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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 785

PostPosted: Thu 14 Nov, 2019 12:35 pm    Post subject: A Kopis and a Kopis. Or, Falcata.         Reply with quote

(DISCLAIMER: I'm not an expert, nor an academic, nor do I play on on Youtube. I'm just an enthusiastic amateur who is probably wrong about stuff. Not likely, but you never know).

Accurate reproductions of the Falcata/Kopis/Makhaira family of swords (Or, to coin an acronym, FKM swords) have typically been hard to find on the mass market. Most makers seem to say, ďhey, Iíll make a forward-curved sword, like a long kukri, and weíll call it goodĒ. Little research or study is done on these swords, and it shows. Even some higher-end makers donít always hit the mark. Lately, however, there have been a few developments that have given me some hope. I am here to discuss two of these reasons for hope: the Kris Cutlery Kopis and the Great Ghurka Khukuri Kopis.

KRIS CUTLERY KOPIS

This sword seems to be based on a sword that is housed at the Corfu Archaeological Museum in Greece. That sword has a long and slender blade and a birdís-head hilt. The blade has a medial ridge and a back edge. The hilt is not a direct copy, since the hilt on the KC sword is made of wood, whereas the hilt on the original is iron. The KC kopis handles very well, in my opinion; the balance is further out, as one might expect, but it doesnít feel blade heavy, probably due in part to the weight (itís less than 2 lbs). The blade is sharp (as one would expect from Kris Cutlery). The grip is pretty thick and a bit wide; I have medium-large hands and felt it was comfortable, but someone with much smaller hands may not appreciate it as much.
So, where does it fall in terms of historical accuracy? Letís see:
Physical dimensions: I donít have all the dimensions of the Corfu sword, but I do know that other earlier kopides had blades of 24 to 26 inches or so. The KC sword matches that, at least. It is heavier than the Corfu sword by more than a quarter pound.
Scabbard: It comes with a scabbard-ish thing. I call it a ďHellenistic ShirasayaĒ, as it serves the same purpose. As such, it is not quite ready to be called accurate, but it makes a great basis for something accurate. Really, all you would need to do is wrap it in leather, stitch the back, add a reasonable suspension system, and thatís it. Then it would be fine.
Hilt materials: Thereís no brass or bronze, so that adds to the accuracy. The hilt on the original is iron (I am not sure how the iron hilt is fixed, if itís riveted, soldered, or glued) and the KC hilt is wood (the guard is iron or steel), so itís not an exacting copy of this specific sword, even if it looks right.
Full Profile Tang: Anyone? Bueller?
The truth is, I donít know and canít tell if there is a full tang here or not. The grip is wide and thick enough to conceal such a tang, and the presence of a through-and-through pin (the birdís eye) gives me reason to believe that there might be a full, or mostly full tang. I have reached out to Kris Cutlery but have not yet received an answer. I canít imagine that they did the kind of research they would have had to do on this sword and left out a major design feature, but Iíve heard of stranger things.
So, in the final analysis, itís a mixed bag, historically speaking, but itís still a better effort than most other makers in this price range. If it proves not to have a full tang, well, you still have a very nice sword that will perform as well as, if not better than, the original.

GGK KOPIS

As mentioned, there are a few Ė very few -- fairly accurate kopides on the mass market. There are still no good falcata replicas on the mass market, period. Not a single sword marketed as a ďfalcataĒ is anywhere near accurate. Most makers (Windlass, Deepeeka, and a few others) base their falcatas on the Del Tin falcata, which was flawed from its inception. Windlass once made a decently accurate budget-level falcata with a wood horsehead hilt, but they quickly discontinued it (it was too accurate, I guess), but thereís been nothing since. Well, I just happened to stumble upon a maker of kukris (khukris, khukuris, spell it how you want) in Nepal who advertised a kopis. I took one look at the picture and said to myself, ďhuh, thatís not a kopis, itís a falcataĒ (and yes, there are differences between the kopis and the falcata other than the fact that one is from Greece and the other from the Iberian peninsula, but I donít want to bore you with an exploration of that right now). It was priced right, and only really lacked in one typical characteristic, that being a sharpened back or false edge. I put in my order and asked if the smith could add a false edge for me. He did so for no extra charge! So, when the package arrived all the way from Kathmandu, I was pretty excited. And what do you know, itís a falcata! Itís capable of cuts and thrusts and does both well. Itís light and fast in my hands and is fun to wield. It is not based on any particular historical example, but it does have some characteristics of a couple originals. It does bear some similarity to the well-known falcata in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, albeit shorter and a bit chubbier. In fact, the grip looks kind of like the cheesy replacement grip that was on the Metís falcata (and since removed, from what I understand). It also bears some similarity to the Cerro Muriano falcata, which has a short and wide blade. So, how accurate is it?
Physical characteristics: The blade is 16 inches, which seems to be in the range for most falcatas (the Metís is 17 inches). Weight is nice (1 lb 14 oz), but about half a pound more than the Metís. Original falcatas can have multiple fullers of varying length and depth; this sword has two fullers, one of which is longer than the other, echoing the original designs (but in a somewhat simpler way). The grip itself is HUGE. Itís comfortable (with nice rounded edges) and very roomy, but much, much larger than a historic original, so hereís one count against it. Take an inch-and-a-half off the grip and it would look (and probably handle) better.
Scabbard: Scabbard is nice, wood core wrapped with water buffalo hide. Historically correct? Probably not. Still, itís a nice scabbard.
Hilt materials: No brass or bronze, which adds to the accuracy. Grips are wood panels riveted to the tang, which may or may not be totally accurate (at this price range, itís probably fine).
Full profile tang: yep, got that.
To sum it all up, I think thereís more right here than wrong. Is it perfect? Of course not, but itís decently accurate, considering the price range. I mentioned the huge grip to the maker, and he will change the grip design in future versions (the guy is responsive to positive criticism, which is always a good thing). Just remember if you want a falcata, ask the maker to add a sharpened back edge.

Neither sword is perfectly accurate, but both are better than most anything else in the price range. And, they're just plain good swords.

Kris Cutlery: https://www.kriscutlery.com/
Great Ghurka Khukuri: https://www.greatgurkhakhukuri.com/



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David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 785

PostPosted: Thu 14 Nov, 2019 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some more pics...
1. KC Kopis and my custom Robert Moc Kopis. Blades are about the same length. Handling characteristics are similar, as well, including the weights, which are very close.
2. HUGE grip on the GGK kopis (or, falcata). Future versions should have shorter grips.
3. What can I say, I like FKM swords.... you know what's weird? You'd think I'd have a kukri. I don't. I don't know why I don't, I just don't. I'll take donations...



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David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,364

PostPosted: Thu 14 Nov, 2019 5:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you seen the most recent Deepeeka kopis? Wood grip or black horn. They didn't quite nail the blade shape, but that's easily fixed with even just a file, and the leather sheaths are trash, but otherwise they are remarkably accurate, and *under* a pound and a half.

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=AH4237W

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=AH4237H

Matthew
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 785

PostPosted: Thu 14 Nov, 2019 5:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Have you seen the most recent Deepeeka kopis? Wood grip or black horn. They didn't quite nail the blade shape, but that's easily fixed with even just a file, and the leather sheaths are trash, but otherwise they are remarkably accurate, and *under* a pound and a half.

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=AH4237W

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=AH4237H

Matthew


Yes, and those are nice. This gives me hope that more makers are doing the research and at least trying to get things right.

Now, to get more accurate falcatas on the market...

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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