Painting helmets

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Painting helmets

Post by Tetardd »


I have a spare helmet that I'd like to paint with my coat of arms, just as an experiment. Does anybody recommend a paint that is matt, suitable for metal and that does not chip too badly when hit by a sword?


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Brother Ranulf
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Re: Painting helmets

Post by Brother Ranulf »

Consider first what medieval paints would have been used and how they might stand up to being bashed with any kind of weapon. Egg tempera was used on parchment, pigment mixed with linseed oil (just like modern tube oil paints) was used on wood and pigment mixed with wet lime plaster was used on walls. For permanently colouring sheet metal, the best results were obtained by applying champlevé or cloisonné enamels (not paint, but using powdered glass that was heated to very high temperatures).

Enamelling a helmet is extremely unlikely, since any blow with a weapon would shatter the finish into fragments - so you are back to the very temporary finishes mentioned above. None of these would survive being hit with a sword.

Modern acrylic/enamel/oil/emulsion paints would suffer just as much, so it is difficult to suggest anything that would not suffer after a beating with metal weapons.

Just as at the time, painted finishes need to be retouched frequently (have your servants do it!).
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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Re: Painting helmets

Post by Nigel »

They look good when done but as the brother says need maintenance

One of the jobs we do every year
There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

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HEMA fantasy nerd
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Re: Painting helmets

Post by HEMA fantasy nerd »

Thank you for talking about cloisonne and champleve. I've never hear of these before and love learning new medieval facts.
author and blogger, lover of swords and fantasy

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