A lot of work goes into maintaining our re-enactment equipment so that it is authentic and ready to show to the public.
Our helmets are shaped by armourers into the style of the 17th Century - and there are a lot of styles to choose from. In the photos attached we have a typical pikeman's helmet, slightly different from the morion-style of the late 16th Century and different still from contemporary cavalry helmets.
There are some differences with our helmets to make them more usable for the modern re-enactor. In the engraving of a pikeman, by Jacob de Gheyn (1607), you can see a metal-buckled strap under the chin to secure the lid in place, whereas the helmet in the picture is secured by a more modern buckle. In some of our re-enactor helmets, we include foam padding to soften the inside of the helmet. Other re-enactors use a leather cap or a woollen hat.
Whilst there are no musketballs flying at them, our re-enactor helmets do go through some serious wear and tear. Dents and bashes regularly chip the coating and leave the metal open to rusting if not looked after. Where there are leather straps, such as in the ear pieces, the material can wither and rot over time. If you look at the picture of the ear piece, you can see that one rivet has been added at a different time, replacing a worn part. It takes a lot of work to angle-grind out a damaged rivet and replace it!
The next time you see a picture of one of our re-enactors in full kit, have a think about the hours of work that go in behind the scenes to make it an authentic success!