About Brigandine armour
Brigandine is a plate armor, which combines both an element of clothing in the form of jacket and a protective element in the form of metal plates. The term “brigandine” comes from the name of foot soldiers «brigands», which actively used this plate armor. It was a kind of intermediate link between the full chain mail and the plate armor. T
he time of active use of brigandine accounts for XIV-XV centuries. As in Europe they have not immediately returned to the Roman traditions of making cuirasses, for some time brigandine was a pretty good substitute for the armor. Brigandine developed from an earlier version of so-called «coat of plates», which appeared at the end of the XII century. This armor, in fact, was the same brigandine only with larger plates. Sometimes there were two large plates, which closed the chest and a range of horizontal plates, which covered the stomach and the groin. From the external side at the top there were two rows of large rivets in a semicircle. At the bottom there were more rivets, but they were smaller.
The outer layer of brigadine is a jacket made of leather, velvet or linen. The jacket had a form of a doublet. Very often the plates were attached to a simpler linen basis, on top of which was sewn a layer of velvet or silk. The jacket usually did not have sleeves because the brigandine was usually dressed over gambeson or chain mail. Although there are images with the examples of brigandines with sleeves. Metal plates rivet on to the inner side of the jacket. Brigandines fastened from the front or on each side with leather straps. There are also references about the lacing. Surcoat with decorations and emblem can be worn over brigandine.
The design of the brigandine was quite successful. Weight was distributed in such a way that the main thrust was on the shoulders and hips. Knight's variants of brigandines were more fitted, because were individually made to order. Such brigandines consisted of many small segments. Brigandines were notable for the quality of trimming, and the representatives of all classes, even monarchs could wear them.
When in the XV century armor began to be more used by foot soldiers, it became more baggy. The size of the plates increased. Such armor was easier to pass to other foot soldier without additional fitting , in case of the death of previous owner. Manufacture and refit of brigandines were relatively simple and could be executed on-the-spot. Damaged knights suits of armor served as plates for soldier brigandines. The missing segments were actually cut of them.
The plates were attached to the jacket overlap. Fastening of plates could be both vertically and horizontally. Rivets on brigandines were put down in groups of a few pieces on one plate. Rivets on metal plates, made for the wealthy nobles, were made of brass, bronze, and could be covered with gold or silver. Sometimes they marked them coining from the outside. Some fragments of plastic images indicate the presence of large metal breastplate at the front of some brigandines. Chains were attached to this breastplate to support the sword and the shield.
The location of plates on the jacket varied. Here are a few examples of the location of plates on the brigandine that was popular in the mid-14th century.
Option 1. At the top there is a row of vertical plates covering the chest. Quantity of plates - 3. A row of horizontal plates covers an abdominal cavity, which is a little bit more in quantity - from 2 to 5. On each side there are two rows of vertical plates from 2 to 7.
Option 2. The segments that protect the abdominal cavity and the sides of a soldier, are united in one row of vertical plates.
Option 3. The armor basis of this brigandine consists of a large number (about 500) vertically arranged plates. The size of these segments is small 2-3 x 8-10 cm.
What is interesting and attractive in brigandines of "Steel-Mastery" production?
Our main difference and advantage is in the individual making of brigandine armor. Turning to us for brigandine gauntlets, body, arms or legs protection, you can select standard models from the vast catalogue of products, or send your own, individual design or picture.
There are posted proposals on various brigandine designs on our site. At choice of the customer are presented regional variants of such armor in the Middle Ages. There is also a variant of brigandine type armor that was used by Mongols. Brigandines offered by us consider the lifetime of one or another sample. Some of them, as Visby brigandine, are made by the reconstruction of famous archaeological finds. The practical use of this type of armor can be very various. Our samples of brigandines are suitable both for historical reconstruction, and for participants in SCA, and for filming a movie or advertisement. In each case, the order will be made individually taking into account customer’s requirements.
Upper part of brigandine (tire) is sewn only from natural materials: silk, leather, velvet, wool, suede, cotton or linen. Fasteners are either from the front or on the sides or from backside.
Metal plates for brigandine are made of different materials: ordinary steel or stainless steel, titanium alloy. The use of these technologies is more practical. As a result it facilitates care for armor, increases its strength. The latter is especially important for buhurt participants. Titanium brigandine armor is notable for great strength, does not rust and has twice lower weight in comparison with steel armor.
Rivets are made of steel or brass at the wish of customer.
If desired, brigandine can be decorated. The outer side may consist of several colored parts, or can have heraldic galloons, emblems and mottoes. Figure design of leather straps and buckles is possible. The bottom of brigandine can be decorated with festoons, the edges of which are bound with a decorative selvage.
An additional chest plate with chainholder can be set, decorated with painting or etching.
We manufacture brigandines individually for your measurements. If you are not sure, how to define your size, please have a look at this table.