Archive for the 'Gladius' Category


Yet Another Uber Battledome Blade!

In a previous post we looked at an out-of-left-field hand blade by Tom Anderson, another killer blade designer, called Critical Mass. Well, I found yet another revision of this freaky blade type, looking for all the world like it belonged on the set of Mad Max…

Critical Mass II


Critical Mass II
[view full size]

Now this weapon is a bitter sweet comeback to me, because although it appears to me to be an improvement on the original Critical Mass design in many areas, it also takes a step backwards in a few others others.

For instance, on the original Critical Mass, the handle was placed fairly far forward, and had a “hood” that extended far enough back that it rested on the users forearm. Though this design left your actual hand exposed, it allowed for a great deal of control of the weapon. On this weapon, although the hand is pretty much covered, it pretty much stops there. You have much less leverage, and therefore less control.

And then there is the mounting point for that front blade on Critical Mass II. I’ve never understood why you would make a fairly wide blade, and then weaken it at the attachment point by narrowing it just before the hilt. Again the first version did not suffer any such weaknesses.


Katar - Indian Punch Blade
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Of course I would be remiss not to mention that the basic weapon design does appear to have at least superficial similarities to a perhaps much more practical weapon, called the Katar. The Katar is a punch-blade style weapon of Indian decent. Some of them have mechanically actuated split blades, also called “Scissor Katars”, and yet another variety called the “Hooded Katar” have a shield over the back of the hand. Given also that it would probably be a lighter and faster weapon, I would probably prefer to use a split-blade hooded Katar if given a choice, over either Critical Mass weapon.

Scissor Katar

Scissor Katar
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Nonetheless Critical Mass II does have a lot of strong points. Literally. It is simpler and the blades are much more effectively placed than in the first. It is probably also lighter and faster than the first. It provides much better hand protection, though it could have benefit from an extended hood for both forearm protection and extra support and control.

But given the sweet lines of those, oh-so-beautiful black blades, the menacing spikes on the guard, and the overall no nonsense look of the piece, I’d say it’s a winner. I dare you to disagree. I dare ya. I double dog dare ya. I triple dog dare ya… Yeah… Whatever.

Critical Mass by Tom Anderson – [The Collectors Edge]


Lancelots Dark Indiscretions…

OK, I haven’t watched the latest, greatest and highly modernized incarnation of the Arthurian Saga aptly named King Arthur, so I cannot comment on it one way or another, but I did find an interesting sword from the movie. A matched set of swords to be exact, wielded by King Arthurs brave, chivalrous but wife-stealing first knight Lancelot.

Lancelots Blades

Lancelots Blades Swords
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Now these swords have some very interesting characteristics that actually set them apart from your standard Arthurian sword fare. The most obvious of which they are black, in spite of the fact that, for reasons I have discussed before, a knight of that era would probably never have used a black sword. But even more interesting is the design. Lancelot’s swords have an uncanny resemblance to a Roman Gladius.

They are wider overall, and wider just before the point than after the hilt, which is a feature not normally seen on swords used by knights of that era at all. The handle is also distinctly Gladius-like in nature, and the guard reminiscent of that of a Roman Legionnaires sword. In fact this sword appears to be a close relative of a Roman Gladiators Sword.

Now as far as I know, the Lancelot of Arthurian legend was not Roman, let alone a roman gladiator. Sir Lancelot Du Lac was, in fact French; so there was no real reason for him to possess swords of this design at all, save for the purpose of satisfying the film makers artistic license.

Now I’m tempted to say that this disparity in his weapons design in the movie was intended to mark Lancelot as a betrayer, but that would be pure speculation.

But in spite of the historical peculiarities of the swords design, they are still very beautiful. The high gloss black finish complements the gold handle and guard perfectly. Definitely a beautiful example of… well… a Roman Gladiators Gladius…

In black…

Lancelots Blades – [True Swords]

September 2020

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