Category Archives: Artillery

Update: KQAS 2011

The projects went over pretty well. My sugar work was definitely the strongest of the 3 entries and the most popular.  Though the coat caught a lot of attention. Documentation was hit or miss. It either got a 8-9 out of ten or a 2-3 out of ten (for the same item).

Documentation: Mamluk Qarqal
Documentation: Sugar Tyger

Here is the Mamluk fire coat all completed:

Here is Sparky:

I put out 4 disks to show the progression of sugar build up for structural integrity. Also I wanted to show what kind of tools are used for sugar sculpture work (ignore the roller, it is for the fabrics to remove hair, lint, and stray threads).

Thanks to Cateline la Broderesse for taking pictures!

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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Artillery, Projects, Sugar


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KQAS 2011 Update: Mamluk Fire Coat

I made some progress on the fire coat as well. Both sleeves have been studded with my powder charges. I have probably put 30 or so charges on each arm. It is starting to look and feel cool.

The front of the Mamluk fire coat is padded. Since I am allergic to horse hair and hemp, I am using cotton as the padded layer, sandwiched between 2 layers of wool. Channels are 1/4″ wide. As a final layer, I am lining the coat in wool. So far I have gone through about 800 yards of black thread.

The charges are made from natural linen 5.3 oz. Each contains about 1 tsp of powder* and is attached to the garment with wire.

*Powder charges == coffee charges. Coffee doesn’t have the potential to explode. And a coarse ground bean has the same weight and feel as black powder.

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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Artillery, Projects, Sewing


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Mamluk soldier uniform

Mamluk soldiers wore a type of incendiary fireproof uniform. The uniform was made out of wool, acting as a “fire retardant” material. The soldier was covered in what appeared to be linen tufts that had a small amount of gun powder sewed into a small pouch. These tufts were attached all over the soldiers uniform, looking a bit like a linen porcupine. These tufts were then set on fire as the soldiers head towards the enemy. the charges were not very large, and were many used as a scare tactic utilizing both sound and fire to scare the enemy.

The illo that I have seen, redacted from the original, is on pg206 of J.R. Partington’s “A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder” . The original source is called the St Petersburg Manuscript, and more info on it is on pg 204 of the same book. It shows a cavalryman with a heavy suit edged in what appears to be small rectangular packets. His lance and his horse’s barding also show the”charges”. Partington dates the illos to late 15th C.

This was a jump start to the research and I found a link to a more detailed discussion about gunpowder, hand cannons, and the above fire suits.

I will not actually be using real gunpowder due to safety reasons. But it is a research project and a costuming project. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in Artillery, Sewing