The Windlass Raptor sword is a very affordable, unique and fully functional fantasy sword - all of which are very rare qualities for fantasy swords that are not purely decorative.
In this hands-on review, we will be taking a close look at this sword with New York sword enthusiasts Chris to see how it stacks up, looks the performs.
Review by Chris A. Long Island NY, UNITED STATES
Back in November of last year I was looking through a Museum Replicas catalog and I saw the Windlass Raptor sword. I loved it's shape and form. I knew nothing whatsoever about swords at that time. I know a little more now, but I also know how little I do know. But I am thankful for my ignorance. Had I known more I might never have bought this blade. And that would have been a shame because this is a delightful sword and a pretty darn good value for the cost.
After reading the catalog I went online and searched the Internet. I came across Kult of Athena for the first time. They had the Raptor for a significantly lower price than Museum Replicas. Despite having no need, and having no idea what I could do with a sword, I ordered it. I even sprung for the sharpening, for what good is a sword unless it is sharp?
None. This is a pure fantasy blade. I am at a loss at how to even categorize it: A Falchion? Saber? Maybe someone can offer a thought on this.
I received the sword 3 days after I ordered it. I was nervous that it wasn't sharpened as they said it delays shipping for one week. I must say KOA does not play games The sword came quick and it came sharp.
It was well packed in a sturdy cardboard box filled with enough bubble wrap to keep me popping bubbles for hours. Hey! We all have our different hobbies! I like popping bubble wrap.
The box was undamaged and so was it's contents.
The sword was wrapped in plastic and the blade was covered in a white powder as opposed to the oil other manufacturers use. I don't know if this is better or worse.
The edge was sharpened, creating a very noticeable secondary bevel (though I had no idea of this when I got it). I have to admit to being very nervous with this extremely sharp weapon for the first few hundred times I handled it. I had no idea what I wanted this sword for, but did I love to just hold and swing it! It just felt natural. It wasn't until I found SBG and other sites did I realize what I could do with this weapon. I am still learning.
*COP is actually pretty large on this blade ranging from 17" to 21" I put 21" because that's the point right behind the "hook" making it a convenient point to aim for.
This is a sub $300 sword. Actually counting sharpening and shipping this was a sub $200 sword. Considering this, some shortcuts and shortcomings are to be assumed and expected.
The sword comes with a scabbard. This is a nicely done affair considering the cost. More about it later.
The sword fits ok, though not perfectly in the scabbard.
The blade has an exotic shape that is fantasy, but not too over the top. It's what made me fall for this sword. This is a single edged blade with a thick spine. There is no whippiness to this blade at all.
Very sharp and nasty point. Neatly done.
The grip is the perfect length for my average sized hands. I love the risers. This makes for a comfortable grip that doesn't seem slippery. Note the ricasso. This make it comfortable to slip your forefinger around the guard if you prefer. This helps a bit in the thrust. More on that under handling.
Note the stitching on the back. Some hate this. I don't mind it. It is a bit roughly done.
The pommel for which the sword gets its name. It is shaped like the claw of a raptor.
The scabbard, front and back.
The sword is solid. There was no rattles or anything loose on it when I took it out of the box. Hundreds of cuts, and not a few hits to my cutting stands, later and it is just as solid as day one.
The blade has a few scratches but nothing serious and has no set. This is a well tempered, strong blade.
I did not get any good detail shots of the scabbard as it started to rain (again and again). As can be seen in these pictures is that this is a more fancy than usual affair than expected from Windlass. It is leather (no wood) with metal fittings. The design is cool though I have no idea what it is meant to be. The working is rough and tool marks are very noticeable. There was also some corrosion on these parts that I had to buff off.
The sword fits well enough in the scabbard though not perfectly (as can be seen in the first few pictures). It is tight enough to hold it safely. Again, considering the price this is a pretty good scabbard.
This is the part that kept me from reviewing this sword until now. Simply put: I had nothing to compare it to. I did purchase a Dark Sentinel, which got great reviews on this site. I found myself much preferring this sword over the DS. Was that because it was the sword I started cutting with and thus was just more comfortable with? A couple of my friends started joining me in chopping down those pesky bottles and they much preferred this over the DS as well.
Now I have several more blades, including the VA Arming sword and the Kriegschwert as well as an ATrim. Now I think I have more to compare against.
As noticed in the stats this is a light (2lbs 9oz) sword for a 2 hander. It also has a decent POB (4 1/2"). There is a slight but noticeable distal taper, though I lack the tools to measure it. This makes for a light and responsive two hander.
I find this sword to be just below my ATrim in terms of handling. It is fast and easy to control. Stopping the blade and reversing the stroke is fairly easy and someone with better skill than me might find it even easier.
This can be used one handed and I have done so pretty often. But despite the POB, most of the forward weight is at the front 1/3 of the blade due to it's unique shape. This makes one handed swings a bit harder to control, but by no means unworkable. There is the tendency to over swing. It is two handed that this sword comes alive.
I recently had a friend over who never swung a sword before. I let him go through my collection. He found this sword to be the "easiest to control" in his words. (until I let him try the ATrim...but that's another review). The shape of the grip I think helps greatly in this.
Despite the wicked point on this blade, it is not very good for thrusting. Sure, it will pierce things fine, but due to the weight at the front 1/3 of the blade it is difficult to thrust accurately. The tip tends to drop. Of course, someone with more experience will be able to overcome this. Wrapping the forefinger over the guard helps a bit, and the ricasso makes this comfortable, but this is just not a good thrusting sword.
I had this blade sharpened by KOA. it came with a very noticeable, and slightly uneven secondary bevel. I personally have no issues with secondary bevels, though I know many people do.
I started my cutting career on 2 liter soda bottles. I had bags and bags of them waiting for return. Imagine how happy I was to discover another use for them!
Despite the uneven bevel, this sword cuts well. Very well. It is easy to control in the swing and forgiving on the edge alignment. Flubbed swings do not hurt quite as much as other swords.
My friends and I have run this sword through many types of bottles and have had little difficultly on most of them. Though the thick plastic containers the Italian cookies come in are pretty resistant.
Here is a short video of the Raptor in motion. Please be forgiving on my bad form. I hope you can get an idea of how this sword moves and not notice my lousy moves. I do tend to over swing, but that is my bad and not the sword's.
I was concerned that my appreciation for this sword was that it was my first. I have come to learn that it is indeed a fine sword.
I am not a huge fan of fantasy blades as they tend to be gaudy and overdone. I do like fantasy-but-can-be-real blades like the Raptor. Though not based on historical models it is a "real" sword. I like it.
I am very glad I knew nothing about swords or I might have never of thought of buying this blade. Now that I know a little more, I am very glad I did. I would gladly recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy blades. I forget the exact price I paid , I know that it was under $200 all told. Certainly a good value at that price.
I hope someone found this review helpful.
Thank you for reading.
I hope this comparative review of the Windlass Raptor Fantasy Sword was helpful. Click here to return to Decorative and Functional Fantasy Swords from Windlass Raptor Review