Kult of Athena


Friday, August 25, 2017

Tools of The Apocalypse: The Big Bad Wolf & The Diphos

Ok. Now, you can bring on the end times, the hordes of undead…

That might be weird to read – what with the breakdown of law and order, society, and human decency going on all around me and my loved ones. I'll grant you.

But, on the flip side, it WILL give me a chance to let these BAD ASS new blades I got from ZT (Zombie Tools) live out what they were FORGED to do:


But before we take a look at the ins and outs of these vicious steel monsters, let’s go back and take a look at the mindset of the man (me) who – with 2 kids, a lofty mortgage, and a wife not-too-keen on the idea of purchasing expensive heirloom weapons – decided to take a chance, blow some hard-earned cash (approximately $1500), and snatch up some nigh-indestructible steel appeal that was guaranteed (from the research) to stand the test of time.

Anyone who has ever seen any of my past posts here, on All Swords, or SBG on Facebook knows that I ran into some, ahem…unfortunate events…in my sword purchasing past. Events that only the buying of better, sturdier, higher-quality blades could cure.

And, needless to say, while I do have a deep respect for HEMA and its practitioners, I was not looking for a Talhofer or Fiore-accurate historical piece I could call my own.

I wanted something different. Something that was a little fantasy, a little out of line in terms of traditional conceptions of construction and design, and swords that I KNEW had the durability (and rock-solid reputation) to hit like a truck and not crack, fly apart, bend, chip, or otherwise do things that would make me cry.

No, but close...

Thanks to guys like Michael Ceracchi, Skallagrim, and ChanmailleMan (Aidan), I found them:

The Big Bad Wolf & 
The Diphos  

The Big Bad Wolf
Back in 2014, I got my first taste of the BIG BAD WOLF (go to about 3:00 mins in). Though almost COMPLETELY different from today’s version (and absolutely in the prototype form), I loved the idea of a two-handed, Viking-style, functional fantasy blade from artists who knew what they were about.

After seeing them destroy the original Deuce, I knew this sword - and the boys at Zombie Tools - would warrant a close watch.

When the specs of the sword dropped in 2015 (achieving a power level that was easily over 9000), the Big Bad Wolf seemed heavy, expensive, formed like a “sharpened bar,” to be sure, and my EVERYTHING.

I decided I had to have it. Next sword purchase (whenever that was) it was mine.

Today, after so much waiting, argument, holding her in my hands, and experiencing the raw power she offers, I can comfortably and definitively say it absolutely is. Take my word for it, this Wolf leads the pack, and lives up to its pig-petrifying name in EVERY WAY possible. 

But like Conan said back in the 80’s, “ENOUGH TALK!”

Let’s get down to what we all came here to see: pics and videos!

Official Blade Specs:
Total Length: 40 in (1.02 m)
Blade Length: 29 in (.74m)
Handle Length: 11 in (.28m)
Grip Size: 7.5 in (.19 m)
Steel Width: 25 in (6.35mm)
Steel Type: 5160 Carbon Spring Steel
Weight: 3lbs 13oz (1.73kg)
Availability: RETIRED
Price: $724 (MSRP)

Product Features:
  • Handsome Center-Line Bevel
  • Reinforced Handle Elements
  • Weight-Reducing Distal Taper
  • Secondary Steel Plated Pommel And Guard
  • Neolithic Styling
  • 2.5-Inch Center Of Balance From Top Hand
  • Durable Kydex Sheath
  • Comes complete with "Fuck Yeah" Feeling
Blade of the Gods: The Diphos
The design of the SECOND weapon in my recently-updated arsenal must have come from Athena, Odysseus’ girl, Goddess of Wisdom and Warfare herself, because it is just DIVINE.

Featuring a broad leaf-blade with wide head, the NASTIEST stabbing point I have ever seen on sword, and a two-handed grip, this short bladed, long-handled merchant of death more than measures up to the durability standards ZT is known for. Even more than that, it takes almost no effort to get through almost any target.

Seriously, if get this sword even up to HALF speed and it will rip through and destroy even the toughest objects (within reason) like Ivan Drago when you let it off the leash (including you, so be careful).

Cut a ways into the pell...yikes

But before I show you (again instead of all this telling), I have to give ALL the inspiration for THIS purchase to one man: Skallagrim.

His in-depth Diphos video was not only an awe-inspiring, real-time, steel-clad fashion show for us sword nerds, but also meticulously informative, almost the point of annoyance (not at all, really).

Check it out 

The Diphos Gallery: 

Official Blade Specs:
Total Length:   35.5 in (.90m)
Blade Length: 25 in (.64m)
Handle Length: 10.5 in (.27m)
Grip Size: 8 in (.20m)
Steel Width: .25 in (6.4mm)
Steel Type: 5160
Weight: 2 lbs 14 oz (1.3 kg)
Availability: 6-8 week wait time.
Release Date: March 2014 (Retirement Date: June 2018-ish)
Price: $649.95

The Taste of the Tang
The one thing that enamors me most about both blades, and deserves serious mention - other than their masochistic durabilities, sleek, in-your face acid-etched designs, and impressive handling characteristics - is the entirely WOODLESS tangs.

To quote the ZT website:

"Our handles are made from T-6 aluminum that is pinned onto the tang with mild steel pins. They do not come off.  Our blades are full-tang, battle-ready, sharpened and sheathed pieces of 5160 and 6150 spring steel that we heat-treat to yield a 55 Rockwell hardness. Our bevels are saber-grinds and our edge bevels run at about 19 degrees."

And they will slice through your crappy Honda civic like a juiced up lightsaber! (alright, I made that up).

But I do LOVE that these beasts are SPECIALLY-DESIGNED to take heavy punishment all while maintaining most of the essentials of a well-built sword. This makes them pretty close to one GIANT Center of Percussion (CoP), and my new favorite things in the universe (sorry kids).   

A Word of Warning:
However, after all of this ZT ball washing, I do want this review to be as unbiased as it can be for both of these bad Betties. The only real words of caution I would offer would be watch out for the edge of the Big Bad Wolf (not hair shaving sharp) and the sheath on the Diphos.

For the Diphos sheath, seriously, what in the world is going on with this design (see above)? The “lips” (let’s call them) do comfortably keep the blade locked in place and prevented from sliding out, yes. But they also make it nearly IMPOSSIBLE for the blade to be drawn quickly and efficiently.

You have to exert some serious strength to get her out of there, and if your hand slips or anything gets in the way of that blade when she’s ejaculating from that sheath at the speed of sound, you’ll slice your shit down to the bone or clean off (not kidding).

I, for one, plan to file them down.

Funny thing is though, this is ON PURPOSE!

The boys at Zombie Tools themselves shed a little light:

"There’s a small trick to unsheathing our blades. Our Kydex sheaths are formed to have a pressure lock on the handle. If you just grab the sheath with one hand and the handle with the other and pull, the unsheathing can be difficult and awkward. The trick is to use your thumb to pop the sheath off the handle lock. Grab the sheath with one hand and the handle with the other and use the thumb of your handle hand to push the sheath off of the blade while gently pulling at the same time. You’ll also want to turn the blade so that the edge is facing up and the blade rides on its spine as you unsheath. This is especially helpful with our curved blades."

As far as the edge on the blade of the Big Bad Wolf, I think maybe it depends on the kind of target you are slicing through (I hate you Ocean Spray bottles), and of course the angle at which you are cutting. If you use heavier plastic targets (see Diphos video) or ANYTHING heavier than wood, the outcome will be drastically different (and worse, I am guessing) than, say, thinner water bottles, tatami mats, ballistic gel heads, or your daughter's boyfriend you catch getting handsy with your little angel. Also, the Wolf is less forgiving with last-second handle rolls or off-line cuts (I'm working on it over here!)

But in the long run, these things amount to practically nothing.

Final Thoughts:

Buy them both (though the Wolf is retired. Get it second-hand).

It's as simple as that.

Neither sword is "HEMA-tested, HEMA-approved" by any real means, but they aren't supposed to be. What they ARE built to be is rough and ready, heavy metal killing machines that absolutely stand tall against tremendous shock without ever missing a beat.

They feel amazing (lighter and more nimble than their overall weight would dictate), look better than I could have ever hoped to find on the market without going custom, and COMMAND the respect all REAL practitioners of our beloved hobby/obsession should always give to their swords.

They excel where other, lesser blades have bent, broken, or just plain quit, and for that, they have EARNED my unyielding love and admiration, indefinitely.

Pick em up, and happy cutting!