Posts Tagged ‘Forearm’

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]

An Automatic Knife on Steroids…

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

A couple of months back I encountered a very interesting automatic, spring loaded, blade design from the movie SAW. Now I have never seen SAW, or any of it’s sequels, so I hadn’t been privy to the various supposedly gruesome weapons that the movies featured, but I will say, I might go see all of them, just to see weapons like this in action:

Saw Blade Gauntlet
[view full size]

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a big fan of people being killed. Especially not in the purportedly gruesome ways that the movie depicts. Though from what I have read, the series illustrate a complex subtext about the raw, cold hearted drive of pain and vengeance, humanity, self sacrifice and survival. As a student of the human psyche, that might be one of the main reasons I might go and see this film. To be honest, that’s not entirely true. I really just want to see the weapons… 😛 But, as usual, I digress.

We are here today because I am a huge fan of blade aesthetics and mechanics. And this blade has a healthy portion of both. I was very impressed both by the aesthetics of the blade, as well as the with the amount of work that went into the mechanical aspects of it’s construction. It incorporates a lot of ideas I have kicked about in my head for many, many years, as well as a few I had not thought of.

Now the page I found this described it as a nonworking replica prop from the movie, but to anyone with a mechanical frame of mind can see how this blade was designed to operate, and boy is it a thing of beauty. Of course, given that this was from a hollywood movie, the fabricators who originally came up with the design had the funds to build whatever they wanted, and it shows in the way it is constructed.

There are a lot of parts and fabrication that went into this design that your average garage fabricator might find difficult to duplicate unless they are excellent welders and machinists. For instance look at the deployment mechanism. The little “spidey paddle” mechanism is affixed to the gauntlet via a custom fabricated pivot point welded to a flange on blade carrier bracket. a very nice job, with the paddle custom bent to fit the contours of the wearers wrist and hand.

Not that this mechanism is terribly complex or anything like that, but the rail delivery system is unique in the world of such weapons, and overall the fit, finish and attention to detail are superb. Much better than what most of us would be able to come up with in our garages. Not that we aren’t trying.

A good knife maker friend of mine, Sinza who is probably even more inspired by these kind of weapons than I am, has a site dedicated to his knives, and a forum dedicated to the construction of weapons like these. If you fancy a peek at what can be done with common household fixtures and parts from home depot, mosey on down to the forum for a gander. He’s got a pretty cool collection automatics to boot.

Sadly, the SAW blade gauntlet got pulled from the shelves almost as soon as it was made available. Still don’t know for sure why, but my guess would be reasons related to either copyright issues or irrational fears. But in any case, things like these, Wolverines claws, glaives, multi tools, combo weapons, all the unique and wonderful gadgets James Bond ever got from Q, etc., are things that have fueled my imagination for decades. So I’m always stoked to see something this cool, that isn’t just movie magic…

Phyreblade’s guide to Altairs retractable blade (From Assassins Creed)

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

I had been considering doing a piece on retractable blades for a while, and was finally motivated to do so by a post I recently got in my suggestion box. A reader, Zach B. commented about his build of an under-hand retractable blade, similar to what the assassin Altair uses in the game Assassins Creed:

Assassins Creed Poster
[view full size]

In general, I love blogging about game weapons with real-life counterparts, but obviously, this game is pretty new out, so there are no official (or unofficially) produced rip offs… err production “replicas” of the Altairs retractable blade to be had for review.

However, since the games release, there have been numerous attempts to duplicate this weapon, and while YouTube is replete with videos of home made “Assassins Creed” blade contraptions, I noticed that, due to a lot of conflicting concept art from the developers, there is actually a lot of confusion about this blades design.

So, in typical blade nerd fashion, I thought I’d try to sort things out. Not necessarily to replicate the game blade, but rather to come up with a practical, real life design for such a weapon. Now let me preface the following by saying that, for your average dweeb, walking around with a spring loaded blade up your sleeve is an incredibly bad idea. There is a reason why these kinds of weapons were not common, even when they were legal. They are highly impractical, not to mention that they are an accident literally waiting to happen.

But, for those of us who like to live on the edge, love the aesthetics and the mechanical challenge of designing wacky weapons, and are insane enough to try, (notwithstanding the very real possibility of self impalement), I’ll go on. Proceed at your own risk. But remember, Altair has no ring finger. Think about it… People, please, do NOT try this at home…

Mounting and Placement.
For any wrist mounted blade to have the stability and strength to be used effectively, it must be properly mounted. This means a solid (inflexible, like steel, very thick/stiff leather or wood) mounting platform, preferably formed to the shape of your forearm, and a minimum of two straps to keep it in place, one at either end of this base. Your best bet would be to use the entire length of your forearm, with a minimum of two straps, one placed at the wrist and the other just before the elbow, to maximize the weapons stability. Altair has this covered quite nicely, as he used full length bracers with three straps:

Altairs Bracer
[view full size]

Now looking at this concept art for the game you’ll notice that the blade seems to come out from the spot where Altairs ring finger ought to be. In the game, this is not the case, and is entirely impractical for any real life assassin, (unless they are a mutant, like Wolverine) so we will disregard this little snafu, and assume the blade is mounted under the forearm, and not actually in his hand. Next stop, blade design.

Blade Support and Design
Now here is another area that has been thoroughly bolloxed on account of multiple conflicting concept art. In the game, Altairs blade uses a nested rail delivery system, where the blade is housed inside of a set of nested sleeves, which run on an internal guide rail. The sleeves extend sequentially, outermost rail first, then inner rail, and finally the actual blade, once both sleeves are fully extended and locked:

Assassins Creed Blade with double nested sleeves

Altairs Nested Sleeve Blade system
[view full size]

Now here is where the confusion begins. Depending on which art you are looking at, Altairs retractable blade either has two sleeves, or one sleeve:

Assassins Creed Blade with single sleeve

Altairs Single Sleeve blade system
[view full size]

Now nested sleeve systems have the advantage of being able to fit in a retracted form factor that is only a fraction as long as the weapon is when fully extended. This means a much more compact housing. However this comes at a cost. The added complexity of automating the extension and retraction of multiple nested sleeves require smaller, more delicate parts, necessarily manufactured to very close tolerances, that would make the whole mechanism more prone to failure.

In fact, in my opinion, the ideal system would actually use no sleeves whatsoever. And given that you have (and should really use) the entire length of your forearm with which to conceal both the blade and the deployment mechanism, I don’t really see the point of implementing such an elaborate system. Not to mention that a single, fixed-length blade would be stronger, faster, more reliable, and infinitely easier to automate than a shorter blade mounted in multiple sleeves. Which brings us to the our deployment system.

Automation
A very important aspect in the operation of any stealth weapon is an equally stealthy activation mechanism. Preferably one that can be activated ‘hands free”, in a manner of speaking. And Altairs got one. In the first concept picture above, we can see that there is a little harness attached to Altairs pinky from the blade housing. This is intended to be his blades activation switch:

Assassins Creed Blade – Ring/Cable Activated

Assassins Creed Blade Mechanism
[view full size]
[video here]

However, in one of the promotional vids for the game we see Altair having to press a button to release a switch that activated his blade:

Assassins Creed Blade – Button Activated

Assassins Creed Blade Switch
[view full size]
[video here]

Now truth be told, this button is probably one of the more complicated ways of doing this. Indeed, you can see that it’s actuation would be counterintuitive, as it would require you to place your fingers in the path of the out going blade in order to activate it. In any case, from the numerous videos of him in action, we can see that Altair simply flexes his hand away from the blade to activate it, so we can assume that a button based activation system is not used. A finger ring cable is a much more flexible way of doing this, and the one I’d go with.

So far as the actual deployment mechanism is concerned, if we stick with the simple, single blade (no sleeve) approach, we can actually use a very compact dual spring double action out-the-front switch blade mechanism. They are simple, reliable and fairly easy to implement. I won’t go into schematic detail here, as it would extend an already excessively long post, however, I can point you in the direction of a buddy, and fellow knife fanatic Sinza, with whom I run a forum (Exotic Automatic) with a lot of helpful diagrams, as well as a break down of some common double action OTF mechanisms. Go on over and check his site out if you have the hankering for a more technical look into the topic…

The Blade.
Finally, we come to the point (pun intended) of all this, which is the design of the actual blade itself. As I mentioned earlier, I favor a single blade approach, with no sleeves, housed in a simple, dual spring loaded guide rail, in the style of your regular OTF switchblade. So far as the blade itself is concerned, we would need to meet a few specific criteria. The blade would need to be long enough to penetrate thick clothing and still puncture vital organs, thin enough to be able to slide between a persons ribs, yet thick enough to resist bending. Throw in double edges, and a sharp point, and we have a winner.

Interestingly, these are the same basic design specifications of the contemporary Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife design, which I will talk about in a future post. Nonetheless, this should give our assassins blade all of the required features to be a terminally effective assassination tool… And that’s all I’ve got to say about that…

How To Make Retractable Wolverine Claws

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Nates Wolverine Halloween Costume (click any image to enlarge)

Claws In

Claws In

Nate used Photoshop to enlarge an image of Wolverine’s claws from the X-Men movie that he had downloaded. This allowed him to print out the image until it fit exactly onto the 1″ x 1/8″ Aluminum Flat Bar that he had purchased for creating the claws. Once the basic shape was on paper, Nate traced around it onto a piece of wood that he had cut to 1″ x 13″, which was the calculated maximum length of the claws.

This length was determined to be the longest length that could fit on the back of Nate’s forearm. Once the wood had been traced, Nate gathered up his aluminum and headed to his Grandfather’s barn, where he cut the wood out on a band saw, sanded it on a vertical standing belt sander, and used it to trace out the aluminum claws.

The aluminum claws were then cut out VERY CAREFULLY on the band saw and sanded lightly on the belt sander. The next step was to put each claw under the wire brush wheel to give them a “brushed aluminum” finish, which Nate determined would look closest to “adamantium”, which Wolverine’s claws are actually made out of.

Claws Out

Claws Out

The next step was to mount the claws to a ball-bearing track that could be hooked to the back of Nate’s forearm. The track was created from a sliding keyboard tray. The slider on the track was modified to be much shorter, and use only 8 ball bearings. Bolts were put through the slider on the track and then some galvanized metal was bent and hack-sawed to make the right shape for attaching the first claw. This required drilling holes through each galvanized metal pience and matching holes in the first claw. Once the first claw was fitted to the track, 2 other claws were then drilled to match the first, and 3″ and 3.5″ bolts were used with nuts, split washers, washers, and locking nuts to to space the claws apart and keep them tightly affixed to each other and subsequently to the track. Once this was complete, screws were added through the bottom of the track so that the slider could not slide out of the track (to avoid killing innocent bystanders). Pictured above the the fully extended claws on the track.

Claws on arms

Claws on arms

The next step was to create a way to attach the tracks to Nate’s arms. …and Nate thought growing facial hair was hard! The eventual solution was to cut fabric left over from creating the pads for the X-Men suit into harnesses for the claws. The piece under Nate’s wrist buttons into place so that the claw tracks can be held VERY tight, but still be possible to put on. The fabric was sewn to the tracks through holes that Nate drilled in key locations.

Showing Claws

Showing Claws

Who’s got claws? Oh yea, that’s right… NATE’S GOT CLAWS!

Nate Showing off Wolverine Claws

Nate Showing off Wolverine Claws

Yep, those are definitely claws! …on sliding tracks, nonetheless!

The above text and images were reproduced from Nates Wolverine Halloween Costume page at http://www.muc.muohio.edu/~natedogg/main.htm. Unfortunately the site is no longer accessible, so I have reproduced some of the more salient information from the site here. All of the reproduced images and text still remain the property of it’s owner, presumably, Nate. Enjoy!

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