Posts Tagged ‘Knight’

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]

A Tanto does not a Bowie Make…

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

I came across a fairly cool blade recently:

Black Fantasy Bowie

Black Fantasy Bowie
[view full size]

Now I like this knife. I really do. It has a sweet combination of characteristics that would make it the dark beauty of any blade party. (Yes. I have them often. But I only invite guests with lots of points, curves, and a razor sharp wit… 😀 ) The smooth swept blade, the simple brushed pommel and hilt, the textured black grip, and a no nonsense looking scabbard to boot.

BUT… (Don’t you hate how there is almost always a “but”…)

Despite anything that the great site I found this on might say, this, my friends, is not a bowie knife. At least not in the traditional Jim Bowie frontier knife kinda way. This, is what a bowie is supposed to look like:

A Bowie Knife

Traditional Bowie Knife
[view full size]

Do you see the difference? There are some pretty big differences if you ask me. Like the shape and size of the blade. (this is waaay wider than that “Fantasy” one) The cross guard. The “Fantasy” one doesn’t have one) The pommel and hilt of the grip. (The “Fantasy” one has brushed butt and hilt cap) The Black Fantasy Bowie, while cool, is the complete opposite of a Bowie. It is closer in design to a Japanese Tanto than a bowie.

So why the Bowie moniker? Who knows? I’ve learned to stop thinking about these things so much. Questions like these only initiate perpetual waves of mental logic errors in my head…

Black Fantasy Bowie – [BudK]

A Dark Axe of Royalty.

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

Next up on our list is yet another interesting axe. A royal axe. A knightly axe. A dark axe. I present:

Black Knight's Royal Axe

Black Knight's Royal Axe

Now most of you may not find this weapon particularly contradictory, but I decided to blog about it specifically for that reason. I think the general idea of the axe (as represented by how it has been named) to present an interesting oxymoron.

First off, in medieval times, (regardless of how Martin Lawrence or Monty Python may have portrayed them) a black knight was generally the European equivalent of a Japanese rōnin – A masterless samurai. Being a black knight may not have carried the same dishonor that a rōnin might have in japan, however they were equally disliked by liege Knights because they were wildcards.

A black knight would be just as likely to fight for you as against you. In fact you might find one fighting by your side during one battle, and on the opponents side the next. Almost by definition, a black knight ostensibly held allegiance to no one but himself. Not exactly a trustworthy fellow. Royalty wouldn’t necessarily mean anything to such a knight. Which is why I find the the idea of a “Royal” Black Knight to be contradictory. Unless they were medieval secret agents…

As if that weren’t enough, I’ve always thought that most medieval knights carried swords, not axes. I’d hardly think a Black knights would be an exception. And I’d think that the ones that did see fit to carry an axe would usually carry a smaller, lighter, melee style axe, not a full fledged, double bladed monstrosity. But I guess I’m just splittin’ hairs now.

Disregarding any contradictory symbolic nuances, the design of this axe is an excellent example of a very traditional axe making. But that is about the only thing traditional about it. The color treatment of this weapon is very striking, with a black blade and handle, with both silver and gold accents. The overall design is quite impressive, from the prominent silver point on the butt of the axe and the two gold bands strategically placed to provide elegant contrast with the rest of the weapon.

In spite of the reservations I have about it’s nomenclature, the aesthetics of this axe really does justify it as royalty. The contrast of light and dark is well done, and it would come high on my list of recommended weapons for any “royal” dark knight… If that is their real name…

Black Knight’s Royal Axe – [True Swords]

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