Armour Requirements

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General

Figure 7.1: Required Armour Coverage Areas
(a) Front, Female
(b) Front, Male
(c) Side
(d) Back
(a) Front, Female (b) Front, Male (c) Side (d) Back
  1. Metric measurement is the legal system of measurement in Australia and New Zealand. Imperial measurements used in the Society Marshal's Handbook have been converted to metric units in this book.
  2. Armour must be licensed where required by mundane law.
  3. Armour shall be fastened in a way that prevents it from being dislodged during normal use.
  4. Armour shall cover the areas that are required to be armoured throughout the normal range of movement.
  5. All armour shall be free of sharp edges.

Responsibilities

  1. Every participant is responsible for obtaining, and wearing in combat, armour which complies with the minimum standards set out in these rules for the class of combat they participate in.
  2. To reduce the risk of combat-related activities to an acceptable level, it is the responsibility of the individual to determine their requirements for additional armour above the minimum standards and to ensure such armour meets the appropriate standards as set out in these rules.
  3. Prior to combat at each and every SCA event every participant shall ensure that a rostered member of the kingdom marshallate inspects and approves any armour and weapons which that participant will use.
  4. Even though amour and weapons have been inspected, all participants accept full responsibility for the condition and safety of their equipment.
  5. Participants have an obligation to themselves, the marshals, and their opponents to ensure that their equipment meets all society and kingdom requirements.
  6. The wearing of armour and clothing that gives as period an appearance as possible is strongly encouraged. It is strongly recommended that all visible tags, logos, and obvious plastics and modern materials be covered or removed.

Summary of Areas to be Armoured

  1. Areas of the body which must be armoured are:
    1. The head and neck, including the face, throat, and the cervical and first thoracic vertebrae. The cervical vertebrae are the vertebrae in the neck. The first thoracic vertebra is the first major lump which can be felt in the spine at the base of the neck.
    2. The kidneys and floating ribs.
    3. The elbow joints.
    4. The hands and wrists.
    5. The groin.
    6. The knee joints.

Head

General

  1. During combat the head must be protected by a helmet constructed in compliance with these rules.
  2. Helms, including the face guard, shall have sufficient coverage to protect the bones of the skull and face. While it is necessary to protect the bones of the jaw, it is not considered essential to completely armour the soft tissue in the underside of the jaw.
  3. Helms, including face guards shall be constructed of steel no less than 1.6mm thickness (16 gauge), or of equivalent material. Steel of less than 1.6mm is too thin, even if it is sold as 16 gauge. 1.3mm/18ga helms may not be used by any combatants, whether plumed or non-plumed. They may only be used by non-combatants who remain on the field during war combat with missile weapons, in accordance with the requirements set out in 7.15.
  4. If a spun metal top is to be used in the construction of the helm, it shall be spun from a minimum of 2.0mm (14 gauge) steel. The process of spinning the top thins the metal, thereby requiring a heavier gauge to start with.
  5. Alternative materials such as stainless steel, brass, bronze or like materials are permissible as long as the material provides protection equivalent to 1.6mm thick steel.
  6. Because mass is an important part of the protective qualities of a helm, titanium, fibreglass, or other materials may not be used in the construction of a helm if they render it lighter in weight than an equivalent helm constructed of 1.6mm steel.
  7. All joints or seams shall be constructed in one or a combination of the following ways:
    1. Welded on the inside and outside.
    2. Welded with a single bead that extends through both surfaces.
    3. Lap joints welded or brazed at the edges of both pieces.
    4. Riveted with iron or steel rivets, no more than 63.5mm (2 1/2 inches) apart, or with equivalent riveting techniques. Screw and/or pop type rivets, along with other light-weight rivets, are not to be used.
  8. There shall be no major projections on the inside of the helm. Minor projections of necessary structural components are permitted, but must be padded.
  9. All parts of the helm that might come into contact with the wearer's head shall be padded with a minimum of 12.7mm (1/2 inch) of resilient material, or shall be suspended in such a way as to prevent injurious contact with the wearer. Similarly, parts of the helm, which might come in contact with the wearer's neck or body, should be padded.
  10. All helms shall be equipped with a chin strap or other means of preventing the helm from being dislodged during combat. An equivalent might be, for example, a strap from the helm to breast plate or a chin cup suspension system. A "snug fit" is not an equivalent. The chin strap shall be a minimum 13mm in width and shall not be placed in a manner that could strangle the wearer.

Plumes

Figure 7.2: Plume attachment to Helm
  1. Helms worn by plumed participants must have a plume of a high-visibility colour extending at least 30cm vertically above the highest point of the helm. Plumes must have sufficient bulk through its entire height to be easily visible from all angles. Sticks, arrows, or other tall but thin objects are not acceptable. Plume attachment is shown in figure 7.2.
  2. Heavy combatants and non-combatants must not wear any kind of plume during war combat.
  3. The plume must be able to flex and return to its original position if struck or bent without becoming detached from the helm.
  4. Plumes must be securely attached in such a way that there is minimal chance they will become detached in combat.
  5. Plumes should attach to the rear or top of the helm.

Face Guards

  1. The face guard must completely cover the face opening of the helm and extend at least 25.4mm (1 inch) below the bottom of the chin and jaw line when the head is held erect.
  2. Face guards must be constructed in a manner which will prevent a 25.4mm (1 inch) dowel from contacting the wearer's face.
  3. Where screening itself is not equivalent to 1.6mm steel it must be underlain by a legal plate or bar grille face guard that would conform to the requirements for a legal face guard were the screening to be removed. This rule shall apply both to permanently attached screening and removable screening.
  4. Bars used in the face guard shall be steel of not less than 4.76mm (3/16 in) in diameter, or equivalent. If the gap between supporting cross-bars is less than 50.8mm (2 in), 3.18mm (1/8 in) diameter bars may be used.
  5. All face guards must be attached and secured closed in such a way that there is minimal chance that they will become detached or come open in normal combat use.
  6. Face guard bars or screening should not attach to the interior of the helm unless of structurally superior design and workmanship.
  7. In scenarios involving missile combat using arrows or bolts, all openings in the helm larger than 5mm across must be covered by well-secured screening. The screening must be one of:
    1. Perforated steel no less than 1.6mm thick. Perforations will be no more than 5 mm, with less than 50% open surface area. See figure 7.3.
    2. Stout woven steel mesh of minimum 1.6mm wire with openings of no more than 5mm. See figure 7.3.
    3. Crimsafe brand security mesh. Although the gauge of the woven wire is less than previously allowed, the protection offered by this security mesh is superior to the current approved materials.
    4. With the exception of "Crimsafe" noted above, window screen or galvanised hardware cloth is unacceptable for use as screening.
    5. 12kg fencing mask mesh
    6. Other mesh which will not significantly flex, spread apart, or deform under pressure of 12 kg applied by a standard rapier mask tester repeatedly to any single point.
  8. All screening must be attached and secured in such a way that there is minimal chance that it will become detached in normal combat use.
Figure 7.3: Archery Screening Examples
(a) Perforated Plate, 4mm Holes, 50% Open area
(b) Perforated Plate, 5mm Holes, 50% Open area
(c) 1.6mm Wire Mesh, 5mm Spacing, 57% Open Area

Eyewear

  1. The lenses of all eyewear must be shatterproof industrial safety glass or plastic.
  2. Ordinary glass lenses are prohibited.
  3. For those who require corrective eyewear, the wearing of contact lenses or "sports glasses" is strongly recommended.

Neck

  1. During typical combat situations including turning the head, lifting the chin etc, the neck, including the larynx, cervical vertebrae, and first thoracic vertebra must be covered by one or a combination of:
    1. The helm; or
    2. A gorget of rigid material padded with a minimum of 6mm of resilient material; or
    3. A mail or heavy leather camail or aventail that hangs or drapes to absorb the force of a blow. If the camail or aventail lays against the larynx, cervical vertebrae, or first thoracic vertebra or can be pushed into contact with those areas by a blow from a weapon, that section must be padded with a minimum of 6mm of resilient material.
    4. A collar of heavy leather lined with a minimum of 6mm of resilient material.

Groin

  1. The groin must be protected to a standard equivalent to that provided by an athletic cup or pubic protector, secured by straps, or worn in a supporter or fighting garment designed to hold the protection in place.

Body

  1. The kidney area and floating ribs shall be covered by a minimum of heavy leather worn over 6mm of closed cell foam or equivalent padding. Viscoelastic polymers (i.e. Zoombang) can be considered the equivalent of heavy leather worn over 6mm of closed-cell foam.
  2. It is highly recommended, but not required, that women wear breast protection of rigid material.
  3. If breast protection is worn, separate floating breast cups are prohibited unless they are connected by an interconnecting rigid piece such as a heavy leather or metal breastplate.

Arm

  1. The elbow, including the point and both sides of the elbow joint must be covered by rigid material underlain by at least 6mm of resilient material or equivalent padding. This armour shall be attached in such a way that the elbow remains covered during combat.
  2. A shield alone is not sufficient on a side-strapped shield.

Hand

  1. The outer surfaces of the hand, to 25.4mm (1 inch) above the wrist of both arms and including the thumb, must be covered by one or a combination of the following:
    1. A rigid basket or cup hilt with sufficient coverage to prevent a blow from striking the fingers or the back of the hand. If a basket or cup hilt, shield basket, or centre-grip shield is used, a vambrace and/or half gauntlet shall cover the remaining exposed portions of the hand and wrist.
    2. A gauntlet of rigid material, either:
      1. lined with 6mm of resilient material or equivalent padding, or;
      2. designed to transfer potentially injurious impact to the surfaces being grasped.
      3. A gauntlet of heavy leather lined with 12mm of resilient material or or equivalent. Ice hockey gloves are considered to be the equivalent, but look blatantly modern, and their use is discouraged. Kendo, lacrosse and street hockey gloves are not equivalent.
    3. A shield with a shield basket or equivalent. A shield alone is not sufficient, since it covers only the back of the hand, but not the wrist, fingers or thumb.
  2. Combat archers, siege engineers, and those using throwing weapons, need only a half gauntlet made to the above standards for gauntlets, but without finger protection. Combat archers, siege engineers and those using throwing weapons who wish to be able to transition to using melee weapons during combat must be wearing the appropriate hand protection for use of their melee weapon.

Leg

  1. The knee, including the knee cap, the areas 25.4mm (1 inch) above and below the kneecap, and both sides of the knee joint must be covered by rigid material lined with at least 6mm (1/4 inch) of resilient material or equivalent. This armour shall be attached in such a way that the knee remains covered during combat.
  2. A minimum of heavy padding over the thighs is strongly recommended, but not required.

Footwear

  1. All participants, including combatants and non-combatants such as marshals, must wear sturdy footwear which provides adequate protection and support of the foot and ankle for the terrain and activity of combat.
  2. Period-style footwear is strongly encouraged.
  3. Footwear with soles that provide good traction is strongly recommended.

Shields

  1. Shields shall be edged with leather, padding, or other covering or constructed in such a way as to minimize damage to rattan weapons or other fighters.
  2. No bolts, wires or other objects may project more than 9mm (3/8 inch) from any part of a shield without being padded. Rounded shield bosses are not considered to be projections.
  3. Nails may not be used in shield construction unless they are peened or clenched.
  4. Shields may be constructed with leg(s) so that they can act as freestanding pavises during melee combat. The leg(s) used to keep the pavise standing must be at least 32mm (1 1/4 inches) in diameter or 32mm (1 1/4 inches) square and be well attached.

Non-Combatant Armour Requirements

General

  1. During war combat with missile weapons and war combat with arrows non-combatants who remain on the field, such as marshals, must be armoured in accordance with the standards set out in this section.
  2. This section only contains exceptions from the combatant armour requirements above. The areas required to be armoured are the same as for combatants as set out in 7.3, any areas not specifically mentioned here must be armoured in accordance with the requirements for combatants.
  3. Banner-bearers are not considered non-combatants, and must be armoured as combatants.

Head

  1. During war combat with missile weapons, non-combatants who remain on the field, such as marshals, must wear a helm. Additionally, during war combat with arrows the helm must be equipped with screening as set out in 7.5.
  2. Helms worn by non-combatants must be constructed according to the standards set out above, with the sole exceptions that they may be constructed from 1.3mm (18ga) steel and have fewer bars underlying permanently attached screening.
  3. Helms constructed of 1.3mm steel must be clearly and permanently marked as marshals helms with a large yellow cross on the rear of the helm. No other helms may carry such marking.
  4. Helms constructed of 1.3mm steel may not be used for any combat-related activity other than marshalling. Use of such helms by combatants may result in serious sanction, including loss of authorisation.

Arm

  1. The elbow, including the point and both sides of the elbow joint must be covered by at least 6mm of resilient material or equivalent padding, attached in such a way that the elbow remains covered during combat.
  2. Non-combatants may not carry shields.

Hand

  1. Non-combatant participants do not require hand armour.

Body

  1. The kidney area and floating ribs shall be covered by a minimum of 6mm of closed cell foam or equivalent padding.

Leg

  1. The knee, including the knee cap, the areas 25.4mm above and below the kneecap, and both sides of the knee joint must be covered by at least 6mm of resilient material or equivalent, attached in such a way that the knee remains covered during combat.