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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Thu 21 Nov, 2013 3:28 pm    Post subject: My new Albion Sempach-Updated w/photos         Reply with quote

***PHOTOS ON POST #4***

The Brown Santa (UPS) just delivered my Albion Sempach from KoA and I wanted to share my thoughts on it. I started my sword collection a couple years ago with an Albion Crecy, which I chose after a lot of thought and drooling over websites. I also rode out to visit Brian Kunz in Utah, who was kind enough to let me handle his collection of Albions, along with a few others he'd borrowed from friends. I recall being very impressed with how the Earl felt...a very balanced feel for such a large sword. I chose the Crecy based almost entirely on looks. It had the traditional, no frills look that I had always imagined a knightly blade would have.

Fast forward to the present, and my taste in swords has changed a bit. I no longer dislike curved cross guards as I once did (although I still only like them if they only curve gently), and I'm OK with a bit more flair. I've now owned a Crecy, Laird, and Knight. Of those three the Knight is the only one I still own. I've come to realize that I prefer later style blade designs. I'm not selling the Knight, simply because the feel in handling (at least as far as what my untrained perspective calls "handling") is outstanding. This gives the Knight a pass, even though as I said, I prefer later blade styles.

So now we come to the Sempach. I'd never seen a Type XVII in person before and photos simply don't do it justice. Although the Crecy and Sempach share a slightly flared octagonal cross, that is pretty much where the similarities end. The Sempach, while not being ornate, has a lot more going on visually than the Crecy. The fuller only extending 1/3 of the blade, and terminating in a hexagonal cross section is a lot more complex than the Crecy's flattened diamond with a fuller 1/2 the length. Approximately 1/2" from the end of the blade the profile goes from hexagonal to diamond in a subtle curve. I was surprised by the width of the blade. My Crecy's blade was right around 2" at the hilt, and my Knight is slightly over 2". The Sempach is barely 1.75", which I have to say I REALLY like. A narrow base of the blade looks extremely well proportioned with the grip.

The Sempach's faceted pommel is not only incredibly comfortable when gripped, even with bare hands, but is just stunning to look at. It is easily the most appealing pommel I've seen on an Albion, and like the blade, has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. To be as impartial as possible, I'll also mention my only negative about the Sempach. Although I don't exactly "dislike" the cross guard on the Sempach, I would prefer it had a guard more like the Agincourt. The gentle curves and shapes of the Agincourt would better fit the Sempach in my opinion than the octagonal cross it currently has. Given time, I'm sure the Sempach's cross will become more and more appropriate to me.

Finally we come to what really prompted me to write this mini-review. The feel. My first thought when I lifted the Sempach out of the box was, "This is a sword I'd take to war". Although it is thin and elegant, the Sempach gives a feeling of power and strength unlike any sword I've held before. Probably due to the distal taper of the blade remaining quite thick until the point, the Sempach does not have a "flimsy" feel to it. Shocked would be the best term to describe my thoughts on the weight difference between the Knight and the Sempach. According to the reviews on this site, they only vary by 6 ounces (give or take due to individual variances). Probably due to how well the Knight carries its' weight, the Sempach feels easily a pound heavier. The Knight feels like a feathered blade that slices through the air...the Sempach feels like it wants to smash helmets asunder and pierce breastplates. I was always worried that the thrusting swords like Type XV's and XVII's would seem weak due to their narrow profiles. In the Sempach's case I couldn't have been more wrong.


The Sempach feels heavier than I remember the Crecy feeling, although much more robust. The odd part, however, is that the Sempach seems like it would be much easier to wield with one hand than the Crecy did. When I would swing the Crecy with one hand it felt cumbersome, and like it had a mind of its own. The Sempach on the other hand, although heavy, points and moves where you want it to, and it does it quickly...even with one hand. I continue to be amazed at how swords like the Crecy and Sempach can have such similar statistics, and yet a very different feel to their handling. Of all the Albions I've now had the chance to handle (and I loved almost all of them), the Sempach is without a doubt the one I'd grab if I knew I was going to fight someone.

Sorry for the lack of photos. I have the next two days off of work and I'll try to take some eye candy pictures. Laughing Out Loud

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!


Last edited by D. S. Smith on Fri 22 Nov, 2013 4:34 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 21 Nov, 2013 9:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the review. The Sempach is surprisingly robust; the apparent thinness of the blade and the photos online don't prepare you for how it feels in hand. It does have an authority of its own. Personally, I find that the Crecy has a bit more lively handling, but the Sempach is a superb sword of war, excellent for dealing with plate armour.

I likewise agree that the pommel on the Sempach is one of the most appealing features. One of the most appealing things about later medieval swords is the variety and beauty of the hilt furnishings. I love my single handed swords from Albion- the Senlac, the Templar, the Knight, and the Tritonia. Yet part of my affection for long swords is their superb hilt aesthetics: scent stopper pommels, fish-tail pommels, ovoid pommels like the one on the Viceroy, and so forth. Their beauty helps to ensure my continued attraction to long swords.
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Paul Watson




Location: Upper Hutt, New Zealand
Joined: 08 Feb 2006

Posts: 391

PostPosted: Fri 22 Nov, 2013 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great to hear you have struck what is such a winner for you. Your comments about the pommel ring true. I have had that with swords where there is nothing special about some aspects of them in photo's but in person the indivifual detail really strikes you. Your surprise at the mass distribution is a perfect example of Peter Johnson and Albions's success. The obvious handling differences between swords with similar stats, to acheive what each particular sword was dedigned for, tells us that everything has been done right. I've owned several and even with an untrained sword arm I've been able to tell the intent of each one I've owned, although without a swordsmans full appreciation.

Among longsword, kriegmesser, long and short blade single handed swords, the Knight is still by far my favourite, and I regret selling it when I thought I had to, so yeah...make sure you hang onto yours.

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Fri 22 Nov, 2013 3:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig, I appreciate your comments. I always enjoy your posts, and some of your commentaries/ reviews of war swords such as these are what helped lead to my interest in this type of sword.

Paul, I couldn't agree with you more about the handling being a tribute to Peter Johnsson and Albion's designs. You said it better than I could have and I completely agree.

As promised, here are some photos I took today of my Sempach. Since I've never photographed my Knight, or its' scabbard by Brian Kunz, I figured I'd those as well:








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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Bryan Heff




Location: Philadelphia
Joined: 04 Mar 2012
Likes: 8 pages

Posts: 358

PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 4:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great pics. Both swords look fantastic in the brown grips.
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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 11:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryan Heff wrote:
Great pics. Both swords look fantastic in the brown grips.


Thanks Bryan! I like the dark brown grip color. It is a little more lively to me than the black, yet doesn't overpower the sword like some of the red/ orange/ blue grips I've seen.

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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Chad Arnow
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Location: Cincinnati, OH
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 11:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Sempach is one of my favorite swords. I think it's second only to my Sovereign.

It just screams transitional period to me. It's an iconic form that enjoyed a level of popularity, considering that examples are found in various locations in Europe and Great Britain. Such a great piece. Congrats on the purchase.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Greg Ballantyne




Location: Maryland USA
Joined: 14 Feb 2011
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 233

PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I appreciate a blade with a wider base, I can also appreciate the narrower blade base on this blade type. The is an awesome looking sword. I'd love to hold one.....especially after reading your description
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Greg Ballantyne




Location: Maryland USA
Joined: 14 Feb 2011
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Posts: 233

PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I appreciate a blade with a wider base, I can also appreciate the narrower blade base on this blade type. The is an awesome looking sword. I'd love to hold one.....especially after reading your description
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Larry New




Location: Central Va
Joined: 31 Aug 2010

Posts: 66

PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 3:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gorgeous sword! Also some of the finest photography I've seen, no joke..just astounding.....Larry
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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 8:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Larry New wrote:
Gorgeous sword! Also some of the finest photography I've seen, no joke..just astounding.....Larry


You sure know how to give a compliment Larry. Laughing Out Loud I'm honored. Thanks for the kind words.

Chad and Greg, I appreciate the comments as well.

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!
View user's profile Send private message


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