home

Author Topic: B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor  (Read 3136 times)

Offline Angerland

  • Posts: 129
Well Met!

Midaski was looking for a guide to the weapons and armor that our wonderful figures are weaaring.  I thought I would start things off for us all by taking a look at the State troops and their equipment. I don't have a digital camera so if someone wanted to post some good close picks of the torsos of the state troops it might be easier to follow along with the descriptions.

Anyway this is the thread that will have all the info we can glean from the internet and books on our weapons and armor. Yes this is a fantasy game and there will always be items that have no true real world equivalent but that is ok.

I will need help on a thread like this. Some of you have already volunteered and that is very cool. Feel free to add your .02$ or your EU or other nation's monetary equivalent :). I am no expert, merely an enthusiast. I have read a few good books, and visited some armories and armorers etc...but that doesn't mean I am always right. If someone else has better, info please post it!
The hammer of the Gods
will drive our ships to new lands
to fight the horde, singing and crying
"Valhalla I am coming!"

Offline Angerland

  • Posts: 129
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2005, 04:43:24 PM »
Let's start with the armor of the state troops, I will get into weapons later on.

 Every one of our state troops that actually wear armor are wearing  some kind of back and breast.  This is a 17th century term used to speak generally of armor that consists of a breastplate, backpiece, and some kind of simple open helmet.  As we look at our miniatures we can easily see that there is quite a variety of styles worn. Some are breast pieces only, some have tassets or thigh guards, etc...
The helmets that our troop wear are also quite diverse. Some of the handgunners are wearing a simple arming cap, which could be made of leather or cloth and usually was padded. This was normally worn under a metal helmet to provide a bit of comfort to the wearer. The actual protective value of this is minimal.
Some troops wear a barbute. This style of helmet was a throw back to the styles worn in early Greece. The helmet was one solid piece that fit tightly on the head. It had an open face which gave excellent vision and breathing to the wearer. Some of these provided cheek protection leaving only a narrow "T" shape for the eyes and mouth/nose open. This was a very good helmet.
 Another type of helmet shown, primarily in our spearmen is a burgonet. This is another open faced helmet but this one also adds a brim over the eyes, and cheek pieces, and usually a comb over the top of the head.  Still other troops of ours wear a simple metal cap just protecting the top of the head.
The armor our champion model wears is a tightly fitted plate type of armor, probably made to fit only this person. Depending on the specific style this may or may not have chainmail pieces reinforcing the protection to the joints, like the elbow and knees, but to me it looks like a complete plate suit. He also wears an armet  a tight fitting helmet with a visor that completely covers the head and face.  On some of these the lower half, which covers the cheeks and face, was hinged and folded down over the wearer. This was then secured usually in the back though some were held in place by the visor coming down and locking into place.
The hammer of the Gods
will drive our ships to new lands
to fight the horde, singing and crying
"Valhalla I am coming!"

Offline Alagoric

  • Posts: 83
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2005, 09:51:39 PM »
Excellent idea and a good start


Have you checked out http://www.armourarchive.org?

Another worthwhile one is http://www.chronique.com/Library/Glossaries/glossary-AA/armsindx.htm

And another one which really gets into the nitty gritty of manufacture and stuff is http://www.arador.com.


Heres hoping this helps towards a finished article.

Offline TheBuilder

  • Posts: 585
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2005, 09:59:34 PM »
Quite some sites youve listed there...

...Of course im quite angry with you because now i will spend all kinds of time looking through them.... :wink:

Good start on the article.  It will be pretty nice for the hardcore modelers to standarize what pieces they are talking about.
The long road back to Stirland...

Only armor? Equipment too?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2005, 08:07:58 AM »
I H doesn't only stand for helmet but also for hat, the hats most state troops wera, e.g. the handgunners are similar to those of middle european/ german landsknechts who were called barret, just as the felthats of moderndays armies...

Very interesting thread, will if possilbe do some research this weakend about S for sword.
Until then cheers.
L.o.B.

Offline Midaski

  • Sunny Sussex, England
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 11433
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2005, 08:29:46 AM »
As I've said I think this has the potential for being a great thread, and reference article, with the added learning factor.

From someone with no picture skills, I just wondered if at some stage each item discussed could have a thumbnail picture for reference.

I get lost just on helmets, and on the Empire plastic sprues - Soldiers/Militia/Knights - there must be 10+ different sorts.
Quote from: Gneisenau
Quote
Metal to Finecast - It is mostly a swap of medium. 

You mean they will be using Ouija boards instead of Tarot cards for their business plans from now on?

Offline Frostblade99

  • Posts: 93
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2005, 05:41:49 PM »
How about we start with A and discuss all the weapons and armour beginning with it and then work ourselves through the important. Once finished it could be compile into a guide.
Do trolls have rocks?-- His Grace Sir Samuel Vimes

The Hammer and Anvil

Offline Midaski

  • Sunny Sussex, England
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 11433
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2005, 07:04:03 PM »
Quote from: Frostblade99
How about we start with A and discuss all the weapons and armour beginning with it and then work ourselves through the important. Once finished it could be compile into a guide.


Well A-Z is more a 'nominal' concept than actually practical.

I would have thought the better process would be to take the 'actual' helmets, weapons, armour, etc that appears on our Empire models.

Maybe starting with the plastic sprues and then going on to metal model troops.

Again without any technical knowledge could a sprue pic be posted -then individual pieces have a number 'added' and explained with text below?
Quote from: Gneisenau
Quote
Metal to Finecast - It is mostly a swap of medium. 

You mean they will be using Ouija boards instead of Tarot cards for their business plans from now on?

Offline General Helstrom

  • The Old Ones
  • Posts: 5322
  • Chicks dig moustaches
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2005, 07:43:23 PM »
You had to ask eh...

Here you go guys:

EMPIRE COMMAND


EMPIRE MILITIA


KNIGHTLY ORDERS


EMPIRE SOLDIERS


SPEARMEN AND HANDGUNNERS


CANNON SPRUE #1


CANNON SPRUE #2


(note that the Online Store picture of the Militia Sprue is rubbish, so I replaced it with a slightly better one of my own - note also that all my Militia sprues lack their plastic Greatswords :))
I don't know what Caesar thought when he got to the Ides of March
Don't know what Houdini bought when he went to the store
But I sure do miss the eighties

Offline Angerland

  • Posts: 129
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2005, 02:36:47 AM »
hmmm... I was taaking the actual helmets and armor and weapons from our empire sprues.  I left this article as is for a bit to see what, if any reaction it recieved...since it seems like folks ARE interested I will continue, but in a day or two when I can spend more time on it.
 I will aslo finish drudging up my books so I caan give you a bibliography of my sources.
The hammer of the Gods
will drive our ships to new lands
to fight the horde, singing and crying
"Valhalla I am coming!"

Offline General Helstrom

  • The Old Ones
  • Posts: 5322
  • Chicks dig moustaches
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2005, 07:52:50 AM »
Feel free to only name the bits you know, or which have a proper historical name. "Cannon Sprue #1, item #7: Carriage Wheel" might not be very interesting. I just numbered evrything for sake of completeness :)
I don't know what Caesar thought when he got to the Ides of March
Don't know what Houdini bought when he went to the store
But I sure do miss the eighties

Offline PygmyHippo

  • The Old Ones
  • Posts: 805
  • Washington, DC, U.S.A.
    • http://www.lnt.org/
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2005, 01:36:20 PM »
Quote from: Angerland
I will also finish drudging up my books so I can give you a bibliography of my sources.


[Standing ovation!]  A work such as this demands a proper bibliography.  Sadly, most miniature-related articles are without proper citation.  

In regards to Alagoric's link to Arador.com, this one in particular:

http://www.arador.com/articles/pikemen.html

will be quite useful.

Marcus

Offline Alagoric

  • Posts: 83
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2005, 03:37:50 PM »



Just fooling about with some ideas ... the things I do when I'm bored on a monday afternoon. *sigh*

Offline PygmyHippo

  • The Old Ones
  • Posts: 805
  • Washington, DC, U.S.A.
    • http://www.lnt.org/
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2005, 06:54:27 PM »
Focus on each bit and piece from the Empire model line with a concise but adequate description, including images and diagrams.  That's an excellent approach, very nice!  Do you have a source?  Might be a good idea to add a citation or URL at the bottom for the curious types out there.  A compilation of mini-articles like this sounds excellent.  Good job, Alagoric.

Marcus

(I was a bit surprised by that term, "tabor," since I had only ever heard it in terms of a Cossack wagon-train/fort.  I guess ya' learn something new every day...)

Offline Alagoric

  • Posts: 83
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2005, 11:54:38 PM »
Cheers. Just mucking around with formats and ideas more than anything else.


Strange timing, though. Since putting up that reply I've had a chat with a good friend of mine who has been doing military reenactment drumming for almost two decades. He assures me that what the command sprue depicts is in fact a field drum.

A tabor is a drum that is played one-handed, the other hand being left free to play a pipe or similar wind instrument, making the musician a "one-man band". A field drum, conversely, is a drum used for military and ceremonial purposes. It is all but identical to the tabor in constuction, but the head is tensioned rather tighter and it is played with two sticks.

We then got into a convoluted argument about when the earliest mention of the field drum is. It seems to come into existence at the end of the sixteenth century, a time of great transition in military styles across Europe.

Shakespeare, in the play Much Ado About Nothing, wrote "...I have known when there was no music for him but the drum and the fife; and now he had rather hear the tabor and the pipe..." (Act II, sc. 3). This work is generally agreed to have been written in 1598.

But the Empire models most closely depict Landsknecht from the first half of the 16th century, from a time when the field drum hadn't quite branched off from the tabor. The pictoral evidence also seems to support this (the mid-16th century image I included, for example, showed the military tabor).

But, conversely, there are references to "medieval" tabors that lacked counter hoops, the skins being tensioned directly by the ropes ... which is exactly what the command sprue drum depicts.

Though the medieval period is a bit elastic, it is considered to extend from the 5th century AD to the 15th century, with the High Middle Ages around 1050 AD to 1300 AD. This style of drum was a little out of date by the time the Landsknechts, who were noted for being "up to the minute" with fashion and technology, were blazing their trail across the pages of history.

Oh well, you live and learn.

Besides, this is fantasy, and we can mix and match if we want to. Field drums do seem more appropriate – rather more martial and far less festive.



All of this goes to reinforce PygmyHippo's point.

If you are going to publish factual information, make sure that you get it right, and put in references to the sources you are using so that other people can go and check them if they want to. Shame I didn't provide a few more in this latest diatribe.

---

Offline Angerland

  • Posts: 129
B is for Breast plate: A guide to Imperial weapons and armor
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2005, 08:07:25 PM »
Please be patient folks, I am trying to get this typed up in word so I can check and re ceck all my grammer and spelling...that being said , although I speak english, my grammer can be quite bad. I will also need to keep things straight as I have a tendency to wander a bit off topic at times.

It's coming, it's coming. :)
The hammer of the Gods
will drive our ships to new lands
to fight the horde, singing and crying
"Valhalla I am coming!"