Posts Tagged ‘Battle’

Introducing: The Gun Katar

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

I’m not really into politics, however it appears that the Good ‘ol U. S. of A. is going to have it’s first African American President. Now while that is of itself a noteworthy and landmark occurrence, as the transition from slavery to presidency is no mean feat, I’m also hoping it will bring with it important changes. Like an improved economy. Reduced national deficits. Better international relationships. You know. Good Presidential stuff.

However we will just have to wait and see. Politicians are politicians after all, it doesn’t matter whether they are black or white, which is a fact many seem to have forgotten. The proof is in the pudding. Whatever that means… I never really liked pudding anyway. Only time will tell how well campaign promises equate to results…

Anyway, in honor of this momentous occasion, I thought I’d break out a beauty of a weapon I ran into a while back. I have done a few gunblade posts in the past, but none of them compare to the sweetness that is the Gun Katar:

Gun Katar

Gun Katar

[click image to view full size]

Is that not completely and uncompromisingly awesome? Now this is a weapon for which a Gun Kata would make practical sense. Yes, A Gun Kata. You know, that little gun dance that seemed to occur at random in the movie “Equilbrium”? The one with Christian Bale before he became the “Dark Knight? Yeah. That one. Go look up Gun Kata (not Katar) on the YouTubes or something. But I’m ranting here. Back to Gun Katar goodness.

What you are looking at here is a Katar, a traditional Indian punch dagger, primarily a thrusting  weapon, often designed to penetrate chain mail armored opponents. It has a thick wedge shaped blade, and unlike most other weapons, the blade is held vertically, by a grip and a set of side bars that sit at right angles to the blade.

Gun Katar - Side View

Gun Katar - Side View

[click image to view full size]

This one is a particularly ornate one, featuring some very intricate engravings. You can see an elephant and a boar on one side, as well as flowers, leaves in the center area where the blade emerges, and other traditional Indian adornments.

Gun Katar - Engravings

Gun Katar - Engravings

[click image to view full size]

Gun Katar - Engravings

Gun Katar - Engravings

[click image to view full size]

Like many other katar, this features a double bar center grip, with the traditional side bars that run down either side of the blade and acts as guard as well as added support for the weapon.

Gun Katar - Side Guards

Gun Katar - Side Guards

[click image to view full size]

Under normal circumstances, that would be the sum total of the design of a traditional Katar. Except this one takes quite a hike from the traditional beaten Katar path. This Katar is loaded. With black powder. A double charge no less… 🙂

Gun Katar - Flintlock Pistol Barrel

Gun Katar - Flintlock Pistol Barrel

[click image to view full size]

This Katar is sporting a pair of flint lock pistols, one attached to either side of the weapon. If you look closely at the grip, you can see a pair of triggers recessed into the front bar, one at the top and one at the bottom.

Gun Katar - Flintlock Pistol Triggers

Gun Katar - Flintlock Pistol Triggers

[click image to view full size]

As you can probably imagine, a person wielding this in battle would have a healthy advantage over your poorly equipped standard Katar wielding schlub. I can just imagine how confrontations with the original owner of this weapon would have ended. Indiana Jones style.

I love weapons that make the old saying: “never bring a knife to a gun fight.” redundant… 😉

Anyway I thought this was a cool weapon for a special day… There are one or two more pics at the link after the jump. Here’s to great things in our future… 🙂

Peace!

Gun Katar – [CollectorEbooks.com]

Cool Replicas – Part 5: Himura Kenshins’ Sakabato

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Another day, another cool sword. Today, a sword suggested by reader Heero, the Sakabato (Reverse bladed Sword) of Himura Kenshin, key protagonist of the manga and anime series Rurouni Kenshin.

Himura Kenshin, was formerly a highly skilled assassin, called “Hitokiri Battōsai”. Hitokiri literally translates to “manslayer”. And while “Battōsai” has no direct meaning, there is a Japanese art called “Battōjutsu” which teaches the correct technique for drawing, cutting with, and sheathing a sword, much like Iaidō.

However while Iaidō deals primarily with the process of correctly drawing, cutting and sheathing techniques, Battōjutsu takes it a step further and teaches techniques for *multiple cuts* before resheathing. So together, the name “Hitokiri Battōsai” is perhaps one of the most ominous combinations you could ever have.

And the name was not undeserved. During his time as an assassin, Himura Kenshin he was considered an unbeatable warrior, killing many, many people, until one day he decides that he has done enough killing.

He becomes a rurouni, a renegade former assassin, who wanders the countryside helping people in trouble, to atone for his murderous past. Hence the name: Rurouni Kenshin. Once a rurouni, Kenshin meets a renowned Japanese swords smith called Arai Shakku, who has also decided to start making weapons for protection rather than killing, and it is he who gives the Sakabato to Kenshin.

I thought it was a cool, if a little cliched, story. The sword, however differentiates this from similar stories. I present Himura Kenshins Sakabato:

Himura Kenshins Sakabato

Himura Kenshins Sakabato

[click image to view full size]

From the intro pic, you can see that this is a beautiful, though not particularly noteworthy sword, except for one thing. The edge is on the inside of the curve of the blade, as opposed to the outside. This is a symbolic feature, intended to externally show that it’s wielder is a pacifist, and that the sword is not intended for lethal combat.

However the Sakabato poses a rather interesting structural question. The curve on a katana is a result of differential heat treatment, that makes the front edge of the blade hard, but leaves the spine flexible. During the tempering process, the front edge expands, while the spine does not, which results in the signature curve.

Thus a traditionally heat treated Sakabato is technically a rather complex feat. Since only the heat treated edge of a blade will expand, a sword would never curve in the direction of the edge, only away from it. So the only way a sakabato could be traditionally be made would be to forge an exaggerated reverse curve into the blade, *before* heat treating.

The curve would have to be enough to not only compensate for the resulting straightening that would occur during the heat treatment of the edge, but also still have enough curve left over for it to retain it’s signature Katana curve. It would take a very experienced smith to know exactly how much curve to forge into the blade.

Perhaps that was the point. Perhaps successfully pulling off a Sakabato was the signature of a master swordsmith, and made it the ultimate pacifists weapon. Hmm. That’s cool an all, but I could think of better solutions. Like don’t use a sword at all, just use something else. Like a Louisville slugger. Maybe in steel.

But that’s just my practical side speaking.

Anyway, cool plot lines and metallurgical complexities aside, this replica is actually one of the nicer ones I’ve seen in a long while. From the simple black circular tsuba, to the gold accent on the pommel, it is a very accurate, and very well put together, sword.

With quality fittings, real ray skin and cord wrapped tsuka, full tang carbon steel blade with dual mekugi, this is not only very well crafted, but a beautiful and sturdy design, intended to be dismantled and maintained in the traditional fashion:

Sakabato - Tsuka

Sakabato - Tsuka

[click image to view full size]

But while modern metallurgy might allow us to get away with a reverse bladed sword, without any of the mechanical hassles that would be associated with traditional metal working, I still would not advise any careless swinging of such a weapon. You never know, reverse blades may still have anomalous physical properties…

It might cut a hole in the fabric of space and time, and the tip may slice through, come out the other side and whack you in the back of the head. No, seriously, you gotta be careful with these kinds of things. Trust me, I’m a Balrog, I would know.

Hey, don’t roll your eyes at me, I’m just saying… K, fine. Suit yourself. Just make sure you bequeath your Sakabato to me in your will…

Yeah, It’s Phyreblade. P-H-Y-R…

What?

Himura Kenshins Sakabato – [True Swords]

Another Futuristic Axe…

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

I thought I’d post today about another “future axe” that I ran across a while back. Perhaps not as outlandish as the futuristic oval axe I posted about a while back, but still out there:

Futuristic Axe

Futuristic Axe

This is supposedly a futuristic axe. Looks to me like a High Guard force lance with a blade attached to one end. (From the Sci-Fi series “Andromeda” for those who didn’t get the reference 🙂 ). For some reason I can totally see Romy using this. Actually i’d love to see Romy use something like this. 😀 but I digress…

What we have here is a really fancy force lance looking shaft, to which is bolted/riveted a sleeve of some sort, atop which sits a rather flimsy looking slotted plate, to which an interestingly contoured blade has been riveted/bolted. Opposite the blade we have… Spines. Spikes. The guard from a hedge trimmer. I Dunno.

Anyway you probably already have a good idea about what I’m gonna say next. So I’ll summarize. Axe shaft: OK. Axe eye/cheek/sleeve assembly: rivet junk. Spines: Meh. Axe head… Well that I have to give them a little credit for that.

Yes, the way the axe head is attached to the shaft is junk. However the shape of the blade on this axe is another story. i actually found it rather interesting. It is formed of three straight edges on the front, and one curved one on the back, with two trapezoidal voids cut out of the middle of the blade.

The end result I found quite eye pleasing, with a sharp top point, and an inward canting straight blade out front.  Clearly, having no curves on the front edge of the axe, this would make for a bad general purpose axe design, and given the inherent weakness of it’s construction it might not even make a good combat axe, save for poking the playground bully’s eyes out with the spikes on it’s spine.

But from an aesthetic point of view, I kind of like it. What saddens me, however is that all of these so called futuristic axes have one thing in common: Iffy construction. Barring the possibility that the pommel of this weapon is a real live, honest to goodness force lance, If this is what weapon construction is reduced to in a few thousand years, well…

I weep for the future….

Futuristic Axe – [Anime Castle]

An Interesting Mughal Blade…

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

A while back, I had a reader ask for some information on Mughal period weaponry. Not knowing too much about it, I did some reading up and found that the Mughal period was a historic period in India that ran roughly from the 16th to 19th Century, where a large portion of the Indian subcontinent of Asia was ruled by Islamic Imperialists.

However I also quickly discovered that the Mughal period covered waaaay too much time and encompassed a large a geographical area that sported too many different but entirely indigenous weapon designs for me to single any specific one out. So due to my rather dwindling time resources, I wasn’t able to be much help (for which I apologize).

However during my travails, I did manage to turn up one rather unusual supposed example of Mughal weaponry:

The Sword of the Mughals

The Sword of the Mughals

This sword features a damascus blade that starts out fairly straight, but curves mildly towards the tip into a rather wicked looking point. The spine of the sword follows suit, except for the top third, which looks a lot like it was cut down from a much larger, wider deeply curved scimitar.

The hilt is also unusual for a Persian blade, featuring no cross guard, and almost straight grip, but a reverse curving pommel, molded into the head of a stallion. Overall an interesting (if a little perplexing) study in Persian weapon design.

This blade is an interesting mix of flavors, part scimitar, part broadsword, with an unusual hilt design. The weapon, as a whole seems to match little of the historical weapon patterns of the area that I’m aware of, but instead seems to be a variation of a mix of different Persian weapon styles that have themselves been modified.

As an example of Mughal style weaponry, I must admit to being a bit flummoxed by the design. Most of the authentic historical weapons I came across when I was doing my initial research on the topic, bore significant differences in design.

I’m tempted to say this is another fanciful but failed attempt by an overzealous weapon designer to create a historical Mughal blade with generous helpings of creative license thrown into the design process. But being no expert in Mughal specific blades, who knows…

But no matter. It does not look bad on it’s own merits, even if it’s just a little too tame by my standards…

The Sword of the Mughals – [Realm Collections]

A Cool Ninja Fighting Knife…

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Yes, yes, another “ninja” weapon, I know. And it’s another “inspired by an anime” weapon too… But trust me, this one is different. This blade is actually realistic (of all things!) in it’s design. Yep. Lots to like about this, as you’ll see in a minute. Might want to grab that cuppa joe and get comfortable…

Ninja Fighter

Ninja Fighter

[click image to view full size]

Now this, my friends, is a Ninja fighting knife. What we have here is a one piece brass knuckles/blade combination, with cord wrapped ABS grips, that house a pair of red tassled metal kunai. A very interesting and also very practical (imho) combination.

There are a couple of things that I have issues with, (as usual) but they are all relatively minor. Like bright red tassels and “metal” kunai… Usually the word “metal”, as used in the cultery advertising sense, generally describes some cheap cast/alloy junk.

In this day and age where fairly strong steels can be had very cheaply, why some folks still resort to the ultra cheap cast/alloy junk is beyond me. However seeing as traditional Kunai were traditionally also made of a soft iron, It’s a flaw that I can kind of overlook…

Aaaahhh… Eeerrrm… Aaarrhg… No it’s not. I tried. That’s just wrong yo… >:(

Then there is the molded ABS grip/kunai holder. As materials go, ABS is actually not a bad choice. It’s fairly indestructible, resistant to the environment, etc. However, sometimes the molds used are less than perfect, resulting in gaps, slipping, etc.

And since this is where your only purchase on the blade will be I sincerely hope they did a good job on it. It’s hard to tell from the looks of it, but personally, I think this weapon would have been even better, if they would have stuck to a simple cord wrapped grip or wood scales.

And as for those red tasseled “metal” Kunai… Well, it’s just eye candy really, this weapon could have stood on it’s own merits of dark wickedness and badassitude. There was really no reason to throw all that fancy schmancy junk on it to begin with. But such it is with knife designers these days. Always trying to appease “Ooooh ! Shiny!” crowd…

Interestingly enough, this weapon is based on a set of blades used in the anime Series “Naruto” by the character “Sarutobi Asuma”, son of the Third Hokage, and a seasoned, hard core, chain smoking Ninja of the series, who used two of these, (knives akimbo no less, John Woo eat your heart out…), as focus points for his chi during battle, making them quite a lot more deadly than just regular blades.

Sarutobi Asuma

Sarutobi Asuma

I remember liking his knives the first time I saw them in the series, and could remember thinking at the time about the similarities between it and the venerable, tried and true WWII trench knife design. Yes, this design is the bees knees because not only is it a wicked little blade, (in black no less) it is actually very similar to that of a well known historical blade design. Except with more pointy bits. 😀 In other words… it rocks!!

I will say however, that the shrill voiced, high pitched little weapon history nerd who lives in my head, kept screeching his exception to my comparison between this and the WWII trench knife. He as a good point, so I guess I might as well go over the gist of our little “conversation” the few minutes before I lost it and had to gag him…

He basically said (and the purist, tradition bound Ninjutstu-ka among you may probably agree) “Bah! Your brain is addled! Ninja never used WWII trench knives!!”. (Well, Duuuuuh!) After pointing out that he lived there, so I couldn’t be that addled, (or maybe I am, because he lives there) I also conceded that no, they did not. At least not that I have been able to find.

HOWEVER, the Japanese did have hand weapons, called Tekken, (or Iron fist) that looked a lot like heavy iron knuckle dusters, that were often used against swords and armor. They also had Kaiken, which were similar, except for having a sharpened outer edge. And they also had Tantos.

So while I have found no examples of this exact weapons being used, I have no problems imagining that the Shinobi, being the resourceful little warriors they were, would have eventually combined these weapons and could easily have come up with this exact design, given the right battle conditions.

So there you have it. An cool black wicked looking anime weapon with a realistic, functional, tried and true design, with a historically verifiable pedigree. Sorta.

Ah liek eht. Ah liek eht a lot… 🙂

Ninja Fighter – [True Swords]

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