Posts Tagged ‘Custom’

The Sexiest Xbows on Earth…

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

So today I have a special treat for you. And you may want to grab a cuppa and relax, cause I’ma be a ranting fool in this post… πŸ˜€

A while back, Mozza, one of my buds from Exotic Automatic, put me onto this site with the sweetest crossbows I have ever seen. (Muchas Gracias Mozz Man!!) I’m talking sexy. Dead sexy. Totally and uncompromising evil, but just so freakin’ sexy you can’t help yourself. Uh huh. You know the ones I’m talking about.

The kinds of crossbows you want to pick black bedspreads and matching, jet black curtains with. The ones you want to bear your evil children. The kinds you will NEVAR take home to your parents… πŸ™‚ ‘Cause they are freaks and you know your folks won’t approve… But you can’t help it. You love them anyway.

I’m sure you are all familiar with the type. The dark, sinister ones you know are probably gonna be bad for you, but you can’t help it ’cause they take you places “normal” weapons can never take you… The ones that will steal your very soul… >:D

LOL I’m sure you all think I’m exaggerating.

OK. I might be. I’m a sucker for a beautifully crafted weaponry. But I’m betting you’ll agree with me about these little pretties once you get to know them. Here, let me introduce you to a couple of my favorites. From awesome designers at Talisman Custom Crossbows:

The Beast

The Beast

[Click Image to view larger size]

This beast, my friends, is a beauty. It’s a rather ornate crossbow with an intricately designed rifle stock. Very highly detailed. Perhaps a little too intricate for my tastes. Especially that rifle stock. But it just so happens they’ve got people like me covered:

The Beast - Pistol Grip

The Beast - Pistol Grip

[Click Image to view larger size]

BAM! Now that’s what I’m talking about. Pistol grips FTW!! And another glamor shot, sans grip:

The Beast - Sans Grip

The Beast - Sans Grip

[Click Image to view larger size]

And now let me introduce you to the more lithe but equally lethal Devils Claw Crossbow:

The Claw

The Devils Claw

[Click Image to view larger size]

Again, definitely not Mr. Magoos Claw… This one I find interesting because it almost seems… alive. Like a Velociraptor in mid-stride… Here’s another shot that kind of reinforces that “hunting killer” perception:

The Claw - The predator about to strike...

The Devils Claw - The predator about to strike...

[Click Image to view larger size]

And as if that wasn’t enough, the “Devils Claw”, also has what i’m gonna call the “Stinging Tail” pose:

The Claw - Stinger at the ready...

The Devils Claw - Stinger at the ready...

[Click Image to view larger size]

A little more forward curve, and I’d be thinking Stingray, or scorpion… Except this is better. Neither the stingray or scorpion actually has a projectile stinger… πŸ˜‰

Now, these, my friends, are crossbows. Not your run-of-the-mill, muscle-bound crossbows with the X-hundred pound pull, trying to impress us with brute force.Β  Oh no.Β  Not these. These baby’s are so elegant, So lithe, so graceful and seductive, that just cocking one of them on a medieval battlefield may very well have caused all of your opponents to keel over, en mass, from multiple nerdgasms…

OK, so maybe that was a little exaggeration. But the thing is, I am really impressed by these crossbows. Not so much because of their aesthetics, even though they are quite exceptional in their own right. I am really more a fan of form over function, and definitely more biased towards simplicity of design than intricacy.

On any other weapon, I would consider this level of ornate design to be a bit over the top. However, the most remarkable thing about these weapons is that they are not just about the art. They are mechanically… Brilliant.Β  Can’t think of a better word. And that is what has me utterly and thoroughly impressed.

Not only are these crossbows works of art, but the designers have managed to integrate that artistry into the operating mechanism of these crossbows. These are not just basic mechanisms with “artsy stuff” thrown on top. The mechanics IS the art, and vice versa. This is what really blows me away about these xbows.

Here, let me give you a few examples. Look at the cocking mechanism on the Beast:

The Beast - Cocking Claws

The Beast - Cocking Claws

[Click Image to view larger size]

The Beast- Windlass Gear/Cocking/Trigger Mech.

The Beast- Windlass Gear/Cocking/Trigger Mech.

[Click Image to view larger size]

Dual, recessed chain, windlass/cranequin driven, cocking claws?!? Heck, freakin’ Yes! This is the kind of mechanical design I love with a passion!! If I were a swearing man, I’d be hurling excited expletives like beads at Mardi Gras…

Even the more mundane parts of the crossbow look like they were (probably quite gleefully) given functional artistic flair:

The Beast - Stacked Limb Bow Prod assy

The Beast - Stacked Limb Bow Prod assy

[Click Image to view larger size]

The Beast - Bowstring mount

The Beast - Bowstring mount

[Click Image to view larger size]

I mean look at that. Yes, it’s a dragon head, but its a functional dragon head. And yes, my love of dragons my be biasing my interpretation of what this is supposed to be. I’ll admit it. But I don’t care. Just suck it up. :P.

Anywhoo the mechanics of the Devils Claw are no exception. Take a look at it’s cocking mechanism.

The Claw - Cocking/Trigger assy

The Claw - Cocking/Trigger assy

I mean seriously. Never has the mechanical advantage of lever style crossbow cocking mechanism looked this good. Trust me. And that’s the whole point. Talisman appears to have taken the fundamental mechanics of the crossbow, and molded it into art. Amazing art at that.

Now I’ll grant you that, since I see all kinds of junk designs day after day, I’m probably easy to impress. But in this case, It’s a fair bet my enthusiasm is not misplaced. I could be wrong.

But I doubt it…

The Beast – [Talisman Custom Crossbows]

The Devils Claw – [Talisman Custom Crossbows]

Freaky Wings of Blade…

Monday, July 14th, 2008

I posted recently about the various niches in “bladed art”, and thought this would be an interesting addition to the list of things that get a hearty “What in the name of…” from yours truly:

The Night Glider

The Night Glider - Click to view full size

Now I found this… creature… on an Australian website while looking for something else, but it definitely caught my eye. Now I know I had mentioned before that there were quite a few crossover bladed art pieces, but this is something new…

The Night Glider

The Night Glider - Click to view full size

The Night Glider looks to be a cross between a dragon, a greyhound, and a vengeful revenant… Except it’s limbs have been replaced by rather substantial blades. It’s arms are a set of outstretched dragon like wings, tipped with a large fore-to-aft curving blade, with a smaller sub-blade protruding backwards from where the traditional thumb joint would normally be in such winged marvels.

The Night Glider - Click for full size

The Night Glider - Click to view full size

It’s upper body and head are suitably revenant like, looking like an incompletely (but symmetrically), decomposed skeleton brought back to do some… Errr unsavory task. The back half is an interesting mix of bony canine (hence the greyhound reference) and dragon, complete with pointy tail. What’s even more striking is that the rear paws of this particular canine have been replaced with a set of rather intimidating blades, which kinda raises the thorny philosophical question… How does it land?

The Night Glider

The Night Glider

In fact, given how much of it’s extended skeleton has been converted to blades, albeit unsharpened ones, I dare say this unfortunate chap must actually fly (or glide…) continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week , 365 days a year, as it appears to be ill equipped for any kind of terrestrially based activity… That’s assuming it could actually fly with metal wings.

Actually, now that I think about it, why not? It worked for Archangel didn’t it? All it would have to worry about would be sticking the landing. Or not sticking the landing. Depending on how you look at it.

Ok, I’ll stop rambling now…

Fun With Damascus Steel

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Today, I have a special treat for you. You may or may not know this, since it does not come up particularly often, but one of my favorite blade materials is Damascus steel. For two reasons. First, barring unfinished or tarnished steels, it is one of the only true “dark” finished steels that I know of.

The next reason is that, even though I have a great love for all dark weapons, (to me they have more character than most) the truth is that, most dark weapons are not inherently dark, and require special finishes, most of which rarely do any more than provide an aesthetic touch to a blade.

Damascus steel on the other hand, has an inherent dark aesthetic beauty that requires no artificial colorings or preservatives. Ok, so maybe there are some forms of Damascus that have artificial colorings. Some shades of Damascus require chemical treatments or the usage of special alloys or metals to achieve the desired effect.

But in the grand scheme of things, these are no worse than the coatings used to enhance the appearance of monosteels. Nonetheless, it is still the only type of steel that I know of, whose aesthetics are also functional, and whose enhanced cutting power does not really require any special finishes / treatments / coatings. Damascus steel has an inherent beauty all it’s own.

But the cool thing is that, in the hands of true metalworking artists, using these various other methods, Damascus can be made into patterns and colors of amazing beauty. I was quite thrilled to find a site that featured such beautifully wrought Damascus blades, each one uniquely and excellently finished to a level of detail that, much like J. A. Harkins work, totally blew me away…

I present to you a taste of the blades of Kevin and Heather Harvey of Heavin Forge. First up:

<_>

The Zulu assegai – In Damascus

Zulu Assegai in Gaboon Viper Damascus

[view full size]

Now obviously, as one of my favorite African weapons, this Damascus Assegai caught my eye. Definitely a thing of beauty. Due in no small part to the very eye catching Gaboon Viper Damascus pattern on the blade:

Zulu Assegai – Close up of Blade

Zulu Assegai Blade Close Up

[view full size]

Now this is a very unique spear, first because of the shaft style, which appears to have been carved to appear like a dark horn grip at the bottom, and smooths out the rest of the way up. Very cool. And the head sports a cool damscus pattern they have appropriately called called “Gaboon Viper”, as it emulates the characteristic diamond pattern found on the back of the aforementioned reptile… I’ve got two words for the head on this spear: Absolutely Awesome…

<^>

Persian Fighting Blade!

Persian Fighting Blade

[view full size]

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, I needn’t explain to you why I like this blade… It’s all about the points and curves… (I’m sure you can figure it out… πŸ™‚ ) And it doesn’t hurt that it has a Damascus blade. Which is actually appropriate since Damascus steel is reputed to have been developed in ye old Persia and was also called watered steel at the time. No surprise, as Damascus does look like Steel with waves in it…

<^>

Next we have a piece i like to think of as from the West. The Wild West. California gold rush and and all that jazz… It should be self explanatory why:

Gold Rush Bowie

Gold Rush Bowie

[view full size]

Yep, we have a bowie knife, perhaps almost the trademark of the wild west, (besides the ever ubiquitous revolver), in an amazing gold and almost cobalt blue Damascus hue… I’ve always like gold accents on black blades, but this just takes it to another level altogether…

Gold Rush Bowie – Close up of ricasso and top of hilt

Gold Rush Bowie - Ricasso and Hilt

[view full size]

There’s gold in that thar bowie!… I seen it with my own two eyes!!

<^>

Finally, but certainly not least, we find a weapon harking from the dark continent of Africa, an interesting little dagger that reminds me of an insect for some reason. A long wasp maybe? I dunno. But here is it, in all it’s insect like glory…

African Dagger

African Dagger

[view full size]

Now this particularly dark brand of Damascus is one of my favorites, perhaps the only true dark steel in existence. And this sample is particularly beautiful, complementing the overall theme of this dagger very well. Between the African styled hilt, and the really very cool horn sheath, it’s perhaps one of the most intriguing implementations of a Damascus dagger I’ve seen to date…

<^>

And that’s all I’ve got for today. You can see more of Kevin and Heathers’ work at Heavin Forge. Perhaps what really impressed me was not only the creative use of color in the steel, but also the overall attention to detail, fit and finish on every weapon. Absolutely beautiful. Make sure you swing by their page.

As much as they were all great works of art, after looking at them all, I discovered I had a favorite. Probably because I tend to gravitate towards more dark colors and organic shapes, I liked that last waspy dagger best. It just spoke to me. We had a grand old chat.

I think I’m gonna give it a name. I’m calling it the Black Stinger… Yeah… In fact I think i’m gonna have to make myself similar blade one of these days. It won’t be nearly as cool as this one, but If it has half the personality, I’ll be looking forward to quite a few great conversations with it…

P.S. I’d like to point out, for the record, that I am not insane. Just a *wee bit* loopy when it comes to certain blades… But I’m totally harmless, I assure you… No really… πŸ˜›

Kevin and Heathers Damascus Blades – [Heavin Forge]

A Mean Little Battle Axe…

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

OK, so the title is a little misleading, since this is not really what one could call a “little” battle axe. Quite the opposite. Today we will be looking at a dark and impressive D-BAX (double bladed battle axe):

Fantasy D-BAX

Double Bladed Battle Axe
[view full size]

Yeah… sweet not-so-little weapon innit… Now this axe caught my attention for a couple of reasons. The first being it’s aesthetics. Now it’s no secret how much I like dark weapons, but it’s also nice to see a weapon with very tastefully done silver or chrome accents. And on this weapon these polished accents have been very well done.

Sitting between the black leather wrapped grips, we have sections of polished steel on pommel, in the middle of the shaft, between the grips and just before the head. Personally I would have been just as happy with slightly less polished steel and more black, but it is still quite eye catching as it is.

And then theres the blade profile. I love the contours of the head on this axe. The top points of the blades are set just so much wider than the bottom points that it almost looks like the wings of a bat. In addition, that shape would give it that much more utility as a battlefield weapon, as the points of each blades would actually be in a better position for thrusting, should it ever be required.

Curiously, on this axe, the edge takes a slight inward radius towards the bottom of the blades. Can’t think of any reason other than cosmetics for it’s presence, but it does not seem like it would do any harm, so I can’t really complain about it. And of course my critique would not be complete if I didn’t mention the impressive black blades on this thing, and the inordinately large edge grind that sets it off. Very nice!

Certainly a fairly mean looking axe. My favorite kind. πŸ˜‰

Double Bladed Battle Axe – [By The Sword]

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… πŸ™‚

AvP Predator Shuriken – [Black Aris]

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