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Fish - Scale Armor

Discussion in 'World Building' started by trentonian7, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. trentonian7

    trentonian7 Troubadour

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    I'm developing a very aquatic inspired culture and I've decided I want to create scale based armor, or at least ceremonial clothing. That being said, I don't mean scales of bronze or iron or another metal, but scales from actual sea life. I don't know that it's historically ever been done, but as a writer, I'm able to invent a fictional species of scaled life if needs be. I've recently read about a six foot long Amazonian fish with scales able to withstand the bite of a piranha; if an animal with similar scales were to be skinned, might those scales be made into functional armor? Obviously I can make the scales as strong as I want; I'm considering some version of a smaller than legend "sea serpent" that migrates near my culture for a few months a year. Another option I'm considering is turning the serpent's hide into leather, which seems more functional than taking just the scales and should keep the aesthetic I'm going for?
     
  2. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    I'm not aware of any historical armour using fish scales, but I do know that there are some surviving pangolin scale armour shirts. It wouldn't be a stretch to imagine the scales of marine creatures being used similarly. Go with it if that's your preferred choice.
     
  3. Jerseydevil

    Jerseydevil Minstrel

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    Stingray and shark skin is used to make leather boots, so I see no reason why it can't be used for clothing. I've never heard of fish scales being used for armor though. I would imagine that the scales would disintegrate if taken out of water for too long, so from a realism standpoint, I don't think it's practical. It's your world so go right ahead, though.
     
  4. Bruce McKnight

    Bruce McKnight Troubadour

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    I like the idea. Medieval scale armor was just a metal replica of the animal version, so why not use the natural version: creatures with hard scales.

    Serpent skin seems more decorative to me, unless they had tougher skin than the normal kind.

    Personally, I'm partial to gator skin.
     
  5. Lunaairis

    Lunaairis Sage

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    Brithel likes this.
  6. trentonian7

    trentonian7 Troubadour

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    Sweet! I love that the scales are so distinct, especially in the commercial pieces. If I were to create a fish sufficiently large enough, might that fish's skin be made into leather and then boiled for armor?
     
  7. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said, but if it's cultural thematics you're after having fish leather for day to day clothing and actual metal scale armor for battle seems like it could serve as a balance between thematics and realism?
     
  8. Lunaairis

    Lunaairis Sage

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    I don't see why not.
     
  9. Laurence

    Laurence Inkling

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    If durability out of water is an issue then consider an amphibian/water dwelling reptile?
     
  10. Boiled Water

    Boiled Water Dreamer

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    There is a swamp-dwelling society in one of my worlds that uses fish scale armor. The method by which they produce it is similar to Chinese paper armor. Scales are harvested from a large freshwater fish known as the Redbelly Gar and then laminated with a resin from a local tree. The scales and resin are layered and dried in the sun over and over until you have a thick plate of armor. Its not the best armor but its pretty tough, pliable, and more suitable for warm climates.
     
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