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Kit review: Leon Paul HEMA BOH Protector

"The latest back of the head modification for the X-Change mask - lightweight and durable - will help you achieve a higher level of protection against thrusts to the head. This system replaces the Contour Fit disk but requires the Contour Plus strap. Ships with the additional forehead pad that is used for padding."

You can find this here.

Firstly, lols for "protection against thrusts to the head" ...

Leon Paul BOH protector

Ordering

I ordered this directly from the Leon Paul website. Cost wise this was just under 60 pounds including postage to New Zealand. Postage was, as always for Leon Paul, very fast and it arrives in about 5 days.

I've had this protector for a couple of months now.

Pros

My slimline BOH 


It's pretty much everything I'm looking for in back of head protection. In fact the guys from Leon Paul obviously sat down and went through the same thought process that I did for my slimline back of head protector. There are a few minor differences, mainly that the Leon Paul BOH protector is made of hard plastic rather than leather, however design wise the only big difference is that the LP overlaps over the top of the mask rather than going under it. My intention with overlapping underneath was to prevent thrusts catching on the lip however from my experience this doesn't often happen.

I've had a very positive experience with this protector so far:

  • It has no noticeable impact on head movement 
  • It maintains a very close fit to the mask leaving no gaps
  • It adds no noticeable weight to the mask
  • It doesn't appear to retain any additional heat 

I've used it in sparring with longsword and sidesword, it's received a few hefty blows and the results have been that it's surprisingly effective. In fact if it didn't make a noise when hit, I'm not sure I would have been aware that I'd been hit.

Cons

There's one big one and one little one. Firstly, I was attaching this to the Leon Paul HEMA mask and there's no way I could make the neck strap hold the BOH protector on. I tried everything and it just doesn't work. I'm not ruling out that I'm being thick however it just wouldn't join up. If the loop that the strap went through was on the inside of the protector it would have worked but on the outside it doesn't. Instead I got a thick piece of elastic with velcro on the ends and attached this through the loop and then round the chin of my mask, which holds the whole thing firmly in place.

This creates a big of an issue as it takes a relatively long time to put off and put on your mask. You have to have the contour strap on, otherwise the firm bib of the mask can push the mask off your face. You now need to have the big strap holding the BOH protector on. Meaning that to put on our take off your mask you need to undo two straps, i.e. meaning you need to take your gloves off so not just a process of popping your mask on and off.

The other, minor, issue is that it would be improved by having a further protection at the base that covers the top of the spine. However, that's a minor consideration.

Conclusion

I like it and definitely prefer it other BOH protectors on the market. Even with the cons around taking it on and off, I still vastly prefer it's lightweight and low heat qualities to other protectors.

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