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Old 02-07-2018, 09:02 PM   #31
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I don't want to do that unless TL8 very hard steels are truly so much more effective than TL6 'Hard Steel' and actually perform better against all threats than the the equivalent weight of the best cutting-edge steel alloys used in vehicular armour in recent years (but nevertheless somehow aren't used for most military armour applications, maybe because they are very hard to shape and work with).
I think I'd just stick with David Pulver's figures for compatibility sake.

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Plasma cutter would be useful in making improvised APCs out of trucks and tractors too, right?
Yep, its a common tool in most body shops. You need a heavier duty one for thick armor plate, I suspect.

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What about a hydraulic hammer or a heavier press? Do you need them when making armour plates to weld to a truck to make it proof against all smallarm fire up to .50 BMG?
It's likely that a shop used to make that stuff would have what you need. I'd handwave it, personally.

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What kind of steel, or steel alloy, is high-quality in the 2010s for vehicular armour purposes, but still shapable into personal armour?
Where I'd think you could get some interesting results is direct metal laser-sintering or fused metal deposition, which can work with steel and titanium alloys in a powder form, basically forging them into a shape like 3d printing, and using gradient materials, that is, blending materials seamlessly from steel to titanium and aluminum. It's capable of making rocket nozzles and turbine blades, so I suspect body armor is not impossible.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgGenOdq9iY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7IsFQLjRNU

Basically, you can build a helmet that's made from say, steel alloy, titanium, and aluminum, blending materials and shapes to maximize protection in likely strike zones while minimizing weight and using the best material for each area. You could have aluminum reinforcing bands inside the helmet, for instance, providing flex, that just blends into a rigid hard outer surface to deflect blows with no seams or connectors whatsoever. The whole thing could have fluting and various construction (captive infills, like triangles or i-beams, for torsional stiffness) to make it lighter and tougher as a result. That's not something you ever could build by hand. And it'd be fairly simple. It's just using one of those expensive metal 3d printers and a 3d printing file. Print, test. Adjust. Print, test, etc. Once it's perfect you scale it to fit the wearer and print.

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And how much of an improvement is it over the fairly mild RHA steel used as the benchmark in GURPS?
I'd call some of this more advanced stuff early TL9, perhaps. Just use the figures from David Pulver's articles.

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If $5,000+ in tools like plasma cutters and hydraulic presses are what you need to be able to do the work at all, how expensive are the tools you need for +1, +2 or an even higher bonus?
I think we give some figures in HT for a mobile parts hospital. That's what I'd use.
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Old 02-07-2018, 09:06 PM   #32
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I see. But very bulky, no?
This would be how thick?
...
With someone who has Machinist to handle the drilling?
...
What should the default between Sewing and Armoury (Body Armour; Optional Specialisation: Fabric) be?
So poly composite is DR 28/in. That puts the DR 11 scales at a little less than 1/2" thick, and the DR 5 scales are thinner than the AR500 armor plate upthread. Lamellar and scale have to have overlap in the scales, so call it 1" and 1/2". This isn't a lot worse than a kevlar vest with a ceramic plate, but it is going to make it difficult to armor the joints.

I guess you need Machinist to do the drilling, but this is apprentice level stuff: put a stencil over the scale, mark the 7 spots you're going to drill, clamp the scale to the drill press, work the press 7 times. I'd want to do it in an assembly line, with one guy marking the spots and two guys on two different drill presses drilling the holes because one hole is a different width than the other.

Sewing to Body Armor (Fabric) seems like it would be at -3, same as Smith or Machinist.
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Old 02-07-2018, 11:46 PM   #33
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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Because I can find what kind of rounds it is rated proof against as ballistic armour and how much such a plate weighs, which gives a fairly good way to estimate DR/Weight, but if we give it that DR across the board, it outperforms late TL8 triple-hardened and nano-crystalline steels, at a cheaper price.
Hm. My experience is that GURPS armor numbers usually outperform what is actually possible by a fairly significant margin, so I'm curious what numbers you're working with.

That said, body armor can certainly outperform vehicular armor, but it's also much more expensive.
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Old 02-08-2018, 01:57 AM   #34
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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Hm. My experience is that GURPS armor numbers usually outperform what is actually possible by a fairly significant margin, so I'm curious what numbers you're working with.

That said, body armor can certainly outperform vehicular armor, but it's also much more expensive.
AR500 Armor plates, from, well, the company AR500 Armor, rated NIJ Level III (thus needs to stop GURPS damage 24.5, i.e. DR 25), and weighing 5.5 lbs. for a 10" x 12" plate.

I'm aware that the company was subject to a recall in 2016, specifically for claiming higher proof than all of its armour could meet, but these are their currently offered products, ones who presumably passed muster in place of the recalled ones.

That being said, AR500 steel alloy plates are made by other companies as well and the resistance to bullet penetration is not implausible in itself. Such steel is used, for example, in making steel targets to shoot that are light enough to move when struck, but don't get damaged, so being proof against bullets at the same time as being lightweight is kind of the primary design goal of the material, long before anyone started using it as wearable armour (well, trauma plates).

Spalling and ricochets make such armour much riskier than other, more expensive kind of ballistic inserts, but as far as DR goes, abrasion resistant steel alloys with extremely high hardness appear to legitimately possess enough to stop high-powered rifle rounds with fairly thin and light plates.

There is no problem with a TL8 steel alloy with a Cost of ca $20 per point of DR to a square foot significantly outperforming the TL6 'Hard Steel' from Pulver's ''Cutting-Edge Armor Design' in Pyramid #3/85, which only has a Cost of $3.5 for the same metric.

After all, higher TL and more expensive materials are supposed to perform better. It's like a fundamental assumption of GURPS armour design. The problem is that there is already a material meant to represnt advanced TL8 steel alloys statted in the article and by the stats you would need about 20% heavier plates of it to get enough DR to stop standard velocity M80 7.62x51mm NATO.

Game mechanically, it would therefore be elegant to give armour made from AR500 steel alloy up to 50% higher DR against piercing attacks than some (or all) other attacks. It would prevent it from outperforming the same weight of TL8 'Ultra-Hard Steel', at $30 per point of DR a square foot, which is meant to represent cutting-edge stuff like triple hardened steels and nano-crystalline steels.

On the other hand, I'm not sure whether AR500 steels are any worse at resisting other kinds of attacks. Yes, it seems fairly intuitive that very high surface hardness would be more helpful against small, fast-moving penetrators with less hardness than the armour, than it would be against, for example, crushing damage, but these are wear-resistant steel alloys, also used in heavy construction, mining, etc.

But there has to be some reason actual TL8 vehicular armour is made from different steel alloys, if it's made from steel. The practical difficulties involved in making stuff other than Solid sheets of flat or gently curving plates out of such high hardness steel alloys might be one reason. I was sort of hoping that there might be other reasons, as well.
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:15 AM   #35
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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It's reasonably likely that some form of 3d printing is the future of advanced body armor, as it lets you play games with nanoscale structures to improve features such as fracture resistance, but as far as I know the tech is not there yet.
But could 3D printing softer steel and titanium alloys let you make a seemingly one-piece breastplate (or cuirass) where you started with sheets of ultra high hardness steel alloys in those places where you could get away with gently curving plates and used the softer, 3D printed alloys to cover all the other parts of the upper torso?

Essentially, could it connect together seperate pieces of higher DR armour which can't easily be worked into the shapes necessary to make comfortable, wearable body armour?

And make it look like a movie-knight breastplate or cuirass, rather than some trauma plates cludged together?

I get that the DR for the shaped parts would be much lower (they'd still be 16G or thicker armour constructed from the strongest alloys of steel and titanium possible for a 3D printer, but they sure as hell wouldn't be rated against rifle rounds), but I'm wondering how practical it is to use 3D printing for the essentially cosmetic function of making this look like 'real plate' harness and not like a higher tech coat of plates or brigandine, which is what you'd get if you used fabric (probably ballistic, with maybe an aesthetic outer liner of leather or other appropriate looking material) to tie together the seperate alloy pieces.
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:40 AM   #36
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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So poly composite is DR 28/in. That puts the DR 11 scales at a little less than 1/2" thick, and the DR 5 scales are thinner than the AR500 armor plate upthread. Lamellar and scale have to have overlap in the scales, so call it 1" and 1/2". This isn't a lot worse than a kevlar vest with a ceramic plate, but it is going to make it difficult to armor the joints.
Well, as did o-yoroi and other samurai armour.

Is the Cost listed for polymer composite in 'Cutting-Edge Armor Design' in line with what it would cost to buy actual resin-bonded Kevlar online today (well, 2015-2017)?

And what are other uses for that material than making body armour, as I assume at least someone in Vargas' organisation needs to worry about cover businesses and preferably not making it too easy for the DEA, ICE/HSI and other alphabet agencies to follow everything he does online by tracking the numerous red flags, and then passing the data on to Mexican authorities.

I mean, sure, he has protection from the Sinaloa cartel now and they pay good money to avoid pesky police attention or raids by the Mexican Marines, but it probably makes the polished diplomats who make the payments quite irate if the compensated parties have to keep covering up clear evidence of not only illegal activities, but actual small-scale industry to equip guerilla soldiers.

So, is it easy to have some legitimate business he extorts order resin-bonded kevlar for some mundane purpose or would it immediately suggest body armour manufacture?

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Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
I guess you need Machinist to do the drilling, but this is apprentice level stuff: put a stencil over the scale, mark the 7 spots you're going to drill, clamp the scale to the drill press, work the press 7 times. I'd want to do it in an assembly line, with one guy marking the spots and two guys on two different drill presses drilling the holes because one hole is a different width than the other.
So, this actually sounds fairly cheap. Depending on how well they do at importing commercially made tactical gear, they might even want to manufacture this for their soldiers.

Combined with what might be fairly professional-grade kevlar undershirts by now, it sounds like fairly effective Level IIIA body armour that might even increase survivability against rifle rounds somewhat.

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Sewing to Body Armor (Fabric) seems like it would be at -3, same as Smith or Machinist.
Agreed.

Which is excellent. After a couple of years of sewing kevlar for their use, the Knigt Templars probably have reasonably skilled workers in those who have displayed enough valuable talent to survive all that time.
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Old 02-08-2018, 03:47 AM   #37
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

For gauntlets and trigger guards ... gauntlets are great for backhanding people and looking tough. Japanese kote should work as-is since they don't enclose the fingers. Some gunmen might end up in SCA fingerless gauntlets, or the kind of gauntlet with one lame over the first knuckle of all four fingers. For the rest, do Cartel gunmen really have great weapon-carriage and trigger discipline? Anyone can saw off a trigger guard ...

You might look at what IMCF/HMB fighters wear for inspiration, because I would expect that some of these gunmen are fans.

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Special steels ought to be easy, they were selling iron ore to conglomerates that sometimes own mining and smelting corporations as well as manufacturing stuff like ships, cars, construction materials, power tools, firearms, armoured vehicles, etc. On the other hand, I don't know if there is much SCA armour made in China or if there would be some other good way to make contact with people there with the appropriate skills, tools and inclination for experimentation.
More India and Pakistan I think. On the other hand, there is Iron Mountain Armoury in China which makes standardized japanese-ish armours.

It is pretty common that Chinese companies don't deliver the exact materials which they promised, because the supply chain there is such a mess and everything is changing so fast. I don't know anything about high-tech steels in the thicknesses used to stop rifle rounds, though.
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Old 02-08-2018, 04:56 AM   #38
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The GM guesstimated that Raul Vargas was pulling in about US $50 million per year, which he had to use for his living expenses, spread around to his closest cronies to keep their loyalty and use to invest in real estate as part of the long-term plan to own all the land where an anticipated pipeline in his territory is meant to run.

This means that the combined revenues of everything everyone who takes his orders is doing is much higher, of course. They buy drugs for many millions per month and sell them for more than that. However, their access to the drug territory and ability to collect the revenue is contingent on their willingness to kill the enemies of the Sinaloa cartel.

So actual, practical things like paying soldiers, lookouts, vendors and mules, buying vehicles (frequently lost), ammo and functional firearms, as well as all the other costs involved in running both a drug business, extortion business and what amounts to a small, elite mercenary group, exists outside Vargas' personal budget.

And while normal TL8 body armour might be a part of that budget, 'Black Knight' armours with ballistic protective capabilities are certainly not a normal operating expense. They are a luxury and come out of Vargas' personal money. Or the personal money of those of his men who are trying to impress him, maybe.

Essentially, Vargas has $50 million a year to run his personal 'household' and to use it to grow richer. He is not going to be willing to spend more than about 5-10% of this on gifts of various kinds to his household and lieutenants, who are supposed to be already loyal, and besides, too afraid of him to need much keeping sweet. Besides, most of them would probably appreciate other gifts than just one awesome armour. You know, new cars, gold-plated Colt 1911s, horses, that sort of thing.

On the other hand, Vargas' has had a personal income probably exceeding $1 million per week for maybe six or seven years, with fluctations. There was probably a time in 2010-2012 when he earned several times that and probably a time in 2014 where he was essentially using his entire income (which might have been lower, as well) to keep together a core group of his best fighters, while they were essentially cut off form all their more powerful support. He's been in his current position for maybe two or three years, making an average of $50 million per year, but he's expecting a large payout within a couple of years from his real estate scheme.*

So, if we assume that he's been willing to devote ca 0.5-1% of his household budget to 'Project Black Knights' over the past two and a half years, he's maybe put a million dollars into it, total. That's a lot, in one sense, but it's not 'set up a factory' a lot. Of course, he might have already started some work on it while he lived in Michoacán, which might mean a couple of million at that time, but it's far from certain that he managed to finish it that time or that he would have been able to take with him everything that he did have.

*Him and about every other well-connected criminal in the region, as they are all part of a very dishonest, very ruthless, very large scheme to dispossess a lot of people so they'll profit from an ancipated oil pipeline. The oil pipeline is a multi-billion project and Vargas hopes to gain a significant chunk of that. Realistically, success would mean several hundred millions for him, in legitimate money.


V.cool!
...

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Vargas considers himself an independent cartel leader and has big dreams to become the next Joaquin 'El Chapo' Loera Guzman. It is true that the Caballero templarios were large enough to make more than a billion a year, most likely several, within the last five years and that Vargas' and his men are the largest, most powerful group of remaining men who still use the title, but they seem to have retained comparatively little of the connections that yield such high revenue.

In actual fact, he and his men are a semi-independent group of enforcers for the Sinaloa cartel, geographically limited. In that respect, they are about the size and power of La Línea in Juarez, at the height of their powers, though working for Sinaloa, not Juarez.

Though Vargas' Caballero templarios do not hold territory within Ciudad Juarez (though they do not hesitate to operate there if given targets), but rather in the Juarez Valley to the southeast of it, and as far out from there as they can enforce their will on the Los Zetas and other rival cartels in that direction. Practically speaking, this currently extends to the Ojinaga plaza, where the locals now operate under their authority and pay them tax.
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Old 02-08-2018, 04:56 AM   #39
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Well, give me some idea on what would be realistic to commission from a legitimate company or how they might have an 'in' with a company willing to be less-than-legitimate.

It's highly unlikely that anyone doing business with Vargas will not realise pretty quickly that he is a drug lord, so unless the stuff can be ordered by a flunky from an online catalog or by the one of the few grey market contacts he retains who have an in with several Chinese businesses*, he'd need to deal with someone who was cool with designing armour for a scary drug lord.

What kind of money are we talking to make this an attractive proposition?

How much of it would be the cost of one custom-made armour, with possibly a couple of failed or unsatisfactorily prototypes on the way there, and how much could you get cost per unit down for about a dozen less fancy ones once you have the techniques down?

And what kind of materials, coverage, design, etc. would be realistic?

If we want something that looks like movie-armour for knights, but functions as well as we can within a plausible budget?**

*Mostly, but not exclusively, representatives of huge conglomerates who'll buy iron ore by the shipload despite having to fake some paperwork, because it's stolen, untaxed and being sold by gangsters. Also, representatives of companies, possibly the same ones, who sell tons of chemicals useful as methamphetamine precursors. And a few people with connections to Norinco, at the very least, to logistics companies that transport weapons from China for export.
**He might spend as much on his own armour as he'd spend on a really pimped-up luxury truck, with gold decorations and other insane stuff, if the mood should strike him. He's probably not going to pay for twelve truck-equivalent armours to give his lieutenants and bodyguards.


Right OK first off I guess I should go into a bit of detail of my thinking about this question.

So as a project what your really trying to do here is find, access and employ a series of pretty bespoke skills and resources in the right order. The two main parts are going to be (obvs) design and manufacture. (The later decaling etc is in terms of resources and accessibility is IMO practically an afterthought!)


Now as much as I love the armour design articles they kind of deal in raw manufacture detail. And that's fine for established mature technologies in ongoing industries. Also TBH there are posters in this tread who have more knowledge then me in material science and specific tooling processes who can explain the detail of how that works. However my POV is unless were dealing with incredibly expensive materials or accessing incredibly expensive tooling or developing new materials from scratch. The actual cost of material, workshop and tool time is not going to be the real cost here. For me the real cost is actually going to be whatever the figure is that keeps the company on the phone long enough to really consider the project. In my mind you have two ways to go with this:

1). companies who are in an industry that just happens to involve the materials you are talking and working them into things. The problem here for you is there is no such thing as a modern day industry for plate armour of the spec you talking about. (The modern day equivalent is of course the modern day body armour industry which you already mentioned and repurposing what's commercial available is an option I think). So we are talking about them having to work out if they can do it, then working out what the value for the hassle of doing so.

Honestly I think that's a calculation more based on percentage of annual turn over and company size than actually unit cost of making TL8 modern plate! I'm pretty certain for example where I work we wouldn't even look at this for anything less than a couple of million. But we're not that small, and you'd be gettin in the way of regular ongoing business and we'd make you pay for that. But the slight silver lining there is that price probably wouldn't change that much depending on how many you wanted and how many trial pieces we'd make (in terms of the numbers you've mentioned anyway)

2). bespoke small workshops who's bread and butter is hyper specific special jobs. They'll be more accommodating but will charge you for that. Now I don't work for such place so no real idea of price but you pay for the flexibility and specialism. This might be cheaper depending on their size but I think your options for people who can do it more more limited.


Right so there's also the design phase, this I think will be easier, not because the skill and knowledge is easier, but because the industries that work in human ergonomics and CAD are more insync with what you want than the manufacturers.

Although to be fair as CADCAM gets more integrated the line may well blur more and more between these two parts!

Sadly I can't help you here really. The last time I worked with freelance designers directly was in the early 00's and it was in different area all together. But my instinct is this is going to be more about billable days on agreed contractor rates and not "they what us to do what...?!" pricing, so I want to say $10,000's? But again I think a lot of this is going to be an upfront cost of the whole project not really about per unit.

One aspect IME people with skills who use them to make stuff day to day that doesn't necessarily interest them often like fresh interesting challenges to those skills!



On the legality thing, OK TBH I don't think its going to be that much of issue so long as they're not daft about it.


1). Criminals and criminal organisation buy stuff all the time from legal businesses. IMO the key factor here is what the product or service is, and how dual purpose it is. Ultimately most industries sell according to the limitations and regulations that are on them. And well to be frank people are often willing to rationalise perceived grey areas in the face of wads of cash.

So for instance drug cartels were quite heavy purchasers of security equipment, like doors, fences etc. Now some times that's because you want your family in your drug funded mansion to be secure from the occasional cartel hit squad, but sometimes it's because you want to ensure your brothel full of child sex slaves don't escape. Many companies don't look too hard or try not to imagine the worst case scenarios.
For a larger scale example British companies were quite happy to sell anti riot equipment to various countries around the world, Police forces need anti riot equipment right, it's a legitimate need? But they looked a bit green around the gills when their stuff was later shown to be cracking pro-democracy demonstrators skulls on youtube.

We're talking about armour, not industrial chemistry sets to manufacture drugs, or spiked toddler fighting suits. On top of that we're talking specifically weird anachronistic armour. Some willing parts of the process might well just say to themselves "well it's not like I'm making the guns they'll be firing back at those this armour is stopping" or "well this armor can't be helping the that much it's olden days stuff".

On the dual purpose thing here with armour. So I'm willing to bet that is parts parts of the world were there are restrictions on the body armour industry on who they sell their products to. Or at least some due diligence is required. But well we not talking about the body armour industry here, we talking about weird high spec replicas of plate armour which while in terms of actual capability might be a distinction without a difference but when it comes to industry standards and due diligence (and sleeping well at night) it can make a difference



2). Don't have some chap with the last supper tattooed on his face turn up on the doorstep! (not that I think you would). Have some agent pose as a representative for some eccentric oil prince. And well you are making weird body armour for the security detail of an eccentric SWAsian playboy. Everyone "knows" these rich oil princes splurge huge wads of cash on weird, bizarre and impractical things right? People often just like a plausible story to hang on their weird but well paying customer.


(Real life example of splurging. My mother in law's boyfriend is a skipper who teaches sailing and has been in the community for decades. He and I were in a pub chatting to some bloke who works for a company who refits luxury yachts. Now the project that was basically funding the company that year was swapping all the wood out of someone's super yacht to the tune of £10m's. This was being done because the old wood that had cost a fortune to put in in the first place, was apparently not the fashionable wood for super yachts!)

Now not all parts can be kept so separate, those scary chaps with tattoos are going to have go for fittings etc, but I think you'll still be able to box off the different aspects enough so that the minimum amount of people on the project know the real story.


Right anyway sorry I realise I've gone on a different tack than most in this thread, those are my thoughts.

But again this sounds like a cool setting! Good luck with it

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Old 02-08-2018, 05:24 AM   #40
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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...
It is pretty common that Chinese companies don't deliver the exact materials which they promised, because the supply chain there is such a mess and everything is changing so fast. I don't know anything about high-tech steels in the thicknesses used to stop rifle rounds, though.
FWIW I agree

I have direct experience* that when it comes to buying steel (or rather things made of specified grades of material including steel) what you order is not always what you get. especially in situations with difference might be be arrapent without specific testing i.e finished products


*we often do test purchases of items that claim to be of certain properties and they often aren't (however they are cheap even when they are!)


Sorry just to say it's not that this never happens anywhere else, just that it is a known issue in China and to an extent India

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