Posts Tagged ‘War’

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. 😛 .

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… 😀 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…

A Chinese Barbarian Sword…?

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

So today we have a weapon with some rather familiar lines:

Chinese Barbarian Sword

Chinese Barbarian Sword
[view full size]

Now this is a pretty hefty sword design. But contrary to how this is described, it is not really a “barbarians” sword. I think the medieval Chinese were way more cultured than their western counterparts. But I digress. This is, in fact, a variation of a design commonly referred to as the Chinese War sword design, distinguishable by their medium length blade, with a wide, very scimitar-like blade profile, the simple straight guard, straight grip and the large ring shaped pommel. In black. My favorite shade of steel.

As you can see from the pic, it has a serviceable point, but because of the width of the blade, it would not have been a particularly good thrusting weapon. No. This, ladies and germs, is a cutting and cleaving weapon. The deep belly of the blade would make for an excellent close quarters slashing weapon, and it’s weight and the strength of that extra wide blade would have brought a terribly chop happy smile to the face of any Chinese barbarian (or for that matter, any scurvy Pirate) that happened to be in a foul mood on any given battlefield day…

Chinese Barbarian Sword – [True Swords]

The combat spear…

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Today we have yet another treat from the infamous movie “300”. I present to you the signature polearm of the Spartan army, the long spear:

“300” Spartan Warrior Spear

300 Spartan Spear

[view full size]

Now some people underestimate the power of the spear. People look at it and say, “Well yes, it’s cool for throwing, and for distance attacks, but beyond that it’s useless. Not so. It has it’s drawbacks, yes, but in the hands of a skilled warrior, a spear can be just as deadly as a sword. People don’t realize how functionally flexible a spear can really be.

Besides the obvious advantage of being a good projectile weapon, a spear at full length is a great distance thrusting tool. the fact that a spear was usually used with both hands meant a skilled warrior could be both fast and accurate with their strikes. And while a spear was more or less it useless for slashing, depending on it’s design it could also be used much like a staff weapon. Once you got it spinning, it could be used to deliver some serious blunt trauma. And if grasped at half length it could be used like a short thrusting spear/sword.

Interestingly, in the Movie “300” we are treated to numerous sequences where the long spear is shown used to it’s maximum advantage. In large numbers, an army armed with spears could keep even mounted, well armored attackers at bay quite efficiently. And even in one on one combat, a spear can be quite the effective stand off tool, keeping an opponent at “spears length”, as it were, and making their supposedly “faster” close in weapon, like an axe or a sword, useless.

And lets not forget also, that unlike a sword, a spear is much easier to throw, and the ability to engage the enemy at long distances was a big advantage to a spear wielding combatant. Given also that the amount of steel that was needed for a spear was usually only a small fraction of that used for a sword, you could make many more spears with the same amount of steel.

300 Spartan Warrior Spear

300 Spartan Warrior Spear
[view full size]

All of these factors combined are what made the spear such a flexible, formidable battlefield weapon. But besides all of that, I just happen to like this spear because its got that really mean looking, sharp point, it actually comes apart, and as we all know, flexibility is golden when it comes to weapons like these. And of course, being spartan, this one has that “Don’t mess with me, I’m Spartan…” look…

But ultimately, and most importantly, while most other spears are of light colored woods and chrome, this one is all black… You can’t beat that with… anything. No wonder the Spartans were so full of WIN! 🙂

“300” Spartan Warrior Spear – [True Swords]

The Contemporary Light Fighting Knife.

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

In a recent post I did about the Altairs retractable blade from Assassins Creed, I made mention of the the characteristics of the ideal fighting knife. While any knife will only be at it’s best when used in manner and environment it was the designed for, most small, fast fighting knives have very similar properties.

Today, I thought I’d talk about a classic example of one of the best engineered fighting knives of the last century or so. The British Commando knife, AKA the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife:

Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knives

British Commando Knife British Commando Knife Special Edition
[view full size] [view full size]

Fighting knives have been around since the beginning of man. Blades such as daggers, dirks and stilettos have always been popular fighting tools, due to their speed and flexibility. However the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife is a knife that has had a very profound influence of modern day combat fighting knife design. Developed in China, just prior to WWII, it was based on a design called the Shangai Knife:

The Shanghai Knife

The Shanghai Knife
[view full size]

This basic design was developed specifically for closed quarters knife fighting speed, agility and effectiveness. In contrast to the many other fighting knife designs, this was focused on very specific things. This fighting knife was designed to meet a very specific set of criteria. For instance, it had to be slim enough to be thrust between the ribs of an opponent. It had to be long enough to penetrate several layers of heavy clothing (like winter greatcoats and such,) and still strike vital internal organs. It had to be relatively small and easy to conceal. And it needed to be light, fast, and well balanced. But it also had to have excellent thrusting and slashing ability.

The FS (Fairbairn-Sykes) fighting knife design was the end result. Featuring a strong but narrow tapering double edged blade, it was one of the most well designed fighting blades of it’s time. After being adopted by the British army, and later variants of it by American, many other armies, it has had a significant influence on numerous combat blade designs since. Even your common boot knife and push dagger share roots with the FS design:

Boot Knives

Bodyguard Knife Bodyguard Boot Knife
[view full size] [View full size]

<^>

USARA Dagger

USARA Dagger
[view full size]

To be fair, the basic FS design is a revamp of a very old one. The idea of a strong, but slender, pointed, double edged blade has been around for a long time. However the FS design really brought it to the forefront of combat fighting knife design.

A Simple, Hand Crafted Sword.

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

I came upon this sword not too long ago, and thought it make for an interesting post:

Hand Forged Warrior Sword

Hand Crafted Warrior Sword
[view full size]

I thought this would be an interesting post topic for several reasons. First, it is a hand made sword. In the veritable sea of mass produced weaponry I run into on a daily basis, it’s always nice to find a hand crafted weapon.

Though it used to be that hand forged swords tended to be of higher quality than mass produced variants, with today’s technologies, metals, and repeatable, high quality industry manufacturing methods, this is no longer the case, and many manufacturers have taken the cheaper production route.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that, for low to mid range quality weapons, except that it lessens the individuality of each weapon. With weapons like these, you are almost guaranteed that each sword will be unique in some way, which I find very cool. But that is not the only reason why I like this sword. I was also attracted to it’s simplicity and practicality.

You can tell, just by looking at it, that this sword is not intended to be a flashy show weapon. This looks a lot like a large, but very slim machete. And it appears to have been manufactured to stand up to the same kind of abuse.

I’ve always liked weapons that looked simultaneously utilitarian and classic, and this fits the bill. From the full tang, dual fuller blade, through the cord wrapped hardwood scales, the entire weapon means business.

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how the the dark finish on the high carbon blade adds a nice aesthetic touch. This is my kind of weapon. Simple, blatantly utilitarian, but also subtly elegant.

Hand Forged Warrior Sword – [True Swords]

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