Posts Tagged ‘Movie’

A Black Shikomizue for a Blind Swordsman…

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Anyone who is into classical Japanese sword flicks will know about Zatoichi, the blind wandering swordsman masseuse, whose skill with the sword was unparalleled. Those of you who know, will also remember that Zatoichi carried with him a shikomizue, or sword cane, which he used to great effect, as he wandered from village to village, helping those in need.

Those of you who are long time readers might know that I love shikomizue. They are the embodiment of simplicity of sword design. They may not be the best functional design, but as swords go, I just love the clean lines of a well constructed shikomizue. Add to that the fact that I love stick fighting, and that a shikomizue is basically a stick with a blade in it, and I probably don’t need to explain any further why I like them.

But until recently I didn’t think there was anything more I could possibly want out of a shikomizue until I saw this one:

Handmade Zatoichi Cane Sword Nodachi Shikomizue - Black Damascus

Handmade Zatoichi Cane Sword Nodachi Shikomizue - Black Damascus

This, ladies and gentlemen, is, in all honesty, the most beautiful shikomuze I have ever seen. 40+” of shiny, jet black lacquered straight cane saya, concealing over 28″ of mildly tapering black damascus blade showing an amazing deep, orange red damascus pattern. A single accent is visible when unsheathed, a gold habaki, sitting atop the tsuka. It is absolutely breathtaking.

Now I realize that I may be a little biased, but this combination is just.. I have no words. A shikomizue, in black, with a black damascus blade…

I think I know what’s going on my Christmas list this year… 😀

Handmade Zatoichi Cane Sword Nodachi – Black Damascus – [True Swords]

Hell hath no fury like a symbiote scorned…

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

OK, so maybe I’m waxing a little poetic here, but I ran into a knife not too long ago, that looked a heckuvalot like the Spiderman Tanto… Except in black. With talons. And, of course, it is modeled after Spider-Mans latest nemesis, the space symbiote called Venom. But here… see for yourself:

Spider's Fury Tanto - Venom Black

Spider's Fury Tanto - Venom Black

LOL… This looks cool. A whole lot cooler than the original Spider-Man tanto it is based on. But the irony here, is that much like my previous post on the Spider-Man tanto, there almost seems no real reason to make a Spidey knife, as Spider-Man really isn’t a knife guy in any kind of way. Now the Green Goblin, on the other hand, is all about bladed weapons. Just look at his his blade equipped glider, his arm blades and his flying pumpkin blades of death, just to name a few 🙂

But more relevant to the knife in question is that Venom isn’t by any means a knife user. In fact Venom is much more a hands on, mano-a-mano kind of creature. But I digress.

The point is, it’s funny how the cutlery industry will forcibly make a blade, often times quite mediocre ones at that, to capitalize on the success of a movie series, regardless of how unrelated it is to the knife industry. I’m almost surprised there isn’t a “Tickle Me Elmo” knife…

No, really… Why Isn’t there a Tickle Me Elmo Knife?

Spiders Fury Tanto -Venom Black – [True Swords]

More Wolverine Claws – A Production Prop.

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Clearly, there is no lack of articles, props, models, replicas, and weapons, inspired by Wolverines infamous claws, in the world. And I will readily admit, without shame, of being guilty of adding to the never ending library of wolverine claw replica documentaries that currently exist.  In fact, you can read one of my original compendiums here.

But, as fate would have it, it does not end there. I’m about to add one more.Yes. And no. I will *nevar* tire of it. So deal. Here is yet another set of wolverine claws. But this design is actually a bit different from most of the others:

Wolverine Style Claws

Wolverine Style Claws

Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking: “Hey… hold on a second there Phyre… This looks like almost every other wolverine claw replica in existance…” Ok, yes. It does *look* like some of the others. But they are not entirely the same.

The thing is, Wolverines claws, at least as they are portrayed in the movies, have a very specific shape. So naturally, anyone who decided to make a pair based on the movie claws, would have to give the blades the same shape in order to maintain some semblance of authenticity. This is why they all look the same to some degree.

As a side note, if you were ever a fan of the X-Men, either from the comic book, or from the Saturday morning cartoons, you will remember that Wolverines claws have actually had a few different shapes, sometimes little swords, sometimes talons, sometimes simple curved reverse scimitars, to jagged bone, etc., All this in spite of the fact that they should never have changed shapes from the time they were installed. Except, of course, for the bone claws, which is canon in most Wolverine arcs. But I digress.

The point is, even though the blades are the same, the *grips* on almost every different iteration have been different. Some have been simple round bars, others have been knuckle dusters, others wooden dowels. So what makes this one special? Well no worries, I’ll tell you. Why? Because I’m helpful like that.

This one is different because this design is the first production design that I have come across that vrey closely matches the design of the prop actually used in the movies. Yep. This design looks like a much more cleanly finished version of the prop that Hugh Jackman wore in the X-Men movie:

Wolverine Claws - Bar Grip and Wire

Wolverine Claws - Bar Grip and Wire

As you can see, the original prop had the same blade basic blade profile, but had thick stiff wires that ran from each blade to a little metal bar that Hugh held in the palm of his hand. This design is almost exactly the same, except that on this replica, the grip is now a solid piece of steel, with wooden scales pinned to it, and instead of wire, it is connected as one piece to the blades via steel standoffs. All in beautifully polished steel.

But as nice as these are, this design, like many of the others, does have one major flaw. On the original prop, there were rear extensions on the blades, which were designed to fit snugly between Hugh Jackmans knuckles when he was wearing the claws, to make it look like they were coming out from between his knuckles.

Obviously this can’t be done with with mass produced reproductions, mostly because it is impossible to design a rear blade extension that would fit every hand. So replica manufacturers tend to resort to putting little nubs at the rear of each blade there instead. But the end result is always the same. They have to “stand off” the blades, in order to prevent those rear nubs from digging into the spaces between knuckles of the wearer.

However, it is largely a futile effort. For all but the smallest hands, if you ever hit anything while wearing these claws, those blade will rotated up back towards your hands, and those nubs *will* seek out, and mercilessly assault the soft and defenseless space between your knuckles. I ga-run-tee it. Those with smaller hands might be saved from the nubs attack. But you will *still* get finger wedgies from the metal blade stems. My advice? Don’t go all Wolverine crazy with these things on, bub. Your hands will thank you.

So there you have it. The first production replica of the original X-Men wolverine prop. Or as close to it as you can possibly get. Just remember. Just cause you got a set o’ claws don’t make you Wolverine, Bub.

Wolverine Style Claws – [True Swords]

Making Wolverine Claws – [Kris Abel’s Blog]

Phyreblade’s Ultimate Wolverine Claw Reference Guide – [The Dark Blade]

Of Straight Razors and Demon Barbers.

Monday, May 25th, 2009

You know I have never really been a fan of straight razors. Don’t really know why. Apart from those rare occasions when they are ground into claws, brazed to copper pipes and attached to the fingers of leather work gloves, they just never really appeal to me. Normally, I find such evil and dangerous implements fascinating.

And straight razors are indeed evil. Unintentionally evil, grant you, but evil nonetheless. They are one of the few, relatively large, non surgical blades whose edge geometry is specifically designed to allow them to hold one of the keenest edges known to man. Even at the cost of strength. But in spite of my being intellectually aware of this, they just don’t *look* the part. Yes, they usually do have a little flair, but for the most part I find them waaaay to functional looking.

They are almost like box cutters to me. Equally dangerous, but they just don’t carry an aesthetic that evokes that primal awe that so many other blade designs do. Now I bring this up not for idle chitchat, but rather because I had occasion to analyze my thoughts about such a razor. Specifically a replica of the razor used by Johnny Depps character Sweeny Todd  in the movie “Sweeny Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”:

Straight razor of Demon Barber Sweeney Todd

Straight razor of Demon Barber Sweeney Todd

Now this is a nice looking razor. I’m not saying it isn’t. The thing is, it just doesn’t speak to me. I haven’t seen the movie, so I don’t know if there is any real significance to it, but on the surface, it looks to me like the miniature equivalent of a machete. Just like any other razor. All go, no show. Well maybe a little show. But not quite enough show.

The funny thing is that, shortly after Sweeney Todd came out, having been glamorized by the movie, there was a sudden surge of custom straight razors on the market. Here’s another example I found somewhat more attractive:

Tom Anderson Raze Tac Custom Straight Razor

Tom Anderson Raze Tac Custom Straight Razor

Arguably a much more modern design approach to the straight razor, and it certainly looks the part..  Black micarta scales with beautiful shiny accents, all rising up into what looks like it’s gonna be a sweet looking blade, and then… disappointment. It still looks like a folder horribly abused. So horribly mutilated that the doctor recommended that the tip be amputated. Sigh.

Here’s an arguably more cutting edge design:

Custom Straight Razor - Blue Widow Web

Custom Straight Razor - Blue Widow Web

So now maybe we’re getting somewhere. This design eschews the classic straight razor grip for a contemporary designer folder grip. Not a bad look. Personally I thought it could have done without the spider web  motif, but hey. But yet again… as my eyes travel up from the hilt, that sinking feeling returns. Dagnabbit!

OK, so I admit I am biased towards points. And curves. And organic shapes. Perhaps with a few more curves or something, I might find straight razors more appealing. But that would defeat the point of a “straight” razor. And in any case, I think it’d be like lipstick on a pig. I dunno if it’s possible to gussy up a straight razor enough to make it look good,  without changing the very things that make it a straight razor.

But who knows. Maybe my expectations are a little high…

Tom Andersons Raze Tac – [True Swords]
Sweeny Todds Straight Razor – [True Swords]
Custom Straight Razor – Blue Widow Web – [True Swords]

Another non-movie movie sword…

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

You may recall a while back a post about a Punisher sword, presumably from the Punisher comic and movie franchise. As I mentioned in that post, the Punisher character was really heavy into the firearms thing, and had little use for swords, so to see that there was a Punisher sword available was, well, perplexing.

But that has not stopped someone from making yet another sword for a comic/movie character, who also really did not use swords: Batman.

Fantasy Bat Sword

Fantasy Bat Sword
[view full size]

Now any Batman fan knows that Batman likes technology. Not swords. It is true that he is a highly trained ninja, however his forte seems to be to apply modern tools (i.e. technology) in innovative ways to solve his various problems. And much like the way the Punisher is really into his right to bear arms, and relies heavily on his guns, the Dark Knight relies equally heavily on his technology. No swords. Not even a knife really. Not much more than his trademark batarang. Or in his more contemporary incarnations, his bat-shuriken. So this is yet another sword that fits in exactly nowhere in the grand schema of the psychotic profile that is The Batman.

That is not to say it isn’t a nice sword. I actually like the lines on it. Which isn’t surprising, because as it turns out, I liked the lines on the Punisher Sword too. On a hunch I went back and compared the two.

Fantasy Bat Sword
Punisher Sword

On the top is our Fantasy Bat Sword. On the bottom, the Punisher sword. (Click the images to see larger versions) Lo and behold! A pattern appears! Look at the grips on both swords. Identical. Look at the blade profile on both swords. Nearly the same. The only things that are different between them are the pommel, the guard and the length of the ricasso.

It’s a fair bet that they were designed by the same person. Which explains a lot. Obviously this designer/manufacturer has decided to fill the heretofore unknown niche market of making fantasy movie swords for movies whose leading characters do not actually use swords. Interesting. Very Interesting.

At least I can say the designer has good taste, if not any originality. In fact I’m fairly certain I have seen the exact same blade profile that the Bat Sword has (with the longer ricasso) in one or two other swords. I hope at least one of those others is an original. I’d like to see one of these designs that isn’t a movie knock off…

Fantasy Bat Sword – [Collectors Edge]

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