Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

Abominable Batarangs…

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

I ran across an interesting set of throwing stars, of a rather counter intuitive design. Yes, I said counter intuitive.  Yes, I know, not exactly the words you’d expect to see in the same sentence as “throwing stars” but that’s just how it is. Let me show you the counter intuitive goods:

Rainbow Batman Batarangs

Rainbow Batman Batarangs

Yeah… Rainbow Batarangs. Two words you never thought you’d see in the same sentence no? “Rainbow” and “Batarang”? Yeah, me neither. But there it is. A far cry from the rather beautiful, jet black batarangs of The Dark Knight. And entirely out of character. The Bats does not do light colors. I can pretty much guarantee you that.

In fact, I think the day that the Batman uses rainbow finished batarangs is the day he trades in his black (or navy blue, depending on what era you are partial to) superhero costume, and dons a multicolored spandex body suit and cape, complete with a big, bright, rainbow colored clown fro, and big red nose. At which point even the Joker would probably throw in the towel, and give up his life of crime forever. I kid you not.

But don’t hold your breath. It ain’t ever gonna happen. The Bats just ain’t that kind of guy.

Either way, you are hopefully beginning to see why I consider these designs are  counter intuitive. But wait! There’s more! Besides the completely off color scheme, I find the batarang design fundamentally flawed. Yes. I do. I really do.

Oh don’t look at me like that, I idolize the Bats just as much as the next guy, In fact, he is actually my favorite superhero, followed closely by Wolvie. But I still think this batarang design just… Sucks. Yeah. That would be the technical term. Batarang Suckage. And you can quote me on that.

You do know I can hear you right? No reason to yell. “Blasphemy!”, “Sacrilege!”, “How dare I!?” Whatever. Put a sock in it. If you’ll stop frothing at the mouth in rage and anger for a moment, I’ll explain why I feel as I do.

First and foremost, the first and original incarnation of the “Batarang”, as it was called, was never intended to be a shuriken. It was intended to be a custom, Batman designed boomerang. Combining a high tech computer controlled propulsion system, with the traditional Australian throwing weapon design, it was designed for double duty as either a traditional boomerang whose trajectory could be modified, or a simple impact thrower.

That implementation made sense. Even though it was much smaller, the boomerang-like curved shape of  the weapon, (even if it did have uncharacteristically sharp inner contours) and even the name, all made sense: Bat+Boomerang=Batarang!

However with the advent of “Batman Begins” (at least in the movies) the batarang concept was corrupted in homage to his Ninjutsu training. The weapon, which actually became quite a distinctive character, (Yes, I said “character”. Weapons are just as much characters in movies as the actors that wield them. But this is a discussion for a nother post.  🙂 ) was recast as a bat styled shuriken.

And that is where they went wrong.

A quick look at any of the many, many traditional Japanese hira shuriken (throwing star) designs, will quickly reveal that they all have one characteristic that the batarang does not. They are generally radially symmetrical in at least 3 axes. And those that aren’t are throwing spikes, or bo-shuriken, which are completely different.

Now this multi axis symmetry has several benefits. It helps make a shuriken’s rotation consistent and predictable in midflight. It also positions the bulk of the mass of the weapon behind each point and as it rotates towards the target, so as to increase the depth of penetration upon impact. And it also increases the chances that a point sticks into the target by giving each point the greatest possible amount ot time pointing to the target for any give number of points, and for any given number of rotations, as it flies to the target.

And therein lies the kicker. The batarang design, violated and heinously pressed into services as a bat shuriken, completely flies in the face of this tried and true conventional wisdom, and is only symmetrical in one axis. Down the center. It’s center of gravity is offset from the line of it’s points, and it is assymety is such that it is only likely to stick at one of two positions.

Now that’s just poor shuriken design if you ask me. I can see the need for the Bats to have some way of marking his work, and a bat shuriken is certainly a cool one, however I don’t really see the point of compromising the design of a weapon in order to do so. He could just as easily have used a symmetrical 4 point shuriken, utilizing a half bat wing for each point. Or even a whole bat.

So long as it was radially symmetrical, it would have worked brilliantly. And it would still have conveyed the whole Bat-thing just as well. But I will admit that the concept of the Bat shuriken is still kinda cool. I Just wish they didn’t have to completely obliterate the effectiveness of the weapon in order to achieve those cool aesthetics…

Rainbow Batman Batarangs – [The Happy Ninja]

Another “movie inspired” weapon…

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

So here we are again, another day, another weapon. Todays weapon is yet another example of a movie weapon, suggested by a reader, G-Man. And I am happy to say that this time around, there is a legitimate connection between the weapon and the movie it is inspired by:

Batman Begins Cane Sword

Batman Begins Cane Sword

[click image to view full size]

OK. So what you are looking at is a “Batman Begins” Cane sword. Yeah. This is a replica of the cane sword used by the Protagonist Ra’s Al Ghul during his confrontation with the Bats in the Movie Batman Begins. At last! A weapon that actually came from the movie!! Some auspicious alignment of the stars must have occurred!! Or something… 😉

I must say it’s actually not a bad looking piece of kit at all. An all black cane, with an all black cast metal (heh) head, with a rounded globe head, and a ridged cylindrical grip… I find it quite aesthetically pleasing.

The stainless steel blade is also not bad either. The long, narrow, fast, light blade is  more or less standard fare for sword cane applications, and this one is no exception. Except this one is of a slightly different design than usual, sporting what looks like a double edged rapier blade, as opposed to the normal single edge.

Not bad at all, though with a blade so slim, the lack of a thick spine does raise strength concerns. But in a Cane staff this is of less importance than in a regular “full duty” sword. Speaking of which, I like the choice of shape for this grip, the IMHO a ball is a much better end than the ovoid, hook, snake dog/wolf head or simple hoop I often see in these designs.

Granted, cast metal is not the ideal grip material, but for the purposes of inconspicuous carry, it serves it’s purpose well. My only concern would be how far down into the grip the tang extends. Assuming it goes all the way to the ball, I’d say it is likely to be a fairly durable design.

But the fun doesn’t end there. The cylindrical sheath that makes up the rest of the cane actually locks in place using a small latch on the side of the blade, just below the grip. A nice touch if you ask me. Many traditional cane swords rely on a threaded insert, which, while strong, does take forever to take apart.

The latch idea is considerable faster, though it does comes with the downside of being weaker than “screw on” sheathing. But so long as you don’t intend to be whacking the various local hooligans daily with your Batman Begins sword cane, this little detail should be of little concern.

Now a little word of warning. Most of the versions I saw out there were oput together with the cheap cast alloy metal and stainless steel blade versions. They will do fine for display purposes, and casual use, but if you really want to walk around with something of higher quality, I’ve got just the thing.

I found a version of this sword cane floating around from Windlass Steelcrafts, that is said to use solid aluminum for the grip and sheath, and a high carbon steel rapier blade. This version is probably a bit more expensive, but would absolutely be the bees knees. Definitely the version you want to get if you can afford it.

So, all told, I like it. I really like it. If I were looking for another Sword cane, (as opposed to another shikomizue) this would certainly be the one I’d get. After all, If it was good enough for the ninja that trained the Batman, who am I to fault it…? 😀

Batman Begins Sword Cane (Windlass Steelcrafts Version) – [888KnivesRUs]

Batman Begins Sword Cane – [eCrater]


How to get yourself killed in a ninja swordfight.

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Alright. So today I ran across a rather unsettling reproduction rip off of what is supposed to be a very cool tool/weapon. Except the knock off does not do the original weapon any kind of justice whatsoever, and in practice, would be much more likely to get you killed, than help you defend yourself.

I speak of none other than the Spiked Vambraces used by “the Batman” in the new, Christian Bale pwned iterations of Batman. Oh and I’m not talking about the stupid tin scrap launcher gauntlets he used in “The Dark Knight”, I’m talking about the solid, sword breaking, spike equipped vambraces used in the first movie, “Batman Begins”.

I thought I’d add that I think the new versions are some of the best takes on the Batman I have seen so far. Except maybe for the very first one with Michael Keaton. But I digress.

At issue today, is this sorry pair of spiked vambraces I found, floating out there in the internets:

Tactical Strike Bracer - Aggressive Battle Vambrace

Tactical Strike Bracer - Aggressive Battle Vambrace

[Click image to view full size]

Misleadingly called a “Tactical Strike Bracer/Aggressive Battle Vambrace” this couldn’t be used any more aggressively than a sloth training for a sleep-a-thon. Of course, I shouldn’t have expected anything else.

What we have here, is a soft faux leather gauntlet, with light gauge steel strips riveted *sigh* in place, with the central strip bearing a set of three spikes welded on, from wrist to elbow, each one slightly larger than the last.

Where to begin. If you’ve been reading this blog, you probably already have a good idea what I’m going to say, just by looking at the picture. But i’ll break down my list of woes anyway…

First… a Faux leather gauntlet? Seriously? Yeah, sure soft faux leather is great if you just want to make a pair of long ladies opera gloves, but for an “Aggressive Battle Vambrace”? It’s not going to last through a dunking in water…

Then there are the steel strips. And the spikes too. Of some ridiculously looking light gauge steel. That looks like I could cut them with a pair of scissors. And riveted in place, no less. Riveted to the oh so soft faux leather… *Burgh*… *Urrrggghh*  I think i’m gonna be sick… Gimme a second… *Bleaaaarrghhhh!!!*

Ok… My bad… Sorry about that… C’mon Phyreblade… You can do this… breathe… That’s right… Wooosaaaahhh…. deep breaths… Aaaahhhh… OK… Let’s try and carry one shall we…

Next up we have the fastening. Three elastic bands, and one faux leather buckle strap… whooo… breath… Whooosaaaahhhh…

Ok. So as to preserve my sanity, let’s try a little thought experiment. Who here thinks this “Aggressive Battle Vambrace” is going to stay where you put it on your arm. No one? Good. Because it won’t. I don’t think elastic straps, fastened to what might as well be pleather, are gonna cut it.

You need really thick, stiff leather or even solid steel plating, with either thick strong laces or with multiple, (ideally 3 or more) equally tough leather buckles, in order for this to work.

OK, next question. Who here thinks those thin steel strips could deflect a sword strike. Good call. They probably won’t. They will bend like the worthless pieces of tin foil that they are.

Corollary question. Who thinks those spikes will still be standing after an attempt to deflect an incoming sword strike. Show of hands… None. Good. Yes, I see none. Partially because I can’t actually see you. Which is a good thing, cause I would have instantly cut off any hands I saw raised anyway.

In fact, I’m actually fairly certain that I could probably cut those spikes off the gauntlet with a sword if I were so inclined. And probably take a good chunk of the wearers forearm too. Just as a reminder to the wearer that they are an idiot.

You simply cannot rivet a piece of steel to a piece of naugahyde (for all it’s worth) and expect it to endure any more than a cats scratching it. And I bet it would consider the cat’s attention “punishing” treatment…

So there you have it folks. A tool that is guaranteed to get you killed if you should ever be foolish enough to use it in defense against a sword wielding opponent. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And yes, as usual, I’m probably over reacting, this was probably designed just for show, and I’m trying to make into something that it’s not. But still… so much potential… Wasted. Hopes and dreams… dashed. Oh, but it looks nice.

You could take it to a halloween party. Or put it on your pet chihuahua and enter it into a fighting toy dog tournament… Proabably wouldn’t help much but at least it would look cool just before it got annihilated…

Hey, don’t kill the messenger, I’m just saying…

Hyper-Aggressive Battle Chihuahua Spine Protectors – set of 2 – [True Swords]

And three is a charm…

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

If you read my last post, you’ll remember my pointing out how there seems to be one specific sword designer who has focused on making movie themed swords for movies that had nothing to do with swords. In fact they seem to be focused on movies whose lead characters are distinctly not into swords. My previous post compared both the Punisher and the Batman sword.

But you’ll never guess who the latest comic book hero/victim is. Take a wild guess. Give up? Wuss. It’s your friendly neighborhood Spiderman, that’s who! And for good ole’ Spidey, we actually have TWO (count ’em, 2) weapons to add to this impromptu collection of movie swords that never were. Allow me to present:

Spidermans War Sword and the Spiders Fury Dagger:

Spiderman Sword Spiders Fury Dagger
[click images to view full size]

Interestingly, Spidey gets a dagger too. Though I doubt that this was made by the same people who made the swords. But to refresh your memory, below are all three movie swords, side by side:

Fantasy Bat SwordPunisher SwordSpiderman Sword
[click images to view full size]

First, (As the Joker liked to call him) the “Bats” Sword, followed by the Punishers Sword. And last, but certainly not least, we have Spidermans War Sword. And now you can see exactly how similar they are. In fact they might as well be brothers. At least these folks are efficient. Take the same blade, slap on a new hilt, and Voila, a new movie sword. In the case of the Punisher/Batman swords, they didn’t even bother to change the grip.

And the most amazing about all of this is that none of these characters actually use swords. Nada. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Not a one. The Punisher is a bona fide gun nut. Batman is all about the technology. And Spidey, well he relies on his trusty web slinging ability above all else. What tickles me the most is the fact that the one character who is least likely to ever pick up a weapon in his life, namely Spidey, actually gets both a sword AND a dagger. What a wonderful, amazing world we live in.

Guard and RicassoPommelHilt
[click images to view full size]

But all that being said, they did some nice things to the Spiderman sword. I like how they incorporated the Green goblin motif in the design. I always did like the aesthetics of the Green Goblins toys. And it works great for the guard design. In fact, if these guys ever made a Green Goblin sword I’d totally buy that. Interesting how the crazy ones always have the coolest ideas…

Another non-movie movie sword…

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

You may recall a while back a post about a Punisher sword, presumably from the Punisher comic and movie franchise. As I mentioned in that post, the Punisher character was really heavy into the firearms thing, and had little use for swords, so to see that there was a Punisher sword available was, well, perplexing.

But that has not stopped someone from making yet another sword for a comic/movie character, who also really did not use swords: Batman.

Fantasy Bat Sword

Fantasy Bat Sword
[view full size]

Now any Batman fan knows that Batman likes technology. Not swords. It is true that he is a highly trained ninja, however his forte seems to be to apply modern tools (i.e. technology) in innovative ways to solve his various problems. And much like the way the Punisher is really into his right to bear arms, and relies heavily on his guns, the Dark Knight relies equally heavily on his technology. No swords. Not even a knife really. Not much more than his trademark batarang. Or in his more contemporary incarnations, his bat-shuriken. So this is yet another sword that fits in exactly nowhere in the grand schema of the psychotic profile that is The Batman.

That is not to say it isn’t a nice sword. I actually like the lines on it. Which isn’t surprising, because as it turns out, I liked the lines on the Punisher Sword too. On a hunch I went back and compared the two.

Fantasy Bat Sword
Punisher Sword

On the top is our Fantasy Bat Sword. On the bottom, the Punisher sword. (Click the images to see larger versions) Lo and behold! A pattern appears! Look at the grips on both swords. Identical. Look at the blade profile on both swords. Nearly the same. The only things that are different between them are the pommel, the guard and the length of the ricasso.

It’s a fair bet that they were designed by the same person. Which explains a lot. Obviously this designer/manufacturer has decided to fill the heretofore unknown niche market of making fantasy movie swords for movies whose leading characters do not actually use swords. Interesting. Very Interesting.

At least I can say the designer has good taste, if not any originality. In fact I’m fairly certain I have seen the exact same blade profile that the Bat Sword has (with the longer ricasso) in one or two other swords. I hope at least one of those others is an original. I’d like to see one of these designs that isn’t a movie knock off…

Fantasy Bat Sword – [Collectors Edge]

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