I have had a great start to my day by collecting all of my inspiration and coming up with the above image as my way of expressing the kind of thing I want to achieve out of my assignment (but due to time constraints, I most likely will not be able to produce the entire ensemble).
My inspiration comes from animals that use hardened shells to protect themselves from harm, and in particular, the armadillo and the slater bug - both have similar ways of protecting themselves, with layers that move over the top of each other, and when threatened, they both curl into a hardened ball. I think this is so smart.
So I found images of actual medieval armor, and used transparent textures from the animals to create this image.
The armadillo features on the left (your left) shoulder armor, and the slater as the torso armor.
It is all very exciting.