Monday, July 09, 2007

Old Fort MacArthur Days

Want to see what I got up to this weekend?

Well, I decided to join the 9th Legion, a group of re-enactors that gear up as 1st Century Roman soldiers, and in my spare time I've been making my kit...

So far I have made my pileus (Phrygian cap - yes it looks like a smurf hat) and my cingulum (military belt). My wife and her friend Julie made my tunica (tunic), fascia ventralis (10ft long sash-like "underbelt") and my focale (neckerchief - important - protects the neck when you wear the armor).

These guys make everything themselves, except for the helmets and the gladii (swords). Yup, everything else, so I have a long way to go...

So, anyway, this past weekend was my first "event", Old Fort Macarthur Days. It's a fundraiser for the military museum at Fort Macarthur in San Pedro, and they have re-enactors representing military units throughout history, from Roman times up to Vietnam. First such event I'd ever been to, and I have to say I think I'm hooked. I dig history, especially military history, and just being at an event like this means you soak up so much information. Love it.

OK, on to the pictures:


This is our encampment around 7:30am Saturday, when I rolled in. That embroidered standard up front is a real work of art and took over a hundred hours to make. The picture doesn't do it justice. In the background is my decanus (squad leader) Scipio. He's the guy who's been helping me make my gear. Note the smurf hat. Mine's just like it...


Civil War Confederate encampment just across the way from us. Lot of guys in this group, looked like they were having a good old time.

This guy was representing a German noble from the High Middle Ages I guess. Beautiful full plate armor. He must have been cooking - it was a hot day.


German unit, WWI. These guys had their stuff together...



A group of Norsemen out of Northern California (well, their gear at least). Had I not hooked up with the Legion, I might have wound up with these guys. Still might, if I ever get around to making a mail shirt...



WWII Us GI unit. Sorry, but I didn't find out which one. Look like airborne to me, maybe FHB can help me out here...



WWII Japanese unit practicing Kendo while some American Revolutionaries look on...



Obligatory random Gatling gun shot...

And last, but not least, a shot of your humble narrator in his gear. Not a very flattering one, but what the hell. I do intend to drop some pounds before I make my Lorica segmentata (segmented armor)...


The chain shirt - called Lorica hamata - weighs in at around 35-40lbs. The scutum (shield) is another 18-20. Helmet and gladius - another 6-10lbs or so. I wore/ carried this stuff pretty much constantly from around 9 am to 4pm, when I got out of it all to get ready to leave. My shoulders still hurt.
I had a great time. It was the first time I had met most of these Legion folks, and they made me feel very welcome. The food they laid on was great.
Throughout the day I got to interact with the public, letting them get a feel for the gear we were wearing, answering their questions (when I could - still pretty new at this), and most importantly, listening to the more experienced members hold forth and learning from them. A most excellent way to receive a history lesson. Can't wait for the next event.

7 comments:

Todd said...

Looks mighty cool. I think I'd get a kick out of doing the WWII re-enactment.

From the standard in the background, it looks like those guys are part of the 82nd Airborne Division.

phlegmfatale said...

Wow - very cool!

That looks like a grand experience - all the different groups in their period attire.

You look good in your get-up, though I was expecting the smurf-hat. What is/was the smurf hat made of? Is it a molded cotton or something?

phlegmfatale said...

felted?

Kevin said...

Thanks for the ID, Todd.
It depends, Phlemmy. Some guys make 'em out of linen, some out of wool felt. Mine is felt. It doubles as padding for the helmet too.

DirtCrashr said...

The Span Am war dude has a Krag, kewl!

Mushy said...

Is that not cooler than hell!

Man, you would have made a helleva Roman soldier dude! Mean looking, kinda Viking looking, but tough as nails!

So many reenactors in one general area...never knew that happened. Great shots...thanks for posting this!

Had a history teacher my freshman year that made us make shields and other implements from the Roman period and they counted as part of your grade.

Kevin said...

Very kind of you to say so Mushy, although there's a bit more of a belt overhang than I'd like, if you know what I mean...