It's plastic. Really. People make fun of plastic armor until they realize ours is plastic. And then the Minions tell them it was free.
Vici manufactures the armor from Vito's design, an alteration of Newstead Roman lorica segmentata. It's HDPE plastic, won't shatter in the cold, floats well, lightweight, won't absorb sweat, and is more durable than anything else on the battlefield except stainless and titanium, the armor of the wealthy. But really, the best thing about the armor we use is that all the guys look the same on the field. No other unit is like that.
The biggest obstacle to someone joining the SCA and fighting is the up-front cost of the kit. Our goal is to outfit new Minions at no expense to the new guy. We have reduced the up-front cost to zero. The cost of helm halves, aluminum for the shield, elbow cops, rivets, washers, strapping, cord, and padding is paid for by guys volunteering in their second or third year, by Vito, and by Vici. We are continuing to reduce that cost, now about $135 in materials per soldier.
We build a custom plastic torso with attached skirting, leather straps on nickel-plated brass buckles, nylon cording and strapping inside, with brass rivets and cadmium-plated washers. We make one-piece all-plastic greaves, bazubands fit with aluminum elbows (from Bokalo's Armory), custom cuphilt on a rattan sword, gauntlets and gorget all in plastic. We build a custom Roman helmet from 14-gauge halves (from Ashcraft-Baker) and 14-gauge sheet, with a 1/4 inch bar grille, all in welded mild steel. We build 24" x 36" rectangular shields from .09" thick T-6 6061 aluminum, with double-layered edging, a slight curve rolled into it, and a plastic basket and canvas webbing strap on the back.
This all sounds good. But there's a catch. We only build it for Vito's Minions, at Vito's orders. There was a lot of R&D work put into the armoring process, and a lot of expenses on tools and materials. If you join, we build you a kit. We have enough in enough sizes to give you a test run, to see if you like it. If you'll tell Vito that you'll fight with us, and he accepts you, we'll build you a kit. If you quit, we take it back, and it will get used by another Minion.
Lots of photos are available on facebook.com/vitosminions.