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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Fri 03 Aug, 2012 6:14 pm    Post subject: Input needed about a few single-handers         Reply with quote

Hello all, the time has come that I've got the funds gathered to buy my first (and possibly last) Albion single-handed sword. I've narrowed it down to three models, and I'm leaning most heavily towards the Laird. The other two runners up are the Kingmaker and Lancaster. I'd love to hear thoughts on these specific three swords, especially from folks who have owned one or more of them. Posting photos of any of the three will earn you extra credit. Laughing Out Loud

Before the obvious questions are asked, I'll try to answer them; I'm not interested in any specific period. This sword will not be used as part of a kit or impression. It is simply to have, to admire, possibly to cut things with, and to wave in front of the TV while watching anything from Braveheart to the Three Musketeers ( Wink As I said, I'm not era-specific). Cost will also not be a determining factor. I have the funds to purchase any one of the three.

To help narrow it down, I'll list them in order of preference for given aspects and considerations (with 1 being most desirable and 3 being least desirable):

Hilt design:
1) Laird (by a huge margin)
2) Lancaster
3) Kingmaker

Blade design:
1) Kingmaker
2) Laird
3) Lancaster

Balance (based solely off of the listed CoG/ PoB listed on the Albion site, since I've never handled any of the three in person):
1) Lancaster
2) Kingmaker
3) Laird

As you can guess by my list, I really prefer the feel of swords that have a neutral feel in the hand. I'd love to have a single hander be as quick to move and point as possible. Having never handled any of the three I'm guessing that the Lancaster would reign supreme in this regard. Unfortunately, it is my least favorite from an asthetics standpoint. The Laird is solidly in the lead in that regard. Without handling any of the three I've got to try and decide just how much agility, speed, and mobility I'd lose by going with the Laird or Kingmaker over the Lancaster. This is one of the areas I could certainly use some assistance in.

Any other observations, input, or just plain personal preferences would be appreciated. Before I bought my Crecy I started a similar thread and the observations of the forum members here were very helpful. I'm hoping the same will be the case here.

Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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Lloyd Winter




Location: Los Angeles
Joined: 27 Aug 2011

Posts: 171

PostPosted: Fri 03 Aug, 2012 6:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Let me start by saying that of those 3 I only own a Kingmaker and I've never handled either of the others.
I do love my Kingmaker; it's fast, light and well balanced.

For a type XV my preference would actually be the Poitiers not the Lancaster but I seem to remember your saying you prefer straight guards and I definitely prefer curved guards so I guess that's a wash.
Once I get my currently on order Prince then I think the Poitiers will be my next sword.

The Laird does nothing for me. 'Nuff said Happy

All that being said I definitely prefer the Kingmaker the most of all of them. In fact the kingmaker is my favorite single hander of the Next Gen line from an aesthetics point of view.


Here's a pic of my Kingmaker and Christian Fletcher scabbard

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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Fri 03 Aug, 2012 8:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Lloyd, you remembered correctly, I prefer the straight (or at least slanted) cross guards over curved. With that said, your Kingmaker is beautiful and the sabbbard really accents it well. You're lucky, anyone would be proud to have that setup.

I know a lot of people are turned off by the Laird's styling (mostly the cross I'd imagine). If I was really focussed on the sword as a historical tool then I might be as well. I'm not saying the Laird's cross is not historical, it is (people have been kind enough to post photos of originals with very similar corsses). As it turns out though, my interest in swords stems more from fantasy than from history. So the less common look of the Laird is not a turn off for me.

PS- thanks for the picture! I can't see enough photos of these beautiful weapons. Big Grin

Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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William Swiger




Location: Reston, VA
Joined: 23 Feb 2011
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Posts: 443

PostPosted: Fri 03 Aug, 2012 11:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have quite a few Albions but none you are considering. I do have a Caithness which is similar to the Laird. It handles well and I like the design. The only negative for me is the grip is rather high from the guard and when using the sword, you end up with your hand on the exposed metal portion of the assembly. Just feels sort of weird for me.

All three look like great choices.
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Peter Johnsson
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Location: Storvreta, Sweden
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 7:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You have three nice swords on your list: I think you would enjoy any of them.

From what you say about your personal preferences however, I would recommend the Lancaster out of these three. It is the one with the most nimble feel (you might say neutral), because of its narrow point.
It has the looks of a late medieval knightly sword of high quality, and is at the same time a serious and deadly fighting sword.

If you enjoy a sword with more cutting orientation, you might consider the Kern. It has more blade presence, but is a very nimble and quick sword. Most tend to be surprised by its ready and responsive heft.

The Oakeshott is another sword with a very quick feel about it. The Lancaster is more "neutral" in its balance, but the Oakeshott is close in character, despite it being a wider and longer cutting sword.

Still, the LAncaster might be your safest bet, after what you have told us.

Give Mike a call and discuss your ideas with him. I am sure he would be happy to help you out.

Good luck in your choice!
-Peter
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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
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Posts: 551

PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 8:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I owned a Laird for a number of years but have never handled either of the other 2. I was in love with the Laird when I first got it, and I still love the character of that type, but ironically I ended up selling it because I felt it was a little too light in the blade when compared to other single handers I own (including other Albions).
It is worth mentioning that any individual sword from Albion can and often will vary from the specs listed on their site, this is more or less a given with a hand-finished item. Most of mine have tended to be an ounce or 2 over the given spec, with variations from ther listed COG as well. This hasn't bothered me with most of them as they are still wonderfully agile swords. In the case of my Laird, which was just under the spec'd weight, an extra ounce or two in the blade would have been an improvement, IMO.
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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 11:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks very much for the input, gentlemen. Justin, that lightness of blade that you're referring to with your Laird might just be what I like most about it. I guess the best way I can describe it is this; My Crecy is in my opinion the ideal two handed sword (or hand and a half to be more specific). It handles beautifully. But I've read that some people praise it's handling characteristics using only one hand, since it is a bastard sword. Nothing could be further from the truth for me personally. I can't immagine trying to be effective with a sword like the Crecy in one hand. It feels very unwieldy to me when held with only one hand. So for my single hander I'm hoping for a very different feel. Considerably lighter, and just overall much more controllable in a single hand. From the sounds of it any of the three on my list should get me on track with my goal, but the Lancaster possibly best in that regard.

Peter, I really appreciate you chiming in. Although I value everyone's opinion, it's hard to beat hearing from the person who actually designed them. Until your post I'd really not considered the Type XIX's. The weight of the Kern is appealing to me, but the hilt design of the Condottiere is more up my alley. I also noticed that the Condottiere has a PoB closer to the hilt (no doubt due to it's heavier pommel). I may have to add the Condottiere to my list of possible candidates. I forgot to add, the biggest reason for my preference of the Condottiere over the Kern is the cross. I'm not a fan of the finger circle, but I simply can't do "wavy" crosses. I loved the way the Earl felt in my hand, but I use the cross as a visual reference to make sure the blade is lined up right. The wavy cross of the Earl completely threw me off, and I'm guessing the Kern would do the same thing.

In the end, I think Its going to come down to which I feel is more important to me, handling or asthetics. Based on looks alone, I don't believe I've ever seen a sword as beautiful as the Laird. But for handling, it sounds like the Lancaster or possibly now the Condottiere might be in the lead. Just as a side note, I have a hard time picturing a scabbard for the Condottiere, with the little finger loop on the cross guard.

Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've got a Condottiere (never sure where to put the double letters - 2 t's or 2 r's - maybe both) I haven't cut with it, but it handles like a really good dream. All the Albion XIX's, except for the Gallowglass, use the same blade.


 Attachment: 173.81 KB
condottiere7.jpg
Photo from Albion Europe
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Josh S





Joined: 15 Oct 2011

Posts: 74

PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 5:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. S. Smith wrote:
My Crecy is in my opinion the ideal two handed sword (or hand and a half to be more specific). It handles beautifully. But I've read that some people praise it's handling characteristics using only one hand, since it is a bastard sword. Nothing could be further from the truth for me personally. I can't immagine trying to be effective with a sword like the Crecy in one hand. It feels very unwieldy to me when held with only one hand. So for my single hander I'm hoping for a very different feel. Considerably lighter, and just overall much more controllable in a single hand.

I don't think you really need to be too concerned about this. When people praise the Crecy for its single-hand handling, they're speaking in the context of it being a large, hand-and-a-half sword. One that is a bit too large to be categorized simple as a longsword, without being so large that its purely a great-sword. That is to say, those comments are made with the understanding that they're describing the sword in comparison to others like it - not in comparison to swords designed from the ground up to be used with a single hand.

So, I doubt the Laird would feel unwieldy at all. Personally, I tend to prefer my swords to be heavy hitters; the further out the PoB is(while maintaining good overall dynamics), the better. So our preferences diverge heavily, meaning you should take my opinion with a grain of salt Happy That being said, you'll find no shortage of people describing the agility of the Knight on these forums. Different sword, but same blade, and the stats given on Albion's site are virtually identical - with the Laird's PoB being ever so slightly closer to the hilt.

Since you state quite clearly that your interest in this sword purchase is primarily aesthetic, I would suggest choosing the one that appeals to you most on the aesthetic level if I were you. Which appears to be the Laird - or, now that you've gained an interest in it, the Condottiere... Regardless of what you end up choosing though, keep in mind that there's two separate periods of appreciation. There's the initial one, which is where you're at now - and then there's the appreciation that you can only develop over time. If you get a Laird, even if the handling is not immediately perfect to you, you'll more than likely learn to love it. And if you get a Lancaster, even though its looks aren't your current favorite, you'll more than likely learn to appreciate them as well. Keep in mind that the various attributes in all three (or now four) of your options are not graded between A and F; even the "worst"-handling sword is at least an A-, and the worst-looking one to you is still the same. With the best ones being A+++ Happy
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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 6:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger, beautiful Condottiere picture!

Josh, you make good points. I've read a number of reviews now of the Laird, and many seem to have the common theme of it not being blade heavy. And I agree with you about asthetics, I'm sure that over time I'd come to like the looks of any sword I decide to go with. But I think I'm going to stick with my original plan and get the Laird. I've just never seen so striking a sword design, and the more I read about the handling, it should be just fine in that regard as well. If I were basing my descision on handling, I think Peter is probably correct about the Lancaster. But I just can't find fault with your argument Josh, that appreciating the aesthetics is really my primary goal. It would be different if I planned on getting into martial arts with this sword, but I'm not at that stage of sword appreciation yet. It's still more of a visual thing for me.

Now I've got to decide what suspension system for the scabbard. I have the integrated double-belt from Brian K. on my Crecy scabbard, but I'm thinking of trying something different than the integrated belt with the Laird scabbard...maybe a 2 point hanging suspension. It might not be historically accurate for an arming sword, but they look cool. Hmmm. Big Grin

Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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