Tuesday, 25 September 2012

On armour maintenance

While the large weapons projects are stalling again, I see no reason to keep back with other stuff. I was thinking of keeping armour for later, but there is no reason to do so - after all I will index it all eventually.

Anyway, what I want to talk about now is larp armour maintenance. If all you have is a tunic, maintenance for you is a matter of laundry work and occasionally needle and a thread. However if you have any kind of metal, things are not so easy. Chainmail does not count - the vast majority of it is from galvanized wire which is quite resistant to corrosion, but more on chainmail later.

No, we'd talk about good olde plate mail of various sorts.

Lets take for example my shin guards.

They were nice and shiny the day I got them. That however, was quite a while ago.

This is how they look nowadays. Far cry from the old days isn't it?

Like it or not, larp armour is actually used, usually fairly often and not in the optimum conditions for keeping rust away - fighting in rain, mud and snow is not uncommon. Reenactors and such have far less occasions that require their full gear and thus have less issues with keeping it fresh.

So yeah, point is - plate mail requires maintenance. Normally that's what squires, arms bearers and other such support personnel would do. However most of us are lacking such commodities and have to deal with it ourselves. FORTUNATELY we do have other commodities, namely the products of modern chemistry.

Basically you got several options depending on the amount of effort and money you got available and the looks you want.

One of the simple solutions is paint or lacquer. Simply cover it once and you are good for quite a while - just don't forget to repaint scratches. That however means you probably won't be shiny and involves some expense.

You could skip on the chemistry and simply clean any rust that appears - possible but you will erode your plate that way - it will become thinner and thinner with time.

Since I'm a cheapskate, I simply covered it with lacquer once and let it this way. A thin layer of rust has formed indeed, and it keeps it from rusting more. Thats the 0 maintenance route, but I'm not chasing shiny looks.

Best way would involve a good ammount of WD-40 and/or similar products and cleaning and covering with fresh oil layer after every use. It will keep your stuff intact but it involves regular maintenance expense.

I'm not going to recommend any of it, since it all involves various preferences and ability. Its all up to you to decide how you want to look, and how much you want to spend on it. I prefer playing a common soldier and thus rust actually adds to my looks, rather than take away.

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