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Snap's Samurai Armour Build Options
#21 Posted : 28 June 2013 21:47:34

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The Tassets.

In this build there are 11 sets of tassets consisting of 6 pieces of linked armour. In European armour the tassets either consisted of 1 solid metal plate that buckled on to the bottom of the breastplate or a series of metal pieces that were riveted together and then buckled on to the bottom of the breastplate. In Japan the tassets were individual pieces f armour that were laces together and then laced on to the bottom of the breastplate armour. Their design was to give both protection and movement ability to the hip and groin area. They actually cover a gap in the armour between the bottom of the chest armour and the top of the leg armour.

Let’s look at the parts.

Part Preparation
Before we can lace the parts together we have to prepare the tassets by applying a backing and also prepare the laces for threading through the holes. The instructions contain hints etc and lengths (approx.) needed for the laces and how to prepare them.
First of all the Tassets themselves. The backing is soft leather about 1mm thick and has a covered ready applied adhesive. I use one of the tips in the instructions to make sure that the tasset and backing go together correctly by the use of cocktail sticks.

Before applying the leather backing I first pull pack the adhesive covering to uncover the holes. By doing it this way I don’t stick myself to the backing or get sticky finger marks everywhere and mess things up!

Once I have the top part of the backing in place correctly and lines up with assistance of the cocktail sticks I apply the backing carefully pulling off the cover and smoothing the backing onto the metal plate.

Once done, the part looks like the photo below and I do this to all 6 tasssets.

The next part is to prepare the laces. I forgot to photograph one end (DOH!) but after cutting laces to the right length you have to unpick one end and then using sharp scissors (I actually found a razorblade to be easier) you cut a “V” end, apply a little white glue and then twist it into a thin thread which will go through the holes. Later on you can see this. The other end you glue together in a particular way. The Samurai armour makers used this.
First you fold over the end vertically and glue it.

Then fold that over horizontally and glue it.

When done correctly it gives you mountain folds on one side of the lace and valley folds on the other for the threading through so care is taken to make sure that during this process the lace is kept flat.

The Bottom Plate decoration.

This seemed to be the best place to start and to get to grips with the threading of the lace, the patterns that would be made and also the pattern of valley and mountain folds (Mountain at the front and valley at the back).
I first did a test just to see how the lace threads and a mountain fold at the front.

Once I had figured this out and read the instructions and looked at the photos several times to get things fixed in my head on what to do I set to work….

A Samurai ball knot was tied at the end and a blob of glue applied.

The next part was to do the cross thread pattern. Once again I went through the instructions and photos quite a few times before continuing.

You can see in the above pictures that the mountain folds are on the front and the valley on the rear of the tasset. Also this section starts with a ball knot. I continue on until I reach the end aqnd then follow the sequence shown in the instructions to start going back the other way.

Once we have worked the way back to where we started then the fun and games begin

Once again I followed the instructions and photographed each step.

Once complete all I have to do is to tidy things up and snip off any threads close to the knots (both ball) and apply a bit of glue. By this time I have moved onto superglue as it sinks into the knot and dries clear.

looking from the front all looks good and the part is ready for a polish to remove fingerprints and is ready to go on the bottom of the tasset.

Building the Tasset.

Once you get down to this part it is not as intimidating as it seems, but you do have to be accurate with where each tasset sits in relation to each other. Once again we deal with mountain and valley threading through the holes and crossover areas that actually hold the tasset in place.

To help with the tasset placement we have a card that came with this pack and not only has a full size layout diagram but also a threading guide too.

At this stage I thought that it would be a good idea to mask off the front of the plates so that my finger marks would not get on the plates. Even then, once the tasset is finished I will still give each plate a polish with pledge and a lint free cloth.
I photographed each part, and so you can see the entire process. The sequence of photos makes it easy to follow and you can also see the placement guide in use as well as the beginning of the lace I described earlier as well as a close up of a ball knot.

The only thing left to do is to thread the gold tasset lace through the sides of each tasset. This is easy to do and took no time at all as it is the same as the tasset construction but without any crossover areas. Oce again the lace was preapared in the same way and for the other 10 tassets I will add the gold lace as I am constructing the tasset. The photo below shows the completed tasset, still with the masking in place at this moment.

This ends this, the first of 14 months of building this armour. Next month we continue with another set of tassets, more helmet details and more on the breastplate section.
#22 Posted : 08 July 2013 17:42:06

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Pack 2

The Parts.

In this pack comes stages 5-8. Each stage is subdivided and you do jump about a bit, but for clarity and my own sanity and also bench space I sub divided the parts in the blister packs once again into into Helmet, Breastplate, & Tassets.
Here we have photos of each stage packs and then close ups of the individual parts. Some parts require me to do some macro shooting which I will do during the build. I did not want to break open some of the packaging as these parts are very small and losing them on a build like this is not what I want. At this stage of the build and due to the current hot and very sticky weather my build room is, despite large opening windows a veritable sweat box and I dislike working in there so I decamp into another room which is much bigger, airy, has the same light and I can sit next to and open window that carries the breeze over me and keeps me cool and my grumpy temper moderate. For space reasons I did the photography in my build room which had me sweating in minutes mainly because the lighting in there is a proper white diffused light. Some photos, despite being in exactly the same conditions have come out different to others! Go figure!

Stage 5


In stage 5 we have a length of dark blue lace, Helmet visor, 3 Tasset leather backings, 3 Tassets, assorted fixing screws and lugs and two parts for the crest holder.

Stage 6

In stage 6 we have gold and dark blue lengths of lace, Plum Blossom helmet detail parts, first part of the helmet neck guard (two photos – it was not easy to photograph this part), 3 Tasset leather backings and 3 Tassets.

Stage 7

In stage 7 we have Breastplate parts (2), Joining plate (2), 2 lengths of lace (blue & Gold), cord and joining pin

Stage 8

In stage 8 we have Blue Lace, cord and locking pin, Breastplate parts (2) Locking Plate, 2 Tasset leather backings and 2 Tassets.

Again the armour parts are black lacquered pressed steel and the backing is leather which has a sticky side to it. Now rather than jump around with the build, as parts are spread across multiple stages I will divide them up into Helmet, , Breastplate and tassets. In this pack there are parts for a complete set of tassets and two tassets which will be held over until pack 3. It makes sense to build a complete set of tassets all at once rather than split it up over the month. It just makes it easier to put together.
Let’s move on!
#23 Posted : 13 July 2013 23:31:04

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Nicely detailed work Snapdragon, very nicely done..... Cool Cool


#24 Posted : 14 July 2013 21:38:37

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Pack 2

As I sit here putting up the first part of pack 2 I have pack three behind me in a huge jiffy bag! The thing has come before I am ready - either that or I am working too slow!

Anyway. On with the helmet.

This time we have the peak, crest holder and the first part of the neck guard. Here are the parts

There are some very small parts and I decided to use them first and put the detail onto the first neckguard piece. The decorative parts are made to resemble plumb blossom and despite being tiny they are very well detailed. They were attached with cyro and tweesers with masking tape to provide a little extra grip and not to spoil the finish.

Next up is the peak. Once again there are some very small rivets.

I attached the peak to the helmet with tape and then used the small rivets to fix the peak in position. Cyro was used to bond the parts together along with a little careful finger pressure.

now comes the crest holder. I put the large rivet into the holder and put a bit of making tape on just to hold it in place. I then put the holder onto the helmet and marked off wher it fitted with some tape and applied a little cyro to the back of the crest holder.

This is where it went wrong. I managed to drop the last rivet fixer onto the floor and I can't find it at this moment in time. There are no spares in the pack at all, so I will have to find it!

The last bit of this build is to add the spring thing that the crest will fit on to. It just slots into place with no glue.

Here is a picture of the helmet to date with the first part of the neck guard in position, but not attached.

The next post we have more breatplate parts. Once again, comments and questions welcome.

#25 Posted : 21 July 2013 16:02:41

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A couple of pictures of my stand.

After much discussion with my father we decided to use tung oil on the stand.

After trying some on the base I liked the way it brought out the grain without doing much colour change. It darkened the wood slightly, but I have seen stands on the net that have been stained and varnished.

First I gave all the parts a rub over with the 500 grit W&D that came and then a rub over with some very fine steel wool with made the surface very smooth.

To make sure that I had cleaned off all the dust I used a damp cloth and then using an old rag rubbed in the oil moving the way the grain was.

Without flash

With Flash

Personally I think that my stand is beginning to look nice, but still understated and just right for the armour to sit on.

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