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Marc Ridgeway

Location: Atlanta , Gawga
Joined: 24 May 2006
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Posts: 133

PostPosted: Mon 01 Nov, 2010 12:06 pm    Post subject: Arms & Armour German Bastard Sword         Reply with quote

Arms and Armour German Bastard Sword
Marc Kaden Ridgeway
Atlanta GA
29 Oct 2010

This is just going to be a quick and dirty look at a this sword which I picked up from a forumite in a trade... not a full review. I have owned swords from Angus Trim, Windlass, Valiant Armoury , Del Tin and John Lundemo , and handled and cut with swords from Albion and Armour Class , but this was my first sword from Arms & Armour hands on.

Upon inspection of the sword over a few weeks , I have become quite taken with it... I have also noticed a few things that I could nit-pick, and this being a sword from one of the legendary "Big Three" , I thought a review was in order... albeit it brief and quick.


Weight: 4 pounds, 10 ounces
Overall : 48.6 inches
Blade: 37.5 inches
Grip length: 8 .5 inches
Blade width: 2 inches at base, tapering to .9 inch
Guard width: 10.5 inches
Point of Balance: 3.75 inches from guard
Center of Percussion: ~22 inches from guard

Aesthetics; Fit & Finish

The GBS is built via compression hilt assembly using a permanent peen. The handle is 8.5 inches of hardwood , covered with black leather, and in what I would call a reverse hour-glass shape. The leather is fittes to the core using heat and beeswax, a very historical method.

The guard is writhen, or roped , and is "S"- shaped with side rings. The pommel is spherical , and to my eyes looks botanical... a bulb or a pod. The furniture is all accomplished using the lost wax casting method.

The blade is shaped by stock - reduction , and its flattened - diamond profile is 2 inches at the base , tapering nicely to the tip. The polish is satin and the edge is a primary bevel.

The package as a whole adds up to a beautiful sword.

Handling Characteristics

In the humble opinion of this reviewer, handling is where this sword really shines. One might not think so , given that it weighs over 4.5 lbs... this is where all the lessons from Gus and Tinker on sword balance and harmonics become real apparent.

Despite the weight, with the POB at just 3.5 inches from the guard, the low polar moment of this sword makes it quick , and agile.

Just what do I mean by polar moment? Well... a swords polar moment is determined by the amount of mass at the moment of inertia (tip) in proportion to the mass at the point of rotation ( the forward hand). If the sword is beefy towards the tip , light in the handle and pommel , or somewhat short and stocky , one could say it has high polar moment... or is tip heavy; thus sluggish and clumsy. If more of the swords mass is located near the point of rotation, it has low polar moment, making it tip-quick , fast , and agile in the hand. So this is where distal and profile taper really show their import. A sword with low polar moment, or a moment of inertia further gripward, is fast and lively , with good harmonics and a nice fat center of percussion. Savvy?

In this case, the long tapering blade , combined with the relatively short grip with the long cross and side-rings puts A LOT of mass near the point of rotation , giving it low polar moment.

So, at any rate, lets say that the physics of this sword lend to make it a wonderful handler... albeit definitely a two handed sword.

Marc Kaden Ridgeway
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Marc Ridgeway

Location: Atlanta , Gawga
Joined: 24 May 2006
Likes: 3 pages

Posts: 133

PostPosted: Mon 01 Nov, 2010 12:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote


I havent had the chance to do the kind of cutting I'd really like to do... for several reasons.
The first, well... not to put too fine a point on it, but this sword doesnt have that fine an edge on it. Wait ... wait... I dont mean that like it sounds. How sharp is sharp enough? Well this sword is sharp enugh to do the things that you really want to do with it...

The German Bastard Sword is no backyard bottle popper.

Remember our physics lesson from the last section? Well LPM means amongst other things, that the tip will accelarate quicker because of the lower momemt of inertia... and despite the mass being concentrated southward, that mass is still there. That four and a half pounds of momentum couple with the tip-speed of the quickly accelerated tip, make this sword a terrifyingly devastating hitter.

Not a sword for 20oz bottles.

I have cut milk jugs and laundry detergent jugs and the GBS does fine.

No video yet ... I'll have to owe yall one, when I get some bamboo.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Ok... the critical section, and often I find it hard to be critical . This is because I review so many awesome swords. The GBS is an awesome sword in it's own right... but at its pricepoint, I decided that there were a few things to point out.

First , the polish of the blade is wavy. This is something I've seen on Windlass , and to a lesser degree on Valiant Armoury, but not something I've seen on Angus Trims , Albions or Odins.

Secondly, the furniture is cast... and obviously so. This isnt something that bothers me , but people are always complaining about Gus's pommels looking "spun" ( which , also, doesnt concern me) so I figured it worth mentioning here. Also there are some inclusions from the casting in the pommel.


The bottom line is that this is a wonderful sword , and I am quite enamoured of it. The physics, the harmonics and the construction make this such a fun sword to have in hand.
The only reason that i find anything to be critical about at all is it's price-point.
At the $830 shipped they are asking, the price is only barely south of my Lundemo custom, and a good bit higher than an Atrim or a VA Signature sword.
I think that the fact that I'm even bothering to talk about it is more of a commentary on the state of the sword market , than on the GBS itself.
Due to the soft economy, price wars , and the impact on quality made at the mid-level by Valiant Armoury , through their colaboration with Gus and Christian, the value for the dollar has skyrocketed. "Issues" are more noticable now on higher end replicas than ever before... and the price of customs is lower.
If I had reviwed this sword 5 years ago , I'd likely not have a single critical thing to say... we are very lucky these days , indeed.

Here's the scoop:

Is the A&A GBS a winner? Yes . It is . I definitely am glad that this sword found its way to my collection. It is attractive, well put together , fun to handle and a devastating heavy cutter.

I think that the Price might be a bit high at $830 (shipped) compared to other market offerings out there , but its still well worth picking up. If you can find it on the secondary market , for less money, or for a trade, as in my case, it is really a no-brainer.

The A&A GBS is a sword you'll be proud to have in your collection.

Thanks for reading.

Marc Kaden Ridgeway
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Roger Hooper

Location: Northern California
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Mon 01 Nov, 2010 1:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great review, Marc -- much more than the "quick and dirty" one that you promised at the beginning of your post. Very nice photos, as well.

The A&A GBS has been around for a long time. I think that they may have retuned it once or twice from the model that existed 10 years ago - expecially in the matter of distal taper. Were you able to put calipers on the blade and measure that?

As for the price, I don't think it is excessive for this sword. It is a major step up from the other makers that you mentioned, even with their improvements in the midlevel production market. Consider that if this model were being sold by Albion, they would be asking at least $1,200.00 dollars for it - no criticism to Albion (or ATrim, or Valiant, or especially to John Lundemo)
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