Find out more – The Armour

Find out more – The Armour

Hi I’m Kevin Legg Plessis Armories. I’m
an Armour and conservator. I make reproduction armor as close as I can to
the original pieces. Every technique I use is based on the marks left behind by
the original armorers. I first started making armor at the age of 13, far too
many years ago, but over those years I’ve built up a wide knowledge base and the
research that I’ve done specifically on this breastplate uses the latest
up-to-date information we have. The breastplate that I’ve made here is a
close representation of the original Churburg 14 breastplate that I could
physically make. The original is dated at 1390 so we’re right on key ready for the
build up to Agincourt. The way that it’s constructed: absolutely astounding
just like the original the central section here on the breastplate is
thicker it’s up to two and a half millimeters thick and it tapers down to
one and a half millimeters at the side where you need less thickness. Just like
a modern tank if an armor plate is square it needs to be thicker and
stronger where it’s angled you can get away with losing that weight. The latest
research shows us so much more information than we used to have, so we
know the carbon content of the original piece, we know the thicknesses of the
original piece, and I’ve copied those as best I can. The original breast plate
is made from an up to 0.6 percent carbon steel but it varies
throughout. This is a modern steel at 0.5 percent carbon. It’s the closest modern
equivalent we can go to. The original wasn’t heat treated, just heated and air
cooled. This has also gone through that treatment, so heated and air cooled, not
fully hardened and tempered. Same hardness, same thickness, same weight; close
as I can get. So we’ve replicated the weapon and now
we’re here on the other end, at the French Knight being shot at. It’s very
very important that we’re shooting at something that really closely replicates
the reality. So what have we done to get there? Now we are limited on
original surviving pieces from that period. So I’ve looked for a piece which we know the most about Churburg 14 breast
plate. We’ve got a mine of information, so we know the the material it was made
from, we know the heat treatment that it had undergone, we know the thicknesses, we
know the weight and the dimensions. It’s two and a half millimeters thick in
the center, a robust piece of steel, and then the thickness eases off to the side
so at the very sides here, we’re down to one and a half millimeters thick. As you
drop down it drops to two millimeters and then one and a half just on the edge,
where the edges are rolled, and the same coming up. My copy here is only 50 grams
heavier than the original piece. I think we can live with that; I’m willing
to say a few years of cleaning will bring that down. So we’ve got there’s a
number of different things that are important here we’ve got the shape, we
got the thickness, what about the steel itself? I mean what it what is this
supposed to be made out of? Now the original carbon content is up to 0.6%
carbon. Now the steel that they produced was very
very different to the way we produce steel now. We’ve got a more homogeneous
steel with a better carbon distribution. So rather than use a point six percent
carbon on everything, I’ve dropped that down and used a modern 0.5 percent
carbon steel. Now the other thing we know about the original is the heat treatment.
Because of the makeup of the steel we can see that it’s been heated and air
cooled, so it’s not been fully hardened and tempered but it’s still improved. It’s way tougher to work, its a way tougher
material than the older irons and lower carbon Steel’s that we’ve seen seen in
years before. So with a modern steel matching those thicknesses, tapering out
the sides as it’s worked, and obviously the rolls on the edge the
shape, all adds to the strength. So as well as the shape though it also has
other features that imply that they’re aware of the dangers involved in a
battle like this. Like the applied V stop rib and that’s a very revealing detail
isn’t it? Yeah it is, I mean as we as we mentioned before, what you need to
penetrate a breastplate is to hit it squarely if it doesn’t hit it squarely,
what tends to while I expect to happen is that the
arrow will slide and will move off. Now it wouldn’t matter so much if it moves
off to the side, but if it moves up, the throat is very very
vulnerable. So we’ve got this this stop rib.
Now the stop rib is only located in those three places, it’s not solid, so I
expect it as it gets hit to distort to bend. But in bending it will absorb that
that force. And it didn’t go in his throat. Just the
fact that these are on the original breast plates, and there are several
surviving examples of these, suggest that they’re really concerned
about the skating and sliding of something bouncing off a primary area
but then going into the throat or into the shoulder or whatever. The rolls that you see on the side here are actually stood
up on end they’re not just a simple fold over. You stand them up and again
it gives you that little rib to catch and stop that slide. And it also creates
a strong frame around the hole. Exactly it’s it’s a very rigid piece of
armor and and even just holding it against yourself you feel quite secure
in there. So that’s the breastplate, Obviously he’s not wearing that on his
bare chest, theres other stuff going on underneath, which is hugely important, it
would gain us nothing just to shoot at a random breastplate. What’s underneath?
Well obviously at the time we’re looking at maille, directly underneath. Agincourt period you are starting to move away from the full maille shirts. But they
did wear them. But they did wear them. And that’s there for a reason
Now you’ve got an air gap between your body and the breastplate here, just purely from
its shape. Then inside that air gap you’ve got maille.
Now the maille here, every single link riveted together. That’s going to slow
down anything that comes through so even if it does get penetrated you you’ve got
something there, you’ve got an extra layer of protection. Getting through the
links is still going to take that much energy out before it gets to you. It’s a war of attrition its
to slow it down, and slow it down, and slow it down so you’re still safe inside.
Then obviously beneath that we’ve got our representation here of the arming doublet,
which again is layers of fabric. Now arming doublet is the foundation garment
that you wear over just a shirt, or even next to the skin.
That’s what supports the whole armor, but it also adds a crucial layer of
padding and protection underneath as well. That’s it. It’s a sturdy
garment and each of those layers is going to take some energy. You’ll still get some protection, even if the maille is compromised the breastplate is
compromised, you’ve got that extra layer. And then even after all those layers
everything you’re wearing, it’s still got to go into the human body
underneath to make a difference. This is ballistic gel, so if
we get penetration through the breastplate, through the maille, through our
arming doublet, we’re going to actually be able to see what it will do, how much
penetration into the body. It’s not just replicating the physical forms and materials what about the movement? The ballistic gel itself, if I press you can see it compresses just
as the human body does, but the whole thing here is not mounted
solidly. It’s mounted so it it’ll give. It gives like a human, just like
getting shot. If you were hit sturdily it would knock you back. Right. So we’ve
replicated that as best we can. It’s no good just bolting it all on to a solid back.
No bolting it solidly would misrepresent it. It’s not going to
act like that, whereas this, it’s going to act like a person being hit.


  • Jim Ferdinando

    This was a great video Tod. The next thing that would be good to see is what happens when the armour is shot from the side. And then shooting a fully armoured dummy.

  • Mirodin

    Great work,

    Reducing the dangers of spalling from shots on modern body armor is still an important thing today, that v-stop doing a similar thing back then is a very interesting feature.

  • Jason Savage

    Lovely work, a true mark of a master!

  • Hexates

    That‘s probably the best setup video for a medieval shooting test that I‘ve ever seen! Edit: And I just noticed it‘s 1/3 for the best high-quality medieval shooting test that was ever produced so far <3

  • inge görhan

    too much talk ,,,, shot to god in heaven go on talkshoters soo we can seee:-)

  • One Particularly Smart Ape


    Now in all seriousness, great job. Hope to see more of this.

  • Роман Хопов

    Great armourer

  • jabborif


  • Zen Hydra

    Well done. A pleasure to watch.

  • mesimusnoobicus

    Just a thought, but shouldn't the ballistic knight be traveling towards the archer at horse speed?

  • Kilian Ortmann

    Someday somebody will find this breastplate. Period correct and battered by strikes from an english longbow.
    They will try to date it, and whatever method they use it will always show an age about 600 years too young.
    They'll be left hella confused. =)

  • Bird Dog

    Archers would have known to aim at the sides

  • Hellspijker

    agincoured is 20 years later, wouldn't they have figured out the heat threatment by then? I wonder what the difrence will be if you have a heat threated one VS this one.

  • Raphaël OpusMajus

    What a beautiful day and what a piece of armour. You can be proud of you Kevin for sure

  • Ratko Mladic

    gotta admit, it hurt a little watching this get dinged up but hey, I guess that's what they were made for.

  • Francisco Castañeda V.

    If that plate is repaired will it be as reliable as it was?

  • ZarlanTheGreen

    I would really have preferred a full proper mail shirt, on a full (ballistic gel) torso.
    Also more info on the mail.

  • Bjørn Friborg

    Nothing but deep respect for Kevin and his master craftmanship.

  • Legatus Lucius

    Or you could just make the modern-day equivalent of what medieval armor was supposed to be making it real armor but haveng to use modern-day techniques to do that stop making fack shit everyone medieval armor is cool in any age

  • Legatus Lucius

    Here's a question for everyone if a modern-day blacksmith was sent back in time to Medieval Europe with his workshop and all the tools he needs could he provide Textra armor blacksmiths of the time and I'm talking about my own blacksmith that makes armor for a living like the Stanford for brothers

  • ZagorTeNayebo

    These videos have been fantastic, i hope you can try it out with other authentic armours like brigandine or maybe even lorica just to see what happens and how effective they are

  • Alex Hillam

    Be careful when you next mow the lawn Tod 🙂

  • LCwavesAtYa

    How would one go about fixing those dents? What about penetrations? I'd love to know if there's any concensus on the expected operational lifespan of a piece of armor was.

  • Philip Webb

    BUT think about being hit with maybe 5 to 10 arrows at a time, since archers shot in volleys. One of those arrows had a good chance of finding a weak or open spot in the armor. If an arrow hit the knight's horse, it would make the horse buck or rear and perhaps throw the knight. Even if all the arrows glanced off, there's still the emotional toll of having to ride or trudge through volley after volley of potential!y deadly arrows just to get to the hand to hand combat. Not my idea of a pleasant afternoon.

  • Torian Holt

    The knee only/poleyn armour depicted in the manuscript seems rather odd to me, I wonder for how long, if at all, that was in style?

  • Ty Larson

    Great job guys.

  • Sean Coyne

    Was the introduction of plate armour over mail the reason they stopped using felt, in favour of an arming doublet, or did both technologies overlap?

  • incinerator950

    Many years later and he doesn't look like he aged poorly.

    Also knocks Shad's boobplate theory.

  • DommHavai

    I believe it makes sense to actually bolt it down to be more representative. Your contraption probably weighs much less than an actual armoured person. Also, in a combat situation you are very likely to get hit as you moving forward (e.g. you expose yourself while trying to land a blow or ride towards enemy archers).

  • Integrity ai

    I just love to watch and listen to experts, more so when they´re as enthusiastic about their field as Kevin Legg and Dr. Tobias Capwell. This kind of Video and Information output needs to happen far more often, meaning the dialogue between professionals, experts and enthusiasts.

  • John Freeman

    I have a question about their medical knowledge back then: Did they associate blunt damage to rhabdomyolysis (or maybe a simplified "blunt damage causes other bad things to happen elsewhere")? And, did they include that in their armor/weapon design?

    Rhabdomyolysis is basically all the bad stuff that happens when lots of muscle tissue gets damaged. It, among other things, causes brownish urine because it messes with your kidneys ( is where I saw it, towards the end)

    Rarely, working out at the gym can cause it. In WWII, they called it "crush syndrome," after the effects of having something like a bombed building fall on top of you.

    I guess the Arming Doublet does this? It seems like the impact resistance it offers would prevent muscle bruising.

    I wonder if they knew like "ok we can't cut through this big armor boy with our swords, but if we blunt him he'll have crush syndrome so let's get hammering" or was it like "THE SWORDS DO NOTHING, QUICK START HAMMERING I GUESS I DUNNO!"

  • Gallowaysiege

    I really like this series and the more in depth nature of it. Good job all around.

  • Anders Benke

    A question for the armourer:

    How difficult is it to replicate the less sophisticated steel from medieval times? Is it (much?) easier to do what you did – make the plate with a consistent percentage of carbon – instead of, so to say, trying to mix up a batch of variable carbon content steel?

  • TheJackinati275

    Any thoughts towards testing the armour with a selection of your crossbows? It might be anachronistic, but it would be great to see a comparison.

    If you wanted to, you could also do tests against armour with the sling/staff-sling. I got in contact with one of England's best slinger's and they would be up for doing a video if you are up for it as well.

  • Pongo Ponginae

    Beautifully made.

  • Robert R

    Is there any asymmetry in protection (for this breastplate specifically and English/French armour generally)?

  • il cigno e il grifone

    Questo video mi lascia perplesso,30 minuti di parole, un video che può essere ridotto a 5 minuti massimo.
    Per prima cosa c'è una sola punta provata e non si fa menzione di tutti gli altri tipi di punte,e non vengono neanche provate, non si parla che l'armatura era costosissima e perciò pochi potevano averla indosso ( cosa che un colpo di freccia sfoltisce l'avversario) l'armatura è convessa ma i fianchi lo sono molto meno o per nulla convessi, un colpo diretto su quella zona potrebbe cambiare molto l'impatto.un comandante sapeva queste cose come anche chi le costruiva.
    L'armatura è fissa su un piedistallo,immagino un colpo contro un fante appiedato o contro un cavaliere lanciato ( la somma delle forze imho farebbe danno)
    Ci sono personaggi molto importanti nel video e sinceramente vederli fare questo video da video maker amatoriale mi lascia l'amaro in bocca.

  • calvingreene90

    With dozens of hits soon an arrow is going to find a previously damaged spot.

  • DeludoSui

    But a human would be moving forward not just rolling back on impact. Granted no way an arrow is doing shit to that chest plate. Make it with worse quality metal and then we might have some fun.

  • Juri Van Vliet

    Hey Tod! I would like to give a huge thank you to you and Joe, Will, Kevin, Chrissi and Tobias for all the amazing work that you are doing. You are providing us with so much expertise, knowledge and wisdow on this particular part of history. It really has taught me a lot. Because of you I have a new profound interest in medieval history.

    I do have a question. Is it maybe possible to test out armor that has been repaired? I can imagine some knights not receiving a new piece of armor every single time. Or if they had it done cheaply maybe to save cost? To see what kind of impact it might have when arrows are shot at the armor due to metal fatigue. Will it create a bigger dent and maybe cause internal damage. Maybe by measuring the impact the gel receives after being hit by a shot. Or if cracks start to appear and an arrow finds his way through.

  • John Bennett

    This mostly seems to be well done. There is one thing I question. Period steel not only differs in how uniform the carbon is. It also has a higher slag content. Has any test been done to show how much of a difference this makes? I worry that it might make a significant difference in the results. You should try to get a sample of steel made with period correct methods. Even if it only a small piece, you can do some deformation and penetration test to see how much it changes the results.
    Overall this was a very well done test, but verifying this one point would greatly improve my confidence in the results.

  • Steve P.

    I also wonder how expensive that armor would be. Would any knight be able to afford that kind or would poorer ones have to settle for armor that's not as well made?

  • Christopher Fassett

    I wonder in my purely unknowledgeable way if the trend away from wearing full maille shirts under the plate is an indicator of those advances in heat treating (normalizing at least) and better overall construction of the plate that they were more willing to trust it. It may seem obvious but I just thought it was interesting

  • David Hill

    Mmhhmm. Fml

  • Casspar

    What if the target would move to the shooter at charging speed?

  • Gor eil

    Im in heaven, superb. Love this channel

  • colmhain

    A question for Mr. Legg, is there evidence of repair on the original cuirasse? Would those repairs potentially compromise the armor's effectiveness?

  • jonathan198627

    Could we have a couple of shots from the side like you would stand if you were also shooting an arrow back at your enemy?

  • mangalores-x_x

    I feel that it would be interesting how necessary the v-shape actually is when there is an Aventail etc. I could imagine the bigger worry being a skidding lance point which can proceed to crush your throat, face whatever armor you wear as I am not sure the splinters/arrowhead would still have enough kinetic force to overcome any other armor type (riveted chain and cloth). But I'd imagine you would want this redirection because stuff coming right up in your face would be super scary.

  • Stingray Bob

    Appreciate the attention to detail!

  • airnt

    isn't the V-stop rib more against spears and hand held weapons being shoved under the aventail?

  • Flor de Battaglia

    Brilliant work which likely sets the new benchmark for this scenario. Of course as any good experiment it opens up new questions. What about flanking shots, what about thinner plate? What about only textile armor above mail?

    @Mr. Legg: Churburg seems to be pronounced completely different by English speakers compared to the local folks, which are of course using a Bavarian dialect since a thousends years or so. You can hear the local sounds in this documentary about an organ from 1559, only 150 years after the battle at around 0:50…

    Thanks for giving us such a fantastic gift!

  • Flor de Battaglia

    Brilliant work which likely sets the new benchmark for this scenario. Of course as any good experiment it opens up new questions. What about flanking shots, what about thinner plate? What about only textile armor above mail?

    @Mr. Legg: Churburg seems to be pronounced completely different by English speakers compared to the local folks, which are of course using a Bavarian dialect since a thousends years or so. You can hear the local sounds in this documentary about an organ from 1559, only 150 years after the battle at around 0:50…

    Thanks for giving us such a fantastic gift!

  • Aramis419

    How well would a repaired breastplate stand up to further strain?

  • Devin M.

    I want to do this sort of thing some day. Mostly the smithing.

  • iLaddie Whisky Nerd

    I was wondering about the production method of the steel itself. I am assuming the modern steal was made in a way where it was rolled. Then you hammer out the shape of the armour etc. How would the original plate be made in the 1400’s and how would the imperfections in that process effect the brittleness and inclusions of imperfections due to the medium it was cast in? I am personally clueless of how they did this way back when, but would the production method if the raw plate not highly effect the impact resistance and homogeneous character of the steel? Cool stuff by the way!

  • Roscoe V7

    Loving this series. Can we see how a hardened plate takes the impact? I bet normalizing only was absolutely the way to go. That crystalline structure is so much more ductile than hardened steels.

  • Andrew Shaw

    Random armour question. Given using armour fell somewhat out of fashion after the change from the pike and shot era into the more line infantry days between the 17th and 18th centuries ish, was there a change in quality of armour between it being more commonly produced and it being used by french cuirassier in and around the napoleonic period.

    Or was the hands on knowledge still passed down through that gap such that the armour made was just as good as if it was produced a century before?

  • Ben M

    Question out of left field. Can pieces of plate mail be made by drop forging? I read somewhere that drop forging can cause thinning issues in the center of the piece being made. Can that be mitigated with a centerline ridge?

  • William Irving

    A few little points: first, wouldn't the velocity of the impact be increased by the speed of the Knight on horseback? Additionally wouldn't the effect of the "knockback" of the arrow impact be mitigated by being in a saddle with stirrups? Finally, about the knockback, it seems it would have been a valuable measurement to have. Maybe simply setting the stand along a line and measuring the displacement after impact? Excellent work, amazing craftsmanship on that breast plate. 40 grams difference, wow.

  • john wick

    I'm watching this while high, and man its great

  • Jason M

    Does this armor also contain impurities? I believe impurities was present in varying degrees, on every medieval era armor as it would have been nearly impossible for the armorers at the time to produce the required temperature to completely remove these from their materials.

  • gravitomagneticpower

    I would be quite curious if a 9mm pistol would punch a hole into this armour or not… I seems to be very good quality piece of steel… Nice and interesting video, thank you!

  • Badpritt

    You didn't put in account that the knight would ride a horse and therefore is moving towards the arrow an therefore adding energy to the impact.

  • darrenfronda fronda

    Perfect, keep up the good work, adding to our knowledge of real history not Hollywood history.


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