Kult of Athena


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The William Wallace Sword

It’s that sound at the end of Braveheart, right?

That moment when Hamish, that huge Celtic ginger beast, is about to lose his mind on an overwhelming English army, remember? And he pulls William Wallace’s sword from the half sheath on his back?



It’s just seems tiny in his fist, but, at the same time, also ready to drink a river of English blood.

It’s all leather and steel, tied up with the battered and bloodied piece of tartan cloth from the wedding - you know, the one that looks like it could take out like 3 guys by itself?

Somehow, in that scene, the sword becomes a lightsaber  - ready to take out every smug, slimey Brit on the field.

I love that bit.

But that’s the effect movie swords, and swords that are owned by famous warriors, have on us. Conan’s Atlantean, Arthur’s Excalibur, John Snow’s Longclaw - it makes no difference. I think if our heroes were swinging sporks around at their enemies, we’d be clamoring for the replicas.
Never mind that the Wallace Sword is a prop. Never mind that it had a retractable blade that never really went through anyone (they’d have to pay actors extra for that). Never mind that the real Wallace Sword looks nothing like the one in the movie.
That piece from the film "Braveheart" is remade by everyone from factory wall-hanger sword makers in Pakistan to the boys at Del Tin (la dee da). And it is just plain iconic.

But where did the inspiration for the Braveheart sword come from? The mind of Mel Gibson?


Let’s take a look at the real Wallace Sword, shall we?

In Scotland, there is a monument to this giant of Scottish independence (William Wallace) - and his giant balls - that the public can tour. It’s called The National Wallace Monument. And it’s in Stirling, Scotland.

Visiting there, you’ll be ushered into what I can only imagine is a small, dank-smelling, stone room that holds what could be one of the coolest swords in history.

As you stand there and marvel at it, you realize that The Wallace Sword, as you might expect, is no frills at all. It’s just a 5-foot long piece of rugged iron and brass (??) that probably ended many a family line on some mossy battlefield.
The Stats:

Total Length: 5 feet 8 inches including the hilt
Blade: 4 ft 4 in.
Breadth: Varies from 2.25 inches at the guard to 0.75 inches before the point.
Weight: 6.0 pounds

Imagine the strength it took to wield just such a weapon?!

I highly doubt that Scottish peasants, even ones raiding English military supply trains, would have the sophisticated technology to know how to worry about balance, center of percussion, or perfect taper.

Wallace probably just worried about having the juice to show up to the battle and the guns to swing that thing around all day.


The Guy:

But aside from William Wallace back in the 13th century, and some other kilt-wearing caretakers over the centuries, who makes sure this thing doesn’t go to rust now?

That would be this man: Dr. David Caldwell

He is the one who, everyday, applies all the soothing oils, protective goos, and sweet soothing lullabies to this mega tool of metal death to keep it pretty (and hopefully sharp). He is also the man, I think, whose job I envy most in the universe.

 Today’s Wallace Claymore:

The movie Braveheart did an incredible job of designing, using, and marketing its version of the Wallace Claymore for today’s modern audience. But how do you know which one is the best?

As we stated before everyone has their own versions of this sword:

And, as always, I think it comes down to individual choice. But, there are some general guidelines you can follow to choose the best version: 

Look for the basics: carbon steel blade with a Rockwell hardness, full tang, attractive realistic hilt furniture, the best PRICE, and the right color. Some of the variations come in black or brown or another color, but, again, it will be all up to your preference. 

One thing that might make all the difference: a video.

TraditionalFilipinoWeapons.com has a pretty boner-inspiring video that might tip the scales, if you have the green to support it.



Better still, Tony Swatton, the freak wizard of worthwhile custom steel, created a video of him and his team forging their version of the Wallace Claymore (also 6 to midnight, almost instantly).


For my money, I’m going with the Gen2/Legacy Arms. Their blades are well built (I have 2) and you cant beat their prices. Consult Kult of Athena if you dont believe me. Second place goes to Traditional Filipino Weapons for their rendition (but not their price).

So there you have it. The movie Braveheart has had some pretty blatant historical inaccuracies. And apparently, the sword is one of them.

But, truth be told, I like the movie sword much better!

What do you think? What is your favorite version?

Alba gu BrĂ¡th, brothers!

Bonus Tidbit: Aussie Woman Goes on Drunken Braveheart Rampage

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Warcraft Movie Weapons

There is a Warcraft movie coming out in March, 2016. 

As many of you reading this also play WOW online, and have experienced its many incredible predecessors on the PC, I am positive that you are as excited about this prospect as I am. 

 I mean, Azeroth come to life? 

What could be better than seeing orcs, elves, humans, trolls, tauren...undead...dwarves...oh, sorry, I had to wipe the drool from my mouth….on the big screen? Not much in my opinion. 

And did I mention it will feature Travis Fimmel, your boy Ragnar Lothbrok from the hit History Channel series ‘Vikings?’ WELL IT DOES! 

If anyone can swing steel around like a champ, its that kid.

Best of all, the Warcraft movie will follow on the heels of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies so our nerd-scapade never has to end! 


Now, the reason for my post this morning is an important one: the Warcraft movie weapons. 

Three days ago, at the San Diego ComicCon, there was a display for the upcoming film. And, as you might expect, the weapons were EPIC:

This hasnt been the first time incredible weapons have been forged for World of Warcraft fans. My man Tony Swatton meticulously recreated Frostmourne on the Man at Arms web series and, as you might expect, it was a true thing of beauty: 

Will the Warcraft movie be a blockbuster smash of Marvel proportions? Probably not. Will it make like a gazillion dollars from fanboys (like me) the globe over? Absolutely. 

Whatever the box office success, to see Warcraft come to life on the big screen is going to be a dream of blood and thunder come true. 

Need more info on the upcoming film? Check out the Google page 1 fansite: http://www.warcraft-themovie.com/

Saturday, March 15, 2014


So February 22, 2014 was RAGNAROK…

Still here? Yup! We all are.

No cataclysm…nothing. That....was too close.

Much like the Mayan prediction and the Rapture, Ragnarok is, fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on who you ask) is all smoke and no fire.

But, had Ragnarok really happened, it would most definitely be ALL SMOKE, ALL FIRE, ALL THE TIME...and we (humans everywhere) would be nothing but ash.


Glad you asked!
Ragnarok, simply put , is the Viking Apocalypse. Predicted by Snorri Sturluson and the Prose Edda, (the manliest book ever spoken through the generations), Ragnarok is a time when the earth would split; releasing all the assholes of the Underworld, and the Great Battle to end this dog and pony show we call existence would commence.

Now, two of the baddest asses in the Apocalypse pants are Fenrir and Jormangundr. 

 Their challengers? Yeah you guessed it, the mighty, the implacable: Thor God of Thunder! and his super sperm-blasting old man, the All Father, Odin!

Just in case you’ve never heard of this pantheon, or watched that awful Marvel film, let’s take a look at this global catastrophe through the eyes of each shall we?


"Why Grandma...what big...holy shee-it! Nice doggie."

Fenrir is actually a giant wolf and one of the sons of Loki. Which, weirdly enough, makes him the grandson of Odin (and you thought your family was nuts). He was predicted to kill his grandsire at Ragnarok. Fenrir’s rage comes from his natural, savage nature but also from being tricked into wearing a muzzle, Gleipnir by name, because he was too large and growing more out of control every day. For their trouble, the Norse god Tyr got his hand bitten off, Odin becomes kibble, and we all get the lights out treatment.


“Let a playa play!”

Odin is the one-eyed All Father who started the whole “deity thing” when the world was young. A trickster at heart, a warrior commander by nature, the old fella went around smashing Elsas and Freyas, Geitas and Brunhildas in his youth.  He begat epic all stars like Thor and Vitharr to defend and guide mankind, and the ward the realm of Asgaard from giants and other pieces of demi-god trash.

Astride his might spectral steed, Sleipnir, he steps up to teach Fenrir, his roid-raged canine grandson, all about who really wears the pants in the pantheon then promptly gets swallowed for his trouble. Even his mighty spear, Gungnir, couldn’t get his all powerful ass out of the belly of the beast and for that we all pay the piper.



His mother was a pissed off giantess, Angrboda. His dad? You guessed it, the Alec Baldwin of Asgaard, the ever-craptastic parent, Loki! This giant-serpent-turned-world-ender was chucked into the ocean, rather carelessly, by Odin when he was young, and, like his brother Fenrir, came back to tear shit up with a vengeance.

At the end of days, his struggle was no Harry Potter-style scuffle with some toothpick that takes him down, no. He rumbles with the mighty God of Thunder himself ,THOR, and holds his own.

In the end, this ornery serpent and THOR kill one another in an epic battle and we get caught in their crazy crossfire.

People! Don't throw your pythons down the sewer! (stupid Florida)   

The absolute rock star of Valhalla, this is the dude I want swinging Mjolnir around to defend my mortal ass when things get dicey. The god of thunder (and smashing Asgaard Valkyries like a true bro) is the son of All Father Odin and defender of the realm against all things nasty. Despite what the terrible Marvel film has showed us, Thor is the ultimate dick-swinging, hammer throwing, lightning-wielding badass who would eat that tin can destroyer thing for lunch.

With his golden flowing locks (no homo) he runs into any fight - alongside the legendary warriors of Valhalla - to take on all comers and makes it look easy. Now, as epic as the his Thundership is, Jormangundr, his serpentine nephew, winds his way around the world and schools his uncle on how world breaking is done.

Never to be too outshined in a vicious cock fight, though, Thor stills goes down like champ, bringing the giant snake (and the human race and all the other realms, unfortunately) to his non-existent knees.

The Real Ragnarok:

When the true end of days comes, I hope to face it bravely myself and make my ancestors proud. To do this, I am going to need some good food, good mead, and a giant steel fistful of Fuck Yeah (thanks Zombie tools)!

And I think this is a great place to start:

What will be your gear when Ragnarok comes to town?