Windlass Musketeer
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Last week I placed an order with Kult of Athena for one of these. This was done mainly for two reasons: boredom and the need to scratch an itch. I've always been curious about this particular sword, and I wanted something with which to occupy myself while waiting on delivery of my Albion Principe. At a cost of $199.95 this wasn't a significant outlay for me so off the order went. I don't have any expectations where Windlass products are concerned and I anticipated playing around with this one for a bit, then moving it along.

Shipping was the typical KoA experience: quick and secure. I immediately found the Musketeer to be both surprising and frustrating. Surprising because it's quite nice for a Windlass product, and frustrating because Windlass can do this on the rare occasion, but can't seem to be bothered to do it consistently.

The hilt is a fairly straight forward rendition of Normans Type 83, rendered at a level of accuracy unusual for Windlass products. The hilt components are bolted and screwed together as the originals often are. The hilt also features a metal tube that acts as a sleeve over the ricasso, a feature also found on many originals. The entire assembly is solid and cleanly executed. The proportions of the hilt are also nicely executed. Rapier replicas often suffer from being over built especially in the lower price points. Fortunately the Musketeer avoids this. The wire grip is also well done and nicely shaped. To my knowledge, no other company produces a replica of this style, a point that helped create my sense of curiosity about the Musketeer.

The hilt components are nickel plated and I could honestly live without that. However, it is well done and aids in the assemblies clean appearance. I don't find this hilt design to be the most graceful or aesthetically pleasing option. It's always struck me as a workmanlike and soldierly design, so the shiny plating seems a bit misplaced. I would have preferred an unplaited hilt I could age up, or tone down to a more subdued appearance. The french cross etched into the guard plates are also a misnomer. The Type 83 is mainly found in areas of spanish influence and it certainly isn't french, and any connection with the Musketeers is part of Winslasses typical creative license.

Small as it is, my main point of criticism lies with the blade. The first three inches are formed into a blunt ricasso. I can only assume this was done to add visual detail, as it's irrelevant when used with a hilt like this. The next few inches of the blade feature an hexagonal cross section, before transitioning into a diamond cross section for the rest of the blades length. This adds unneeded mass, and weight, to the blade. I actually find its handling qualities to be fairly nice, so this is a rather small point. On the other hand, if Windlass had chosen to use a slightly longer blade with a diamond cross section for its entire length, as well as a bit more profile taper, they really would have had something. Be that as it may, the blade seems to feature a good level of heat treatment and these details don't really compromise function.

All in all my criticisms of the Musketeer are fairly small, especially at this price level. I consider the sword a real value at the KoA price. The design is well executed and solid with a level of accuracy not found with many Indian made replicas. I find it to be superior to anything else at a commensurate price point, and better than some others costing more. I think the Musketeer will stick around in my collection a bit longer than I thought it would.

A small point of interest for movie buffs: in the movie Alatriste Viggo Mortenson uses a rapier with a similar hilt.
This looks better in person than in the catalogs. Not having seen one in person. it is great that some have taken time (and the plunge) to look at this model.

My one concern on this one over time would be the plating. I suppose if one always wear gloves, it would end up being a non-issue, while at the same time make dusting/wiping clean of fingerprints a good thing.


The plating seems to be well done. I removed the pommel and scored its underside to check the hilts base metal (which is brass as confirmed with an e-mail to MRL). That took a bit of effort and I doubt it would start flaking anytime soon. Not a top tier piece, but definitely better than the asking price would indicate.
I also held this in my land last weekend during a Hakkapeliitta fair and found it to be a nice piece. Did not have much time with it, as there was a line of people waiting their turn, but I was relatively impressed with it.

Not worthy to replace my A&A Gustav Vasa, though...
I believe you could chemically darken the nickle to tone it down. I believe Birchwood Casey makes a solution for this to use on firearms.
This was nice to see....Thank you, Patrick! I've been eyeing this for a good while now. I may have to bite also. Good job!....McM
Mark Moore wrote:
This was nice to see....Thank you, Patrick! I've been eyeing this for a good while now. I may have to bite also. Good job!....McM

Thanks Mark.

I'm awaiting delivery on an A&A rapier. The Musketeer isn't at that level, but it's a pretty good deal at $200.00

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