Breastplates and archers.

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Breastplates and archers.

Postby Tod » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:49 am

I had a very nice munitions standard breast plate made by A Plaisance (top work) however at Blore last year I found that when I picked up arrows the top hit me in the throat. This was because the lower part hit the top of my thigh as I bent down.
A Plaisance slotted the two pieces at the bottom (Lames?) so they slide up. This helped a bit but not enough so I though about putting them on leather hangers. I've taken them off and tried on the breast plate and even with out them the lower part hits my thigh when I bend over to pick any thing off the floor. I wear it over my padded jack, the fit is excellent, the bottom part of the main piece comes level with my belly button.
So I looked at as many pictures as I could find. There are pictures of archers with breast plates, there are more with just plackarts (?, sorry brain really isn’t working this morning). Now I know they didn’t have to pick up arrows like we do but they did have to pick up some stuff, would this be why the latter is better?
Thoughts, ideas, research?
By the way I have wear some thing to cover my middle to protect some scars.



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Colin Middleton » Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:57 pm

I have a full cuirass from Aplaisance and don't have any trouble with the neckline when I bend down. The fauld is onleathers though, so has quite a bit of movement. IIRC it may have pressed slightly into my neck when I bend down without any neck protection, but not so much as to give me problems. I think that improved as the rivet streached and the plackart/breastplate began to move aginst eachother more.

One possible solution is to bend differntly. It sounds like you may be bending your chest forward lots, so you could try keeping your back straighter and see if that helps.

Another thing to consider is wearing a standard (a leather backed, mail collar). Then the plate will press into that and it will cushon your neck.

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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Langley » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:34 pm

I wear a plaquart because it gives me more freedom in the shoulder areas for drawing a bow... It does not work too well combined with my beauvoir (which I wear when playing with the big boys with a bill) so I am working on a standard to wear when being an armoured archer. Have not tried to shoot with a breastplate as I went straqight for the plaquart but suspect it would spoil my draw.



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Angie » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:56 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:I have a full cuirass from Aplaisance and don't have any trouble with the neckline when I bend down. The fauld is onleathers though, so has quite a bit of movement. IIRC it may have pressed slightly into my neck when I bend down without any neck protection, but not so much as to give me problems. I think that improved as the rivet streached and the plackart/breastplate began to move aginst each other

Mine is solid in the middle, is yours loose so that the top and bottom parts move? I don't suppose you could post a pic of how yours is put together?
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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Colin Middleton » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:21 pm

As you can see from this picture, it's connected by a sliding rivet. It doesn't give much movement, only about an inch but it does help a little. It does limit the movement of my arms slightly. The fit of the doublet underneath it becomes very important.

Good luck.
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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Zachos » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:18 pm

I've not seen any pictures of anyone wearing just a plackart in manuscripts. What you do see is either brigandines, or covered breastplates under placarts.

Without a picture it's hard to say what your problem is, but I'm going to go for gold and say that either you aren't bending correctly or your breastplate is too long in the body.


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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Tod » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:48 am

If I can scan some pictures I'll post the ones that look like plackarts, there is more than one. Failing that I’ll quote the book and page number.
How can you bend wrong? Surely any armour should let you do what your body does naturally? To sort of replicate things. Imagine being dubbed. Left leg bent with left foot flat, shin vertical, thigh almost horizontal. Right leg. Thigh vertical, shin laying horizontal along the ground. Now imagine going into that position. Left thigh hits bottom of breast plate, top of breast plate hits neck.
The length. The bottom of the breast plate with out folds is level with my belly button. Is that too long?
I can see that I would confuse a covered breast plate with no breast plate. I hadn’t thought of that. Would archers be able to afford or would they have that?
The sliding rivet would help a bit more.



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby gregory23b » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:57 am

Or maybe the harness does not suit the wearer, ie a poor fit.


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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Tod » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:49 am

It seems to mould to my body with my jack on. This being a bit new to me I can't tell if the fit is good or bad, but it doesn't feel wrong.



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:34 pm

Tod wrote:The length. The bottom of the breast plate with out folds is level with my belly button. Is that too long?

That sounds about right to me. If the breast plate ends at your belly button, how can it hit your thigh to be forced into your neck?

Tod wrote:How can you bend wrong? Surely any armour should let you do what your body does naturally? To sort of replicate things.

Unfortunately armour does limit your movement a bit. The human body is a masterpeice of engineering, using some of the most complex compounded materials available. As an experiment, try making a patern for a sabbaton (a steel overshoe). Steel won't bend of stretch like the leather (and skin/muscle beneith it), so you must make compromises. Also, remember that armour isn't designed to be worn all the time. It allows you to ride, mount a horse, fight, get up from the ground, pick up dropped weapons, etc, but daintiliy drinking a cup of tea isn't in the requirements. You need to learn to move in your armour to allow for those compromises

Tod wrote:Imagine being dubbed. Left leg bent with left foot flat, shin vertical, thigh almost horizontal. Right leg. Thigh vertical, shin laying horizontal along the ground. Now imagine going into that position. Left thigh hits bottom of breast plate, top of breast plate hits neck.

That's a good example. Most armour will allow limbs to bend at right angles, but won't let you get much further. The expansion required is too great. To be dbbed, you sink to one knea, bending joints at right angles, but keeping your back straight. If your armour fits you, that won't give you too much trouble (certainly I can do it in my full harness).

I do tend to find that movement in my body and head is restricted. I tend to turn my head from the waist, rather than the neck in armour and lower myself with my legs and keep my back straight (otherwise the weight will wreck my spine).

I suspect that your problem could be that you're trying to bend at your waist, but with a sheet of steel covering the front of the 'joint'.

Best of luck.

Colin


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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Tod » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:41 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:I suspect that your problem could be that you're trying to bend at your waist, but with a sheet of steel covering the front of the 'joint'.

I think thats got to be it. Running around picking up arrows I tend to bend by back which compresses my stomach, except steel doesn't compress in the same way even with the slots etc. It explains why arrows were stuck in the ground!
You really don't get these problems with muskets and frock coats.



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Strickland » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:14 pm

This might sound like a daft question, but do you wear a belt around your breastplate ie at the waist? The reason I say this is when I had my first bit of armour, a full fixed breast/plaket/fauld/tassets from Richard Dunk I neglected to wear a belt about the middle the first time I tried it on. The result when I bent down was exactly as you say, cutting in at the throat, despite the cross straps already on there. One belt later nicely cinched up and it was cured. It was even better when I had the breastplate done up with a hanger strap to the plakart when I had the back plate made. Just my groats worth! I have to say I totally agree with the comments above about bending 'differently'!!

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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Friesian » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:33 pm

Tod wrote:If I can scan some pictures I'll post the ones that look like plackarts, there is more than one. Failing that I’ll quote the book and page number.
How can you bend wrong? Surely any armour should let you do what your body does naturally? To sort of replicate things. Imagine being dubbed. Left leg bent with left foot flat, shin vertical, thigh almost horizontal. Right leg. Thigh vertical, shin laying horizontal along the ground. Now imagine going into that position. Left thigh hits bottom of breast plate, top of breast plate hits neck.
The length. The bottom of the breast plate with out folds is level with my belly button. Is that too long?
I can see that I would confuse a covered breast plate with no breast plate. I hadn’t thought of that. Would archers be able to afford or would they have that?
The sliding rivet would help a bit more.


Hi Tod , the brest plate should end at the bottom of your rib cage with the plackart covering your belly . This may be why you are having trouble



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Tod » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:55 pm

Yes it has a belt around the waist and I do it up tight. So its not that, thanks though.
The front two pieces - breast plate and plackart are solid riveted together. The bottom of the assemble is level with my belly button. I think the only solution is for the two pieces to move on sliders/slots. Colin is that what your has if so how long are the slots?



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Zachos » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:30 pm

The fauld should start at the bottom of your ribs. On me, that is about 1.5 to 2 inches above my belly button. If it is made like that, then the breastplate/placart assembly will only cover your ribs which don't bend, while the bendy fauld covers the bendy abdomen. Unfortunately, most reproductions dod this wrong, and move it down so the placart covers the belly, and the fauld covers the groin.

A good illustration of how this should work is here:

http://www.imagesonline.bl.uk/results.asp?image=061143

You can see the faulds are a lot higher than on re-enactor cuirasses, which would allow much more movement.

As for bending wrong, you'll find that even medieval clothes will effect the way you move differently, and armour will do the same. An example is the leather soles on turn shoes. When wearing slick soles, you should walk on the balls of your feet instead of the heel, so that if you slip you have less weight on that leg. Similar things with your hose attached to your doublet, and other stuff like that. For example, you simply cannot squat while wearing joined hose. It doesn't work.

Placarts worn without breastplates? My theory is that everything that looks like its just a placart is actually a placart and a covered breastplate, or a brigandine. Plate armour is designed to make shots slide away to the edges. That being the case, why would you make the edge of your plate right in the middle of your chest, where you keep half your organs. Someone has said something about ribs being protection enough, but I'm not sure I'd think that way if the fighting was real and the swords were sharp. Here is an example of why I wouldn't trust my ribs vs a sword:

http://www.brad.ac.uk/acad/archsci/depa ... Image1.jpg

Thats from the battle of Towton, so correct to our period. Admittedly, its a skull, not ribs, but it still looks like ribs vs steel would lose.

Quite a long post, but hope it's helpful.


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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Tod » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:47 pm

Very helpful, thanks. Taking that on board it may be too long.



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:14 pm

Zachos wrote:The fauld should start at the bottom of your ribs. On me, that is about 1.5 to 2 inches above my belly button. If it is made like that, then the breastplate/placart assembly will only cover your ribs which don't bend, while the bendy fauld covers the bendy abdomen. Unfortunately, most reproductions dod this wrong, and move it down so the placart covers the belly, and the fauld covers the groin.

A good illustration of how this should work is here:

http://www.imagesonline.bl.uk/results.asp?image=061143

You can see the faulds are a lot higher than on re-enactor cuirasses, which would allow much more movement.


I'm afraid that I disagree with you on that Zachos. I'd say that picture you posted shows the placarts sitting at the waist (that is to say the high waist popular in the 15thC, not the modern one that's some-where around your kneas). The fauld then covers the lower abdomen and hips, normally to below the groin. I'll admit that the placarts in that picture appear to have 2 lames in them, rather than being solid, which is normally how they're made. It could be that it's an 'artistic quirk' trying to show a placart like the one I have, where there is a decorative edge on it so that it looks like it's too layers.

Further, you'd never be able to get the 'pulled in' waist on a placart if the waist sat at the rib cage.


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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Zachos » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:15 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:I'm afraid that I disagree with you on that Zachos. I'd say that picture you posted shows the placarts sitting at the waist (that is to say the high waist popular in the 15thC, not the modern one that's some-where around your kneas). The fauld then covers the lower abdomen and hips, normally to below the groin. I'll admit that the placarts in that picture appear to have 2 lames in them, rather than being solid, which is normally how they're made. It could be that it's an 'artistic quirk' trying to show a placart like the one I have, where there is a decorative edge on it so that it looks like it's too layers.

Further, you'd never be able to get the 'pulled in' waist on a placart if the waist sat at the rib cage.



Further evidence: The Beuchamp effigy:

Image

The placart stops level with the bent up elbows. On me, that's the level with the bottom of my ribs. The fauld then covers the abdomen, but if you look, it stops roughly where the leg armour starts (although that's underneath the maille skirt).The maille skirt hangs over the genitals, while the tase bridge the gap between the fauld and the cuisses. If the fauld went to below the groin, as you see in earlier armours, then you wouldn't need the skirt or tase, although some harnesses retain them as an extra precaution.

My cuirass is being made at the moment. My chest measurement is about 32", same as my hips, whereas my waist at the lowest rib is I think about 28/30. My cuirass will most definitely have a pulled in waist, much like Warwicks "hourglass" figure.


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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Tod » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:19 am

So the faulds cover the belly? This still makes me think the breastplate/placart assembly is too long. On that pic the two parts are clearly designed to move. I suppose I could ask (or I could do it) for the rivets to be taken out and the sliders to be further up from the original rivet postition.
Does that seem logical and accurate?



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Fox » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:22 am

Zachos wrote:The placart stops level with the bent up elbows.


To be pedantic, it doesn't, quite.
It's a little below, if you sensibly ignore the extended couter on the left arm and run a perpendicular line from the right elbow. Add to that the elbow will be artificially enlarged by the armour.

That looks to me to be the usual artificially high waist that's fashionable, I reckon above the belly button, but measurably below the ribs.

For comparison, this is my harness, also A Plaisance.
s640x480.jpg


Tod wrote:On that pic the two parts are clearly designed to move

While that's true, and also on mine you'll notice, that is part of a gentleman's full harness.
Simple breastplates certainly seem to have been made as "all in one" items. There is a danger that, in terms of going back to the original items, we are not comparing like with like.

Nevertheless, this doesn't solve your problem.
Having the placart suspended might provide you with a greater range of movement, but I don't know if that presents its own problems when it's part of a breastplate only.
Presumably, you've spoken to A Plaisance about this again; what did they say?



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Tod » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:31 am

Yes I spoke to them and as always they were very helpful. We talked about putting the faulds on leathers, which I tried (being a leatherwoker!) and hasn't worked so I thought I would explore other ideas hence this thread. We also talked about putting the breastplate assemble on sliders.



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Fox » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:50 am

It's probably because you're a funny shape. :D

I'll have an investigate and get back to you.....



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Tod » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:38 pm

Mr Kettle, the word you are looking for is manly.



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Friesian » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:54 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:
Zachos wrote:The fauld should start at the bottom of your ribs. On me, that is about 1.5 to 2 inches above my belly button. If it is made like that, then the breastplate/placart assembly will only cover your ribs which don't bend, while the bendy fauld covers the bendy abdomen. Unfortunately, most reproductions dod this wrong, and move it down so the placart covers the belly, and the fauld covers the groin.

A good illustration of how this should work is here:

http://www.imagesonline.bl.uk/results.asp?image=061143

You can see the faulds are a lot higher than on re-enactor cuirasses, which would allow much more movement.


I'm afraid that I disagree with you on that Zachos. I'd say that picture you posted shows the placarts sitting at the waist (that is to say the high waist popular in the 15thC, not the modern one that's some-where around your kneas). The fauld then covers the lower abdomen and hips, normally to below the groin. I'll admit that the placarts in that picture appear to have 2 lames in them, rather than being solid, which is normally how they're made. It could be that it's an 'artistic quirk' trying to show a placart like the one I have, where there is a decorative edge on it so that it looks like it's too layers.

Further, you'd never be able to get the 'pulled in' waist on a placart if the waist sat at the rib cage.


Sorry Colin but Zachos is right on the money .If you look at how a cuirass functions , the brest plate has to end just beneath the ribs . It will not work properly if it finishes lower .If you try riding a horse in any form of cuirass you will soon find out why ! The brest plate is to cover your brest , not your belly .



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Tod » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:16 pm

So would I be right in thinking that on a horse you get the same problem I have because your legs are bent it hits you in the throat (part time and very bad rider).
What I could do with is a picture of some one with one on that is the right length.



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Zachos » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:15 pm

Tod wrote:So would I be right in thinking that on a horse you get the same problem I have because your legs are bent it hits you in the throat (part time and very bad rider).
What I could do with is a picture of some one with one on that is the right length.


The problem is, when you are moving with the horse, you need free movement in your abdomen, otherwise you will quickly overbalance.

Fox wrote:It's a little below, if you sensibly ignore the extended couter on the left arm and run a perpendicular line from the right elbow. Add to that the elbow will be artificially enlarged by the armour.


I've taken that into account. Don't forget the arms are out from the side by about 40 degrees.

Every jouster I have spoken to about this has told me the breastplate ends at the bottom of the ribs. If anyone can show me an original source which clearly shows different I will listen, but showing reconstructions as evidence won't work.

@tod: Here is a picture of an archer in breastplate. As you can see, the waist is about the bottom of the ribs and the fauld is over the abs. The jack and the maille skirt protect the groin. I believe you will find this in most period sources.
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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby House of De Clifford » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:29 am

Further evidence: The Beuchamp effigy:

Image

Although, artistic license may play a part, look at the plackart, i have never seen an example with such extreme dimensions. My back and breast (St George) sit right on top of my hip bones, i can wear them for prolonged periods as the weight is supported on my hips as well as my shoulders and bending is not an issue.
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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Fox » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:13 am

Zarchos,
I think we're in danger of arguing how many angels can get down on the head of a pin; you and I do broadly agree about how the armour is arranged and what part covers what.

However....
Zachos wrote:If anyone can show me an original source which clearly shows different I will listen, but showing reconstructions as evidence won't work.

I think you miss my purpose.

You are, with absolute certainty, saying exactly where a man's ribs are, on a picture where you cannot see where a man's ribs are. That is also not a primary source, that's making it up.
I was showing an image which I think is favourably comparable to the effigy, in terms of proportions, height of "waist" relative to elbow and so on and actually telling you where that "waist" falls.

Art, as Jorge often reminds us, is not 100% reliable as source, for all sorts of reasons. People are trying to combine the images with actual harness that they know works.
Neither is an ideal argument, but both are useful evidence, as is your reference to modern jousters.

Again I think you and I actually agree and I may be debating about a difference of a couple of centimetres, which may be less than variance in different styles of armour anyway.



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Tod » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:16 am

Zachos wrote:@tod: Here is a picture of an archer in breastplate. As you can see, the waist is about the bottom of the ribs and the fauld is over the abs. The jack and the maille skirt protect the groin. I believe you will find this in most period sources.

I was looking at that picture and few others last night and now understand. My breastplate is too long but I think the placart can be moved up to the right place. I'm going to have jig this about before I start drilling holes. I could ask A Plaisance to do it and I'm sure they would but I think I will try and mount or hang the placart form the breastplate on leather. I'll then suspend the faulds form the placart in the same way. I have some seriously strong but flexible oiled buffalo hide that is going to perfect. This may not be right(?) but the main reason for me wearing this is protect a scar.
The question now is should I have mail skirt as well.



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Re: Breastplates and archers.

Postby Zachos » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:14 pm

@Fox.
Its possible we are arguing the the same thing with different wording. When I've got photos of my harness in progress I might be able to demonstrate better with my own photographs. Until then, I'm sure we can agree that there are an awful lot of reproductions where the fauld starts too low.

@Tod.
I'd like to see more people with maille skirts and a few with maille shorts. I will have a double skirt for when I'm feeling extra excited and fit. Most of the time I think I'll just stick with one though.


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