The Basic Concept
Essentially, it a cluster of strategically placed metal plates that wrap around the body to form a large shell of protection. As the plates are generally made to order, meaning they are made to the specific requirements of one person, that their weight is distributed across the body, making the soldier very mobile, and in some cases faster, than those who adorn mail armour. Usually, the plates are joined by a series of built in buckles or straps, and are placed atop a thick gambeson for comfort, though the gambeson is not necessary.
Note: heavy and thick are relative terms, varying from player to player. What may be thick or heavy to one may not be (as) thick or heavy to another, so it is always wisest to know how thick and how heavy something actually is.
Strengths and Advantages
- Plate armour, contrary to popular belief, is much more mobile than mail armour because the weight of the armour is distributed across the body, and allows for faster movement in about every physical aspect. In fact, a well-trained knight is so mobile he can run after and catch up with an unarmored archer, swim (although hardly) or jump into his saddle.
- It is more protective than mail Armour, being able to withstand lunges and chops with ease.
- While the armor looks heavy the whole set could be as light as only 20 kg (45 pounds) if well made of tempered steel. In comparison the weight of modern combat gear of an infantry soldier is usually 25 to 35 kg.
Weaknesses and Disadvantages
- Because the armour is not flexible, a blunt weapon, such as a mace, will easily put dents in the armour. This is the same with crossbow bolts, though they may even pierce the plate.
- Once dented or pierced, the armor is more likely to obstruct the wearer, hindering movement.
- It usually takes an additional person to put plate armour on someone. It is very slow and difficult to do so on one's own because many of the straps/buckles used to join the plates are located in places out of the reach of the person the plate armour is being applied to.
- Plate armour is very hard and costly to make, more than it is so for mail armour.
(This section will be edited once I find a little more information.)
Lorica Segmentata is a very ancient form of laminar armour favored for its flexibility and overall protection. It consists of a series of metal bands that are bent to form with the body. These metal strips, known as girth hoops, are of a soft, purer iron on the inside and a hard steel o n the outside so the armour can more properly align itself inwards. The metal bands are then joined together internally through a system of leather bands that are literally rivited to the armour. The armour itself breaks down into four pieces, the back, front, and shoulder plates. Each piece is fastened to the other using leather straps and brass buckles. The armour is ALWAYS used with a custom made leather torso armour so that the shoulder pieces can be evenly placed on the shoulders. An earlier form of the Lorica Segmentata, known as the Kalkriese type, eliminates the front plate in favor for two rib plates and an upper chest and back plate. This armour is substantially lighter, but does come with more weak points and does limit for some mobility.Coat of Plates
A coat of plates is literally what one would believe it to be. It consists of jacket, such as a leather jerkin, that has been endowed with a series of large, overlapping metal plates that allow for a great range of protection and mobility. These plates, please note, are fastened on the inside of the jerkin, and are made to fit the user's body.
The coat of plates is very similar to scale armour, lamellar, and brigandine.
Gothic Plate Armour
Gothic armour consists of horseman armor, originating from Germany, and the War of The Roses, from around the 1300's. The main features are its outstanding shape and it's artistic, yet grungy look. The Helmet is a basic sallet helmet, included with a bevorand gorget. The breastplate, hip-guards, and the cuisse look like ordinary plate armor. The backs of the kneecaps, which on most armor sets, are uncovered, are protected with chainmail. All unprotected parts of the body, e.g. joints, are usually guarded with gambeson material or chainmail.
Near the groin, unlike other suits, features a dangling skirt of chainmail to protect from slashes on the genitals. 2 other distinct components are the oddly shaped sabatons (boots/shoes) are a fine point, which makes them great for jagging the wearer's foot into the enemy. This armor also features Besagues (Armpit plates) which function greatly for a lunge at the uncovered area of the body.
Another distinct feature is the artistic etching around all of the suit. However, etchings and art are mainly used on ornate plate, gothic armor is made to be very fashionable but durable at the same time. The etchings were usually indented after the armor was forged, and then in those were filled with a concrete mixture or sap.
Almain RIvet armor was designed in the late Medieval era, and is also classified as early renaissance armor.
Almain rivet was designed in the 1500's for King Henry VIII. This armor became more and more popular as lances and mounted fighting became more common aswell. Another reason that this armor became so well used and common, was because at this time gunpowder use was widely used, and was easy to coordinate this armor along with a cannon or musket.
Armour made under King Henry VIII, this style had a goal of completely surrounding the wearer in metal. It was astonishingly heavy, but also had an aura about it of awe and mystery.
The Armour itself was steel, with plates bending around every joint that slid together and back into place, much like how a snake's scales would slide.
A unique quality to this armour is acid-engraving, used to eat away at the armour to leave impressions that were more easily filled with gold or silver later. Using a resist, painted on, certains parts of the metal could be left completely untouched.
These engravings made it possible to style the armour to the wearer's taste, and was a skill in itself. Some have attributed it to be similar to giving tattoos to the armour.
As most of us will get confused overtime of which part is which on a suit of armor, here is a section to help you be familiar with the several pieces.
Do not get confused, that helmets are a complete different story than suits of armor, and other variants of plate armor such as Lorica Segmentata, and Gothic Plate vary greatly form most traditional armor types.
- Plate armour is heavy, though it is spread out evenly across the body, resulting in a armour that is more mobile than mail armour, or even an in-real-life firefighter's suit.
- Plate armour should never be worn by anyone other than the person it was made for because, chances are, that person has unique bodily dimensions. If the plate armour doesn't fit, it will do one no good in battle.
- As shown above, "studded" armour is actually simply a coat of plates. Jagex mis-identified studden armour as leather with metal studs, though they are not the only ones to have done so.
- Plate armour is one of the oldest forms of armour, far older than mail armour.
- For those that want more information, typical plate armour consists of a helmet; a gorget (or bevor) for protection of the throut; pauldrons (or spaulders) for shoulder protection; couters for the defense and maneuverability of the elbow; vambraces for protection of the forearms; gauntlets for protection of the hands; a cuirass (back and breastplate) with a fauld; tassets and a culet for the upper legs and butt; a mail skirt for further leg protection; cuisses for thigh protection; poleyns for knee defense (popularly known against arrows); greaves to defend the calves; and sabatons, which are essentially metal boots.