Saturday, 15 December 2012

On armour - chainmail - the chainmaille coif

Missed me? I doubt it. Now let's talk armour again. Assuming you are looking for homemade gear, which you should be, otherwise why are you here, we've already deduced that chainmail is going to be your best friend.

If by this point you've got your basic chainmail tools  and perhaps some advanced power tools as well as enough chainmail material of the type you want. Now of course you'd want to start your first project. People tend to jump into something big first and then fail spectacularly therefore I'd advice against it - weaving maille takes a lot of time and patience and you are likely to call it quits in frustration at the slow progress. Therefore you are best starting small with something that you can finish in a few days. The experience (as well as the sense of satisfaction and achievement) will help you tackle bigger things(or to decide if you want to handle chainmaille at all).

Thus a suggested first project, is the chainmaille coif.

Why a coif?

Reason 1. The chainmail coif is a decent starters project. Its weights 1-3 kg depending on the rings and material used, and sits at roughly 2000-3000 rings, again depending on link size. Even if you do just a few hundred per day you will complete it in less than a week. It will be cheap too, regardless of what its made of.

Reason 2

The second reason to make a coif, is that its a nice audition to your larp costume. It will give your garb a sense of completion. An awful lot of folks have  great larp costumes and sets of armour, yet go around with naked heads. That is just wrong. The head protection gear was the most important piece of defensive equipment throughout history. Practically everyone wore a helmet, even the ancient greeks who sometimes had only a loin cloth a spear and a hoplite shield, did not forget to add a bronze helmet to that. Of course there are exceptions to the rule where a helmet is discouraged by the costume itself. As example below - Sigmar's priests don't wear helmets and the rather famous drachenfest orcs don't have ones either - its a matter of where your costume inspiration comes from.

They likely draw their inspiration from World of Warcraft, which is not known for any notion of realism. Its okay to let it slide, but having a fantasy costume does not mean that you should go for high fantasy and completely ignore what history has shown us. Besides there are practical examples of fantasy gear.
Take for example the Uruk Hai from the second part of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Plate armour providing decent protection from horse archer's short bows (elven bows are cheating), pike and shot(pike and crossbow shot) formation to break cavalry. Even the helmets had those crests which could have been a concept artist's idea, but also had the benefit of protecting the wearer from vertical slashes by cavalrymen. Practical? Certainly. Fantasy? You bet.

Reason 3

Reason 3 is simple - its a god damn health insurance policy. You are (likely) participating in a live contact game. Even if the rules are strict, even if everyone follows them to the point - accidents happen. Rather than count on Lady Luck, you should tip the scales your way. A coif, combined with some padding, will protect your head and neck, without reducing your vision. Even then, there are coifs that cover half  your face as well.

So, I believe you are convinced by now. On the point - a coif consists of several pieces. The top or cap,  the headband, the main body and the mantle.The top is made of expanding weave, the headband and main body are simple sheets of 4 in1 european which was already described here and the mantle is made from 4in1 strips with expansions set. You can start a coif from either the headband/main body or the top. The mantle is best done last.

In this case, we are going to start our project with the top or as its also known cap of the coif..

Oh yes - there are photos here taken from the internet, the rights belong to their respective owners.

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