Posts Tagged ‘Convertible’

In the future, axes will become art…

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Today we have another entry into the “I traveled to the future and all I got was this lousy “I got beat by a wussy futuristic ugly stick” t-shirt…” category:

Futuristic Oval Axe

Futuristic Oval Axe

Yeah. A futuristic axe. Uh huh. And not just a futuristic but a futuristic oval axe… Oooohh, Aaaaahhh… Pthththh… Yep. Where to start… Ah, yes. With the head. Or whatever it is.

As axes go, well… it’s… something. It’s got an “oval” axe head, very much reminiscent of a traditional double bit axe, except with an ovoid blade, some weird cut outs and some funky trim. But despite it’s double edged appearance, it’s hard to tell whether this design was intended to be single or double edged, as the rear edge is shrouded by the pivot arm.

Yes. You read correctly. I said “pivot arm”. Why? because this axe head is mounted not to a shaft, but to a rotating arm, via a single central bolt. Why? Well, so that it can pivot down to one side of the shaft, of course. Why the pivot functionality? Errrmmm… Well… I dunno.

Maybe to enable it to be used as a replacement prosthetic arm for a battle bot? A small Transformer maybe? In fact, now that I think about it, I’d be willing to bet this whole design concept was a Decepticons doing… Sneaky bots, them… But I digress.

So this pivot arm is then mounted to the nifty, ergonomic looking grip, via a similar single pivot bolt arrangement. Having not had the pleasure of handling this, I can’t comment as to the efficacy of the locking mechanism, but based on the visible mechanics, I’m not particularly optimistic about it’s mechanical strength.

However not content with that iffyness, this grip has two added ovoid blades (more crescent shaped actually), one at the top, just beneath the head, above the pivot point, and one at the pommel, with the bottom one attached with yet more pivot bolt madness.

I have actually run into this design on several occasions over the years. And I can finally give voice to the thought that ran through my head every time I saw it:

WHAT THE…!!?!?

Why that particular response? Well, here’s my thing. In my admittedly neurotic mind, axes have traditionally been the brawn of the blade world. Big solid heavy heads, strong shafts, strong utility edge grinds, etc. They are not about finesse. When you swing an axe, it’s supposed to be with authority.

With this “futuristic” design, if you were to ever swing it, not only would you have to worry about the pivot locking mechanism holding, but also the fact that the whole thing is held together by two relatively puny bolts.

A locking mechanism and/or bolts that might gain an intense aversion to such treatment and decide to just pack it in and go home. Without the customary two weeks notice. Yeah. With something like this I wouldn’t be comfortable swinging it with any more authority than a chihuahua barking at a hungry Rottweiler.

That’s not to say I entirely dislike it. I like the talon-like shape of the grip blades. And notwithstanding the gimping of the rear edge with the cutouts and shrouding and whatnot, the head has some decent aesthetics.

And though I could do without it, I really don’t mind the over-the-top pseudo futuristic garbage people keep cranking out. (I mean seriously, from these excessively busy designs you’d think the designers think our future generations will all suffer from a serious global epidemic of ADD… Wait… Whut?)

But sometimes the sheer level of functional dysfunction I see in some of these designs really makes me wonder whether it’s really that hard for people to make functionally feasible and mechanically sound art. Perhaps I ask too much. Maybe I’m just an obsessive compulsive pedant who likes to rant about stupid blades. Perhaps I’m just insane.

It’s probably all of the above…

Futuristic Oval Axe thingy – [Anime Castle]

Walk Softly… And carry a Sharp stick…

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

In a previous post, I made reference to a weapon called the Jitte, that is similar in many respects to an iron club. It is essentially a short iron or steel rod, with a guard, used by police in feudal Japan, in much the same way that a nightstick is used by law enforcement officers today. Except against swords. Yeah. I’m betting police work may probably have been a bit more nerve wracking back then….

Of course nowadays people have guns… Hmmm… Kinda begs the question: Which would you prefer: To be attacked by a sword and have defend yourself with a Jitte? Or be attacked by a gunman and draw your own gun in defense… Something to think about. Though I’m betting I know how most people will respond… 😀 But as usual I digress.

The reason this subject came up is because I thought I’d do a post on something that combines two of my favorite weapons into a single one. And is still somewhat practical for say… Home defense…?

Night Guardian Ninja Baton

Night Guardian Ninja Baton

[view full size]

Of course, as all good marketing folk are wont to do, the word “Ninja” had to find it’s way into the name for this weapon, as it’s a great selling buzz word these days. Not that a Ninja would never use something like this, but it’s just so… Unnecessary… *sigh*

But anyway, back to my review of the weapon… In case it isn’t clear what you are looking at here, I’ll spell it out for ya. It’s essentially a short narrow sword, looks almost like a bayonet in design, with a black blade, set in a knurled cylindrical brass (or copper colored alloy of unspecified origin) grip.

Now what is cool about this is that the sheath for this thing is actually also made of the same metal as the grip, and is threaded at the opening. The hilt of this weapon is also threaded, both at the transition from the ricasso to the (very small) circular guard (if it can even be called that), and also at the pommel.

This design allows the metal sheath to be screwed securely to the grip when closed, making it in effect a solid metal truncheon! Very cool stuff. In addition, the threads at the pommel allows you to screw the sheath in at the base of the sword, making a kind of extended grip bayonet.

So it’s kind of like a truncheon, with a little extra surprise for when a club just isn’t enough. Which is why I have two. Actually I got them a looong time ago when they first came out, but when I recently ran into some pics of them I had to post about it because I just love these things.

Of course they aren’t perfect. My one peeve with these is that, when closed you can hear the blade hitting the sheath when it is swung with any vigor. This kinda kills the stealth factor of it, and may be a by product of a rat tail tang construction. Which is a downer, because there really would be no reason to not make this a full tang blade. Except for cost, I suppose… But that is perhaps the only major flaw in the design.

But ultimately, I’ve always been a big fan of stick weapons, and swords, and with the metal sheath screwed on, this thing makes for a pretty mean and hefty truncheon. WITH a hidden sword. ALL in a glorious black finish. What’s not to love in a combination like that?

Night Guardian Ninja Baton – True Swords

An interesting double bladed dragon dealio…

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Today, I just so happened to run into a double bladed weapon that might actually not be bad…

Dragon Mutilator

Dragon Mutilator

[view full size]

Ok, yes, the knife designers went the unimaginative route and decided to go with a dragon theme. Whoopty doo. Let’s move on… Disregarding that now all too common dragon faux pas, we really have what I’d consider a creative design here. At first glance it appears to be a single weapon with two blades, and a spiked and bladed finger guard running over your precious phalanges.

The blades are a fairly curvy single edged dagger like design, with a dragon flame motif, which runs down into a dragon head transition piece that sits between the blade and the black cord wrapped grip. However there is an interesting surprise. It is in fact, it appears that this is actually constructed of two single knives, that fit together back to back, (Or actually side by side), to form this rather menacing weapon.

From what I can see, it looks like the pommels of each knife is specially designed with a ledge that fits into a recess behind the blade/grip transition area, being locked on at least one side by a special latch built into the ledge on the pommel of one of the blades.

Interestingly though, I could not find any indication of a similar latch on the other blade, so it looks like the knives are not mirror images of each other, but rather work as a primary/secondary pair. Definitely not the way I would have done it. But then I’m a fanatic about symmetry.

The from the pics, I’d guess that the primary blade, which has no latch, also gets the center spike in on the guard, as this would be the easiest way to split it. The secondary blade, would then be the one with the locking latch built into pommel, and gets short changed a spike…

Altogether not a bad idea, although i would definitely have gone for absolute symmetry, with latches on the pommels of both blades (for strength), an even number of spikes (so they could be evenly divided between each blade and therefore identical) And would perhaps have eliminated the oh, so clichéd dragon motif…

But that’s just me…

Dragon Mutilator – [Collectors Edge]

A Predatorial Shuriken

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

OK, So i’ll admit I’m not really the April Fools type. I sat thinking about all of the incredibly evil things I could have posted as an April Fools prank and realized… I just couldn’t do it. So instead, I’m gonna post about a fictional weapon that Ive always thought was very cool looking, but entirely impractical:

The Predator Shuriken

AvP Shuriken
[view full size]

This weapon was one of the cool weapons wielded by the race of Predators in the Predator series of movies. This particular shuriken was prominently featured on the AvP (Alien vs Predator) and AVP2 movies. Now the one featured here is a non-functioning reproduction shuriken, primarily because, well, this weapon would be near impossible to make work in real life, for reasons I’ll get into shortly.

I truly love many of the design details of this weapon. But what makes it such an intriguing weapon to me is primarily the subtle physical impossibility and impracticality of it. It is a weapon that appears, on the surface, to be physically plausible, but upon closer inspection, reveals aspects that are implausible, but so tempting close to real, that you cannot help but wonder if it would be possible to duplicate in real life.

AvP Shuriken – life size prop

AvP Shuriken
[view full size]

For example, looking at the pic above, you may notice that the overall design of this shuriken vaguely follows that of the Japanese Fuuma (or Windmill) shuriken, but departs from traditional shuriken design in it’s asymmetry. The blades are all biased towards one side of the weapon. Now besides the fact this this offends my sense of symmetry, this massive weight imbalance would also make it a very impractical throwing weapon. And yet, in the movie, it is thrown just as a Fuuma shuriken would be, without exhibiting any of the idiosyncratic flight characteristics that one might expect from such a poorly balanced weapon.

An even more implausible feature of the weapon is the great disparity between the retracted form factor and the fully deployed form of the shuriken. Below is a picture of the center section of the weapon with the blades extended:

AvP Shuriken – Center Section

AvP Shuriken - center Section
[view full size]

And here is a picture of the blades, again fully extended:

AvP Shuriken – Blades

AvP Shuriken -  Blades
[view full size]

In the movie, the blades are shown to extend out of the center section of the weapon. From the pics, it is apparent that a considerable level of nesting can and would need to occur in order for this to be physically feasible. By my count, there are six blades, each blade consisting of 4 sections, an extension/pivot lever, an outer extension sleeve, an inner extension sleeve and the blade proper. The weapons deployment sequence is shown in the clip below:

AvP Shuriken – Deployment

AvP Shuriken - Deployment

Sweeeet…! Incidentally, the little clip above may also explain the weapons asymmetrical design. If the blades were to extend in a symmetrical fashion around the circumference of the weapon, there would be no safe place to hold it during deployment without risking the loss of a few digits. If memory serves, I think these were used primarily as throwing weapons, so if I were designing it, it would be perfectly symmetrical, and would open in mid air when thrown, so as to avoid the awkward asymmetrical design. The asymmetry seems like a pointless trade-off if you ask me, but then again, I’m not an alien weapons designer…

Anyway, during retraction, the blade would have to retract into the inner sleeve, the inner sleeve into the outer sleeve, and the whole outer sleeve assembly pivot onto the extension arm, which would then all fold neatly into the center section, completely occupying that space. Sounds good in theory, except that, given the physical dimensions of blades, sleeves, etc, there should be hardly enough room for all six blades, let alone a deployment / retraction mechanism…

Of course, given the advanced nature of Predator technology, these technical details would almost certainly only be limitations of human technology, and would be little more than niggling little technicalities to a predator engineer.

In the end, however, it is the overall aesthetic of the blades, and the deployment mechanism that makes this weapon so captivating, and while the technical challenges would be great, the design is ultimately so close to something that could be made using current technologies, it would be very tempting to try…

I wonder if DARPA would be willing to give me a research grant for this kind of stuff… 🙂

AvP Predator Shuriken – [Black Aris]

Vamp Hunts and Dhampirs and Swords… Oh My…

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

You may recall, many posts ago, (if you have been following along) I mentioned how many vampire slaying stories have a Dhampir, or half vampire (in contemporary media also called a “Daywalker”) as the lead protagonist, using their vampirically enhanced abilities in conjunction with their ability to resist factors that would traditionally kill normal vampires (such as daylight) as weapons against their full vampire foes.

Well, today we have the weapons of yet another such protagonist for scrutiny. The blades of none other than Rayne, vampire slaying femme fatale from the game BloodRayne:

Bloodrayne – Raynes Blades

Bloodraynes Blades
[view full size]

Just look at those curves. A long, double edged blade sporting a set of complex curves that just don’t stop, but somehow manage to end in a wicked looking point. And yes, I am referring to the blade, though Rayne isn’t exactly lacking in that department either, if you just so happen to be into haemophages and such. But most definitely my kind of blade. It’s a thing of beauty. I’ve loved the contours of this blade from the first second I saw them in the game.

While these are a rather evil pair of blades, they are not without their faults. For one thing, they are huge! Not the kind of thing that would be easy to carry around. But of course for the career vampire killer, there is always a good, and often unique, solution for such problems. Unfortunately the replica above, while the most practical I have seen, just does not do them justice. So I shall have to resort to game art. Let me show you what the harness for these blades are supposed to look like:

Bloodrayne 2 Game blades

Bloodrayne 2 Blades
[view full size]

Above is a pic of the dead sexeh duo themselves, Rayne and her blades. Totally killer. Literally. 🙂 As you can see, she’s got quite the set up going with those blades. A dual band bracer gauntlet setup, with the blades attached to a special swiveling hinge that allows for two degrees of vampire slashing freedom of rotation. In the game, she’s also able to lock the blades out of the way up by her elbows when she isn’t using them. No scabbard required.

But like I said, all is not perfect. As you can see from the pic, there really doesn’t seem to be a locking mechanism built into these things. So the whole locking thing is suspect to me. Not to mention that based on these pics, she would be locking it with the larger blade facing inwards. In my book, having a few razor edged feet of steel next to my skin would not be the preferred way to stow a blade. In fact it would make me downright nervous.

But then again she is a Dhampir, so she can probably afford to be hard core like that. Gotta respect any women who knows how to handle her blades like Rayne does… 🙂

Raynes Blades from BloodRayne – [King of Swords]

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