Posts Tagged ‘Twin’

A Crooked Zanpakuto…

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Ok, maybe not so much crooked as much… branchy… Is that even a word? Oh never mind. Anyway, the site I found it on did not explicitly refer to it by it’s real name, instead choosing to spout some philosophical fluff that had me scratching my head. However any fan of the anime Bleach will immediately recognize it:

Sougyo no Kotowari - First Shikai

Sougyo no Kotowari - First Shikai

This, my friends, is a Zanpakuto. Specifically, it is called “Sougyo no Kotowari” and is the Zanpakuto of Ukitake Juushirou, in it’s first shikai form. And a very unique form it is.

Sougyo no Kotowari is actually a double sword set, both joined at the pommel by a gold chain with a set of rectangular tags hanging from it. Above that the red wrapped tsuka looks fairly normal all the way up to the gold dragon Tsuba, but from there, things get a little funky. Above the guard we have a gold sheath that covers the base of the black blade, and forms a very large, long ricasso.

And as if that weren’t unusual enough, the sword has another blade that just out at an angle from the spine of the blade, midway between the hilt and the tip of the sword, and then proceeds to turn down parallel to the blade, back down towards the user and almost all the way down to the tsuba, leaving about a quarter of the ricasso area to spare.

the edge on the branch blade is facing inwards, towards the spine of the primary blade. Quite an interesting arrangement. If you factor in the chain, the rearward pointing blade, and the internal edge, it seems to be almost an adaptation custom made for capturing enemy weapons. But again it is an anime weapon, so logic doesn’t necessarily have to have been a factor in it’s design.

Either way, it’s quite an interesting design. Kinda of like the Chinese Hook sword. Except, less… logical?.. I dunno… ๐Ÿ™‚

Sougyo no Kotowari (Dual Attack Twin Sword Set) – [True Swords]

Why do sword makers do this?

Friday, July 31st, 2009

So I suppose this is a rhetorical question, since I think I already know the answers. But here it is. Is it sooo difficult to make a cool looking sword that isn’t mechanically compromised? And yes, I realize that at this point, I should have gotten used to seeing this, but it just doesn’t make any sense.

What, exactly, is the deal with slotted sword blades?

I’ve probably said this a gazillion times before, but the thing is, I keep seeing it over, and over, and over, and it seems like everyone is doing it, and yet it makes no sense at all. And I probably wouldn’t be making such a big deal about it, except today, I was looking at what I thought would otherwise be a really great looking sword, EXCEPT it had freaking slots in the blade. And not just anywhere, but in the *weakest* sections of the blade.

And as if that weren’t bad enough, I found *two* more swords, exhibiting the exact SAME design flaw, on the SAME PAGE. All with stinkin’ lousy SLOTS, in what seems like the WEAKEST parts of each and every blade. You know what? I think it’s a conspiracy. Maybe someone is attempting to compromise what little sanity I have left. In fact, I’m beginning to think someone is slipping crazy pills into all of my drinks.

Which is technically not possible, though, since I make all of my drinks myself. From stuff most creatures would not dare drink. But then again, I might have developed an alternate personality, of which I am blissfully unaware, who is in fact, slipping a mickey into my beverages. It’s the stress, I tell you, the stress… The stress of subjecting myself to these abominations that are trying to pass themselves off as useful sword designs… DAGNABBIT!!!…

OK… If you don’t mind, I’ll need a moment here to gather my wits (presently scattered to the four corners of the earth) about me…

*woo saaaah*… *woo saaaah*…ย  OK… Let’s try a little logic and reason.

Here’s the first sacrilegious creation:

Black Ninja Warrior Sword

Black Ninja Warrior Sword

The so called “Black Ninja Warrior Sword”. I’m not even going to go into why a “Ninja” weapon ought never to appear in the “Ronin” section of any sword site. But let’s take a good look at this thing. On the surface, not a bad looking sword. A simple cord wrapped grip, a short ricasso flowing into a nice blade contour, with a concave edge that rises to a little belly just before the tip. The spine is fairly simple, with a short scalloped section (which, incidentally, looks nice, but appears to be un-sharpened and therefore purely cosmetic) opposite the ricasso.

Then they added those… slot… thingies. And called them “blood grooves”. Yeah. Blood grooves. Really. Absolutely hilarious. I’d laugh if I wasn’t on the verge of throwing up. Now let’s take a good look at this sword. Besides the tip, where is the thinnest section of the blade? See it? In the middle of the little concave arc of blade? Good. Now where are those slots? Yeeesss… Right there… Partying hard… Right there on the ragged edge dude… Please, allow me to introduce you to the unnecessarily weakest part of this sword! Blood Groove City!!

I wish those slots would all fall off the edge and die… So I can go and spit on their graves. Ptooey!

But wait, there’s more! Here’s another from the trio/coven of atrocities:

Double Chaos Blades

Double Chaos Blades

These are the “Double Chaos Blades”. Appropriately named, because the design is doubly jacked up. Again, a fairly simple base design, a set of simple, almost straight swords, tipped with a strong spear point tip, with straight edges running down into a mild flare in the blade, just above the cord wrapped grip with the cool pointy pommel.ย  Comes in both black and polished steel. And if they would have stopped there, I might actually see myself buying one.

But Noooooo, that would have been too bland, too simple. They HAD to add some “flair”. AKA slots. But that’s not all. These swords come with added DIVOTS!! Yes, ladies and germs, these swords are *double* the dysfunctional fun!! First they started with the slots. Then somebody looked at it and said: “Hey… I got a brilliant idea!!” Lets cut small semicircles out of both sides of the blade!!! It’ll be AWESOME!!!”

Yeah… Awesomely bad. I mean the sword looks like it has been conveniently designed to snap apart into two sections at those spots where the semicircular divots and the grooves coincide. Now don’t get me wrong. Perforations are very useful. They are a boon for things like paper towels, bubble wrap, and.. erm…toilet roll… <cough>. I just don’t like to see it them in my swords… Call me crazy. Oh, wait. I am, in fact, crazy. OK, whatever. Lets just move on.

Now this last sword set, this is really what I went looking for…

Twin Fusion Ronin Swords

Twin Fusion Ronin Ninja Swords

The “Twin Fusion Ronin Ninja” sword. *Deep Sigh* I must admit that that at this particular moment, I’m finding it incredibly difficult to hold my tongue about the blasphemy that is a “Ronin Ninja” anything. But in the interest of not subjecting you all to a 20 page post, I will find an orc to chew on for the remainder of my tirade. Never let it be said that I don’t care about my readers. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ll be honest. I just love the contours of this sword. Again, another simple, cord wrapped hilt with an angled pommel with lanyard slot. A short simple guard with a small but deeply curved ricasso. And then there’s the tip. A sweeping widening blade with a false spine edge, that looks almost broad scimitar like, before pulling a “Psyche” and abruptly turning into a slightly concave blade. Absolutely evil, wicked, sinister, beautiful and awesome.

And then… Sacrilege. An near perfect sword design… Defiled by heathenous, slot wielding, serration abusing wretches masquerading as sword designers. Turns my stomach I tell you… There are a lot of things serrations are good for. I personally do not think swords are one of them. On the spine, maybe. But not on the blade. And out of decency, I will not subject you to the stream of expletives that went through my head when I saw the slots in these blades. Holes are for swiss cheese. Not swords.

I could even live with the fake scallops on the spine. In fact, if they were to move the serrations from the blade to the spine, where the scallops currently are, and got rid of the slots… mmm… I could see myself picking out… well not drapes, but maybe a good whip, to hang on my mantle, with this sword…

But that’s just me. Is that wrong? ๐Ÿ˜€

Double Chaos Blades – [Global Gear]

Black Ninja Warrior Sword – [Global Gear]

Twin Fusion Ronin Ninja Swords – [Global Gear]

Twin Dragon Daggers

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Double the Dragons! Double the fun!! Or so people would have you believe. Though, to be honest, I think it does depend *greatly* on the disposition of the dragons in question. But that’s just my opinion. Take it or leave it. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Back to the topic at hand.

Twin Dragons!

Draco Twin Daggers

Draco Twin Daggers

An interesting set of dragon daggers aren’t they? Though they are both a bit busy for my personal taste, I like some of the design aspects of these knives, though I will admit to being biased, as Draco is one of my favorite Dragons of all time.

We have a set of two daggers, one large and one small, both of which reside in separate pockets of the same sheath. Pretty nifty. They are essentially identical apart from the size, so I’ll just run through the design of the larger one. The hilt isn’t half bad, with a small cast polished metal pommel, with what looks like talons curving inwards at the base.

The ridged jet black grip looks equally cool, though I get the feeling it wouldn’t be too comfortable. The guard is quite the interesting bit, featuring a simple straight rear talon/spike, with the beginnings of the same spike on the front, terminating in a large, upward pointingย  winglike extension. I actually liked that design feature.

The rest is a little… too much maybe. Above the guard is an extension of the cast metal hilt covering the bottom of the blade to form a short ornate ricasso with a rearwards and downwards pointing spike. Still a bit busy, though I liked the spike. The blade, however, tops the cake in terms of interesting flaws. At least in my humble opinion.

The blade has a large curving void just above the ricasso, which, as I have argued on many occasions, is generally not a good idea from a strength perspective. Above that, and compounding the problem, are a set of rearward facing spikes cut into the spine of the blade. Opposite the void on the front are a set of small divots. More unnecessary cuts. Above all of this, the blade is etched with an interesting tribal design.

To top it all off, the blade has a rather unusual contour. It appears to be double edged, but actually curves inwards. This design is unusual, though not unheard of, but is generally reserved for garden implements and specialized tools, like Karambits. The reason is that cuts using such a blade will tend to push the knife back towards the hand, or out of the hand, (depending on the direction of the cut) and this generally does not play well to the general ergonomics of knife use.

The Karambit is a general exception to this rule, as it usually incorporates a ring that makes positive retention possible, regardless of the grip. But that is a subject that deserves it’s own post. The point is, on this knife, it is just another in a long line of bad design ideas.

At least they look cool, have black grips, and are named after a cool dragon.

That’s got to count for something right?

Draco Twin Daggers – [True Swords]

The Enigmatic Chinese Hook Sword.

Monday, June 15th, 2009

I have always found Chinese weapons quite interesting. Unlike most of their Japanese counter parts, whose forms seemed to more or less always follow function, Chinese blades always seem, to me at least, to possess a level of aesthetic that supersedes it’s function. Or is highly influenced by it.

You can see this difference in their martial arts. Just compare the fluidity and nature based motion of five animal style Chinese Kung-Fu, to, for instance, the direct, and purely functional approach of Japanese Shotokan Karate. Granted, each of these styles tend to gravitate towards one another in directness/fluidity and vice versa as you progress in skill, but where they each start from is still worlds apart. The difference in their perspective weapon designs are no different.

A typical example is the Black Ronin Ninja Ring I posted about a while back. While it was referred to as a “Ninja” weapon, the design was hardly Japanese in nature, but rather had a lot more in common with the Chinese Deer Horn knife, or Sun and Moon Ring. You will also notice how even the names of many Chinese weapons are based on things that occur in nature.

You can almost always see the influence of this mindset in the design of their weapons. Whereas, in contrast, with little more than a quick glance, you can see exactly where the design of a Japanese Katana, came from, and I can almost certainly guarantee you that neither Bambi, the man in the moon, the sun, or any beasty of any type had anything to do with it.

But today, I thought I’d post about a specific Chinese weapon that I have always found intriguing, primarily because it seems, on the surface, a very wacky design, however it is at the same time, quite a versatile weapon. Almost a Swiss army knife of swords. In trademark Chinese weapon kind of way. I speak of none other than the Chinese Hook Sword, aka the Tiger Hook Sword, aka the Heaven and Sun Moon Sword:

Chinese Hook Sword Set - Black (Red Cord Grips)

Chinese Hook Sword Set - Black (Red Cord Grips)

Nobody really seems to be sure where or when the Chinese hook sword was first made and used. Very little information exists about it, and what little that does seems to be fairly recent, in comparison to many other Chinese sword designs. But what we do know was that it was designed to be used in quite a bit different fashion from any other sword of the day.

This sword incorporates many different design features, many of which I thought were rather clever. Take the hilt for instance. Instead of a pommel cap, like every other sword, the Chinese hook sword has… another point! In fact some traditional designs actually put a full fledged double edged knife/dagger down there. This is not a sword you want to get butt stroked with. ๐Ÿ™‚

And then there’s the guard. No square or round guard here, rather, there is a full finger guard, consisting of two steel standoffs at the top and bottom of the cord wrapped grip, at the end of which there is… You guessed it! A half moon blade. Yep. A crescent moon shaped edge sits on the outside of the finger guard. Sporting two points and a blade in between, this is, again, a sword you reeeeaaaallly don’t want to get punched in the face with.

From the hilt up, we have the standard, single edged, straight sword affair, all up until we get to the point. Which, for reasons I will explain a bit later, someone thought would be cool to force into a swift a u-turn. For this reason, the point pulls a 180, and curves back down towards the hilt. With a fancy little outward pointing curlicue at the end.

“What’s this?” You cry “No point?” No, my friends, sadly it has no real point. But that is besides the point. (Yes, yes, my point puns are getting old, I know. But if I can’t make the occasional (read: to death) point puns, what’s the point? ๐Ÿ˜€ ) The point here ๐Ÿ™‚ is that this weapon was designed for a much different purpose than thrusting.

This sword was designed for flexibility of use, and it’s point was sacrificed in order to allow it to be used in a way that a straight sword can’t. Specifically, this sword was designed to allow better hooking (obviously) opponent weapon and limb trapping, and… Surprise, surprise, reach extension!! Yes, you read right. *Reach* extension.

OK so here’s the thing. The traditional practitioners of the hook sword generally used them in pairs. And they did so for very good reason. They actually practiced using them with one sword hooked to the end of the other sword, and swing it around like a flail! In fact, they still do. Using them this way extends the wielders reach to roughly 5 ft.

Except, as you can imagine, with a point on the pommel, and a crescent blade guard, this flail has got at least three nasty points and at least one blade. All swinging around at speeds that are wickedly fast, and itching to leave a mark somewhere.That’s not to say they aren’t evil enough by themselves.

Each hook sword has a blade with an edge that is sharpened from just above the hilt, until just before the hook, much like a regular sword, and, of course, that little curlicue at the end of the hook is also sharpened, (and very pointy!) so that it is still a potent sword in it’s own right.

So, to recap. Blade on the pommel, blade and points on the grip/guard,ย  blade on the blade… ๐Ÿ™‚ย  a hook, blade on the front of the hook, aaaaaaand a point. Seems to me like they got almost all of the important points covered… ๐Ÿ˜€

Twin Chinese Hook Swords – Black – [True Swords]

Blades of Chaos…

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

A reader recently asked where to find replicas of Kratos’ swords from the video game God of War. I found a few, but found them all rather disappointing. But I thought I’d talk about a couple of them, and whine, as usual, about how the replica sword industry is a source of constant disappointment to yours truly.

Now before I begin my rant, I should mention that these are both wall hangers that were never intended to be used for anything more vigorous than cutting a rebellious watermelon in half. And even though I doubt either would endure the watermelons retribution very well, I’m going to try and be objective about it, and rank their “goodness” based on aesthetics alone, as opposed to their functionality or durability, like I usually do. Which probably sucks anyway. ๐Ÿ˜› .

So without further ado, here’s my verdict:… Epic Phail.

What? Was that too quick? Insufficient deliberation? I beg to differ. What!? You’re wanna argue with me about it? Fine. I’ll explain why they phail. But you better put some coffee on. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Following are the two best of breed (IMHO) of the replicas in question:

Kratos’ Blade of Chaos – Large

Kratos Blades of Chaos - large
[view full size]

This first sword is a full size version of the blade. I believe this would actually be close to the correct length of the blade, except the profile is completely wrong. Too skinny, not pointy enough and not thick enough (I’ll talk about this in more detail later).

Kratos’ Blade of Chaos – Small

Kratos Blades of Chaos - Small
[view full size]

Now this blade is much better looking. It has a much more accurate blade profile, with properly (relatively speaking) pronounced points… But it’s waaaay too short. Seriously.

What is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this is that both of these are close enough to perfect that had the designers of both put their heads together, they *might* have come up with a decent replica. But nooooooo, that would be toooo easy…

To illustrate my point (and set up for my rant), I thought I’d show you a crop from of one of the wallpapers I found for the game. This is what the Blades of Chaos are supposed to look like:

Kratos’ Blades of Chaos – God of War

Kratos Blades of Chaos - God of War
[view full size]

See there? Wicked little slabs of steel ain’t they… ๐Ÿ˜€ Now while it is readily apparent that the video game versions are much more sinister looking than the replicas, it may not be obvious exactly why. So let me explain a little bit. It’s all about thickness, points and edges.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the video game version is much pointier. But it’s points are not simply a product of the blade profile. These swords are not especially long, but to be proportionally accurate IRL, these swords would actually have to be very thick, I’d guess somewhere in the region of 2″ – 3″ thick. Conservatively. Probably more. Yes. Rather massive slabs of steel. But back to the (my) point.

Which is that, based on the pic, (as assuming the blades are identical, and symmetrical along the spine) then what we have here is a really, really thick blade, thick enough that the edge bevel for each side can still be relatively steep in relation to the flat of the blade. Because of this edge geometry, the points are enhanced because they create a much sharper angle in relation to the flat of the blade, and to the adjacent edges. This, in combination with a quite justifiably evil blade profile in it’s own right, is what gives the edge its merciless appearance.

Hopefully now that you understand the mechanics of this particular edge style, it should be easier to see where the replicas fail.

The first blade is long enough, and has the right number of points, however the point transitions of the blade profile are not sufficiently sharp, the acutely angled edge profile does not appear to have been used, and the gauge of steel used does not appear to be thick enough to effectively employ the acute edge effect in any distinctive way anyway. In other words: It is an Epic Phail.

The second sword fares much better. The steel is a little thicker gauge, the blade profile is much closer to the original and there is an obvious attempt to replicate the sharp angles of the edge seen on the original. However what should have been sharp adjacent edge transitions have been smoothed over, completely killing the effect, and what’s more, the blade is waaay too short. So while it is not quite an epic phail, it isn’t quite the sword it could have been.

It’s a shame really, perhaps one of these days, I’ll get up off mah great beeg bahookeh and actually make some accurate replicas myself instead of just talking about it… Perhaps I’m being unfair. Maybe I should quite playing armchair sword critic until I start making my own swords again…

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BWAAAA HA HA HA HA HA…. Naaaaaah… Don’t think so…

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