Posts Tagged ‘Black’

A Little Something For The Earth Bound Klingon… Or Lord Vader…

Monday, June 7th, 2010

OK so let me pose a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say you are a Klingon. Yes, you are a member of a well known warrior race from Star Trek. Got it? Good. Now lets say you get marooned on earth. No, I don’t know how that happened or what you did to deserve it. Stuff happens alright? Deal.

Anyway let’s say you are stuck on Earth. In prehistoric times. Yes, I said prehistoric. Why? Look, you are asking too many questions. I’m trying to set up a scenario here. Ok fine, we’ll say someone tweaked the nav systems and warp core configuration on your Klingon warbird so that the next time you tried to warp somewhere, you got marooned, on Earth, in the past, and the dilithium crystals in your warp core are broken, so you now cannot get back.

OK? Happy now? Can I continue?

Thank you.

So… Now you are stranded in a prehistoric earth jungle, and you need a bladed weapon to survive… Say what? Why no Disruptors? OH, for the love of… *sigh* Look, work with me here. Lets say you’ve been stranded for some time, and you’re all out of power OK? Does that work for you? Any other details you’d like me to cover before I go on? No? Are you sure…? Wait… What? Recrystallize the dilithium crystal lattice? …

… *veins popping out of forehead*

YOU @*@&#@! IDIOT!!! THIS IS PREHISTORIC EARTH! THERE ARE NO NUCLEAR REACTORS, SO YOU CAN SAFELY ASSUME THERE ARE NO SAFE AND READILY AVAILABLE SUPPLIES OF GAMMA RADIATION TO CAPTURE AND REPAIR DECRYSTALLIZED DILITHUIM CRYSTALS WITH, YOU #*&$%# INSUFFERABLE DWEEB!!!

Jiminy Christmas, enough already!! OK that’s it. No more questions. You’ve ruined my perfect set up.  I’m just going to show you the blade.

Tactical Golok

Tactical Golok

This is the tactical Golok. The Golok is a traditional chopping tool, a kind of short machete, originating in southeast Asia, characterized by a wide tipped, top heavy blade. The Tactical Golok is a a Golok on steroids. Or as would be designed by a Klingon, trapped in prehistoric ages, on earth, who had naught but primitive tools. WITH NO USABLE DILITHIUM CRYSTALS. Ok… gotta breath now… Whooosaaaahhh… alrighty then.

In fact the tactical Golok bears a vague resemblance to a traditional Klingon weapon, the MekLeh’ crossed with a traditional golok…

Klingon Mek'Leth

Klingon Mek'Leth

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Golok

Golok

OK… Too vague. That didn’t work out quite the way I thought it would. All kinds of evil was supposed to ensue. Hmmm… What to do, what to do… Actually, now that I think about it, this Golok has more in common with Kratos’ Swords of Chaos from the game God of War:

Kratos Sword of Chaos

Kratos Sword of Chaos

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Golok

Golok

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Tactical Golok

Tactical Golok

Much better!! Yeah… Now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout… And you made me go on that Klingon rant, and nearly pop a gasket, all for nothing. Yes, you. It’s all YOUR fault. Yeah, it’s my blog and I can blame who I want to… And today that is… YOU! Put that in your meat grinder and mince it! Bah Humbug!

<Eric Cartman> Man… I really, really hate you guys… </Eric Cartman>

Anyway, this Tactical Golok is the bees knees. Put together by the folks at Szabo Inc., it looks like a mean little chopper, a nice, evil cross between a machete and an axe. With the sweeping curvy edges and dark demeanour to match. My kind of chopper. Darth Vaders golok, if you will. I mean just look at it:

Tactical Golok Demo

Tactical Golok Demo

What more can I say. Short machete. Wide. Heavy. Evil curves. Double edged.  Integral guard and blade finger choil, possibly for choking up and better control. AND it looks like it comes in black. Which is really just all kinds of WIN.  BUT… It costs and arm and a leg. But if you can afford one, at least you’ll know they’ll be harvesting your limbs in style.

Umm… wait… Was I not supposed to say that out loud?

Tactical Golok – [Szabo Inc]

A cool short sword…

Monday, November 30th, 2009

As you should all well know by now, I have an innate bias towards blades of dark, pointy, sharp and curvy nature. However the nature of the sword industry today is such that most swords are made for collectors, and are generally shiny wall hangers. Obviously, this is almost the polar opposite of the kinds of things I look for in a sword. But every now and then, I find one that just speaks to me…

Junglee Short Sword

Junglee Short Sword

Meet the Junglee short sword. A symphony of modern technology melded with beautiful lines that look like they were taken from a few different sword styles. A beautiful curving blade of AUS-8 steel, that looks like a cross between a bowie knife, a scimitar and a khukuri. A blade that widens down towards the hilt into a small integrated guard, and then down to a textured kraton covered grip. All finished in an understated black teflon finish. Absolutely beautiful. I love it.

Now as short swords go, this is indeed a beauty. However I do have some concerns about it. One of them is about the steel. AUS-8, when properly heat treated, can be a great knife steel, possessing qualities similar to 440 stainless. For small knives, they are good, will take and hold an edge well, and provided they are sufficiently thick, are fairly resilient against flexing stresses. However these steels tend to be low carbon, relatively hard, inflexible  steels, so I generally do not like to see them used for swords.

Swords, due to their greater length, do tend to flex a lot more than knives do, and so my concern would be that under hard use, or in cold conditions, this sword could chip or break. A thick blade can generally help avoid possible breakage, but given it’s relatively light weight, (a whole 1.4lbs, lol ), I tend to doubt it is particularly thick. However to be fair, I should also add that this sword is a “short” sword, so the typical weaknesses of AUS-8 may not be as pronounced, and it could have been tempered slightly softer than normal in order to help mitigate that risk.

Another possible cause for concern would be the grip construction and material. While I love the way Kraton feels, and the kind of grip it gives you, most Kraton grips are essentially tang sleeves, and the tang has to be designed in a specific manner, or employ some additional retention methods, like a lanyard sleeve that goes through both grip and tang, for instance, in order to prevent the kraton grip from slipping down the tang under hard use. Don’t really see any of that on this sword, which means there is the possibility of the grip moving around on you…

So, if you plan to relying on something like this as a primary tool for survival purposes, you may want to keep the above points in mind.

But apart from that, I just love the lines on this. And the dark beautiful curves. Just can’t help it. I will probably never be able to rely solely on it for outdoor treks, however I’m probably still gonna get it because it just so cool… 😀

Junglee Short Sword – [eBlade Store]

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]

The Black Widow Strikes Again…

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Now I could have sworn I had already put together a post for this blade, however my (admittedly hasty) searches seems to turn up nothing. So I thought I’d go ahead and post about this interesting little knife, duplicate post or not!!! Allow me to introduce the Widow Queen.

Widow Queen

Widow Queen

It should be fairly obvious where the name of this blade came from, but for the entomological neophytes among you, the spider whose front legs are oh, so possessively surrounding the hilt of this dagger is, in fact, meant to be a female Black Widow Spider, most easily identified by the red hourglass shape on it’s abdomen.

The Black Widows is a highly venomous spider, and envenomation by female black widows has been known to kill humans. I’d be willing to bet that whoever designed this knife probably had a rather personal experience with one… 🙂 Now in in real life, of course, black widows tend to be black in color, however in this case, I think we can afford to make an exception. Especially since this particular variety of black widow would probably be a heckuvalot lot more deadly in the right hands.

Either way, I certainly like the black widow motif of this blade, even though I think it goes too far in several ways. For instance, do we really need to have a full double sided hand guard (the widows front legs) and a cross guard on the same blade? I would rather have just had the cross guard, and even that is a little overly ornate for my taste.

The same goes for the pommel. You have the little spider limb thing going on, *and* a spike. What’s up with that? In fact, now that i look at it, this dagger would have been just fine entirely without the spider. A simple spiked pommel, the cool black ridged grip, a simpler, not so spikey cross guard, and that absolutly beautiful blade…

Yes… The blade on this thing is the main reason why I really like it. Now don’t get me wrong, the Black Widow was excellently done, and i could see them making replicas of that all by itself, sans the dagger. But for me, the blade is where it’s at on this knife. The swell of the ricasso, the smooth sweep into that almost straight blade, narrowing smoothly down into an absolutely evil point… I just love that profile.

Sometimes I wonder whether the people who design things like this actually realize how beautiful the blades are, all by themselves. No need for themes, motifs, spiders scorpions and whatnot, even though they can sometimes be cool. Because even if this had been a simple dagger, just this blade, a simple cross guard, black smooth grip, maybe with a simpler point on the pommel, it would still have ended up on this page.

Or maybe marketing has no clue… Who knows.

Either way, it’s a real pity…

Widow Queen – [The Collectors Edge]

Straight swords, plain swords, and sword canes…

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Most of my regular readers will know at this point that I am somewhat partial to sword canes, Shikomizue, or “Prepared Canes” as they are called. The reason is twofold. First because they are simple canes, and I’ve always enjoyed using “sticks” as some like to call them, or staff weapons. So throwing a blade into the mix for me, pretty much makes them completely and uncompromisingly awesome. It’s like bringing a sword to a stick fight. Dirty, but full of WIN. 😛

Blind Fury

Blind Fury

For similar reasons, I am also a great fan of Chokutō. Chokutō (or “Straight Sword”) are, as the name might suggest, just simple straight swords. But while Chokutō and Shikomizue are similar in appearance, the designs are not the same. And while they may both share structural similarities with Shirasya, (I have actually confused these designs on numerous occasions in the past) the three are actually very different in terms of design focus, so I thought I’d talk a little bit about them (I.E. go grab a cup of coffee or tea or whatever, and get comfortable, before you continue reading. 🙂 )

Shirasaya, (or “White Sheath”) swords, regardless of form factor, were designed initially as a storage format for sword blades, and are generally distinguishable from other designs by a very simple, generally unadorned saya and tsuki. Compared to the complex tsuka furniture, mountings and lacquered saya finishes of traditional Japanese swords, shirasaya were stored, lightly pinned, in plain, un-lacquered saya, so that both the saya and tsuki could “breathe” and prevent the build up of moisture that could cause corrosion and or deformation of the blade and tang.

White Double Shirasya

White Double Shirasya

Shikomizue, or “Prepared Canes”, are just that. Walking sticks or canes, designed to conceal a sword blade. The design focus here was the covert carry of a sword, without arousing suspicion. Featuring a featureless straight saya and tsuki, generally cut from the same piece of wood, or cut and finished to look like it was, this was a popular choice for ninjas and other warriors who did not wish to arouse suspicion, but still wanted to be able to carry a sword about them for offensive or defensive purposes.

Zatoichi - Blind Fury Shikomizue

Zatoichi - Blind Fury Shikomizue

Chokutō, or “straight sword” design, on the other hand, was focused on neither conceal-ability nor storage. It was a design born in an age prior to that of differential tempering, and, in fact originated outside of Japan, in places like China and Korea. Differential tempering is a process that produces a hard edge, but flexible spine on a most traditional Japanese swords. It also imparts the characteristic curve to the sword, which was found to be a much more efficient sword design, when used correctly.

However before the discovery of the benefits of curved swords and differential tempering, swords were generally straight, and is here that the Chokutō design came from. A simple straight sword, intended for practical use, with no differential tempering, and no need to conceal the blade. The form of the sword simply followed it’s function and the limitations of the technology of the time. Or so the legends say…

So I’ll bet you’re wondering why I decided to bring all of this up. Well, here’s the thing. I am a fan of anime, one of them being Naruto. Or at least I used to be a fan of Naruto. Been a while since I watched any anime. But at least the first and second seasons were acceptably entertaining. If you are willing to disregard the many annoying filler arcs. :/

Anyway, In the anime, one of our eventual anti-heros, Sasuke Uchiha, wields what can only be called a monstrous black Chokutō called the Kusanagi Grass Cutter. As I mentioned in an earlier post on the topic, there is some disparity between the Anime version of the sword, and the Manga (comic book) version of this sword. In the comic, the sword is white, with a black stripe. In the anime, however, the sword is dark gray with a black stripe.

Sasukes Kusanagi No Tsurugi (Kusanagi Grass Cutter)

Sasukes Kusanagi No Tsurugi (Kusanagi Grass Cutter)

Personally, I prefer the animated version of the sword. But, nonetheless, the most common versions I am seeing are the manga versions, a replica of which was the inspiration for todays post:

Sasuke Uchiha's Chokutō

Sasuke Uchiha's Chokutō

As you can see this is the Manga version of the sword, but despite it’s white saya, it actually looks pretty nice. And it has a sweet black blade. And it appears to of a much higher quality construction than the last one I posted about. So just thought, after my long winded post, that I’d share. 🙂

Now if only someone would make it in black… Actually never mind. I’ll probably just get this one, sand it down and give it the traditional Japanese black lacquer treatment…

Yeah… Go me! 😀

Sasuke Uchiha Chokutō – [King of Swords]

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