Viking Arm Protection
(About): A Stunning Pair of Dark Barbarian Arm Guards
We have worked with Scandinavia’s finest LARP & re-enactment manufacturers Epic Armoury to bring you our Viking Arm Protection, a pair of striking barbarian-style vambraces made from steel splints. This iconic forearm armor is based on the (theorised) examples of Viking splinted armor such as that found at Valsgärde – as well as an amazing piece of roleplay gear, it’s a valuable piece of speculative practical archaeology. So – strap a piece of history to your forearms!
Up Close with our Viking Arm Protection
In essence, each vambrace consists of five steel splints, riveted to a pair of leather belts, which strap securely around the forearm. But our Viking Arm Protection warrants a closer look, because it has been made with fantastic attention-to-detail. The steel splints, ranging in length from 8 inches to 12 ½ inches in length, are made from 19-gauge steel. This is about 1mm thick, meaning that it is light enough to be barely noticeable when in place, but firm enough to provide an excellent extra layer of protection. The steel staves have been galvanized, giving them an ancient, darkened look as if they have been in many battles. Although we highly recommend keeping them dry at all times (especially when in storage), their zinc coating protects them from corrosion. The splints have been arranged in such a way as to follow the contours of the forearm, and to permit absolute free movement without interfering with the elbow or wrist. The splints are all connected at top by and bottom by a securing strap of leather – this is top-quality full-grain leather that will last you through many battles. It eliminates any sharp edges on the steel, and is sewn shut with a fantastic authentic chunky leather thong. The splints are attached to a pair of leather straps with attractive hand-riveted brass rivets. The straps are thick and robust, and they are pierced to allow a significant degree of adjustment for a really secure fit. They are held in place by a pair of chunky antiqued buckles that won’t let you down.
Overall, our Viking Arm Protection is a really spectacular pair of LARP vambraces that will subtly deepen your roleplay or re-enactment impression. Think through what you are saying with your choice of this armor – when paired with our rugged leather Viking armor, it might mean that your character has access to significantly better armor than their contemporaries by dint of wealth or birth. In a different context, it might signify your character as a primitive barbarian, with no concern for personal safety, when your allies are clad all in shining platemail. It is a fantastic accessory that would fit into a great range of outfits, from depictions of historically authentic early-medieval Norse people, to the splint armor of a fantasy rogue. The sky’s the limit!
(Curiosity): Did the Vikings Invent Splint Mail?
‘Splint mail’ is the term that historians and medievalists apply to a type of ‘transitional armor’ that emerged around the 13th-century CE. Chainmail had begun to be significantly less adequate under the onslaught of powerful new weapons developed in the High Medieval era, like the heavy crushing force of the poleaxe, and the piercing power of the longbow. Armor-makers responded to these threats by experimenting with new forms of armor, most of which involved the addition of pieces of plate metal. Because of the relative rarity and paucity of decent metal, these were frequently sewn into or onto a substrate garment. Shin-plates and knee poleyns were sewn onto your hosen, arm couters were attached to your gambeson, and iron plates sewn into your surcote. Enterprising armorers sought to frustrate heavy blows to the arms by sewing meta; splints to the arms of your garments: these were inch-wide strips of metal plate (usually initially iron but later tempered steel) that could frustrate cutting blows and give a pretty good degree of protection. These were eventually superseded by plate gauntlets and closed vambraces.
However, there is some suggestion that the Vikings might have invented a similar armor system six centuries earlier. A grave at Valsgärde in Uppland, Sweden that has been dated to the second quarter of the 7th-century CE was found to contain a gorgeous set of equestrian riding equipment – as well as three groups of a total of 21 intriguing metal splints, which were still attached to fragments of leather straps and ringmail. This trove, dubbed ‘The King of Sviar’, has been the subject of much debate ever since. Some have reconstructed the splints as a pair of vambraces and a shin-guard, and even as a torso of splinted mail! But this interpretation remains controversial: no other splinted mail has been discovered for another six hundred years, and no historical documents make reference to armor of this type. But it is a tantalising possibility that the pre-Viking Vendel cultures might well have gotten there centuries before Late Medieval Europeans. Our Viking Arm Protection continues this debate with a fantastic historical reproduction that you can incorporate into your roleplay.
Complete the kit! We recommend pairing these bracers with the Viking Leather Armor.
- Material: 19-gauge steel (galvanized)
- Secondary materials: Top-grain leather ; brass rivets ; antiqued buckles
Length: 12.5 Inches
Wrist: Fits from 9-13.5 Inches around
Forearm: Fits from 11.5-16.25 Inches around