Archive for July, 2007

31
Jul
07

Hand claws… Of your nightmares…

As I mentioned in a previous post, it appears that everyone has been jonesin’ for for Wolverine claws, prolly as a result of the X-men movies. Now believe you me, I am as much of a fan of Wolverine as the next X-crazed fanboi/babe, but I recently ran into a set of favorite old blades that I thought I’d share, to remind you that there are other, equally interesting (read “sinister”) claws in Hollywood history.

This particular set could easily have qualified as the most terrifying claws ever to hit horror moviedom. And they were probably just as cool as Wolverines, even though they did not retract. Allow me to (re)introduce you to the hand claws of a classic nightmare, Freddy Kreuger.

Freddie Claws
Freddie Hand Claws
[view full size]

Now any of you who have seen the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies will recognize the iconic ground-down straight razor equipped working gloves used by the infamous child-killing, wise-cracking dream killer Freddy Krueger.

Back when the movie first came out, it was sheer genius, because, unlike most other movies, it went into one of the few places that we always tell ourselves we can escape from if it gets too hairy. Our dreams. This movies transformed your average run-of-the-mill bad dream, into something in which you could suffer horrible torment, gruesome deaths and very well never wake up from. A true Nightmare. With a capital “N”. Or should it be “M”. Whatever.

Anyway the stars of the show, for me at least, (second only to Freddy himself) were always the blades. I loved those sinister razor blades. They always stole the show. In reality however, they prolly wouldn’t be as efficient as they are made out to be in the movies. Finger mounted blades are generally the least effective weapons. You are kinda really limited by the strength of your fingers.

At least compared to knives or swords. Or Tekko-Kagi. Some of the moves Freddy Kreuger performed with those glove blades of his would have been more apt to break a persons fingers in real life. But then again the design was intended to generate fear, not necessarily to be the most effective killing tool.

But that is not to say that they couldn’t be lethal. There is some evidence to suggest that Kuniochi used similar weapons (albeit much smaller versions ) called Neko-te. Which, I believe, were essentially the same thing, claws attached to the fingers. I doubt they were effective for killing though, unless tipped with poison.

Nonetheless I always thought that one day I would make a pair of gloves just like these. And now it seems that I won’t have to. Though I’m still conflicted. It might be more fun to just make a pair myself… Mua ha ha ha ha….! Sleep much lately?

Freddie Claws – [Red Dragon Sword Co.]

29
Jul
07

PhyreBlades’ Ultimate Wolverine Claw Reference Guide.

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.

Dragonfyre Designs -> Resin Claw Kit – A talented prop replica maker. Makes resin copies of the original movie wolverine blade prop, in kit form. For those who would like to minimize the possibility of accidentally losing any much needed digits or optical organs this Halloween.

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]
Resin Wolverine Claw Kit – [Dragonfyre Designs]
Wolverine X-Men Claw – [Red Dragon Sword Co.]

27
Jul
07

The work of a master blade wrangler…

A while back, one of my readers (Thanks Jon!) clued me in on a custom knife maker out of Montana by the name of Harkins. Jeffery A. Harkins. Please allow me the honor to present the work of Mr. Harkins, grand master of switchblade husbandry:

J. A. Harkins Custom Knives

J. A. Harkins Custom Knives
[view full size]

My two favorite Harkins knife styles are featured in the pic above, and are called the Triton, and the “Q”. These are both DA (Double Action) OTF switchblade designs, though they each feature different switch location points. The Triton features a switch on the flat side of the blade enclosure, while the “Q” features an edge mounted switch. Both are awesome. In fact pretty much every knife on the site, even the plain ones, are simply outstanding. In every way. Except for the cost of course. But you couldn’t expect any different. This level of quality ain’t supposed to be cheap.

Now me personally, I think Harkins makes some of the most exceptionally beautiful knives I have ever seen. While there is certainly no shortage of excellent custom knife designers, many of the designers whose weapons I have blogged about on this site so far have made a name for themselves by designing strange, futuristic, unusual or even outlandish weapons, which, while cool, are not exactly practical, or even functional.

What sets Jeffery Harkins apart is not only the beautiful aesthetics, high quality fit and finish, and general overall attention to detail of each knife, but the fact that all of his knives appear to be constructed to withstand the rigors of daily use, just like any regular folding pocket knife. Not that I would subject such any of these knives to such a life. No, that would be blasphemous. This is art. Functional art, but art nonetheless. No, really. I honestly don’t think I could bring myself to blemish one of these blades.

OK, fine, mock me if you will, but go to his site and see for your own eyes what I’m talking about. Just a little warning. If you are a knife fanatic like I am, you will need something to wipe up the drool from your keyboard as you browse…

The Triton & “Q” custom switchblade – [J. A. Harkins]

25
Jul
07

A Ninja’s… Officer… Sword…?

OK, sword designers/manufacturers, ENOUGH WITH THE “NINJA” WEAPONS ALREADY!! It has become painfully apparent that you either have no idea what a ninja is, or you do, but are still letting your marketing folk make you look retarded by letting them slap the “ninja” moniker on anything and everything they think they can get away with. Case in point:

Ninja officer sword

Ninja Officers Sword
[view full size]

Now anyone who knows anything about ninjas would realize that a ninja would not carry around a big heavy sword, much less an overgrown bowie knife. A ninja sword is slim, light, fast and portable, and this is simply not any of these things. This is a freakin’ machete, what a modern day commando might take into the jungle to clear the brush with. Not a ninjas sword.

And then there is the whole “Ninja officer” bit. Somehow we are supposed to buy that a ninja “officer” would use a different sword than a ninja foot soldier. Truth is, any truly high ranking ninja would have been the head of a family or a feudal lord of some sort and, being Japanese, would have opted to use a Samurai sword, or Katana. Not an overgrown weed whacker. But even if we ignore that little factoid, the practicing ninja would simply have used the proven tools of the trade. Ya know? like a short, fast blade. Such as a Ninjatō. Just like any other ninja. Did I mention that ninjas liked a relatively portable, fast, light blades over porky slabs of steel? Good. I’m just saying. C’mon. Give us a break.

That’s not to say this isn’t a beautiful blade. It is actually quite impressive. The lines on the blade impart a no nonsense look to the blade, right up to the clip point at the tip, as does the black coating. And the beautifully simple guard and curved handle with the silver accent is an excellent finishing touch. Black blade, black handle, no nonsense, yes, this knife is very cool. It just has nothing whatsoever, to do with ninjas.

So stop marketing things as ninja weapons when they aren’t. Especially for weapons like these that, honestly, need no additional hype. This blade could have stood on it’s own merits. You blithering idiots. You’re only displaying your stupidity. And hacking off folks like me to boot. Hmph. I’m going to go hack away at some random foliage until I calm down…

Ninja Officer Sword – Full Tang Predator – [True Swords]

23
Jul
07

An Uber Battle Blade…

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

Critical Mass
[view full size]

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 – [Red Dragon Sword Co.]

21
Jul
07

Yet Another Wolverine Claw… Will It Ever End?

I recently ran across yet another Wolverine claw design, with perhaps a hint of promise as, unlike so many of the other Wolverine Claw pretenders out there, it is a fairly interesting variation of the prop blade design used in the movies:

Wolverine X-Men Claw

Wolverine X-Men Claw
[view full Size]

Overall, it is a fairly convincing design. About the only major demerit I can see with this design is that, unlike the original prop, the aft end of the blade spine terminates abruptly. Rather too abruptly. In the original prop the spine (top) of each blade extended back far enough to rest on top of the hand, between the knuckles. Here however, the blade stops considerably short of the knuckles, probably in order to accommodate a wider range of hand sizes.

The problem is that, depending on your hand size, the metal nub that supposedly constitutes the rear of the blade could end up resting between your knuckles, instead of on the back if the hand, where they should be. And if you ever struck anything with it in this position, well… I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.

Now, much to their credit, whoever designed this appears to have been thinking along the same basic lines of the original prop designer. Like the original prop, it incorporates three blades attached to a bar that is held in the palm. Now this bar is round, and considerably larger than the prop version, which makes it a little more conspicuous, but they have given it an attractive black and polished finish, which looks good and probably feels much better in the hand as well. And in the right hands… Well…

Snikt…! Come get some!…

Wolverine X-Men Claw – [Red Dragon Sword Co.]

19
Jul
07

A Wrist Mounted Dragon… Blade…

OK, I just had to show you this rather unusual… well, let’s just call it a “designer weapon”. It is basically a forearm mounted blade in the shape of a winged Dragon. Yep. You read right. A wearable Dragon Blade. Who would a thunk it. Certainly not I. Take a gander:

Flying Dragon Claw

Flying Dragon Claw
[view full size]

Now this is certainly a unique, if rather impractical, weapon. From it’s design it would obviously only be useful at very close range, (obviously) and probably more for blocking another blade than for actually inflicting any damage. Unless you used the tail blade (which, coincidentally, is removable) as a dagger of sorts. And even that doesn’t have the best grip design I’ve ever seen either. Ok, so it’s more of a conversation piece than a weapon, but oh my, what a conversation piece it is!

Notwithstanding my love of dragons, this is certainly a beautifully designed piece of faux weaponry art. The dragon design itself is pretty sweet. From it’s large black bat-like wings to it’s severely bladed ears, and even to the removable push dagger tail design, it all speaks to a level f detail and aesthetics that are impressive to say the least. The outstretched hind claws just add that last finishing touch to the entire design that makes it a work of art.

Truth be told, however, I didn’t really see the need to turn the wings ears or tails into blades. I honestly think the general design would have stood on it’s own merits as a metal sculpture. But what do I know. I’m not the “artiste” type. But there it is.

Flying Dragon Claw – [True Swords]

17
Jul
07

Eureka! Kold Fuzhion!

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

Kold Fuzhion Knife
[view full size]

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

D'k Tahg Klingon Blade
[view full size]

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]

12
Jul
07

A Bewitching Blade!

Today we get to talk about yet another unique blade, wielded by an equally deadly siren of comic and film. Here is the gauntlet blade from the live action TV series Witchblade:

The Witchblade

Now having actually read a few of the comics that the Sara Pezzini character (played by Yancey Butler) was based on, I have to say that the live action TV series sucked all of the freakin’ “witch” out of the “WitchBlade“. The comic book Witchblade was awesome purely because of the sheer versatility and resulting coolness of the Witchblades armor.

In the comic, when activated, the WitchBlade protected it’s wearer with a kind of H. R. Gigeresque organic armor, which could make scorpion fish-like spines, blades and whatnot emanate from the arms, hands back, legs, shoulders, etc. Much like the comic book Spawn armor, except the Spawn movie got the armor right (with the help of a lot of CGI effects). The Witchblade armor could be mentally willed to form bladed appendages and weapons of various forms, as well as fire energy blasts, darts, etc. Just episode after sweet episode of sheer, unadulterated wearable wickedness.

Witchblade Full

So, given a chance to make a live action version of this marvel of comic book weaponry, what do they do? Bollox it up. As you can see from the pic above, in their infinite wisdom, they turned the glorious Witchblade into little more than a medieval suit of armour, with what can only be described as a rather simple gauntlet sword as it’s primary weapon. Pointless. Silly. Bah! What a waste. Yeah, yeah, the blade gauntlet could retract into a small unobtrusive bracelet. Big Whup. For all it’s usefulness as a sword, they might just as well have given her a rapier and said “have at it!” against the baddies. Compared to the immense flexibility, power and, more importantly, the unique aesthetic presence of the comic book Witchblade armor, this was a point of great disappointment for me.

But considering the amount of CGI it would have required to make comic book accurate, Spawn-like WitchBlade transition sequences every episode, coupled with the fact that, in order to be comic book accurate, Ms. Butler may have been required to run around half nekkid with naught but some very cool (albeit sparse) prosthetic biomechanical armor to keep her warm on many a cold NY night, I can see why they chose to take the brain-dead route. However, as irksome as this all is, there is a silver lining, in that it makes an excellent segue into a look at a very similar traditional blade, called the Pata:

Pata Gauntlet Sword
[view full size]

The Pata is a sword gauntlet from northern India which, As you can see, bears an uncanny resemblance to the live action WitchBlade sword. However, unlike the WitchBlade weapon, the Pata is not a full hand gauntlet. It simply covers the top of the hand and forearm. As you can see, the handle is set in the middle of the semi-spherical hand guard, and a brace at the top of the forearm guard helps gives the wielder better control of the weapon.

Pata handle and GuardPata In Use
[view full size] – [view full size]

Perhaps not as convenient as a blade gauntlet that retracts into a small bracelet, (a-la-the movie WitchBlade), but it would probably a safe assumption that it’s fairly lethal in it’s own right. And did I mention that this particular Pata had a blade of damascus steel? A dark, stylish and sinister blade. What more could one ask for? Well, actually a proper, well made, CGI enhanced live-action Witchblade movie, for one thing. But I’d settle for a Pata. Heh. I’m easy like that.

09
Jul
07

An Ultraviolent Blade!

This time around, we get a look at a very unique, and interesting sword. The sword used by Milla Jovovich‘s character Violet in the movie Ultraviolet.

Violet’s Sword

Ultraviolet Sword
[view full size
]

This sword is unique on many levels. Where to begin. Well first off, unlike the ostensible simplicity of the Uruk-Hai Scimitar I blogged about many moons ago, this sword is truly very simple in design. Possibly one of the simplest blades I have blogged about so far. No complex curves, apart perhaps, for the pommel, which is itself simplicity manifest. No guards or other major structural adornments. Nada. Apart from the pommel and the engravings on the blade, this is, more or less, a simple steel bar with sharpened edges.

This basic simplicity incorporates two very unique design features rarely found in swords. First, and most notably, there is not point, unless you want to call the corners at the edge of the tip points. There are truly actually 3 edges on this sword. Two on each side, and one on the tip. Very unusual. This does have some ramifications from a combat prespective. This would not be a particularly good thrusting weapon. Though the wide flat tip has an edge, it appears too broad to penetrate anything but soft targets, and would be easily repelled even by bones and such, unless it was used like a chisel, which, needless to say, is not an effective sword fighting strategy.

The second unusual design feature is the wide, semi-elliptical pommel, with an identically shaped lanyard hole, which is where the butt end of the simple, black, leather wrapped handle terminates. It is perhaps intended to be used as a striking surface as well as a tactile indicator of the location of the end of the otherwise simple handle. Were it not for this design feature, I think this would have qualified as the simplest combat sword I have ever seen, although from a practical perspective, a Tantō point would have been both an equally simple and infinitely better solution than the straight 90° flat tip it ended up with.

Though the opportunity to showcase a very good point was wasted in this design, (you should all know by now how much I like points) It is still quite an attractive weapon. Much like it’s wielder. Though, as a side note, from both a practical and aesthetic perspective, (meaning no offense to either blade, actress or her fans), I personally feel they might both have been even more lethally attractive with a few more curves… But that could just be my inner troglodyte talking… (And no flaming please, my skin is already alight with them, so it won’t do you any good…)

Ultraviolet Sword – [True Swords]




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