Posts Tagged ‘Gil Hibben’

John Rambo and the Art of Knife Survival…

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

I have always been a fan of the Rambo movies. Not sure why. It almost seems as if John Rambo has been around for eons. I remember watching First Blood when I was younger, and can remember being blown away by how well Johns story was told, seemingly using his uncompromising ability to succeed in the face of unlikely odds, and his almost effortless ability to terminate his foes with extreme prejudice, as a rather convincing story telling tool…

I loved his indomitability, and his raw and unadulterated drive to survive. But of course, were are not here to talk Rambo. We are here to talk about cutlery ๐Ÿ˜› … blades. And one of the things that the John Rambo series of movies did inspire in me, was a great appreciation for the practical usage of a survival knife.

It would appear they had the same effect on others as well. John Rambo used a different blade for each movie. And each has become a signature blade. Including his newest, most primal, evil and wicked iteration yet…:

Rambo IV Knife

Rambo IV Knife

[view Full Size]

Not to repeat the mantra of a couple of previous posts, but… Now that’s a Knife!

OK, actually that’s more like a small machete. But what is perhaps most notable about this blade is that it is a massive departure from his previous ones. Where the others are all sleek and “refined” (as far as survival knives go) this one is just… Raw… Primitive… Brutish… And not really a survival blade. At least not in the conventional sense.

A good survival knife should have a multi purpose blade. Preferably of a good, durable, corrosion resistant high carbon steel, with a strong, drop or clip point (for strength and fine work) a little belly (for skinning and such), a good straight edge with a strong spine, a good, comfortable, non-slip grip, and a full tang for strength.

Other nonessential “nice-to-haves” would be a saw toothed or serrated section on the spine, for sawing through tough materials, a rounded pommel for use as an impromptu impact tool, a lanyard hole in the pommel to aid in retention, and perhaps a nice large cross guard to save your thumb/knuckles some grief.

Finally, but certainly not least importantly, it should be big enough to handle all of your essential survival tasks, but not so big that it becomes unwieldy. Primarily because a large amount if the use you will get out of your survival blade will involve making small cuts, cleaning game, carving/sharpening wood for weapons, traps, etc.

Now lets compare this list against the characteristics of Rambos new knife.

First, and most noticeably… This sucker is a monster! It’s thick, and very, very large! It will be very heavy, and will almost certainly to violate the “not too big” requirement of the ideal survival knife. Sure, bigger can, in some cases, be better, but if you have to rely on a knife for emergency survival, and you find yourself weak from not having been able to eat for a few days, a big knife just ain’t gonna be your friend…

And then there’s the blade profile. Large and wide. With an almost rectangular angle to the tip. It’s more or less a multi purpose cleaver. This would be great as a camp blade, or for jungle clearing. But with no point, it’s functionality would be really limited to hacking, which, methinks, makes is not quite the best tool to have for things like, say, skinning small game…

Besides all that, the blade is unfinished, raw. In fact the aesthetics remind me a lot of the way the Uruk-Hai wannabe scimitars were designed. Simple blades, no finish, just simple edges (and the occasional point) here and there. Essentially the weapon of a brute who really cares little about finesse, and simply relies on brute strength to hack their way through battle. This blade is exactly that, except with perhaps a little more finesse. But not much.

So while the blade is made of an old truck leaf spring, (which, BTW, is an excellent source of steel from which to make a durable, near indestructible knife) it is overall not really a good survival knife. Unless, of course your definition of survival is hacking away at bad guys. Which, In John Rambos case, It is. And he does a darn good job of it.

So, actually, while it’s not the best survival tool for the rest of us, given John Rambos requirements, this blade is actually an excellent survival tool.

Indeed. Please. Carry on with the hacking away at “teh bad ebil peeps” John… Having recovered some of my testosterone from my last post, I leave you to your butchery… Kthnxbai… ๐Ÿ˜€

Rambo IV Knife – [Realm Collections]

Weapons of The Klingon Empire – Knives.

Friday, December 7th, 2007

In a recent post I introduced you to the glorious Klingon Empire, and their illustrious weapons. Today I thought I’d share a few of the funky looking Klingon hand weapons which I thought were cool, courtesy of Kri’stak forge, of the Klingon Imperial Weapons guild (Yes, they’ve had a guild for years… Get with the program. Sheesh.):

The D’k Tahg (or Dktahg)

the D'kTahg

I introduced you to this weapon in a previous post about a similar blade called Kold Fuzhion. It is one of the most popular combat knives of the Klingon empire. It’s wasp like shape, large slotted ricasso and folding twin guard blades are distinctive features that sets it apart from every other Klingon blade. This is one of my favorite Klingon knife designs, even though I consider the folding guard blades a rather frivolous design feature. Nonetheless I like it’s single mindedness of form. You can tell this is intended to be a thrusting weapon, and not much else.

The Qis

Qis

The Qis is, in my humble opinion, the most practical Klingon combat knife designs. Unlike the previous blade, this knife could be effectively used for both cutting and thrusting, which to me at least, would make it a much superior weapon in combat. And added plus would be that it carries several trademark Hibben design cues, sporting graceful curves, as well as the ever ominous reverse teeth along it’s spine. This blade certainly looked and acted the part of a Klingon combat knife, and is my other favorite Klingon blade. Which is not surprising, I guess, because I already am a big fan of Gil Hibbens’ blade work.

The Ma’veq

The Ma'veq

The Ma’veq is a ceremonial Klingon knife, used in the ceremonial killing of disgraced Klingons by a sibling, in order to bring them honor in the afterlife. This ceremony is called Mauk To’Vor. The logic of this escapes me, but then again I’m not Klingon, so eh. The knife is rather interesting. An elaborate decorated design, this does seem more geared to ceremony than Combat or utility.

The Short TajtIq

Pair of short TajtIq

This dueling knife, is a shortened version of a Klingon sword with the same name. While not the most flashy blade of the Klingon arsenal, it is one of the most sensible, from a utility standpoint. It has a good thrusting point, a deep cutting blade, and integrated cut out guards. It appears to be well designed for dueling. And could conceivably make an excellent all around work knife, if the Klingons had such a thing.

The Qut’luch

The Klingon Qut'Luch - The Assasins Blade

The Qut’luch is one of the more funky blade styles I’ve encountered, and is the only truly weird design I really liked enough to talk about. This is supposedly the traditional blade of a Klingon assasin. You can tell by looking at it, this is is another thrust biased weapon, which kind of makes sense, but then you can also tell it is designed to do more damage coming out than going in.

I suppose that the design of a Qut’luch makes sense from a Klingon perspective, but from this bloggers point of view, it seems like an unnecessary design feature that would simply makes it a bit more difficult to use. But what do i know. I’m not exactly a Klingon assassin…

And that’s it for now. To be sure, there are a few more Klingon knife designs floating about, but these are the only ones I liked enough to blog about. Hopefully that’s good enough for you. Until the next edition of “Weapons of the Klingon Empire”, I say *Qapla’*!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Kri’stak Forge – [Klingon Imperial Weapons Guild]

An Introduction to Traditional Klingon Melee Weapons.

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

Some of you may have figured out that I am a big Sci-fi and movie buff. So it should come as not surprise that I am also a Star Trek fan. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a Trekkie, but I certainly am a big fan of the various series spin offs and the movies that resulted.

As both a weapons nut and a star trek aficionado, I noticed that one of the characteristic aspects of the Star Trek series was the fact that, no matter which race you ran into, they all seemed to have some sort of laser/phaser/disruptor or other, similar futuristic energy based ray gun technology, that appeared to be the weapon of choice. However there was one quite notable exception to this rule. The Klingons.

The Klingons are a race after my own heart. Why? Because while all of the other civilizations left their “barbaric” knifeworks behind, the Klingons stuck proudly and stubbornly to their traditions in the bladed arts. In fact, much of the Klingon code of honor is based on the legends and history of their greatest historic warriors and the bladed weapons they wielded. Most note worthy is the story of Kahless, and of the genesis of bat’leth.

“Kahless the unforgettable” was a legendary hero of Klingon lore, having been the one to finally unify the Klingon empire, and become it’s first Emperor. His legends were the very history of the Klingon Empire. But more importantly to a bladed weapon fanatic like me, is how he is credited with creating the most iconic weapon of Klingon history. The Bat’leth.

There are actually two stories I know of, that supposedly describes how the Klingon Bat’leth got it’s shape. The first story is that it was shaped after the horned skull of a great sea animal, that Kahless had battled with and slain. Yet another legend claims he forged it in the Kri’stak Volcano, from a lock of his own hair, and quenched it in the Lake of Lusor.

But none of that really matters. What is important is that knife designer Gil Hibben, who designed many of the knives for the contemporary star trek series, is a bona fide genius. And this sword is testament to his blade wrangling mastery. Below, I present to you, in all of it’s Klingon glory, the Sword of Kahless:

The Sword of Kahless
[view full size]

Isn’t it a beaut? This is just an awesome weapon design. Mr. Hibben somehow managed to combine almost all of the elements I like about blades into a single weapon. Organic curves, sweeping blades, and lots of points. And what I found most interesting is that they opted for a dark, damascus steel type finish on the sword, as opposed to a shiny polished finish. Most definitely my kind of weapon. It’s like he was inside my head.

Here’s a closeup:

The Sword of Kahless
[view full size]

And a sweet computer rendering of the weapon:

The Sword of Kahless
[view full size]

Absolutely magnificent. Of course, the Klingons had other cool bladed weapons, but seeing as how this post has gotten really long, I’m going to cut it short here, and show you a few of my other Klingon favorites in future posts. I just had to get this one out there… ๐Ÿ™‚

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