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Author Topic: Looking to build a Knight kit  (Read 10170 times)

Sir_Edward_ReBrook

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Looking to build a Knight kit
« on: 2015-10-17, 03:52:22 »
Hello,

I am looking to acquire a better/more accurate knight kit. Ideally, I want something with riveted mail that is appropriate, although I am unsure where to start. I know I love the painting of the kneeling/praying crusader knight, but that's not much of a place to start I suppose. Here is a picture of the illustration I'm referring to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westminster_Psalter#/media/File:Westminster_Knight.jpg. In any case, your thoughts and ideas are appreciated. I have a budget of $3,000.00, including the sword.

Respectfully,

Edward ReBrook
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W. Edward Graf von Ettendorf-ReBrook, GOTJ

Ian

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #1 on: 2015-10-17, 14:28:49 »
If looking to get into a historically appropriate mail harness, I would highly recommend beginning with your base layers and then building from there.

Authentic medieval mail harness was very well tailored to the individual wearing it, especially during the time period you're interested in.  Note details, like how the sleeves of the mail are not baggy, and they taper as the circumference of the arm changes.  The mail hose (chausses) that he's wearing in the Westminster Psalter are of the 'older style' for that particular date (ca.1250).  1250 is a significant date in the history of mail leggings because it is right around mid century that mail seems to go more typically from the 'laced in back' style that your knight is depicted wearing, to the more enclosing 'stocking' style chausses.  The lace in the back version are easier to get a nice clean and tight fit over the leg, but you might consider the other style too if post 1250 is more to your liking.  You're also looking for a hauberk with integrated mail mittens directly into the sleeves, as was most common at this time.

The most important part though, is before any of that mail can be fitted, it really requires that your arming garments are squared away first.  A pair of quilted hose, a quilted gambeson, and a lendenier (girdle for the proper suspension of mail chausses, there are other ways to do this, but a girdle is the most historically defensible) are vital.  They will also dictate the tailoring tolerances of the mail.

The problem with mail, is that virtually all commercially available mail is woefully under-tailored.  To get the real 'historical' look, you either need to find someone willing to tailor it for you, or be willing to do the work yourself.  It's not difficult, it's just time consuming.  If you're ok with some concession in the fit of the mail, there are commercially available pieces from places that will do basic tailoring for you and get you a good portion of the way there.

A lot of this is dependent on how deep down the rabbit hole of authenticity you want to go and how much sanity you're willing to lose going down said hole, but we can get you there if you want :)
« Last Edit: 2015-10-17, 14:30:45 by Ian »
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Sir_Edward_ReBrook

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #2 on: 2015-10-18, 02:09:40 »
Thank you, Sir Ian. I appreciate your thoughts. I think custom mail is definitely the way to go. The same is likely true for my arming garments. Do you (or anyone else) happen to know which vendors, if any, make these things? You are certainly correct in your observation that most, if not all commercially available mail is baggy. Apparently it's all being made for a super chubby knight. Good new for him; not so good news for a 6ft, 160 lb gentleman like myself.

Incidentally, I have a full suit of plate armour, which I attempted to dawn for the very first time today. It was a valiant, but ultimately fruitless effort. Not only was I lacking the assistance of a Squire, but apparently my gambeson is too large to comfortably fit the arm armour over. This leads me back to square one. Hopefully my attempts to build a crusader knight will be more fruitful.

On a similar note, would anyone be able to give me some guidance on what time of knight is in the Westminster Psalter miniature? Also, what would a Teutonic Knight during the campaigns against Lithuania look like? Lastly, what would a knight under Edward IV look like?

I hope my questions aren't took newb and annoying and I appreciate your insight and patience as I learn more. I have some money to spend, but I want to spend it just once, it it's at all possible.

Respectfully,

Edward ReBrook, GOTJ
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Sir James A

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #3 on: 2015-10-18, 10:52:35 »
Those last 3 questions are probably each worthy of their own thread :)
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Sir Ulrich

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #4 on: 2015-10-18, 11:40:00 »
http://modernchivalry.org/forum/index.php/topic,3576.0.html
The maille I got isnt baggy as hell and has integrated mittens. I recommend this maille as it's cheaper than most other options and every bit as good. I did a review of it here and I highly recommend it. Make sure you email them first for custom sizes and go back and forth. It's both the cheaper option and it comes tailored if you give them measurements, wont have the overly baggy sleeves and will have the integrated mittens which almost all other hauberks lack. I do recommend a custom gambeson fitted to your size before you get the maille. That full set cost me only 490 dollars and it had a coif and chausses so they work fine. They are stocking types but those existed in 1250 so you should be fine.

Sir_Edward_ReBrook

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #5 on: 2015-10-18, 15:51:46 »
Sir Ulrich:

Thank you for the extremely useful information. I know it can be frustrating to deal with a newbie like myself, so I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to do so. Do you know if they happen to make the arming wear as well?

As for my other questions, Sir James, should I actually start three separate threads for them? I want to do things properly. I am hoping to acquire a 14th or 15th century suit of plate armor as well. I am unsure whether or not any of the pieces I've purchased from DarkKnightArmory can be used/salvaged, but given that the back plate and front plate of the cuirass don't even fit together, I have fairly low expectations. Perhaps, if it's not too much trouble, one of you gentlemen can direct me to a custom plate armor manufacturer as well.

Respectfully,

Edward ReBrook, GOTJ
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W. Edward Graf von Ettendorf-ReBrook, GOTJ

Ian

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #6 on: 2015-10-18, 19:42:22 »
I wrote a guide a while back that focuses on building a historical plate harness if you'd like to take a look:

http://modernchivalry.org/forum/index.php/topic,3207.0.html

I also run a YouTube channel, in which I'm just about wrapping up a series that also focuses on the plate harness, it's development through time and how to properly wear them.  You might find them beneficial.  Even if not looking to get in to a plate harness right now, the concepts and historical overviews in each video might be more germane to earlier mail harnesses:

https://youtu.be/eQDMtFiDaEA?list=PLllw4zFP7rK_FvP5_XhbxaHL6Mozats7Q

As for my other questions, Sir James, should I actually start three separate threads for them? I want to do things properly. I am hoping to acquire a 14th or 15th century suit of plate armor as well. I am unsure whether or not any of the pieces I've purchased from DarkKnightArmory can be used/salvaged, but given that the back plate and front plate of the cuirass don't even fit together, I have fairly low expectations. Perhaps, if it's not too much trouble, one of you gentlemen can direct me to a custom plate armor manufacturer as well.

Making three separate threads is not necessary.  To be 100% up front with you, if historical accuracy is a concern, it's unlikely that the pieces you have would be suitable.  It all really depends on your goals.  If you want to go the historical route, be prepared to spend a lot of time studying historical context, artwork and survivals before worrying about making any purchases.  If you want to blend history and fantasy, or just go pure fantasy, I would still recommend a decent amount of earnest study on the historical stuff.  The reason being is that even though certain stylistic changes to armor may make it more fantasy than historical, the underlying functionality of how the armor wears and how it interacts with arming garments are still just as important.  A lot of fantasy or historically 'inspired' armor out there throws caution to the wind and it may look cool, but it will not wear comfortably.  There are also a lot of fantasy armors out there made by folks who understand how to build real armor, and build fantasy armor that functions properly.  Check out my guide and see if it helps you narrow your focus a little more, because it will be easier to guide you then.  I know you've stated that you're interested in building a more  accurate kit, but sometimes when faced with the reality of it people realize they are more interested in less strict stylization, methodology and materials.
« Last Edit: 2015-10-18, 20:06:46 by Ian »
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Sir_Edward_ReBrook

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #7 on: 2015-10-18, 21:45:12 »
Sir Ian:

Thank you again for the reply. May I say how very much I've enjoyed watching your YouTube videos. I hope we become good friends. As for history, here's my take on it - I want to conform to a historically appropriate look. By that, I mean that I want to fit in with my fellow knights should I ever get my hands on a flux capacitor and travel back through time. With that said, I have no problem with my armour being made with modern techniques and better materials than were available in the past.

I am quite a fan of the harness I see German knights wear, but I do not like the Sallet style helmet. Do you know if these types of harnesses were ever worn with close helms? If not, what styles did use the close helm? I am not sure if I'm indulging in pure fantasy, but in my mind, the close helm is what I think of when I think of a knight in plate armour.

Thank you again for your thought and your patience. I very much hope to meet you in the near future and to talk about these things in detail.

Respectfully,

Edward
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W. Edward Graf von Ettendorf-ReBrook, GOTJ

Ian

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #8 on: 2015-10-18, 22:42:10 »
Sir Ian:

Thank you again for the reply. May I say how very much I've enjoyed watching your YouTube videos. I hope we become good friends. As for history, here's my take on it - I want to conform to a historically appropriate look. By that, I mean that I want to fit in with my fellow knights should I ever get my hands on a flux capacitor and travel back through time. With that said, I have no problem with my armour being made with modern techniques and better materials than were available in the past.

I am quite a fan of the harness I see German knights wear, but I do not like the Sallet style helmet. Do you know if these types of harnesses were ever worn with close helms? If not, what styles did use the close helm? I am not sure if I'm indulging in pure fantasy, but in my mind, the close helm is what I think of when I think of a knight in plate armour.

Thank you again for your thought and your patience. I very much hope to meet you in the near future and to talk about these things in detail.

Respectfully,

Edward

It's my pleasure.  To answer your question about the Close Helm, the typical 'Knight in Shining Armor,' with a close helm usually evokes images of guys like this:



Unfortunately, this is not medieval armor.  It  dates to the mid 16th century and is very much Renaissance Armor, contemporary to the Tudor Period in England.  There's nothing wrong with that, it's just important you realize it's a shift from the Medieval Era into the Renaissance.

The Sallet on the other hand comes about in the middle decades of the 15th century in both German and Italian forms, and is indeed Medieval Armor.  It is most normally associated with Late Medieval German Gothic harness.  An Italian Milanese Armet based harness is also a mid 15th century Medieval Style of armor and shares more stylistic  elements in common with the Close Helm.  Again, for the sake of full disclosure, in order to commission a quality late Medieval German Gothic armor, I promise you, you could potentially blow through a $3,000 budget on a high-end Sallet and Cuirass alone.  Historically shaped plate armor is expensive, no way around it.  You can certainly get into less than 'living history quality' plate armor for cheaper sums, but you will definitely compromise things like historical shaping, high quality hardened steel, etc...  You will also want your armor to be custom fit to your body, and in turn be wearing arming garments custom tailored to you.

The image you originally posted of the kneeling knight in mail, from the Westminster Psalter dates to 1250, and predates the Milanese and German Gothic styles of late medieval plate by about 200 years.  The nice thing about getting into a mail harness though, is a high quality, historical mail harness can be had for much less money than its late Medieval plate counterpart.  The other nice thing about mail harness, is that a lot of the work can be done by you.  Making high quality plate armor requires a very highly skilled armorer, but with mail you can purchase off-the-rack, put in the blood/sweat/tears yourself and tailor it over time to your body and arming garments.

I'm not trying to dissuade you from choosing one path or the other, I just want you to understand what you're getting in to.
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Sir_Edward_ReBrook

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #9 on: 2015-10-19, 04:38:41 »
Sir Ian:

The advice is much appreciated. Yes, I'm fearful that this will definitely become a lifelong obsession on which I spend shocking amounts of capital. But it's healthier than most expensive habits, I suppose. What is your favorite period for armour, functionally and aesthetically, from the Middle Ages? That, I'm certain could be a thread.

Respectfully,

Edward, GOTJ

P.S. - I just ordered The Chevalier sword from Albion. It's my first sword nicer than a Windlas, so I'm excited.
Respectfully,

W. Edward Graf von Ettendorf-ReBrook, GOTJ

Sir Edward

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #10 on: 2015-10-19, 14:45:36 »
On a similar note, would anyone be able to give me some guidance on what time of knight is in the Westminster Psalter miniature?

(EDIT: I missed that Sir Ian did answer this already, oops)

Before it gets lost-- The image is from roughly 1250 (mid 13th century). I think the Westminster Psalter is mostly earlier, from around 1200, but some of those images were added later, in the middle of the century.

The Maciejowski Bible is from around that time as well, which can also give some images of knights from that period.

However you can take this general image of knights in mail and long surcoats and shift it later, toward 1300 or maybe even 1320-ish depending on the style of great helm and other accessories.

Once you start getting into plate armor, you're looking at late 14th century or later.
« Last Edit: 2015-10-19, 14:47:51 by Sir Edward »
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Ian

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #11 on: 2015-10-19, 15:30:40 »
Sir Ian:

The advice is much appreciated. Yes, I'm fearful that this will definitely become a lifelong obsession on which I spend shocking amounts of capital. But it's healthier than most expensive habits, I suppose. What is your favorite period for armour, functionally and aesthetically, from the Middle Ages? That, I'm certain could be a thread.

Respectfully,

Edward, GOTJ

P.S. - I just ordered The Chevalier sword from Albion. It's my first sword nicer than a Windlas, so I'm excited.

Congratulations on the Albion Chevalier!  As you probably saw on Albion's website, it's inspired directly from the image of the kneeling knight in the Westminster Psalter :)  It's a gorgeous sword.  I think you will find it very much to your liking when it arrives.

Yes, this is most definitely prone to becoming a lifelong obsession on which one spends shocking amounts of capital :)  My personal favorite armor is the late 14th and early 15th century plate harness of England.  I love the houndskull bascinet, and English style harness from the 1380s through Agincourt in 1415.  Not only do I like the aesthetic of the armor, but I love the contextual period in history as well, coming off the death of the Black Prince through the reign of Henry V, it was a very interesting time in the Hundred Years War.  My kit in its current iteration is probably close to 5 years in the making now, and its finally in a spot where I'm mostly happy with it and the historical concessions I'm making.  But even then I am continuously striving to improve upon it where I can as time, skill and money allow.  This is what it looked like 3 weeks ago at a Living History event in Kentucky:



But as Ed alluded to, with minor differences, from 1066 to about 1250 you're basically looking at an all mail harness, with differences like length of hauberk skirt and sleeves, introduction of mail chausses and the individual types of chausses.  Then in about 1250 we see the earliest coat of plates,  so the beginning of plate supplementation.  Then around the end of the 13th century and into the 14th century individual plate pieces (like schynbalds (protection from the shin), vambraces, rondels) start to supplement the mail harness.  By the mid 14th century plate is really taking off, and by the end of the century it's pretty much in the configuration you see in my kit.  It just continues to develop and eventually diverges in the 15th century into predominantly German and Italian styles, although there was a unique English style that is starting to be addressed thanks to the research that went into a new book coming out by Dr. Toby Capwell. 
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Sir_Edward_ReBrook

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #12 on: 2015-10-19, 20:46:45 »
Gentlemen:

Thank you for the information. Sir Ian, you look nothing short of phenomenal. It's intimidating and beautiful in both construction and, from what I can tell, fit.

I've narrowed down my harness ideas to two choices, both of which I will pursue, but one sooner than the other. I've reached out two two mail vendords in the hopes of acquiring well fitted mail similar to the Westminister Psalter. This will be my primary harness, which I intent to wear with a custom long surcoat. I also want to aquire plain Renaissance Tournament Armour (perhaps a half suit) similar to that sported by Sir William in a Knight's Tale but more historically accutate in design. I've already reached out to the good folks of Anshelm Arms to inquire about a custom harness - we'll see what they quote me! Incidentally, do you happen to know if the half suit of armour in the picture I've attached would be appropriate for a Renaissance Knight at tournament? It's within my budget, and I imagine I could wear it with a decent jousting helm and look pretty sharp, but I don't want to do so if it would be feux pas or grossly historically inaccurate.

Respectfully,

Edward, GOTJ

P.S. Lastly, I am very eager to attend events with you gentlemen, from Renn Faires to combat training. I live next to the Virginia Academy of Fencing, so I'm hoping it's a good place to train. I wish I'd been training on this stuff since age 7. Alas, I have some catching up to do.
Respectfully,

W. Edward Graf von Ettendorf-ReBrook, GOTJ

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #13 on: 2015-10-19, 20:55:32 »
P.S. Lastly, I am very eager to attend events with you gentlemen, from Renn Faires to combat training. I live next to the Virginia Academy of Fencing, so I'm hoping it's a good place to train. I wish I'd been training on this stuff since age 7. Alas, I have some catching up to do.

Oh yes, VAF is quite good. It's onbe of the pricier places to train, but the instruction is top notch, as evidenced by how many VAF folks end up taking medals at events such as Longpoint. I was there for about 8 years, and I'm considering signing back up. The main reason I quit was due to increased driving distance, but I'm thinking I might just eat the driving distance and go.
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CrossT

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Re: Looking to build a Knight kit
« Reply #14 on: 2015-10-24, 02:52:34 »
Just wanted to pop in real quick and say I love this Image and I dont think I knew what Manuscript its from, I'm very glad I know now thanks. I love the one after it as well. Pretty sure it came out around the same time (Mid 13th ct)


« Last Edit: 2015-10-24, 02:53:38 by CrossT »
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