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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 8:56 am    Post subject: MRL MIA         Reply with quote

I got the new MRL catalog yesterday. As far as I can tell the only new historical arms are the rapier and dagger shown on the cover, and I'm not impressed by the look of either one. Does it seem to anybody else that MRL has started to reduce its historical arms offerings and increase its fantasy arms and clothing lines? I can't remember when I was excited by a new MRL historical replica, and I don't think there have been many new replicas introduced in the last year in any case. Their new website fits this trend, too. I'm not inviting a flame war about MRL quality, Indian steel, etc. I just wonder if we're seeing a major player leave the historical replica field.
-Sean

"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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William Goodwin




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 9:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kinda noticed the same Sean. I've got the Falchion on my wish list, but other than that, not much there that strikes a cord.
Would like to see more new historical stuff come from them.

Bill

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, they still have many nice pieces in their lineup (falchion, towton, arbedo, german rapier, etc), which is why it's so frustrating to see them subordinate the historical stuff to the "Jewelled Sword of the Gothic Midnight Disembowler™" line (Gothic Midnight Disembowler™cape, belt, biggin, boots and cast-stone codpiece sold separately).
That's it! I just realized...MRL is cornering the market for complete fantasy KITS!

-Sean

"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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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I received the latest catalogue a couple of weeks ago. I noticed that more weapons than usual had been discontinued, and there were almost no new ones. And, as you say, costumes and fantasy have been expanded. I guess that's where the customers are these days.

Except for some daggers and frogs for stage work, I haven't bought anything from them for years - But I do like to look at the pictures Big Grin
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Geoff Freeman




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've kinda been eyeing their Swiss baselard lately, which is one of their newer pieces. I like the fact that it comes with a utility knife and skewer...and all for $149 at By The Sword....


Other than that, and some of the nicer pieces that Sean mentioned, I haven't been too impressed with their stuff. They really are expanding their costume line, which wouldn't be so bad if the costumes were quality items. Personally, I'll stick with Revival Clothing and Historic Enterprises for the costume stuff.

Geoffrey C. Freeman
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 9:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I always admired their steel-mounted baselard and wondered why they discountinued it. Now they replace it with a brass-mounted version. Strange.
-Sean

"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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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They have been discontinuing historical arms for a while now. Few months back I ordered one of their pole weapons ( a glave like thing). This pole weapon design is all over the historical paintings, so I decided it was worth the $115. Well they had discontinued it!!!! It is really shameful (from my perspective) to abandon/shrink the historical arms for fantasy stuff. But in terms of generating revenue, I think that there is a bigger market out there for fantasy stuff. So from the perspective of revenue, they might be on the right track........unfortunately.

Alexi
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William Goodwin




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as the costume kits..when they start coming out with Legolas' Long-johns and Urikia (sp.) under-wear, think it will be time to move on.............................

Maybe they should re-introduce some of old discontinued historical stuff (ie German Cut & Thrust) just re-vamped at bit....
I really love my MRL Scottish B/S. Always use it for doing drills & such.
Bill

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Lloyd Clark




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 10:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What I miss most in the MRL catalog is my picture Wink

No, actually, I had this discussion with them on many occassions. What I was told is that the popularity of the fantasy market, spurred on by LOTR and other movies, is pretty much their bread and butter now. They tend to target the Ren Faire goer for most of their products and this is what is "hot" at the moment (notice all of the Pirate gear?!)

Look for more "Alexander" inspired products soon.

Cheers,

Cheers,

Lloyd Clark
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2004 World Jousting Bronze Medalist
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've noticed that as well. A few of the models that I was actually thinking of picking up for review aren't there anymore.

More and more Xena halters and Merlin cloaks all the time.

I guess they have to go where their bread and butter is. Most of the Ren-faire crowd isn't that discerning (no slam intended since I used to be one) whereas I think a lot of the historical crowd has gotten more so over the last few years.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Steve Fabert





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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is their 15th Century Hand and a Half Sword new, or has it just returned after an absence? I don't recall seeing it in their old catalogs or on their earlier web pages.

http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/showpr...Position=5
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 2:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That hand & a half is one of the only new historical additions of late, but that pommel kind of bugs me for some reason.

I should note that we're talking about MRL, which isn't the same as Windlass Steelcrafts. At least some WS arms and armor discontinued by MRL are still available through other distributors (such as by-the-sword.com). Maybe if MRL dries up as a distributor WS will feel more free to add more historical items to its collection. Or, maybe they'll take a hit and just fall back on their existing lines. CASI has no distributor the equivelant of MRL yet they still manage to come up with interesting new historical pieces. Maybe WS will follow that model.

-Sean

"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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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
I should note that we're talking about MRL, which isn't the same as Windlass Steelcrafts.


True Sean, but Windlass owns MRL. They bought the business some years ago now.

All the best,

Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
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Glen A Cleeton




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, the movie gear really has taken over the catalog over the years. LOTR and Matrix followed Gladiator and there has been no looking back.

They seemed to go through a similar slump a few years ago and maybe they are just intent on stock reduction before releasing new designs.

I think we may have a skewed perception, considering the abundance of new models introduced by American makers. It may well be that they recognize their niche and now choose new models more carefully.

The ownership thing came up elsewhere recently and the purchase of Atlanta Cutlery/Museum Replicas occured in 1995. Hank Reinhart was/is still involved but we haven't seen his smiling face in the catalogs for a spell.

The Atlanta Cutlery Windlass offerings seem to have increased, as much as the new swords have decreased. Go figure.

The Monty Python reproductions may well have been a parting shot at us purists of accuracy (thumbing their nose in our general direction) ;)

I thought the Prince Valiant sword and scabbard were kind of purty ;)

Cheers

Glen
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 6:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Unfortunately they serve a less specialized market and they sell at price point. I'd venture that means they have to respond to what sells quickly and discontinue what don't equally quickly.

We should all remember that Albion pushed a bunch of fantasy for a long time to stay afloat.

Just need to hope for a medieval blockbuster that is largely historically accurate and all will be well.

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-Marcus Aurelius

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Last edited by Joe Fults on Wed 06 Oct, 2004 7:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Aaron Justice




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2004 10:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm still waiting for the damascus "Loiten" viking sword and their Hewing spear to come out of backorder. Looks doubtful though.
How can there be a perfect sword when PEOPLE come in all shapes and sizes too?
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Oct, 2004 7:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, I forgot about the MRL/Windlass deal. That doesn't bode well for the historical Windlass pieces, I guess. But maybe, as some have suggested here, this is just a temporary change and the shifting wind of public tastes/interests will bring the historical stuff around again. So, we just need to collectively write a screenplay full of our favorite historical arms and armour and get that produced. Maybe like "Fight Club," but with flying extremities and buckets of blood.
-Sean

"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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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Oct, 2004 7:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, let's face it, Windlass is going for what their customers will buy... and those of us who tend towards the historical swords have a tendency to buy elsewhere. Really, if we want Windlass to produce more historical swords, the best way is to buy more of their historical swords.

Unfortunately (for my bank account) Windlass swords really just aren't my thing anymore.
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Oct, 2004 9:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Am I dreaming or did MRL take down the Higgins Armoury Sword, The War Sword, and the Sword of Albrecht II? I have contemplated purchasing all of these sword for "home" projects. Well I guess that is one way to make me save money for my next Albion (the Duke I hope).

Alexi
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Aaron Justice




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Oct, 2004 10:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, despite having a huge fantasy collection, they still have the largest historical collection too. Saying they have too many fantasy pieces is one thing, but just because they don't come out with a half dozen new offers every catalogue doesn't mean they don't already have an enormous historical collection. I mean, Albion doesn't have rapiers or basket hilts, but nonetheless they have an outstanding collection. Arms and Armor has many varied styles, but very few design among each sword type (like having only one viking).
How can there be a perfect sword when PEOPLE come in all shapes and sizes too?
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