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Bryan Heff




Location: Philadelphia
Joined: 04 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Jul, 2014 4:09 pm    Post subject: Albion Count Review         Reply with quote





Overview
The Count is a smaller XIIIa. Unlike Albion's Duke, this sword is not what I would describe as your classic "Great Sword of War", but it is certainly fits the criteria for a war sword. Its simply not as big and intimating as those other Great Sword types that are readily available in the production market place such as - The Albion Duke and Baron, the H/T GSOW and the Del Tin 2142. Its a smaller, frankly more handier version of these types of broad cutting swords. This sword is designed with really one thing in mind, to cut.



Purchasing/shipping
I purchased this from ebay and it was being sold as a used sword. It was advertised as having some oxidation stains on the pommel, blade and cross guard and arrived in the condition described. The original invoice (minus any personal information) was included with the sword and it told me that it was shipped out from Albion in April of 2014, so at the time of the writing of this review, its only about 3 months old. Judging by the stains on the sword it seems to me that the original owner handled the sword but did not wipe it down or keep it oiled as the marks looked like finger prints etc. This review and pictures are of the sword after I spent time refinishing the blade. Please keep this in mind that this is NOT a factory new Albion with a from factory finish. I however feel I did come very close to replicating the factory finish as I compared it to an Albion I already owned that has a perfect factory finish, and they are nearly the same. Its probably now 90% back to that level of finish if I had to give it a grade.

Specifications
Overall length - 44"
Blade length - 35"
Blade width at cross - 1 7/8"
Grip length - 6 1/4"
Weight - 2 lbs 12 oz
POB - 4 1/2"

Blade
The blade is just under 2" at the guard and tapers slightly towards the point, but not greatly so. The tip is of a spatulate profile and is not going to win any contests for being the most pointy. The blade as mentioned is really designed with cutting in mind. The distal taper is significant - 5 mm at the base. 4 mm about 1/2 the length down. 2 mm at the tip. It has an extremely sharp edge that is 100% blended in with the blade proper, no secondary bevel.





Grip
The grip is Albion's Oxblood leather and is wrapped over an octagon cross section grip. The grip has a single riser in the middle and is quite comfortable. Its just about the perfect thickness for a sword such as this. Its not real thin as some Albion grips can be but definitely not thick and chunky. The octagon shape is a really nice feature, for the price of a new one, one would hope that there are lots of little extra attention to detail type characteristics and this is one of them. It really gives the sword a handsome look. At 6 1/4" long the grip may seem a tad too short but I feel with the lightness of the blade there is plenty of grip length to work with. I have medium to large hands and can easily get a very comfortable grip with both hands on, the bottom hand does overlap the pommel some but I am not really gripping the pommel when both hands are on. I feel for what this sword is (an early bastard sword really) the grip length is right in my mind and feels good whether using one hand or two.







Pommel
Similar to the grip, the pommel also has an octagon shape with sloping facets and is overall expertly done. It is one of the standout features of the sword. It is made of bronze. Seen from the side it tapers to a thinner cross section as it moves towards the peen block.







Cross Guard
The straight cross may be my favorite component of the sword. It has multiple facets as well, just like the grip and pommel and flares wider at the ends. The cross section really sets the cross guard off. Just off center of each quillon is a decorative element in the shape of a soft cube with file work on the edges that adds more texture and interest to the guard. The guard is really nicely done.



Performance
I was immediately stuck by how handy and light the sword in hand was. It can fairly easily be dealt with and wielded single-handed and with two hands becomes a wicked fast and responsive sword. Moving the sword at speed is surprising easy and quick. I feel that this sword would deal most targets deep and biting cuts when hit with speed and getting it up to high speeds takes almost no time at all.

Overall
This is an absolutely stunning sword in terms of all the visually appealing aspects of the various components. None of the parts could be considered plain and they all work really well together to create a very visually appealing and handsome sword. I think the handling is very interesting as it feels more to me like a heavier single-handed sword than some of the other XIIa or XIIIa's I previously mentioned. It is obviously smaller than many others of this type and fits an interesting niche of early bastard sword in my mind - easily used with one hand or two and would be a great all around sword for its time.






The church is near but the roads are icy. The tavern is far but I will walk carefully. - Russian Proverb
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Bryan Heff




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

Posts: 358

PostPosted: Wed 09 Jul, 2014 4:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some additional pictures and some comparison pics.


Del Tin Late 13 Century Sword (5 1/4" grip), Albion Baron (7 1/2" grip) and Albion Count (6 1/4" grip)




Similar pommel shapes up close



The church is near but the roads are icy. The tavern is far but I will walk carefully. - Russian Proverb
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 328

PostPosted: Wed 09 Jul, 2014 4:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's a nice sword but with it's short grip and smallish overall size I don't understand why it's billed as a XIIIA, it's a XIII.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 09 Jul, 2014 5:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike,

If you look in Records, most of the Type XIII blades are 32 inches or less, whereas the blade on the Count is nearly 35 inches. More importantly for distinguishing XIII from XIIIa, the grip on the Count looks a touch too long. If they shaved off an inch or an inch and a half, I think the grip would be a classic XIII. As it stands, both blade and grip are too long, so I feel XIIIa is more appropriate.
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 09 Jul, 2014 6:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice review, thanks. What do you think about the bronze pommel? I would rather have the steel version.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Jul, 2014 6:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Nice review, thanks. What do you think about the bronze pommel? I would rather have the steel version.


I also agree, very nice and useful review.

Oh, my Albion Sovereign purchased in 2004 has a bronze pommel that has now a very nice patina and I like the contrast with the rest of the steel sword and guard.

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




Location: Qualicum Beach, B.C., Canada
Joined: 09 Jan 2008
Reading list: 9 books

Posts: 106

PostPosted: Wed 09 Jul, 2014 7:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice acquisition! Im jealous, the Count is at the top of my wishlist, Very helpful review, thank you.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 09 Jul, 2014 8:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Nice review, thanks. What do you think about the bronze pommel? I would rather have the steel version.


Initially, I did not like bronze pommels on swords. I came to realize, though, that bronze pommels have qualities that make them an elegant addition to a sword. For one thing, if nothing else, a bronze pommel adds variety in a collection that is otherwise dominated by steel pommels. Second, bronze, being fairly close to gold in colour, has an elegance that the more silver steel pommels lack. If you put the same pair of earrings side by side, one in silver, the other in gold, the gold will look more sophisticated. Paired well with a red grip, an oxblood grip, or even a brown grip, a bronze pommel effectively complements that colour in a way that steel pommels cannot.
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Bryan Heff




Location: Philadelphia
Joined: 04 Mar 2012
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Posts: 358

PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2014 4:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig really summed up the bronze pommel well. I like it for the reasons already stated. It's different than your standard steel pommel and so adds variety to a collection. I think it looks good, especially with the either red or oxblood grips. I don't think I would want bronze fittings for most swords, but for some I think it works well, and for the Count that is a war sword that seems to have gotten fitted out in a more elegant way than a lot of the other models, I think it works really well.
The church is near but the roads are icy. The tavern is far but I will walk carefully. - Russian Proverb
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William Swiger




Location: Reston, VA
Joined: 23 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2014 10:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Excellent sword. Thanks for posting up the pictures!
Non Timebo Mala
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2014 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
J.D. Crawford wrote:
Nice review, thanks. What do you think about the bronze pommel? I would rather have the steel version.


Initially, I did not like bronze pommels on swords. I came to realize, though, that bronze pommels have qualities that make them an elegant addition to a sword. For one thing, if nothing else, a bronze pommel adds variety in a collection that is otherwise dominated by steel pommels. Second, bronze, being fairly close to gold in colour, has an elegance that the more silver steel pommels lack. If you put the same pair of earrings side by side, one in silver, the other in gold, the gold will look more sophisticated. Paired well with a red grip, an oxblood grip, or even a brown grip, a bronze pommel effectively complements that colour in a way that steel pommels cannot.


I can see your points, I just happen to like the color of steel. (And my wife happens to prefer white gold over yellow gold so we are on the same page with rings etc.!) At any rate, this is one of the very few swords that come with either option so everyone should be happy.
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Jeremy V. Krause




Location: Buffalo, NY.
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2014 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I really appreciate this sword and would love to handle one some day.

It's really a handsome one.
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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 26 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2014 4:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They (the Count and Steward) are light, sweet and lively. Two handed cuts, single handed cuts and combinations of the two flow together very naturally. Not a thrusty sword, obviously, but it behaves a little bit like some of the later bidenhanders: keep it in motion and it will surprise you.
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Jim B Williams




Location: Virginia
Joined: 29 May 2013

Posts: 25

PostPosted: Fri 11 Jul, 2014 12:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a Steward and it really is one of the most pleasant handling swords I've used. I really like the bronze pommel. Are you making a scabbard for it?
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Bryan Heff




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

Posts: 358

PostPosted: Fri 11 Jul, 2014 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jim B Williams wrote:
I have a Steward and it really is one of the most pleasant handling swords I've used. I really like the bronze pommel. Are you making a scabbard for it?


I am sure I will but have no immediate plans to do so. Happy

The church is near but the roads are icy. The tavern is far but I will walk carefully. - Russian Proverb
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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
Joined: 06 Feb 2012
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Posts: 339

PostPosted: Wed 23 Jul, 2014 6:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Indeed, I chose the bronze pommel for my Albion Prince with a blue grip wrap. Very elegant and as stated, it's a nice contrast in a sea of steel.
Bryan, thanks for the informative review of your beautiful yet mighty Count.

Jon


A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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