Back to Back Issues Page
Sword Buyers Digest - July 2009
July 01, 2009

Paul Southren Boy oh boy do we have a big issue in store for you this month...!

Not only do we have all the usual stuff, but this month collectors corner takes a hilarious look at a ‘not cheesy enough’ new sword movie, we unveil TWO new websites – both of which have the potential to revolutionize the sword community as we know it (and one of them which actually allows you to turn your bottomless money pit of a sword addiction into a way to actually MAKE some money without selling a single sword!) – but we also unveil some of the coolest Katana I have seen in quite some time, see how SMG is shaping up, and welcome a brand new category of swords to the SBG review family...

(And I thought I had forgotten how to intro the digest a few months ago! Lol).

I hope you’ll agree that it is all very exciting stuff, so grab a cup, stein or mug of your favorite beverage and enjoy!


2. SWORD INDUSTRY NEWS (Some revolutionary developments!)
3. COLLECTORS CORNER: Sword Movie Review - Outlander
6. VIDEO OF THE MONTH – ‘Cuts like a lightsabre!’


The first half of June looked pretty quiet on the surface, mostly because I was working on the overhaul of Sword Manufacturers Guide (more on this later in this issue) – but also because I was laying the final groundwork for the much anticipated Renaissance swords category page – which I am pleased to say was completed to schedule..! (will miracles ever cease!). You can check out all the reviews listed there now on the Renaissance Swords Page here – as well as my own new review of the Hanwei Torino Rapier sword – lot’s of fun and it feels great to finally have this category up and running after working on it the last couple of months or so...

Torino Rapier SwordMortuary Sword in Hand

The Torino Rapier sword, as reviewed by yours truly

There were a few other (non Renaissance) reviews that I was hoping to complete before the month just up and ran away on me as it often does, but I’ll be doing my best to get them completed by the end of July (and I certainly have some VERY interesting swords that I have been playing with that I can’t wait to report to you all on!).

So to see it all unfold as it happens, be sure to visit the SBG News section or better yet – subscribe to the RSS feed for up to the minute additions.


Hattori Katana Logo The last couple of days of June saw a very exciting new addition to the SBG sword store for Katana lovers – a project that has been some 2 years in the making…

A collaboration between Darksword Armory and the legendary modern day Japanese blade maker, Aoki Hattori (whose hand made sushi knives often sell for up to $1,800 a piece!) has seen SEVEN brand new Katana added to the store at extremely special introductory prices…

Made from 1095 carbon steel, and available in both folded and monotempered configurations – these razor sharp swords have Japanese silk ito wrap, iron tsuba, and what is more – are available at a price under US$200 a piece and still leave a nice chunk of change in your pocket to boot! Because the special introductory prices on these Katana are only until September (or until sold out, which for these prices and this kind of quality, seems more likely to happen first) you can find more information in the clearouts and discount section of the newsletter – but for those of you without enough patience when a new high quality Katana hits the market at a bargain basement price – you can jump the que and see them right here instead.


Sword Industry News


First off, after a massive and unexpected response for a new SMG header and logo (which you can see the designs that I had to choose from, and in the end put to a vote on the SBG sword forum here) – we have a great new working look and feel for SMG that you can see pictured above...

Certainly not an easy choice, and I kind of feel bad for those people who were not selected and who obviously put in a heck of a lot of time and effort into it. But it is not 100% set in stone yet and may undergo one more change before the official relaunch – so who knows...

Anyway, behind the scenes there are many new articles and sub-sections taking shape for SMG – but to give you a little taste of the quality of the work that is being planned, enjoy this excellent article by Marc Ridgeway - Production Katana Swords: a discussion - which broadly categories the modern market of Japanese Katana, explains a bit about how they are made and the kind of problems and shortcuts you will encounter in each category, and a whole lot more (thanks again Marc).

You’ll see many more articles and events shaping SMG over the coming weeks, so be sure to check the SMG Newsfeed often - or better yet, use the RSS feed to get announcements in your RSS reader.

But in the meantime, here are a couple of very interesting new developments in the sword industry that I just had to report to you guys about...


With one of the coolest domain names possible, might be in it’s infancy, but it promises to be a true one stop shop and source of information, news and interviews to rival even SBG!

We will actually be teaming up and working closely with these guys over the coming months, as we both have the interests of the sword community at heart, but there is so much going on and so much potential to this site that I had to give you all an early scoop – think of it as a kind of store, facebook social networking site, news source and info center…And you’ll be scratching the surface of what these guys are working on bringing to the table..!

Plus their store has to be seen to be believed, while they have all the usual brands, they also have such rarities as actual antique Nihonto (with the kind of price tags you would expect of course, but always nice to dream and drool over) and lots more coming soon.

Very interesting stuff, I look forward to seeing this site develop and grow over the coming months.

” Sword Movie Review: Outlander”

Dan Dacombe That’s right folks, it’s time for another Terrible Sword Movie Review – this time of the recent “Outlander” sci-fi/fantasy flick that spent maybe a week in theaters before getting quietly shuffled off to the bargain DVD bin to die. To the reviewmobile!

Before we get started, I wanted to answer the question on everyone’s mind – what prompted me to watch this particular movie? It was a number of factors, really; it was having a free evening sans wife and child, but without any motivation to go have a night on the town; it was a long week of difficult tasks at work; it was stress from hearing that the safest and most direct route for the oral surgeon to remove my deeply buried wisdom teeth would be through the back of my skull. It was all of these things, and it was none of these things. Sometimes you just need to see an alien dinosaur get stabbed in the face with a magic sword, people, and I make no apologies for that.

Outlander is the tale of a fallen starship crashing to earth in the year 709 AD, in the region of Norway (which is conveniently populated by English-speaking Vikings). This starship brings with it a Terror from Outer Space (which seems to be mainly terrifying because it “sparkles” before it kills you, which made me wish it was a movie about killing characters from the Twilight series – some of you will get that, I’m sure...) The Terror from Outer Space (played by CGI) proceeds to ransack and pillage Viking villages (rather ironic, I thought), while being chased by the Space Marine that accidentally brought him there (played by Jesus Christ/Jim Caviezel). Space Jesus bands together with some stereotypical Viking warriors and a saucy princess to defeat the Terror before it kills... well, them, I suppose. The “it’s bad so let’s kill it” motivation gets jostled around by some flashbacks which explain that the Terror’s race was pretty much exterminated by Space Jesus – which causes some regret on the part of Space Jesus, but not so much regret that he still won’t stab it in the face when he gets half a chance.

Just give Space Jesus an excuse
Just give Space Jesus an excuse.

Sophia Myles plays the eye-catching saucy princess Freya who, in a shocking deviation from the standard “strong female character in a sword movie” role, is an expert swordsman and wishes that she could fight alongside the men. THE SHAME.

Not a stereotype
Above: Not a stereotype.

We learn this when she’s getting her leather-clad butt handed to her by her dad, played by none other than John Hurt (who, also deviating from his standard roles, is playing a wise old man). Many Viking hijinks ensue as Space Jesus convinces them to not kill him and help him track down the Terror from Outer Space – Space Jesus convinces them to do this using his diplomacy skills, which seem to involve him punching Freya in the face for no apparent reason.

One thing I enjoyed about this movie was the attention they paid to the swords and weaponry. The Terror’s hide is too thick for normal steel to penetrate, so in a scene that reminded me a bit of the opening of Conan the Barbarian, Space Jesus and the Vikings (is that a band name yet? If it isn’t, I just called it) collect metal from the hull of his space ship and forge new, super hard weapons able to pierce the monster’s hide. The cool factor only goes so far, there, when you start to wonder – if the metal from your spaceship is so crazy hard, how come they’re able to forge it? Isn’t it the hull of a spacecraft that enters planets’ atmospheres, and gets heated up way more than your tiny forge can? That doesn’t make any - *DEUS EX MACHINA SMASH*

I will stab you in the face with my convenient plot device. Right in the face.
I will stab you in the face with my convenient plot device. Right in the face.

So do I recommend this movie? Honestly... not really. I found it incredibly boring. It was even hard to make fun of, it was so dull. This fight scenes were as predictable as a car chase in a 70’s movie (squealing tires + splashing through puddles + hitting cardboard boxes = recipe for success) and couldn’t hold my attention for long – just because I was bored, I absentmindedly picked up a People magazine my wife had left lying around, flipping through it and idly wondering if Jon and Kate can get their train wreck of a marriage out of cable TV alive (they can’t).

Folks, when your fight scenes hold less interest than People magazine – that’s a problem. The last 30 minutes of the movie were “non-stop action”, and I found my attention mostly taken by wondering how much more shredded Freya’s dress was going to get, and in what places. Not even Ron Perlman (yes, Ron Freaking Perlman – it’s a sword movie that only was in theatres for a week, are you surprised?) can keep it interesting for long, despite smacking in a few heads with warhammers in a relatively entertaining fashion. Especially after his “abrupt exit”, which made me glance uneasily at the DVD case and realize that the guy getting 3rd highest billing in this movie had less than 30 minutes of screen time. A sign of quality, ladies and gentlemen.

My name is Ron Perlman
My name is Ron Perlman, and I’m just here for the cheque. And the smacking in heads with warhammers. Boo-ya.

So all in all, a somewhat disappointing venture in this movie. IT WASN'T TERRIBLE ENOUGH. If there was more cheese, or better action, or worse dialogue I could have at least made fun of it for 2 hours... but there was so little to work with. So give this one a miss, is my vote, and wait for Uwe Bowl to come out with another mind-numbingly stupid film. Until then, I’ll be watching Jon and Kate.


Free Chapter of Michael Tinker Pearces book!
The economy sucks, and it is hurting quite a few of the big names in the industry. So to this end, Michael Tinker Pearce has put up a chapter of his excellent book ‘The Medieval Sword in the Modern World’ for grabs in the hope that you will like it and want to buy the real thing.

To bo-hi or not to bo-hi, that is the question...
One of the most common questions I am emailed about is (apart from, what the heck is a bo-hi) is what are the advantages and disadvantages of Katana with and without bo-hi. See what the forumites think here...

Mongolian(ish) Dao
A very enjoyable read, forumite Kiltedkossac talks about the similarities between the Chinese Dao and the classical Mongolion sword (as well as some great stories of his time living with the nomadic Mongolian people themselves).

Wrapping a new grip tutorial for medieval swords
A great link to a ‘DIY’ tutorial on some easy methods to re-wrap the hilt of any medieval sword and give it an instant facelift!


It’s pretty common to hear in a sword review cliches like ‘cuts like a knife through butter’ or ‘like a lightsabre’...

And while most of us know what it’s like to put a knife through butter, how many of us have actually seen what a lightsabre does to a tatami mat?

Well, for references sake, this months video shows you exactly what it looks like.. ;-)

Youtube vid of the Month

You Tube Video of the Month

Such as shame that they are only available as custom orders in a galaxy far, far away...


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


Okay, now I allued to this earlier in the digest, simply because it really is quite a nice deal for you Katana enthusiats out there...

What we are talking about is Darksword Armories new collaboration with Akio Hattori, creating a new line of fully functional – razor sharp Katana with high quality fittings...

...At a ridiculously low introductory price!

These swords really are very attractive, and after running them by my right hand man Dan Dacombe (who had THIS to say about them in his review on the SBG Sword Forum) I decided to add them to the store, with a ridiculously low price tag (same as DSA, but you save about $30+ on shipping!).

Hattori Katana

There are seven Katana to choose from, all with iron tsuba, Japanese SILK ito, razor sharp hand forged 1095 blades tempered to a Rockwell hardness of 55 – all for $169.99 SHIPPED to the USA and Canada for the monosteel versions and $189.99 for the folded ones..!

But these prices will not stay like this for long, they are only priced so low to get the word out about this new line, and stocks are extremely limited – so you’ll want to get in quick on these. Check them all out here in the special offers section of the SBG Sword Store

Phew, what a jam packed issue!

Hope you enjoyed it and found a few things of interest. Will be back again with another dose of digest goodness in August, so until then – stay safe and have fun with swords!

Paul Southren

Back to Back Issues Page