she makes a series of "historically incorrect" sketches showing female warriors in armour (incorrect or incredibly rare depending on era, debated how common during the scandinavian iron age as well)

BluShine3 karma

Fixed your link for 16th century armor (reddit's formatting doesn't like when Wikipedia uses parentheses in URLs):

Lucas Cranach d. Ä. (Anonymer Meister seiner Werkstatt) - Pfirtscher Altar, Hl. Mauritius - 6263 - Bavarian State Painting Collections

Neknoh2 karma

Thank you! And yes, I haven't figured out how to overcome this!

BluShine3 karma

If you put a backslash before the parentheses, it'll fix it. For example:

[wikipedia link](\(disambiguation\))

looks like:

wikipedia link

Also, the "fancy pants editor" in the desktop reddit redesign seems to automatically fix links.

Neknoh2 karma

Thank you!

SoaDMTGguy6 karma

I was given this sword by a friend:

No idea if it’s origins. Is the design realistic? It is heavy, and the balance is well forward of the handle. It is vary awkward to swing.

As a follow-up: Could this sword ever by sharp? It seems like it was deliberately blunted; would an angle grinder and lots of patients get anywhere?

Neknoh5 karma

It's a pretty standard sword-like-object, as said, sword typology is not my forte, but it is much more of a "this is what a sword looks like" idea than based on any existing swords.

Furthermore, since I cannot see the end of the pommel (the ball on the end), I cannot tell if it is safe or not, it is probably a welded rat-tail tang (the bit of the sword that goes through the hilt), meaning that you should not swing it around, since it risks breaking off and causing a Whirling Helicopter Blade of Doom/Death.

An angle grinder will absolutely sharpen it, and if you make sure to also thinn the blade progressively toward the tip (a distal taper), it will become a lot lighter in the hand. However, since I don't know if it's heat treated or not, i can't say if it will retain its edge.

Generally, if you want to buy a sword, some of the good american makers (far from all) are

Baltimore Knife and Sword Windlass Albion Swords

There are a bunch more out there, and you'll be able to find most of their swords on Cult of Athena at varying prices, make sure to ask around at sword-collector forums such as and reading reviews before buying a sword if you want it to be more than a wallhanger.

SoaDMTGguy3 karma

Thanks! Is there any picture of the pommel I could take that would give you a better idea, or would I have to unwrap the leather for you to know for sure?

Neknoh3 karma

Just the end of it opposite the tip of the sword

SoaDMTGguy3 karma

Neknoh4 karma

can you show me the "top", as if looking down the handle and the blade

SoaDMTGguy3 karma

Neknoh6 karma

Yup, perfect, notice how there's no seam or rivet or sunk nut in there, this is most likely just screwed on and you can probably disassemble the sword by twisting on it.

It is most likely just a wallhanger, not much different from a mall katana unfortunately.

However, if you do like swords, head on over to Myarmoury and start reading, it's quite the fantastic hobby!

SoaDMTGguy4 karma

I figured it was just decorative when I got it, but hey, who turns down a free sword when offered? Eventually I’ll probably mount it somewhere. It’s spent most of its life with me in a closet.

Neknoh3 karma

You can spend a lot of time on it, learning the effect of distal taper, you can try to rehilt it or rewrap the handle etc, it's a great piece when you want to start to experiment!

And yeah, nothing wrong with wallhangers, as long as you don't start swinging them around!


Nice try Metatron/Skallagrim/Shadiversity/Snapjelly...?

Neknoh5 karma

Nope, that's me in the first picture, I am none of those guys.

Also, Ian la Spina's Knyght Errant is the better channel ;)


What about Knygh Errant? I like the channels because they're fun. As far as I can tell Knygh Errant is only playing with weapons and doesn't do a lot of explaining and interesting theories.

Neknoh4 karma

Oh you are sorely mistaken, he goes in depth and talks about the use, shape and modern misconceptions of medieval armour.

It's skal who plays with lot of weapons and and does more rambling than explaining in comparison.

computer_enhance6 karma

I hope I’m not too late for this: I am an armor enthusiast myself (saw an exhibit at the CMA and it was the best museum exhibition I’d ever seen in my life). My husband and I got into a sort of debate about where Chainmail had originated and I told him it was the Celts where as he thought it was Japanese. Could you shed some light on this topic?

They say Christopher Columbus never made it to Japan but he had a full samurai armor suit and his museum I think that’s what brought it up.

Neknoh10 karma

What I know: Romans had mail armour some 3-400 years BC, where they got this from is unclear, I believe celts were a possibility?

I might very well be wrong in all of this, as going that early in history is outside of my frame of knowledge, but yeah, mail in Europe has a different structure than Japanese mail.

As for if there was a genuine (and not a later copy) Samurai armour in the Columbus collection, it could simply be that he bought it off of somebody who traded with Japan, or if a collector who put together a part of the collection added a Japanese armour at a later time.

computer_enhance4 karma

He was an avid trader. I’m sure that’s how he acquired it. I really do think it was the Celts, personally but I have seen the differences in Japanese mail and European mail and I think they developed simultaneously somehow. I just wondered if there was European influence that early but I could not find any accurate sources that knew for sure so I guess the mystery continues. Of course, I will tell his I was right 😂. Thank you for your reply. I’ve read every single response and it’s really detailed. You are appreciated!

Neknoh7 karma

Thank you, and yes, however, don't discount the damage a lot of 19th century, well meaning curators and collectors did to historicity in collections when putting either the items or the collections together.

And yeah, Romans taking it from the celts is the most like route, and considering the quite notable differences between mail, it might simply be that it developed simultaneously, there are, after all, only that many ways to work with steel if you want it for armour.

RandisHolmes6 karma

Did you ever watch the deadliest warrior TV show? As a fan of military history, I loved watching people talk about different warriors, but always thought it lacked the proper procedures to be anything more than just entertainment. I was curious what your thoughts were. Also, on that note, what is your all-time favorite warrior in terms of blending technique and equipment in a badass way?

Neknoh5 karma

It was good fun, the way they talked got a bit cringy on occasion, but hey, good, nerdy splatty fun, Zombie Go Boom is also fun on similar notes on youtube, it's weapon-testy-cringe in all the best ways!

As far as favourite warrior when it comes to blending technique and equipment? I'd say I have probably six different groups.

If we start at the back of history, there is something absolutely and utterly mythological about greek hoplites of the Persian wars, the bronze armour, steel or bronze weaponry, the martial arts that were lost and now rebuilt (Pancration) and just, well, all of the legends surrounding them.

Next come the roman legionaires, less for the individual prowess, and more for the fact that they were part of an army that subjugated huge swaths of europe.

Next up is the European 13th century knight, the last age of the single handed sword as a dominant backup-weapon for knights (yes, they were still in use later, however, the heavy lance and the two handed weapons are the more common weapons). It is also in the final days of the all-mail armour, there's just something incredibly iconic about them, and also where a lot of mythological stories of charges are from.

Next up is the 15th century knight (actually Man-at-arms, but most people know a "knight" by the name of the title, not the troop-type), the heavy armour, the full on weapons system (techniques with the spear, pollaxe and half-sworded longsword are all very similar to one another), the armour that now has become nearly all encompassing and the just, well, to use a current term "absolute unit" that such a warrior represented. In most RPG's, somebody wanders in in full plate and you go "Oh cool" and kill him with your short sword and leather armour, in historical terms, if you were not wearing proper armour or in a large group of people with big weapons, you're fucked, it's just done, you're going down and your two murderhobo adventurer friends are going down with you.

Next up is the iconic image of the "samurai", the heavy armour bowmen with lances and the daisho pair of backup swords once your bow and lance were discarded. There's so much pop culture stuff that is off about them, but tradition have kept their martial arts and the legend about them alive, and I have to admit to having been a huge weabo in my teens.

And finally, the Winged Hussars ¤cue memed music¤

But seriously, they were the last heavy cavalry in Europe, in an age where cannons, pike-and-shot and curassier formations had all but destroyed the concept of heavily armoured cavalry, they kicked ass and took name and were also part of the largest cavalry charge known to man. The reason the Sabaton song is as metal as it is is because the Hussars truly were incredibly metal.

Here's a very... american retelling of their "all time hits"

skaliton5 karma

I am well aware it is nowhere near accurate to . . .well anything (but coming from a game where the main character is undead I can't comment)

Would Ornstein's armor from dark souls be even remotely practical? (actually far better than a random screen shot)

Neknoh5 karma

The game is more accurate than you'd think, Ornstein's armour is, for instance, based off of both high-gothic styles as well as Tonlet armours (especially tonlets)

And they were used, both for tournament and for war.

The shoulders and helmet are too big, and the breastplate would be part of the skirt so that they would both ride on your waistline rather than your hips and shoulders, but overall, his silhuette is not that ahistorical.

skaliton3 karma

wow thanks, if I ever actually make enough money to buy it I will have the armor made

Neknoh2 karma

If you want it for cosplay and larp, consider contacting a makerspace and see if they have any makers willing to help you vacuuform and 3D print it, or help you make it out of fibre glass and foam. Likewise, you could contact an SFX studio (there are those that make projects for a lot more things than movies) and they might be able to make it for you, might also be both cheaper and lighter than steel.

Malthaeus5 karma

Which kingdom and shire are you in?

Neknoh3 karma

Drachenwald, shire of Attemark

Charliemander4 karma

I don't know if you're still responding to this thread but i do have at least two questions that come to mind...

1- Because you describe yourself as a sort of hobbyist, operating outside your borders of the formal education you've had in creativie writing, how often do you receive criticism from elitist asshats who say things like "you don't know what your talking about... you don't even have a degree... you're just a glorified LARPer", and how do you defend against that?

2- I've recently dabbled in some chainmaille jewelry designs for necklaces and bracelets. Nothing fancy, just simple byzantine patterns. However I do take pride in making my own rings, and I desire to make larger pieces such as head coif, or a hauberk. Basically for the calming aspects of it. I call it my "man knitting"... But anyway, what sort of materials and styles should I start out with for the sake of "learning as I go"? Are patterns more definitive of different regions, i.e. English, Norse, French, etc, and what are some good sources of your personal recommendation to look into for accuracy?

Neknoh3 karma

1- I don't usually run into it, I usually defer to more advanced people than me, and if they are clearly wrong, I'll usually just throw sources at them in a civil discussion and, if needed, bring in others who can source things better than I. Kinda doing the Godzilla thing you know, "Let them fight".

Also, I don't write papers on it, as such, I am sort of exempt from doing a 100% proper academic summary of everything I say and mention.

But yeah, generally it helps just being civil, and if somebody gets all up in my face about me not having an education in it even if I'm trying to be civil and have a discussion, I'll just make a mental note of the person being an ass and move on.

EDIT: Mail making is not really my forte, however, you should ask over in United League of Armourers on Facebook, there are some of the best mail makers available in there and they'll probably be more than happy to answer your questions!

Charliemander3 karma

Awesome, thank you for the reply!

Neknoh2 karma

You are very welcome!

nevaraon3 karma

If you were do design a suit of protective armor for a generalized post apocalypse. What would you start with and what modifications would you make to it?

Neknoh2 karma

Are guns available? What manner of post apoc are we talking? Zombies? Fallout? Mad Max?

nevaraon2 karma

Guns are available, but ammo has mostly run dry. And for ease of choice, we’ll say zombie

Edit, but more Rage Zombie than Walking Dead zombie

Neknoh1 karma

Medieval base for the armour or out of modern material?

nevaraon2 karma

Definitely Modern Material

Neknoh7 karma

All right, if I have completely free reign to stuff, and we're talking rage-zombies, we'll want something that can prevent bites, broken bones and violent attacks as well as puncture wounds, that also needs to be light.

For the initial scavenging I'd probably use a few layers of shirts, double jeans for trousers and a sturdy jacket with newspapers taped around the arms. I'd also make sure to get a helmet as well as some manner of drape around the back of my neck.

Now, for the optimal armour, I would want:

A long sleeved shirt and a pair of slacks.

A butcher's mail- shirt, it's made of stainless steel links with a very small diameter, they are the closest thing to a real life mithril shirt and I'm saying that with a straight face.

On top of this, I would get some basic crash-pad type gear for my elbows and knees, and I would make rudimentary forearm defenses out of either thinn stainless steel cut into strips and riveted on to or sewn in between layers of denim to make it flexible enough to wrap around the arm. Pallet strapping would be even better, since that is hardened spring steel and all ready strip-width.

I would be sure to also add a similar sort of reinforcement to a short-ish vest, going from the top of my ribcage down to right above my navel, as well as adding larger pieces across my collar bones.

Same type of armour for my thighs.

Some manner of small steel or plastic rondels over the point of the shoulder.

And I would reinforce my neck defense with large, curved steel or plastic, now, large means "big enough to sort of cover the neck", not "I am peeking out over top of half a barrel worn on my shoulders".

And I'd still wear a somewhat encompassing helmet. Face protection is always optional, a bar grill of some sort is probably the best, in the US, this would likely be a football helmet.

If the armour needs padding, I'd add neoprene inside of the steel armour, but not underneath the mail.

What's important is that the armour does not lead to heat exhaustion, can be put on by myself and covers well enough for me not to overtly fear getting a broken bone or severe contusion or an open wound.

Gauntlets are def. the hardest, but a pair of elk-skin roper gloves underneath a set of welded mail gloves would probably be the best. Typically, you want to keep your palm unarmoured, but in a post-apocalyptic setting where a bite might kill you, I'd say the mail on the hand is worth it.

nevaraon2 karma

Interesting, I haven’t done any armorsmithing of my own. But it’s always been a semi-fantasy of mine to take one of my old marine tanker coveralls and turn it into a general purpose apocalypse suit. But I’ve got a lot of other things that take priority atm.

Anyways thanks for answering!

Neknoh3 karma

You should absolutely try to hit up some of the postapocalypse larp forums and have a talk to them, especially the people doing machete fighting in the thunderdome during Wasteland Weekend (and yes, real machetes, blunted, but real)

HoratiOTFH3 karma

Could you help me with garb and armor options for a Rus/Varangian style for SCA?

Neknoh4 karma

Sure, the big question is when?

What you do get for viking-era Rus that you don't get for scandinavian warriors of the same time is that you get lamellar.

You'll also want a pair of puffy pants (don't know the english name), possibly with slimmed down lower legs below the knee, especially for fighting.

Most of your leg armour will be hidden, whereas your torso will have lamellar and your arms should be hidden for the most historical look.

Your main garb will be a decorated tunic with a kaftan and a square cloak if you need it for the heat.

Materials should be linen and wool.

There are a few Rus-based kits in this album (2 civilian and 1 martial).

And here is a great Rus-based SCA kit (with ahistorical pieces such as the upper and lower- arm leathers etc. but such concessions might need to be done in favour of safety)

MedievalSerbia2 karma

Could you recommend some cheap riveted chainmail sites sellers or whoever sells riveted chainmail rings that can be assembled?

Neknoh2 karma

Capapie in london has some great materials at relatively low costs (in the EU at least)

For the US, I'd go Allbeststuff or Customchainmail, both of those sites (should be found on google) has cheap but decent indian mail.

There's also Trinity Arms who sometimes has their champion mail in stock, it's front-opened and leather trimmed, not completely historical but absolutely practical to get for the looks and simplicity of taking it on and off.

MedievalSerbia2 karma

Thanks, Capapie is something I am looking for and their stock. I need riveted chainmail rings to assemble if I plan to go for bigger reenactment events in Europe.

Neknoh1 karma

If you're in Europe, check out if you just want to buy a flatring shirt and possibly modify it.

SpaceCadetStumpy2 karma


Are you aware of any historical examples of more non-traditional materials (metals, cotton, silk) for arms and armor? Y'know, outside of the further back use of just stone or obsidian for arrowtips, axes, and small blades.

As for why I'm asking this, I'm a big fan of medieval arms and armor, but a bigger one of sword and sorcery fantasy. While almost all fantasy worlds are astoundingly horrible at representing arms and armor properly, which irks me a good deal since I think the reality is far more interesting than the fiction in many of these cases, I've been enamored by the use fantasy materials in arms and armor, such as animal or plant parts. In this case, I enjoy seeing designs that don't end up as pure simulacrums of traditional materials, like a mystical cloth that works exactly the same as cotton or silk but stronger, a metal like orichalum or mythril, a weapon carved from a bone that is treated as a regular sword or whatever.

I've tried to look into historical non-metallic arms and armor but (as expected) haven't found much, outside of the occasional ceremonial armor or bone knife. The few things I've found were very dubious as to their authenticity or practical use, such as saw-like weapons made from shark teeth (I like the idea that they're replaceable, which is something that's needed for a weapon that can't be sharpened in a traditional sense), or a shortsword from a billfish's bill. Just hoping you might have come across some weird oddities in your research. Thanks for your time.

Neknoh2 karma

Found it! The book is called "As tough as old boots?" by Chris Dobson and should be available as an e-book somewhere, this is the link from the thread where I found it:

Neknoh1 karma

Well, there's plenty of cotton-based armour, Aketon is derived from the arab name "Al quoton", or, in English, "From/By/of cotton".

Most padded armour from the 13th century and onward is an out and an inner shell of linen quilted around rows of rolled up cotton. These changed their shapes and roles as time went on (Gambesons are standalone, thick armours, Jupons are basically the same, but shaped differently and worn over top of mid-late 14th century armour etc.)

Jupons in particular were sometimes also shelled in an outer layer of silk, silk-velvet or cloth of gold, making them look quite mythological and fantastic, here's a documentation of a reconstruction (based on close examination of the original) of a Jupon:

Also worth noting is that even regular jackets (doublets) had similar constructions (later removing the quilts, but keeping the layers and built-up or cut-down nature to shape the body), making even a regular jacket a very sturdy defense (and thus explaining the prominence of icepick-grips in medieval dagger-defense treatises/training manuals)

There's also the talk of Mongolian horsemen wearing silk shirts in order to be arrow proof.

In the viking sagas, a king is given a moose-hide armour, and there's at least one magical silk shirt.

In the 14th century, there was armour known as Cuir Bouli, aka boiled leather (boiled in tallow according to most sources), there's been a bit of a revolution in the knowledge about this armour just over the past two years, with more and more sources being gathered. There is a book on it, which I can't find for the life of me, you should ask for it in the Facebook group: "XIVth Century Armour" and you'll get to see both surviving historical pieces as well as getting the title of the book.

And lastly, and this is what you might find the most interesting: during the transition of the 13th to the 14th century, there existed a lot of baleen armour (sometimes translated as whalebone from french sources, which is untrue, it refers to baleen), at least for gauntlets (in between plate gauntlets and mail gauntlets), there's also a bunch of stained glass windows from this time that shows green gauntlets, rather than the colour of the armour or leather worn.

Baleen armour later came back for tournament use, used as splint armour (riveted to a backing or on the inside of a shell, or, in the case of baleen, sometimes sewn into cloth, there was recently a discussion on this very topic in the XIVth cent. group I mentioned above, there's some interesting 14th century depiction of possible baleen leg defenses from the late 14th century).

I hope this helped! Ask if you want anything more!

SpaceCadetStumpy2 karma

Hey, thanks a bunch. The baleen armor is really interesting, and I'll look into that. I'd also heard so many differing reports on leather and boiled leather armor that I really didn't know what to think about it.

Do you know if the moose hide armor was practical, or just for the status? I mean, I know it wasn't totally useless or anything, but would the moose-hide be actually used in combat situations?

Neknoh1 karma

It was enchanted and magical and from a saga (where it was painted as a mystical gifts from the magical suomi people), meaning that it was probably not real in nature.

Later on, however, the buff-coats of the Swedish Caroliner troops were made from moose and elk-hides and rather hard to cut (they were treated in a way I do not know how to translate).

The short answer on leather armour is:

It is seldom completely standalone, often either on top of mail (13th to early 14th century effigies) or reinforced with steel strips (splint armour, as some of the vambrace finds show).

The nature of this being a reinforcement rather than a standalone armour makes plate the logical next step, as it won't add significantly more weight whilst adding a lot more protection.

Leather armour did show up next to baleen armour in the tournament scene however, especially in Kolbenturnier where there might even have been leather breastplates (domed, shaped, steel or baleen reinforced), but this was also right next to armour drilled full of large holes for ventilation etc. I.e. not made for war and sharp-weapon trauma.

SpaceCadetStumpy2 karma

Great, thanks a bunch for the replies man.

Neknoh1 karma

No worries at all mate!

Direwolf2022 karma

Why are the mall ninjas so bad at this whole actually decent weapons and armour thing ?

Neknoh2 karma

They don't do the research, they buy stuff that looks cool and that they have fun with and that they can afford, even if it's something that later turns out to have been a poorly shaped pot with eye-holes from Pakistan or India.

There's also some really good budget stuff out there, Marshal Historica has about a 40/60 mix of "kinda good stuff" vs "barely shaped pieces of metal", for instance, their Grand Bascinet is really rather good ( whereas one of their sallets looks like absolute trash: especially compared to this other one from stuff they make:

It's all about training your eye in understanding what armour and weapons are supposed to look like, rather than just going for "cheap and cool"

duckofdistractions2 karma

A little bit of a silly question, but if you had to fight a dragon what sort of armor would you wear?

Neknoh1 karma

How big a dragon are we talking? Dog-sized? Car? Drogon in the arena? Drogon vs Lannisters? Smaug? Deathwing? Ankalagon the Black?

duckofdistractions2 karma

Let's say truck sized. So around Drogon in the arena. It probably can't kill you with a single step but a good swipe would do it. It's fire is hot but not melting metal hot.

Neknoh2 karma

If so, I'd probably wear a later era full plate equestrian harness, especially if I get the horse that goes along with it, mostly because it would offer the most complete "flame burst"-protection and be a strong enough cage in case I got smashed against something (the G-forces and scrambling of body parts would still probably severely kill me, but it is unlikely I'd completely snap from being hit by a paw, tail or thrown against the wall).

For a weapon, I'd probably use a heavy lance on horse, or a spear, ahlspiese, halberd or pollaxe (or bec de corbin, pollaxe is a family of weapons) on fot, swords are good, but not primarily made to defeat armour, these are the weapons that are.

A monster without scales, I would probably consider either a falchion or a bardiche (if I'm picking from all over history).

As for fighting it, a straight charge and then just tumbling around and trying to get close enough to bring the long, hardened steel thrusting tips to bear, or smashing it in the jaw or over the eye with the pollaxe. If I had a raven's beak, I'd probably try to bury it as deeply into a joint as possible in order to inhibit the movements of the monster.

So basically, anything after 1460 from either of these two lists :

Or something like this

duckofdistractions2 karma

Thanks for the response, that was very interesting! It makes sense that you really want those weapons that use leverage and focused points to deal with such huge creatures. It also seems you and Jaime Lannister have a similar preference when it comes to fighting dragons.

Neknoh2 karma

I mean, I'd go for the steel armour and narrow vision slit and a proper lance, rather than a leather jacket and a banner pole, but you know, potato potato.

As for the weapons, yeah, they can get pretty gruesome.

What's scary is that these may look as if they are made for killing dragons, but they're actually made to kill people in armour (such armour as Brigandines, Gambesons and mail shirts, rather than the solid breastplates of the time, although they could certainly jam into an opening and pierce it that way), i.e. primarily made to kill those who could not afford to be Men-at-arms (fully armour plated men, in payed servitude to a lord, those we think of as "knights" today).

Medieval warfare gets very, very gruesome and terrifying when looking in to it.

Juan_Milton_I2 karma

So I see from your photo and your description / replies that you’re quite the one for the far history, from the distant periods. But my question, what’s your opinion / how much do you know about the periods regarding the World Wars? Because I personally find them incredible interesting, especially Nazi Germany!

Neknoh2 karma

I find the modern meatgrinder battles and heavy artillery shellings to be by far the most horrible combat conditions to ever have existed, whilst also being absolutely fascinated by them.

The battles of Stalingrad and Kursk are much more interesting to me than the journeys of smaller companies like Easy Company, and for WW1, it's the absolute and utter terror and cataclysmic destruction of the shellings of no-man's land and enemy trenches that open a pit in my stomach and a spark of fascination in my mind.

Supersnoop252 karma

I know I'm really late but have you ever made chainmail? I spent a day coiling steel wire and I only got like a 3x3inch piece so I would definitely buy premade rings if I wanted to make a shirt.

Neknoh1 karma

Have a bunch of premade rings sitting on my desk, 6mm inner diameter, flattened rings, pin rivets (ahistorical rivets, but they were the ones that were in), slowly, slowly working my way to making a pizane/standard (throat protection with just a little bit of mail around the base of the neck as well).

Bad joint pains is making me take it slow in the making of it all however, so it's a long term project.

RandisHolmes2 karma

Thanks you, I love your insight! Are you by chance familiar with the video game For Honor? I love the different techniques and weapons in that game

Neknoh1 karma

You should absolutely look into HEMA, who knows, there might be a club near you! If there's not HEMA, the SCA might be for you, although there are no throws and no wrestling in there.

For honour is more of a post-apoc fantasy with super strong people swinging oversized weapons around, but yes, mayhem is fun!

Goodthanksbro2 karma

What kingdom are you from in the SCA? I’m from Lochac.

Neknoh1 karma

Drachenwald, we'll see if I can make it to Estrella

lostinsincerity2 karma

Have you seen The Last Kingdom from the BBC? Is norse and viking armor your favorite?

Neknoh2 karma

Fairly standard and okay fantasy/chosen one type story, the swords are ridiculous, when they actually wear mail it's kind of okay, mostly it's just weird larping armour.

Scandinavian armour culture in the viking era can be quite awesome, but it is very uniform and limited (historically speaking). A cool Viking kit in a modern setting is really awesome, but it's more about the clothing and bling you bring with it rather than the mail shirt and ocular helmet.

ShipmasterRevan2 karma

Hope I'm not too late for this but have you played For Honor? If so what do you think of the armor on the game? Is it generally historically accurate? What would you say is the most accurate and least accurate armors in the game?

Neknoh1 karma

Not a lot I'm afraid.

Some of the Samurai kits are kind of okay (Orochi is pretty decent, at least pieces of it), and some individual pieces of the knight-faction are also okay (the helmet on the big guy, some individual pieces here and there on others etc).

All in all, think of it much more as heavy metal knights and nordic barbarians fighting anime samurai and you'll be a lot better off. Some of the techniques are fun, even if the weapons are really oversized.

As for the gameplay, it's okay, I played it over two weeks and then switched my copy out for Horizon Zero Dawn instead and had way more fun.

TheBigBadPanda2 karma

Could you provide a rough outline for when it does and doesnt make sense to depict a shield as strapped straight to the arm of the wearer?

I understand that shields have been used in many ways in many cultures throughout the years, but something which often bothers me is when a shield is depicted as strapped onto the fore-arm of a soldier when i really dont think it makes sense.

Im thinking that a jousting knight or heavy infantry which is part of some form of shield wall might benefit from having it secured like that, but for loose formations or dueling/skirmishes it seems intuitive to me that you would rather hold the shield by a central handle or some such so that you have more reach and maneuverability.

Any thoughts on the matter? What sources do we have for the various styles where/when?

Neknoh1 karma

Generally, a shield is only ever mounted directly to the armour when it is a bouche shield used for the thrust, but even then it will have leather thongs that you can grip.

If a shield is not center gripped (visible by a central shield boss, if it has one, it is likely center-gripped), it will be strapped in 3 directions (and these seemt o be consistent throughout history).

You'll have the long strap for carrying, one large strap to hang it off of the elbow or high up the forearm, and one or two straps for gripping it with your hand.

Some modern referenses:

Some historical references:

Different types of center grips:



EDIT: and finally, a picture from Codex Wallerstein of a bouche shield with the strapping

As can be seen, it goes over the arm, gripping it is optional in order to be able to manipulate the reins of your horse.

TrogdorLLC2 karma

This is something that has bugged me for years. The New California Republic troopers in Fallout: New Vegas have what appear to be boiled leather paldrons, for protection in melee combat:

I cannot for the life of me determine how these things are attached. Would you have any idea?

On a side note, some of them wear breastplates, which I *think* are also leather. Could you make a guess whether that should be leather or metal>


Neknoh2 karma

Metal breastplates.

Historically, single piece spaulders would either be riveted to the coat of plates it belonged with (as in the Visby finds), or it would have holes drilled or drifted in it and then leather thongs or silk arming points (which would have been attached to the underlying garment) slipped through the holes and tied into place (this is also how leg harnesses and the rest of the arm harness would be attached to your arming clothes).

However, considering that this is post apocalyptic, it is not impossible that the shoulderpads are held on by either buttons, straps hidden underneath, glued in place, the power of friendship or radiation.

TrogdorLLC2 karma

Thanks! I've been wrestling with this question while trying to design a cosplay outfit, but I find my self straying into the "reenactment" side of things.

Neknoh2 karma

Hotglue and worbla, cover the worbla in thinn couch-leather or similar, make the breastplate out of an abandoned street sign.

There are great communities out there that make lots of non-cosplay-specific post apocalyptic gear and equipment for festivals such as Wasteland Weekends and the sports they have there, see if you can find one (forum, FB-group or IRL), or hit up a maker space and become a member and start talking to people there and they will absolutely be able to help you! Post apocalyptic festivals are incredibly nerdy and incredibly awesome all at the same time!

TrogdorLLC2 karma

oh cool, thanks! I've thought about cosplaying as The Murphy or Doc from Z-Nation, but no one would likely know who I was supposed to be.

Neknoh2 karma

Do not underestimate the collective nerdyness of a cosplay friendly convention, you'd absolutely make somebody's day!

Hippo_Justice2 karma

I love reenactments, they are so fun to watch. I went to one a few weeks ago on the Revolutionary War, it was in a field in summer. I felt like I was going to pass out from the heat . How are you able to preform in all that gear in the heat? Do you practice with large groups before battle? Thanks !

Neknoh1 karma

Heat exhaustion is a real thing, wool uniforms, gambesons, steel armour, all of that stuff gets really, really hot, we just make sure to hang out in the shade, drink a lot of water and try not to wander around in the hottest stuff all day.

Also, you get kind of used to it, and wearing linen or cotton underneath wool makes you a lot cooler than just wearing straight wool, the linen retains water and therefore cools you off, whilst the wool retains air and isolates fairly decently (still gets murderously hot at 30+C, especially when doing physical stuff).

But yeah, some historical materials help, if you wear a gambeson you can pre-drench it in water, you sometimes wear a wet rag under your hat or helmet to further cool your head and just overall make sure to take care of yourself.

Storyplease2 karma

Hello from Dragon's Laire in An Tir! I've been fencing through the SCA for a couple of years now, though I'm currently on hiatus due to needing to buy a properly-fitting gorget and helmet. Got a favorite SCA armory?

Neknoh2 karma

In northern Drachenwald (Sweden), so generally focused on armouries around here, but honestly, ask a local knight if there's any one in your group who can help you make a gorget, out of all of my armour, my gorget is one of the few things I've made myself and it's held up really well!

If you need help with recommendations for helmets (be it for fencing or heavy fighting), I'd say go to the United League of Armourers on Facebook and see if there is any body who has a style you like and a price point you can afford, get it!

All that said, if money was not an issue, I would own so many Aesir Metalwyrks helmets!

Storyplease2 karma

Okay, cool, thanks!

Neknoh1 karma

No worries mate!

Storyplease2 karma

Oh I thought of another question! Got a favorite battle story?

Neknoh2 karma

It was during the yearly war of the hardbread buttering, in fair Nordmark, shire of Attemark, the sun washed over the world in quiet awe and the soft green grass of the battlefield was warm to the touch as distant crashes and shouts of war were heard from the nearby forest.

Two men were sitting down, talking about life, fighting and their long journey there, for they both were guests from lands across the sea, two knights, one originally a squire to the other.

A third man approaches, dragging shield and sword in one hand and unbuckling his helmet with the other, there is a muffled thud as the heavy steel cage hits the ground and he sits down next to his brother knights, him too a squire of the oldest.

"How was the fighting?"

"Oh, it was great, but also fucking annoying! They can't charge! The Swedes don't know how to charge a spear wall, it's just... spears every where and you can't do anything, they start and then they just... back off! It's fucking annoying! I tried, I really tried, they just don't know how to charge."

"Come now, it can't be that bad, at least you had fun?"

"Oh it was fun, but it's fucking annoying, It's just so boring and static, I should have brought my own spear."

I took note of the man's coat of arms, of his red and teal tunic, of the shape of his helm and tone of his voice. I promised myself to remember his words and try my damndest to give him the fight he wanted.

The next day, the list field on the grassy plain had been plucked apart, the long boards of the fence were placed on the ground, forming an imaginary tower, broad enough for three or four men standing shoulder to shoulder. If you stepped outside, you fell to your imagined death.

As the teams were arranged, and the generals started talking tactics, I found the knight from yesterday, his bright voice still sung with energy and joy, he was having fun before everything had started, there would be no spears inside of the narrow castle.

He was on my team.

"My good sir!" I extolled.

"Oh hello! Hi! You're the guy with the chair we looked at."

"Hah, yeah! But I'm not here about that. See, I overheard what you said yesterday."


"About how us Swedes cannot charge."

"Oh, hah, yeah sorry, it was just so frustrating, I did not mean to cause offense."

"I'm not here to take offense, I'm here to say that I'll be your shield for every round, just tell me when and I'll go, we'll charge them together."

"Oh, brilliant, that's, that's fantastic!"

The best way I can describe his eyes would be gleeful.

The two armies were then split in two again, and placed in diagonally opposite corners of the allied force, causing them to surround and be surrounded by the enemy team in the corners immediately next to them.

"FIGHTER'S READY!?" shields were bashed and grunts extolled.

The knight put the hilt of his sword on my shoulder.

"I'll say go."

"Got you."

I balled up a bit, bent my knees, tensed my shield arm. The air coming through the breaths of my helmet was warm, my breastplate locked firm around my chest.


And we took two large steps toward the other side.


When water breaks through a dam, it does not overflow at once, one point starts out ahead, turning in to a lone trickle, but as the water breaks, the trickle becomes a swelling rush of water.

I rushed forwards, taking long and heavy steps, the shield wall to my left followed, one by one. The Finnish giant on the other side crouched down, but I was closer to the ground. We locked shields and I pushed upward with everything I could, and even if I could not see it, I felt him upend. I sensed and heard the sword of the knight fly over me, over and over again, batting away greatweapons and striking helmets as I hauled a man twice my size through the enemy line, pushing people off of the tower, breaking their formation.

After a few more seconds, he too fell, if he was slain or if he got tipped to the side, I'll never know, but we still stood, a handful of us, having taken the corner from the enemy force and now needing to fall on the enemies fighting our friends.

I fell swiftly, a great weapon wielder had turned around and this time, I did not have the speed to traverse the gap.

But we won that first bout.

And it was absolutely amazing.

The second turned in to more of a shield press, me against that same, Finnish fighter, and this time he was wiser, it was as if we pushed for ages, until we both fell off of the castle walls together.

After the fight, the knight was elated, he thanked me for a great experience, and the day after, I heard from the man he had squired to that the knight I had offered my shield just could not stop talking about the tower battle and me and just how much fun he'd had.

At the end of the event, I gave the man one of my rings, because earlier that event, I had honestly considered quitting, but my spirit had been rekindled that day. The ring had some story, but it was time for me to let go of that past any how, and let the ring start a new mythology.

The knight too had something he'd wanted to give me and was glad I'd found him, he hurried me to his camp, reintroduced me to his wife (whom I'd met when they took photos of a chair I'd brought for my tent, they were woodworkers when they did not fight) and then he gave me the first favour his wife had ever embroidered for him.

Celtic knots in red and teal, on a white square on a teal bag, made to slide on to a belt.

This bag now carries my fighter authorisation-card, and whenever I go to war, I make sure to keep it underneath my armour, and whenever I am hesitant to charge, I feel that sword hilt on my shoulder, and I hear his bright voice call out.


Neknoh1 karma

Let me hop on my PC and I'll edit this reply!

Pukalo_Reincarnate1 karma

What is your favourite Toy Story movie?

Neknoh1 karma

Absolutely a tossup between 1 and 2, 1 has more heart but 2 is the better story.

[deleted]1 karma


Neknoh2 karma

Far as I know, the steel-combat-communities are fighting in a lot more titanium, springsteel and stainless more than ever, and even if everything has to have "documentation", it seems to be very lax with actual historicity.

The SCA on the other hand has "attempt at medieval garb", meaning that a rustbucket on your head, a bedsheet tabbard over some still very visible plastic and hockey pads is acceptable. I am a proponent of trying to look good on the field, meaning that I will help any one who asks design a more historical kit, even if it is sportified.

The SCA does not hit as hard as the ACL/HMB comunity, but the stainless and extra thick helmets from the steel fighters have started becoming more and more available for SCA, making it, overall, an increasingly safer sport.

But there are also the plastick stickjocks with lacrosse minimums and as light of a bargrill helmet as possible.

The SCA allows you to choose your own level of pain, both in historicity and heavy combat, it might be worth trying out.

UnluckyTamper2 karma


Neknoh2 karma

No worries at all!

One further piece of advice is to go talk to your local group and voice these concerns, you might find the group is really intolerant toward ahistorical kits, or they will go "No worries, here's a landsknecht shirt, put some plastic under it and let's go!"