Michael, I agree that the kikko fabric should be dark. As for gray or blue, I'm not sure - do you have samples for that as well? edit: And what colour do you want to use for the crosslaces on the kikko?
It seems logical to me that a samurai of officer rank would be more likely to have a horse and thus need the leather patches on the suneate. But maybe we should take a step back and discuss this: a tatami armour for a high ranking samurai - do we know about examples for this? I don't, but that doesn't mean much...
Michael, Suneate do not fasten with cords as such - rather with ties made by folding a strip of cloth to, as you say about 1cm wide, and sewn along the edges. The upper one should be long enough to wrap around the calf and tie in front, the lower one correspondingly. Some are sewn to the suneate whilst others pass through braid loops. Ian B
Michael, Dave's answer can be read in two different ways: "It's not normal, so I wouldn't recommend it", but also "It's not normal, but it can be done if you want". Let me ask you this: are you making your armour for your very own personal pleasure, or are you planning to wear it to SCA events and such? In the first case, authenticity is only as important as you make it yourself. In the second, you might be required to point where you have found proof of painted leather being used, which can tricky.
So, another question is this: is it a must for you to use leather? If not, see this snippet from AJB's website: "One alternative to suspensory lacing which appeared in the latter half of the sixteenth century is the suspensory panel. A leather panel or a lightly padded cloth faced in mail takes the place of the yurugi ito. Occasionally, a few rows of odoshige would be run in-and-out down each panel as an accent, to give the impression of lacing."
For the "lightly padded cloth faced in mail" you could use the green cloth that will be present in other parts of your armour as well.
David, I am making the armour for me to wear and display )and hopefully a family hearlum). I left the SCA long ago when the political stuff started. Would you have pics showing the different padded fabric panels? I am wondering about the styles of mail they used. I had thought about using odoshige also.I am wanting as close to how it was done during the time period.
Michael, in this case you might get to the point where you will have to decide yourself, if it's not possible to get all the answers you need. Might even happen more than once I guess... But remember, there were always examples of bespoke armour parts that are unique. If a samurai wanted something special on his armour, he ordered it that way (given that he had enough money, of course). So the terms "normal" or "period" hardly come with a guarantee. Or in other words: "The first rule of Katchu: there are no rules"
Unfortunately, I don't have any pics of such fabric panels. One thing to try when you're looking for pics is this: there's a kanji glossary here on this forum, you can copy kanji there and paste them in google your preferred serach engine That way, you get search results from Japan that don't show up if you just look for "kusazuri". So my suggestion is this: get the kanji for kusazuri or gessan and search the japanese web for pics. Maybe you'll get what you're looking for. If I was you, I'd also have a look at the haidate instructions on AJB's site and maybe derive the panel construction from the info provided there.
Frabic was used to join the gessen to the dou as and alternative to yurugi ito. Leather, er no, maybe as the upper material for kikkogane. Pick a nice frabic, cotten backer and either thin leather of silk as sasaberi