(About) A Fantastic Compliment to a Dark Outfit
Our Fafnir Greaves are named for the Norse Dragon of myth: a greedy Dwarf who slew his brother to keep all of their gold for himself, sitting atop the horde and becoming an evil and jealous serpent. This dark and brooding pair of shin-protectors designed and constructed by legendary LARP manufacturers Mytholon that would make a fantastic addition to any outfit of a rogue, mercenary or ne’er-do-well. They’ve been carefully designed with the comfort and wearability of the all-day roleplayer in mind.
Each of our Fafnir Greaves are constructed from three riveted pieces of fluted browned steel. They use 18-gauge steel, an authentic thickness for medieval armor. The three-part fluted construction gives an unequaled ruggedness, meaning they are easily capable of standing up to the rough-and-tumble of re-enactment and live-action roleplay. The steel greaves are lined with heavy padded suede leather, meaning they are easy and comfortable to wear for prolonged periods. They are secured with three heavy-duty leather straps with antiqued buckles.
You won’t find a better way to bring a touch of the sinister to your outfit!
(Curiosity) Did Medieval Warriors Blacken Their Armor?
Frustratingly, black armor is only very rarely attested to in the written record, and we only have a handful of ambiguous surviving items that may or may not have been ‘black armor’. It seems very likely that, although it was not commonplace, blackened armor was probably occasionally seen in Middle Ages Europe. Scholars generally speculate that there are three likely methods by which an armorer could achieve blackened armor: by reducing the amount of polishing, by applying some form of paint or lacquer, or by a chemical process.
Polish It Off
A large part of the labour involved in creating armor is the smoothing and polishing of the steel to remove the ‘scale’ from the forging process and create the well-known steel finish. There are some surviving armors that seem to have simply been left unpolished or partially polished, which would have likely been much cheaper and would have resulted in a dark colour. The downside is that, without paint or some other covering, they would have been even more prone to corrosion, and hence very few have survived.
Lacquer? I Hardly Knew Her
The most obvious means of blackening armor is the application of some form of covering or paint: almost all Japanese metal armor is lacquered, ie. it is covered with a varnish made from the reduced resin of the lacquer tree (toxicodendron vernicifluum). It seems very possible that a similar process could have been easily achieved in Europe: pine resin, pitch and charcoal were all readily available.
A Browning Rifle
However, other more permanent techniques may have been used in medieval Europe. The earliest known chemical process for darkening steel is called ‘browning’, and it was intended to partially rust the steel in a controlled fashion to stabilise the metal and prevent further corrosion – a sort of early stainless steel. It was particularly common amongst early gunsmiths, and was widespread by 1700. The technique involved steeping the steel in a weakly acidic solution usually made from dilute nitric acid for several hours or days, then carefully polishing the darkening metal until it was a shiny dark brownish-grey. Nitric acid had been distilled from mixtures of niter and green vitriol by medieval scholars and alchemists, who named it ‘eau forte’ or aqua fortis. Although nitric acid was ideal for the browning process, records attest to early gun-makers using sweet wine or even just salted water to achieve the same results.
Given the easy availability of these materials, it seems possible that an enterprising 14th-century armorsmith seeking to increase the resilience of their armor might have experimented successfully with a similar process – although there is no evidence that it ever became a common practise. Our Fafnir Greaves use updated modern chemicals and methods to give a much more controlled and uniform finish – but the principle is identical.
- Material: 18-gauge mild steel
- Secondary material: Padded suede, leather
- Finish: Browned/dark grey
- Weight: 9 lbs (pair)
Height: 15.75 Inches