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Old 02-07-2018, 05:50 PM   #21
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

It might be possible to build a really high end armor out of additive technology, which is what they do for race car and aerospace parts. 3D printing metal alloys is commonplace in those industries.
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Old 02-07-2018, 05:59 PM   #22
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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 Polydamas View Post
A really nice historical-style harness costs in the low tens of thousands (Jeffrey Hedgecock was quoting 20-40k USD for a 1470s kit last time he was making custom armour), so budget should not be an issue for a drug cartel.
About $800,000 would be my WAG at a budget for Big Boss Jefe Man Drug Baron, a.k.a. Raul Vargas, specifically what he is prepared to pay in R&D, prototyping, obtaining the right tools and materials, making the right contacts and maybe making a couple of less than perfect suits before arriving at the perfect one.

He might have spent as much again or even more when trying to do something similar five years ago, but he might not have been able to finish the proccess that time and/or whatever tools he bought or armour he eventually received might have been lost/destroyed. If he was happy with his armourers that time and they were just contractors half a world away, I suppose he could have contacted them again and they'd have been able to use much of what they learned in the earlier design phase.

As the 'Cutting-Edge Armor Design' system assumes production armours and doesn't usually include all the start-up costs and engineering work involved in custom-designing a one-of-kind item, his final product should come out considerably cheaper than $800,000 to $2,000,000 in the model, before anyone checks what kind of armour you could design with that by the rules. ;-)

Note that while the setting is mostly realistic, Vargas is one of very few individuals in it with superhuman gifts. He's a supersoldier, possibly with other gifts, so it's likely that his ST is by now considerably higher than normal for his size and weight. And he was always well over six feet and 225 lbs., so ST 18-25 are plausible, with ST 26+ possible if he's as strong for his size as the most powerful of the known specimens.

So, you know, a suit of armour twice as heavy as a harness meant for an ordinary, 5'9", 170 lbs. man in good shape doesn't really pose a weight problem, as long as it is not too bulky or awkward. So, feel free to allow the full armour weight to be between 80-120 lbs.

As for the budget for the other armours, let's assume that as it is likely that whoever Vargas contracted has learned a lot that would be applicable to a simplified, similar design, Vargas might have been willing to throw another $100,000 to $200,000 at the armourers for another dozen suits for his closest entourage.

Obviously, looking cool would have been important there, with actual protective performance not as vital as his own armour. And they should probably be 50-60 lbs. at most, as his men are normal humans. Still, they should be at least as protective as very good steel low TL field plate, with hardened steel and/or ballistic fabrics used to provide some kind of protection from bullets over the most vital areas.

I'm guessing the narco-soldiers who want to impress Vargas will do it with some sort of weird and wonderful kit-bash, like ordering some cheap SCA armour and wearing movie-prop morion helmet mock-ups over riot helmets, mild steel pauldrons mostly for show, SCA-legal back-and-breast over modern tactical vests encased in arts-and-crafts projects meant to look like gambesons or home-made brigandines made with trauma plates and ballistic fabric backing.

Or anything else the wonderful forumites can come up with. :-)

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There are plenty of skilled armourers in eastern Europe whose customers play games on the edge of the law, and it is so hard to make a living as an armourer that I don't have trouble imagining a shop in Russia selling a dozen harnesses to a Special Client. But working with fancy alloys in the thicknesses you need to stop modern rifle rounds is its own game. Spring stainless destroys smiths' elbows, but many sports armourers work in it, at least while they are young and foolish.
Yeah, my Googling seems to show that the qualities you want in very bullet-resistant steel do not play at all well with the ability to work that steel into anything other than the simplest shapes.

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One simple option would be having someone make the helmet, bevor, breast, and back in thick special alloy (probably using machines not hammers and getting shapes which look wrong but will be wearable), and a different someone sew an arming doublet of ballistic fibres (I think that there are already businesses which will tailor a blazer and interline it with with kevlar), then have a regular armourer fit arms and legs in spring stainless to that. Those parts will be about 1 or 1.5 mm thick, so no good against bullets.
This is currently my favourite solution for the 'Dark Lord' suit that Vargas will own himself.

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It is the shops in places like Ukraine and Russia which have the capacity to make a dozen kits on short notice anyways.
Yeah, I got most of my visual inspiration and general idea about SCA-legal armour pricing from a Ukrainian company, Armstreet.
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Old 02-07-2018, 05:59 PM   #23
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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Looks like you are right. I can easily find complete limb armour in 16G for about $900, which leads me to believe that it might be possible to get cheaper Indian or Chinese production, but it might be that these would not look good enough.
The email exchange between these guys and an Indian armourer with great photos on their Facebook page or ebay account would be the stuff of dark comedy.

Whatever these guys get might well impose a DX penalty or excess FP-loss, have unnecessarily large Chinks in Armour or exciting mechanical failures, but buying armour which more-or-less works is not that hard. I am not sure about the rifle-resistant part, but regular plate armour is a buyer's market.
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:12 PM   #24
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

In terms of armor clothing this seems to be the go company http://miguelcaballerofashion.com/in...collectionpage
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:36 PM   #25
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The email exchange between these guys and an Indian armourer with great photos on their Facebook page or ebay account would be the stuff of dark comedy.
I'm betting they still retain connections with the shady Chinese business executives who used to buy the shiploads of iron ore they shipped out and sell them... a wide variety of things in return, i.e. precursor chemicals for making meth, knock-off fashion clothing, pirated entertainment, unlicensed electronics, and, of course, export military equipment with, eh, less-than-accurate end-user certificates.

So, basically, I imagine that they got a lot of their normal TL8 tactical wear through some corrupt middle-men who knew a guy, who knew a guy at the factory or in the logistics chain, who could divert a part of a shipment of Dyneema ballistic panels, trauma plates or a few hundred meters of Kevlar fabric.

Trying to work this network of shady middle-men, who might not even want to know about the ultimate destination of the diverted goods, would be pretty frustrating if you want something made to exacting specifications. I imagine that eventually, their primary contact into the shipping on the China to Lazaro Cardenas sea route hired some kind of fixer based in China (or whereever appropriate factories could be located) to arrange for those special orders they'd need.

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.

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Whatever these guys get might well impose a DX penalty or excess FP-loss,
Granted. For mostly rifle-proof chests and decent protection elsewhere, -1 DX and a higher rate of FP loss might even be acceptable.

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
have unnecessarily large Chinks in Armour or exciting mechanical failures,
I see large and obvious Chinks in Armour as par for the course for the cheaper kit-bashes, essentially TL8 tactical gear with cosmetic medieval/Ren Faire flair, adding some mild steel armour pieces.

It might not apply as much at the higher end of ingenious work-arounds, like quite clever things like brigandines made of a combination of ballistic fabric, high hardness steel alloys and softer steel worked into the curved plates. Though these would probably not even aim for total coverage of the limbs, except possibly by light bracers and greaves backed by thin ballistic fabric, leather or velvet, useful against knives, machetes and wild dogs, as well as looking dope as fornication.

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but buying armour which more-or-less works is not that hard. I am not sure about the rifle-resistant part, but regular plate armour is a buyer's market.
Rifle-resistant trauma plates are cheap and fairly effective. There's spalling, of course, but I imagine that this is less of a problem when you incorporate the 2-4 trauma plates of extremely hard steel into a full suit of some combination of ballistic fabric padding and underlayer, steel of a lesser hardness which allows it to be shaped into armour and maybe even other trauma plates behind the milder steel on the sides or abdomen, to add ballistic protection (if Semi-Ablative).
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:44 PM   #26
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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It might be possible to build a really high end armor out of additive technology, which is what they do for race car and aerospace parts. 3D printing metal alloys is commonplace in those industries.
That sounds like we live in the future right now, you guys!

Could you use that to take already existing trauma plates of incredibly hard steel alloys, 11"x14", 10"x12" and smaller side plates, and somehow print somewhat softer metal alloys around them to create an apparently solid cuirass of a desired appearance, to be used as a part of a full suit of plate hand-built by an armourer catering to re-enactors?

Or to link together the high hardness trauma plate and several pieces of hand-made armour for the same effect, if that would yield a higher DR, better fitting cuirass?

Or are the 3D printed alloys already comparable to the best steel armour made with more traditional methods, or perhaps even superior?

How far in the future are we living? :-)

Also, I assume you could hire a Chinese company to perform such labour? Like, if you had contacts who knew someone at a huge conglomerate there that is sure to make something like parts for high-performance race cars or aerospace vehicles...

Or maybe something slightly less likely to have security and intelligence types monitoring everything and everyone...

Are there applications that are less sensitive to espionage concerns? What kind of companies would have the required rechnology to do this?

What about something to do with mining?

Mines sometimes need spare parts with exacting specifications and very high wear-resistance at short notice, far away from stores or delivery services, right?
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Old 02-07-2018, 07:01 PM   #27
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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.
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Old 02-07-2018, 07:57 PM   #28
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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Poking at this some more:

I wanted to link in a nice HTML table of the material cost and weight per point of DR by armor type, but the HTML isn't working. So linking here:
http://westmarchsaga.wikia.com/wiki/GURPS_CEAD

The key take-away is that for up to DR 11, polymer composite scale is 60% lighter than steel plate but only 10% more expensive: 0.24 lbs and $7.7 per DR per sqft, versus 0.4 lbs and $7 per DR per sqft.
I see. But very bulky, no?

This would be how thick?

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So if you don't mind going for more of a Japanese samurai aesthetic than European knight, you can make your own armor out of resin-bonded kevlar scales.
Vargas was stationed in Korea in the late 70s, I seem to recall. Got into 'Korean Karate' there. Can't recall if he ever served on Okinawa.

He is the type who'd be into the more violent kind of samurai movies, though, so that's all right.

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Mythbusters showed this is tedious but not hugely difficult*: buy sheets of resin-bonded kevlar, cut them into scales, drill holes into them, string them together with kevlar yarn. Assuming you can cut through 1/2" sheets of resin-bonded kevlar with a band saw (I think this is a safe assumption; we cut through steel pipe with a band saw in high school 20 years ago), this entire operation can be done with a high school machine shop.
How interesting. So basically, female workers from a clothing factory should be able to learn to do most of the tedious work?

With someone who has Machinist to handle the drilling?

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Anyway, a DR 5 poly composite scale suit is roughly 26 lbs, $830. Plenty of cash and weight left over for a kevlar undersuit, which could be as simple as the best commercial vest you can buy and some home made leggings and sleeves.
Indeed.

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As far as working thick sheets of kevlar goes, I don't think it requires radically specialized equipment. Powerful sheers and a sewing machine with a long needle and a lot of torque driving it through the fabric should do the job. There are a lot of companies that make kevlar vests, after all, and I don't think that they're buying crazy exotic equipment that only the US DoD sells. Find one that's going out of business and buy up their gear.
I suppose that would work, though it's not like Vargas and his men are particularly good at Computer Operation, Diplomacy, Finance, Market Analysis, Merchant or Research. They can basically defeat almost any likely opposition among the cartels* and Vargas could personally kill any rival drug lord, his bodyguard, his family and any pets, assuming he could find him.

The reason Vargas and his men are still comparatively small time, despite their very scary capabilities for organised violence, is that they are not very good at the business aspect of the drug business. They were enforcers for the rest of the Caballero templarios cartel while they were at their height and although they may have survived the fall of their parent organisation, most of those who followed Vargas were rather more competent at the violent side of the business than actually, you know, being able to discover a good deal and arrange for a mutually acceptable exchange.

I suppose that if Vargas was lucky, one of his many temporary mistresses was unusually competent, decisive and knowledgable, and that she handled the acquisition of specialised sewing equipment for kevlar.

What should the default between Sewing and Armoury (Body Armour; Optional Specialisation: Fabric) be?

*Vargas is a former 20-year veteran of US Army Special Forces, with adequate Administration to run a military unit upward of a company, good Intelligence Analysis, surprisingly good Leadership, excellent Tactics (Guerilla) and even high Teaching skill, despite his Callous Disadvantage. He has recruited from special operations, special response and commando units in Central and South America, where he had many contacts from his days with 7th SFG (A) in the 80s and 90s, ever since he got into the drug business. Those of his men who have been with him long are trained to a significantly higher standard than most of the local military, themselves usually significantly more professional than the average cartel gunman.
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:36 PM   #29
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I'd cut it with a plasma cutter. Assuming it's steel, you anneal it first in the forge, which will soften it. I suspect you'd need a large hydraulic hammer or a hydraulic press to shape it. Hardening back from annealing can be done with a cutting torch (small pieces heated until non-magnetic, then quench) or a large coal forge (make it crudely from concrete blocks and leaf blower). BUT, this may not get it back to full hardness. I would probably just avoid the forging and just cut it with plasma and the cold press it into shape. Or at least, experiment with that first.
Ok, so we've pretty much decided that forging will not be compatible with the extremely high DR per weight for the high hardness, abrasion resistant steel alloys.

Cutting, cold pressing or just accepting that the ultra-hard steels come in flat sheets or gently curving ones and that isn't going to change very much unless you effectively ruin the things that give it higher DR per weight than steels more generally used for shaped armour.

What's your view on AR500 or similar very high hardness, abrasion resistant steel alloys, as regards DR? Should they have the same, extremely high DR for their weight against all damage types or would they resist some types, like piercing, better by about 20% to 50%?

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.

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).

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A plasma cutter is a common shop tool, the hydraulic hammer costs $5k and up. You can build a junkyard version for very little, though. Heavy presses can be quite expensive.
Plasma cutter would be useful in making improvised APCs out of trucks and tractors too, right?

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?

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If they have a plasma cutter and a hydraulic hammer, yes. You could chop the armor plate up with an angle grinder but it would take a long time and many discs, I suspect. The thing is, a lot of the smaller armor pieces will probably not work as AR500 pieces. Too many sharp curves and bends. You may have to use it only where the shaping is minimal and use high-quality steel in other areas where you need to have a lot
That sounds credible.

What kind of steel, or steel alloy, is high-quality in the 2010s for vehicular armour purposes, but still shapable into personal armour?

And how much of an improvement is it over the fairly mild RHA steel used as the benchmark in GURPS?

As far as DR per thickness and by weight are concerned?

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Should be possible, with enough time and equipment bonuses.
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?
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:38 PM   #30
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In terms of armor clothing this seems to be the go company http://miguelcaballerofashion.com/in...collectionpage
Yes, indeed! I believe one PC was wearing either a vest from them or a suit. Not sure which.

They are also popular with the classier sort of cartel executive, the sort who'll make use of Vargas and his men, but despises having to socialise with them.
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