As most of you will know, Ronin Katana’s European line of swords has been well received by sword collectors, HEMA groups and sword community in general. All our barely sold above cost price, truly amazing bang for your buck.
But now many of the old classics are getting an upgrade, and for $15 more you get a sword that looks considerably more attractive, handles better, and has a genuine leather handle wrap.
Here’s a look at them side by side.
And some pics of the handles – the original first, which was criticized for being too long and uncomfortable and then the new improved version.
Now let’s take a look at the raw stats.
The original version had the following basic statistics:
Blade length: 29.92 inches
Handle length:4.33 inches
Width: 1.97 inches
Thickness .028 inches
Weight 2 pounds 9.5 oz
The new version, in addition to a genuine leather wrapped handle, has some distal taper, from 5.8mm at the base to 3mm by the time the tip is reached lightening the blade from 2lbs 9.5oz to 2lbs 8.9 oz and shortening the grip slightly so it is more in line with historical examples.
Great to see this line go from strength to strength..
SIDE NOTE and PSA: Cheap and nasty copies using what appear to be the same fittings, scabbards and blades are staring to appear online priced somewhere near the $164 price point with what look like the EXACT same fittings, blades, everything..
Problem is, they are made by a company that I will not list here by name but in the past has been caught out selling swords made in China with faked certificates and even engravings ‘made in Seki City, Japan’ and are essentially copies of the first generation of Ronin Katana Euro swords that went horribly, horribly wrong (welded tangs, soft 1045 carbon steel blades, mild steel cast fittings, really cheap ‘pleather’ etc) and were liqutated and have become the reliable, respectable sword brand that they are today.
I strongly suggest if you stumble upon these knockoff versions made by a company that clearly has NO ethics whatseover you avoid them like the plague.
Okay, I’ve been working around 14 hours straight with only coffee and the occasional snack to keep me going, but we made it..
Project X Japanese is live and ready to order. Indeed, subscribers to the Project X newsletter have already jumped in and out of the 30 pre-order spots available, 20% have already been snapped up!
And then, the one that gave me the biggest headache – changing the pricing and options on Forge Direct Japanese. After much number crunching, some prices are slightly higher than we anticipated and others slightly lower, but when you consider what you can get for your money with even the basic options, well – the value for money factor is off the charts..
In addition to this however, I have also been spending countless hours creating pages explaining all about the two product lines, both the pros and the cons of each, and then a mammoth of a page for Forge Direct here which lists full size images of all the available components so you never have to squint to figure out what the design looks like again.
For your ease of reference, here are the new relevant pages:
These pages are not 100% complete yet and will need to revamp the page about the differences between the various custom lines we have and create a few more helpful pages, as the more info you have, the easier it is to make a clear decision right?
So enjoy the new prices, products and sword buying opportunities. Like I said, its not perfect yet – there’s still more tweaking to do – but right now even coffee number 18 won’t keep me up any longer, time for a rest and then we get back into it! Phew..
If you notice any errors, PLEASE contact me directly so I can fix them. I will be going over everything a second and third time, but as a typical male can quite easily miss small details that are glaringly obvious to a casual visitor but completely invisible to me because I am seeing what I expect to see, not necessarily what is actually there.
Now its over to you.
Have a look at both lines and see what you think. It’s been a lot of hard work, but I stake my reputation on both of these swords as being some of the best if not THE best custom Katana anywhere near the under-priced point we are offering them for..
Time for a little nap and then straight back into it so that I can be ready for business as usual on Monday. Hope you like what you see – it’s been months in the making, and with so many different options available all based on the very best Katana around, I’m pretty sure it won’t be all that hard to make a design from one series or the other that you will fall in love with..
We were originally planning this for late September, but delays getting information on some possible new options for Forge Direct Swords and preparing three new models for Project X took up more time than I had available (end of the month is always crazy busy – and is usually taken up writing each edition of the Sword Buyers Digest Online Magazine).
So let’s get down to brass tacks.
PROJECT X JAPANESE
Round one of the customizable Project X Japanese was a resounding success – so much so that we have several customers wishing to order a second sword! Only 30 places are available, and once filled it will take 3-4 months before they are complete and so after this, the next opportunity to buy them will be sometime in February 2020.
What we learned is that with complex lamination, you can’t rush the process. As with in Japan, it often takes 4-5 swords to make one good one (with the scraps being picked up by the eBayers) but from the feedback we have been getting so far, 3-4 months is not a long time to wait for such a quality item.
But that’s not all, for as I believe I mentioned in a previous post – three new models will be joining the round 2 line up. Whether or not they are permanent additions or one off’s remains to be seen, but here’s a sneak preview..
From left to right, the Miyamoto Elite has several FREE upgrades in exchange for less custom options. For even less options, and for those who like to keep it simple and save a few extra $, there is the Kihon which only has a few sets to choose from and cannot be mixed and matched like the other lines. And finally the unique Black Crow Kogarasu with its double edged tip.
No matter what happens, the launch date begins on midnight Eastern time, 5th of October – only 30 pre-order slots are available and as per last time, we will show you how quickly the spots are being taken up so you don’t have to wait until February if you miss out on this round.
FORGE DIRECT JAPANESE
Meanwhile, the biggest reason for the delay launching Project X Japanese is we needed to make some big changes to our previous top of the range Custom Katana, the Forge Direct line.
The base price of all models will be coming down significantly, but at the same time we are also offering MORE optional extras to make up for it and allow you to take your forge design sword to a whole new level. Plus I am also in the process of creating a page on the blog showing large resolution pics of EVERY custom component so you can see it up VERY close and make out every detail. And then there will also be more custom options like with Project X and the soon to be discontinued SBG Custom Katana.
For example, one popular custom option we have been asked for many times is a leather wrapped tsuka. Here’s an example of one about to be wrapped at the forge (and yes, they too will have hishigami).
And then there are the saya. Forge Direct Japanese will have even more saya than ever before for the standard custom Katana, though we will be forced to charge extra for the most ornate ones, many – especiallu those that are hand painted – worth more than many entry level swords alone.
And finally, a folded steel option and maybe even a laminated version too (we aren’t 100% on the lamination yet, but here is an example of what the folded version looks like).
As mentioned, confirming these modifications, pricing them and making sure we don’t hurt the reputation of either brand is what has been slowing things down so much.
Regardless and come what may, at the stroke of midnight on the 5th, Project X opens up come hell or high water. And if it all goes to plan, so does the lower priced Forge Direct Custom Katana with more options than you can poke a sword at..
At the end of the day, the Forge Direct Katana will be more affordable and with more options and take only around 2 months to make, while the Project X series have far more complex blades and higher price, higher quality fittings and take around twice as long to make (and is only available in batches until we are 100% confident we can run it all year round like we can with Forge Direct).
The countdown to the best deals and the best Katana designs ever made at SBG has begun.
In the meantime, we STRONGLY recommend you sign up to the exclusive Project X Newsletter. If you knew the bonuses and extras available to subscribers, you would sign up in a heartbeat..
It started with the Wolfsbane, then the High King Sword – but the two most recent GoT inspired creations have taken it to another level..
Well, one of them has taken it to the highest level – with a one off, one time 1:1 scale replica of ‘the Iron Throne’.
Only one has and will be made, and with a $15,000 price tag, it might be a while before it finds its final home. But there can be no denying they did and amazing job of replicating it.
And then there is another sword, this time a hybrid of fact and fantasy – a sword never seen in the series, but attributed to one of the most important characters, Daenerys and called the Mother of Dragons Sword
The owner of Darksword Armory, Eyal Azerad, has travelled extensively to museums around the world and was inspired by this particular blade he saw at the Wallace Collection in London (see below, click for the full size image)
In the video below, Eyal explains how it all came about, how it feels in the hand and what made them decide on its final form.
As you can see, they pulled it off very, very well..
As is always the case, the SBG Sword Store offers the best deal on this blade – normally the price is $510 for sharpening and the Deluxe scabbard plus shipping and 15% sales tax for Canadian customers. But at SBG you can get it with all the bells and whistles, no sales tax and FREE SHIPPING for just $485!
It’s always exciting to report the release of a new sword – but doubly exciting (or quadruplely exciting technically, though as far as I know that’s not actually a valid expression).. Anyway, clearly I am excited – here’s why.
The first sword is a what is commonly called a Wing Chun Butterfly Sword, they trace their lineage back around 200 years and variations were used in many Southern Chinese Kung Fu styles, such as Hung Gar, Choy Li Fut and others and were often used by revolutionary fighters and rebels, small enough to be concealed in a sleeve and often (but not always) used as a pair.
Our version, brought to you by our good friends at Ryujin, has a differentially hardened 1095 carbon steel blade with brass handle and is one of the best made functional Butterfly Swords on the market. Normally sold for $229.99 each, order 1 for just $159.99 – or TWO or more and the price comes down to $139.99 each.
Here’s a couple of budget Katana that don’t look cheap..
Most of our swords at SBG are at the mid to high end of the market, but when we saw these basic monotempered 1045 carbon steel blades (which could be passed off as ANYTHING by some unscrupulous sellers) the overall designs and totally unique fittings, we just could not resist..
First one is the most subtle, black saya with a Geisha print, blue ito – subtly painted tsuba – stylish and classy all the way.
The blades are well tempered and have bo-hi, weighing around 2.2 -2.3lbs, so they are fast and responsive should it come to cutting. But I would think that they are instead “functional sword art” on special and available at a fraction of their true value (both are under $80!).
And finally, a classic reproduction
And finally, from one of my favorite childhood TV series and the movie – Shogun Assassin – the Dotanuki of Ogami Itto from Lone Wolf and Son.
If you haven’t seen the series or the condensed version known as ‘Shogun Assassin’ first, go see it. NOW! Here’s a few scenes that barely do it justice..
Anyway, it was THIS series that inspired Sword Artisan Frenchie Jin from Dragon King’s interest in swords, and so he has created a faithful replica from the series down to every detail.
A tad expensive at $1,199 – naturally at SBG we have slashed the price to the bone, and you can pick it up for $779.99. Limited stock on a truly collectible blade for die hard fans of one of the best Japanese Sword Stories in Manga, TV and as a movie.