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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 960

PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 9:15 am    Post subject: Windlass Steelcrafts shields, how are they?         Reply with quote

I've tried searching the forums and the web in general, but have come up with surprisingly little beyond the Windlass/MRL marketing copy...

I'm mainly interested in the viking shield, the buckler and the steel target or rotella (I think they call it a "Renaissance Shield", the domed round steel shield with arm straps). Basically, I'd like to know anything you can tell about them - how durable are they? how do they handle? is the construction at all historical? what do you think of the looks? etc.

Firsthand observations from people who have actually handled them would be ideal, of course.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 9:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well I would look at the A & A and Mercenary Taylor's versions of the steel shield;

I have this one from MT: http://www.merctailor.com/catalog/product_inf...ucts_id=77

I haven't fought with it but it's 16 gauge steel and the rim has a steel rod for strength.

It's certainly not light weight but my bathroom scale gives me something between 8 to 9 pounds, held close to the body it doesn't feel too heavy.

It can be had without the spike and this may be safer if one wants to train with it as the spike makes it a weapon in itself.

Here is the A & A one: http://www.arms-n-armor.com/armor021.html

Durability shouldn't be a problem for either, the MT does have good padding on the inside but the A & A is less costly.

With the Windlass product I don't have any personal experience, but it's the cheapest but the steel is only 18 gauge and I would assume less durable if used heavily:
http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...und+Shield

The strapping inside looks a bit flimsy soft leather handles and not adjustable compared to the MT one.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 960

PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, A&A and MT are some of the makers I've drooled over ever since I got interested in swords. Big Grin

The main reason I'm looking at Windlass is that they actually have a local retailer here in Finland, which saves me A LOT OF MONEY on shipping and customs. Plus I've deliberately avoided getting a credit card, so international purchases are a bit of a hassle... Also, IME their products make great bases for customization projects, not least because they're cheap enough I don't get paralyzed with fear of screwing it up. Happy

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
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Posts: 8,172

PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 10:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes if you put a bit of work on it adding a better handle and arm strap the price does make a big difference as well as local availability.

Windlass does make some nice things factoring in the lower prices and generally they are of decent quality.

If only hit on using moderate force in a controlled training style and at the cost if you have to buy another one a year or two later you are still ahead.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I actually use a Windlass made Rotella... bought it from KOA for not a whole lot.
It feals pretty good and handles well.

The only modification you will need to make is to shorten the arm straps... they unbolt from the shield with a wrench pretty easily...

We also use the buckler by GDFB which is also pretty decent. I can only recommend that you go with the smallest version they sell, any larger and you might as well use a Rotella.
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 960

PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 4:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, if I go for the rotella, replacing the straps will be the first thing I'll do. Other than that, people don't seem to have any complaints about it...?

Regarding the buckler, it is indeed the size of it I'm mostly hesitant about - with a 16" diameter, the Windlass buckler seems to be at the very large end of the spectrum. The handle looks to be too flush with the back of the shield for certain maneuvers, too, but should be as easy to replace as the straps on the rotella.

The viking shield looks acceptable on the face of it (haha!) in photos, but again I'd have to make a new handle - it's just completely unlike anything I've seen on historical shields. Other than that, does anyone know of any significant problems with it?

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 4:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would definitely recommend against getting a 16 inch buckler. You want something more like 9 inches and as light as possible. The bigger it is the more it will weigh and obstruct your view. Try some of the European outlets for hanwei / GDFB they should sell the small bucklers pretty cheap. Or if your handy with metal you could probably just make one from a shield boss which many SCA folks sell. Some already have a grip installed and you could just bolt a rim on to it to make a small buckler.
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David Clark





Joined: 10 Feb 2009

Posts: 129

PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 5:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Treichel wrote:
I would definitely recommend against getting a 16 inch buckler. You want something more like 9 inches and as light as possible. The bigger it is the more it will weigh and obstruct your view. Try some of the European outlets for hanwei / GDFB they should sell the small bucklers pretty cheap. Or if your handy with metal you could probably just make one from a shield boss which many SCA folks sell. Some already have a grip installed and you could just bolt a rim on to it to make a small buckler.


I don't know...if 16 inches is big enough to obstruct your vision, I think you may be doing something wrong...I used a 19" targe for a long while and I could see my opponent plenty and it was light enough to move quickly. I am not trying to be rude. I realized it may have come off that way. Sad

But if you do want to convert a shield boss into a buckler, try personal messaging Hjalmr on the armourarchive.org. He sells 'em for $20 and they are very well made.
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 960

PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 5:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, a buckler works somewhat differently from a targe; excessive size not only limits your field of vision, especially during high lateral movements when it can actually pass in front of your face, but also gets in your way in many core techniques and can even make some of them impossible.

Anyhow... I don't currently have the tools or facilities for metal work, but I do have two wooden bucklers from Purpleheart Armoury that are getting kinda beat up (incidentally, they're 12" in diameter and feel quite comfortable to me). I could always cannibalize the boss from one of them if I decide to make my own. Happy

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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