Harnessing your power – (wearing plate armour)

So you’ve decided that you want to wear plate armour at LARP? I know I did. It’s also an easy decision to regret if you’re not prepared for it. Which is why I made this list to prepare yourself.

I’m going to talk you through several things:

  1. Physical well-being
  2. Underwear
  3. Wearing plate
  4. Maintenance
  5. Tips and tricks

1.  So obviously you just put it on like any other garb and it’s fine, right? Wrong. _MG_3083.CR2

Plate armor can be very heavy. And relatively to normal clothing it sure already is. This weight is mainly carried onto your shoulders, chest, and hips.

All that weight packs further down onto your hips, then knees, then ankles. Since those carry your body. Of those, your knees will be most vulnerable since they also function as shock breakers.

Plate harness is also a perfect little oven. Don’t wear it too long in warm weather, and really look out for overheating, since you won’t be able to lose a lot of heat while packed up. And always drink enough water.

2. Your underwear

20161015 113930 - Quon XXIV
by Robbert Bruggeling

For comfortable and safe wearing of armour, it is really important to have proper padding. Like, no joke, don’t wear your armor without padding. And by that, I mean a Gambeson for your torso; padded protection for your legs and perhaps underarms if you have a short sleeved gambeson; and a padded cap for under your helmet. Basically, everywhere you have plate you need padding. This is so the pressure the armour is putting on your body will be evenly distributed. This is a good thing during regular wear, and also definitely during combat. Padding and Gambesons are obtainable is many shapes sizes and versions, so make sure you get something to fit your body (and armour).

 

 

3. Armoured up

Properly getting dressed in armour is a work of art on itself. While you are shopping for your armour always try it with the Gambeson (and other padding) you’ve planned to wear with it.

The best option is to get yourself a squire, like they used to do. Or just a friend who can help dress you. Because, how it could physically probably be possible to dress yourself, you really just don’t want to. Trust me on that.  Make sure that you put your armour on in the right order.

Which for me is:

harnas
Me being an almost full-plate man-dwarf

 

1. Greaves (lower legs),
2. Cuisses (knees and thighs),
Gambeson,
3. Tassets (hip/upper leg),
4. Bracers (lower arms),
5. Floating elbows (elbows),
6. Cuirass (Torso),
7. Gorget (neckplate),
8. Pauldrons (shoulders),
and optionally
9. Gauntlets (gloves) and
10. Helmet.

And besides the Gambeson I just put the other padding on before I wear the piece that goes over it.

4. Maintenance

Some say that a shiny armour has never seen battle, others say that a rusted armour is not being taken care of properly. I say go for the golden midway. An armour shouldn’t have to be spot- and dentless. But please for the love of the Gods take care of it. Except of course when you want fully rusted plate, like for monsters or orcs. But even then realize that your object is literally melting away because of the rust. And rust is created by moisture.

So when you store away your armour, make sure it is put away in a dry space, with a low humidity race to avoid unnecessary rusting. Also be sure to oil it up with some WD-40 or silicone spray to drive away moisture even more.
To get rid of rust stains you rub it (like sanding something) with a rust sponge, like scotch brite
, DON’T use steel-wool because it will scratch! Just keep sanding until the rust is gone. If a spot has really set in, you won’t be able to get it out though.

5. Tips and Tricks

  • Drink enough while wearing an armour, you are pretty packed up and lose a lot of moisture by sweating.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re tired, take off the armour. Make sure your muscles and joints get enough rest. And don’t wear your armour for too long periods of time.
  • Go to the toilet before you put on your armour. I think you know why. But it’s still easy to forget.
  • You don’t have to unbuckle all the belts when taking off your armor. Like keeping your pauldrons attached to you gorget, or your cuirass attached on one side (or the top), makes it easier to put it back on again.
  • Get an armour-stand, you can display your armour when you’re not wearing it, and it keeps it off the ground.
  • Do your research in what kind of plate you want to get. There are many different kinds, like articulating pieces, or rigid pieces, per example in cuirass.
  • Watch out for your hair. Getting singular hairs ripped out of your head because they get stuck in between isn’t pleasant.

 

Plate armour might be expensive, time-consuming and energy consuming. It is also an awesome thing to have and wear. Don’t be afraid to ask other plate-wearers for tips, info and advice.
I will write more about armour in the future, but for now, this was a long enough essay already.

 

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