If you’ve been following along, it’s time for me to make some armor for the Germanic warrior costume I’m making for my kid. The armor and clothing for various tribes varied as much as they did for the native American tribes, so it allowed me a little bit of artistic freedom.
I wanted to steer away from the full mail hauberks of the Vikings, Normans, and Saxons since I didn’t really know how I could imitated that in costume form. I wanted to make something that might be worn by the more southerly tribes along the Roman frontier. Something like these guys:
For the helmet I made a Norse style helmet with influences from Norman conical helmets (below left) and the Benty Grange helmet (below right).
Based on these I made this helmet:
As with the scabbard, I made a cardboard mock-up first; you can use those cardboard pieces as templates for the leather. If you look in the smaller picture above you can see I etched a pattern in the helmet’s panels inspired by the megalith at Newgrange.
After the helmet I made some generic armor. I didn’t really have a historical reference for it, but after all the research I had done, I wasn’t really too worried that I was straying very far from the authentic style of the rest of the kit:
The centerpiece was a brigantine of leather plates. To go with that I made a bracer for his unshielded sword-hand and an axe-ring to hold his axe on his belt. The chest piece was built with straps that could be adjusted as he grew, and whenever I could I embellished each item with metal accent pieces from Tandy Leather. I never took any process pictures of the helmet or armor, so these pictures were taken after they’d all seen a couple years’ use.
So I was done…and you may be wondering what happened next. Well, my kid was less than 1 years old, so what I did was use a small length of rope to tie the entire kit (minus the helmet and armor) into a coat-of-arms. The shield was in the center with axe, sword, and spear crossed behind. Once that was done I hung the entire thing about 15 feet up on a high wall.
…and there it waited. When he was finally old enough to ask about it, I just shrugged the question off, explaining that it was just a decoration.
The Christmas after he turned three, I brought him into my study (where the kit was hung), climbed up, and pulled it down. I wish I had a picture of his face lighting up when he realized what was happening.
We were regular visitors to the local Renaissance Faire, and this was his costume every year until he finally outgrew it several years later. Here are some shots of him with the whole kit:
This was the first year, when he was only two. It was before I got down the kit so he’s using a different little sword I made for him (more on this in a future post) with the helmet and armor.
This is the first year after getting the kit; he’s three years old here. I told him he could take it off whenever he wanted, but he refused, proudly wearing it all day despite the 90-plus degree heat. His little shoulders were so narrow that his shield kept slipping off, which is why the straps are tied together.
This would be the last year he wore this costume in its entirety. He’s four years old here, and was able to wear it all pretty comfortably for most of the day (despite yet another hot year).
Here he is with his sister. My wife made her costume.
He also insisted that his Thor hammer should be part of this year’s costume, and often switched back and forth between it and the spear/shield combo.
…and that’s it. I hope you enjoyed all three posts; I had fun making them.
The next year I made him a medieval knight costume. You can read about that here.
Thanks for reading!