Posts Tagged ‘Pirates’

Cool Replicas – Part 4: Sandai Kitetstu

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Today, we continue my temporary departure from the usual practice of lamenting the tendency for mediocrity that is often displayed by the collectors cultery industry, (wow that was a mouthful!!) to look at another rather nicely reproduced anime weapon.

Sandai Kitetsu - Third Generation Demon Splitter

Sandai Kitetsu - Third Generation Demon Splitter

[Click to view full size]

This is the Sandai Kitetsu, third Generation Demon splitter, and one of the swords wielded by the sword happy protagonist Roronoa Zolo (AKA Zoro) from the anime One Piece. I can only assume he got that name because the creators of the series thought it would be fitting, given his skill with the sword, to name him after the legendary Zorro.

You know. The legendary Mexican sword freedom fighter with the gay *cough* blade… Gay, in this instance, meaning lively, quick, flashy, etc… Yeah. Just thought I’d clarify. Oh, no, no, no, you’re welcome. Things have certainly changed a lot since the 1980s. But I digress…

Anyway, this Zoro is a pirate. Though he was formerly a bounty hunter, and is an honorable man, with exceptional sword fighting skills, who just happened to fall into an unfortunate situation. He generally carries three swords with him.

However this one I found particularly interesting because, first and foremost, it has a black blade (of course!). But it also just so happens to be a Kitetsu, a cursed blade, that is said will eventually bring a horrible death to it’s wielder. Though you can kind of tell, just by looking at it, it’s a rather mean sword. With a mind of it’s own. Zoro, however, does not seem to mind. My kind of guy… 🙂

Physically, this sword is actually of a fairly standard design, no really unique features, beyond the black on stainless steel blade. However it’s real beauty lies in the details:

Sandai Kitetsu - Tsuba

Sandai Kitetsu - Tsuba

[click image to view full size]

You can see from the detail of the tsuba, the quality of the fit and finish on this sword is very good. Certainly better than some I have seen that cost a lot more. And then theres the Tsuka:

Sandai Kitetsu - Tsuka

Sandai Kitetsu - Tsuka/Saya

[click image to view full size]

An interesting variation of the standard design. Instead of the fully cord wrapped grip, we have a grip that is covered, top and bottom, the same way the saya is, with what appears to be a laquered wood sections. In the middle we have the traditional black cord over rayskin wrapping, with metal bands transitioning between the two.

Another interesting departure from the norm is the design of the kashira, sporting a loop set into the traditional pommel cap. It is depicted similarly in the anime and is certainly an unusual feature. The saya is also fairly simple, the standard black lacquer, adorned with one metal band at the opening, and two more, each a little ways from each end. The tip is also is capped in ornate metal.

Sandai Kitetsu - Demon Splitter Extraordinaire

Sandai Kitetsu - Demon Splitter Extraordinaire

[Click image to view full size]

Overall, this is actually a well done replica. Certainly it does not have the quality or strength of a hand made, sword by any means, so I wouldn’t go sword fighting with it, but for a mass produced replica weapon, it is actually very nicely put together. This one made my white list simply for it’s clean lines, and fairly close attention to detail.

My verdict?

Win.

Just can’t say no to a cursed black sword… 🙂

Roronoa Zolos’ Sandai Kitetsu – [True Swords]

Roronoa Zolos’ Sandai Kitetsu – [SouthWest Blades]

Roronoa Zolos’ Sandai Kitetsu – [Swords Swords]

Know your gang signs. And use them wisely…

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

So I was looking at a few weapons on teh intarwebs and came across this:

Wakizashi

Wakizashi

Now at first glance you might be like, “Hey, that’s a cool looking sword and sheath” And you might be right. However there are actually two things rather horribly wrong with this picture. Take a guess what they are. That’s ok. I’ll wait…

Ok, guess already…! Bah. Balrogs have little patience. But you probably already knew that. OK, since that little waiting farce is out of the way, let me tell you the two things that stick in my craw about the above pic.

The first is this. Interestingly enough, the site I found it on labeled this sword a Wakizashi. Now If you have watched any hollywood ninja movies, you may be familiar with this general sword design. It is usually referred to as a Ninja-to. or, more simply put, a Ninja sword. It is a Shinobi warriors primary weapon. Straight, medium length, single edged blade, occasionally slightly tapered from hilt to tip, with a sharply angled point. Sometimes (at least nowadays anyway) finished in sweet , sweet blackness.

Now let me describe a Wakizashi. A Wakizashi, which has historically been used  to refer to any “side sword”, is usually a secondary sword that is worn with, or accompanied by a larger, primary sword, usually a Katana, as a matched pair. As you can imagine, as a shorter faster version of the katana, it would be a mid sized, single edged sword, with a curved blade, and an upward sweeping point. Almost never finished in black.

Beginning to get the picture? Besides the fact that they are both mid sized swords, Ninjaken and Wakizashi have NOTHING in common. And yet I have before me a picture of a Ninjato, labeled a Wakizashi. Do you understand why I sometimes feel like ripping my horns out of my head? And not just cutting them off at the base, like that whiny little wuss, Hellboy did, I mean seriously, ripping them out of my skulll…

But I digress. I’m ok. Ignore my little outburst. On to the next point of contention. The sheath. Your standard cheapo but durable all weather sheath. Except for one thing. There is a Scimitar/cutlass emblazoned on it. Yeah, a Cutlass, ya know like a Pirate might use, emblazoned on a sheath for a Ninja-to, under the rather  presumptive Wakizashi title.

Uh huh, LOL… Whut?

A pirate weapon molded into the sheath of a ninja weapon. Seriously, do these people not have a clue? Do they not know that Pirates and Ninjas are like mortal enemies? That’s like putting Crips colors on a weapon and trying to sell it to a Blood… Or vice versa… Either way, not a smart move…

You never go to one gang wearing a rival gangs colors. It’s just not professional. Honestly. Good thing the guys that design these things don’t have to sell them in real live ninjas… They’d be dead meat… 😛

*Update*

I just realized something. That symbol on the sheath is actually that of the Ontario Knife Company. In spite of the fact that I actually have this sword, for some odd reason, I never noticed that the blade itself bore their stamp. It wasn’t until I went to their site, looking for another knife, that I ran across this very same sword in their online catalog.

Now for the record, the Ontario Knife company does make many great blades. However I think this one, is still total and utter phail. You just cannot make a good sword from stainless steel. I guess they decided they needed a cheapo sword to sell, but personally, I would have stuck to smaller high carbon steel knives, not this.

And the marketing could really have been a bit more… Subtle… (making the company logo look like a design motif of the sword is a bit silly if you ask me. But there you have it. Cheapo only gets you so far…

Ninja Wakizashi – [eBladeStore]

The Cutlass Supreme…

Friday, March 28th, 2008

LOL no, you ninnies, I’m not talking about the car, though I’ll admit to a little tomfoolery with the title, being a little word play on the automobile of the same name. But I am talking about today is a weapon made infamous by pirates, but was also a popular general purpose weapon if the buccaneering age… The Cutlass!!

1917 Cutlass

1917 Cutlass (Cold Steel)
[view full size]

In Hollywood, while the cutlass is primarily portrayed as the weapon favored by pirates, it was in fact a very common naval weapon, used by pirates, regular sailors and even naval military forces, all for the very same reasons. In a previous wannabe pirate sword post, I explained a bit what the characteristics of the ideal pirate swords were. In this post, we will get to see a much more accurate cutlass design a little closer.

As you can see from the pic above, the cutlass is more or less a single-edged, mid-sized saber. This particular example carries a curved blade, as did many others, though they were not all so. However for the average seafarer the curved blade was very useful, as it allowed longer cutting strokes to be delivered within a much smaller radius, something that would have been much harder to do with a longer curved blade, like a Katana, and even more difficult with a longer straighter sword, like a rapier.

Yet another characteristic of the ideal sailors weapon, be they pirate, merchant or military, was that it be fairly simple to use, as your average sailor received little in the way of training with weapons. It is a little known fact that most pirates, in contrast to how they are portrayed in the movies, were not highly skilled warriors. Many were simple sailors, conscripts from captured vessels, or aimless ragamuffins attracted to piracy by the promise of an equitable share of the loot. Few were the highly trained, swashbuckling sword fighters depicted in the movies.

The cutlass was a fairly simple weapon, fairly heavy, of median length, had no edges facing the wielder, and unlike most other highly specialized land bound dueling weapons, needed no major training to use. This made it ideal for both experts and novices alike. It’s weight made it easy to handle by feel, made it easier to land chopping blows with, and the additional blade material also made it strong enough to be used as a general purpose shipboard chopping and cutting tool for wood, leather, rope, etc. So, while in the hands of an experienced sword fighter it could be a lethal weapon, it was also your basic idiot proof sailors weapon/tool of the day.

Provided, of course, that the idiot in question wasn’t prone to stabbing themselves in the foot. Or even worse, the eye. Hey, things happen. Not all eye patches and wooden legs were come about in a glorious battle… I can guarantee you that much… 😛

Anyway, the version shown above also happens to be one of my favorite saber designs, because in addition to a nice, but not-too-ornate guard, a three quarter length fuller and simple wooden scales, it also incorporates two additional features that are not always seen in your stereotypical cutlass design. Namely, a clip point tip, which would both enhance it’s thrusting ability, and enable the tip to be used for finer cutting work where necessary, and finally, but certainly no less important, a totally sweet jet black finish…

Can’t beat that with a baseball bat… 😀

1917 Cutlass by Cold Steel – [True Swords]

An Unlikely Pirate Sword… YAAAARRRRHHH!!!! :)

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

Ok, so I ran into this little shyster of a weapon yesterday, and thought it would make for an interesting post. It is yet another movie themed sword. The Movie? Pirates of the Caribbean! Aaaaarrr! The weapon? None other than the sword of Jack Sparrow, pirate extraordinaire:

Jack Sparrows Sword…

Yaaaarrrggghhh!

Jack Sparrows Pirate Sword
[view full size]

Aaarrrrrr…! OK, ok, ok I’ll stop with the yaaaaarrgghhs… LOL.

Now this is a pirates sword! Yes? … Actually, no. No it’s not.

Not that I like poking holes in Hollywood fallacies, but… Wait… no… Actually, to be honest, I love poking holes in Hollywood fictions… 🙂 But my point is, this is not the kind of weapon your average pirate might use. This sword is too long, too light and not sufficiently curved.

Yeah. Now I’ll bet you are wondering why a good pirates sword would need to meet the above three criteria. Well, being the snooty know-it-all that I am, I’m gonna tell you. In fact you can’t stop me! Yaaarr… eerrr… ahem… *crickets chirping*…

Whatever…

What I was gonna say is this: It’s simply a matter of space. Or the lack thereof. Aboard a ship, one of your major restraints would be a lack of “elbow room” as it were. In a battle, obviously, with a deck overflowing with bloodthirsty pirates, that deficiency would be compounded.

So your ideal sword would be one that could be swung in small spaces, with an equally localized cutting arc, but with a blade that also had some weight, so that you didn’t need so much space to generate lethal cuts. The weight of the sword could do some of the work for you…

In other words the ideal pirate sword would be… a short, heavy scimitar. Now we can see why pirates relied so heavily on the use of short, curved, broad/heavy cutlasses, and later on, cut down sabers… Neither of which categories the above sword falls into. In other words, the weapon above would be an epic fail in such a battlefield.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is a sweet sword. The dark, long, mildly upward sweeping blade would make for a reasonably good slashing weapon, and that wicked little point would allow thrusting attacks like a hot knife through warm butter… But it just ain’t a pirate sword, Jack… :p

Jack Sparrows Sword – [Realm Collections]

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