Posts Tagged ‘Tom Anderson’

A Transforming Staff Does Not a Castle Keep…

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

I ran into another interesting creation from Knife designer Tom Anderson, in the form of an unusual “pole arm”, (for lack of a better description):

Castle Keep Staff

Castle Keep Staff
[view full size]

The Castle Keep Staff appears to be, at first glance, little more than spear, sporting two extra blades on either side of it’s head. I imagine if we are to go by the name Tom Anderson gave this weapon, we might assume that it would have been used much like a pike would have been used by medieval knights, except for the fact that the blades on this thing seem a little flimsy in comparison to the popular pole arms of the day, many of which were intended to be able to defeat knights in armor on horseback.

Nonetheless it is quite an interesting weapon for one specific reason. You may have noticed that in spite of it’s obvious similarities to a spear, it was called a staff. It’s name is actually not technically inaccurate, and here’s why. The spear head and pommel are attached to the shaft using threaded connectors, which means that they can both be removed, and attached to each other. The result? A staff and a dagger.

Now from a practical perspective, given the weakness of the blade, this combo might be better suited to dagger/staff duty than spear duty, especially for castle defense, and I would be hard pressed to fight an armored knight on horseback armed with just a dagger and a staff, so from a castle defense perspective, I’d say this is kind of a pointless weapon.

But of course, there are no medieval knights roaming the American countryside, and this weapon is merely a designers vision given form, so I am just nitpicking unnecessarily. The whole dual weapon thing is a neat little trick though. Unless, of course, there is a secret society of fully armored, mounted knights roaming the countryside, just waiting for some fool to decide to defend their castle against attack with a contingent of soldiers armed with Castle Keep Staves.

Hey, don’t laugh. It could happen. Really. And no, you can’t have any of what I’m on. it’s some really good, hard to find stuff…

Tom Anderson’s Castle Keep Staff – [Red Dragon Sword Co]

Yet Another Uber Battledome Blade!

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

In a previous post we looked at an out-of-left-field hand blade by Tom Anderson, another killer blade designer, called Critical Mass. Well, I found yet another revision of this freaky blade type, looking for all the world like it belonged on the set of Mad Max…

Critical Mass II - Tom Anderson

Critical Mass II - Tom Anderson

Now this weapon is a bitter sweet comeback to me, because although it appears to me to be an improvement on the original Critical Mass design in many areas, it also takes a step backwards in a few others others.

For instance, on the original Critical Mass, the handle was placed fairly far forward, and had a “hood” that extended far enough back that it rested on the users forearm. Though this design left your actual hand exposed, it allowed for a great deal of control of the weapon. On this weapon, although the hand is pretty much covered, it pretty much stops there. You have much less leverage, and therefore less control.

And then there is the mounting point for that front blade on Critical Mass II. I’ve never understood why you would make a fairly wide blade, and then weaken it at the attachment point by narrowing it just before the hilt. Again the first version did not suffer any such weaknesses.

An Ornamental Katar

An Ornamental Katar

Of course I would be remiss not to mention that the basic weapon design does appear to have at least superficial similarities to a perhaps much more practical weapon, called the Katar. The Katar is a punch-blade style weapon of Indian decent. Some of them have mechanically actuated split blades, also called “Scissor Katars”, and yet another variety called the “Hooded Katar” have a shield over the back of the hand. Given also that it would probably be a lighter and faster weapon, I would probably prefer to use a split-blade hooded Katar if given a choice, over either Critical Mass weapon.

Video Game Scissors Katar

Video Game Scissors Katar

Nonetheless Critical Mass II does have a lot of strong points. Literally. It is simpler and the blades are much more effectively placed than in the first. It is probably also lighter and faster than the first. It provides much better hand protection, though it could have benefit from an extended hood for both forearm protection and extra support and control.

But given the sweet lines of those, oh-so-beautiful black blades, the menacing spikes on the guard, and the overall no nonsense look of the piece, I’d say it’s a winner. I dare you to disagree. I dare ya. I double dog dare ya. I triple dog dare ya… Yeah… Whatever.

Critical Mass by Tom Anderson – [The Collectors Edge]

An Uber Battle Blade…

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

I found yet another example of over-the-top, wrist-mounted weapon madness from Tom Anderson, in the form of the menacing, multi-bladed, and totally overkilled, Critical Mass:

Critical Mass by Tom Anderson

Critical Mass by Tom Anderson

Now this is one of those wacky, off the wall deals that is probably more practical as a conversation starter than a weapon. Yes, it does appear to be functional, but this isn’t the kind of thing you would take into a fight unless you’re the kind that spends your Saturday nights in a 50’x50′ steel cage. In a secret underground arena. With one other barbarian, similarly equipped, each of you trying to bring the others life to a swift and decisive end, while a galleria of wealthy spectators watch, for ridiculously obscene amounts of money. I’m just saying.

However for pure aesthetic impact, Critical Mass is “Teh Pwnerer”. I mean look at it, it’s a big ol’ honkin’ piece o’ black metal, sharp edges, lots of blades, points all around… Kinda hard to beat the intimidation factor of this thing. I’m talkin death-match quality folks…

Tom Andersons’ Critical Mass – [SouthWest Blades]

Eureka! Kold Fuzhion!

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

LOL, Alright. So I’m not talking about cold fusion, as in, I haven’t figured out how to get a nuclear reactor to operate at room temperature. That would have been a perfect excuse to explain my lack of posts for the last few days. And would be the first step in a super secret plan I have to build a super computer that could play games like Halo 2, Half-Life 2 , F.E.A.R., Far Cry and Battlefield 2142 at super high resolution in a totally immersive environment. Basically an environmentally controlled room where each wall is just a huge monitor screen and…

OK it’s supposed to be secret so I cant say anymore otherwise i will have to put a contract out on your heads. So I’m not going to try to explain at all. So there. Deal. Humph. But back to the topic at hand. I was actually talking about an interesting blade by Tom Anderson.

Kold Fuzhion by Tom Anderson

Kold Fuzhion by Tom Anderson

Now this weapon caught my eye for two reasons. First it is a beautiful knife. I love the waspy shape and the beautiful lines of the handle. And the two retractable edged guards certainly add to the wicked look of the knife. Overall it’s just the kind of design i like. Organic and subtle.

But the second reason should be immediately apparent any Star Trek fans among you. This knife has an uncanny resemblance in both form and operation to a Klingon weapon called the d’k tahg (or daqtagh) most notable for being used to kill Captain James Tiberias Kirk‘s son during the third Star Trek movie (The Search for Spock).

Klingon D'k Tahg

Klingon D'k Tahg

As you can see there is a strong resemblance. About the only difference is that the original Klingon weapon employs straight lines, and a hollow fuller of sorts, whereas Tom Andersons version incorporates a lot of curves and holes in the blade. In my humble opinion, though this may sound like blasphemy to any hard core ‘trek fan, I must say I prefer the Anderson blade over the original. However in my defense, I have generally always had an affinity for curves over straight lines…

Tom Anderson Kold Fuzhion Double Edge – [True Swords]

More Wolverine Claw Wannabes…

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

Ok, so in spite of my reservations about knife makers trying to cash in on the popularity of one of my favorite X-Men, (Who? Well Wolverine of course! Duuuuh!), I went looking to see if anything new was out there. Stupid idea. I should have known better. I ran into yet another set of wannabe “Wolverine” claws.

X-Men Wolverine Claws Style 2 - Wood Grip

X-Men Wolverine Claws Style 2 - Wood Grip

“Type II”, as it shall be known for the remainder of this post, is more or less a simple bear-like (imho) claw design. A set of curved blades pinned to a simple hardwood handle. No attempt at style, and unfortunately, no originality either. Wolverine fans need not apply. How, in the name of all that is sacred in this world, is this supposed to look like “X-Men Wolverine” claws? After ingesting a controlled substance? If so, I’ll need some of whatever the designer was smokin’, ’cause whatever it is, it’s pretty freakin’ good… Gonna need a little help understanding this one…

While this design doesn’t get any points for aesthetics, the design is reasonably functional, though I’m not so sure how well that wooden handle would handle any real abuse. So far as marketing, they should have left Wolvie alone and stuck to the tried and true “Ninja weapon” marketing ploy. It would have been more plausible.

Almost as if to mock me, I found yet another variation of a set of “wolverine” claws that I had blogged about previously. Specifically, the “Special Edition” version of the Pantera Claw.

Anderson Cultery "Special Edition" Pantera Claws

Anderson Cultery "Special Edition" Pantera Claws

Funny thing though, as far as I can tell, they are exactly the same as the old ones, except for the grip material being better, gold plated grip screws and either polished or plated blades. I’ll give props on the improved grip material. It would certainly improve the functionality of the weapon. But as for everything else, as you already know, I’m not particularly into the shiny stuff. I suppose most people don’t mind paying big money for a little bling. But I don’t get it… Gold plated screws? What? Why!?


OK Wolverine blade designers. Come on. This is not difficult. Wolverines claws, while unique, are not entirely impossible to replicate. And nobody is asking you to design an enclosed mechanism housing a set of retractable steel claws for surgical implantation, though I am sure there would be *many* takers if you did. Here, let me help you out:

1. Wolverines claws come out of the back of his hands, between his knuckles. NO “Wolverine” claw replica may have blades that emerge between the fingers.

2. For the sake of simplicity, replicas do not even need to have the ability to automatically extend or retract the claws (though this would be a rather large humongous plus). You may optionally make the blades removable.

3. A correctly designed replica must use a bracket with blades attached to a plate that could be strapped to the back of the hand with a handle underneath. Optionally, X-Men gloves/gauntlets can be provided to conceal the attachment mechanism.

4. The claws must be fairly long. At the very least 10″, and relatively thick for it’s width, with one mild continuous curve. Alternatively they may be completely straight with a fairly sharp downturn for the last fourth of the blades length. Either design is acceptable. No funky divots, no high-angle curves, no short, wide, cat/bear-like claws. Please.

5. points 1-4 MUST be met in order to gain Phyreblades seal of approval.

That’s it Bub. How difficult is that? Lets see you give it the old “college try”…


I have put together a guide that lists some of the common wolverine claw replicas and memorabilia in this post. Should save some of you a few clicks on teh intarwebs…

“Wolverine” Claws (Type II) – [True Swords]
Pantera Claws (Special Edition) – [True Swords]

PhyreBlades Ultimate Wolverine Claw Reference Guide – [Realm of The Dark Blade]

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