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Sonny Suttles
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Location: Grapevine Texas
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jan, 2007 5:28 pm    Post subject: Valiant Armoury         Reply with quote

Greetings all,
My name is Sonny Suttles. In October of last year, the owner of a company named ProCut (Bob Miller) passed away. ProCut was a distributor of many knife and cutlery brands as well as the philippine made Sword line known as Valiant Armoury. In November of last year I purchased the Valiant Armoury line from the Miller family.
The line will now be distributed and sold from my offices in Grapevine, Texas and we will continue to supply all of the dealers as ProCut did before.

Coming Changes:
We will be introducing 6 new sword models this summer with more to come in the fall.
We will be retiring several of the older models as the run out of stock.
Changes to current model will be made based on information gathers at this forum.
This is a unique opportunity for input from many different sources to have a direct impact on one of the "Production Sword Companies"

What I would like from the fine forum users at myArmoury.com:
constructive input on how best to improve the line to have it become a well trusted entry level sword company.
I am open minded and I have read the post here critical of Valiant Armoury, I know many aspects of the swords need to improve.
This is a new start for the line and I believe that with constructive input from this forum, Valiant armoury can become a line of swords that in its own niche can be respected and well thought of.

Thanks for you time,

Sonny Suttles
Valiant Armoury
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Jeremiah Swanger




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 1:15 am    Post subject: Re: Valiant Armoury         Reply with quote

Sonny Suttles wrote:
Greetings all,
My name is Sonny Suttles. In October of last year, the owner of a company named ProCut (Bob Miller) passed away. ProCut was a distributor of many knife and cutlery brands as well as the philippine made Sword line known as Valiant Armoury. In November of last year I purchased the Valiant Armoury line from the Miller family.
The line will now be distributed and sold from my offices in Grapevine, Texas and we will continue to supply all of the dealers as ProCut did before.

Coming Changes:
We will be introducing 6 new sword models this summer with more to come in the fall.
We will be retiring several of the older models as the run out of stock.
Changes to current model will be made based on information gathers at this forum.
This is a unique opportunity for input from many different sources to have a direct impact on one of the "Production Sword Companies"

What I would like from the fine forum users at myArmoury.com:
constructive input on how best to improve the line to have it become a well trusted entry level sword company.
I am open minded and I have read the post here critical of Valiant Armoury, I know many aspects of the swords need to improve.
This is a new start for the line and I believe that with constructive input from this forum, Valiant armoury can become a line of swords that in its own niche can be respected and well thought of.

Thanks for you time,

Sonny Suttles
Valiant Armoury



Hi Sonny!

Welcome to myArmoury, and the arms-and-armor industry, for that matter!

I recently did a Google search on Valiant Armoury and THIS is what I found. Is that the line you're talking about?

If so, your best bet is to start researching articles from the Western Martial Arts community, regarding how swords were actually used, and what they should feel like. How a sword "feels" in the hand may sound subjective, but it is very important to collectors and WMA practitioners, whom are becoming more sophisticated and more demanding as they increase in number. The ARMA (Association for the Renaissance Martial Arts) would be a good place to start said research.

In terms of the appearance and handling of a sword, you will certainly want to check out "The Sword in the Age of Chivalry" by Ewart Oakeshott, whose classification system is now the gold standard amongst collectors and industry professionals. Well-established sword-makers, like Gus Trim, Tinker Pierce, Arms & Armor, and Albion Armorers all use the Oakeshott typology in their descriptions.

I don't know how they feel about aiding their own competition, but I don't think it would hurt to try to talk to some of the world-renowned experts who post on this forum from time to time.

The very best thing you can do is, admittedly, something I haven't been able to arrange as of yet, and that is to actually go to the Philly art museum, or the Metropolitan, and actually handle an original.

Take careful note of the lines, shapes, and proportions of a sword. As an entry-level line of swords, I think your product can quickly rise above the competition simply by LOOKING more like a historical original than your immediate competition.

Also, it should be noted that percussion weapons (maces, hammers, flails, etc), polearms, and axes seem to be growing in popularity rather quickly.

There are many people on this forum that know a heck of a lot more than I do, but I hope I've been at least somewhat helpful.

Best of luck!
Jeremiah

"Rhaegar fought nobly.
Rhaegar fought valiantly.
Rhaegar fought honorably.
And Rhaegar died."

- G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
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Sonny Suttles
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 5:57 am    Post subject: Re: Valiant Armoury         Reply with quote

Thanks Jeremiah,
As I said in my original post I am looking for advice. I think your post is a good start. I would like to note that this will take time. I have six new swords I had planned to introduce this summer, I think I will take your advice and study up on the information you suggested to make sure Valiant Swords are as good as they can be from the standpoint of being manufactured in the philippines. Please keep the advice coming.
I also read you signature quote... One of my favorite books of all time. GRRM just signed an option with HBO to produce a series from the books and I know that he also signed a deal to license the swords and knives described in the books.
And no its not Valiant Making them.

Thanks,
Sonny Suttles
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 8:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sonny,

The advice I would offer is to know who you are making your money from, and keep that in mind when asking anybody for advice on how things should be done differently. It might be more useful to get some background from folks who reply.

Are they a Valiant customer?
Why?
Why not?

I'm not a Valiant customer.

When I started collecting my desire for at least an appearance of histroical accuracy quickly move beyond what the Valiant product line could provide at the time. After I moved up market, I stayed up market. There were very few instances when I have been inclined to consider entry level products over the last few years.

The things I am am likely to suggest might take you far away from the base of customers that support Valiant with no certainty of getting me or anybody else as a replacement. I do think that if you could find a way to do the MRL/Windlass product variety and look, without the quality crapshoot, at 10-20 points less you could make things interesting in the entry market. Upmarket too for that matter.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy


Last edited by Joe Fults on Sun 21 Jan, 2007 7:31 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 9:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Before asking for advice and opinions you need to provide more information.

Do you intend to keep Valiant Armory products in their current price range or go for a higher end product?

What part of the market are you aiming for?

"Who" is your perceived customer base? The first time sword buyer, the martial artist, the ren. faire attendee, etc.?

These are the kinds of things we need to know so as to give workable criticism rather than just our personal pipe dreams.


Last edited by Patrick Kelly on Sun 21 Jan, 2007 11:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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Michael Eging




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 10:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think for me, when looking even at bargain price weapons, I look for a mix of historical accuracy, as well as the quality of the assembly. I look for products that will likely have the historic elements and assembled in a quality manner. I have had cheaper pieces that the peen loosened up after a couple of sessions of non-contact handling, etc. Construction materials, the actual fit and finish of the assembly work are all important to me. Put that in a package that has historical dimesions and I would likely consider a the product. But as some of the previous posters noted, I have been disappointed with low-end products in general and have saved the little extra to go upline a bit to get the mixture of accuracy and quality assembly I am looking for.

Good luck on the venture.

Cool

My two cents....

M. Eging
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 10:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd second Patrick's recommendation to find out more of what niche you're looking to hit and why. Your target audience may not be us. Happy

If it is this crowd, then most of us expect a higher level of attention to detail and quality of materials and design than we usually see in lower-end swords. Hilt assemblies need to be as historical and durable as possible. Handling properties need to be appropriate for the type; this involves, partially, closely watching the weight of the item. Many lower-end swords are over-heavy. A close study of originals will always be good. Hands-on study even better. Buy as many quality books as possible and get an idea of the proportions of authentic swords.

Whether you want fairly to sell exact copies of extant originals or simply historically plausible swords is up to you and your market.

If you'd like, you're welcome to submit some swords for unbiased hands-on reviews. Please Contact us, we'd be happy to discuss this with you.

Happy

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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 10:26 am    Post subject: Re: Valiant Armoury         Reply with quote

Welcome, Sonny!

Sonny Suttles wrote:
... What I would like from the fine forum users at myArmoury.com:
constructive input on how best to improve the line to have it become a well trusted entry level sword company....

With this in mind, I think that Joe Fults had some good comments.

The biggest issue that I had, when I first became interested in this hobby, was the sloppy workmanship on some entry level pieces that I bought. If the pieces had arrived looking and feeling as advertised, I would have been quite happy. As it was, they were returned, and I haven't been back to that source. However, earlier I did purchase a couple of entry level pieces that, while not perfect, were well made. They were simple, rather than complex designs, and pretty accurate in historic proportions, e.g. blade profile, shape of guard/pommel/grip, weight, POB, so they handled acceptably, if not on the order of a high-end performance sword. Like Joe Fults, I have similarly moved on to high end pieces, but I still have those old entry level swords (will probably use them for improvement projects someday).

So, in my view, yes, you should look at historical accuracy of form and handling as much as you can. But I think that emphasis on tight quality standards is very important, so that your buyers know what to expect when they purchase your product.

I hope that helps.

"...dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly."
- Sir Toby Belch
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 10:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!
Sonny,

Being someone who can only afford "lower end" replicas right now, I'll give you my take on what I would like to see (and the flaws I've seen in lower-end swords):

-crosses fitting snugly to the shoulders of the blade. Some places do this better than others; Museum Replicas often has an overly large gap where the cross meets the shoulders of the blade. This causes a "ding" when the blade is swung, and can lead to trouble down the road. It should fit fairly close. (I had an early Windlass Museum Replicas sword that had no slot for the shoulders - that one was very poorly constructed.)

-at least a small radius at the juncture of tang and shoulders of the blade. Again, Museum Replicas is often bad with this; a factor that can severely shorten a swords working life if done badly. Even a small radius helps reduce stress at that important juncture.

-no "rat-tail" tangs; in other words, no welded-on threaded rods. Museum Replicas has gotten much better about having full tangs on their swords, but others sometimes do not. I had a large thrusting sword from another "lower-end" company, the Templar Sword, that had a short stub of a tang. The rest was a welded-on rat tail. This could lead to breakage pretty quickly.

-peened on pommels. I have at least one Museum Replicas sword that has a screwed-on pommel. This can have a tendency to move around if it's not treated with epoxy or something similar. Many Museum Replicas swords today have a nut that tightens over the threaded end of the tang. This is an improvement, but things can still move around. I think this is partly due to the loose fit of the tang through the hole in the pommel. The better Museum Replicas sword seem to have a peened on pommel with a flat tang that goes through a slot in the pommel instead of a round hole. These seem to fit together better. Historically, medieval swords tended to have the end of the tang peened over the pommel.

-more fullered blades. There seems to be a tendency among the lower-end makers to make many models of later medieval blades of a diamond cross-section, and fewer fullered blades. How many type XVIII's can one really have? I would love to see a lower-end maker offer a broad selection like that offered by Albion.

-grips that fit snugly onto the tang, in other words, no twisting grip cores. Museum Replicas grips often loosen because they fit them rather sloppily over the tang. Everything is compression-fitted, so it might feel tight at first, but loosen up over time. I usually shim up every museum Replicas grip so it doesn't have the potential to twist.

-fairly decent balance and weight. This can be subjective at times, but real functional swords have a certain feel. Many people feel that Museum Replicas doesn't get this quite right (and they apparently aren't as nicely balanced as higher-end products - I say apparently because I've never handled higher-end products, unfortunately), but they are usable in terms of handling. Sometimes they tend to make their thrusting swords and cut-and-thrust swords too light, but their cutting swords seem pretty good, depending on the model.

-keep the designs within historical parameters (at least for your historical stuff). Again, Museum Replicas was pretty good about this, but they are starting to stray. Use less brass for hilt components; it was used occasionally (there is a thread about this where I posted many examples of copper-alloy being used as hilt components), but iron or steel were far more common. Pommels and crosses should look like those found on historical swords.

-blades that are properly tempered. Museum Replicas seems to be pretty good about this, but I once had a really cheap "wall-hanger" (my first sword that I bought something like 15 years ago - it's buried in the ground now) that would take a set if bent. This was indicative of poor tempering, or no tempering (among other things).

-natural grip covering material. Museum Replicas often uses "pleather' as a grip cover. It doesn't work as well as natural leather. You can find threads here about grip re-do projects. A better grip cover would definitely be a bonus.

I don't know if you could really do this and still keep within your current price range, but I think utilizing these suggestions would make for a better product. Unlike some other who respomnded, I don't have the disposable income to purchase swords that cost $600, $700, $800, or even $1,000 or more. I think I'm not alone; I think there must be others like me out there that would love a decent product at a more reachable price. By the way, for those who might bring it up, I am aware of Albion's Squire line, but even $350 is a bit much for me right now! Most of the Museum Replicas sword I bought were closeouts, and I'm only able to get those once or twice a year at best.

Chad Arnow wrote:
I'd second Patrick's recommendation to find out more of what niche you're looking to hit and why. Your target audience may not be us.

I hope people like me, with less disposable income than some of you guys, also belong here on the forums! Wink
Somebody like me may certainly be part of his target audience, depending upon the final cost.

Maybe my suggestions are just dreaming, but I think it's worth trying to get a better low-end product out there.

I hope this helped!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar


Last edited by Richard Fay on Sun 21 Jan, 2007 10:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 10:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Fay wrote:

Chad Arnow wrote:
I'd second Patrick's recommendation to find out more of what niche you're looking to hit and why. Your target audience may not be us.

I hope people like me, with less disposable income than some of you guys, also belong here on the forums! Wink
Somebody like me may certainly be part of his target audience, depending upon the final cost.


Richard,
His target may be not the historical crowd. It may be fantasy fans, or ren faire attendees who only need costume pieces, etc. It's not all about cost. I was making a blanket statement that most of us here desire historically-based weapons. That may not be his intent. We don't know. That's my point. I said nothing about cost.

Happy

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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
His target may be not the historical crowd. It may be fantasy fans, or ren faire attendees who only need costume pieces, etc. It's not all about cost. I was making a blanket statement that most of us here desire historically-based weapons. That may not be his intent. We don't know. That's my point. I said nothing about cost.


Chad,

I will agree that most of us here desire historically-accurate weapons. In fact, I have been dismayed by some of Museum Replicas latest offerings, because they just don't look as "right" as some of their pieces in the past. I just wanted to make sure that Sonny knew that there are people who might like to see more historically-accurate "lower-end" products. For someone barely scraping by, cost does become an important factor in their decision about what to buy. It may be an unfortunate fact, but I can't justify the expense of an Albion or Arms & Armour piece at the moment. And when you're talking $200 swords versus $600 swords, cost can become a factor. It's just a fact of life.

If Sonny's audience is more the Renaissance fair or fantasy crowd, then his focus should be different. However, if I recall from searching for products in the past, Valiant Armoury makes swords supposedly historical in nature. If that's the case, maybe he could expand his market into people who wish to have a more accurate piece.

If Sonny has a chance to make an improved product, then why not? Costume pieces don't have to be ill-balanced, heavy, and of shoddy construction. I hang my swords on my wall, and handle then only occasionally, but I do wish to have pieces that look and feel similar to their historical counterparts. The historical aspect of it is very important to me!

By the way, I also want to echo what Steve said about quality control. A consistently decent product is definitely a must. Museum Replicas is better lately in this regard, but they had some serious quality-control issues a few years ago. They still occasionally get a flawed sword sneaking through.

(By the way, Chad, I wasn't sure exactly what you meant, thus the winking smiley. I was being only half-serious with my comment about belonging. I had better belong here, with the amount I post! Laughing Out Loud If not, what the heck have I been doing all this time? Worried )

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Sonny Suttles
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 11:33 am    Post subject: Valiant Armoury         Reply with quote

First let me say that I am very please by the quick responses I have seen. I think Chad has a lot of important ideas for us to consider here at Valiant Armoury. It is way too early to tell but I think that in the future I might have to have a mid-level line to go along with what we are currently offering. I think that all input is valued whether it pertains to the lower end of the scale buyer or the person who wants historically accurate swords that are balanced and well made. Coming from a production viewpoint I am sure that the folks at Albion and makers like Angus Trim will tell you that all of the quality comes at a price. What I need to focus on first is refining and improving the swords currently offered and maybe starting a mid-level line in the future. Leaving the higher end stuff to those better skilled and knowledgeable i.e. Albion, Trim, etc.....

Thanks
Sonny
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 2:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sonny Suttles wrote:
... Coming from a production viewpoint I am sure that the folks at Albion and makers like Angus Trim will tell you that all of the quality comes at a price. What I need to focus on first is refining and improving the swords currently offered ....

I would like to clarify my comment about “...emphasis on tight quality standards.” I am not talking about the quality associated with product content, such as fine historical details, precisely setting non-uniform distal taper specs, etc. I am simply talking about producing and distributing products that meet the expectations of your customers. Consider failures like these:

- a tang breaks, or perhaps the blade bends and takes a set, while cutting pumpkins, or
- hilt components come loose after a few form exercises, or
- a customer receives a brand-new sword with hilt components covered with cracks, burn marks and other obvious casting defects.

Quality failures like these won’t just upset the high end customers!

"...dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly."
- Sir Toby Belch
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Sonny Suttles
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 3:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve,
Absolutely I agree with you. I guess what I meant was that it would be unreasonable for a customer to by a Valiant Armoury sword at is recommended price but expect a sword of the quality of say an Angus Trim. I am not sure what true expectations a buyer should have on a 200.00 sword. I was searching through the forums and I found a link where a guy beat the heck out of a tire with swords to judge their quality. I can't imagine that this is really a viable means to judge any sword even one costing thousands of dollars.

Sonny
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sonny,
Thanks for your posts and your willingness to subject yourself to this. Happy For me, price ranges dictate the level of compromise I should expect. I don't expect the same things out of a $200 as a $700 sword.

I think solidity of construction should never be a compromise. Hilts shouldn't fail under normal use because of design flaws or poor quality control. This means no tiny tangs and no welds, while radiusing the shoulders to eliminate a stress point there. Grips shouldn't rotate around the tang, etc. Blades should be made of an acceptable steel with a good temper, and anytime you can eliminate issues with inconsistency/quality control in heat-treat, you'll come out ahead. I expect these things out of any sword I buy, regardless of price.

Where the $200 swords should differ from $700 swords is in the little details: subtle shapings, amount of detail included, level of overall finish, dedication to absolute historical accuracy, etc. A $200 sword should exhibit decent handling characteristics, appropriate distal taper, and fall in the proper weight range for the type. It should be able to hold up to cutting pool noodles, water-filled 2-liter bottles, and probably tatami mats without loosening or failure.

Where sub-$300 swords get bad reputations is in inconsistent heat-treat, over-heaviness, and hilt failures. Quality control dooms many of them, since the good swords are over-shadowed by the bad ones that slip through QC.

Happy

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GG Osborne




PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 4:05 pm    Post subject: Valiant Armory         Reply with quote

Welcome, Sonny....glad to have you with us. I see a number of the older hands like Chad, Joe, etc. have spoken and their advice is spot on. However, I am what is affectionately ( I hope!) called on this Forum a "baskethead", meaning a deep affection for all things Scottish.

Personally, I would welcome a line of Scottish baskethilts in a mid-range price. If you consider a model or two for us, here are my suggestions:

1. Please, please, please, do not make the basket overly large. Most modern replicas from MRL and Hanwai are a quarter to a third bigger than they ought to be. The biggest offender in a long time is the now discontinued Hanwai "Sterling Hilt" which was twice as big as the originals. The basket should fit an average hand like a metal fist.

2. Please keep the weight reasonable. Some of these reproductions come in at 3.5 - 4.0 lbs. Shoot for a maximum of 2 lbs with a good temper blade. The blade issue is important as, at the least, it should bend and return to true.

3. No chrome! Please, no chrome. Or stainless steel for that matter! Just plain old polished steel is great. A nice version of the same hilt in brass would be nice as well.

Sonny, there are fewer of us than the medieval crowd, but the only choices for someone just starting a collection (right now at least) is two models from Paul Chen and a brass hilt from MRL. Of the two, the Paul Chen is much better but very plain and the hilt is stainless steel. The MRL is way, way too heavy and big.

If you could make a nice Glasgow or even a Walter Allen hilt at a reasonable price, perhaps, with a variation of two blade choices (backsword and broadsword) on a steel or brass hilt, you could assemple a variety of models off four pieces.

Finally Paul Chen offers nice rayskin grips, but they polish the ray until all texture is lost. If you should specify ray for the grips, ask the manufacturer to not remove too much of the skin's texture.

All-in-all, I suppose, I am describing a sword for an individual who cannot afford an Armourclass or Donnie Sheare model, much less some thing from the cream de la cream crowd, but wants an authentic piece and appreciates reasonable quality versus price point.

Best of luck...and thanks for asking...I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say we appreciate being asked beforehad just HOW we want to spend our money.

George

"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 4:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is a link to our hands-on review of a Valiant Armoury Merceneary sword: http://www.myArmoury.com/review_vala_merc.html
Happy

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 4:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Valiant Armory         Reply with quote

GG Osborne wrote:

Personally, I would welcome a line of Scottish baskethilts in a mid-range price. If you consider a model or two for us, here are my suggestions:

1. Please, please, please, do not make the basket overly large. Most modern replicas from MRL and Hanwai are a quarter to a third bigger than they ought to be. The biggest offender in a long time is the now discontinued Hanwai "Sterling Hilt" which was twice as big as the originals. The basket should fit an average hand like a metal fist.

2. Please keep the weight reasonable. Some of these reproductions come in at 3.5 - 4.0 lbs. Shoot for a maximum of 2 lbs with a good temper blade. The blade issue is important as, at the least, it should bend and return to true.

3. No chrome! Please, no chrome. Or stainless steel for that matter! Just plain old polished steel is great. A nice version of the same hilt in brass would be nice as well.


George


Well Mr. Osborne,
I would be happy to entertain your suggestions. I would appreciate some illustrations or images as to what it is exactly you are looking for. I can then consider whether that particular sword has a demand great enough to be considered for production in quantity. I am willing to produce a sword even if it is a slower seller so long as it can meet certain price structures.

Sonny
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Sonny Suttles
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 4:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Chad,
I think it would be helpful for me to get reviews on all of Valiant's swords. This would enable me to have changes made where appropriate and reasonable. I have admit that as a retailer that carried Valiant prior to buying the line, I never cared for the Mercenary. I think that that sword can be improved base on information from that review.
As I said before... Any critique is welcome whether it is good or bad.

Thanks
Sonny
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 5:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think a lesson can be learned by looking at the Chinese katana market.

When shopping for a katana, many people shake their heads at some of the Chinese offerings and say "They just don't get it! Can't they see the difference between their swords and the real things? Must I go down there and slap them around and say 'Look! Right there! Why can't you see that?!?!?'".

The key is, attention to detail. When someone who doesn't know swords looks a sword, all the details blend together and that person honestly cannot see what sets one apart from the other. I have a friend who is a western martial artist and a sword enthusiast. He loves Angus Trim swords, and he has one. I can take his sword and swap out guard, pommels, handles, even the blade...and as long as I don't change the color of the hanlde, or the general shape of the blade, he won't know anything has changed by looking at the sword (if I've changed the blade and he picks it up, he will of course know).

Think about that...I can swap out the fittings of his sword, and he will never know. If you take one of my swords (or that of most of the forum members here) and change the pommel nut for a different style nut, I'll know before you finish handing me the sword. Why? Attention to detail.

You need to spend a lot of time studying the offerings of the likes of Albion, Angus Trim and Arms and armor, as well as antiques, until the subtle variations jump out at you like neon signs. Not because you want to follow their lead or copy them, but because studying them is a good way to develop the ability to see detail, just like working in an automotive body shop will let you see the subtle variations in paint jobs.

Take a little test...go to Albion's page and look at their single hand swords. Do they all look pretty much the same except for colors and types of fittings? If so, you need to spend two hours at least studying the differences. Read Oakeshott's books, familiarize yourself with the different blade types and how they were used. Then and only then, after you gain the ability to see details, should you design swords for your new line. Trust me, it will pay off.


Last edited by Michael Edelson on Sun 21 Jan, 2007 7:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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