Impressions of Valiant Armoury's Castile
I've received one of Valiant Armoury's Signature Line Castiles, a production version of a prototype sword I made for them based on an Angus Trim Type Xa blade. How does it compare with the prototype in terms of aesthetics.....?

Blade: symmetry and lines are quite good. The main bevels and fuller ridges do show signs of hand forging but only when you sight down the length of the blade. Surface finish is a satin gloss which I actually find to be an improvement from the Atrim blade.

Hilt fittings: these are faithful castings from my original pieces and are generally well finished. The circular pommel face is a bit out of true as a result of the casting being wire brushed rather than ground on a contact wheel, something Valiant is working to address in their US workshop.

Grip: color and finish on the leatherwork is right on. Some of the subtlety of the grip shape hasn't translated from the original but this is a minor quibble.

Scabbard: in shape and cross-section the wood core is well done, though just slightly bulkier than my own work. As with the grip, the leather cover is quite nice in terms of color, detailing and finish. The leather appears to be notch lower in grade that what I use in my shop, however I have the luxury of selecting just the finest hide at my local Tandy and rejecting the rest. The only thing distinguishing the chape from my original is the lack of filed detailing, a minor omission.

Belt: top quality leather on these with crisp, clean edges and detailing. The section wrapping around the scabbard may be just a bit too thick. The buckle is a commonly available commercial design rather than the one I designed, but I understand reproducing my buckle wasn't possible within budget constraints.

Overall, I'm rather proud of my production Castile. I feel that Valiant Armoury has done an excellent job of capturing most of the aesthetics of my design and I'm looking forward to seeing production models of the other Signature Line models I've prototyped.

More photos of the production Castile can be seen here:

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I purchased on of these from my wholesaler a little over a month ago. Overall, I am pleased with it.

The pros on this sword are too numerous to mention, definately a far cry better than other production manufacturers out there. The scabbard is phenominal, it without a doubt is the finest scabbard out there in this price range. The sword itself is solidly built without the cheap feel of other similarily priced swords (and SLOs) out there.

I had very few cons against it, namely the edge could be a little finer and the grip wrap could be beveled to fit a little better. Other than those finer points, I like it and plan on getting all of the Signature Series sword offerings for myself.

Here are some fine detail pictures if any care to see.

Jonathan, great pics... they really show it off.
Very beautiful sword. I may have to invest in one.

A little more detail on The Castile and the differences between JE Sarge's Castile and the final version shown by Christian.

At a trade show last year that Christian attended with Valiant Armoury, we discussed using a black belt instead of the original brown. The contrast of the black on antiqued oxblood was the main reason. When we first started shipping out the production models they all went out with a black belt, which is why belt shown in JE Sarge's post is black.
We shipped a few out this way and started getting some feedback. Some liked the black belt and some still wanted the brown belt like Christian's original design. So we started offering a choice of color, after that we let the market decide the color. Overwhelmingly the market has chosen the brown belt so after the initial order is sold out, we decided on future production runs to no longer offer the black belt.
Also, JE Sarge was one of the first customers of the Castile so his is one of the first model produced.

Based on feedback from him and a few others, and of course Christian himself, we made some modifications to our production process. The Castile Christian has posted is the result of those changes.

When comparing the two swords, JE Sarge's and the one Christian has now, you can see the we have finally reached the final production version and we are pleased with the final result.
Improved were the: handle wrapping, detail on the scabbard face, leather joint on the back of the scabbard. adding the notch details on the belt and of course we upgraded the buckle.
The combination of market feedback, Christian's input and the implementation of that feedback has greatly improved the final product. That and of course the experience acquired over time when producing a sword such as this.
So in the end if you are considering the final product whether to purchase, appraise, critique or just admire, you should refer to the sword shown in Christian's post and found on his website.
It is the final version of the the production Castile and is representative of what you would receive if ordered today from Christian's site. There are a couple of distributors with earlier versions but for the most part, this is the version you would get when ordering the Castile from any dealer of carries the Valiant Armoury line.

Congratulations Christian! Gus and Sonny too of course. Very nice looking sword.
Congratulations to all that were involved in bringing this to the market. To Gus for the blade design, Christian for the always impressive looking hilt and scabbard and to Sonny for carrying these pieces.

I do have one complaint though. You guys sure do make it hard to keep any money around for my other hobbies. ;) I am looking forward to the other offerings you have prototyped as well as new ideas.

You can find 2 versions of this sword with a good discount over at Kult of Athena - a signature and a regular version. The regular version has a much simpler scabbard. I'm not sure what other differences there might be between the two models.
I bought the Standard version for my son. The only difference between them is that the Standard comes with a plain leather wrapped wood core scabbard and the handle is wrapped in black instead of red leather.
I've been very impressed with this co-operative effort. I'm looking forward to seeing the other models come on the market :)

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