Making the Most of What You Have:
The Early Period Fighter
How do you take the armor you have, and with a minimum of expenditure look both early period and spectacular on the field? The first thing to take into consideration is your persona. what would you have looked like on the field if you were really you?
Celts, Gauls and Germanics:
Many Celts fought naked. (I've always wanted to make a flesh colored suit to go over armor and paint it with tattooes.) Others fought in regular clothing with little or no armor. You could make a tunic with the appropriate trim to fit over your body armor to cover it up. This would also make you look larger to your opponent. A pair of baggy pants with plenty of room in the crotch for moving around could cover your leg armor. You could then use cross-garters on tbe lower legs cape would finish off the outfit. Use bright colors and p1aids.
How about a turban over your helmet ant a wide-skirted top coat over the body armor. To sake a turban to stand up to battle (you will have to adjust the calls of blows to the head, since a turban will muffle the sound of a blow to that area), make a cloth or leather cap to fit the top of your helmet. Wrap the turban onto this and then with a long needle and heavy thread, sew the turban to the cap securely. You can then lace the turban to the helmet.
Some other ideas:
A few cheap rabbit furs or a sheep skin could cover the front of body armor. If you don't have enough for the back, wear a cloak.
Back in the early days, one of the people I knew went around to shoe repair shops and asked them to save old shoe soles for him. He cut them into scales and laced them to a heavy canvas jacket... and he had a cheap coat of scales with an authentic look to it. Be sure to cut around the holes if possible.
A regular or semi-circular cloak could be attached at the shoulders of your body armor . We used some round leather pieces from Tandy and covered them with gold leaf so they looked like brooches. We sewed dog leash clips to the back of the leather circles and sewed the circles to the corners of the cloak. Then we sewed rings to the shoulders of the armor. You can take your cloak on or off as you choose.
You could cover the leg armor with fur or fake fur and cross-garter them. (Fake fur washes which can be a real plus).
Ugly helmet? You have inherited the shire's authentic ASII helmet constructed of reinforced beer cans. Its still serviceable, but looks like God's wrath. You could paint the helmet, but an ugly helmet that is painted still looks like an ugly helmet, only all one color.
The best thing to do until you can afford something better is to cover it. A hood on a cloak would work. You could lace the hood in a couple of places to keep it from blowing off. you could make a fur cloak to look like an animal skin and make a hood to look like an animal head (carefully avoiding the cute furry animal Halloween costume look). or you could purchase or tan a coyote or other such animal and lace it over the helmet.
Pick a shield shape that goes with your persona if you can. It adds a lot. Paint or otherwise decorate the shield to fit in. The "Men At Arms" Series from Osprey have excellent pictures which will give you all sorts of ideas.
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