Review: SPES fail - back of head protector

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Review: SPES fail - back of head protector

Postby admin » 25 Feb 2013 22:50

If you have anything but a large head, or a Leon Paul mask, then do not buy the SPES back of head protector. It doesn't fit. Apart from just being too big for medium or smaller masks, it is square and masks are round (someone should point this out to the folks at SPES).

If you have a large square head though then go for it!
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Re: SPES fail

Postby Derek Wassom » 26 Feb 2013 07:36

Have you tried attaching the back part upside-down? It stretches out the elastic a bit, but fits more securely. This is actually what SPES reccomended to me. EIther way, it needs a major redesign imo.
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Re: SPES fail

Postby admin » 26 Feb 2013 10:18

I did indeed try that, but I'm left with about 6 inches of 'flap' sticking above the mask. It might be useful for advertising billboard space. :)
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Re: SPES fail

Postby Phil C » 26 Feb 2013 11:08

I do have a very large and square head but, even with the recent discount from KS, it was still too expensive to take a punt on.
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Re: SPES fail

Postby R McKim » 26 Feb 2013 11:26

Can anybody recommend a back off head protection system? Particularly one that will fit a leon paul mask that has the contour fit system. I'm currently looking at the allstar one which looks well made but rather expensive.
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Re: SPES fail

Postby admin » 26 Feb 2013 11:28

The Allstar or PBT ones seem to be the only options unfortunately. Stupid considering how easy this should be to make cheaply...
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Re: SPES fail

Postby admin » 26 Feb 2013 11:32

http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

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Re: SPES fail

Postby Stevie T » 26 Feb 2013 13:34

I wonder if it's worth me revisiting my design that I produced this prototype for.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.361824587593.191686.675602593&type=3#!/photo.php?fbid=361841767593&set=a.361824587593.191686.675602593&type=3&theater

I'd use a thinner leather now and line it with HD foam. It worked rather well, though I'd have to custom make them for each type mask.

(hit "previous" for other views)
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Re: SPES fail

Postby admin » 26 Feb 2013 13:36

Please do!
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

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Re: SPES fail

Postby KeithFarrell » 26 Feb 2013 15:46

R McKim wrote:Can anybody recommend a back off head protection system? Particularly one that will fit a leon paul mask that has the contour fit system. I'm currently looking at the allstar one which looks well made but rather expensive.


I can heartily recommend the Trinity overlay from Spes: http://www.corsairs-wares.com/martial-arts/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=108_54&products_id=1756

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Re: SPES fail

Postby admin » 26 Feb 2013 16:00

They do look cool, but they are mighty expensive (more than most people spend on their mask!) and I really don't want something that is going to make my mask hotter than it already is.

I just don't see the purpose of extra protection on the top and sides - a fencing mask already gives enough IMO.

Also I have seen thrusts get stuck on these sort of mask coverings, as the point slides off the front and goes underneath them sometimes.
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Re: SPES fail

Postby Stevie T » 26 Feb 2013 16:42

I don't really get why people wear the sabre covers etc.

How much energy do they really absorbe when being struck by something like a longsword, or slow down the follow through you get with a single hander?

Same goes for the floppy back-of-the-head protectors. Surely you have to have a hard plate with cushioning to prevent damage from the sort of thin surface area a sword has.
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Re: SPES fail

Postby admin » 26 Feb 2013 17:24

Most of the back of head protectors have a hard plate and padding. In my experience you don't need much or any padding though - the plate tends to dissipate the force well enough.
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Re: SPES fail

Postby R McKim » 26 Feb 2013 18:24

Thanks for the reccommendation Keith but I've already got a leather mask cover - don't need the whole overlay - its just the back of head thing I'm after. Although that overlay you guys use looks very proficient, I think it would be a wee bit overkill for me right now and also a bit out of my price range.

Regarding sabre covers - Their purpose is to lessen dents and make the mask last longer overall. I believe they are supposed to be for sabre coaches who let their students hit them over the head a lot as part of drill. I imagine if you were doing this for hours each day as your job, a sabre cover would make a difference, both to your comfort and to the lifespan of the mask (and maybe the offending sport sabre blade as well?) I cannot really comment on the overall increased durability ( not been fencing long enough to wear a mask out ) although they do stop the rubber band around my mask from being chewed up. As for softening the blows, I do prefer to be hit whist wearing one to not, but its no game changer.

Back of head protection - Correct me if I'm wrong but back of head protection certainly need a bit of padding as well as a hard shell. If you just had a hard plate against the back of your head - no padding - then when you get whacked with a longsword the force would be more or less transferred into your head. Surely a bit of padding is required.
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Re: Review: SPES fail - back of head protector

Postby admin » 26 Feb 2013 18:50

I've had this Leon Paul mask for about 6 years now and it's been hit with everything from sabres, rapiers and backswords up to longswords, and as of yet it has never had a single dent!
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Re: SPES fail

Postby Andrew Shultz » 26 Feb 2013 18:54

Stevie T wrote:I don't really get why people wear the sabre covers etc.

How much energy do they really absorbe when being struck by something like a longsword, or slow down the follow through you get with a single hander?

Same goes for the floppy back-of-the-head protectors. Surely you have to have a hard plate with cushioning to prevent damage from the sort of thin surface area a sword has.


I wear a PBT cover over my mask, and it is a very noticeable improvement when being hit about the head with nylon or with feders. I think a layer of padding inside, like a rugby cap that some people use, would be as good but I don't have room for it inside my mask. It's most necessary with the heavy nylons.
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Re: SPES fail

Postby Stevie T » 26 Feb 2013 21:00

R McKim wrote:Back of head protection - Correct me if I'm wrong but back of head protection certainly need a bit of padding as well as a hard shell. If you just had a hard plate against the back of your head - no padding - then when you get whacked with a longsword the force would be more or less transferred into your head. Surely a bit of padding is required.


Ideally something that moulded to the shape of the head with compressable foam between that and the outer shell would be best. That would mean that some of the force would be absorbed while the remainder would be spread over as wide an area as possible. Of course, this means more materials and more expence.

Even using readily available foam, like kit matts, I'd still be looking at c.£15 for something like the leather one I posted earlier.
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Re: Review: SPES fail - back of head protector

Postby Mearcstapa » 27 Feb 2013 00:40

I too was disappointed - I have a massive head (and therefore mask) and you really have to jam the bugger in even then.

The lack of padding aside, the two biggest problems are:
1 - It makes the mask bloody uncomfortable to put on and take off because there is almost no 'give'
2 - Even if you really jam it high up into a very large mask, it still leaves an elliptical area about the thickness of a finger that is unprotected - I think this is actually quite dangerous (even if it is a problem specific to my mask model) since the extra confidence/force resulting from better head protection could go horribly wrong.

On the other hand, these are cool:

Image

Source: http://hemaalliance.com/discussion/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1519&start=30

Image

Source: http://www.thatguysproducts.com/masks.html
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Re: Review: SPES fail - back of head protector

Postby Ridbadalous » 28 Feb 2013 17:19

My first ever sparring session I got a hard whack to the side of the head from a leather dussack that transferred straight through the side of the mask and gave me a big lump. BUT the mask was fine which is the important thing, as I can't afford But it made me think, and I've seen videos of people like Axel Petterson wearing a beanie under their mask and I wondered - is it to act as a shock absorber or is it just because it'a really cold in Sweden? If it's the former would something like a D30 beanie be a good addition for its shock absorbent qualities? One without a bobble, obviously...
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Re: Review: SPES fail - back of head protector

Postby admin » 28 Feb 2013 17:25

Some people go as far as wearing a rugby head guard under their fencing mask. I think it depends a lot on the mask - many of us have Leon Paul instructor masks and they are both really well padded and also very secure on the head. If your mask has less padding or is less secure on your head then you may need to wear something underneath it. It is very important to make sure that a mask is a nice tight fit on the head.
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