Frequently Asked Question & Answers for the Modern Warrior

You have questions and we have answers.  Here you will find answers to the most commonly asked questions about our products and services. If you can’t find a clear answer you’re looking for please feel free to contact us by e-mail or by phone, and one of our knowledgeable Customer Service Associates will be more than happy to help you.

Please note that our normal business hours are from 10am to 4pm (UTC-5), Monday to Friday. We are a small office and receive a lot of calls, so if we don’t answer during these hours, please leave a message or try again later. Our customers are very important to us and we aim to give each customer our full attention.

If you prefer, you may complete the Contact Information Form below the FAQ’s and we will contact you as soon as possible. Please be as descriptive and as clear as possible, so we maybe able to help you better.

Not sure about a word or term used on this site? Check out our comprehensive Glossary Page for assistance!

This trailer will give you a sample of what Iron Mountain Armory’s samurai armor is able to do:

ARMOR INFORMATION

What is the difference between the Kachi, Gashira and Taisho class armor?

All of our armor is crafted in the traditional iron armor plating (lames) fashion. However, we offer our armor in three different quality classes to help fit the needs and budget of our clients:

Kachi (Foot Soldier):
Quickly handmade with some attention to detail. Perfect for the samurai on a budget.

Crafting Time: 15 to 20 Days

Materials Used: Bowl-style kabuto, steel construction, hemp, brocade, cotton, nylon, minimal fittings, faux leather and faux hair.  (materials may differ depending on model)

Our "Kachi Class" armor was known as "munition quality armor" and is or basic model, offered in response to our many clients who want to own a suit of Samurai armor but at a more economical price. This class of armor is crafted using more simple, modern techniques and tools, made with economical synthetic materials.  The basic design lacks a removable nose, some brass fittings and some riveting. It also lacks the padding under the shoulders and back to make the armor more comfortable; however this padding can be added separately.  Because the armor is made more quickly, there may be slight blemishes in the paint and lacing.

The Kachi class features a basic but still traditional Gendai design.  Modern material, tools, techniques are used to make this yoroi more economical.

Gashira (Officer):
Expertly handmade with all quality materials and good attention to detail.

Crafting Time: 25 to 35 Days.

Materials Used: Bowl style kabuto, steel construction, traditional brocade, hemp, quality cotton, brass & copper fittings with genuine leather. (materials may differ depending on model)

Our “Gashira Class” yoroi are the next step up from our "Kachi Class" and are handcrafted by our experienced katchû-shi (armor smith) at the Iron Mountain Armory, using quality materials and traditional crafting methods with some modern techniques and tools. Much like the Taisho Class, each suit has been heavily researched, and a lot of care is put into their historical accuracy. However, the principle difference between the Gashira-class and Taisho-class, is that the Gashira Class is crafted with the typical bowl-style kabuto (simulated laminate) which was common for the average samurai. Our Gashira Class samurai armor is made specifically for collectors, exhibitions, re-enactors, martial artists who want an authentic samurai suit of armor without the added expenses of a more traditional design and crafting methods.

The Gashira class features a more traditional Gendai design over kachi class and include features such as, real animal hair, genuine leather, removable / interchangeable nose, brass fittings, shoulder padding with kikko (armor plating), opposable thumbs, leg support on haidate, extra materials, fittings, riveting, lacing and included storage / display box (hitsu) with stand.

Taisho (Commander Class) Armors:
Masterfully handmade, completely from high-quality, traditional materials, with great attention to detail & historical accuracy.

Average Crafting Time: 45 to 60 Days.

Materials Used: Laminated style kabuto, high quality steel, traditional brocades, hemp, quality cotton, art silk, brass & copper fittings with genuine leather. (materials may differ depending on model)

Our “Taisho Class” Armor is the next step up from our "Gashira Class" and the same yoroi many stores sell in Japan. Each suit is meticulously handcrafted by the most experienced katchû-shi of the Iron Mountain Armory, using the highest quality materials and most traditional methods possible. Each suit has been researched and modeled after actual samurai armor in private collections or museums, so they can be accurate and detailed in every way. For example, a single helmet can consist of over 32 different hand-spliced steel plates, individually riveted together. Even the most tiny detail of sewing kikko (small armor plates) in the shoulder and neck padding, adding for extra protection, while keeping comfort and flexibility. This class of samurai armor is made specifically for private collectors, museums, historical re-enactors, martial artists and those who demand the highest detail and quality.

The Taisho class features a more traditional design over the "Gashira Class" and include features such as more traditional crafting techniques, laminated kabuto, art silk lacing, more traditional, more detailed fittings, higher quality materials and highest level of attention to detail / quality.

Is your armor historically accurate?

Yes, we craft our armor in a traditional crafting / design matching that of katchû-shi (Japanese armorer) from the Edo era or more specifically “Gendai” (現代 modern, post 1660), katchû-shi.   Many of our models are reproduction based on Tosei dō (tosei meaning modern, or post 1500).  The Tosei gusoku were made from single steel plates known as “ita-mono”, often made to resemble individual scales (kozane) used in earlier designs.  Tosei-gusoku became prominent starting in the 1500’s due to the European influence, which brought modern production techniques, introduction of new materials and fire arms, which changed fighting tactics and the need for additional protection.  Please note that the Kachi is our economical class, which due to the use of synthetic material any many modern crafting techniques, we do not consider these models to be historical accurate.

What is the main difference between your armor and the armor made armor made back in the 15th and 16th century?

In general, armor crafted in the 15th century was crafted from thin (.5 ~ .8 mm), low carbon steel, which some would call iron.  This earlier armor where crafted with small scale like plates carefully laced together to make it very flexible, so much that it would actually wrap around the warrior.  This is called kozane or true scale.   These plates where lacquered in urushi, which is basically a natural lacquer made from a special Asian tree.  Once lacquered, the kozane would then be carefully laced together using silk odoshi, using a lacing style called kebiki-odoshi (also referred to as “full lacing”).  Other materials, such as deer hide, sinew, clay, asa and other natural materials available in these times.

In the 16th century production of samurai changed and became known as “tosei” which means ‘modern” or post 1500.  At this time the armor started to be crafted with “ita-mono”, which are single solid plate strips that would boast a more robust plate armor that resembles more of solid European armor plating.  In some instances katchû-shi (Japanese armorer) would use clay or other similar material to create simulated kozan onto the ita-mono, which became known as “kiritsuke” or simulated kozane.  During this time, the steel quality improved and the plating became thicker.  This likely came about due to European influence.  This European influence brought modern production techniques, new materials and fire arms, which changed fighting tactics and increased the need for additional protection.

Today many of the traditional crafting techniques and materials are simply not practical for modern armor, from a time and financial standpoint.  For example, a single suit of armor from the Muromachi era may have taken more then 12 months to finish crafting.  The painting of the urushi is a long process and it is a very difficult skill to master.  There are only a few people alive today that make armor 100% authentic and traditionally.

With this being explained, the principle differences between our reproduction armor and the armor of the 15th and 16th century is that Iron Mountain Armory reproductions are traditional in crafting / design matching that of katchû-shi (Japanese armorer) from the Edo era or more specifically “Gendai” (現代 modern, post 1660).  Basically what this means, is that armor of this era was more practical and economical in terms of more modern textiles and paints being used.  We do no use urushi or silk odoshi. We use modern paint and very high quality cotton lacing which closely resembles silk in both appearance and strength.  Instead of using natural dyes made from plants to color our lace and materials, we use modern dyes.  Instead of deer or horse hide, we will use cow, goat or pig hide.  Depending on the quality level of armor, we may use some modern stamping machines, to create plating, patterns or armor parts.  Some reasons are due to costs, others due to environmental laws and others practicality reason.  The result is a suit of armor that costs 1/50th of the cost an original and a suit that is virtually maintenance free.

However, Iron Mountain Armory can craft kozane armor, very similar to that of the 15th century or Muromachi and Sengoku era. We are truly only limited by the budget of our clients.

What are the different parts of the armor?

There are many parts of a Suit of Samurai Armor, and each has their own unique name.

Because of our attention to detail with our products, we often refer to the parts of our Samurai Armor with their original Japanese names. We appreciate that this can be difficult, but ultimately it helps avoid confusion. So below is a detailed image highlighting all of the parts of a suit of Samurai Armor, with the Japanese names translated to English form.  The names are pronunciated in Latin sound.  For a full list of Glossary Terms, please click here.

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Click For Full Sized Image…

Is the armor real or for display only?

Yes, our Samurai Armor are all very real and also look great on display!

Do you rent armor?

Yes, indeed we rent Samurai Armor!

Please contact us for specifics, but Samurai Armor Rental basics are (varies depending on model & accessories):

  1. Our rentals require a security deposit equal to their purchase price.
  2. The basic rental fee starts at $450 for the first 4 days and $50 for each additional day (depending on model).
  3. Upon the return of the armor, the rental fee will be deducted from the security deposit, along with any damages and/or missing items.
  4. We only accept deposits via cash, check or PayPal and security deposits are refunded via the same means.

Please contact us for more details and availability. Be sure to let us know what item(s) you are interested in renting, date(s) you need them and the shipping address you require it to be sent to.

I see Iron Mountain samurai armor on auction sites selling for less money: WHY?

Iron Mountain Armory has a MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) of 15% off the normal retail price (posted on this website). If you see pictures of Iron Mountain Armory products being sold for less than MAP, the seller is not likely selling authentic armor or is reselling pre-owned items. There are only a few manufacturer’s representatives for the Iron Mountain Armory products which are located in the The United States, The United Kingdom, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, The Philippines, Australia and Colombia. Anyone selling our armor from China, especially those who claim to be the “factory” are selling imitation armor and you will get what you pay for… or less. Please feel free to e-mail us or contact the Iron Mountain Armory directly (www.IronMountainArmory.com) to ask if the armor is real or the seller is authorized. We will be happy to send you eBay armor pictures sent to us from upset buyers, so you can compare the quality between our products and the cheaper imitations.

If you see pictures of our armors being offered by a company in China or Hong Kong it is a knock off, much like the $2,000 Prada bag on sale for $180. There are websites and sellers like “lastarmor”, “zbinstore9”, “liren88”, “mensarmor” and others who have stolen and are using the Iron Mountain Armory’s photographs and text to sell their own cheap imitation products. Please don’t be fooled, these are imitation suits. These auctioneers also do not include the armor box, stand or inner materials / lining, etc.  They will offer a full refund upon return of the item, because they know it will cost $500 to ship the item back to them.

Iron Mountain Armory and Little Star Enterprises HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP with any Chinese seller and we are not responsible for any claims, loss, damage and whatever happens by their unauthorized copies. Iron Mountain Armory DOES NOT sell (retail or wholesale) to anyone accept their authorized dealers.

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WEARING & DISPLAY

How do I put on samurai armor?

While samurai armor is modular, there is an “official” way to don the armor properly. Provided below is an image depicting how to do this, taken from a trusted historical source. 

How do I display samurai armor correctly?

Samurai Armor can be properly and impressively displayed on top of a Yoroi Bitsu, which come free with Gashira, Taisho and Daimyo Suits, can be ordered for a small extra fee with Kachi Suits, or can be bought separately. Each Yoroi Bitsu comes with a wooden stand for the purpose of displaying armor. Below we have provided instructions how you can do this yourself – and show off your yoroi proudly just like a real samurai would have!

CRAFTING

Is this armor made in Japan?

No, the armor is handcrafted in China, however the Armory itself if Japanese-owned and managed.

China offers a more economical labor force and product availability than Japan, and the workers at the Iron Mountain Armory all work under the guidance of or have training from Japanese Katchû-shi (Japanese armor smith) / artisans who have been crafting armor since 2003.

Until 2011 they were only making armor for the Japanese market.  In 2011 Iron Mountain Armory was opened to allow the direct sales to the European market.  Since 2014 the armory has been the largest producer of Samurai Armor and accessories sold in the world.  Iron Mountain Armory is known for its traditional design armor, quality and economical cost.

What type of metal do you use?

We use 18 gauge cold rolled steel plating for the key parts of the armor and a 20 gauge cold rolled steel for the mask (menpo).   This steel thickness became common during the later 1500’s after Europeans started selling Japanese Daimyo and armor crafters their steel.  18 gauge steel is thick enough to stop sword strikes and soft enough to absorb the shock as seen in many youtube videos that show our armor being tested. Most people are surprised to find out how light weight and strong our samurai armor actually is.

What types of materials are used in your armor?

Unless otherwise noted the principle armor sections (Kabuto, Sode, Do, Kote, Haidate & Suneate) are crafted from high quality 18 gauge cold rolled steel.  The menpo are typically .8 mm cold rolled steel.

The chest and back are crafted from individual steel plates (lames), riveted and depending on model, then spot welded together (for extra safety and durability). Additionally, we use genuine leathers, hemp, cotton, linen, animal hairs, silk / rayon blends (brocade), copper, brass and horn to complete the rest of the armor (depending on model and class).

For some models, classes and situations, we may use some modern materials for added safety for the wearer and to increase the durability of the armor or synthetic materials for economical reasons (katchi class). For the specific materials used in each suit of armor, these vary between the four different classes of armor. Please review the armor quality ranges listed above on this FAQ page.

Is your armor LARP, SCA and Re-enactment approved?

LARP: As of 2018 all of Iron Mountain Armory’s samurai armor, clothing and accessories meets all standards and guidelines to for LARP.

SCA: As of 2018 non of Iron Mountain Armory’s samurai armor, clothing or accessories meet the minimal standards of SCA armor because the thickest steel used is 18 gauge.  Although parts of our armor is laminated, meaning it is 2 times thicker in some sections, it still doesn’t meet requirements.

Re-enactment: This depends on the group requirements.  To best give a general idea of historical accuracy in design and material:

  • Kachi Class = 75% (Synthetic materials, brocade, spot welds, modern paint and design)
  • Gashira Class = 90% (Brocade, spot welds, modern paint)
  • Taisho Class = 94% (Brocade, art silk, modern paint)
  • Daimyo Class = 90% (Modern materials, spot welds, modern paint)

CUSTOMIZATIONS

Will this armor fit me?

Each suit or piece of armor is designed and crafted to fit your “average” adult male.

Our armors are made to fit an adult male of 5′ 7″ (170 cm) and 170 lbs (77 kg) with a 40.5″ (103 cm) chest. However, our standard armors fit most adults between 5′ 5″ and 5′ 10″ tall, with no customization needed for height. As well as this, the armor can be adjusted to fit between a 39″ ~ 43″ chest size, by simply removing the pin hinge and replacing them with laces.  This might leave a small gap under the armpits between the front and back plates.

Do you offer any customizations?

Yes, each item is hand crafted by us, so we certainly offer custom sizing and alterations which is reflected on the product page.

Please reference the product of interest for customization and options. Please contact us for more details or special requests.

Will my armor be perfect?

We do not believe perfect is possible, but it doesn’t stop us from trying!  

Each class of armor, accessory and clothing we make at the Iron Mountain Armory will always have a chance of some blemish or imperfection due to human or material error.  This is something simply unavoidable but is checked for.  The more basic the armor class the more oversight we allow and less oversight is allowed for Taisho craft.

It is important to keep in mind that our armor is handcrafted and not crafted on a machine assembly line. So some colors, details, sizing might not be exact: for example, a hole might be a little out of line or spaced a little different.  Paint tint might vary slightly.  Because we don’t make all of our own materials patterns and textures might change over time. These are all part of our Quality Control Checks, but we need to leave some space for small oversight so you (the client) isn’t waiting months for your order and paying four times the price.

However, with Taisho and Daimyo Class Armor, the higher price and longer wait will ensure your armor is as close to perfect as possible. However, if you look hard enough you will always find a few small issues, even with our highest quality samurai armors, samurai clothing and accessories.

Will my custom-sized armor fit me perfectly?

Most of our clients will say their custom fitted armor fits them great.  However everyone has their own personal preference of how armor should fit.

We will craft your samurai armor to fit you to the best of our ability. It is important to remember that all people are different shapes, builds, sizes and like items to fit differently. Two people may be the same size chest but the same shirt might fit differently. The sizes you provide in your order are used by our Katchû-shi (armor smith) for reference when crafting your armor.  They will look at all your sizes and do their best to craft the armor to fit you properly.  This is because certain plates are crafted to a certain height and width, so sometimes client sizes might fall within these dimension.  Although most of our clients state their custom armor fits them very well, we can not guarantee exact sizing or fitting.

I want to build and paint my own armor, do you sell unfinished or parts of the armor only?

We do sell samurai armor parts and accessories so you can craft your samurai yoroi piece by piece.  However we do not offer unfinished or individual plates directly on our Website at this time.

Can you custom-make other armors?

Yes, we can!

Our skilled craftsmen are able to make a wide variety of armor from all across Asia. Please feel free to e-mail us any pictures, links and/or details of the armor you would like replicated for a free estimate!

SHIPPING

How long until my order is delivered?

All product descriptions will tell you the typical crafting time for any particular product.  If you order several products, the longest crafting time should be your reference for time needed to prepare your full order.  However please know we process orders on a first come first served basis, and all orders are scheduled for crafting accordingly.  Because of this, as well as material back-orders, your order might be delayed.

We are a small group of artisans and workers and can sometimes be over whelmed with orders, but we will always do our best to keep you well informed of your order status.

IF you need your order by a specific date, please contact us BEFORE placing your order.

Do you ship Internationally? If yes, how much is shipping to my country? How can I pay?

Yes, we ship worldwide and most orders armory direct via FedEx or Airmail Service!

Because we ship factory direct, VAT is not charged by most countries however local tax might be charged. For detailed shipping costs, please add the items you wish to purchase to your shopping cart, click the “Calculate shipping” button on the right side of the car, enter the requested details and you will be provided with shipping options and costs for the items in your cart.  You may then add or remove items / quantity and then proceed through the checkout process.  There are several different payment options to select from.

What is your returns policy?

Please follow this link to view our Terms of Sales

Do you have further questions? If so, feel free to contact us using the form below, and one of our friendly staff will respond to you as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you!

(Please note that we are a small, family run company, and our office hours are 10am to 4pm est, Monday to Friday.)