Posts Tagged ‘Props’

A Predatorial Shuriken

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

OK, So i’ll admit I’m not really the April Fools type. I sat thinking about all of the incredibly evil things I could have posted as an April Fools prank and realized… I just couldn’t do it. So instead, I’m gonna post about a fictional weapon that Ive always thought was very cool looking, but entirely impractical:

The Predator Shuriken

AvP Shuriken
[view full size]

This weapon was one of the cool weapons wielded by the race of Predators in the Predator series of movies. This particular shuriken was prominently featured on the AvP (Alien vs Predator) and AVP2 movies. Now the one featured here is a non-functioning reproduction shuriken, primarily because, well, this weapon would be near impossible to make work in real life, for reasons I’ll get into shortly.

I truly love many of the design details of this weapon. But what makes it such an intriguing weapon to me is primarily the subtle physical impossibility and impracticality of it. It is a weapon that appears, on the surface, to be physically plausible, but upon closer inspection, reveals aspects that are implausible, but so tempting close to real, that you cannot help but wonder if it would be possible to duplicate in real life.

AvP Shuriken – life size prop

AvP Shuriken
[view full size]

For example, looking at the pic above, you may notice that the overall design of this shuriken vaguely follows that of the Japanese Fuuma (or Windmill) shuriken, but departs from traditional shuriken design in it’s asymmetry. The blades are all biased towards one side of the weapon. Now besides the fact this this offends my sense of symmetry, this massive weight imbalance would also make it a very impractical throwing weapon. And yet, in the movie, it is thrown just as a Fuuma shuriken would be, without exhibiting any of the idiosyncratic flight characteristics that one might expect from such a poorly balanced weapon.

An even more implausible feature of the weapon is the great disparity between the retracted form factor and the fully deployed form of the shuriken. Below is a picture of the center section of the weapon with the blades extended:

AvP Shuriken – Center Section

AvP Shuriken - center Section
[view full size]

And here is a picture of the blades, again fully extended:

AvP Shuriken – Blades

AvP Shuriken -  Blades
[view full size]

In the movie, the blades are shown to extend out of the center section of the weapon. From the pics, it is apparent that a considerable level of nesting can and would need to occur in order for this to be physically feasible. By my count, there are six blades, each blade consisting of 4 sections, an extension/pivot lever, an outer extension sleeve, an inner extension sleeve and the blade proper. The weapons deployment sequence is shown in the clip below:

AvP Shuriken – Deployment

AvP Shuriken - Deployment

Sweeeet…! Incidentally, the little clip above may also explain the weapons asymmetrical design. If the blades were to extend in a symmetrical fashion around the circumference of the weapon, there would be no safe place to hold it during deployment without risking the loss of a few digits. If memory serves, I think these were used primarily as throwing weapons, so if I were designing it, it would be perfectly symmetrical, and would open in mid air when thrown, so as to avoid the awkward asymmetrical design. The asymmetry seems like a pointless trade-off if you ask me, but then again, I’m not an alien weapons designer…

Anyway, during retraction, the blade would have to retract into the inner sleeve, the inner sleeve into the outer sleeve, and the whole outer sleeve assembly pivot onto the extension arm, which would then all fold neatly into the center section, completely occupying that space. Sounds good in theory, except that, given the physical dimensions of blades, sleeves, etc, there should be hardly enough room for all six blades, let alone a deployment / retraction mechanism…

Of course, given the advanced nature of Predator technology, these technical details would almost certainly only be limitations of human technology, and would be little more than niggling little technicalities to a predator engineer.

In the end, however, it is the overall aesthetic of the blades, and the deployment mechanism that makes this weapon so captivating, and while the technical challenges would be great, the design is ultimately so close to something that could be made using current technologies, it would be very tempting to try…

I wonder if DARPA would be willing to give me a research grant for this kind of stuff… 🙂

AvP Predator Shuriken – [Black Aris]

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’*!! 🙂

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… 🙂

Halloween (or Cosplay) Treats…

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Over the past year or so, during my frequent intarweb sojourn for interesting weapons, I’ve come across an inordinate number of wooden replicas of otherwise lethal weapons. Now I have to admit that the first time I saw them, I was a bit puzzled. I thought maybe they were safety weapons for the accident prone. Or ultra cheap knock offs. Or something similar.

It wasn’t until I happened to come across a couple of pics of Cosplayers (CosPlay or Costume Play – folks who dress up as anime or movie characters and gather are conventions of the same) wielding some pretty authentic looking weapons, (in wood) that I finally understood. BTW, if you are an anime fan, you might very well be impressed by how realistic these cosplayers look:

Here’s one of Naruto (one of my favorites):

Naruto Cosplayer
[click to view
The Endless Waltz’s flickr gallery]

Here’s a couple of the bad guys, Itachi (Mr. Red eyes on the right) and Kisame (Mr. Blue face on the left) (and yes, that is how they are supposed to look):

Itachi & Kisame Cosplayers
[click to view The Endless Waltz’s flickr gallery]

How about an Afro Samurai? (The hair isn’t quite big enough, but oh well… 🙂 ):

Afro Samurai Cosplayer
[click to view jpassionpats flickr gallery]

I was particularly impressed by this Blade cosplayer:

MorpheusBlades flickr gallery
[click to view MorpheusBlades flickr gallery]

And, of course, Morpheus and Neo…

Morpheus And Neo
[click to view MorpheusBlades flickr gallery]

I’ve linked the pictures above the to the flickr pages I found them on. Very cool. But more importantly, I realized that all of these folks had to use wooden weapons, since none are allowed to bring real weapons into a crowded cosplay convention hall. Mystery solved!

Also, since it is about Halloween, I thought I’d round up a few of the wooden movie, video game and anime weapons I’ve come across recently for your viewing pleasure. There are actually quite a few out there, but I thought these ones looked the best:

300 – Spartan Sword – Wood

300 Spartan sword
[view full size]

<^>

Naruto – Ninja Kunai – Wood

Naruto Kunai
[view full size]

<^>

Legend of Zelda – Links Sword – Wood

Legend of Zelda
[view full size]

<^>

Inuyasha – Bankotsu’s Banryu – Wood

Banryu
[view full size]

<^>

Inuyasha – Inuyasha’s Tetsusaiga – Wood

Inuyashas Tetsusaiga
[view full size]

<^>

Bleach – Renji Abarai’s Zabimaru – Wood

Zabimaru
[view full size]

<^>

Bleach – Ichigo’s Tensa Zangetsu Bankai – Wood

Zangetsu Bankai
[view full size]

<^>

God of War – Kratos’ Blades of Chaos – Wood

Karatos Swords of Chaos
[view full size]

I guess it’s cutting it close for Halloween, but if you plan on being one of these characters, or plan to cosplay any of these characters in the near future, these weapons actually do look good enough to perfect your look. And could save you from inadvertently relieving yourself or a friend, of a limb. Or of sight in one eye…

PhyreBlades’ Ultimate Wolverine Claw Reference Guide.

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Ever since I started this blog, I’ve realized that, while blade fanatics are not exactly a majority, Wolverine fanatics, like myself, are legion! Some of the most popular posts on this blog have been related to the “who”s, “how”s and “where”s, of buying, (or making), a pair of wrist-mounted, retractable wolverine style claws. Yeah. It’s a mouthful.

Anyway, I though I’d put together a post with all of the pertinent Wolverine claw reference material I’ve come across during my web sojourns in search of the holy grail of all wolverine fanboi memorabilia: the ever elusive pair of wearable, fully automatic, remotely actuated, retractable Wolverine claws. Yes. I am indeed insane. But given the number of X-Men/Wolverine fans out there, I was sure that someone would have put one together.

Alas, No such luck. Apart from a plethora of replica, prop and designer “Wolverine Claws”, there are no commercially available retractable wolverine claws. None. Not One. At least that I have been able to find. Anyone who happens to know different should consider themselves morally, ethically and legally (by Dark Blade Law) obligated to share the juicy details. Or meet your end at the hands of a million ill-tempered gnats. With lasers attached to their freakin’ heads. Or worse. Death by LOLCat.

Anyhoo, until I find out otherwise, Wolverine purists have two options.

  1. Buy replicas of the actual movie prop.
  2. Make a pair on their own.

If you want one that is automatic/retractable, you are stuck with option 2. For those mechanically inclined, mature, dedicated (and brave) enough to attempt it, following is a list of noteworthy Wolverine Claw related links, to help you on your X-Mission, should you choose to accept it (at your own risk, of course). Good Luck!

First, the wannabes (the short list):

Anderson Cutlery Pantera Claw
A pair of brass knuckles with claws attached. Cool.

Anderson Cutlery “Special Edition” Pantera Claws
A Chromed pair of brass knuckles with claws attached. Shiny. Cool.

X-MEN “Wolverine” Claws (Style II)
The poor mans Wolverine claw. Primal. Dark. Mua ha ha… *cough*

Wolverine X-Men Claw (IMHO, perhaps the best wannabe so far…)
A somewhat more generic version of the wolverine claw movie prop design. Classy. Shiny. Cool.

Wolverine X-Men Battle Claw – In Black!
Yet another version of the Wolverine X-Men Claw, (the one described just above), This time in glorious black. OK, so Wolverines claws aren’t supposed to be black. But I happen to love black weapons, so authenticity be condemned to blazes, I like this one better!! Actually neither of them is particularly authentic, so don’t send any hate mail on account of my saying so, or I will pwn you w1t m4 l337 h4xxor sk1llz.

And now, on to the meat and potatoes:

Kris Abel’s Blog: Making Wolverine’s Claws -> Part1, Part2 – Kris Abel interviews the designer of the original Wolverine blades used in the movies. A very interesting read.

eBay -> Wolverine Claws – You can find almost anything on eBay… Almost…

YourProps.com -> Claws1, Claws2 – A great online prop museum with pictures of aluminum replicas of the original Wolverine Claw props used in the movies.

Gary Fixler -> Making Wolverine Claws For Fun And Profit – A site showing how a guy made cheap custom wolverine claw replicas. The materials he used (in particular his aluminum stock) were not the best, but the process is very sound. With some design modifications and better materials, you could use the same process to make some really high quality prop wolverine blade replicas. In fact the next guy did just that.

Nates Wolverine Halloween Costume -> AKA: How To Make Retractable Wolverine Claws – One of my favorite wolverine claw sites. This guy took the whole wolverine claw thing as close to the real thing as I have ever seen. If he would have written a step by step manual of the process with even more pictures, he could have made a killing on eBay…

If I weren’t such a lazy schlub, I might have given the eBay thing it a try. But then again I have the sneakiest of suspicions that, were it actually successful, peeps would start crawling out of the woodwork with “Cease and Desists”… So many haters… So little love…

Anyhoo that is about all I got at the moment. The only thing that I am waiting for (with baited breath I might add), is for someone to integrate some sort of automatic deployment mechanism, perhaps a spring and some sort of trigger, into a set of retractable wolverine claws… So close and yet soooo far….

Enjoy….!

Making Wolverines Claws – [Kris Abel’s Blog]
Wolverine Claw Auctions – [eBay]
Making Wolverine Claws For Fun And Profit – [Gary Fixler Site]
Aluminum Wolverine Claw Replicas – [YourProps.com]
Wolverine X-Men Claw – [SouthWest Blades]

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