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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Sun 19 Jun, 2016 7:45 pm    Post subject: How is the quality of the Valiant armory swords?         Reply with quote

Its been a long time since they have been on my radar, they used to have a website that didn't function and I couldn't find anyone who actually sold their swords but I remembered them recently and found that they now have a well designed and user friendly website with a new selection of swords that look great in the photos.

The bar for my collecting tastes has been pretty high, I have some of the more high end types, not customs but I'm not so keen on spending those kind of prices at the moment. The Valiant armory swords aren't cheap but they are still about half or 2/3rds the price of others.

With that being said are they well constructed swords? Are they just as good for less, or are they less for less?
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Jun, 2016 8:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In my opinion, they are the best of the mid-priced swords. Not as good as Albion or A&A, but better than Del Tin, Darksword, Hanwei. You also get a pretty good scabbard included in that price.
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Eric Allen




Location: Texas
Joined: 04 Feb 2006

Posts: 207

PostPosted: Sun 19 Jun, 2016 8:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As with everything, whether it's a good fit for you depends on what you want out of a sword.

I handled a Valiant Armory Monarch at the Scarborough Faire renn-fair earlier this year. The hilt seemed pretty nice, and the scabbard was really nice. The blade, however, was sort of "meh." Had no real shaping to it, and almost seemed to me to be an afterthought. Almost like it was a sword-shaped metal blank. It was about as sharp as a butter knife (so, too thin to be considered a "blunt"--especially for practice purposes--but too dull to be really "sharp".)

I get the feeling that with Valiant, their main selling point is the furniture and scabbards (and the scabbards are nice), not so much the utility. Would look stunning on the hip, but might not feel the best in the hand, if you get my meaning.

But that's just my initial impressions.
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Michael Kelly





Joined: 22 Sep 2015

Posts: 57

PostPosted: Mon 20 Jun, 2016 6:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a VA Knights Templar longsword. And while I may not be the best judge of quality as it's my first and currently only sword (tho I do have 2 from Albion on order) I really like it. It appears well made, cuts clean, and is an attractive piece. My only complaint is it seems to have a lot of flex in the blade. But again, I have nothing to compare it against so take that with a grain of salt.

I'd certainly buy from them again, but I wish their blades were a lil stiffer... But maybe when I finally get my hands on my Albion sword I'll realize the flex issue is all my my novice head.
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Mon 20 Jun, 2016 7:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
Not as good as A&A...

Given the significant QA problems at A&A, I would argue otherwise. I think the Valiant swords are better.

The Valiant scabbards leave a lot to be desired, though. While very pretty, their scabbards are not very historical.
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Nicolas Gauthier




Location: Quebec city
Joined: 18 Oct 2012

Posts: 31

PostPosted: Mon 20 Jun, 2016 8:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I used to own the valiant armory Savoy. I think they make nice sword for the price. But they could have more historic accuracy.

im no expert, but i think the fuller on most of their blade model is too narrow.
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Jun, 2016 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry Marinakis wrote:
Roger Hooper wrote:
Not as good as A&A...

Given the significant QA problems at A&A, I would argue otherwise. I think the Valiant swords are better.

.


Significant QA problems at A&A? I must disagree. Except for that recently much discussed bad tang weld, I haven't heard anything. I have bought a number of things from them over the years, and never encountered a QA problem.
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Jun, 2016 11:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I never had a VA sword, but I had an A&A sword and it was extremely well made sword. I think 99% of them are and bad ones are very isolated cases.
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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Mon 20 Jun, 2016 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry Marinakis wrote:
Roger Hooper wrote:
Not as good as A&A...

Given the significant QA problems at A&A, I would argue otherwise. I think the Valiant swords are better.

The Valiant scabbards leave a lot to be desired, though. While very pretty, their scabbards are not very historical.


I have not been impressed with A&A swords myself. My first sword's blade was way to soft, the edge got torn up on material it shouldn't have so I sent it back and ended up buying an entire new blade which came back to me overbuilt. It was now too blade heavy and the cross guard came loose too. For a price comparable to Albion, I was not happy one bit with them but maybe it was just a fluke with me, but it was enough to turn me off. I've bought other minor things from them such as a targe and a spear which are pretty good but the swords left a bad impression on me. This was a couple years ago, not recently.
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Robert Morgan




Location: Sunny SoCal
Joined: 10 Sep 2012

Posts: 84

PostPosted: Mon 20 Jun, 2016 5:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I own a Valiant I-Beam trainer, not a "real" sword, but I think my observations are relevant.

You'll get great customer service from Valiant. Communications are top notch They are also usually willing to customize their swords (different pommels and guards). Want a Bristol pommel but a Templar guard? Probably not an issue. For an added fee, I was able to customize my I-Beam with a fishtail pommel and curved Crecy guard. It certainly looks unique! I also asked about the possibility of getting a longer grip, like on my I-Beam and my Windlass Great Ouse, were I to order a Templar Longsword or an Irish Longsword, should that gorgeous design ever come back. Sonny said that he could probably do that. The fact that you get a choice between a peened and a screwed on pommel is also nice.

What I guess I'm trying to say is that in terms of customization (within reason) and communications, you won't find any better. As soon as my disability settlement arrives, I have to buy some HEMA gear and then a new sword, probably a Valiant longsword of some form with a longer grip. Fundage permitting, I will buy from Valiant again.

Bob
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Michael A. H.




Location: Earth
Joined: 18 Feb 2015

Posts: 39

PostPosted: Tue 21 Jun, 2016 1:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The first sword I got was a VA Hedemark before they did customisations, or had peened hilts (mine is still screwed together) - I agree on all the positive comments regarding the hilt furniture and scabbard. The sword weighs in at 1.35 kg, and the blade arrived ridiculously sharp - while giving it a few casual swings inside I hit a protuding wall corner near a door: one of those aluminum corner bars used in drywall framing of corners ... anyway, despite the fact that the sword just hit this aluminum bar near the blade tip with a casual flick of the blade, it went straight through the aluminum without any visible damage to the blade. The blade has been used (abused?) relatively often, even hacking on some dead tree trunks, and the sharp edge held up very well - I resharpened for the first time only recently, after almost 7 years, it actually did not really need it.

While this does not mean much, I find the blade very well done for a viking age sword, the heftyness not entirely wrong. It cuts nicely, has impressive blade presence (the blade being fairly stiff actually) because of the weight distribution, and is obviously made for a specific fighting style, by someone with a trained arm. My feeling is that although Norsemen did not usually fight from horseback, this blade would deliver devastating cuts when used from a horse.
The only criticism would be the grip is longer than it should be on this sword, compared to historical finds, and of course the screw to hold the hilt together.

Compared to my thre Albion swords (Reeve (1.06 kg), Oakshot (1.1 kg), and Agincourt (1.5kg)), yes it feels a bit like a quarter horse, specially compared to the Reeve, which is in essence of a related time period, but allows really fast sword movements. The Reeve has a significantly shorter, thinner blade of course. Even the Agincourt at 1.5 kg feels slightly more agile than the VA Hedemark, even with one hand, but then it has an entirely different blade geometry, more weight near the hilt, and is made for a very different fighting style. So when given the choice of having to fight with sword and shield for extended periods on foot with the Hedemark or the Reeve, I would pick the Reeve. Swinging a sword from horseback, specially while the horse is in motion, it would be the Hedemark. Btw., due to the slightly longer (anachronistic) grip on the Hedemark it can be gripped with a second hand on the pommel, so even on foot, swinging it with two hands, it could be a very nasty thing for someone to face.

So all in all, my experience with a VA sword is extremely positive considering that even with a very nice scabbard, it is significantly more affordable than my Albion.
My 2 cents :-)
Cheers,
Michael

Michael

"Its just the laudanum speaking." Stephen Maturin
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Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Jun, 2016 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great swords with real scabbards and belt systems. Punches well above it's weight class at ~$500, especially when you consider it to be a $300 sword with a $200 custom scabbard. They're the only other production swords that get cord wrapped and waisted grips correct besides A&A and Albion at 2-3x the price sans scabbard. And they come from VA with a fine properly sword sharp edge paired with correct blade geometries.

If you're used to high end swords, a VA won't seem out of place or substandard. They far outclass their direct competitors like Darksword. You aren't getting the crazy high level of research and historical accuracy of a Albion or the level of customization of an A&A, but Suttles definitely has an amazing eye for design. I own a bristol and as an XIV/short XVI mated to a V1 pommel and style 9 crossguard it is an agile, brutal cut and thrust sword that's put a smile on the face of everyone who's dry handled it.


Last edited by Tom King on Thu 23 Jun, 2016 10:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Jun, 2016 5:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

About 5 years ago I tried a couple of them - the Hedemark and the newer (XII) version of the Castile.

I agree with some of the comments made above about the blade not being up to the quality of the grip and scabbard, at least back then. I understand he has (or had) his blades made in Asia and then finishes them off. The Hedemark looked very nice, but the knobby grip bothered my fingers and the weight/balance hurt my wrist. That one went back. The Castile (which is only vaguely like the original) was more user friendly, but the blade was still a bit heavy and lacking in crisp dynamics, even compared to some lower priced swords. I sold the sword and used the scabbard (which alone was worth the price) for another sword.

That's a while back though. Some of the newer measurements look very promising. In particular, the special edition swords. Those blades look much like the more expensive work of Steven Lockwood, who has apparently worked with Valiant.

Check these out:

http://www.valiant-armoury.com/index.php?rout...mp;path=62
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Richard Miller




Location: Santa Barbara
Joined: 16 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Jun, 2016 10:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I really like everything that I've ever purchased from Sonny at Valiant. My downright favorite sword, regardless of manufacturer is my Brighton Sword. It's the most wicked little XVI ever! It weighs a mere 30.5 ounces, balances at about two inches and is lightning fast responsive.
I have not been easy on this little sword, but it has held up beautifully and has many, many good miles left in it.
Also, doing business with Sonny is a pleasure. Ten minutes with him and you feel as if your talking to an old friend.
They don't offer every kind of sword for every need, but if it can be made, they'll make it. Great products.
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Victor R.




Location: Spring, Texas
Joined: 28 Jan 2008
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 240

PostPosted: Wed 22 Jun, 2016 9:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael A. H. wrote:
The only criticism would be the grip is longer than it should be on this sword, compared to historical finds, and of course the screw to hold the hilt together.


Y'know if you are into customizing, you could probably peen it and take care of both of your issues with the hilt all at once. Wink

As for my VA experience, I owned a first-generation Kriegschwert (screw top). For the price, I was very happy with it, but eventually sent it to a new home. The sword itself was well done - fitted well, properly sharp. My only criticisms stemmed from percieved issues with the scabbard/suspension and grip: the leather seemed a bit "artificial" - too dry, not very supple, like it had been treated with something very caustic that had taken all of the natural oils out of it. It felt as if I might cut myself on the edges of the belt. The scabbard was *slightly* overbuilt and, unfortunately, the rivets just felt "too modern". It was just an aesthetics thing for me. I haven't seen any of their custom work or anything more recent than, what, 5 or 6 years ago, so those things may have changed. Then again, a full set-up for under $500 (I think I paid around $420) that was visually attractive, visually historically plausible and well built was a pretty good deal, nit-picky criticisms notwithstanding.

Based on Sonny's reputation, and given their location, I hope to one day visit and see about commissioning scabbards and suspensions for my Knecht and Soldat - they aren't far from where I have family and I head that way on regular occasion. The work they do looks good, and if the materials on their custom pieces have advanced to meet the quality of the rest of the product, then I'd be happy to get my work done by them.
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Julien M




Location: Austin TX
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jun, 2016 10:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've held a few of their first signature longswords at the KOA showroom a few years back.
I was impressed by the product seen as a full package at this price point. I think VA has a rather unique offer there that would suit entry to mid level sword enthusiasts. Lots of compromises, including from the historical standpoint - with scabbard looks deeply inspired by early C Fletcher works (which is no surprise since he designed their first signature series). But overall you get a product that looks high end - from some distance Happy
I was not favorably impressed by the blade either though, which I found thin, rather wimpy and uneven from the grinding standpoint.
My views are influenced by the fact that I'm definitely not looking for a full package - I look for the best blade and hilt components usually, take it all appart for customisation. As far as comparing to other makers, I find valiant to be better than windlass by a long shot, better than gen 2 by a long shot too. However these don't compare to A&A, as far as the blade is concerned at least, and I would disagree about hanwei too, as the tinker line was exceptional at a much lower price point.
In short, if you are looking for a nice package overall, that includes a quality scabbard, grip wrap, belt system, decent blade and usually very nice fittings at a very reasonable price - I don't think anyone does better than VA...but they are better blades out there for the same or at cheaper price (including the Albion squire line pricing at 500$ or so)
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