A few years ago there was a game called Odyssey, set in a mythical greco roman world. One of the races, the Cartheginians were described as being armoured in the skin of beasts. That set me thinking and I decided to make a cuirass with hair on it. Casting around the only hair on leather that could be had at a reasonable price was goat. Goat is a little thin to make decent armour so I stitched it onto a backing of 3mm split leather. This gave it real substance and the resulting cuirass looked excellent but there are one or two problems with goat. First one is the dandruff, the back of the skin seems to shed constantly until it's backed off and most of it's hidden. The second is the smell, when it gets wet is a strong wet dog smell. This being England that's not a problem because it never rains here in the summer. These minor obstacles meant that I never made more than a handful of pieces even though I was happy with the look.

 

Fast forward a couple of years and I got three hair on cow hides as part of a job lot. As I was flat out at the time I tried to sell them as whole skins for camp use but didn't get any takers so back into the corner they went. Skip forward to this year and the drastic slowdown caused by the virus I had time to drag them out again and give it some more thought.

 

Nice though it would have been to make some more cuirasses Odyssey has finished and I thought demand would be quite small for them. Vambraces on the other hand fit a number of different briefs for a number of systems so was the logical starting point. I made a plain pair with no extra decoration in both buckled and laced variants which were OK but nothing special. The next sets were made using a leather overlay to give a focus to the vambrace, a shaped piece with some dome rivets. This is a much stronger look and the one that's going on the website. I've got some more ideas on how to expand on this by using embossed centres to the overlay piece but it needs some more work on the embossing and the shape of the overlay piece. Watch this space.