Archive for the 'Folders' Category

01
Apr
08

A Predatorial Shuriken

OK, So i’ll admit I’m not really the April Fools type. I sat thinking about all of the incredibly evil things I could have posted as an April Fools prank and realized… I just couldn’t do it. So instead, I’m gonna post about a fictional weapon that Ive always thought was very cool looking, but entirely impractical:

The Predator Shuriken

AvP Shuriken
[view full size]

This weapon was one of the cool weapons wielded by the race of Predators in the Predator series of movies. This particular shuriken was prominently featured on the AvP (Alien vs Predator) and AVP2 movies. Now the one featured here is a non-functioning reproduction shuriken, primarily because, well, this weapon would be near impossible to make work in real life, for reasons I’ll get into shortly.

I truly love many of the design details of this weapon. But what makes it such an intriguing weapon to me is primarily the subtle physical impossibility and impracticality of it. It is a weapon that appears, on the surface, to be physically plausible, but upon closer inspection, reveals aspects that are implausible, but so tempting close to real, that you cannot help but wonder if it would be possible to duplicate in real life.

AvP Shuriken – life size prop

AvP Shuriken
[view full size]

For example, looking at the pic above, you may notice that the overall design of this shuriken vaguely follows that of the Japanese Fuuma (or Windmill) shuriken, but departs from traditional shuriken design in it’s asymmetry. The blades are all biased towards one side of the weapon. Now besides the fact this this offends my sense of symmetry, this massive weight imbalance would also make it a very impractical throwing weapon. And yet, in the movie, it is thrown just as a Fuuma shuriken would be, without exhibiting any of the idiosyncratic flight characteristics that one might expect from such a poorly balanced weapon.

An even more implausible feature of the weapon is the great disparity between the retracted form factor and the fully deployed form of the shuriken. Below is a picture of the center section of the weapon with the blades extended:

AvP Shuriken – Center Section

AvP Shuriken - center Section
[view full size]

And here is a picture of the blades, again fully extended:

AvP Shuriken – Blades

AvP Shuriken -  Blades
[view full size]

In the movie, the blades are shown to extend out of the center section of the weapon. From the pics, it is apparent that a considerable level of nesting can and would need to occur in order for this to be physically feasible. By my count, there are six blades, each blade consisting of 4 sections, an extension/pivot lever, an outer extension sleeve, an inner extension sleeve and the blade proper. The weapons deployment sequence is shown in the clip below:

AvP Shuriken – Deployment

AvP Shuriken - Deployment

Sweeeet…! Incidentally, the little clip above may also explain the weapons asymmetrical design. If the blades were to extend in a symmetrical fashion around the circumference of the weapon, there would be no safe place to hold it during deployment without risking the loss of a few digits. If memory serves, I think these were used primarily as throwing weapons, so if I were designing it, it would be perfectly symmetrical, and would open in mid air when thrown, so as to avoid the awkward asymmetrical design. The asymmetry seems like a pointless trade-off if you ask me, but then again, I’m not an alien weapons designer…

Anyway, during retraction, the blade would have to retract into the inner sleeve, the inner sleeve into the outer sleeve, and the whole outer sleeve assembly pivot onto the extension arm, which would then all fold neatly into the center section, completely occupying that space. Sounds good in theory, except that, given the physical dimensions of blades, sleeves, etc, there should be hardly enough room for all six blades, let alone a deployment / retraction mechanism…

Of course, given the advanced nature of Predator technology, these technical details would almost certainly only be limitations of human technology, and would be little more than niggling little technicalities to a predator engineer.

In the end, however, it is the overall aesthetic of the blades, and the deployment mechanism that makes this weapon so captivating, and while the technical challenges would be great, the design is ultimately so close to something that could be made using current technologies, it would be very tempting to try…

I wonder if DARPA would be willing to give me a research grant for this kind of stuff… 🙂

AvP Predator Shuriken – [Black Aris]

23
Feb
08

Vamp Hunts and Dhampirs and Swords… Oh My…

You may recall, many posts ago, (if you have been following along) I mentioned how many vampire slaying stories have a Dhampir, or half vampire (in contemporary media also called a “Daywalker”) as the lead protagonist, using their vampirically enhanced abilities in conjunction with their ability to resist factors that would traditionally kill normal vampires (such as daylight) as weapons against their full vampire foes.

Well, today we have the weapons of yet another such protagonist for scrutiny. The blades of none other than Rayne, vampire slaying femme fatale from the game BloodRayne:

Bloodrayne – Raynes Blades

Bloodraynes Blades
[view full size]

Just look at those curves. A long, double edged blade sporting a set of complex curves that just don’t stop, but somehow manage to end in a wicked looking point. And yes, I am referring to the blade, though Rayne isn’t exactly lacking in that department either, if you just so happen to be into haemophages and such. But most definitely my kind of blade. It’s a thing of beauty. I’ve loved the contours of this blade from the first second I saw them in the game.

While these are a rather evil pair of blades, they are not without their faults. For one thing, they are huge! Not the kind of thing that would be easy to carry around. But of course for the career vampire killer, there is always a good, and often unique, solution for such problems. Unfortunately the replica above, while the most practical I have seen, just does not do them justice. So I shall have to resort to game art. Let me show you what the harness for these blades are supposed to look like:

Bloodrayne 2 Game blades

Bloodrayne 2 Blades
[view full size]

Above is a pic of the dead sexeh duo themselves, Rayne and her blades. Totally killer. Literally. 🙂 As you can see, she’s got quite the set up going with those blades. A dual band bracer gauntlet setup, with the blades attached to a special swiveling hinge that allows for two degrees of vampire slashing freedom of rotation. In the game, she’s also able to lock the blades out of the way up by her elbows when she isn’t using them. No scabbard required.

But like I said, all is not perfect. As you can see from the pic, there really doesn’t seem to be a locking mechanism built into these things. So the whole locking thing is suspect to me. Not to mention that based on these pics, she would be locking it with the larger blade facing inwards. In my book, having a few razor edged feet of steel next to my skin would not be the preferred way to stow a blade. In fact it would make me downright nervous.

But then again she is a Dhampir, so she can probably afford to be hard core like that. Gotta respect any women who knows how to handle her blades like Rayne does… 🙂

Raynes Blades from BloodRayne – [King of Swords]

03
Dec
07

A spear with no shaft… and folding guards.

In a few previous posts I’ve talked about all kinds of spears, dragon spears, tribal spears, long spears, short spears, etc. Today however I will be talking about a weapon whose design is very closely related to the spear, but isn’t really a spear:

The Ikkakuryu Marohoshi

Ikkakuryu Marohoshi
[view full size]

The Marohoshi is an interesting weapon. As you can see, it is essentially a spear head, complete with cross guards and tassel, that is used without a shaft. This weapon was probably a result of people using spear heads as impromptu weapons when the ranges became too close to effectively use a spear, or when they needed an additional close quarters combat blade.

The Ikkakuryu Marohoshi

Ikkakuryu Marohoshi
[view full size]

The marohoshi actually has one additional feature that would have made it a perfect concealed carry weapon in feudal Japanese times. It had a folding guard! I imagine that as people began carrying these spare spear tips around for backup, it would have been unwieldly to carry about a large spear head, with over sized cross guards, on ones person. So what do you do? Make em foldable!

If you look closely, you can see there is one large crossguard that is pinned to the blade, and basically swivels out parallel to the handle/blade. The second guard, acting as a locking pin, is inserted into a slot in the handle of the maroshoshi just beneath the swiveling crossguard pin, securing the first guard in place perpendicular to the first. Then the second guard is then tied into place by it’s tassels to ensure the whole thing stays together.

The long tassel of the second guard also allowed for a shaft to be secured to the handle  of the marohoshi, which could then be used as a spear. Now obviously, this design, consisting of multiple parts and 3 steps to make it secure, wasn’t particularly fast to deploy, however it was more likely designed for versatility than speed.

All and all, I thought this was a pretty interesting weapon.

Ikkakuryu Marohoshi – [Jin-1 Jutte Kobo]

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]

15
Jun
07

An Animated Glaive!

Ok, So while I was doing posts on movie glaives, I happened to run across a folding throwing weapon from one of my oft watched animes. I thought to myself “Why not do an anime weapon?” Now this may sound crazy, but I heard myself answer: “Because that would show you up for the nerd that you really are.”

Of course, I had to I answer right back: “Hah! It’s too late for that suckah!! Not to mention it isn’t that far of a leap from the fictional hollywood action movie weapons you’ve been pimpin’ so far.” I couldn’t very well argue with this logic. Though I suspect that any logic that is a product of inane psychobabble may not be particularly reliable. Dunno whether y’all will be more disturbed by the fact that I am blogging about an animated weapon or that I talk to myself. Either way, it doesn’t matter. ‘Cause, like I’ve said many times before, I’ve never professed sanity to begin with.

But anyway, here I am, getting ready to talk about an interesting kind of throwing blade that makes an appearance in the anime Naruto and also in the video games Final Fantasy and Ninja Gaiden. We will be focusing primarily on the only folding version of this blade, which was used by Sasuke in the Naruto anime series. We are, of course, talking about the Fuuma Shuriken, AKA the Fūma or “Wind Demom” shuriken, more commonly known as the Shadow Windmill Shuriken.

Shadow Windmill Shuriken

Shadow Windmill Shuriken
[view full size]

Now, in spite of being an anime weapon, it actually fulfills all of the criteria for the hollyood glaive. It is a multi-bladed throwing weapon. It folds up. And it has boomerang-like qualities to boot. Lucky for you, I just so happen to have an (all too brief) clip of one in action:

Fuuma Shuriken Deployment

Sasuke Hurling his Fuuma Shuriken
[click to view]

Sweet eh? Now I will mention that the game and anime versions of these types of weapon have one major difference to their live action movie counterparts. They are huge! They are not normal hira shuriken sized by any stretch of the imagination, being quite a few orders of maginitude larger than any of the others I have mentioned so far. In fact, a single blade of this particular monstrosity is about the size of a full-sized machete. When it’s closed it’s the equivalent of holding 4 large cutlasses side by side. Heh.

Closed Fuuma Shuriken
Fuuma Shuriken (Closed)

Now of course I do have a couple of reservations about it. Like the fact that I don’t see a way to lock it in the open position. Not particularly confidence inspiring. Not to mention that, given it’s size and potential weight, it would almost have to be your primary (if not only) weapon. Let’s face it. If you carried one, you might be hard pressed to carry much else. I mean look at it. It’s almost as big as Sasuke. Granted he’s just a kid, (a highly trained, very skilled killer ninja kid) but still. Any weapon that is almost as large as a teen-aged boy has some serious size issues… But then again we are talking about a fictional animated weapon that routinely defies the laws of physics, so what do I know.

The Monster Shuriken

Sasuke's Big old Fuuma Shuriken
[view full size]

But given what it could do, (if it were real) the simple but robust construction, and it’s intimidating appearance, (Did I mention that it is usually portrayed as a black weapon… Yes! Bonus Points!!) it would most certainly be quite an effective, durable and lethal weapon to wield. Assuming, of course, that you are A) a highly trained animated ninja, or B) carry steel I-beam girders around for a living…

But strength requirements aside, it seems that this weapon could actually be combat worthy. Unlike most of the other glaives I’ve blogged, this weapon has ample space on each blade for a handle grip throw to be used, though it would require some serious training to get good rotation and a clean release using it.

But the truth is, this is such a beautiful and intimidating (albeit impractical) weapon, I really don’t care bout it’s shortcomings. I’d buy one in a heartbeat. I have actually been toying with the idea of designing a working one, just to see if I can overcome the challenge of inventing a strong, reliable blade locking mechanism for such a weapon. Would be pretty awesome… But that’s probably just my inner nerd talking…

14
Jun
07

Some Contemporary Glaives.

Since I’m on a roll with the glaives, I thought I’d blog about a few more glaive designs. Today we will be looking at not one, but TWO of the more contemporary incarnations of the infamous glaive. Thats right ladies and jerks, today we will look at two modern and well publicized glaive designs, made famous by the comic vampire hunter Blade, and the resulting movies. I bring you none other than Blades Shredder and Cyclone Glaives.

Blade’s Glaives

Shredder<–>Cyclone

Blades Shredder Glaive Blades Cyclone Glaive
[view full size] [view full size]

I won’t bother to recap my previous comments about the weaknesses of a folding blade, ’cause (assuming you have been following along) you now know them all. Right? Right? Oh Come ON!!. OK. You fail. Start this class again from the beginning. The rest of us are going to continue on. Those still with us are in for a treat, because the design of Blades Glaives present a unique set of potential problems, which we will cover today in class, one by one. Woot!

First off, you can’t see it from the pics, but Blades glaives are centrally spring loaded. The mechanism that keeps the blades secure in both the open and closed position requires a hub mounted spring in order to keep the blades in whatever position they are locked in. Personally I think this is a risky design move, especially for a weapon that experiences high impact or G forces, because the same forces could “pop” the mechanism on impact, causing the mechanism to fail. See if you can find an abused novelty store display model of one of these and you will see what I’m talking about. Just pray that after repeated use it doesn’t decide to fold up on you while still in your hand. Strike 1.

The second point to note on both blades, is the exaggerated size of the central hub around which the blades rotate to close. No doubt this is a direct result of the requirements of the centralized blade locking mechanism and the spring thereof. The resulting hub is large, unwieldy and eats up a huge section of the real estate that might otherwise have been used to hold it. Wheeee! Strike 2.

Which brings us to yet the third problem. That huge hub means that these glaives have no real handle. The Shredder glaive design does allow for a bit more hand room in the middle, but between the huge hub and the short blades, you would be hard pressed to throw this cleanly while still imparting enough rotation to make it stick in anything more solid than the seat of yer pappy’s overstuffed wing-backed chair. And it’d probably still bounce off that.

And just forget about trying the palm grip throw with one of these puppies, like Blade does in the movies. Much like the Beastmaster Glaive, it would very likely hang up in your hand or on your fingers on departure. Though unlike the Beastmasters Glaive, (if it’s any consolation), it probably remain open while it does so. Probably perform a 180° in your hand too, resulting in an “incident” that your idiotic friends may think hilarious at the time, but you might not find too humorous. Steeeeeerike 3! Yer Out!

All of this leads me to one undeniable conclusion. For any and all practical intents and purposes, the average hollywood glaive stinks! These particular designs, especially the Cyclone, are possibly some of the most impractical designs ever in the history of glaivedom. (Yes, I said “Glaivedom”. This is my glaivesphere, and I can use whatever glaivey word I want. Glaiveify at will, if you will. Now back to the Glaivespiel at hand. Glaiveisms Rule!! Ha!)

But practical considerations aside, these glaives (heh, heh, heh, I said “Glaives”…) do appear quite menacing, and that is a quality that can stand on it’s own merits. They look… mean. Especially the Shredder. Just don’t go confusing them for athletes when they are really just runway models… Doing so could literally come back to bite you in the proverbial ol’ hiney…

Blades Shredder Glaive – [Medieval Weapon Art]
Blades Cyclone Glaive – [Medieval Weapon Art]

13
Jun
07

Introducing: The Glaive

While pointing out the pitfalls of folding throwing stars, it occurred to me that there was another class of folding throwers that might make more effective folding throwing weapons than folding shuriken. Now they are all fictional weapons, but then again, many of the swords I have blogged about began as fictional weapons, so I thought, “Why Not?” I’d like to introduce you to the imaginary big Hollywood brothers, of the folding shuriken: the “Glaive”.

The Hollywood “glaive”, is easily described. It is a multi-bladed throwing implement whose blades could be folded into itself in order to give it a smaller form factor, presumably for easier transportation. They also seem to have a boomerang-like (even mystical) ability to come back to their wielder. I know of 3 movies featuring “glaive ” weapons. The Beastmaster, Krull, and one of my all time favorites, Blade. Today we will look at the very first example (that I know of) of the Hollywood “Glaive”. Namely the “glaive” featured in the movie “The Beastmaster

The Beastmasters Glaive (open)

Beast Masters Glaive
[view full size]

In the Beastmaster movie, the protagonist (our friend the Beast Master) is given a throwing weapon called a “caber” (Which I have hopefully spelled correctly). It consisted of a 4 bladed weapon, which folded in half, scissor fashion, so that each half blade set back to back against each other. A fairly standard “glaive” design. But this “glaive” has some serious issues.

Before I go off on a rant about this so called “glaive” I thought it would be interesting to know that real cabers and glaives do actually exist. However they are nothing like what is portrayed on the big screen. Cabers are commonly found in the unlikely sport of… Scottish log tossing. In fact, the competition is called the Caber Toss, and the logs are called (you guessed it!) cabers.

And glaives, far from being the hand held throwers portrayed in the movies, were actually medieval polearms. Like, lessee, big spears. Ya know, big broad headed spears. Machetes on a stick if you will. Go figure. Somehow I can’t really visualize a humongous blade on a spear shaft spinning “gracefully” *ahem* through the air… But back to hollywood Glaives.

The Beastmasters Glaive (closed)

beastmasters caber (closed)
[view full size]

The design seems to be quite robust, each sub blade is fastened together by a solid looking pin. It looks like it could be made to handle a lot of torture, however one thing bothers me. The blades appear to be freely hinged. No means of fixing them in the open position. Now I’m no expert but it seems to me that freely swinging blades would wreak untold havoc on the trajectory of this weapon. And given the geometry of the weapon, I don’t think it could be thrown in the fashion illustrated, gripping the middle of the glaive, where the hinge is. At least not without risking a few fingers (that I’m sure you want to keep) in the process. But then again, my understanding of physics might be suspect. Meh.

The Beastmasters Glaive (open hinge shot)

Beastmaster Glaive (open hinge)
[view full size]

And then there is the little niggling problem of how the blades would stay open, if, by some dark mystical trick of the universe, this “glaive” were to actually hit its intended target. My physics are a little rusty, but AFAIK, a free hinge means it gonna fold on impact. it would probably still hurt (if it ever actually hit you), but that free hinge design would make it pretty freakin’ hard to make it “stick” anything. I’m just sayin’.

Perhaps with some type of lock-back mechanism in place on the blades, this “glaive” would make for an excellent weapon, but as is, it certainly wouldn’t make my armory wish list. When all is said and done however, it is actually one of the more classy designs of the few Hollywood glaives I have seen. Not so much sinister as much elegant. A little rustic but artfully designed. Not usually what I look for in a blade, but I’d make an exception for this one. It’d prolly look great in black…

The Beastmasters Glaive – [Realm of the Dark Blade]




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