Mandalorian Armor, a simple guide
Oh dear. Several months late, but here we go. This will be a broad term overview of mando armor in canon at the moment, not an exhaustive list. Feel free to skip “materials & history” if you’d just like some more concrete guidelines and refs!
(Remember to click on the images for a better look!)
Material & History
A Small Intro Course
Mandalorian armor is supposed to be made out of beskar, an alloy (and yes all beskar is an alloy in disney canon (at least as of May 2021), like steel for example. Yes even “pure” beskar). The secrets of how to make it is limited to the Mandalorians, and the materials used to make it are most likely limited to Mandalore or the Mandalore system. It’s been in confirmed use as an armor material for at least 900 years & can take straight blaster bolts or hold off the circulating energy blade of a lightsaber for short periods of time, possibly until the beskar heats up enough to loose its integrity, but the heat would most likely cause serious damage to the wearers body before that.
Beskar armor is most often inherited, passed from generation to generation and reforged to suit the current wearers needs. It’s seen as passing down the history, the battles and the will of those who have worn it before and making it your own. However the material is rare, possibly because the mines have run dry ages ago (old EU), or because war and/or the New Mandalorians stopping production. The Empire interfering by taking over Mandalore and trying to get their hands on as much beskar as possibly and then later “glassing” the planet while hunting its only known creators surely did not help either, in any case.
This means that not all Mandalorians had access to the material, or at least large enough amounts to make a full suit of armor. This lead to the make of “impure” beskar that can take less of a brunt & armor made of other metals such as durasteel. This is most likely what makes up the majority of Din’s kit, beyond the helmet and possibly the chest piece, when he’s introduced in S1 and he still wears pieces that might be one of these materials as of Season 2.
Characters like Sabine Wren, Bo-Katan Kryze and Boba Fett all inherited their armor from their aliit (clan/family) through several generations and it’s most likely already pure beskar based on its age and how it reacts to blasterfire.
The armor is most often painted and there are various designs and colors that indicate personality, achievements or allegiances, but that would have to be another post. (Would anyone like a post on Mandalorian armor fashion? Because I have thoughts)
Let’s start from the top. The helmet, aka the bucket. The buy’ce.
In the “modern” era it’s usually a helmet with a rounded top and some kind of cheek indents. It has a T (or occasionally closer to a Y) shaped visor that obscures the wearers face. It also contains a large amount of technology that allows for various visual filters, binoculars, built in comms and audio enhancers (allowing for near perfect 360° hearing in the old EU, as possibly shown by Din Djarin in the new), among other things. The earcaps seen on most modern styles of helmet allows for various specialized attachments, like rangefinders.
The styles of the helmets vary between clans and eras, but there’s a few distinct modern bases that are pretty easy to identify as Mandalorian and worn by all major Mandalorian characters.
The Boba Fett, based on the original helmet as seen in the OT, and worn by basically every male character with various types of cheek indents, ridges and the like. Some are thinner or longer, but the base of the design is still very clearly the OG Boba Fett helmet. T visor, sharp slope indent that takes up the entire cheek, long ear caps & a brow ridge.
The Nite Owl, based on the helmet worn by Bo-Katan and the Nite Owls in TCW. It has a cat eyed Y visor and a more of a cut out cheek indent style, or simply a less severe smaller curve under the visor ridge (the area painted red on Boba Fett’s helmet).
The Kast, is the rarest so far only seen on Rook Kast & the Maul-aligned female Mandalorians. It slopes slightly inwards below the uniquely shaped T visor and has no ear caps.
And finally, some mandalorian helmets with slightly more unique shapes and/or shape combinations that put them outside the general easy to identify pile.
From left to right, The Armorer, Paz Vizsla, Pre Vizsla and Fenn Rau:
Chest, Neck, Back & Shoulders
As with everything else, there are various styles for these pieces of armor, but here are some basics.
Most commonly visibly segmented into three big parts, two on the chest and one below, with a small diamond shaped heart piece in the middle. The heart piece design can also been seen on Mandalorian clothing and architecture. In The Mandalorian these parts are generally attached together to give the armor a more solid look, but they are still distinguishable. Before the fall of the empire several female mandos favoured a more solid two part design that interlocked with their neck piece and had a thin rectangular bar instead of a classic heart piece. During the clone wars women of the faction supporting Maul (mostly clan Kast and clan Saxon) used a semi-connected two part design with six smaller pieces trailing down the stomach, three on each side. There are also various other designs with solid one part chest pieces, but most at least have a variation of the heart piece in the middle, as seen on Paz Vizsla.
The chest piece usually does not go below the navel, for bending over reasons.
Either two pieces on the side of the neck, or a longer single piece that goes in front of the neck & sits over the collarbones. Both of these variations are usually semi connected to, or line up with where the backplate ends.
Bell type, like Din Djarin & Axe Woves wear. The Classic, aka the style worn by Boba Fett, Ursa Wren & most grunts. And finally a slightly rounded middle ground, smaller than the Bell but sits over the shoulder and is often favored by female characters like Bo-Katan, female Mauldalorians & Sabine Wren.
Usually as long as the chest piece, used to protect the back and to mount jetpacks, and other useful things, on.
Technically not a piece of armor, but sometimes armored. Comes in various sizes and styles.
Vambraces & Handplates
Both forearm protection and weapons. Developed to give a Mandalorian that extra edge when fighting stronger opponents. To that goal, they’re often fitted with various attachments such as flamethrowers, retractable blades, shield emitters, repulsors, grappling lines, magnets, missiles and various types of darts, including the whistling birds seen in The Mandalorian.
It’s a plate that goes on your hand. Nothing more, nothing less. Can of course be fitted with various other weapons, as long as they fit.
The Codpiece, Buttplate & Hip Plates
Ah yes. Well.
All pieces are usually worn tucked underneath and/or attached to the waist sash/girth belt/belt.
Look, it’s a codpiece. It’s there to protect your sensitive parts. There are less bulky variations for people who can do without the extra space. Those are often segmented. Some wear more of a lower stomach plate. Others don’t bother, or only wear theirs when they might need it since I imagine it can be a bit uncomfortable to wear day to day.
It’s a plate that goes over your butt. And I mean just above, not on. Din has one, Boba has one. It’s a thing. Why? Because bruising you tailbone hurts like hell.
They’re plates that go on your hips. Only confirmed sighting has been on Din, but we’ve also got some good shots of them because of this so I put them in anyway.
Thighs, Knees, Shins, Ankles & Feet
Varies from completely covered to almost no armor at all. On one end you’ve got Jango Fett, and on the other you’ve got Boba Fett. Ironic, in a way.
Generally sit either on the front of the thigh or on the outer sides. The outward style thigh plates are more form fitting and allow for holsters to be mounted directly onto the plate, this was popular during the Clone Wars era. The front facing plates are often different sizes, possibly depending on your dominant hand/how you prefer to hold your weapon of choice.
For knee protection, unless you’re like Boba Fett, then they’re also dart launchers. In the old EU the darts were laced with neurotoxin, but that seems to have been removed for new canon. Sit nebulously in the knee region.
Shin, Ankle and/or Boot plates
Over your shins, ankles and feet, for all your literal ass kicking needs. Comes in various types including but not limited to: boot caps, ankle plates, shin guards and of course full on greaves.
So there you have it! A broad overview of Mandalorian armor. This has been in my drafts for months at this point so I’m not going to go over this again so you’ll have to excuse any weird phrasing or misspelt words. And how messy the visual ref sheets got. (I’m also considering putting together something for different eras & allegiances based on design, accessories, paintjobs, etc, but that will have to be another day.)
(Also, feel free to tag me or @ me or whatever on your art! I love seeing the different ways people design their mandos!)
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