This is something I’ve been anticipating with excitement: a brigandine cuirass. I ordered it back in May 2021, and it just arrived to me in January 2022. I ordered it from Steel Mastery. They have a long wait list (3-4 months) just to start on it, but this is the first piece of armor I’ve bought that was actually crafted to my personal measurements.

Steel Mastery has good customer service. They answer emails quickly, and are friendly and informative. They made me comfortable laying out a few hundred dollars for something I won’t see for several months.

If you don’t know, a brigandine is steel plate armor (it’s not “studded leather”). The interior is many metal plates (about the size of a credit card) riveted to the outer wool. This is the interior (Steel Mastery sent me this photo of them working on it):

Brigandine inside

It weights 15 pounds, and it fits snugly and comfortably. It’s tailored so I can wear it over a thick gambeson or with only thin clothes. It feels good. It is flexible to some extent (more flexible than a solid plate cuirass of the same size), but I can’t bend over and touch the floor; I can bend forward about 90 degrees.

I’m testing and thinking about how I want to wear this — over a gambeson, over mail, over gambeson and mail, or just over clothes. I’m not sure yet, but I do have some plate pieces to wear with it (shoulders and greaves).

An interesting note: It’s noisy when not on my body — it jingles. But when worn, it’s quiet and secure.

The Old Adventurer

Full Raider Kit

Raider Kit

This is my full “raider” kit.

While I was waiting for new/replacement pieces for my knight kit, I started working on a different “character” to gear up as. This raider is sort of Viking-ish. This gear isn’t really of the Viking era (many things are anachronistic), but it does have that feel at first glance.

The helmet is a Viking style, painted black. I’m wearing a chainmail coif (head, neck, shoulders armor) protects my neck where the helmet doesn’t.

The chainmail is over a thick gambeson (padded armor). The fur shoulder/cape is clasped with a penannular brooch.

The shield is something I made myself, and I quite like it. Although, a center/boss grip would be more historical (and more practical), but I don’t have such a shield (yet).

The greaves are padded, similar to the gambeson. The greataxe is explained here, and the one-handed axe is explained here.

This kit is much more comfortable and mobile than the full plate knight kit. I like wearing this (and I can put it all on by myself). Of course, it’s not as protective as having all the steel plates, but that’s the trade off: mobility and self-sufficiency vs. protection and dependent on a squire.

The Old Adventurer

Full Knight Kit

Knight Kit

This is my full armored “knight” kit.

After posting my earlier run at the concept on Reddit’s r/ArmsandArmor and r/LARP subreddits, I took some of the advice and made changes/upgrades to my kit. First off, my goal isn’t true historical reenactment — I’m creating an admitted fantasy character using real weapons and armor. Having said that, I don’t want my kit to be completely ahistorical, so I’m not going over the top with the fantasy.

I kept the visored barbuta helmet. It’s not historical, but it’s not fantastical, and it looks cool.

The blue cape: I added weathering and battle damage (cuts and tears), and pinned a brass penannular.

The pauldrons (shoulder armor): I replaced my original pauldrons with these because the shape of the other ones were impractical. As protection, they were good, but sometimes the chin of my helmet would strike the upper point of the pauldrons. That restricted some shoulder movements/positions, and was annoying.

The gorget (upper chest/neck armor), the breastplate, the vambraces (forearm armor), and cuisses & poleyns (upper leg & knee armor): These are all my original pieces. I do have a pair of plated gauntlets, but they look oddly large on my hands, so I instead went with brown gloves. I’ve put a lot of wear and damage on the gloves, but you can’t even tell it in these pics.

The greaves (shin armor): I replace my original greaves because I felt they were a little too stylized (looked segmented like for bending) for the look I wanted.

The shoes: I cheated a bit with these. Although the shoes are modern, I felt they were similar enough to late medieval laced shoes to pass at a glance — compare authentic to sort of. But multiple people mentioned them as looking wrong, so I covered the laces with leather to hopefully disguise them as boots. Historically, tall boots weren’t worn under greaves; tall boots interfere with fastening the greaves to the shin. Also, if the knight was going to wear sabatons (foot armor), they wore smaller leather shoes like these. I chose to go with modern style shoes instead of authentically made medieval style shoes for two main reasons: 1- they are half the price. 2- they actually have traction with the ground — medieval leather shoes have smooth leather soles, and the lack of traction can be troublesome (especially when wearing 50 pounds of armor). I may in the future just get some sabatons to cover the damn shoes and just completely hide the issue. But until then, maybe this faux boot look doesn’t stand out as wrong.

The chainmail: This is my original riveted aluminum maille, but I darkened it with some spray paint. It looks more like steel now than aluminum. I previously explained why I went with aluminum instead of steel.

The shield: This is the 2mm steel shield.

The swords: This is the arming sword, and this is the greatsword.

Next on my to-do list is to find some interesting location for a photoshoot. These photos are just from my backyard.

The Old Adventurer


I have several really good swords, but this is my greatsword:


This magnificent beast is over 53 inches long and weighs just over 4.5 pounds. Although that’s 6 inches longer and 2 pounds heavier than my very nimble longsword, this sword doesn’t feel heavy or cumbersome. A greatsword is not meant to be a dueling weapon, nor a personal defense weapon; a greatsword is a zone control tool. There are specific mechanics for using a greatsword, and they don’t look or feel like you’re swinging a heavy hunk of metal around — it looks like a swirling helicopter blade of danger.

This sword has suede leather around the grip and ricasso. This feels good in my hands, and it’s very comfortable to wield. I chose to leave the blade edges unsharpened because I feel it would be too dangerous. It’s a big sword, which requires attention and caution when carried through a house or with other people nearby, and since I’m not going to be cutting with it (at least not until I get more practice with using it), a sharp blade would just present too much danger.

The Old Adventurer

Medium Armor Kit

medieval viking raider
Medieval Viking Raider

I’m experimenting with another “character”. This one I imagine as a raider, moving fast, pillaging the countryside, and getting away before the knights show up. This isn’t historically accurate — a bit of mix and match — but I’m happy with this first attempt, as a fantasy concept.

The Old Adventurer

Damascus Blade

This is my sword of Damascus steel:

damascus sword
damascus sword

You can click on the above image to get a little larger view of the steel pattern in the blade and crossguard. I knew of Damascus steel swords, and I really liked the way the steel patterns looked, but I never expected to buy one. Then Kult of Athena had a special sale that included this particular sword, and I jumped at the notable discount. I now have a Damascus steel sword.

The sword comes sharpened from the crafter. I haven’t cut with it, yet, but the blade feels nicely sharp, and the pointed tip feels supremely sharp. The sword is 32.5 inches long and weighs just over 3 pounds. The circular grip isn’t great for keeping edge alignment, but overall, holding it is comfortable. It’s a solid weapon, and the steel pattern makes it look almost magical. (I like to think this is my second magical sword.)

The Old Adventurer


This is more than a good axe, it’s a greataxe:


According to the crafter’s naming of this axe, this weapon is apparently designed after a fictional axe in the Wheel of Time book series — the axe belonging to Perrin Aybara. I know nothing about WoT or Perrin, but this greataxe isn’t fictional. Although I didn’t opt to have the blade sharpened — I have enough (maybe too many) sharp weapons — the blade tip and the back spike are pointedly sharp. The axe is overall 50 inches long and weighs over 5.5 pounds. This would be another useful implement for the Zombie Apocalypse.

This is a fun weapon to wield. It feels good in my hands, and the wide hexagonal shaft allows for easy and natural edge alignment when swinging. I haven’t tried (yet), but I imagine this would be fun to burst pumpkins or watermelons. I might have to sharpen the blade on this so I can get nice clean slices.

The Old Adventurer