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Mike Arledge




Location: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 434

PostPosted: Sun 26 Apr, 2009 4:47 pm    Post subject: Hanwei Tinker Viking Sword small review         Reply with quote

Sorry guys, no photos, my computer is still not back to normal from the wipe, and I am not going to take the time for photos for a few more days. The kultofathena photos are pretty accurate though.

Stats:

Weight: 2 lbs 8.8 ounces
Overall Length: 37 and 3/8 inches
Grip: 4 inches (total hilt length is 6 and ˝ inces)
Blade Length: 30 and 7/8 inches from guard
Point of Balance: approx. 5 inches from guard
Center or Percussion: approx. 20 inches from guard
Distal Taper
At Crossguard -.5 cm
At COP - .4 cm
At End of Fuller - .3mm

Initial Impressions:
Hard to believe this is a Hanwei Medieval Sword

Appearance:
My normal collecting habits tend to focus on Viking swords found in Britain, so it is with some high expectation to add a piece with some “Norse” feel to my Viking experience. CAS/Hanwei has not marketed this piece as a recreation of any particular find, so I will judge its appearance more loosely than I might if they had billed this as “such and such recreation.” Its overall shape reminds me of a Peterson Type U, most notably a slightly different looking version of the basic shape of “C5818” in Peirce’s Swords of the Viking Age. Of course the dimpled decoration harkens to the famous type X of Skatteby Farm, “C26494” of the same book. In other words, to me it is a very pleasing mix of less British features. The dimple effect is pulled of very nicely, the job looks remarkably similar to the photos of similar historical pieces. They really look organic and not machined. The incised lines are subtle and effective, and the decorative wire is spot on. For the money, one can overlook the fact that one face of the pommel has an area where the wire is clearly seen anchored into the pommel. The tang has the normal trademark Hanwei look where it is peened. I am not a huge fan of the grip after owning so many swords with cord wrapped grips, but I understand it is a likely concession to save cost. The blade again has the normal brushes satin finish common in other Hanwei models. The fuller is well defined and very clean on both sides of the blade. The blade has a nice slow profile taper leading to a quick and sharper point than I usually see in Viking models, which normally have a more spatulate point. I prefer the latter in a Viking model, but that is just merely my taste. The scabbard is genuinely very nice, and any gripes one could make about “authenticity” need only refer back to the extremely low price tag. For the money, I have not seen a better scabbard period, end of story. It is thin, light and reasonable.

Handling:
I am a big fan of Viking blades. I feel I have a good understanding of how they should handle. This sword is both typical and surprising, in respects to my experience with Viking models. I find it sometimes heavy, sometimes light, it is dynamic and fluid in motion, but has a good deal of static weight to me. I have thought about this a lot, and I think I feel this is mostly due to the grip, which is wider than I am used to, or comfortable with. I have small hands, so the wide grip really makes me work harder in static positions. When I can get it in motion and cheat my hand further onto the pommel in a more “Viking” grip, I don’t feel the same effort is needed. I could genuinely use a slightly narrower overall grip. The sword does control very well, it tracks very well into cuts, and blade alignment is on par with my experiences with Viking models. Truthfully, it handles “better” than many Viking blades, I feel it is almost overly handy for its type, and that is either a good or a bad thing depending on what you value in handling. I almost prefer a Viking blade with the “feel” of more blade presence for collecting sake, as a user, I am quite pleased at times to have a more lively blade. Its weird, but I guess what I am saying is it handles quite well.

What you should expect:
This sword cost $279.99 plus shipping from kultofathena.com. It is a remarkably cheap sword given how accurate it is and how many higher end features it has. My big complaint, which I have yet to mention is the edge. I will take some time to talk about it here. The edge is pretty blah, a very noticeable bevel, and not very sharp. I had to spend a few days working it down to where it would give me cleaner cuts. At first I had to really load up on strikes/cuts to get through soft milk jugs, and 2 liters were almost impossible to cut. After working on it, I have made it better, but it will still need further refinement to have the edge I would feel it deserves. This is a pretty major issue in my eye, as not everyone will have the skill/knowledge to fix the edge, and given it is marketed as a cutter, it is something that should be addressed. That being said, I am quite certain the next shipments will be better, so perhaps this will be a non issue with later models.
All in all, this is an incredible value in a sword. It will fill a real niche for those wanting a user Viking model (including a nice scabbard), but who don’t want to drop the $700 plus on the next step up in the market. It’s a steal really, and with some TLC or even some upgrades, it will be great. Its amazing t think that a few years ago, no one would have expecting anything like this from Hanwei, it’s a testament to how great it is to be a sword collector right now, in such turbulent economic times, there are still gems to be had!

Mike J Arledge

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Michael Pearce
Industry Professional



Location: Seattle, Wa.
Joined: 21 Feb 2004

Posts: 365

PostPosted: Sun 26 Apr, 2009 6:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the review, Mike! I would like to point out one thing though; the handle is cord-wrapped under the leather; there was no 'cost-saving' measure there. It's just a thicker leather than many manufacturer's use so it isn't as obvious.
Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
-------------
Then one night, as my car was going backwards through a cornfield at 90mph, I had an epiphany...
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Mike Arledge




Location: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 434

PostPosted: Sun 26 Apr, 2009 8:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My bad there Tinker, its just hard to tell. good to know!
Mike J Arledge

The Dude Abides
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Michael Pearce
Industry Professional



Location: Seattle, Wa.
Joined: 21 Feb 2004

Posts: 365

PostPosted: Sun 26 Apr, 2009 8:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No worries- it is hard to tell. I know because it's in the specs- but also because I had to take one apart.
Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
-------------
Then one night, as my car was going backwards through a cornfield at 90mph, I had an epiphany...
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website


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