Archive for September, 2008

30
Sep
08

An Interesting Mughal Blade…

A while back, I had a reader ask for some information on Mughal period weaponry. Not knowing too much about it, I did some reading up and found that the Mughal period was a historic period in India that ran roughly from the 16th to 19th Century, where a large portion of the Indian subcontinent of Asia was ruled by Islamic Imperialists.

However I also quickly discovered that the Mughal period covered waaaay too much time and encompassed a large a geographical area that sported too many different but entirely indigenous weapon designs for me to single any specific one out. So due to my rather dwindling time resources, I wasn’t able to be much help (for which I apologize).

However during my travails, I did manage to turn up one rather unusual supposed example of Mughal weaponry:

The Sword of the Mughals

The Sword of the Mughals

This sword features a damascus blade that starts out fairly straight, but curves mildly towards the tip into a rather wicked looking point. The spine of the sword follows suit, except for the top third, which looks a lot like it was cut down from a much larger, wider deeply curved scimitar.

The hilt is also unusual for a Persian blade, featuring no cross guard, and almost straight grip, but a reverse curving pommel, molded into the head of a stallion. Overall an interesting (if a little perplexing) study in Persian weapon design.

This blade is an interesting mix of flavors, part scimitar, part broadsword, with an unusual hilt design. The weapon, as a whole seems to match little of the historical weapon patterns of the area that I’m aware of, but instead seems to be a variation of a mix of different Persian weapon styles that have themselves been modified.

As an example of Mughal style weaponry, I must admit to being a bit flummoxed by the design. Most of the authentic historical weapons I came across when I was doing my initial research on the topic, bore significant differences in design.

I’m tempted to say this is another fanciful but failed attempt by an overzealous weapon designer to create a historical Mughal blade with generous helpings of creative license thrown into the design process. But being no expert in Mughal specific blades, who knows…

But no matter. It does not look bad on it’s own merits, even if it’s just a little too tame by my standards…

The Sword of the Mughals – [Realm Collections]

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28
Sep
08

Marketing at it’s best….

I was leisurely doing my regular knife ogling when I ran into what is sure to be a premier exhibit in “Phyreblades Hall of Jacked-Up Marketing Gimmicks”. It’s something i thought was marketed with a *wee bit * more flourish than was required. Take a look:

CRKT Fixed Blade MercHarness

CRKT Fixed Blade MercHarness

[click image to view full size]

This is the “MercHarness” fixed blade carry harness from CRKT (Columbia River Knife and Tool). Yes. A MercHarness… Sounds totally hard core doesn’t it… Yeah… “Fixed Blade Carry Harness”. Too cool. Could it carry your great grandfathers old 10lb pocket watch? Entirely possible. But is it just enough for the CRKT marketing folks to hang themselves with? This is what I’m guessing.

This “MercHarness Fixed Blade Carry Harness” is officially described as milspec paracord with the internal stranding removed, and little rubber “keepers” added. Yep. Now don’t get me wrong, I love CRKT’s stuff, one of their folders is my favorite daily carry. However seeing as I’m not a particularly sophisticated creature, I may be missing something here.

And this is it. As far as I can tell, this “Carry Harness” looks and sounds a terrible lot like just a fancy bit of rope. Yep. Thankfully the site I found it on no longer appears to carry it (possibly just out of sheer embarrassment, but who knows). But it seems to me just a little bit presumptuous to call this glorified length of gutted paracord a “MercHarness”.

But I could be wrong. You tell me…

CRKT MercHARNESS Fixed Blade Carry Harness thong/rope thingy – [True Swords]

26
Sep
08

Sweet Slivers of Side Folding Steel Batman!

Folding knives have been around for a long time. As a result there are a whole lot of different folding pocket and automatic knife designs, but of late there is rarely much new innovation these days. So it’s cool to see the occasional little tweak to the venerable folding pocket knife design. Like this one:

Boker Black Magnum Folding Neck Knife

Boker Black Magnum Folding Neck Knife

[click image to view full size]

This here, ladies and germs, is a Boker side folder. Appropriately named the “Boker Black Magnum Folding Neck Knife”. Yeah. I don’t think you can get any more descriptive with a name than that. Weeell, maybe you can. But it would be insanity. Madness.

Please, no. Not Sparta. Madness. Just madness. Yes. Thank you very much.

Anyway, back to the foldings. Unlike the traditional, single pivot pin pocket knives, which I guess you could technically call “edge folders”, as they pivot open from the front edge of the grip, these pivot open from the side of the grip, on a hinge pin. Basically, traditional design=pivot pin. Side open design=hinge pin.

Got it? Good. Hinge pin=side open and pivot pin=edge open. Two legs good, for legs bad. Make sense? Wait… Or is it the other way around… Eeer… What am I talking about… Bah! Who cares.

Boker Neck Knife

Boker Neck Knife

[click image to view full size]

The point is that they are cool. And a little different. And just as useful as a pocket knife. Though to be honest, it would be a mistake to call them original. Why? Because this design is not new. I had a side folding pocket knife like one of these many many years ago. It was a whole lot smaller, but it was a pretty nice little knife.

And one nice thing about these designs are that they are much, much slimmer than your regular edge open design. Side openers like these generally consist of the blade, a small lock, and just enough additional material around the blade, be it polymer/ABS/steel to protect the blade when closed and provide a handle/grip area.

Smith & Wesson Viper

Smith & Wesson Viper

[click image to view full size]

The resulting folders are a lot more compact than the thick, side scaled, liner locked design of their edge opening counter parts, and therefore make for better neck knives and for compact pocket carry. Pretty nice actually… And best of all, they come in black… 😀

Boker Black Magnum Folding Neck Knife – [True Swords]

S&W Viper Side Open Folding Knife – [True Swords]

Boker Neck Knife – [True Swords]

24
Sep
08

A Cool Ninja Fighting Knife…

Yes, yes, another “ninja” weapon, I know. And it’s another “inspired by an anime” weapon too… But trust me, this one is different. This blade is actually realistic (of all things!) in it’s design. Yep. Lots to like about this, as you’ll see in a minute. Might want to grab that cuppa joe and get comfortable…

Ninja Fighter

Ninja Fighter

[click image to view full size]

Now this, my friends, is a Ninja fighting knife. What we have here is a one piece brass knuckles/blade combination, with cord wrapped ABS grips, that house a pair of red tassled metal kunai. A very interesting and also very practical (imho) combination.

There are a couple of things that I have issues with, (as usual) but they are all relatively minor. Like bright red tassels and “metal” kunai… Usually the word “metal”, as used in the cultery advertising sense, generally describes some cheap cast/alloy junk.

In this day and age where fairly strong steels can be had very cheaply, why some folks still resort to the ultra cheap cast/alloy junk is beyond me. However seeing as traditional Kunai were traditionally also made of a soft iron, It’s a flaw that I can kind of overlook…

Aaaahhh… Eeerrrm… Aaarrhg… No it’s not. I tried. That’s just wrong yo… 😡

Then there is the molded ABS grip/kunai holder. As materials go, ABS is actually not a bad choice. It’s fairly indestructible, resistant to the environment, etc. However, sometimes the molds used are less than perfect, resulting in gaps, slipping, etc.

And since this is where your only purchase on the blade will be I sincerely hope they did a good job on it. It’s hard to tell from the looks of it, but personally, I think this weapon would have been even better, if they would have stuck to a simple cord wrapped grip or wood scales.

And as for those red tasseled “metal” Kunai… Well, it’s just eye candy really, this weapon could have stood on it’s own merits of dark wickedness and badassitude. There was really no reason to throw all that fancy schmancy junk on it to begin with. But such it is with knife designers these days. Always trying to appease “Ooooh ! Shiny!” crowd…

Interestingly enough, this weapon is based on a set of blades used in the anime Series “Naruto” by the character “Sarutobi Asuma”, son of the Third Hokage, and a seasoned, hard core, chain smoking Ninja of the series, who used two of these, (knives akimbo no less, John Woo eat your heart out…), as focus points for his chi during battle, making them quite a lot more deadly than just regular blades.

Sarutobi Asuma

Sarutobi Asuma

I remember liking his knives the first time I saw them in the series, and could remember thinking at the time about the similarities between it and the venerable, tried and true WWII trench knife design. Yes, this design is the bees knees because not only is it a wicked little blade, (in black no less) it is actually very similar to that of a well known historical blade design. Except with more pointy bits. 😀 In other words… it rocks!!

I will say however, that the shrill voiced, high pitched little weapon history nerd who lives in my head, kept screeching his exception to my comparison between this and the WWII trench knife. He as a good point, so I guess I might as well go over the gist of our little “conversation” the few minutes before I lost it and had to gag him…

He basically said (and the purist, tradition bound Ninjutstu-ka among you may probably agree) “Bah! Your brain is addled! Ninja never used WWII trench knives!!”. (Well, Duuuuuh!) After pointing out that he lived there, so I couldn’t be that addled, (or maybe I am, because he lives there) I also conceded that no, they did not. At least not that I have been able to find.

HOWEVER, the Japanese did have hand weapons, called Tekken, (or Iron fist) that looked a lot like heavy iron knuckle dusters, that were often used against swords and armor. They also had Kaiken, which were similar, except for having a sharpened outer edge. And they also had Tantos.

So while I have found no examples of this exact weapons being used, I have no problems imagining that the Shinobi, being the resourceful little warriors they were, would have eventually combined these weapons and could easily have come up with this exact design, given the right battle conditions.

So there you have it. An cool black wicked looking anime weapon with a realistic, functional, tried and true design, with a historically verifiable pedigree. Sorta.

Ah liek eht. Ah liek eht a lot… 🙂

Ninja Fighter – [True Swords]

22
Sep
08

Cool idea, really bad implementation…

There are some weapon designs that are actually very cool (and arguably equally wicked) in concept, but really fall short of their potential in design and implementation. I came across one such evil seed a while back, and thought I’d post about it…

Skull Mayhem

Skull Mayhem

[Click image to view full size]

Now this right here, is what I call a hand blade. And it’s pretty self explanatory. It wants to kill you. No. really. It does. And for this reason, it features a not so obvious but rather dangerous design detail, which we’ll get to in a minute. But on to the wickedness.

In essence, this is pretty much a metallic demon/vampire skull, (personally I’d go with “Angry Master Demon Vamp” But that’s just me) with a set of three pairs of blades attached to it, coming out at either side of the skull, and beneath a very wicked looking set of teeth. The largest, topmost set consists of a large curving blade with quadruple edges, one on the top half of each inward curving blade and the other edge on the bottom half.

The single round grip is attached to a bracket that is bolted to each primary blades on either side. Beneath the main blades are a set of smaller, but longer and more sinister looking blades extending downwards and inwards from approximately where the skulls mandibles should be. IMHO the coolest blades of the set.

The last pair of blades sit in between the second set, and extend downwards from the teeth, specifically from the large fangs, forming a long and rather formidable looking set of black steel fang extensions. Given the reach of the middle pair of blades, I doubt the smaller pair are really neccesary, but I certainly can’t argue the evilitude of the whole combination…

Altogether this would make for a rather effective hand held battledrome blade, except for that one, rather nasty little caveat, that I alluded to earlier. The grip. Yes. This weapon seems very well put together, with a grip set in a steel bracket that is bolted quite securely to the largest set of blades. BUT this single grip is where the problem lies.

With a single grip, this whole contraption is capable of freely rotating around (forwards and backwards, to be exact) the grip. Which means on one day you may have the top of the skull trying to attach itself permanently to the back of your hand. And on another day, you could have the bottom blades trying to slit your wrists.

Either way, unless you’re an emo looking for a really cool way to go out, this is probably a bad choice of weapon for the underground deathmatch gladiator type. However, I do like the aesthetics of this piece. Large black blades, fangs, bladed skull wings… Awesome. And had someone had the forethought to place a rear wrist brace/bracket on the thing, it might have been an absolutely unholy terror in the death match circuit…

Perhaps that was the whole point. Maybe the designers were scared. Maybe they gimped it because they were terrified of what their creation might become. Frightened pantless that their creation might come back to eviscerate them…

Pffft… BWAHA HA HA HA HA AH HA HHA HA HA…

Wusses…

Skull Mayhem – [Collectors Edge]

20
Sep
08

A fancy pushdagger i could like…

A buddy of mine, Sinza from over at the “Exotic Automatic” forum (you should go check it out: http://sinza.forumotion.com) sent in a link to an interesting weapon a while back. It’s basically a pushdagger, to be exact, and a rather ornate one at that, but this one gets brownie points because it just so happens that it bears my name:

Fire Blade

Fire Blade

Ok, so we don’t have exactly the same name, but it’s close enough. Go figure, a genuine Fire Blade! And, the cool thing is, unlike the many other really flashy but useless pieces I run into all the time, this one is actually usable. Ergonomically designed even… Yay for our side!!

So what we have here is a really flashy punch dagger design, with basically has three blades, all attached to the an ornately cast “T” shaped grip, with the center blade attached to the center stem of the “T” which expands out into a smaller, internal sub guard over the center finger area, and each additional blade attached to either side of the main grip.

As grips go, this one is very elaborately designed, with an organic, almost coral like motif cast into the surface of the entire grip. At either side of the palm side of the grip, extend what looks like little set of branches arcing upwards towards the wielder.

Moving down past that we see the ends of the grip both angle down towards the front blade, while, from the center of the grip, extends a short stalk. And at the ends of each of these points, we have our blades. An unusual feature of this grip is that it has multiple choils, of finger guides, along the front, theoretically to give you a better grip. Ergonomics at work.

But it is the blades where the magic happens. Most notably on the side blades. Each side blade is cut into an interesting Asian flame pattern, with the flame front sporting a rather wicked looking edge on either side. the center blade is less obviously flame patterned, featuring two side licking flames, and a split center blade.

All in all, a rather flamboyant design, but not too bad in the practicality department either. The side blades appear to be fairly sturdily attached, and assuming they have more than a short stub tang embedded in the handle casting, should be fairly strong, and take side slashing duty fairly effortlessly.

The center blade, well, I’d much have preferred to see a slightly thicker center stem, however for thrust duty, (again assuming a more than minimal tang) it should suffice. I Just wouldn’t try anything that might place shearing forces on that particular joint. It’s a design flaw that seem very common with decorative push dagger designs.

Overall, this design is a little overboard on the fancy flash factor for yours truly, but it’s certainly a practically feasible design. And given it’s name, it just had to get a post… Call me biased… 😀

Fire Blade – [Ninja-Weapons]

Exotic Automatic – [http://sinza.forumotion.com]

18
Sep
08

How to get yourself killed in a ninja swordfight.

Alright. So today I ran across a rather unsettling reproduction rip off of what is supposed to be a very cool tool/weapon. Except the knock off does not do the original weapon any kind of justice whatsoever, and in practice, would be much more likely to get you killed, than help you defend yourself.

I speak of none other than the Spiked Vambraces used by “the Batman” in the new, Christian Bale pwned iterations of Batman. Oh and I’m not talking about the stupid tin scrap launcher gauntlets he used in “The Dark Knight”, I’m talking about the solid, sword breaking, spike equipped vambraces used in the first movie, “Batman Begins”.

I thought I’d add that I think the new versions are some of the best takes on the Batman I have seen so far. Except maybe for the very first one with Michael Keaton. But I digress.

At issue today, is this sorry pair of spiked vambraces I found, floating out there in the internets:

Tactical Strike Bracer - Aggressive Battle Vambrace

Tactical Strike Bracer - Aggressive Battle Vambrace

[Click image to view full size]

Misleadingly called a “Tactical Strike Bracer/Aggressive Battle Vambrace” this couldn’t be used any more aggressively than a sloth training for a sleep-a-thon. Of course, I shouldn’t have expected anything else.

What we have here, is a soft faux leather gauntlet, with light gauge steel strips riveted *sigh* in place, with the central strip bearing a set of three spikes welded on, from wrist to elbow, each one slightly larger than the last.

Where to begin. If you’ve been reading this blog, you probably already have a good idea what I’m going to say, just by looking at the picture. But i’ll break down my list of woes anyway…

First… a Faux leather gauntlet? Seriously? Yeah, sure soft faux leather is great if you just want to make a pair of long ladies opera gloves, but for an “Aggressive Battle Vambrace”? It’s not going to last through a dunking in water…

Then there are the steel strips. And the spikes too. Of some ridiculously looking light gauge steel. That looks like I could cut them with a pair of scissors. And riveted in place, no less. Riveted to the oh so soft faux leather… *Burgh*… *Urrrggghh*  I think i’m gonna be sick… Gimme a second… *Bleaaaarrghhhh!!!*

Ok… My bad… Sorry about that… C’mon Phyreblade… You can do this… breathe… That’s right… Wooosaaaahhh…. deep breaths… Aaaahhhh… OK… Let’s try and carry one shall we…

Next up we have the fastening. Three elastic bands, and one faux leather buckle strap… whooo… breath… Whooosaaaahhhh…

Ok. So as to preserve my sanity, let’s try a little thought experiment. Who here thinks this “Aggressive Battle Vambrace” is going to stay where you put it on your arm. No one? Good. Because it won’t. I don’t think elastic straps, fastened to what might as well be pleather, are gonna cut it.

You need really thick, stiff leather or even solid steel plating, with either thick strong laces or with multiple, (ideally 3 or more) equally tough leather buckles, in order for this to work.

OK, next question. Who here thinks those thin steel strips could deflect a sword strike. Good call. They probably won’t. They will bend like the worthless pieces of tin foil that they are.

Corollary question. Who thinks those spikes will still be standing after an attempt to deflect an incoming sword strike. Show of hands… None. Good. Yes, I see none. Partially because I can’t actually see you. Which is a good thing, cause I would have instantly cut off any hands I saw raised anyway.

In fact, I’m actually fairly certain that I could probably cut those spikes off the gauntlet with a sword if I were so inclined. And probably take a good chunk of the wearers forearm too. Just as a reminder to the wearer that they are an idiot.

You simply cannot rivet a piece of steel to a piece of naugahyde (for all it’s worth) and expect it to endure any more than a cats scratching it. And I bet it would consider the cat’s attention “punishing” treatment…

So there you have it folks. A tool that is guaranteed to get you killed if you should ever be foolish enough to use it in defense against a sword wielding opponent. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And yes, as usual, I’m probably over reacting, this was probably designed just for show, and I’m trying to make into something that it’s not. But still… so much potential… Wasted. Hopes and dreams… dashed. Oh, but it looks nice.

You could take it to a halloween party. Or put it on your pet chihuahua and enter it into a fighting toy dog tournament… Proabably wouldn’t help much but at least it would look cool just before it got annihilated…

Hey, don’t kill the messenger, I’m just saying…

Hyper-Aggressive Battle Chihuahua Spine Protectors – set of 2 – [True Swords]




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