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    A comparison of weights for armour.

    In 1997, we completed our Maximilian full armour. We had the opportunity to make two identical Maximilians at the same time - for two customers. One was our ‘costume’ weight made of 20 ga. steel everywhere except the 18 ga. helmet. The other suit is our ‘historical’ weight and detailing made of 18 ga. steel everywhere except the helmet of 16 ga. tops and gauntlet lames of 20 ga.

    In the volume ‘Wallace Collection Catalogues - Volume I : Armour ’ printed in 1962, we have some of the best measurements and photographs of real 16th century armours. Within the numerous listings is at least one very similar “Maximilian” full armours. Refer to plate A26, Fluted armour, German (Nuremberg), about 1540. This catalogue details all the armour parts and weights for the entire suit. Our suit, we estimate, would be almost identical style and for average size of a 5’9” man and normal stature.

    The following is a chart comparing first our 20 ga. ‘costume’, then our heavier 18 ga. ‘historical’ armour replica, and lastly the actual museum historical piece made in the sixteenth century.

    catalogue listed armour parts our 20 ga. ‘costume’
    [18 ga. helmet]
    our 18 ga. ‘historical’
    [16 ga. helmet]
    Wallace Collection Museum piece
    close helmet 6.0 lbs7.5 lbs7.4 lbs
    gorget 2.5 lbs4.0 lbs3.4 lbs
    breastplate + tassets 7.5 lbs13.5 lbs14.0 lbs
    backplate 3.5 lbs6.0 lbs8.8 lbs
    both arms + gauntlets 11.5 lbs17.5 lbs15.0 lbs
    both cuisses + knees 5.0 lbs6.5 lbs9.2 lbs
    both greaves + sabatons 6.5 lbs10.0 lbs7.8 lbs
    TOTALS 42.5 lbs65.0 lbs65.6 lbs

    The slight differences between height and build for our suit and the original should be only +/- 5 lbs. and from 65lbs. would fall between about 60 and 70 lbs. for a comparable suit of full plate armour made for an average man of today. We think this estimate is true for almost all the ‘full plate’ armour that we have studied perhaps from the 15th and 16th centuries.

    The collectors we sell to have studied this also and are very satisfied with our historical weights and gauges. The only thing that we could do for more accurate replicas is to build the suit with annealed high carbon steel using heat very carefully, and then heat-treat a temper to all the pieces when they have been fitted perfectly.

    The time that it would take to actually make this armour would reflect in a very high price of perhaps $25,000 to $40,000 for our ‘Maximilian’. We know of an authentic suit of full plate armour from the 16th century, and in quite reasonable condition, that can be purchased for about $50,000. The customers and collectors we sell to know this also and for this reason we keep the time spent on our armour mainly on overall looks, detailing, and functionality, and still keep the price affordable.

    As far as weight, any armour made heavier is, in our view, not historical and unnecessary. (Mich -1997)
    The Wallace Collection is in Manchester square, London, England.

    Valentine Armouries
    Now in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
    Email: vaprivatecollections[at]

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