Follow TV Tropes


Context Main / ImprovisedArmour

Go To

1%% Image replaced per Image Pickin' thread:²%% Please do not change or remove without starting a new thread.²%%²[[quoteright:330:[[Literature/AlicesAdventuresInWonderland]]]]²²A CrazyPrepared or {{Disaster Scavenger|s}} character makes [[BulletproofVest body armour]] or a [[LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe shield]] out of [[MacGyvering materials to hand]], quite possibly to back up an ImprovisedWeapon.²²Indicates that the character, at least, doesn't think ArmourIsUseless. Related to PocketProtector, a protection unknown to the audience [[UnspokenPlanGuarantee which is therefore much more likely to save your life]].²²Expect to see a lot of this in a ScavengerWorld or as part of a ScavengedPunk setting. May be donned as part of a LockAndLoadMontage.²²BucketHelmet is a SubTrope.²²----²!!Examples:²²[[foldercontrol]]²²[[folder:Advertising]]²* An advert for Strongbow cider had a guy giving a ''Film/{{Braveheart}}''-esque RousingSpeech to massed ranks of tradesmen with suitably working class {{Improvised Weapon}}ry and armour — the shield wall is made up of satellite dishes and dustbin lids, various "soldiers" are armed with spirit levels, paint rollers and garden tools, and most of them are wearing hard hats.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Anime & Manga]]²* In ''Manga/{{Holyland}}'', when Masaki fights Taka the former uses a knuckleduster as an impromptu mini-shield. Yuu also uses books as bracers.²* A ScavengerWorld example: in ''Japan'' (the manga written by Buronson and illustrated by Creator/KentaroMiura), body armor is cobbled together from available junk. The main character has an old tire as a pauldron.²* In ''LightNovel/{{Toradora}}'', Ryuuji's mother tells him [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys in a nostalgic tone]] that his DisappearedDad was a {{yakuza}} who used to wear magazines under his jacket in case he got stabbed. ²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Card Games]]²* The [[ChainmailBikini surprisingly protective]] card "[[ Improvised Armor]]" in ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering''.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Comic Books]]²* ComicBook/{{Deadpool}} once wore a bunch of frozen meat to beat Bullseye. In his own words. "I am the meat."²* An issue of ''ComicBook/ThePunisher'' (one of the Summer Specials back from the late 80's - early 90's) had the titular character fighting an evil school principal with a penchant for handing out guns to his students (don't ask). This (like many fights in schools) gets dragged to the library, where the Punisher decided that to survive the situation, he needed protection. A little duct tape and some textbooks later, we have the glorious invention of '''book armor!'''.²* This is essentially ComicBook/IronMan's origin, although where he gets the material varies from retelling to retelling. Most famously, he used parts of his own stolen missiles to build his armor "[[Film/IronMan1 in a cave, with a box of scraps]]."²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Film — Live-Action]]²* ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartIII'' has Marty manages to slip the door off a stove under his clothes in preparation for his showdown with Buford in an homage to ''Film/AFistfulOfDollars''. It works like a charm, stopping not only the bullet but also causing Buford's punch to backfire. He also [[ImprovisedWeapon whacks him in the face with it]] before [[CurbStompBattle beating him senseless]].²* ''Film/TheBalladOfBusterScruggs'': In the "Near Algodones" chapter, an old bank teller covers himself in improvised armor of cooking pots and pans, then charges at a would-be bank robber. Each time a bullet ricochets off of the bank teller's armor, he gleefully shouts, "Pan shot!"²* In ''Film/{{Batman|1989}}'', Bruce Wayne hides a [[PocketProtector small silver tea-tray]] inside his jacket, as body-armor against the Joker's gun.²* ''Film/TheDarkKnight''. A group of Batman-themed vigilantes wear hockey pads as protection. The real Batman in his $300,000 body armor is not impressed.²* In ''Film/TheDevilsRejects'', the Firefly family shoots it out with the police wearing various amounts of improvised armor. The most heavily armored Firefly stays behind to cover the family's retreat. The armor proves very effective, but ultimately he succumbs under the hail of gunfire.²%%* ''Film/AFistfulOfDollars'', with the steel chest-piece.²* In ''Film/FridayAfterNext'', Damon has the protagonists wrap him in phone books when going to a party, due to a NoodleIncident where he was stabbed. Notably, Damon has recently got out of prison, so he still has an inmate's mindset.²* ''Film/FridayThe13th2009'': When Lawrence goes out looking for Chewie, he picks up a pan to be his shield.²* In ''Film/TheGauntlet'', Creator/ClintEastwood welds steel plates together to create an armored compartment around the driver's area of a passenger bus.²* In ''Film/TheGoodTheBadTheWeird'', Tae-goo survives a particularly crazy shootout by putting on a huge, metal diver's helmet. In the longer alternate ending we learn he survived the three way shootout by also having an oven door hidden under his jacket in another shout out to ''A Fistful Of Dollars''.²* In ''Film/KungPowEnterTheFist'', The Chosen One uses a ''squirrel'' to protect himself from Master Betty's deadly attack.²* In ''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'', Mr. Hyde uses a steel door in order to block enemy bullets.²* In ''Film/TheLittleRascals'' short "The First Seven Years" two of the rascals have a swordfight and they armor up first. One uses a catcher's mask and the other uses a beekeper's hat-and-veil.²* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse:²** In ''Film/IronMan1'', he has to improvise his first suit of armor [[LockingMacGyverInTheStoreCupboard out of missile parts]]. Then again, this being a life-supporting suit of PoweredArmor with fully operational flamethrower and mostly-operational [[JetPack rocket-pack]], [[GadgeteerGenius "improvised" doesn't do it justice]].²** In ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'', the Hulk shears some metal sheets off a crushed APC to use as shields against the army's guns (because those .50 cals [[ImmuneToBullets itch something fierce]]).²* J and K in ''Film/MenInBlack3'' block several spikes being thrown by the villain with a metal door.²* In ''Film/NationalTreasure'', [[Creator/NicolasCage Ben]] uses the Declaration of Independence as a shield when he's being shot at (or rather, the case fitted with bulletproof glass the Declaration was being kept in).²* In the original ''Film/TotalRecall1990'', Quaid (Arnold) uses a dead innocent bystander as a human shield to stop enemy bullets by holding up the dead body from falling.²* In ''Film/WorldWarZ'', Brad Pitt's character duct-tapes glossy magazines around his forearms as a precaution against zombie bites.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Literature]]²* Mentioned in one of Creator/AndrewVachss's ''Literature/{{Burke}}'' books. A prisoner who suspects he's going to get attacked will stuff as much newspaper as he can under his clothes. It won't totally stop a shiv, but even a centimeter or inch less of penetration can make the difference between a trip to the hospital and a trip to the morgue.²* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'':²** In ''Literature/SummerKnight'', Fix cobbles together some makeshift armor for Meryl by attaching tableware to a heavy jacket.²** The 'Za Lord's Guard, being pixies, wear armour crafted out of garbage.²* In ''Literature/TheHobbit'' the Dwarf Thorin Oakenshield gains his sobriquet after he uses an oak branch as a shield in battle when his own shield gets broken.²* ''Literature/EgilsSaga'': When Egil and his companions expect an ambush on the forest road between Varmland and Norway, Egil ties a large flat stone to his chest by winding a rope around his upper body. Thus prepared, Egil fights his way through two ambushes and comes out without serious wounds.²* ''Literature/{{Emberverse}}'': ''Dies the Fire'' features many examples. In later books, most cultures have learned to make proper armor, but occasional savage bands wearing improvised armor still turn up, such as the Bekwa, and their trademark stop-sign (or rather, "Arrêt"-sign) shields.²* ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'': In the ''Literature/CollegiumChronicles'', during tryouts for the new Kirball teams, one character shows up for his tryout wearing assorted bits of stovepipe.²* ''Literature/TheSagaOfThePeopleOfVatnsdal'': Ingolf and six of his men go after a party of thieves and discover them in a hideout where eighteen of them are together. Not wanting to turn back, Ingolf picks up two flat stones from a nearby ravine and fastens one to his chest and the other between his shoulders. With only one companion to help him, he attacks and routs the robbers but also receives a lethal wound.²* In Creator/LewisCarroll's ''Literature/ThroughTheLookingGlass'', Tweedledum and Tweedledee get Alice to help them dress in this sort of armor before fighting a not-very-lethal "battle".²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Live-Action TV]]²* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr'': a baddie-of-the-week wears a homemade armor suit for his back robbery jobs so he can be bulletproof.²* ''Series/{{Arrow}}'': In "Trust but Verify", Oliver uses a garbage can lid as an improvised shield to block a tear gas grenade.²* Several episodes of ''Series/BrainiacScienceAbuse'' have mannequins dress up in improvised armour based on the setting, and fired at with a slingshot, longbow and crossbow. For example, if war broke out in a home, a mannequin in the kitchen might use a wok as a chestplate.²* Unable to acquire an armored vehicle, Michael Westen of ''Series/BurnNotice'' once filled the insides of an SUV's doors with phone books and put ballistic glass in the windows. This was [[JustForFun/TropesExaminedByTheMythBusters deemed plausible by]] the Series/MythBusters. It worked quite well, but the windows were noted to be an AchillesHeel, so that ballistic glass was a good investment.²** In a later episode where Michael's in prison, he and another prisoner fashion temporary armor from the hard covers of several library books. Adequate to stop a plastic shiv.²* ''Series/DoctorWho'': [[Recap/DoctorWho2019NYSResolution "Resolution"]] presents Improvised Armour: [[spoiler:Dalek]] Edition, as a [[spoiler:Dalek recon scout]] buried on Earth for 1200 years, after reconstituting itself, controls a woman to build itself a new set of armour out of stolen remnants of its species' technology and materials found at a mechanic's shop.²* In ''Series/TheLostRoom'', the protagonist uses the Coat as body armor, as Objects are indestructible. He is still hurt (unlike actual body armor, the Coat does nothing to spread the impact of a bullet).²* In an episode of ''{{Series/Spellbinder}}'', the protagonist fashions herself a suit out of mirrors when faced with a reactivated laser-armed APC guided by an AI. This comes after hearing a local children's story involving a "looking glass" being used to defeat a monster.²* ''Series/VanHelsing2016'': In "Wakey, Wakey", after initially dismissing a lot of money he finds as [[WorthlessYellowRocks useless]] because they are in an AfterTheEnd scenario, Axel uses [[DuctTapeForEverything duct tape]] to cover his arms and vitals with the wads of cash. It works well enough to stop knives.²* In ''Series/TheWire'', when Omar ends up in prison he [[DuctTapeForEverything duct-tapes]] several thick books to his body. Sure enough, only minutes later someone attempts to shank Omar for the large bounty put on Omar's head by a vengeful crime boss. Thanks to the books the attempt is foiled and Omar [[NauseaFuel horrifically turns the tables]] on his attacker as an example to the other inmates of why they shouldn't try to claim that bounty themselves.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Myth & Religion]]²* In Myth/GreekMythology, Heracles strangled the Nemean Lion that was terrorizing the countryside, [[NemeanSkinning skinned it]] ([[TakesOneToKillOne with its own fangs]]), then took its [[ImmuneToBullets impenetrable skin]] for armor. The lion skin became his IconicItem.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]²* Jimmy [=DeMarco=] duct taped a fruit bowl to his head in an effort to protect himself from [=DDTs=] when he met [[Wrestling/JakeRoberts Jake "The Snake" Roberts]] in the International Wrestling Cartel. [[spoiler:It didn't work.]]²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Roleplay]]²* ''Roleplay/EinsteinianRoulette'': One player character makes a suit of armour out of locker doors. It doesn't help much.²* ''Roleplay/RollToDodgeSavral'': After slaying a tiger, one of the player characters uses its corpse as makeshift body armor.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Tabletop Games]]²* ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'' has 'Ard Boyz, relatively bright Orks who realize that by slapping together plates of scrap metal into a crude set of armor, they have a better chance of surviving the charge across the battlefield into melee. Of course, ''all'' Orks' armor counts as improvised, as do their weapons, vehicles, architecture, medicine...²* Pick a ScavengerWorld, any scavenger world.²** One post-apocalyptic ''TabletopGame/D20Modern'' setting featured illustrations of thugs using American football shoulder pads for armor and a Stop sign for a shield.²** Done in ''TabletopGame/AllFleshMustBeEaten'', similar to the ''d20 Modern'' example above.²** ''[[TabletopGame/HeroSystem Post-Apocalyptic Hero]]'' gives its front cover character a Stop sign shield and a helmet that started life as sporting equipment.²* In the ''Oriental Adventures'' sourcebook for ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', Nezumi are fond of making makeshift armor out of whatever they can cobble together, like tower shields made of the shells of turtle-like monsters called Kappa.²* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}: High-Tech'' has rules for homemade armor. Buckets can be made into a plastic ''lorica segmentata'' strong enough to provide noticeable protection from a shotgun blast.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Video Games]]²* In ''VideoGame/PlantsVsZombies'', some of the zombies have obtained armour that makes them more powerful, such as traffic cones, metal buckets, American football gear, screen doors, bobsleds...[[spoiler:a HumongousMecha]]. On the plant side, Pumpkins provide this for other plants.²* There are many examples in the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' 'verse, but the most obvious are the Raider armours from ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}''. Highlights include using a pair of sieves tied with shoestrings as a bikini top, a cow skull as a shoulder pad, and an empty shell of a spherical hovering robot as a helmet. In ''VideoGame/Fallout3'', Super Mutants wear bits of tire as shoulder guards, while their Behemoths wield car doors as bucklers.²** In the original games, Leather Armor was based on Pre-War designs used for contact sports.²*** Used again in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', where Caesar's Legion makes ersatz Roman armor out of football pads, baseball catcher's pads, and the occasional (presumably metal) dinner plate. Elite legionaries show their status with bits of armour from tougher foes they've felled. Serves as a visual contrast to the NCR Army's use of pre-war ballistic armour for their troops and the Veteran Ranger's LAPD Riot Squad armour.²* In ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'', one of the lower rank armour items is actually a pot lid.²* In ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireII'' the first helmet you can buy is called a SaladBWL. Guess it's better than nothing.²* In ''Videogame/TheEscapists'' the player can craft a variety of armoured versions of their jumpsuit. Possible sources of protection include (from weakest to toughest) a pillow, a book and a sheet of metal.²* Various ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' games have pot lids as the cheapest shield.²* In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'' the GLA has pickup trucks, buses and tanks that can be upgraded by collecting wreckages of destroyed enemy vehicles, which they use as improvised armor.²* In ''VideoGame/TheGodfather 2'' the so-called armoured cars are clearly cobbled-together, with things like metal bars welded over the windscreens.²* In ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' there's a group of mutant hobos called "The Lost" with EliteMooks who use various types of armor such as a STOP sign for chest protection and a TV set (with a broken screen) as a helmet.²* [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent Minions]] in ''VideoGame/{{Overlord}}'' will use almost anything as a helmet, even a pumpkin rind or dead rat.²* In ''[[VideoGame/PunchOut Punch-Out Wii]]'', King Hippo duct tapes a manhole cover to his stomach when he rematches you in an attempt to keep you from exploiting his vulnerability to body blows.²* The player character in ''VideoGame/TheForest'' can wear lizard skin as armor.²* The New Conglomerate in ''Videogame/PlanetSide 2'', being backed by mining and security {{MegaCorp}}s, often makes use of cast-off or archaic designs for their armor and weaponry. Their MAX PoweredArmor in particular is obviously based on a mining exoskeleton with some extra armor panels welded to it, in contrast to the purpose-built Terran Republic MAX and the [[CyBorg heavily augmented]] Vanu Sovereignty MAX. Early concept art had the improvised armor being more prevalent on NC gear, with their engineer appearing to use mining gear for armor.²* In ''VideoGame/{{Evolve}}'', the assault character Lennox built her armor out of a salvaged exoskeleton meant to protect scientists from lava flows. Similarly, Markov's armor is actual an environmental suit used by orbital welders.²* [[GiantMook Heavy Troopers]] from ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'' wear a body armor suit made out of a bomb disposal suit, with cannibalized plates reinforcing weaker spots, and an aviation helmet to top it off. This makes them [[MightyGlacier slow as molasses but more durable than anything else in the game]], and they're dangerously aware of it, requesting covering fire all the time and rarely attacking alone, when their weaknesses are at their most dangerous.²* The ''Pot of Yesterdayers'' boss from ''VideoGame/OurDarkerPurpose'' is a living (or possessed) vat of [[ItCameFromTheFridge spoiled potato stew]]. It wears a saucepan for a helmet, a cookie sheet for a breastplate, and shoulderpads made out of steamer baskets.²* In some ''VideoGame/{{Lufia}}'' games, some of the equipment available early in the game is a Pot helmet, and a Chopping Board shield.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Webcomics]]²* Mal in ''Webcomic/CthulhuSlippers'' uses the indestructible ''Necronomicon'' as body armor in [[ this strip]].²%%* Parodied by ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'' [[ here]]²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Western Animation]]²* The GrandFinale of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' has [[spoiler:Toph bend a metal door around her to protect herself from Firebenders.]]²* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'': While investigating the hideout of a ninja who stole a scroll describing how to perform a TouchOfDeath, Batman notices a training dummy that showed signs of great force being exerted on a specific part of its chest. Batman pretends to NoSell the Touch of Death in the fight with the ninja by hiding the dummy's chest padding under his costume.²* ''WesternAnimation/DragonsRidersOfBerk'': When faced with Dragon Hunters armed with anti-dragon arrows that can fell a dragon in one shot, Hiccup decides to make temporary Dragon armour by stitching together Screaming Death scales, the hardest dragon scales he can think of.²%%* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'': Bill does this when Dale is dressed in armor²* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': Homer Simpson builds a bear-hunting suit (with one notable gap) out of stuff he finds in his garage.²* ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'': During the last episode of the fourth season Lightning creates a suit of armor consisting of sheet metal from a trash can and a smashed in frying pan for a helmet, while Cameron creates a of armor with a laptop he coded to become said armor.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Real Life]]²* The infamous Killdozer is a literal bulldozer with more than one foot thick armor slapped around it, [[ made of concrete-metal sandwich]]. It's immune to small arms and explosives. The driver sealed himself into the cockpit by lowering a multi-ton concrete block around the cockpit and using TV cameras to see.²* Up-armouring is not always a good thing. Unless done well, improvised armor can actually weigh down a vehicle, limiting its mobility and/or overtaxing its engine, while providing little extra protection. ²* U.S. soldiers in Iraq resorted to using "Hillbilly Armor" to reinforce their vehicles for better protection against Improvised Explosive Devices (underside armor was an important first step). Some of their designs were so popular and effective that they became "kits" used throughout the army.²* In UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, tankers would weld spare tread links onto their tanks or even use sandbags. Later, when shoulder-launched anti-tank weapons became more common, they would use thin metal sheets or wire mesh as so-called slat-armor to detonate the shaped charges away from the tank's armor. Russian tanks confronted by the Panzerfaust rocket-launcher took to scavenging bedframes with bedsprings as improvised spaced armour to safely detonate anti-tank rockets away from the vehicle's main armour. ²* The first M26 Super Pershing sent to Europe was modified by its crew. The Super Pershing was built as an up-gunned variant to kill Tigers and the crew thought its armour wasn't quite up to the confrontation, so they welded huge slabs of boiler plate steel all over the front, as was not uncommon for up-armouring tanks in the era.²* [[ Ned Kelly]]. His homemade armour stopped at least twenty direct hits during his infamous shootout against Australian law enforcement. Unfortunately for Ned, the armour was heavy and didn't protect him all over. A shot to his ankle brought him down.²* Possibly in the spirit of Kelly, the desperate expedient in wartime New Zealand, the Semple Tank, consisted of a civilian tracked bulldozer given an armoured shell out of ''anything'' that happened to be immediately available. This lash-up desperation vehicle had more than a look of the [[RubeGoldbergMachine HeathRobinson]] about it and was utterly useless for any sort of combat. The Semple tank was scrapped when better purpose-built vehicles were made available. ²* Convicted NZ murderer [[ Graeme Burton]] packed newspapers and magazines under his prison uniform when he stabbed another inmate, quite possibly inspiring the examples in ''Series/TheWire'' and ''Series/{{BurnNotice}}'', above.²* During the [[ North Hollywood shootout]], one of the bank robbers wore a full suit of patchwork body armor, including bullet-proof vests wrapped around his legs. The other robber simply wore a BulletproofVest with a metal trauma chestplate. Soon, however, the SWAT team arrived, in addition to a number of the regular officers acquiring assault rifles from a nearby gunstore, and both robbers soon learned the hard way that their body armor was only effective against the considerably less powerful handgun ammunition that the beat cops carried. Rifle rounds carry far more energy and sectional density and tend to go through kevlar quite easily, which is why soldiers wear ceramic armor plates inside their vests.²* Some of the Egyptian protesters against the Mubarak regime were seen sporting helmets made of concrete slabs tied on with rope, and even loaves of bread secured with tape (A good thick, spongey bread could be passable protection from a baton), in one particularly [[MemeticMutation memetic]] example.²* Very popular amongst the [[UsefulNotes/SocietyForCreativeAnachronism SCA]] heavy weapons fighters. At least until they purchase real armour or learn armoursmithing themselves.²* The oft-homaged example seen in ''Film/AFistfulOfDollars'' above was apparently TruthInTelevision; if TheSheriff or some other local authority figure got wind that trouble might be breaking out, he'd sometimes don an "iron shirt" as a precaution. A stove door like Marty uses in ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartIII'' was pretty common, being the most readily available item of approximately the right size and shape.²* [[ Cottonclads]] were fairly standard wooden river gunboats with bales of cotton strapped to their sides, the cotton absorbing enemy gunfire so they could get close. ²[[/folder]]²----


Example of: