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Painting helmets

Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:51 pm
by Tetardd

I have a spare helmet that I'd like to paint with my coat of arms, just as an experiment. Does anybody recommend a paint that is matt, suitable for metal and that does not chip too badly when hit by a sword?


Re: Painting helmets

Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:31 pm
by Brother Ranulf
Consider first what medieval paints would have been used and how they might stand up to being bashed with any kind of weapon. Egg tempera was used on parchment, pigment mixed with linseed oil (just like modern tube oil paints) was used on wood and pigment mixed with wet lime plaster was used on walls. For permanently colouring sheet metal, the best results were obtained by applying champlevé or cloisonné enamels (not paint, but using powdered glass that was heated to very high temperatures).

Enamelling a helmet is extremely unlikely, since any blow with a weapon would shatter the finish into fragments - so you are back to the very temporary finishes mentioned above. None of these would survive being hit with a sword.

Modern acrylic/enamel/oil/emulsion paints would suffer just as much, so it is difficult to suggest anything that would not suffer after a beating with metal weapons.

Just as at the time, painted finishes need to be retouched frequently (have your servants do it!).

Re: Painting helmets

Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:23 am
by Nigel
They look good when done but as the brother says need maintenance

One of the jobs we do every year

Re: Painting helmets

Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:54 am
by HEMA fantasy nerd
Thank you for talking about cloisonne and champleve. I've never hear of these before and love learning new medieval facts.