Archive for the 'LOTR' Category

12
Sep
08

A Mystical Weapon… From a Mind of Metal…

If any of you are fans of the Lord of the Rings, you may remember a scene In which Treebeard, one of the old giant trees, describes the evil wizard Saruman, saying:

“He has a mind of metal and wheels; and he does not care for growing things”

For some reason, this phrase has always stuck in my head as an interesting description of Saruman. Maybe because I too, have a mind of metal… Though I would not go so far as to say I care little for growing things… But eco-friendly philosophical wizardry debate aside, there was one product of Sarumans oh so metallic mind, that I always liked. His staff:

In contrast to Gandalfs organically flowing, white wooden staff , Saruman wielded a staff of metal, adorned with a head that could easily have been designed to be a weapon itself. Part mace, part spear, it is the kind of staff I’d wield, were I to ever to become a Wizard. Of course It’ll never happen; being a Balrog is just so much more fun. I’m just saying. But look at this not so little beaut:

Sarumans Metal Wizards Staff

Sarumans Metal Wizards Staff

Now THIS is a staff. As staves go, it is a fairly intimidating piece, a metal shaft topped with a menacing quadruple bladed head, all finished in black. The head is obviously, the most interesting part of this reproduction, the bottom half of the head bearing an uncanny resemblance to a medieval mace design.

Moving up the head we have a crystal ball, nestled snugly between the four prongs of the head, which continue to extend upwards a few more inches, and then go to a wicked looking diagonally cut into a four pronged head, looking for all the world like the head of a quadruple spear.

Perhaps the thing I like most about this design is it’s sheer practicality as a weapon. Even sans magic enhancing properties. It was originally conceptually designed for duty as a Wizards magic staff, so I imagine Saruman used the crystal as a magic focusing tool, and the four blades were intended purely to hold the crystal in place, and were therefore not sharpened.

However, I think the design suits itself rather well to certain kinds of staff or spear combat. If were we to sharpen them, remove the extraneous crystal, and sharpen the tips of the four prongs to wickedness, well… I think you get the point…

All four of them…

Need I say more? Yeah. Thought not.

Sarumans Metal Wizards Staff – [eBladeStore]

30
Oct
07

Elves Have Wicked Style…!!!

I’ve probably mentioned earlier how Elves are just da bomb diggity with sword design. They make really beautiful swords. Frost swords, organic swords, even ghost busting swords. And every new sword seems to outdo the last. The pair I’m going to talk about today are no exception:

Elf Warrior Dual Swords

Elf Warrior Dual Swords
[view full size
]

Now these swords are a thing of beauty to my eyes. Simply beautiful. To me, the most striking thing about them are the curves. Oh so subtle but beautifully coordinated. The clean transitions from one curved section of the blade to the next. The coordinated dance to the oh-so-sharp point.

And the fittings! The fittings are just icing on the cake. As you can see the ricasso is acid etched with a coral like pattern that extends a bit up the spine of the blade, and seems to continue down, through the handle, to the pommel of the weapon.

The guard is a gold plated aluminum sleeve, etched with a larger, but similar pattern. The guard juts out just below the ricasso, with an finger indentation just below it. The handle is wrapped, Japanese style, in faux black leather with black fittings. The design is just beautifully executed.

There is an intrinsic, almost paradoxical dichotomy about weapons like these that have always captivated me. These feral, sinister and wickedly vicious weapons, present such a sophisticated, elegant, aesthetically pleasing form.

Don’t know if I’ll ever figure out what twisted part of my soul attracts me to these kinds of things, but whatever it is, with weapons like these around, I can definitely say it will not get starved for entertainment…

Elf Warrior Dual Swords – [Collectors Edge]

17
May
07

The Ubiquitous Dwarven Axe.

OK, This time around we are going back to one of the classic epics. Namely, The Lord of the Rings. But before I do, I have a question. As a fairly devout video gamer, I made an interesting discovery a long time ago. In almost every video or computer game I’ve played that featured a dwarven character, the dwarf was wielding an axe. My question is this: What’s the deal with dwarves and axes?

I don’t quite get it. Why would an axe be any better for your average, run of the mill, combat hardened dwarf than a short sword? Why not a ranged weapon, like a crossbow? Are axes better for shorter warriors? Better for kneecapping peeps who be disrespectin’? Easier to carry around without having to resort to dragging it on the ground behind you like a long sword? What? Anyone who thinks they have the answer, please let us know. ‘Cause i got nuthin’. Anyway we see this same interesting trend in many books, games and movies, the Lord of the Rings being no exception. In fact they exemplify the rule.

Gimli, our token dwarven character, favors the axe for battle. And, as luck would have it, for walking. And probably also for stoking the fire, as well as roasting rabbits and maybe even the odd marshmallows. In fact I dare say he probably even uses it to cut his hair, which would explain the “mountain man” style hair and beard. Tell you what, I’ll bet he has a whole slew of different axes for different occasions, including weddings and funerals. Yeah. Well hey, the dwarf has axes aaaiiight? OK, I’ll stop now.

The real reason why were here is because I found the design of one of his axes particularly interesting. His Double Bladed Battle Axe, to be specific, or what my underground homies like to call the B-DAX :). Here it is:

Gimli’s Double Bladed Battle Axe

Gimlis Battle Axe
[view full size]

I find this BAX (Yes, I am making up acronyms as I go along. What? WHAT? Bah!) interesting for several reasons. First off, it’s design incorporates a lot of rectangles and right angles. This is not very common in B-DAX design. Look at the handle. It’s cross section is actually a box rectangle or square, I’m not sure which, but certainly boxy. The metal bands around the handles are also rectangular.

Now look at the lug (sides) of the axe, where it is attached to the handle. It looks like it is made up of a bunch of cubes, as is the base of the blade itself attached to the lug. The eye of the axe, where the handle would show at the top, appears to be capped, but I’m willing to bet it is also square or rectangular. In fact the only curved part on this axe is the chopping blade itself, and that is attached to a trussed rectangular cheek. I’m almost surprised the designer didn’t go for a straight blade. But I love the overall effect. I wonder if this B-DAX would be appropriate for the dwarven graduation class photo…

Gimli’s Battle Axe – [Tolkien Town]

27
Apr
07

Ghost Bustin’… With an Elven Sword?

Today we get to look at a very special elven sword. I’m sure many of you have seen the movie Ghostbusters. And I’m sure that you are all aware of one of the biggest problems that battling with ghosts presents. They are not solid. Guns, swords, axes, bazookas, not even pepper spray works against ghosts. According to Ghost Busters, the only way to fight ghosts is with a portable nuclear particle accelerator. Or something. Yeah. Right.

Well we don’ need no stinking nucleoid whachamaclerator. We got People. Elves to be exact. Magical freakin’ sword smith elves that know how to make the coolest ghost cuttin’ blades. Like this one. Folks, I’d like you to meet:

Anduril – Sword of King Aragorn

Anduril - The Sword of Aragorn
[view full size]

Now this is a beautiful sword. It is one of those simply but elegantly designed swords, that are just awe inspiring. The sleek, rune engraved blade is a work of art. And the simple cross guard only adds to sophistication of the blade. These elves really know their stuff!!

And then there is the all-important spectre battling ability. In the movie, this sword was used to “persuade” an army of ghosts to fight beside Aragorn in the last installment of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Ignoring for a moment the paradox created by the fact that these ghosts actually *wanted* to be released from their ghostly purgatory, I suppose if I were a ghost who suddenly found myself in the unusual position of having a ghost-killing sword, of all things, at my throat, with the very real possibility that it might *ahem* “kill” me, I would have joined up too.

Then again I might just have joined to see if Aragorn could get one of his elven friends to make me one…

Anduril – The Ghost Bustin’ Sword of King Aragorn – [TolkeinTown]

13
Apr
07

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]




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