Rules on leather armour

Hey guys! So looking forward to my first event, okay so I bought some leather armour online and it’s really thin so is their a way I can bulk it up to make medium armour so like put a backing on it so the leather is still on the front and showing?

Welcome along to the forums!

Your question is a surprisingly tricky one:

  1. the difference between light and medium armour is indeed thickness. And you might be able to bulk it up into some sort of brigandine by attaching plates of metal (or “metal”) to the back, or several extra layers of foam or leather, but…

  2. this is the sort of thing that the refs in the field make a final call on, so I don’t know to what extent any alterations you would make would be taken into account…?

I’ll leave this to the craftier folk who I hope will answer this one :slight_smile:

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To be clear, I’m not in any way a ref but based on what’s used in play and the specific example of a non-metal brigandine (thick bits attached to a thinner flexible backing) used in the rules, medium armour can be made of layers so adding thickness underneath ought to be viable.
For the most official response, you can email There is a short piece on the wiki giving advice on how best to compose a query if you want to read that too.

What you’ve got looks to be very thin. Do you happen to have measured the thickness for yourself? To my eye that looks to be less than the 1.5mm needed to count as light armour at the moment. Am I right in thinking the photo is of torso armour? Do you have the extra coverage needed (either head or two limbs’ worth) to qualify as a “set” of armour?

The simplest ways to bulk it out are probably to back it with cheap faux-leather belts or offcuts of upholstery leather, depending on which you can find most cheaply. Some online leather suppliers have clearance sections too, where you might be able to find larger pieces to use, with the advantage that colour isnt a problem when it’ll be covered by what you have already. You will need to watch that whatever you add will get you to the 3mm thickness though - it can feel a little silly going into a charity shop with a small ruler and checking thicknesses, but it’s likely not the oddest thing the staff will have seen.

Fixing the extras on is going to be most secure with rivets - stitching is very time consuming, frankly. There might be glues strong enough to hold it all together but I personally would be worried about it falling apart on the battlefield; the surfacing of cheap belts can come away pretty easily for instance. Other people may know better than me on that score though.

With belts you could produce a grid pattern of rivets across the leather outer quite nicely, whereas offcuts are all sorts of shapes so you’d need (in my view) to decide whether to go with a pattern of rivets and match the offcuts to that pattern, or to let the offcuts determine where the rivets go, for a somewhat more haphazard look. That’s a matter of personal taste, possibly influenced by your choice of nation and the sort of impression you want to make. Do you have a nation picked out for your character yet?

One other option would be to back the leather with EVA foam or similar and then cover that over, maybe with an old leather jacket from a charity shop, eBay or the like. It’s been a recent rule change that medium armour has to look like leather rather than actually be leather all the way through. Foam is not something I have any experience working with but others may show up who do, and you can also find a goodly amount of cosplay crafting videos online to get ideas/methods from.

One final thing to consider is perhaps returning what you bought and trying another source for armour. This is the disappointing option, most probably but depending on how much it’s cost you already plus the time and additional costs to bulk it up (depending on what you can find), you might find it worth considering the likes of the traders who attend Empire (most of whom are linked on the wiki;
or can be found with a quick search).

Hope some of this helps, and welcome!


Unslain has made pretty much all my points already :smiley:

Personally id return it if possible, the effort to bring that up to spec as even light armour is almost as much work as just building the armour yourself.

If it was from Wish or a similar site (No judgement) though it almost certainly does not match the product pictures or description and they typically refund without you needing to return it in those cases, meaning a bit more money towards a replacement or upgrading work.

Which nation are you looking at btw? As that might suggest some other options with thickening it, like furs for some of the northern nations for example.

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