Red Dragon 13th C. Bastard Longsword Red Dragon Jan 18, 2023 16:48:37 GMT
Post by Barahir on Jan 18, 2023 16:48:37 GMT
The 13th Century Bastard Sword
Battle Ready #101 (BR-101)
Red Dragon / Erik Steelcrafts
A 46-year-old Canadian, I have been collecting swords since 2003. I own all sorts of weapons… ranging from movie replicas, historical replicas, fantasy weapons and a mix of all of these at the same time! I am by no means a weapons expert, nor a historian, nor a time traveler who thinks I know everything (like some folks on internet). I'm just a fan who likes to add shiny steel items to his armory. I am not used to making very elaborate reviews, but I am launching here to present this magnificent sword which had piqued my curiosity. Here is the 13th Century Bastard Sword BR-105 from Erik Steelcrafts.
This is one my first Erik Steelcrafts sword. In fact, I discover at the same time as you this new collection of swords which seems very promising to me. Knowing my great interest in swords in general, Shahzeb Ansari (owner of Erik Steelcraft) sent me this sword so that I could also review it. We concluded that I would do an honest review. I was not asked anything specific. I therefore have no affiliation with them and I am in no way an expert in weapons, as mentioned in my introduction. So, let's start.
Erik Steelcrafts is the new project of the workshop of Shahzeb Ansari of Overseas Trading Corporation (OTC) in India. Shahzeb has been in the business of making swords for several years for several companies around the world based on the research and patterns made by his 3D developers. We particularly knew him as the first manufacturer of the Balaur Arms brand.
Shahzeb chose the name 'Erik' because it is an old norse name referring to Vikings. It is from 1060 carbon steel that they will manufacture a whole new line of swords for collectors and HEMA fighters. The main focus of Erik Steelcrafts will be for the moment to produce swords of as good quality as Albion for example, but offered at a better price range (300-500$ USD). They have a vision to also produce military weapons for the future. These swords will soon be available at several online retailers or recognized stores around the world.
From the mouth of the owner …
''Erik Steelcrafts produce best quality swords in India and even competitors of our country cannot compete with our quality''
We're excited to see how far this line of swords goes.
The European 13th Century Bastard Longsword (hand-and-a-half) have a classic lenticular cross section design and a long-fullered designed typical of many classic medieval swords from this era. The long and straight double-edged blade (Type XIIa) is designed for slashing. The weight and balance of these swords were excellent. It remained in use as a weapon of war intended for wielders wearing full plate armour either on foot or on horseback, throughout the late medieval period. From the late 15th century, however, it is also attested as being worn and used by unarmoured soldiers or mercenaries.
This sword produced by OTC/Erik Steelcrafts is currently sold in the collection of Red Dragon Armouries and is already available around the world. It is indeed made in the OTC/Erik Steelcrafts forge. I've heard good words about this one through the collecting community, I look forward to examining in more details the various components as well as the craftmanship. With that, let's get started.
I received this sword along with 5 other models all wrapped up in a big box full of shredded paper which kept the swords safe. Yes, I needed the vacuum cleaner to pick it all up afterwards! Each sword was wrapped in very tight film paper. It is very tedious and difficult to remove all that. I have to use a knife being very careful not to damage the leather of the grip or scratch any other surface. So the swords are very well protected and well oiled in the package!
I am at first sight impressed with the quality of this sword. I even tought it was a bigger sword and very pleased now to look at. I was roughly expecting to find something similar to Windlass Steelcrafts. It seems to be, and maybe even a little more refined than their principal competitor. Everything seems fine and no major flaws jump out at me at first glance. I had concerns about some past problems with the gap between the guard and the blade but it's very good, no worse than other manufacturers. The craftmanship seems to live up to my expectations. So let's start the deserved analysis of really cool looking 13th Century Bastard Sword by Erik Steelcrafts.
Blade Length : 36’’
Overall Length : 45’’
Handle : 9’’
Grip Length : 7’’
Weight : 2 lb 11 oz
Edge : Unsharped
Pommel : Peened (almost invisible)
Width : 47mm
Distal Taper : 4.8mm-4.3mm-3.3mm
Sweet Spot (Centre of Percussion) : 8’’ from tip
P.O.B.: 8’’Below Hilt
According to Oakeshott's blade typology, the blade is classic type XIIa. Oakeshott characterized the Type XIIa as "having a broad, flat, evenly tapering blade, generally with a good sharp point and tending to widen perceptibly below the hilt." The fuller will be well defined, generally extending from below the guard for two-thirds to three-quarters of the blade's length. The blade's cross-section will be of lenticular design and the blade will typically be from 36 to 40 inches long. Overall, the Type XIIa blade is a long, relatively wide cutting-oriented form. The balance point is still way off the hilt at 8 inches, but that's exactly as it should be for this type of sword.
The blade is made of 1060 carbon steel. 1060 carbon steel is good because when it is properly heat treated it becomes resilient. It is quite tough and can keep its edge fairly well. Since I'm not a metallurgy expert, I can't verify if this is really what Erik Steelcrafts used in the India forge but I trust what they told me. It sports a high level of resistance to fatigue, has high ductility, and has good spring qualities useful for applications where flexibility is desired. In order to lighten and help a blade perform, it is often said that there must be a distal taper. Distal tapering refers to a blade's cross-section thinning from its base to its tip. I measured using a caliper and indeed, there is a distal taper on this blade. The thickest part of the blade is 4.8mm at the guard, reaches 4.3mm in the middle and ends at 3.3mm near the tip (where the fuller end). The blade of this sword comes unsharpened from the manufacturer. There is no visible wave in the blade, no forging mark and it is fully straight. Maybe some minor traces of grinding especially near the tip (where the fuller end) but nothing more. The finish is on the satin side, not too mirrored. Just perfect like that. The length of the blade is 36’’ and there is a fuller running from guard to 32’’ from the tip. On my sword, the fuller is not 100% well centered but almost its hardly noticeable, on both sides of the blade. When you play with the sword a bit, you find a sturdy blade and not whippy. When hitting the blade on the flat against our knee you hear no rattling at all. I had the chance to see the tang from the manufacturer and it is enough big. A very solid and battle ready sword.
Everything look solid then. There is also a good flex to this blade, bent it in both directions and it wents back to true. The 1mm edges are suitable for blade on blade work. There is no Erik Steelcrafts maker's mark on the blade (OTC India) for this one, maybe because its still made for Red Dragon Armouries). I am not against manufacturers putting their mark. I think it gives character to the sword.
The grip is rocket shaped (wider towards the guard and shorter towards the pommel) which usually gives a good grip. The grip is rather flat too, so the sword won't tend to roll in the hand because the grip is too round. The core is made of Indian teak wood, brown leather wrapped and cord wrapped. Everything is tight and nice simple design . There are two nice smooth ridges in the middle of the grip to ensure a good comfortable grip. The seams of the leather are hard to noticeable. As for the length, it's perfect at 7'' for a hand-and-a-half sword. So, what benefits (if any) does a hand-and-a-half sword offer? Well, the most notable benefit of this sword type is the ability to use it with another weapon or shield. If a warrior was facing archers, for instance, he may wield the hand-and-a-half sword with one hand while using his other hand to hold a shield. But if that same warrior encountered an enemy on an open battlefield, he may switch to using two hands for greater strength and stopping power. Everything is well-aligned and solid on the hilt. Well fixed, no rattling as I said before. The hilt fit nicely to the blade. Not so much gap. I love the feel of the grip.
The guard is not that wide (7 1/2'') for a sword 45’’ of length sword. The guard clean and tight, as was the pommel. The quillons are both the same length, so well centered. The lines are well defined and there are no sharp edges. I like the guard as well, the geometry seems designed to be strong in the directions it would be taking impacts, but still light. The inset for the blade is quite tight to the blade shape.
It is a very simple flat disc pommel and I would call it of the Type G (disc-shaped, generally having rounded faces and being 1/2" to 1" thick). The pommel well aligned with the guard. I must say that it is very comfortable in the hand and it gives the impression of having more freedom in our movements. The pommel is plain and undecorated. Again here, the craftmanship is very well done. The peen which makes the sword even stronger is soft, well made and almost invisible (but its there).
As of this writing (January 2023), there has yet to be an official Erik Steelcrafts scabbard that comes with this sword unless you buy it as a Red Dragon product. It's a prototype for now. Rest assured that Erik Steelcrafts will come to decorate this beautiful sword with the scabbard it deserves. To be continued.
Honestly, I did not do any cutting or strength test with this sword. I know that many collectors like to see water bottles waltzing into pieces in the air, but it is often only the sharpening of the blade that we analyze in these cases in my opinion, which can be very different from blade to blade for the same model. Also, I treat my swords like oeuvre d’art, and I don't see the point in testing for destruction. There are other ways to analyze the handling of swords than trying to destroy them. That's my personal opinion.
Now concerning the 13th Century Bastard Sword from Erik Steelcrafts, as we saw earlier in the review, despite the relatively light weight of 2 lb 11 oz for a sword of this size, I find it handle very well for a 45’’ sword. The weight and balance are excellent. The handle offers a good and secure grip. The grip is really comfortable. We have exceptional freedom of movement. The blade which still has a bit of spring is still sturdy and not whippy. Anyway I couldn't do any test cuts because I received this blunt sword. It is also to be believed that all swords forged in India are sold dull, as Erik Steelcrafts offers some factory sharpened models (also the case for Windlass). Nevertheless, overall, I enjoy wielding this cool design sword.
Overall, I love this sword. The Quality/Control is better than I would have imagined with this Indian Foundry. Fit and finish are very good. Hilt and grip are tight. No Rattles, no gap, symmetrical. Peen is worked into the pommel nicely (almost invisible). Leather on the grip is quality. Tight grip, easy to swing for a 45’’ sword, easy to thrust.
This sword will be available soon from your favorite retailer on behalf of Erik Steelcrafts, all over the world. For the moment, you can buy it under the name of Red Dragon Armouries with matching scabbard for 264$ USD at this place : www.kultofathena.com/product/red-dragon-armoury-combat-bastard-sword/?koa=55560
Do I recommend this sword? Yes, without any hesitation. For the quality of the craftsmanship, the materials, the historical representation, and above all the price (Around 264$ USD). The OTC / Erik Steelcrafts 13th Century Bastard Longsword is extremely handsome, despite a simple design, but somewhat unique at this price range. Because nothing is perfect in this world, I still give a nice 4.5 stars out of 5 for the BR-101 13th Century Bastard Longsword Sword by OTC/Erik Steelcrafts.