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Jean Henri Chandler

Location: New Orleans
Joined: 20 Nov 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec, 2007 1:26 pm    Post subject: Best new Windlass Swords         Reply with quote

I'm considering buying a new sword shortly after the new year but my budget is very limited. So I'm thinking Windlass.

There has obviously been vast improvements in quality with Windlass, and there are many new designs which are increasingly good especially for the price range. On the other hand, ther are plenty of very old Windlass designs still in the inventories of many retailers, some of which I recognize, and some of which I'm not sure about.

A quick search at Kult of Athena reveals that they carry a mix of both old and new designs in their inventory.

My question is what are the best of the new sword designs they have come out with.

The sword of Auray looks good as does their 15th Century Longsword. I like the look of the new 'coustille' and was considering that as well. Do they have a new cinqueda? How about their five lobed viking sword anyone handled that?

Has anyone got experience with their Roman swords? Are they old or new designs?

My main criteria are:

1) Sword like characteristics. A sword which handles realistically and wont be so jarringly different from my little Albion constable in that respect that it feels like a crowbar (which my very old MRL Katzbalger kind of does) I like a fairly lively balance but obviously not like a light saber, a reasonably light weapon (no four pounders) and one with a stiff enough blade that it doesn't feel like I'm holding an aluminum yardstick either.

2) Durability I want a weapon which is really a weapon, so nothing too likely to snap or ding up too bad with moderately heavy use. My MRL katzbalger was very tough.

3) Cutting I like to test cut both heavy and light targets. Not quite as crazy as I used to be (I shudder to think what I put my Albion constable through when I first got it) but I want a weapon which can cut targets reasonably well and isn't likely to fall apart.

I've also considered the Generation 2 but the only one which looks decent to me is the Lucerne and it's too similar to my Constable in terms of shape and size.

I haven't been able to decide between a long or short weapon but it's probably going to be on one of those extremes, either a longsword (their 15th century longsword seems very tempting) or a short single hander like the gladius, the coustile or a cinqueda. I was looking at their Swiss baselard which is kind of interesting but i think it's a real old design, I wonder if it's seriously flawed in any way.


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J F. McBrayer

Joined: 07 Oct 2006

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Thu 20 Dec, 2007 6:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

BD, I haven't handled any of these, so take anything I say with a grain of salt. But I have been watching for signs that Windlass is overcoming their quality-control problems, so I can point you to a few threads.

Lance Chan has a review of the 15th century longsword here. Upshot is that it's a decent club/student sword. I've often considered getting this one, as I like its looks better than the Hanwei hand-and-a-half (which most people say is better constructed).

There's an active thread on the board now about the Sword of Auray. Most people say it's Windlass's best single-handed sword.

You might also take a look at the Windlass Erbach sword, currently under discussion here. I'm wondering if with the midrib, it might be a bit stiffer than other Windlass longswords. Doesn't seem like anyone has handled it yet to review.

They do have a new coustille, discussed here.

My brother-in-law has their Maintz gladius. It's okay, though the grip rattles a little, and the scabbard is loose. I'm not sure I'd trust it for cutting. I don't know enough about Roman swords to speak to its historical accuracy or lack thereof. I think the "faux ivory" grip is bone, though it may be plastic. He's had it for several years, so it's not a new design.

Hope this helps, and maybe bumps the topic so people with hands-on experience can talk about it.
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Sean Flynt
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myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Thu 20 Dec, 2007 7:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You're wise to ask. My impression is that any Windlass/MRL sword based on a known original will be a very good value. But take careful note of this qualification--When I say, "very good value," I mean that I think the parts are worth more to me than I'm paying, because I will take easy steps to improve them and reassemble them in a more stable fashion. If you make no alterations to the sword, you're probably still getting a fair deal.

You will be happiest with your purchase if you think of MRL's historical swords as kits. For maybe $225 you will get parts to make a sword worth significantly more. Disassemble the sword, make a new grip wrap,reassemble using JB Weld epoxy and peen the tang and you'll have something worth, in my view, about $400. Do all that and you will have invested an additional $10 in materials. That's a pretty good return.

My wife owns their "Mainz" gladius. It seems to be well-built, but it's not particularly accurate, as the folks from Legio XX will attest. But Auray sounds good (see the original in the Phil. Museum of Art). The German Bastard Sword is good (Wallace Collection A477). Their old "German" falchion is good (Thorpe Falchion, Norwich Castle Museum). The Erbach (Oakeshott Collection) is probably a safe bet. They have an "Early Spanish Sword (actually 15th c.) that would be a good choice if your historical interests tend to be later than the Auray.

Check this thread for discussion of some recent MRL swords:

Good luck!


"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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