Paul Southren

The last issue of the month is going to be a big one – partly because of the time of year, but also to make up for the fact that there won’t be an issue in January.

So sit back and relax with a nice glass of egg nog (or something like that!) and enjoy, we have a lot to get through...!

CONTENTS

1. SBG SITE NEWS AND UPDATES
2. NEW SBG COMPETITION (and it’s a tricky one).
3. SWORD INDUSTRY NEWS
4. COLLECTORS CORNER: Sword Movie Review
5. BEST FORUM POSTS
6. VIDEO OF THE MONTH – ‘Katana Terminology 101’
7. BARGAIN HUNTERS CLEAROUTS AND DISCOUNTS



SBG SITE NEWS AND UPDATES

Now I’ll admit it, there really haven’t been any major updates to the site last month.

And while some of it has to do with making sure all the custom swords and 1601 Katana orders were processed in a timely manner – as well as working behind the scenes on several projects that won’t see the light of day until they are completed - to be honest I think that a little break to recharge my batteries was/is in order and I need a bit of a breather before getting right back into it for 2009 (it’s hard to believe, but the February issue will mark SBG’s 4th birthday! We have certainly come a long way, but still feel we are just getting started!).


SBG CUSTOM SWORDS UPDATE

If you ordered one of the SBG Custom Katana in either October or November, you’ll know the Christmas holiday season threw a bit of a spanner into the works for airfreight shipping and we had to work out another way of bringing them in, which has caused some unforseen and somewhat embarrassing delays.

In case you missed the email doing the rounds or the update on the main site here, those of you who ordered in September will have your swords within 1-2 weeks from now at the latest, and October orders placed up to and before the 15th should be delivered in an additional 2-3 weeks (for specific enquiries just send me an email).

I guess since this is the first time they have been offered, some unexpected teething troubles were fairly likely, but never-the-less I wish to apologize to anyone who has been effected. But shouldn’t be long to go now, quite a few of the swords are in customs are just waiting for clearance before they go to my Canada agent for final inspection (for another taste of what to expect, and some behind the scenes info, check out my update here)

The latest SBG Custom Katana

Anyway, while I am dealing with the custom orders and taking a bit of time of site development (as well as moving house, so you’ll likely see a few different background shots and new trees for me to destr—oops, I mean appreciate) , I have so many plans that there will no doubt be some new content – especially in mid to late January when I get back into the swing of things so be sure to visit the SBG News section or better yet – subscribe to the RSS feed for up to the minute additions.



SBG COMPETITIONS:
Can you do the impossible? (Serge did!)

This competition came about after I watched a video in the review of our latest prolific sword reviewer, Serge from Belgium – who cut a water bottle with his Strongblade Roman Gladius and somehow managed to flip the lid of the bottle onto one end, with the WATER STILL IN IT!

Here’s the video

Now I don’t know if it is an unrepeatable fluke. I tried to replicate it myself, but had absolutely no success (but then again, I am an average cutter at the best of times). But who knows, maybe someone else out there can do it...

So here is the challenge, if you can do the same thing – and prove it with a youtube video – the first person to submit the video evidence to the forums (apart from Serge, unless he can do it again with a different sword) will get their choice of ANY of the sub US$300 swords at the SBG Sword Store

To ensure there are no delays, if you haven’t joined the forum yet you might want to do that now and then give it a go..! Even if you don’t succeed, it should be fun trying – and if you do, and you are the first to submit your vid and prove it – you get a free sword.

Click here to submit your entry or speculate how Serge did such a fantastic cut in the first place..!

There is no time limit to this one so take as long or as short a time as it takes. I am sure that with persistence SOMEONE will be able to repeat this rather spectacular cut.



SWORD INDUSTRY NEWS

You might be forgiven for thinking that all the doom and gloom of the economy is reflected in the re-awakening in two of the most innovative manufacturers of the primal human drive to go and raid and pillage from those more fortunate. Or at least, something like that, because there is no doubt that the VIKINGS ARE COMING!

The first prototype on show is the Michael Tinker Pearce/Hanwei collaboration, a stunning Type X available in both a sharpened and blunted version.

Tinker Pearce Viking Swords

Full details on this sword can be seen at the Hanwei SMG newsfeed here.

And the second is the Christian Fletcher/Valiant Armoury Signature series ‘Hedemark’ Viking sword pictured below:

Valiant Armoury Hedemark Viking Sword

Both of these swords aren’t just eye candy though, as anyone who has seen any of these blades first hand will know, they are the kind of swords that any red blooded (or haired) Viking would kill for (well, perhaps not the best metaphor, as I guess they did that pretty routinely, but I’m sure you know what I mean).

Definitely time to patch the sails on your longship in preparation...


CHENESS

As you know the 9260 Tanto by Cheness is well and truly here, along with another very unique and attractive blade to add to their spring steel line up – the double fullered ‘Shosen’ 9260 Spring Steel Katana.

Not surprisingly, both of these blades are extremely popular (especially the Tanto, and considering the price and how many people have been asking about it, it is a given).

Currently these blades are only available direct from Paul at Cheness, and as they are selling out fast, you’d better get in quick if you want one from the first batch...


To stay on top of developments in the sword industry as they happen, be sure to check the SMG Newsfeed often - or better yet, use the RSS feed to get announcements in your RSS reader.


COLLECTORS CORNER By Daniel S. Dacombe
“Sword Movie Review: In the Name of the King”


Dan Dacombe I am a firm believer in watching terrible Sword Movies. Don’t get me wrong; I like good movies too. And when I’m in a “Sword Movie Mood,” there’s nothing quite like tossing in the Lord of the Rings into the DVD player and cheering on the heroes as they hack and slash their way to victory. Or Braveheart, if I’m nostalgic for Scotland; or Willow, if I feel like watching Val Kilmer be awesome as usual (I will be the first person to acknowledge my man-crush on Val Kilmer).

But every once and a while, I just have to watch something terribly low budget with hammy actors and terrible directing; a movie about knights and goblins and evil wizards and all manner of post-Tolkien crap. Call it a bad habit, call it moral failure, I don’t care either way. I love the sheer over-the-top cheesiness of it all, the flashy and badly choreographed fight scenes, the rubber orc heads. So please, bear with me for a little while I tell you guys about one of my favorite terrible Sword Movies: Uwe Bowl’s “In the Name of the King,” based on the Dungeon Siege video games.

INOK (as I’ll call it for short) is unique among horrid Sword Movies in that it sports a surprisingly big budget and equally big names. Jason Statham stars as Farmer, a simple farmer (duh) who has a shockingly hot wife (played by Claire Forlani), one young son, and an apparent habit of delivering his lines like he had a gun to his head. Statham is joined by John Rys-Davis playing a good wizard (and who’s acting is a far cry from his role as Gimli in Lord of the Rings), Ron Perlman (aka Hellboy) as a farming buddy, and Burt freaking Reynolds as the eponymous king. Reynolds at least seems to realize what a crock the movie is, and in every scene looks pissed off to be there. He states his lines through gritted teeth and seems poised to roll his eyes at the corniness of the other character’s dialogue.

Ray Liota plays the evil wizard/main villain, in what is probably the worst role I’ve ever seen him in – his acting is hammy and over-the-top, and his face is frozen in perpetual incredulity, as though he simply can’t believe the crap that’s coming out of his mouth. Matthew Lillard plays the king’s nephew who is secretly in league with the evil wizard, and his is probably the only performance in the whole film that is done well. He takes it seriously and gives a solid performance that is quite startlingly out of place, and almost distracted me from laughing at the rest of the film. There are a couple other recognizable actors such as Leelee Sobieski, but they tend to fall by the wayside as the bigger names get more uncomfortable screentime.

The film plot is fairly standard – evil wizard wants to rule the land, simple man must rise up to protect his family, blah blah blah. Staham’s character gets dragged into the whole set of affairs when his village is attacked, his wife kidnapped, and his son killed in a somewhat out of place scene – I wasn’t expecting such a degree of seriousness, to be totally frank. Statham sets off to rescue his wife and other kidnapped villagers, accompanied by his good buddy Hellboy, and at this point I was actually prepared to start wondering if this movie would turn out to be decent instead of terrible (a change of affairs which would almost ruin my day). For one example, Statham does a halfway decent job of looking like a guy who’s just had his kid killed. For another, the two farmers act like what I’d expect villagers to in a similar situation, taking with them improvised weapons that they had lying around – a machete and a hunting bow – instead of finding magical weapons or some other poorly shoehorned in plot device.

These effects were completely ruined 2 minutes later by the tagging along of a third villager, who appeared from absolutely nowhere with no explanation and who has both a beautiful longsword, and apparently a lot of time on his hands.

I was later (about an hour later) able to piece together that this joker (I’ll call him Ted from now on, since I don’t care who he is) is Statham’s wife’s brother. This tidbit may have been mentioned in the first few scenes of the movie but back then I was still getting used to the director’s “style” (ie. the incredibly choppy editing that cut off the tail end of dialogue, the extremely awkward scene changes, etc) and might have missed it. Also, Statham, Hellboy and Ted suddenly become unstoppable badasses in combat, leaving the king’s army in the dust with their bodycount. The last half of the movie devolves into a mess of swordplay, poorly explained political exchanges, and John Rys Davis’ character vying for the “most obvious statement” title from Admiral “it’s a trap!” Ackbar of Star Wars fame. Terrible directing prevents any sort of flow from being established, and the ending occurs with an abruptness that is almost jarring. Quite satisfactorily dreadful, in fact.

So why should you watch this movie? Very simple – it’s entertaining. The bad acting was enough to keep my wife and I in stitches the whole time, though we felt bad for Matthew Lillard and his serious performance, which made him look like the only person who showed up in a tux at a Furries Convention. Burt Reynolds growling his way through the movie is terrific – you can almost see the self-loathing in his eyes. Ron Pearlman looks like he regrets ever getting involved, and I defy anyone to look at his face and not think “sad camel.” The writing is truly exceptional – we had to pause the movie once we were laughing so hard at a scene where Ted is chained to a wall in a dungeon.

He spends a few moments struggling with his bonds, before turning to a village girl chained to the wall and casually asks, “So, where you from?” He sounds exactly like he was in a nightclub somewhere trying to hit on her (my wife and I spent a few minutes coming up with other pickup lines that would sound hilarious in the same prison context – “Come here often?” and “don’t you just hate places like this?” were our favorites). The whole movie is like a car accident happening in front of you; you just can’t help but watch. I personally will be buying the DVD and watching it for many years to come.



On a special note, a heartfelt congratulations to Dan and his wife on their first child:

Dan and his new daughter Eva

Eva Elizabeth Sinclair, 5lbs 15.5oz, 18.5 inches long born 7:50AM on Sunday, November 16th - a month and a day early (and seriously, it does kind of look like she wants to hold a sword already doesn’t it)... ;-)


BEST FORUM POSTS

Free Sword Competition!
Sonny Suttles from Valiant is giving away a FREE Signature Series Castile – and you don’t actually have to do a thing other than email him to get one!

Two Stunning Conan Swords
Hand made, custom swords made by SBG Forum members Brenno and Brotherbanzai of the Conan sword. Some serious eye candy...!

Good places for test cutting?
What do you do and where do you go to do backyard cutting – if you don’t have a backyard...? Some ideas and very important safety considerations.

Welcome to Swordaholics Anonymous
Need help with your spiralling sword addiction? Well, you’ve come to the wrong place... ;-)



VIDEO OF THE MONTH

Are you one of those people who doesn’t know your Kashira from your Kissaki? Or just looking for a way to make your Japanese terminology kind of ‘gel’? Well if you are, this 10 min walk through of the Japanese sword by swordsmanship student and sushi chef Hyoujinsama is for you. The quality of the video image wise is a little off, but the content is definitely well worth a look (and as a Japanese-American, it’s nice to hear the parts pronounced the right way too!).

Youtube vid of the Month

You Tube Video of the Month


Very educational in a relaxed and informal manner.



BARGAIN HUNTERS CLEAROUTS AND DISCOUNTS!

A selection of hot product discounts and clearouts from our affiliated vendors. Grab a bargain and support SBG at the same time!


SBG SWORD STORE

As you may know, last month we offered the bargain of 2008, the $699 Valiant Armoury 1601 Katana for $300... And predictably, they are all sold out now...

Keith and the Nagai Handoru Nodachi BUT, the Japanese sword liquidation continues – this month with some very unique differentially hardened NATURAL HAMON Katana just in time for Christmas: the Valiant Armoury Nagai Handoru (long handle) Nodachi, pictured left!

Only 40 pieces of this sword are available – down from $329.99 to just $210 SHIPPED! And again, as this is a liquidation they are being sold on a first come first serve basis (though unfortunately, due to the massive 57” overall length they cannot be shipped outside of the US).

If you are a fan of Nodachi Katana, well – this is definitely an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE FULL DETAILS

And for those of you outside of the US who just won’t be able to find a way to get the Nodachi (And of course for people in the US too!), I have a couple more last special Valiant Liquidations that everyone can get a hold of...

The first one is the 1701 Katana – which is the same blade as the 1601 but folded with a natural hada – and the second, a handful (literally, less than you can count on one hand) of non folded Wakizashi to compliment your 1601 (matching fittings to the 1601).

These are going to go out the door faster than you can say ‘are these still available’ so if you want to secure one of these, you are going to have to be fast – especially at these prices – US$359.99 for the Folded Katana (which would originally retail for around the $800 mark) and $269.99 for the Wakizashi...

VALIANT ARMORY KATANA LIQUIDATIONS


TRUESWORDS.COM

Musashi swords recently introduced a new line of differentially hardened Katana with the goal to “to forge the best blade possible for under $100” – and as some SBG forumites have found out first hand, it would seem that they may well have managed to do it (below is a picture of one of these swords taken by SBG forum member ‘Oni’).

Musashi Hamon

Considering that this particular blade sells for $89 at Trueswords, it is certainly the cheapest differentially hardened Katana with real hamon ever released – with decently tight ito, great handling (2.1lbs) and several other factors going for it making it a product to watch for budget minded Katana lovers in 2009.

But here is where it gets almost surreal, because for a very limited time Trueswords is offering it here as a Santa Special – where they are selling the same blade for (brace yourself) - $59.99!!

Now I have seen everything...!!!! (I doubt it is as good as the more expensive DH Katana on the market, but for that price – and considering that reports to date are that it isn’t at all a badly made piece, it is certainly very interesting...)



Well, that’s it for the December issue.

As I said we won’t be back until February, so I hope you guys have a great holiday season and look forward to seeing you again in 2009!

Stay safe and see you then!

Paul Southren