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Marc A Svirtunas

Location: United states
Joined: 12 Apr 2011

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2011 6:26 pm    Post subject: New and I need a sword under 450.00         Reply with quote

I like the looks of the following swords can you tell me about them? Which are quality and which are not? Is there a maker that I am not aware of that makes swords that are better but still in the same price range? I am 6'4" tall and pretty athletic but my elbow on the right arm has the fly-fishing tennis elbow affliction so I think two handed or hand and 1/2 would be best unless the sword is under 3 lbs..

I have been up the past four nights :>) trying to decide..

Can you help me? Confused

Darksword Two Handed Norman Sword - DSA1336

Darksword Norman Sword - DSA1307

Cold Steel Italian Long Sword

Valiant Armoury Signature Edition Malatesta

Valiant Armory Signature Edition Kriegschwert

Valiant Armoury Atrim Practical Long Sword

Darksword 14th Century Two Handed Sword - DSA1339

Hanwei Sir William Marshall Sword - Damascus Blade - PC2001

Alus yra meistas
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Michael R. Black

Joined: 24 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2011 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not familiar with the above mentioned swords, so I cant comment on specific models.

However, I think more details about your intended usage would be helpful in getting you answers that are meaningful.

Do you want a blunt trainer, practice cutter, or display piece that will likely just be used for light handling?How important is historical accuracy to you? Any particular time period you are trying to represent?

I can think of other questions, but you get the idea.


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Simon G.

Location: Lyons, France
Joined: 02 Jun 2008

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PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2011 8:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From your tennis elbow remark I assume you intend to handle your new sword at least occasionnally.

I have once bought a Darksword Armory "14th c. two-handed sword", the model you mention, and found it heavy and not very nimble. I also disliked its looks. The furnishings (pommel, guard) are big, clunky and, to my eye, ugly. Here is the review I posted on the old SBG forums:;page=1

I don't know how their other blades are, but from this experience, and other info gathered on the net, I would say DSA swords are more for use in re-enactment or as "heavy training" blunts. What I mean is that they apparently are reputed for their solidity, but they're pretty thick-bladed (at least mine is), as blunts tend to be. But, if you plan on doing much blade contact with it and abuse it, it may be a good choice. I don't know, I never used mine for that.

Mine will get turned into something else through pretty radical reworking soon...
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Craig Peters

PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2011 8:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm going to make an assumption with my post. I'm assuming that you're not looking to use these as sparring swords, judging from the models you've been inspecting.

Without question, I would recommend the swords from Albion's Squire Line over any of these swords. Their single handed model, the 13th Century Knightly Sword, costs $430, which is within your range. The cheapest longsword they offer is $490, which is $40 outside your range, but even if your money is tight, it's not an unworkable situation. When you order from Albion, you are charged an initial deposit, but you only pay for the rest of the sword when it ships. That means you should have a few weeks to put aside the remaining extra $40, and believe me, it's worth it.

All of Albion's swords are based upon swordsmith Peter Johnsson's extensive work handling antique medieval swords. This means that when you buy an Albion, you're getting a sword that has a very similar geometry, shape, mass, balance and handling as real swords do. Please note that the Squire Line swords do have slightly thicker edges than the more expensive Albion Next Generation swords, and they have a little more rounded points.

Even so, they're still much higher quality than similar swords in that price range. Many modern makers still aim for a sword that customers think "feels good in hand" and looks somewhat close to a medieval sword in appearance. But that doesn't mean you're really getting a reproduction of a medieval sword; a reproduction needs to be based upon how swords from the period were really built, with a careful eye for their blade geometry, the taper of the edge, the shape of the pommel, and other subtleties and nuances from original swords. To have a faithful reproduction of a medieval sword, the replica must fairly closely reproduce features found on real, antique swords of a similar blade type. Lots of modern reproductions do not pass this test.

My first real sword was Albion's Squire Line Late 15th C Bastard. As someone who now owns several other Albion Next Generation sharps, I can tell you that I still like my Squire Line sword, and I don't mentally differentiate between it as being "lesser" than my other NG swords. It's an excellent piece; it handles very well, and I am proud to own it.
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A. Gallo

Joined: 08 Jan 2011

Posts: 53

PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2011 10:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's a lot of stuff in the $450 range which wasn't true a few years ago

Darksword doesn't get much attention on this forum but on another, similar forum has a very mixed reputation. Simon G isn't the first person to mention their overbuilt, clunky characteristics. However, they are quite handsome IMO.

Cold Steel, Hanwei, Windlass, etc are true mass-produced, imported sword companies who make tons of products and specialize in none of them. As you'd expect from a company making a "tactical special forces throwing-shovel" historical accuracy is mediocre and there have been some scary online reviews about the strength of their heat treats and tangs. That said, it's a way to see if you're into it for not much money and a lot of people buy them for future DIY modification, especially better grips/handles.

I don't have any experience with Valiant Armory but if you like A Trim designs check out;path=42 . Everything they sell is within your price range and the owners have an account on myArmoury.

The only complaints I have about the A Trims I own:
1. One took about a year to arrive (sadly, this seems pretty common, although note that I ordered directly, not through Tried & True)
2. Most aren't peened, which you may or may not care about, however nowadays I only buy peened swords

Craig Peters' suggestion of the Albion Squire line is also worth a look. $$$ considerations: Unless something has changed since I last checked, on top of the $490 you may need to pay extra for them to put edges on it, which still won't have authentic geometry like the Next Gens.

Last edited by A. Gallo on Wed 13 Apr, 2011 1:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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Roger Hooper

Location: Northern California
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2011 11:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Of the models you've listed, the Valiant's are the highest quality. But I agree with Craig that the Albion Squire Line swords will serve you best
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional

PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2011 11:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Of what you have in your list:

I think you would be happiest with the performance of the Valiant Practical lines. The Practical Longsword is going to save you a good bit of money, enough to where you could get 2 with scabbards in your price range. I own everything from Albions to SLOs, and IMHO, you will get the most bang for the buck with the Valiant Practical Longsword - you won't find anything that handles or cuts better in the $200-$250 price range.

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Rob Stanford

Location: ACT AUstralia
Joined: 21 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2011 12:54 am    Post subject: Swords         Reply with quote

It will depend what you want to use it for...

I've owned or used many of the Darksword's, and all the Valiant offerings as well as Albions and others.

I agree that Darkswords are overbuilt to cope with substantial use and misuse. This makes them heavy, some of there more recent swords do have ok balance though.

The Valiant armoury swords are very nimble and good performers for cutting particularly. If you want the very nice scabbards offered with the signature range it's not a great deal more than the practical lineup.

Atrims, it's all about the cutting, functional beauty, Tried and True have base models for very resonable prices and you can specify peened if you like.

The CAS/Hanwei Tinker range is another comparable sword to the VA Practical, and the Fullered bastard and longswords from there are quite well made, light and agile blades which excel at cutting.

The Cold Steel offerings generally are tough but poor balance.

Albion and Arms & Armour are premier swords for quality and accuracy - but the price will NOT include luxuries such as a scabbard.

Chad nails it in this post actually

If I were you, I would get a Tinker Bastard and a Practical Valiant Longsword if you are interested in cutting, then hop on a Albion or Atrim (perhaps a second hand one) to try out once you know what type of sword you like. If you want more of a display, get a Signature or start saving for an Atrim or Albion.
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Marc A Svirtunas

Location: United states
Joined: 12 Apr 2011

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2011 7:25 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the replies.         Reply with quote

I have been up late for the past week trying to decide what to buy. I have decided on the Tinker 9th century Viking sword sharp which is what had originally gripped my interest. It is relatively inexpensive I saw some favorable reviews on it and with my lack of skill at this point I want to work with a lighter single handed sword while holding a shield in my other hand and save for a higher end blade that I will purchase once I posses the skills to keep from cutting my own ear off. Razz

I will take your advice on the blades that you mentioned in your posts. I almost bought one of the tinker bastard swords instead of the 9th century Viking sword but again without the schooling I thought it was a bad idea. I will most likely start with a blunt when I buy my first long sword and I will wait till I have mastered the basics before buying a sharp two hander.

I bought a bearded axe from arms and armor a few weeks ago. I had been on a business trip to MN and on a whim I called ahead and stopped by. They really do make the stuff down there under that old factory building. I saw swords spears and axes all in various stes of completion on the benches and in racks throughout the forge. I also met the owner who is a great guy. Iím 6'4" and the guy was a little bigger than me (A little wider perhaps). He has a suit of armor in his office that he had built himself while in college he seemed as comfortable in his eccentricity as I am.

Needless to say I couldn't walk out of Tyr's forge without one of his hand made masterpieces that axe is living history I love it, itís under my side of the bed in case I have to thwart home invaders. A Viking spear from him is definitely next on the list.

Odin brought me to Tyrís MN shop a few weeks ago and I think Iíll have eventually have them make me a sword.

So in the end Iím sticking with the Viking theme. This sword looks too prestine so I'm going to do some work to this sword to give it a been there look and make a wood lined scabbard for it. In the mean time Iím looking for a school in my area that teaches western swordsmanship.


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Simon G.

Location: Lyons, France
Joined: 02 Jun 2008

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PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2011 7:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi again Marc,

I also own the Hanwei/Tinker Viking (sharp) and I'm not sure it's the perfect sword for you.

It's a great sword, very good worksmanship, pretty, really really good value for money, etc. But, it is a bit blade-heavy. It is nowhere near my experience with Darksword Armory, and in fact this "blade-heaviness" just reflects the fact that historically, viking swords are strong cutters. The Tinker Viking is still a very usable sword, lively, and doesn't feel dead in hand. But it is rather more taxing on arm muscles than say a longsword. I don't know how that might affect your tennis elbow.

If you're really interested in this sword by all means don't let me stop you, it's a really great sword at a really great price and I don't regret buying mine. Just wanted to offer you this little bit of advice...


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Marc A Svirtunas

Location: United states
Joined: 12 Apr 2011

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2011 7:52 pm    Post subject: Sword weight         Reply with quote

Yes thank you.

I will be careful.

My trainor is blaming it on my right shoulder muscle.

I'll keep you posted and post some pics of the sword after Ive tinkered with it a little.


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Craig Peters

PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2011 9:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote


I wasn't aware that you wanted a Viking sword. If you haven't placed an order yet, you'd be far better off going with one of the Albion Squire Line Viking swords from

Yes, they're about $50 to $60 above your desired price range, but you will be far more pleased with them in the long term. Don't forget that, if you are intending to keep a sword for a while, you'll often be much happier spending a bit extra to start with. Otherwise, you end up thinking "Why didn't I actually just save a little bit more to start with and get a better sword?" I know this happened when I spent around $300 on a wallhanger type sword (I didn't know better) in 2000.
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Sean O Stevens

Location: Grovetown, GA
Joined: 22 Oct 2008

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2011 9:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I actually found the Hanwei/Tinker Viking sword to be very, VERY light as far as Viking and other type X style swords go... most of the type tend to be blade heavy because they are all about slashing/cutting... but the H/T Viking I have is really very light by Viking sword standards.

It will go well with the A&A Bearded Axe (I want one of those myself) and the Viking Spear you plan to get... you are certainly developing a theme. I love all things Viking myself as well, not nearly enough representation in my collection. I hope to change that.

For future purchase refrence... I'll give some of my thoughts.

Darksword Armory makes some, in my opinion, very attractive swords. However they are heavy and most lack any sort of distal taper, making them difficult to manage if you like to use your blades.

The Valiant Armory line of swords are a great value... sharp and usable right out of the box, the practicals come with scabbards and the signatures come with upgraded scababrds and suspensions... very nice all around packages for the money. However, they have the hex-nut assembly which is not historical and turns some people off.

The atrims (such as sold at Tried and True nowdays) are excellent user swords. Very simple in appearance, no frills, but AWESOME in handling and cutting performance. Also currently made with the hex nuts... tho permanent assembly is likely to be offered down the line.

The Hanwei/Tinker line is a great value as well... the scabbards are often cheap and made of a plastic covered with leather, but they are better then nothing. Big bonus to the H/T line is replaceable blades and blunt blade options... so you can use the swords as cutting swords or steel blunts, and replace damaged blades. Again... the hex nut thing could be an issue... however the Viking and Norman are peened.

The Albions... squire line and next gen... are amazing swords to me. The total package of performance, aesthetics, and care taken to make the swords look and feel as historically correct as possible. Problem is, like most things in life, you get what you pay for... and Albions don't come cheep.
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