Taking Care of your Metal LARP Equipment
There it is! You just invested in your first armor, helmet, or even metal shield to add to your medieval armoury. It is essential to know that the LARPing environment will give many troubles to your new purchases. With time, these items may end up damaged. In the medieval times, it was the armorer and the squire’s job to maintain and repair armor pieces like armored bracers or steel breastplates. Nowadays, it’s the LARPer’s job to take care of their own equipment. It’s important to know that maintenance and storage can differ depending on the type of material we are talking about. At Les Artisans d’Azure store, you can buy pieces of equipment or armor in mild steel (often simply referred to as regular steel), in aluminum and in stainless steel.
Advantages of Mild Steel
This type of material is known to be tough and resistant to blows and impacts. It is also generally more affordable and accessible than its alternatives.
Disadvantages of Mild Steel
During your combats in LARP, after sustaining various blows and hits, it is very likely that your armor pieces end up with scratches. Your sweat, rain and other elements may also contribute to your items accumulating rust.
Before LARP - Maintenance of Mild Steel
To maintain your equipment as beautiful as the day you bought it, it is essential to know how to correctly maintain your mild steel armor pieces. We recommend you apply a good layer WD-40, car wax or beeswax at least once per year: this technique helps keep them shiny and prevent rust from appearing. If by mistake rust started developing on your armor, start by removing as much of it as possible with a scouring sponge, then rinse and dry your items. Afterwards, apply a spray metal varnish to prevent the rust from propagating. If there is a large enough amount of rust on your armor, instead use steel wool or fine sanded paper. However, be careful not to scratch your armor by doing it too hard. Finish it all off with a polishing paste to bring their glossy shine they used to have.
Small note, WD-40 is not a product that prevents the formation of rust, rather only gives back its shiny finish to the metal.
After LARP - Storage of Mild Steel
To prevent rusting, it is very important to make sure to wipe and dry your armor pieces and to not leave them outside during the night, where they could be exposed to both night and morning dews. During storage, it is important to keep them in a dry, aerated and temperate area. If possible, you can also place your items in seal-tight plastic bags to prevent scratches.
Advantages of Aluminum
A particularity of this material is that it doesn’t rust. It is also lighter than its counterparts, allowing you to wear massive, imposing armor for longer without being as winded and tired.
Disadvantages of Aluminum
This metal tarnishes slowly while in contact with air and humidity. Furthermore, it is more flexible, and as such is more likely to dent and bend. This particularity also means that it is more prone to scratches.
Before LARP - Maintenance of Aluminum
To make your equipment glow again, rub them with a sponge while using specialized products for this type of material. Once again, you can apply about once per year a layer of polishing paste, WD-40, car wax or beeswax to give your equipment its shine and lust back.
After LARP - Maintenance of Aluminum
Making sure your equipment is dried well is once again very important. Make sure that the place where you store your items is a well dry, aerated and temperate area. Storing them inside seal-tight plastic bags is also a good technique for storage to prevent contact with air and humidity, which can both deteriorate aluminum.
Advantages of Stainless Steel
This metal simplifies the thought process and planning associated with storage and maintenance. It is quite more resistant to corrosion and oxidation, so you shouldn’t be finding any rust on your equipment through normal use. As well, stainless steel keeps its shiny finish, ideal if you are looking for a resplendent armor set.
Disadvantages of Stainless Steel
This material tends to get dirty more easily. It is also heavier than regular steel, and its characteristics make it more expensive than other alternatives.
Before LARP - Maintenance of Stainless Steel
There are no mandatory maintenance steps to take with this material, but you can still polish your pieces about once per year to make them as shiny as ever with the usual products mentioned earlier, namely polishing paste, WD-40, car wax or beeswax.
After LARP - Storage of Stainless Steel
We recommend you once again make sure to dry and wipe your armor at the end of any events and before storing it in a dry, aerated and temperate area. You’ll be putting all the odds on your side to keep it as shiny as ever.
Chainmails and Mail Coifs
An interesting alternative to full metal armors, Les Artisans d’Azure also offers three practical types of equipment made of mail for live-action role playing games: in mild steel, in riveted aluminum and in riveted steel. Important: riveted mail is not a different material, but a different assembly process based on history with flat rings closed with small rivets. During combat, mail coifs and chainmails will offer additional protection while allowing a better ease of movement. If you choose a riveted mail product, it will be sturdier and longer-lasting.
Advantages of Steel Mail
Also sometimes called butted mail, these mail items makes them very affordable compared to other materials available in store. These products are very practical for LARP as a first armor for those who wish to get a feel for the weight of a historical chainmail.
Disadvantages of Steel Mail
However, the weight of steel mail products can be quite heavy to wear after some time. Furthermore, if you don’t maintain them correctly, steel mail has a tendency to rust, weakening the various links and becoming vulnerable to breaking from wide movements and tension exerted on them during combat.
Advantages of Riveted Steel Mail
This assembly type is an historical model originally worn by the Romans, where flat rings were riveted together for increased solidity. Riveted chainmail is heavy and solid, resistant to tears and abrupt movements and is the favored choice of historical reconstitution fans.
Disadvantages of Riveted Steel Mail
Once again, these products will be heavy due to the material used. As well, they will have a tendency to rust if you don’t proceed with the maintenance correctly. However, with the way they are assembled, they will not tear.
Advantages of Riveted Aluminum Mail
Combining the solidity of riveted mail and the lightness of aluminum, these higher-end aluminum chainmails are perfect for LARP as they are light, solid and low-maintenance.
Disadvantages of Riveted Aluminum Mail
However, the various advantages mentioned above also make it more expensive. An aluminum chainmail also has a characteristic matte finish, removing the shiny, bright look that other metals can offer.
Before LARP - Maintenance of Mail
The maintenance required will vary depending on the type of material of your chainmail. For steel and aluminum, you can use the various pointers given in the associated sections above in this article. It is however important to mention that the maintenance of a chainmail must be more thorough, as the rust will eat at and dismantle the small rings easier than other metal pieces.
After LARP - Storage of Mail
It is still very important here to dry and wipe your equipment to protect them from the elements. Make sure to keep your items in a dry, aerated and temperate area. You can also store them in seal-tight plastic bags, as it is a great technique to reduce the contact with air and humidity.
Help keep your metal safe
By following these guidelines, you will be able to maintain your products in good conditions. On the other hand, if your products end up oxiding, scratching up or rusting with time, you can also tell yourself that it adds a layer of charms and stories to your armor. After all, not all knights had perfectly shiny armors! It is important to know that a perfect set of armor doesn’t show the various challenges it overcame!
You just read this article, but have yet to purchase or complete your outfit for your next LARP? Here are some inspiration for you