Chaos Armour

“Into the darkness he went. Into the flames of hell. With his head held high. And he smiled”.
Sermon f
rom the Warhammer- universe, Reynolds, Dark Disciple.

Since I know what chaos- space marines do in their spare time, I am a fan of the wordbearers. These guys have a mission.

And although Michael Moorcock has invented  the principle of “Chaos” as it  is widely known nowadays, it was Games Workshop who gave it a face. My oldest warhammer edition (three booklets with minor and major heroes) is from 1984 and since then a few miniatures have accumulated (the oldest from pre-slottabase-time).  My earliest White Dwarf issue is no 91 (july 1987. From the original legal notice: editor: Mike Brunton, bits´n bobs: Graeme Davis, useful flunkey: Sean Masterson and art director: a certain Mr. Blanche). Thanks for being there, guys.

Below left: GW Nottingham, below right the most impressive miniature collection in the world with integrated time-acceleration-field (suddenly a few hours have passed...)

GW Nottingham06 GWmuseum6

But now back to foam, pattex and the original theme:

001homeSL9 Portrait2011
PCR_Chaos_Armour

Above left 2009, above right 2011 (with mask for speaking parts),
below that 2013 (primary- und alternative weaponry)
A classic so-called
Chaos Armour
(a superheavy suit of armour granted by certain gods to their champions). In my preferred larp-system these guys are controlled by the game- organisators.
Armour like this just can´t be built in metal, because it would be way too heavy to wear. And we not only have to wear it but must be able to effectively fight other players to plausibly portray the super- warriors these fellows are supposed to be...

And you don´t build them in one go- mine was made in several “phases” since 2009 and is now (2013, including maintenance- time) heading for the 500- working-hour- mark.

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Chaos Armour
This suit has been built to make the wearer appear broader and bigger. The creature doesn´t fit through normal doors and needs 2,50 meters to stand upright. For the Warhammer- look the shoulders should appear as broad and the head as small as possible.
See above the picture of the armour on its stand: the difference between belt and shoulders. And the belt even has paddings inside to make it look broader. So little “human” fits into the armour. On the other hand the whole ensemble should still look “naturally”.

Construction principle:
The armour is multy- layered (opposite to the heavy egyptian armour), which means the outer skin is not in contact with the wearer but “surrounds” the puppeteer.
On a taylormade chassis is a multilevel volume- generating  buildup. On this is the outer skin. The wearer can move fast and unhindered because he is not hampered by cumbersome parts in his movement areas (see what I mean at “harness).

By and large, the following agenda was taken into consideration:
Optimized sight and flexibility, minimized contact with the wearer to facilitate air circulation, abrasive areas (where parts overlap) are on the inside, no spikes in impact zones, real protection against foam weapons (when something looks like a tank, some players tend to overlook the fact that there´s a friendly, harmless guy -namely me- inside and hit it harder than necessary instead of appropriately running away), water outlets (it might rain.... sometimes heavily.... and water that gets in must get out again). The suit can be put on all by myself in relatively short time and for maintenance purposes every part of every assembly group can be reached.
One of the things he´s not allowed to is lie down.  I also tend to stand a little apart from groups because being constantly jostled is not good either- when shoving guys with steel armour the foam looses. That´s also the reason why I don´t like to fight as part of a shield wall- so InTime the warrior considers this beneath his dignity and stalks the battlefield as part of loose, mobile formations in search of worthier opponents.
But these are the only restrictions - the armour wasn´t built for show but to be an adversary to be reckoned with. Win or loose, meanwhile it has seen years of action and fun (and maintenance).

The documentation consists of more than a hundred pictures- but the website´s subtitle “special interest” calls for a comprehensive documentation. I´ve decided against galleries and split the content into the seperate pages “helmets and masks”, “harness”, “belt”, “arms”, “legs” and “fibreglass- feet”. All pictures can be zoomed with rightclick context-menue.

The building proceeded in three main phases: First harness, arms, belt and simple mask, then legs and helmet, then new colour scheme and new helmet. And then time and again odds and ends...

On  Youtube 2 variants of the armour can be seen in motion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haUx9QqSReg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEKFb2ZwY3Q&feature=channel

This seems a good place for the links to the dokumentations of the armour´s parts (click picture or underlined text):

0001HarnischR10
103-Gürtel
Klauen-rot
25BeineR10
CRHM15HelmN2
PCRGFKFfeet

upper body armour (the central element of the suit): harness

extra broad belt: belt

arms (unly forearms, to be precise): arms

legs (shinbone armour so to say): legs

the armour´s “faces”; helmets and masks: helmets & masks

feet; the first ones were made og fibreglass, the current ones are made of cloth/ glue- composite (linothorax):

fg- feet

boot-cover

By the way: The correct translation of “Kung Fu” is not “secret, devastating dragon- killing hitting- technique” but simply “hard work”.

01TeileR10 CR21chaos-armour-parts
02KleidungR10

above: the armour´s parts (left 2010, right 2013)
Let´s take a look at the red version.
Front row: legs, feet (with shoes) and gaiters
Second row: left & right arm, main belt with attached front loincloth (armoured to prevent embarrassing injuries from arrow- hits; we can´t have that)
Third row: secondary belt with side- & back- plates and back loincloth, “mesh” shirt and tertiary “mesh” belt
back row: helmet, harness, cloth tube for disguising neck, gloves.

left: the clothes worn under the armour:
Black long- sleeved t-shirt with cloth jacket, running leggings with padded knees, gaiters and a hakama (superwide trousers) with cut- out front and velcro-strips & push- buttons for the legs. Under the helmet I wear either a “morphmask” (at daytime) or a balaclava (at night). For this demonstration- photoshoot the area around the eyes has not been blackened.
I also have spare leggings, t-shirts and a second morphmask. They´re needed on multi- day- games...
On the picture from 2010 there were no “mesh”- parts, so I wear the secondary belt with plates and back loincloth. Today a “mesh”-shirt and tertiary belt would go under it to cover the free areas.

03HandschuheR10

above: Operator- gloves with neopren- upper side and rubberised grip areas are valuable not only for real deployments- they´ll also prevent you losing your grip on your weapons in the game- worlds.

right: Legs are held in place with rubber- and velcro strips. Monsters are dressed from the bottom up. Try it the other way round and despair.

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04BeineR10
06GürtelR10

above left: Velcro- strips (soft side on the cloth for easier washing) and push- buttoms secure the hakama to the sides of the leg- armour.
above right: Main belt with attached front loincloth. The underlying broad webbing strap (see construction details) is what holds it in place; the visible “clasp” has no holding function and just generates volume. Loincloth is removable (also by velcro)

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07Harnisch1R10

above left: open harness on one side and get in (easier than it looks. See video about how fast it really is)
above right: clip webbing- strap and close side (velcro)

09HelmR10 10ArmeR10

above left: helmet
above right: arms

CR01Front1
001Front1R10

There we are. Time needed for dressing up: about 10 minutes.
At night the eyes are free (with blackened surrounding area), at day all one can see behind the helmet is black. above left 2009, above right 2011).

below: colour schemes numbers  2 (left) and 3 (right)
I`ve opted for red and only painted parts of the armour. It is no coat of paint as such- the surface is painted like a miniature (see “arms”). Later a third colour, “brass”, was added.

Chaosrüstung-Rot
PCR_Chaosrüstung

Finally, the surface should be sealed somehow to protect it at least a little from abrasion- damage. I don´t use latex but Pattex transparent, applied like paint with a brush. The stuff is quick- drying, highly flexible, odor- neutral (important when the armour ist presented on a stand in the hallway) and sun or heat won´t harm it. And in case of damage the surface can be repainted with acrylics - even in a short game- pause. Granted- a latex surface is infinitely more rugged but vulnerable against sun, heat and a phenomenon called- “latex- cancer” which would ruin so many working- hours that I just don´t want to risk it. Also, when damaged, a latex- surface is much more difficult to repair.

below: Working with the greatsword. Due to the fact that the volume of the armour is much bigger than its content (i.e. yours truly) some moves have to be adjusted. Although I could wield a real two- handed sword while wearing the outfit, luckily a larp- fight doesn´t have to be realistic: it should be theatrical. A dinstinct contact is sufficient to count as a “hit”- the techniques used are most definitely not meant to harm anybody and we lay stress on the fight “looking good” despite its competitional character.

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CR07Portrait3
CR10Strike

below: some blocking- movements to the right

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CR18HochRechts
CR17MitteRechts4

below: some blocking movements to the left

CR19TiefLinks
CR21HochLinks
CR20MitteLinks

With such projects one should use the word “finished” only in a very careful manner.... last year I stated something in that direction right on this place here, but that quite obviously has been greatly exaggerated- see on top of this page this year´s version (2013) with new glassfibre-feet, completely new colour pattern, added “mesh” details, new trophies on the halo and a small removable taclight on the right shoulder.

This page should be revised because it doesn´t show the armour in its currend form, but that´ll have to wait.

And I´ve got more plans for the future: broader shoulders, removable halo... also for later.
last edit oct 2016

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