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Old 02-08-2018, 05:26 AM   #41
Icelander
 
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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
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.
You are very right. Gauntlets are cool. And they lend one's pimp hand a rare authority...

So, if at all possible, we'll want some kind of gauntlets that don't interfire with shooting, neither rifles nor pistols. And look as cool as can be arranged. Actual protective value less important, as they won't stop bullets anyway.

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
For the rest, do Cartel gunmen really have great weapon-carriage and trigger discipline? Anyone can saw off a trigger guard ...
Most cartel gunmen may not exhibit great weapon handling, but a long-time veteran of US Army Special Forces and Delta Force would be pretty adamant about training trigger discipline. And he wouldn't allow anyone to wear armour that made it impossible to carry their weapons in an adequately professional manner.

His inner circle of bodyguards and the three kill teams he uses for strikes against other cartels have officers and NCOs recruited from South and Central American armed forces. Each of them is chosen for previous military or police training (or great natural gifts as a commando), ideally combat experience and willingness to obey without question. They all have at least a year with the Knight Templars, with the norm being 2-5 years.

Some of his inner circle have been working with him for ten years or more, though it is a mystery what they have been doing or where, as Vargas doesn't seem to have been reliably reported as a significant part of the drug scene in Mexico much before 2009. Of course, it's not as if they advertise and he could have been working as a secretive assassin / security chief for his cousin, 'El Chango' within La Familia Michoacán, predecessors to the Knight Templar Cartel. Some reports place him as fighting with the original Los Zetas, when they were just the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel, but if he did, he would have been the leader of only a small, elite force of enforcers, not an important lieutenant in the drug side of the business.

The routine of Vargas' personal household and elite strike teams, when not actively operating against hostile cartels, includes several hours per day of some kind of military style training, overseen by Vargas, by Santiago 'El Jabalí' Garcia, his fellow USASF veteran (MOS 18E, Communications Sergeant), by Miguel Angel Zamora, a former LTC of Colombian commandos (AFEUR and the 3rd Counterinsurgency Battalion of the 3rd Brigade), and by Guillermo Machado, a former First Sergeant of the Salvadoran Atlacatl Battalion.

Yeah, sure, he has trouble attracting completely sane recruits without chemical dependancies, psychological issues or the kind of childhood that makes Lifetime cry, but he has the skill set and people to train his shooters to a high standard. I expect he makes a fair bit of effort to get enough ammo to shoot live fire excersises more often than anyone local but the elite units of the Mexican military.

And Vargas really likes running tactical exercises, shooting military weapons and generally running around showing off how much tougher, fiercer and more skilled he is than everyone else, even at sixty-one (the supersoldier thing helps, his body seems not to have slowed down at all since he was 45, when he was a really fit Chief Warrant Officer in an active SF ODA). He also loves sparring, knife-fighting demonstrations, and, probably by now, trying to learn historical martial arts from watching them on Youtube.

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
You might look at what IMCF/HMB fighters wear for inspiration, because I would expect that some of these gunmen are fans.
That's a good point. They could watch it on Youtube or something.

Vargas has always been heavily into martial arts (Tae Kwon Do, Combat Sambo and knife-fighting). As in, he used to compete in TKD and related sports while stationed in Korea in the late 70s and he liked to brag he could break a man's neck with one secret Spetsnaz move from Russia.

While Vargas started that whole 'Knight' indoctrination thing because the cartel his cousin was senior in already had a strange, cult-like mythology and referred to their enforcer arm as Knight Templars, and because Vargas was trained in Psyops while in the US Army and recognised the utility for propaganda and unit cohesion, he's been doing it long enough that I expect he half believes in it himself. Plus, for someone who already thinks knife-fighting and Combat Sambo are awesome, I expect sword-fighting to be even more awesome.

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
More India and Pakistan I think. On the other hand, there is Iron Mountain Armoury in China which makes standardized japanese-ish armours.
I suppose some 'cosmetic'* helmets, face masks, gauntlets and other additions might have been gotten there, to go with faux-Asian resin-bonded kevlar scale/lamellar. Especially before they managed to find a good workshop in the Ukraine or somewhere to make their SCA-legal steel armour.

*Probably real enough metal and DR that may be comparable to the lower end of historical specimens, but are functionally just cosmetic when it comes to the rifle rounds that are the expected threat in pitched battle with other cartels or any gang which would dare stand up to them.

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
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.
It is ironically appropriate that issues with Chinese logistics should frustrate the Knight Templars, considering that they spent years profiting off the opaque accountability within those supply chains when they were doing all all that business with China while they more-or-less controlled the port of Lazaro Cardenas and the iron ore industry in Michoacán.
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Old 02-08-2018, 06:06 AM   #42
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Default Jade Serenity, the campaign in which Vargas and his men appear

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V.cool!
...

V.nice detail
For those who follow my campaign recaps, it should be fairly obvious that Vargas and his Los Caballeros Templarios* are from the Jade Serenity campaign, where I am both player and the Assistant GM for Research, Rules Stuff and Real-World Compatibility. Basically, I do a lot of prep-work for the GM, both leaving him free to focus on storyboarding and other aspects of prep work he enjoys and making sure that the game background has all the details that make a campaign setting interesting to me.

The campaign recaps I've already done are for Jade Serenity Season 1: Project Jade Serenity, which introduced the PCs, some key NPCs and featured an adventure set at the fictional Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane, on the real Jewell Island, ME.

The PCs are working for Joint Task Force (JTF) Onyx Rain, a super-secret government organisation under joint Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) authority, set up to handle the fallout of nootropic (and other) drug trials on US Army Special Forces soldiers in the 1999-2000, which was judged a failure at the time, but has apparently given the participants superpowers that only slowly became evident years later.

Onyx Rain may or may not be an illegal conspiracy of senior bureaucrats without official sanction at the highest level and even if they aren't, they are almost certainly operating at the ragged edge of their authority and not worrying overly much about oversight. After all, Project Jade Serenity was covered up at the time, and they started out trying to resolve the emerging problems without revealing the initial coverup, some of them having become complicit themselves.

Jade Serenity Season 2: Once Upon a Time in Mexico, which is our current, ongoing campaign, is set immediately following Season 1 and I will start a new thread to recap it just as soon as I finish writing up the remaining chapters of Season 1. It will see the PCs and some allied NPCs go undercover in Chihuahua, Mexico, just over the border from El Paso, TX. I have a thread about equipment for that mission and in the campaign in general, there being a strong technothriller element to the game.

And as Vargas and some of the PCs, not to mention several other NPCs, are martial artists, I also have a thread with speculation about martial arts in the Jade Serenity campaign. I'd actually welcome some input there about the kind of knife-fighting which Vargas' men are likely to have practised before starting on their current twisted re-enaction theme and how this might influence the way they use swords, as they are unlikely to have learned their use from anyone with actual skill in Broadsword or Two-Handed Sword.

The PCs are not in Mexico in order to kill Vargas. Technically, we are there to offer him conditional amnesty for his various crimes, beginning with a drug offence on a US Army base, assault, murder and desertion... and then really picking up, and recruit him to Onyx Rain. Morality of it aside, Onyx Rain seems to be prepared to offer a lot of things and deal with the devil himself to avoid having any of the former Project Jade Serenity test subjects running around free and unmonitored.

However, my character certainly considers Vargas a villain of the blackest sort and very much hopes that he will refuse their kind offer, as he has no desire to work with Vargas or have him anywhere near him (or a particular NPC). And while assassination would leave a bad taste in the mouth, it cannot be denied that the arguments for ending the life of Raul Vargas are every bit as cogent as those behind any UAV missile strike that US Special Operation Forces (SOF) direct on the position of a terrorist leader.

*Which is a real thing, though this particular splinter group is fictional and the real cartel seems mostly defunct/re-organised.
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Old 02-08-2018, 06:54 AM   #43
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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
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
So here's some pictures of guys making boat hulls by rolling kevlar cloth over a frame and painting it with epoxy: https://adirondack-guide-boat.com/build-kevlar-boat/

Polymer composite is apparently really popular as a structural material when weight matters but cost and bulk doesn't, so boat hulls or F1 racing cars and the like. It's also sometimes used as a structural building material.

It looks like most people don't sell resin bonded sheets, they sell bolts of kevlar fabric and epoxy by the gallon. A lot of it is business sales, so it's harder to get pricing information off a casual web search.

It doesn't look like buying epoxy and kevlar is going to set off anyone's suspicious behavior detectors, but having a boat building business would be a fine cover story.
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Old 02-08-2018, 07:06 AM   #44
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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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!)
Well, possibly in resource terms. On the other hand, us PCs might visit one or more of Vargas' residences or businesses and it might be interesting if the most practical way to get this done ended up being setting up some kind of workship for the last stage of the process on their property and possibly recruiting someone who had (or had developed during this process), blacksmithing and armoury skills.

I'm not trying to insert actively cinematic or implausible background elements into the campaign*, but if there are several plausible ways they could have gone about this, I'll most likely pitch to the GM the one that offers the best story hooks, possibility for interesting NPCs and cool locations.

So if there might be a SCA armourer, CNC/CAD technician/machinist, mechanical or industrial engineer or someone with some other background providing him with the skills to build medieval-esque armour incorporating modern ballistic protection who allowed his intellectual passion for the project to entice him to a life of crime... well, let's just say that I wouldn't say no.

Especially if he might be a Ukrainian or other Eastern European armourer/machinist/engineer/designer with legal problems back home, which explains why he was ready to jump into the unknown like that. His skill set might also work for less fanciful welding, machining or design work, like making improvised APCs out of trucks, which is genuinely a thing cartels do.

*The superhuman/supernatural Supers elements work best, at least for me, if the rest of the campaign world is meticulously realistic, an almost exact copy of our world with just slight ripples of changes from the secret Project Jade Serenity and the fallout that has arisen from the accidental supersoldier abilities arising a decade plus later.

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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. [...] 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.
I very much agree.

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
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.
[...]
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.
I very much doubt that the couple of million dollars that are the upper bound of what Vargas is likely to have spent is likely to interest some really huge place. Especially as this would have been a hobby project over several years, not a big check with that number on it from the start.

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
(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).
Yeah, buying existing pieces of ballistic protection and fitting them into more appropriately looking harnesses would probably be one option.

Especially for kit-bashed armour worn by young sicarios trying to impress their loco boss, not something designed especially for them.

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
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. [...] This might be cheaper depending on their size but I think your options for people who can do it more more limited.
Yeah, I had thought this was more likely than working with a bigger place.

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
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!
Yeah, that could be a good reason for someone who is flexible about laws, but not, perhaps, a ravening sociopath, to get involved with Vargas and his men, even to the point of moving to their compound to carry out the fittings and final adjustments.

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
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. [...] And well to be frank people are often willing to rationalise perceived grey areas in the face of wads of cash.

[...] Now some times that's because you want you 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.
Yeah, come to think of it, I'm sure 'Black Knight' harnesses aren't the weirdest things Vargas and his cronies have ever commissioned.

The real world Caballero Templarios were headquartered in 'Fortress Annunnaki', a ranch/castle with a casino, bull-fighting and rodeo ring, cock-fighting arena, and absolutely bonkers decorations, where sicarios dressed as knights would meet for medieval style banquets where they'd allegedly eat the hearts of their slain enemies.

Honestly, nothing I make up for Vargas' splinter faction is half as weird or terrible as the actual eyewitness accounts, new reports and even court documents from both Mexican and US cases against alleged cartel members.

They've kidnapped orphans to sell their organs on the black market, which doesn't even seem as profitable as selling the near infinite supply of meth they had at that time, so I'm forced to conclude that whichever Jefe de la plaza was behind filling a refridgerator truck with orphans (alive when they were put there, most dead when found by police) did it more for 'the Evulz' than any rational motives of profit.

Caballero Templario selection process for full-fledged sicarios has been described, in court, under oath, as consisting of murdering numerous entirely innocent people, butchering and cooking them. Those who perform best, not showing any reluctance to chop up the bodies and cooking them, get to finish the training. The rest can stay in their lowly support positions.

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
We're talking about armour, not industrial chemistry sets to manufacture drugs, or spiked toddler fighting suits. [...]
Ironically, methamphetamine precursors are no problem for them. Still get them from China, if in much smaller shipments now that they don't more-or-less control a whole port, with a lot of legitimate businesses to use as cover.

Edit: Actually, China enacted tougher regulations on chemical precursors, so everyone is getting much less from them than they did in 2015 and before. This would probably explain why Vargas' income hasn't been rising faster in the last eighteen months, they are having problems trying to ramp up production to match their territory and the demand for drugs.

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
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).
[...]
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.
Well, Vargas (photo in link) himself is going to have trouble convincing anyone he's not a Mexican gangster. He's probably got a Quirk or two relating to looking like a stereotypical Mexican hard man.

Two of his bodyguards, who are likely to be among those who'd receive a simpler suit of armour as a gift, would also be the kind who'd scare anyone when they showed up for fitting. Ricardo Garza or 'El Calaca' ('The Skeleton'), and Hilario César Romo, a.k.a. 'Caballero de la sangre' ('The Blood Knight') are not the sort who can easily hide their natures.

Maybe one of their contacts who handled the Asian business in the past can work as their agent. Some smooth middle-man type, lawyer or business executive.

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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
Thanks. And, to be honest, a large part of why I asked the forumites, instead of just tinkering with the design system on my own, is that I explicitly wanted views on what was plausible, practical, economic and effective in real world terms, as well as what could be gotten out of the system.
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Old 02-08-2018, 07:57 AM   #45
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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I think I'd just stick with David Pulver's figures for compatibility sake.
David Pulver gives figures for several different kinds of steel, from TL6 to TL8 (in 'Cutting-Edge Armor Design' in Pyramid #3/85) and from TL3 to TL7 (in 'Low-Tech Armor Design' in Pyramid #3/52).

AR500 steel seems quite obviously much more expensive and effective against bullets, at least, than what Pulver calls 'Hard Steel' at TL6 and 'Steel, hard' at TL4, which represents the best possible armour steel at TL4 and more-or-less a standard armour grade for fighting vehicles at TL6.

AR500 steel is closer to what Pulver calls 'Ultra-Strength Steel', a TL8 material, but high hardness abrasion resistant steel alloys in the real world are neither as exotic nor quite as expensive as the triple hardened or nano-crystalline steels that are referenced in the description of that material.

I hadn't looked at the 'Low-Tech Armor Design' article for a while and when I did, I discovered that there was a TL7 'Steel, very hard' material that matches the Cost of the TL8 AR500 and similar steels. I imagine that most grades of high hardness, abrasion resistant steel alloys with high wear-tolerances are 'Steel, very hard' in GURPS terms.

On the other hand, the allegedly tested ballistic protection of TL8 AR500 steel designed for use as armour or steel target is about 70-100% higher per weight than using the stats for TL4 to TL7 steel would give. It's even about a third more effective against bullets, by weight, than the 50% more expensive TL8 'Ultra-Strength Steel'.

I don't think that it would do great violence to internal consistency to insert yet another grade of steel into a line-up of materials already including six types of it. To avoid stepping on the toes of 'Ultra-Strength Steel', it should be inferior for some applications and it seems, as I noted, to only come in what the armour design system refers to as Solid forms, i.e. it can only be used in trauma plates and not in armour shaped to the human (or any kind of streamlined vehicular) form.

If we gave it WM 0.3; CM $20; DR/inch: 100; Max DR: 20*; Notes: ‡; and Constrution: Solid; it would be a viable alternative to other steels. It would perform as TL7 'Steel, very hard' against all other threats than piercing and cutting. I suppose I'd reduce the Cost of 'Steel, very hard' by half in a TL8 campaign, so that it's no longer equal in Cost to this new material, which we shall name 'Ultra-Hard Steel'.

Not useful for armour with any coverage beyond trauma plates, but a cheaper option than ceramic composites for that role, which also last longer, as they don't break up at the first hit. Which is what it does in the real world, being used to shoot at all day long at long-range firing ranges, for example.

This is game-mechanical elegance, however. I don't really know how the modern AR500 steel alloys sold as trauma plates compare to typical TL7 steel of a similar hardness or whether there is a neat price diffeence. And I certainly don't know if such high-hardness, abrasion resistant steel suffers some meaningful disadvantages compared to more typical vehicle armour alloys.

I strongly suspect that something prevents more widespread adoption of such high-hardness steels for general use in those APCs and tanks not using ceramic composites. And as high-hardness means more brittle armour, I'm proposing that these are best at stopping fast, light penetrators of much less hardness than the armour plate. Cr, cr ex and imp attacks, as with most anti-tank rounds, penetrate it much better than bullets.

Edit: Though I discover that modern APCs, IFVs and MBTs actually do use AR500 steel as part of their construction. It's also used in the manufacture of money haulers, personal armored vehicles, riot shields, vehicle door panels, safe rooms, guard booths, bank counters and similar applications. And that steels used for protective applications in military contexts, like MIL-A-46100, would be identical in game terms, with the differences being mostly relevant for IP law, not material properties.

Such steels are specifically stated to be designed primarily to stop high-velocity projectiles (HVPs), which lends credence to the idea that they have a higher DR against piercing attacks than others. For applications where resisting HEAT missiles is required, other alloys may work better, such as nano-crystalline steels.

*Can be double for armouring uses where it is essentially a single thick plate, with no meaningful shaping, i.e. trauma plate or parts of helmet.
‡The full DR only applies against piercing and cutting damage. Divide DR (and DR/in) against other damage types by 1.5, i.e. it has 2/3 DR.


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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.
Ok, that's awesome.

Now, what kind of 3D printer do you need to do this with a cuirass? How expensive, how large?

And, what skill does this use in GURPS?

Armoury (Body Armour), sure, but what kind of defaults could you usefully expect for this specific task from skills like Machinist, Mechanic or various Engineering specialities? What about from Armoury (Vehicle Armour)?

What kind of real world professionals would be best at using this sort of technology to make a suit of armour that looks sort of medieval-esque?

Because most of the people who actually have Armoury (Body Armour) in the modern world will be used to working with other materials, mostly fabrics and various synthetic composites, if they have the TL8 skill, or using more traditional blacksmithing technology, if they make re-enactor armour.

Also, could you use these technologies to fuse, weld, sinter or otherwise attach the new materials you are making to already existing plates of very high hardness steel covering the parts of the upper torso that trauma plates can cover, ie. about a square foot of the front and back, each, and a smaller area of the sides?

Basically, can you use it to make steel plates that actually are proofed against rifle rounds be a part of a cuirass that nevertheless looks mostly like medieval armour, not unrelated pieces of metal? I realise that you'd have to cover all the parts of the upper torso that can't be covered with gently curving or straight plates with much lower DR materials, of course.

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I'd call some of this more advanced stuff early TL9, perhaps. Just use the figures from David Pulver's articles.
Like I said, many figures, not always clear which real world steel alloys fit which grade of steel he gives. Not to mention that there is clearly room for more than one TL8 steel alloy, with different properties than the other.
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Old 02-08-2018, 08:18 AM   #46
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

Sorry one quick response to one point you made

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
...

I very much doubt that the couple of million dollars that are the upper bound of what Vargas is likely to have spent is likely to interest some really huge place. Especially as this would have been a hobby project over several years, not a big check with that number on it from the start....
Yes sorry I should have been clear the $2m figure is more what I estimate would be the company I work for's "huh ok sound interesting let's start thinking about how this would work" figure.

I not sure how it would scale really, a bigger place might ask for more if the interfered with business was greater, but equally such a larger company many be in a position to do this without effecting as much of their own ongoing business as mine would.

a couple of points though,

1) the biggest issue for someone calling us and and suggesting this would be that we'd simply not believe it was a real thing, and short of dumping a chunk of money in our account it would be hard to prove otherwise.

2). we most certainly wouldn't be interested in that money/project being spread over a long term like years.


3). Ultimately because none of the owners* of the company are huge medieval armour buffs the attitude would be, "OK look this chap's got money and we like enthusiastic customers with money, but this project is hassle and headache and takes us out of our professional comfort zone (as well as possibly private comfort zones!)". So it would very much be on our terms and over as quickly as feasibly possible .

Well unless the market for this spec fo plate armour suddenly explodes!



*sadly the finance manager bouncing up and down in excitement would not get the casting vote on this ;-)!

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Old 02-08-2018, 08:19 AM   #47
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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
So if there might be a SCA armourer, CNC/CAD technician/machinist, mechanical or industrial engineer or someone with some other background providing him with the skills to build medieval-esque armour incorporating modern ballistic protection who allowed his intellectual passion for the project to entice him to a life of crime... well, let's just say that I wouldn't say no.

Especially if he might be a Ukrainian or other Eastern European armourer/machinist/engineer/designer with legal problems back home, which explains why he was ready to jump into the unknown like that. His skill set might also work for less fanciful welding, machining or design work, like making improvised APCs out of trucks, which is genuinely a thing cartels do.
The US Army has experimented with high-end 3D printing for vehicle spare parts in the field, and has found those capabilities useful for field-expedient modifications. So someone fired from one of those units for discovering new forms of corruption enabled by technology, or someone from an Eastern European equivalent that shut down for lack of budget, might suit. They'd have good vehicle mechanic and machinist skills, CAD/CNC/3D-printing skills, and general military engineer skills. They'd also have a good background for learning Armoury (Body Armour)/TL8, and would have a default from Machinist/TL8.

Put them together with someone enthusiastic about medieval armour, and you could get a lot of progress quite fast. An obvious thing to add at TL8 is some kind of active cooling system, to negate the extra FP costs for fighting in hot weather (B.426). Something else is a better shock-absorbing system than cloth, to reduce blunt trauma damage. The 3e version of High-Tech, p104, has a suit of medieval-style armour made of modern steel (but not this really fancy AR-500 stuff) with air-cushion padding, which seems a plausible idea.
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Old 02-08-2018, 08:59 AM   #48
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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The US Army has experimented with high-end 3D printing for vehicle spare parts in the field, and has found those capabilities useful for field-expedient modifications. So someone fired from one of those units for discovering new forms of corruption enabled by technology, or someone from an Eastern European equivalent that shut down for lack of budget, might suit. They'd have good vehicle mechanic and machinist skills, CAD/CNC/3D-printing skills, and general military engineer skills. They'd also have a good background for learning Armoury (Body Armour)/TL8, and would have a default from Machinist/TL8.
Every serious cartel would be interested in paying good money for someone like this. They actively recruit military veterans and, like I noted, some of them design and construct improvised APCs, which are useful for pitched battles with other cartels.

There are quite a lot of veterans in the US in 2015-2017, considering the long wars that have been going on. And a certain number of them will have served only a few years, maybe four to eight, before leaving to pursue a civilian career, even if they were not dishonourably discharged (though if they were, they can basically forget about most honest careers).

By the law of averages, some of these veterans will live in Arizona, New Mexico or Texas and some percentage of them will have severe debt, some psychological issues, difficulty integrating in civilian life or possibly even drug problems. Take any random group of people, some of them will be struggling, directionless, lost, troubled.

It's not beyond the bounds of possibility that Vargas managed to find a military engineer, Seabee, mechanic or machinist with a meth problem or some other reason for either being vulnerable to pressure or just really needing a new life. Especially as Vargas might still have contacts within the US military, as it's not impossible that he kept in touch with some of his old friends in his unit.

After all, Vargas originally deserted after being arrested with some proscribed chemicals at barracks, but there might have been someone else involved in that infraction, someone Vargas didn't give up. So he could still have had a buddy in the US Army, by now a very senior sergeant inside the special operations community. I'm sure such a person could have used the old-boy network to look for a list of former soldiers with the appropriate skills and then maybe someone presentable could have crossed the border and made a pitch once they found someone who looked desperate enough.

Failing that, if the Colombia, Honduras or El Salvador militaries or security forces might have anyone with such skills, they have good contacts there. Well, some contacts, granted that anyone working for the Knight Templar Cartel will probably be regarded as treacherous criminal scum by the vast majority of soldiers and police in these countries, even (especially) if that person used to be their comrade in arms. But there are enough desperate people in any large group to make for some former comrades of active sicarios who are willing to serve as recruiters inside their monthly militaries for a monthly stipend plus a finder's fee.

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Put them together with someone enthusiastic about medieval armour, and you could get a lot of progress quite fast.
Now that's a really good idea. Not either/or modern CNC/CAD/3D printing or traditonal blacksmith and armoury skills, but a team familiar with both.

It also allows for an exotic NPC, maybe an apprentice or journeyman SCA-legal armourer from a speciality workshop in Eastern Europe who was so fired up by the project that he allowed himself to be convinced to move across the world, even knowing that he'd be working with some scary people.

Not a bad dude, perhaps, though perhaps someone a bit obsessive, certainly not risk-averse, adventurous and, very importantly, extremely into one or more of historical reenaction/HEMA/SCA/LARP-ing/RPGs/historical and fantastical fiction, movies or TV.

Maybe he really enjoined his time in the military, as a conscript, and considered making it a career, but ultimately found that too mundane and wished for something even more exciting. Maybe he didn't fancy being recalled to active service due to Russian threats and invasion, as it would prevent him from pursuing his true passion, in his hobbies. Maybe he got someone pregnant, hates his mother, really needs money or just had to be able to have one of these armours for himself.

So we could have a Texan military engineer/machnist/mechanic with a drinking problem, money problems, too many children and too much of a taste for meth, as well as an adrenaline-junkie Ukrainian nerd jock who makes armour and fights full-contact with swords.

I shall immediately attempt to convince the GM that these NPCs would be valuable additions to our campaign, and, if I receive encouragment, proceed to write up further background and ideas for them. I welcome suggestions.

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An obvious thing to add at TL8 is some kind of active cooling system, to negate the extra FP costs for fighting in hot weather (B.426). Something else is a better shock-absorbing system than cloth, to reduce blunt trauma damage. The 3e version of High-Tech, p104, has a suit of medieval-style armour made of modern steel (but not this really fancy AR-500 stuff) with air-cushion padding, which seems a plausible idea.
I agree with both.

What kind of material is better at shock absorbtion than ballistic fabrics?

And how heavy and how effective is an active cooling system? Do commercial examples I could look up exist? Maybe for high-end environment or HazMat suits or something, but most examples of such suits I've seen are either disposable or at least not made from anything too nice, in case it has to be thrown away due to contamination.
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Old 02-08-2018, 09:11 AM   #49
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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...
Now that's a really good idea. Not either/or modern CNC/CAD/3D printing or traditonal blacksmith and armoury skills, but a team familiar with both.....
I agree, moreover I would say's there likely a greater positive correlation between the two than just random chance within the general population.

And hell I'll anecdotally cite our own hobby, I have a mate (through roleplaying) who's primary source of income is designing and making kit for films, but he also dabbles in blacksmithing, and he's an armour / weapons nut etc, etc.


His background is design, so he knows his way around CAD. Now he doesn't have every skill you need, but he got some. Moreover I bet he has a greater than population avenge chance of knowing someone with the missing ones!


Now OK my mate seems to be peculiarly apt example, but given the overlap of interest and drives I can't image he's the only one in the world!

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Old 02-08-2018, 09:20 AM   #50
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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So here's some pictures of guys making boat hulls by rolling kevlar cloth over a frame and painting it with epoxy: https://adirondack-guide-boat.com/build-kevlar-boat/

Polymer composite is apparently really popular as a structural material when weight matters but cost and bulk doesn't, so boat hulls or F1 racing cars and the like. It's also sometimes used as a structural building material.

It looks like most people don't sell resin bonded sheets, they sell bolts of kevlar fabric and epoxy by the gallon. A lot of it is business sales, so it's harder to get pricing information off a casual web search.

It doesn't look like buying epoxy and kevlar is going to set off anyone's suspicious behavior detectors, but having a boat building business would be a fine cover story.
Ok, thanks.

Cool, so I can use the prices for these unmodified, as they are essentially buying mass produced materials and then having slave labour assemble the final products. Slave labour is not free*, but all in all, the listed prices are no further away from accurate than any WAG I'd make.

A boat-building business would indeed have been a fine cover business... when the Caballero Templarios were based in Lazaro Cardenas.

As they now hold territory in the rugged, mountainous and very, very dry deserts of Chihuahua, I expect a boat-building workshop might stand out a bit. :-)

Still, they can use someone they knew back in Lazaro Cardenas and transport the material periodically. They probably make regular runs down there anyway, smuggling meth precursors and such things, taking care to avoid the sicarios of the CJNG and the Viagras**, who now fight for dominance there.

*Opportunity cost, i.e. you could be having them make something else, which you would then use or sell.
**Yes, really a thing, really called that in serious news reports.
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