Something Orcish This Way Comes…

And now for something… Different. Having recently watched the final episode of the Lord Of The Rings, I was reminded of a rather crude weapon that had been prominently featured in an earlier installment of the series. I speak of none other than the “scimitar” of the Uruk-Hai, the Great Black Orc.

The Uruk-Hai Scimitar
Dark Sword Of the Uruk-Hai
[view full size]

The first thing that struck me was it’s deceptive apparent simplicity. At first glance you might think that this was a easy weapon to make, easily mass produced. And compared to pretty much every other sword in the movie, it certainly would be. But closer inspection reveals that it is not as simple as it appears. Nor is it a scimitar. Intrigued? Read on.

First look at the handle. The inside edge is semi-elliptical, with a secondary partial ellipse cut out of top to form a crude hilt. That alone would require more skill than I imagine your average orc could muster, and would be unnecessary anyway, since it was going to be wrapped, and issued to Uruk-Hai, who’s hands, I’m fairly certain, would not require any such coddling. Then there’s that weird reverse spike. Also unnecessary, in my oh, so humble opinion. I’m sure it was great for armor piercing, but given the strength of the blade and of the Uruk-Hai wielding it, I doubt they would have had any problems doing damage to, (or even through) armor with a few well-placed “Louisville slugger” type swings.

For it’s intended use, this “scimitar” could simply have been a straight slab of steel with one sharp chisel edge and a narrow, leather wrapped section at the base for a handle. But whoah! What’s this! It doesn’t really even have an edge! Gasp! What? They can make elliptical recesses, but can’t even put a working edge on the thing? And a Scimitar is supposed to have a curved blade. Do you see a curve in that blade? No. Ok, I get it now. A straight bar of unfinished steel, no edge, and a spike on the end. This isn’t a scimitar. ITS A SPIKED STEEL CLUB! LOL : )

I realize that I’m arguing the fine design points of a fictional blade designed to be wielded by a fictional creature and this is a movie prop after all. Whoever designed it was trying to design something primitive, brutal, dark and sinister, and though they took a step away from an entirely primitive theme and added some contemporary touches purely for marketing reasons, I still love the design. But there is a lesson to be learned here…

A scimitar, or, for that matter, any bladed weapon, is a much more complex tool than most realize. It is not enough that a weapon look like a weapon. They must be designed to meet the needs of the environment or task they will be faced with. This is often what separates a barely functional $100 blade from a quality $1000 blade. Of course I can’t afford a $1000 blade. Or I’m cheap. OK, just gimme the freakin’ club. Breathe a word about this to anyone and I’ll club ya…

Uruk-Hai Scimitar – [Shop-Us-More]


6 Responses to “Something Orcish This Way Comes…”

  1. 1 MoZZA - The Urban Sasquatch.
    September 16, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    i love the uruk-hai scimitar (even though it looks nothing like a scimitar) but its just the rawness i love… as per usual

  2. September 18, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Oh yeah, I do love the look, I also find that basic raw look very wicked looking… 🙂

  3. 3 ChroniclerLoki
    September 20, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    If I may interject a voice of nonsense to this discussion. Looking at the larger view of the image posted above I find that this might actually be a rare case of a reverse blade sword. The primary edge that should by all rights cut an opponent in half with the size of the blade, and the strength of the ones using it looks like a flat plane kind of like the Hardedge Sword that you can get for Cloud Strife in Final Fantasy 7, never actually bought that sword lol, I had a tendency of stealing or winning most of the weapons in the game two cities before it became available in a shop.

    But I digress. Look at the back edge of the blade, the one with that oddly moronic, or is it?, spike on it. That edge indeed looks like it could fell a small tree with a single swipe. Or perhaps it is just my poor vision playing tricks on me. Either way it is still something that would make you wet yourself if confronted by it.

  4. September 21, 2008 at 4:37 am

    Hey CL,

    Yeah actually I think the way they have it lighted emphasizes the bevel on the spine of the blade rather than the front edge, but either way, the sparse, focused, raw brutality of the blades design certainly makes it a weapon to strike fear into the heart of man… 😉

  5. 5 ChroniclerLoki
    September 23, 2008 at 1:11 am

    Heart, lung, bowels. Whichever internal organ the wielder actually decides to smash to pulp with it anyway 🙂

  6. September 25, 2008 at 1:24 am

    LOL yeah, those too…

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