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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 7:44 pm    Post subject: New MRL Type XIV         Reply with quote

I got a new MRL catalogue in the mail today. On the back cover is a Type XIV sword, incorrectly called an "Oakeshott Type IV." Worried It appears to be a recreation of the sword shown as a drawing in Records of the Medieval Sword. That sword appears to be in the Musee de l'Armee in France these days. I haven't seen it yet on their website.

Manouchehr's pics of the sword:






It should be noted that Oakeshott's drawing has more flare of the blade's base, but the inscriptions match.

Incidentally this sword's hilt and blade profile (except the double fuller) seems to have been the major inspiration for Albion's Sovereign.



The MRL version doesn't look too bad, though I don't like the diamond cross-section tip. Some Type XIV's had it, of course, but almost every fullered MRL sword I've ever seen has some kind of diamond cross-section, often in place of a more appropriate lenticular section (like on this type).

They seem to grind everything to a diamond shape, then grind in the fuller by shaving off the mid-rib/spine. This often has the effect of making the tip thicker than fullered section, which is usually not appropriate. The Towton I owned had that. It tapered distally, then when the diamond section started after the fuller it was quite a bit thicker after the fuller and then tapered some more.



 Attachment: 25.28 KB
MRLIV.jpg


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PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 8:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Hi Chad! Happy

Oakeshott's drawing of the sword in the Musee de l'Armee in Paris, the one with the inscription "NULLA DE VIRTUTIBUS TUIS MAJOR CLEMENTIA EST", seems to show a central ridge, indicating a diamond cross section. He still classed this one, as well as the one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which also has a central ridge near the point, as a type XIV. There do seem to be a few examples that don't always fit neatly into the typology definitions. A lenticular cross section seems more appropriate for this type, but some may have had a more diamond shaped cross-section near the point. Perhaps MRL got it sort of right, even if a bit by accident.

I would actually like to see more of that one. I like type XIV's. Happy

I've included the drawing of this sword from Records of the Medieval Sword. The drawing is probably what MRL used as their basis for thie replica.



 Attachment: 23.95 KB
Type_XIV__8_from_Records_of_the_Medieval_Sword.JPG
Type XIV. 8 from Records of the Medieval Sword

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PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 9:07 pm    Post subject: Type XIV in the Met         Reply with quote

Hello again!

I'm sure this sword in the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been shown here before (I think it may be shown in the review of the MRL Medieval Short Sword), but I'll show it again to emphasize the shape of its point.

Oakeshott described it as having a diamond section in the point. Here's what he said in Records of the Medieval Sword (where this sword is listed as Type XIV. 1):
Ewart Oakeshott wrote:

The point-end of the blade is of a pronounced flat diamond section, which according to the criteria I have set out for arranging my typology, ought to make this sword a Type XVI, not a XIV; but the general shape is so typical of a XIV that I have given it the benefit of the doubt.


I think we get a bit carried away with trying to place things in their nice neat little compartments, and forget that medieval swordsmiths and warriors would never have recognized "Type XIV" or "Type XVI", or "Type XIII", and so on. They did seem to differentiate between "small" and "big" and "really big" (arming swords, sword of war, two-handed swords), and they knew there was a difference between "pointy swords" and "the big German slashing swords", but I think we sometimes get carried away with our typologies and such. They are important to discussions, but we must realize that it didn't mean much to those who actually made and used these weapons. It can cloud the issue when there are swords that don't quite fit neatly into the typology, and these are just such examples.

Anyway, here's the information from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for their Oakeshott type XIV sword:
Metropolitan Museum of Art wrote:

Sword, ca. 1400
Western European
The Giovanni P. Morosini Collection, Presented by his daughter Giulia P. Morosini, 1932 (32.75.225)

(Oakeshott dates the sword much earlier, circa 1325-50. He bases this in part on the style of the now-indecipherable etched letters in the fuller.)

In the photo below, note that the point does indeed have a central ridge, indicating a diamond cross-section as described by Oakeshott.



 Attachment: 11.28 KB
aa32_75_225_L(1).jpg
Sword, ca. 1400 (?)
Western European.
Copyright 20002006 The Metropolitan Museum of Art


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PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 9:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While Type XIVs are not my favourite, it's nice to see more variety in MRL productions. Thanks for posting, Chad!

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PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 10:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The A & A recreation of the Met. sword looks real good but hard to see if the tip is diamond section ? It looks like it might be.
http://www.arms-n-armor.com/heritage002.html

I don't mind a reinforced point except that by creating the fuller by grinding out the diamond section in front of the point the way MRL does it it might make the blade thinner and maybe too flexible ? Very much speculation though and depends a lot on if this was factored in in choosing the thickness of blade stock.

At the price point the MRL could be a good buy.

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 6:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard,
I'm well aware that Type XIV blades sometimes had diamond sections. I mentioned it in my post and in the Type XIV spotlight. Happy And again, I also know that our modern typologies are an attempt to classify something that wasn't classified in its heyday.

However.... Happy

With MRL, this is a recurrent problem. Even if the sword had a clear lenticular section, it still would have ended up with a diamond section. The way the diamond section is done on this one (if it's like others I've owned/seen) will still likely be incorrect since it will thicken the blade dramatically after the fuller runs out. The original was probably not like that. I don't remember any of the good Type XVI repros I've handled having that kind of thing either. I'd rather see them get it right on purpose than get some characteristics sort-of-maybe-right by accident. Happy They seem to put the same basic blade sections and amounts of flex on every sword, regardless of what it should have. I guess I'm just tired of seeing Viking swords and Type XII's, etc. with diamond section points...

By the way, the Met Type XIV is the first sword shown in that spotlight article. It's been seen here a few times, I think. Happy It also goes to show that sometimes more than just the blade shape goes into classifying a sword. These Oakeshott blade types (X-XXII) are really one type of classification, part of a system. With Type XIV's, Oakeshott noted that these blades are typically mounted with short grips, curved guards and wheel pommels. So while the blades on these two might not be exactly to our super-imposed modern specs, the rest of the sword leans it to Type XIV. The Solingen/Leeds swords whose blades fall between Type XII and XIV are similar cases. Looking solely at the blade, it's hard to know what to call it. Factor in the rest (wheel pommels, short grips, curved guards) and it becomes more clear. Some continue to call them type XII. Does it really matter whether it's a "Type XII with too much taper" or a "Type XIV with not enough taper?" Happy If you know the typology, it shouldn't matter.

This is the heart of Ewart's typologies. Getting too fixated on one aspect doesn't help. Using the typologies to have a common frame of reference for discussing the entire sword is the goal. The typologies aren't meant for pigeon-holing a weapon. The point is to be able to describe its parts using a defined system so that the understanding of its parts will lead to a better understanding of the whole piece.

Regardless of the above, I do think it's nice that MRL is expanding things. I like the flare at the base of the blade. The pommel seems to have some shaping we don't normally see them do.

Happy

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
With MRL, this is a recurrent problem. Even if the sword had a clear lenticular section, it still would have ended up with a diamond section. The way the diamond section is done on this one (if it's like others I've owned/seen) will still likely be incorrect since it will thicken the blade dramatically after the fuller runs out. The original was probably not like that. I don't remember any of the good Type XVI repros I've handled having that kind of thing either. I'd rather see them get it right on purpose than get some characteristics sort-of-maybe-right by accident. Happy They seem to put the same basic blade sections and amounts of flex on every sword, regardless of what it should have. I guess I'm just tired of seeing Viking swords and Type XII's, etc. with diamond section points...

Regardless of the above, I do think it's nice that MRL is expanding things. I like the flare at the base of the blade. The pommel seems to have some shaping we don't normally see them do.


Hi Chad! Happy

Oh, I definitely agree that the MRL way of making a fuller is a problem with earlier type swords, like X's, XI's, XII's, and XIII's. It would be nice if they could do a nice Type XII, for instance, but they surely wouldn't do it quite right. They would make the point their typical "flattened diamond" shape. However, it might not necessarily be inappropriate for an individual sword of Type XIV. That was my point, as it were, and you do seem to agree with me! Wink

Have you ever handled the MRL Medieval Short Sword/Factory X Sword of Dracula? I don't think the point ridge makes the point section awfully thick, although I admittedly don't have anything "better" to compare it to. There is some thickening since the fuller is cut a bit lower than the ridge, but I wouldn't call it dramatic. There is also a slight shallowing of the fuller just before it reaches the central ridge. Perhaps the Towton is more dramatic because it's a narrower blade. It definitely appears "weaker" in that section than the Dracula Sword. (I've never measured it, but the Dracula Sword just may start out a bit thicker than the Towton, too.)

Anyway, I will repeat what seems to be my oft-repeated question as of late; is it really fair to compare an MRL offering to one of the offerings produced by the "big guys"? It doesn't look like an awful sword; as you said they have tried a few different touches that give the sword some semblance of style.

By the way, I agree with you regarding the use of Oakeshott's typology. Wink I toss around the type numbers all the time; it is a convenient way to discuss different kinds of swords. And most medieval swords do fall roughly within certain categories, as laid out in the typology. I just want to make sure the "oddballs and misfits" don't get lost in an attempt at in-depth classification! Happy (I guess I just have an affinity for the oddballs and misfits, being one myself! Big Grin )

Oh, one other point, wouldn't the ridge section of the Type XIV in the Metropolitan Museum of Art be raised as compared to the fuller section? Since the fuller is a depression, and the ridge a rise, I think there would have to be some thickening at the point where fuller gives way to ridge, wouldn't there? It's hard to interpret a sword just from a photo, but the fuller looks "lower" and the ridge "higher", if you know what I mean. Just a thought! Wink

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 8:04 am    Post subject: Close-up of Met sword         Reply with quote

Hello again!

I got to give the Metropolitan Museum of Art credit for having a magnificent web site. They have a zoom feature for the objects in their permanent collection that have images on-line. I was able to zoom in on the Type XIV in the Met right where the fuller gives way to the ridge. It definitely appears that the ridge is higher than the fuller. Now, the edges of the fuller may be the same height as the ridge. That may cause the whole blade near this point to have a smoother transition than what you tend to get with MRL swords. I wish there was a way to get a "side-view", but I think this view is still interesting:



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Close-up of the Type XIV sword in Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 8:14 am    Post subject: Re: Close-up of Met sword         Reply with quote

Richard Fay wrote:
It definitely appears that the ridge is higher than the fuller. Now, the edges of the fuller may be the same height as the ridge. That may cause the whole blade near this point to have a smoother transition than what you tend to get with MRL swords. I wish there was a way to get a "side-view", but I think this view is still interesting:


I think it's the height of the edges of the fuller in relation to the mid-rib that cause the issue with MRL swords. The mid-rib may be higher than the fuller on some historic swords, but some of the MRL's I've seen just don't look that historical when viewed from the side.

Happy

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 8:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Fay wrote:

Have you ever handled the MRL Medieval Short Sword/Factory X Sword of Dracula? I don't think the point ridge makes the point section awfully thick, although I admittedly don't have anything "better" to compare it to. There is some thickening since the fuller is cut a bit lower than the ridge, but I wouldn't call it dramatic. There is also a slight shallowing of the fuller just before it reaches the central ridge. Perhaps the Towton is more dramatic because it's a narrower blade. It definitely appears "weaker" in that section than the Dracula Sword. (I've never measured it, but the Dracula Sword just may start out a bit thicker than the Towton, too.)

Anyway, I will repeat what seems to be my oft-repeated question as of late; is it really fair to compare an MRL offering to one of the offerings produced by the "big guys"? It doesn't look like an awful sword; as you said they have tried a few different touches that give the sword some semblance of style.



I've never seen the MRL/Dracula sword (expect for in passing), but I did own the Del Tin version they copied it from. Happy I don't remember a very dramatic thickening of the point on it. The base of the fuller should be lower than the mid-rib, but I don't know that the edges of the fuller should be so much lower. Of course, there are later swords with reinforced points, but that's not what we're talking about.

Is it fair to compare MRL with others? Not necessarily, but it's inevitable. As long as the buyer knows what they're buying and the company isn't advertising falsely, there's no issue. MRL does call their wares "historically accurate" but their definition and goals are a little different than mine. Perhaps their blademakers or CNC machines can't do better cross-sections and still hit their price point. I have no issue with their right to make money. Happy Every company makes the compromises they choose to make to please their market and hit their price point. The big guys make compromises/cost-based decisions, too, just different ones.

I actually like that MRL more than most that I've seen recently. It appears to be designed with a decent amount of fore-thought. It's also one of their more expensive, non-complex hilted swords. I think it shows that they're paying attention to the market, too. There are more Type XIV's on the market now than ever. Albion alone has 3. Del Tin has a couple.

I think this is a competitively priced offering from MRL. Will it hold its own against swords 2 and 3 times its cost? Probably not, but one shouldn't expect it to. It appears to be a nice sword. Just because I have some minor quibbles with it doesn't mean I don't like it for what it is. Happy

Happy

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 9:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Was there anything else new in the catalog? The MRL site is a mess at the moment, but I notice that many of their recent offerings are suddenly on closeout (a good thing, in my opinion). Hopefully, they're making room for more appealing designs.
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 9:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Was there anything else new in the catalog? The MRL site is a mess at the moment, but I notice that many of their recent offerings are suddenly on closeout (a good thing, in my opinion). Hopefully, they're making room for more appealing designs.


The website is messed up. I found the new Type XIV by searching for "iv" but I never found it in one of their categories (short sword, one-handers, medieval, etc.). It's here: http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...pe_iv.aspx

The Dutch Cutlass is indeed back:
http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...tlass.aspx

There's a "Court Sword:" http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...sword.aspx

There's also the Verneuil, which is named for the lesser-known later battle of the 100 Years War: http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...neuil.aspx

The new stuff seemed confined to the outer wrapper pages, though it's possible I missed some items in the middle.

Happy

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 9:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Sean Flynt wrote:
Was there anything else new in the catalog? The MRL site is a mess at the moment, but I notice that many of their recent offerings are suddenly on closeout (a good thing, in my opinion). Hopefully, they're making room for more appealing designs.


The website is messed up. I found the new Type XIV by searching for "iv" but I never found it in one of their categories (short sword, one-handers, medieval, etc.). It's here: http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...pe_iv.aspx

The Dutch Cutlass is indeed back:
http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...tlass.aspx

There's a "Court Sword:" http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...sword.aspx

There's also the Verneuil, which is named for the lesser-known later battle of the 100 Years War: http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...neuil.aspx

The new stuff seemed confined to the outer wrapper pages, though it's possible I missed some items in the middle.


Did they discontinue their katzbalger? I wanted to get one of those, but I don't see it on their site any more Sad They need to hire somebody to fix that site up it really is a mess and has been for a long time, they have to be losing sales...

J

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 9:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:


There's also the Verneuil, which is named for the lesser-known later battle of the 100 Years War: http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...neuil.aspx

The new stuff seemed confined to the outer wrapper pages, though it's possible I missed some items in the middle.


That one looks pretty good.

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Chad Arnow wrote:


There's also the Verneuil, which is named for the lesser-known later battle of the 100 Years War: http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...neuil.aspx

The new stuff seemed confined to the outer wrapper pages, though it's possible I missed some items in the middle.


That one looks pretty good.

J


I actually hate it. Happy But that's just me. That ugly ricasso looks ahistoric, especially for that era. I don't mind the hilt so much, but the blade turns me off.

Happy

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:


I actually hate it. Happy But that's just me. That ugly ricasso looks ahistoric, especially for that era. I don't mind the hilt so much, but the blade turns me off.


Well, we are talking MRL, not Albion... (and were talking under $300) I think it's a definate improvement over say, this one

http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...sword.aspx

J

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 9:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
I actually hate it. Happy But that's just me. That ugly ricasso looks ahistoric, especially for that era. I don't mind the hilt so much, but the blade turns me off.


It's not just you. Some of their recent designs are so clumsy I'n starting to wonder if they even bother to loook at historic examples anymore. Their "double-edged falchion" is a good (bad) example. The ricassos and diamond sections represent another problem. They had some nice pieces a few years ago, but something seems to have happened to R&D--too much D, perhaps, and not enough R. Maybe the "Oakeshott Type IV" (sic) is reason to hope for better design, if not better copywriting.

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:

Well, we are talking MRL, not Albion... (and were talking under $300) I think it's a definate improvement over say, this one

http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...sword.aspx

J


True, but it shouldn't involve any extra cost to not have that ricasso. So why is it there? Happy

The sword you linked to is at least based on an extant sword. The Wallace Collection catalogue lists the original sword (A477) as 4:8 (I'm guessing 4 pounds, 8 ounces)! MRL shaved nearly a pound off that somewhere. The length isn't too far off and the blade width is right on. Unfortunately, this particular sword isn't pictured in the catalogue.

Happy

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Well, we are talking MRL, not Albion... (and were talking under $300) I think it's a definate improvement over say, this one

http://www.museumreplicas.com/webstore/eCat/s...sword.aspx

J


But we know that MRL can do better, so it isn't a matter of financial limitation. As for the example you cite here, that seems to be one of their better recent offerings ("better" in this context meaning it's based on a documented original sword). I look forward to seeing that one steeply discounted.

-Sean

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 10:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:


The sword you linked to is at least based on an extant sword. The Wallace Collection catalogue lists the original sword (A477) as 4:8 (I'm guessing 4 pounds, 8 ounces)! MRL shaved nearly a pound off that somewhere. The length isn't too far off and the blade width is right on. Unfortunately, this particular sword isn't pictured in the catalogue.


My god, what a beast! And it's the same size as the MRL version?

J

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