Creating an Accurate Historical Armour Pattern

I recently completed a Wisby #22 coat of plates for a client. This is an accurate reproduction of a 14th century body protection that would have been worn by a horseman (in all likelihood). The making of this armour took much longer than I had anticipated, but the result was certainly worth it! In creating something like this, it is important to get the historical accuracy of the armour correct. And that requires a bit of research. Thankfully, there is a book, Armour from the Battle of Wisby, that contains most of the information needed.

There is a small segment of the book that show the archeological find and the layout of the plates for this suit of armour. This makes knowing the shape and relative size of the pieces fairly straightforward; all it requires is a little math in order to scale this. And the use of some small ability in drawing. A ruler helps. So does a calculator. However, that alone was not enough.

Many of the plates shown in the pictures are severely damaged, and copying them directly

Wisby coat of plates #22, custom armour, historically accurate armour

A satisfied customer
Wisby #22 coat of plates

would not make a nice suit of armour. One has to read further through the book. There are mentions of the armour in several places throughout the book, and these little details that are mentioned allow a more accurate reproduction of the plates, as well as proper assembly of the coat. Without these, the final product may not have even worked!

My process produced an awesome looking coat of plates that made the owner smile! The buckles were medieval, and very much like the ones on the original coat of plates. There were a few decisions that had to be made during the design of this reproduction that had to be based upon the analysis of the armour and the discussions in the different sections of the book. Sometimes it wasn’t straight-forward how parts were assembled in the original, and further reading helped to clarify this.

I will, at some point, put up a pattern for this coat of plates. This will be for sale, as there is a lot of work to assemble it in a way that makes it easy for others. This is not a project that I would recommend for someone’s first armour attempt, but could be a second or third attempt, if you have a pattern already made! Look for it in July of this year.


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