Allen Antiques

Munition half suit - A-212-A-270-A-290-filled-in-on-stand-front Munition half suit - A-212-A-270-A-290-filled-in-on-stand

Munition half suit 1510 and later

Composed and completed with modern in-fill pieces. Atypically for this collection, this piece includes a number of custom made new pieces to complete the look. The breastplate, backplate, helmet and the left arm from the elbow to the hand are antique. The right arm and upper portion of the left arm were made in 2022 by Wade Allen to complete the look. The idea was to create something representative of a cheap "splint" or "almayne rivet" armor that would have been made and purchased in large numbers in the early 16th c. The images show the first time the pieces were put together temporarily on a stand. The display also includes a modern mail collar by Jeffrey Hedgecock purchased as part of item number R-43. If all goes well, and I continue to enhance the display, I hope to associate the other related items from the Allen collection which are of the same type and date into a single coherent display that would also include item number A-56, item number A-229, item number A-319 and item number A-123.

Breast and Back plates: Breastplate formed of one piece. Globular form. Simple outward turns at the neck and arms. The rolls are tapered with a rounded profile on the outside, with a subtle crease in the front forming a very crude triangular roll. Short spray of flutes at the center composed of 5 full flutes with two step (one sided) flutes - one on each side. The flutes are accented by engraved lines. Pierced for laces at the center of the neck and with two marks. Waist flared to carry a fauld of 3 lames. The fauld lames secured to the flare by rivets and to each other by sliding rivets at the side. The bottom fauld lame has a narrow outward turn at the center which is slightly boxed. The breastplate is cut out at the sides of the waist. The sides and ends of the fauld lames extend significantly past the waist. This is typical of armours around 1500. Two buckles at the shoulders. Both appear to be old, but they are probably both associated. One is too nice for this simple armour and the mounting plate is decorated so that it appears to have been originally designed to be used on the surface of a piece of armour. Backplate formed of three plates with raised borders at the neck and waist and with one full flute and two one sided flutes at the center. These flutes are not accented with engraved lines. The back has a very full, rounded shape. The breast and back are secured by straps at the shoulders and would have been secured at the waist by a strap and buckle secured to the back plate. Leathers depend from the bottom plate of the fauld to secure tassets. All leather straps replaced. Given the way munition armours appear to fit, it is reasonable to assume that these breast and back really do form a cuirass. Nice example of a simple munition breast and back from the very beginning of the 16th century. A very similar cuirass in the Kienbusch Collection, Philadelphia (cat. no. 123, pl. LVII), which is described as having come from the Bayerisches Armeemuseum, Munich. A number of similar cuirasses are said to have been worn by the town guard of Munich in about 1500.

Measurements: width between the arms 11 1/4 in., top center of the neck roll to the waist 13 1/4 in., width a the arm holes 14 5/8 in., width at the waist 10 1/8 in.(given the cut into the edge of the waist, it is wider than this at the real waist), fauld lames 1 3/4 - 1 7/8 in. tall at the center, backplate 13 in. wide across the top, 13 3/4 in. wide under the arms, 1 3/4 in wide at the waist, 12 1/2 in. tall at the center.

Thickness: variable - a few sample measurements indicate app. .090 in under the flutes in the center, .070 about half way around on the left hand side and .050 at the side under the left arm. Fauld mostly .030-.040, if there is a pattern they are thicker in the center. Backplate generally .040-.078, most thicker spots near the waist and upper right corner. Some spots up to .070 in. thick. Most of the surface .050-.060, thinning at the shoulder blades.

Weight: breastplate and fauld 5 pounds 15 ounces (2690 g), backplate 3 pounds 5.2 ounces (1505 g).

Burgonet: Small, low combed with a movable fall and cheek plates. The bowl formed in one piece with a low central, roped comb. The fall is secured to the bowl by two rivets that allow it to be raised. The upper part of the fall is taller than many, extending the skull slightly. The fall overlaps the cheek plates, locking them in place when it is down. The tail is a separate piece riveted to the inside of a flare on the back of the skull. It is more typical for this to underlap the skull. The outer edge is rolled inward and roped. Cheek pieces are secured to the skull by external hinges. This is not typical of later pieces where hinges are generally inset. The cheek plates have rolled and roped borders at the lower edge. The lower edge of the cheek plate extends the flare of the neck plate. The flare is formed as a separate piece riveted solidly to the cheek plate. The face hole of the cheek plates is formed with a simple hollow bump. There is a decorated iron plume holder at the back of the skull. This is an example of a very early form of burgonet. It would have been used with a simple Maximilian armour, possibly with a splint armour. That is how it is displayed in this collection. Similar to item number A-182.

Measurements: Weight 1 pound 14.2 ounces (860g). Thickness of the bowl varies between .02 and .06 in. but is mostly around .035 in. The variation is pretty random, the thickest part being in the back left. Brim .023-.032 in. Cheekplates .016-.034 mostly app. .025 in.

portion of a splint arm protection: Consisting of elbow, forarm and hand protection. Elbow covering the outside and point of the elbow with a simple slightly tapered form puckered to fit to the bend of the elbow and with a central band formed by 2 one sided flutes. Forarm of gutter formed with a central slot to secure the hand protection. Hand protection on three leathers. Hand protection of three plates secured to a fourth wrist plate. The slot allows the wrist/hand protection to be retracted. Leathers replaced and broken. Holes for Y strap across the elbow and a strap in the center of the vambrace. The images of the half suit show this piece with additional pieces of armor - item number A-212 and item number A-270 - and a modern upper and right arm made to complete the look. The modern pieces are marked on the interior 'WCA' and are obviously modern rolled steel.

This type of thing was purchased by Henry VIII for his army (in 1512 Henry bought 2000 of these) and is often illustrated in various levels of completeness in illustrations of early 16th c. landsknechts found in many woodcuts. These would have been very common originally, but few survive. This has been assembled from the following original pieces: breast and back plates - item number A-212, burgonet - item number A-270 and part splint - item number A-290. One of the most famous displayed armor of this type is in Winchester and has been illustrated in books on armor including Arms and Armor of the Medieval Knight by Edge and Paddock on page 139. This book also includes one of the more famous woodcuts of this type of armor on page 140.


If you have any questions, please send them to Wade Allen

This site last updated Wed Feb 15 14:48:29 EST 2023