Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Compulsive Obsessive Disorder and thoughts on freeplay gear

Well, as previously mentioned, I bought myself a gambeson while at Swordfish 2008. So, I've already made an order for a hand-made leather gorget and a pair of pauldrons. Both of these will be hand-made by local guys. It's easy to get such things online, but it's much more satisfying to actually have some more input as to how the things look. Plus, it's great to support local artesans. Basically, Emil Lindfors will make the gorget and Marko Saari will do the pauldrons. Marko has already made a buckler for me and with which I am very happy. I really like the idea of having nice gear and being able to tell people when I meet them that it's hand-made and thereby "advertise" their skills.

The obsessive side of my personality has manifested itself recently in an extensive but ultimately fruitless hunt on the net for a leather cuirasse to wear over my gambeson. I don't think the leather straps close the gambeson quite enough to give enough of a safety overlap of the material, so I wanted something to wear over it to protect better against thrusts. There is some stuff available, but it is either very expensive, or it is designed for an orc or an elven hunter, in other words, LARP bollocks. No thank you !

I guess I could just move the straps (they are sown on), so that the overlap is off-centre and the risk of getting a point in the gap is lessened. Trouble is, I cannot sow to save my life and so was thinking of using rivets instead. Decisions, decisions! It's really bloody frustrating because I want to DO something about it, but don't have the requisite skills to fix it myself, nor does it seem possible to just buy a blasted breastplate from the net. Arrrghh! Grrrr!

I did have the idea to make a plastic breastplate from those blue/black/grey plastic barrels. I just cannot seem to find out where I can get them from. More frustration. The basic idea would be to cut a one piece plastic "cuirasse" which covers the ribs and goes over the collarbones and shoulders. It would be strapped with either an x or y-strap arrangement with a lower back strap and adjustable fast-locking clips. I'd like also to add shoulder pads to the thing.

Ok, it'll probably look bloody hideous. I was thinking to cover the plastic with black cloth, canvas or something equally durable. In addition, I'd add high density foam padding. This would also be covered in the black cloth, glued to the inside of the plastic shell and then riveted for extra durability and an attempt at some sort of "historical" look. I just have to find a plastic barrel first!


  1. Did you buy the white gambeson? I moved the straps on mine, and it wasn't really all that hard. It didn't look pretty, but it worked. The biggest problem was that the inner lining is loose, so it's important to line the outer and inner fabric up before each stitch.

    I'm thinking about making pockets for pieces of leather on the chest, but that'll have to wait.

    Best regards, Petter Brodin (the red headed Norwegian from Swordfish).

  2. Etola is probably your best best for plastics. High impact plastic might be a good keyword, if I remember correctly.

    Or how about a simple coat of plates? Those are quite widely available.


  3. Hi Petter. I remember you :-). Yep, I bought it.Thanks for the advice on the repair. In the short term I just punched new holes in the straps closer to the buckle, to increase the amount of overlap. It'll have to do for now.

    @ tmi...yeah I was also thinking of Etola or whatever it's called nowadays, Etra? Could you suggest any websites for a coat of plates? Do you mean a brigantine or a Wisby-type coat of plates? Cheers, Kev.

  4. Basicly either, I think :) As you are speaking of plastic, I assume you just want something for freeplay instead of historical accurate kit?

    Locally Warussepät are your best bet for a quality piece. But you probably already knew that ;)

    If you want something less expensive, check out Rautaportti (www.rautaportti.fi), I think they have some sort of brigandine available. They are nice chaps and close by, so you could probably try out their version before buying.

    Or even check with local SCA people, you never know what extra kit they have for sale.