Buying Chainmail for first time

Hi!
I’m looking at buying some chainmail after my first event (where I took about 6 cleaves in one battle!) but I have a few questions I’d be super grateful for some help with.

  1. Is Indian Ebay aluminium chainmail ever decent enough to bother with? It’s £30-40, butted aluminium, so it’s cheaper and lighter but might be awful quality. Anyone think they’re decent? Is it easy to repair butted chainmail? If a few rings do break during battle, will it be wearable or will it completely fall apart?

  2. The other option is a steel Mytholon hauberk, it says it’s “more intended for use without a gambeson” but it is heavy steel, so is it a good idea to use padding or is it okay without?

  3. What kind of padding is good? I currently have a suede vest as my only chest armour, would I need something like a gorget? Would I even need my suede vest? I’d prefer to sell it to help with the costs of the new armour, but don’t want to be uncomfortable.

  4. I’m Navarr and quite enjoyed being “light and fast” with my light armour, so I don’t want to become super heavy and loud- does steel chain make a lot of noise?

Thanks so much!!

  1. Butted chainmail is usually okay, and if it does fall apart (often during transit) it’s reasonably easy to repair. A couple of pairs of pliers and the missing rings, you can bend things back into place. Aluminium chain will only count as Medium armour, though. It’ll stop CLEAVE though…

  2. You’ll want to wear something under any armour. A thick shirt is sometimes enough (plain rugby shirt, for instance). A purpose made gambeson looks nice, but is not always essential.

  3. Good padding will be a quilted vest of hard wearing material, a little longer than the chain on the sleeves, possibly with a rising collar, and reinforcement on the shoulders. Depending on your armour, you could drop down to a heavy shirt or something. I’ve spent several events wearing a polo shirt or a light cotton shirt under my aluminium scale…

  4. Chain rarely makes any noise. It tends to be a comfortable fit, with little room to jangle round. Unless it’s got little tassles of rings along the bottom, or is bouncing against metal plate, it’s pretty quiet. If you need to silence any armour, a surcoat over the top (a light tunic for Navarr) would hold things down and stop it jangling.

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Butted aluminium tends to disintegrate very quickly. Reinforcing it with steel at key points (particularly the neckline) can help, but the metal just isn’t strong enough to make the links hold their shape. If you want aluminium mail, you should try to find some riveted stuff - it will be notably more expensive, but still pretty cheap, and it lasts far better.

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Ive heard a lot of horror stories about butted ali, ive had my indian rivetted ali a couple of years of light use (my tank immediately died on purchase) and its still perfect afaik, about £80-£100 depending on size afaik.

If thats too much for you butted steel does last longer, or possibly look at some cheap plate, though id definitely recommend mail as a first purchase, it works for every nation and is generally better under the Empire rules than plate anyway.

(Which is why i was buying some Ali mail to go under my plate, because im OOC borken)

Several people use a padded gorget under chain and plate as it protects the side of your neck and helps to spread the weight as bit. Also a lot cheaper than a full gambi and cooler for summer events.

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Thanks so much for the advice, this has been really helpful!
I think I will stay away from butted ali, I can’t find any cheap-ish riveted ali in my size (I’m a pretty small female) so I’m thinking I will go with the Mytholon steel hauberk with a padded gorget underneath, and play it by ear as to whether I need the vest too for padding.
Only thing now is, what kind of finish is best? They offer browned/black, ‘blank’ galvanised and untreated oil finish. Browned is more expensive and I’ve heard you have to oil it anyway, and galvanised is out of stock atm, will untreated oil finish be okay for a first timer? How often do you have to oil it to stop it rusting- does it always have to have oil on it? seems like that would get messy!

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The below thread has some advice.

Depending on how much you want to pay, untreated oil is likely fine? I suspect a light wipe with an oiled rag, keeping it clean and dry, and checking on it regularly, would work pretty well… oh, and storage. It’s far to easy to pack stuff away damp and find something horrible has happened months later.

And as for “okay for a first timer”… frankly, if you turn up in steel plate, you’ll be doing newbie armour brilliantly anyway :slight_smile:

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Which one? The David? That’s smaller sized, I used to have one. If you’re getting a collar from there too, possibly get a scarf to go under it, because I found that the rough cotton they use tends to rub my neck.

The other thing I’d say (that I just added to the thread Geoff linked) is that silica gel packs are a good way of preventing damp/rust on kit, especially if the kit is stored in plastic boxes that sometimes accumulate slight condensation spots from temperature changes.

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The David one yes! Thanks for the collar advice!
What finish did you have? I think I’d prefer zinc galvanised so I don’t have to get covered in oil all the time, but since it’s out of stock it probably won’t come back for a good while. I don’t mind paying the extra for black mail, if it’s considerably easier to take care of, but if it requires the same oiling and maintenance as untreated steel then I’ll just go for untreated!

Eh, you don’t need it til next year, so if you want galvanised, get it IMO. Mytholon is the Tesco of larp, they restock fairly often. The nice bit about galvanised steel is because the zinc will corrode first, it works even if it wears down (but that takes ages anway). If you like the look of the blackened, get it. It’s a protective coating, it’ll wear off of some bits eventually, but TBH the risk on cheap butted mail is “it comes apart eventually and needs patching” rather than “rusts to bits”. Unless you’re storing it in a damp shed or something.

You don’t need armour to be dripping with oil to keep the rust off. Just spray it lightly and keep it in a cloth bag. And the galvanised coating will also stain clothing anyway, as the zinc wears off a little. But you don’t do the battles in kit you want to keep clean ;).

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Oh, side note, that one isn’t very long, so you’ll need a helmet, vambraces or leg armour to count as full Heavy Armour for +4 hits. It will cover your torso though, making Relentless probably a better pick than Unstoppable if you have Hero Points. I used to love shooting players in the leg when I monstered :stuck_out_tongue: Leg armour is tiring, and it’s uncomfortable if badly fitted, so it’s a balance.

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If you’re feeling keen and confident (and have the time) you can tailor it: work out which bits to cut out, then join the edges together with tough cord or leather lacing, or perhaps with steel rings.

A word of warning though: I wore a (riveted) aluminium hauberk just once, for a few hours, and it left silver-grey dust ingrained permanently in the white cotton and black leather that I wore under it.