May the 4th Be With You
May 4, International Star Wars Day
As long time subscribers will surely already know, over the years the May edition of the Digest has steadily evolved to focus on the 'ultimate sword' - the light Saber - to coincide with International Star Wars Day. And this issue is clearly no exception!

But don't worry, if light sabers are not your thing - just overlook the wallpaper and review at the end of the magazine, as you will find the usual mix of sword related news, articles, videos and more that is the heart of the Sword Buyers Digest.

So sit back, strap in and get ready to warp through the world of swords and light sabers at light speed with the Star Wars edition 2021!
Swords in the News
It would not work so well with a nicely tempered steel sword (though if you persist, you can permanently bend pretty much ANY sword) but while they were definitely deadly weapons of war, after defeat they were bent like a pretzel!
While searching (fruitlessly) online to have a family heirloom Kris Sword restored journalist Wee Kek Koon goes down the rabbit hole of two ancient Chinese legendary swords with a disturbing backstory..

It might be a dogs life these days, but in medieval Europe even the dogs had to pull their weight and had a hierarchy - with dog ownership often restricted and a right afforded only to the elites.. Interesting lens to view medieval history from yet another perspective.

Based on the enigmatic and fascinating story of the African Samurai 'Yasuke, Netflix has released the trailer for this new anime reinterpretation of his life, and it looks like it has all the makings of a hit!

Amid the chaos and controversy of the '2020' Tokyo Olympics and the ban on foreign spectators, the Japanese inventor of 'Bugaku sword dancing' that had spent $45,000 preparing for the influx of foreign visitors has turned to the internet and Zoom.

Too big and heavy for anyone but Cloud to hope to ever wield, if you ever wondered what this sword was/is all about, this is the article you need to read!
Dated most likely to the battle of Grunwald in 1410 it is described as a once in a few decades find and consists of a war sword and two daggers attached to a belt and scabbard.

The May edition would not be complete without 5 ways to celebrate Star Wars day from the official website, StarWars.com!
Best Forum Posts
In this world of social media and super trolls, the SBG forum still stands out as the friendliest sword discussion medium on the interwebz as members help a 15 year old member discover the resources needed to cast a sword from bronze.

Despite looking quite flimsy at first glance, Japanese tsuka (handles) are actually surprisingly sturdy. But could they be improved with modern materials? Interesting discussion.

It may not be the most traditional approach, but is there any value to the Japanese sword art instructional website learnthesword.com or is it just a 'McDojo'? SBG members discuss - draw your own conclusions.

SBG member alientude submits a cutting video for feedback and gets some excellent tips and advice that anyone can relate to.
Video of the Month
Armor didn't seem to slow Darth Vader down any, and so it should come as no surprise that a suit of plate armor is also much less restrictive and heavy than what most people think. And this video is the proof - busting almost every myth that a downed knight could not stand up by himself, cannot run or climb and many other common misconceptions..
Certainly much more versatile than most think - though as clanky as you might expect (no ninja sneaking for a medieval Knight! That is for sure..)
Saberforge Custom Saber Review
The Adaptive Saber Parts Builder & New Lightsaber Technology!
Review by Daniel Dacombe, Canada
At Sword Buyer’s Guide, we tend to be more than one kind of nerd. Many of us sword collectors are also into Dungeons and Dragons, board games, fantasy fiction, and video games – we are “Jacks of All Trades” when it comes to geeky stuff. As a result, when you ask a sword collector if they would love to own a lightsaber in real life the answer would almost always be – of course!

It was Star Wars that many of us grew up watching, some of us seeing the prequels or even the original films in theater. We were enthralled by those weapons of light, and for some of us they are even why we became fascinated in swords in the first place. It’s a short journey for sword collectors to also start getting into lightsaber collecting, and thankfully there’s plenty of options for collecting replica lightsabers available online!

We have reviewed several lightsabers before, most of which have come from the company Saberforge. We’ve gotten to know Saberforge in the past; the owner is a sword collector, skilled practitioner, and all-around great guy so the connection was an easy one to make. However, since the last review we did the technology for these sabers has jumped to light speed – and for this year’s “Star Wars Tribute Issue” of the SBG Digest, we couldn’t think of a better way to pay tribute to the media we love than to take a look at the latest technology from Saberfore. So sit back and be amazed by the Adaptive Saber Parts Builder (ASP), a completely customizable lightsaber system, and the Neopixel onboard sound and light option – by far the most “realistic”. 

THE BUILDER
We have to be honest – one of the best parts of making your own custom saber is using the online 3D builder. With access to all of Saberforge’s library of parts from their many designs, it is fun, intuitive, and incredibly addicting. We made 7 or 8 designs before we settled on a design we liked, and it was easily as fun as playing some of the better video games we’ve enjoyed.
With all the options available, the number of unique designs must number in the millions. You can choose from standard size, double-blades (like Darth Maul), crossguard sabers (like Kylo Ren), and anything in between. Be warned – once you start, you might spend an hour or two without realizing it!

Once the parts have been selected, you have the option to either have the parts shipped to you directly or have the skilled technicians at Saberforge assemble your saber for you. We have to be honest – assembling the saber is supposed to be relatively straightforward, but we didn’t want to risk making any mistakes so we opted to have the saber assembled. And we are glad we did – because it arrived ready to use straight out of the box!

THE SABER - FIT AND FINISH
We put together a design that we felt looked appropriate for our ASP saber. We were going for a utilitarian and no-nonsense feel, like it had been assembled by a grizzled Jedi in the back of a dirty spacecraft in preparation for a grim battle to come. And the final product did not disappoint.

Like all of Saberforge’s sabers, this can tightly assembled out of aircraft grade aluminum. The handle we designed was slightly bigger than the original we reviewed all those years ago, and felt solid and well constructed. 

The lines on this saber are incredibly crisp – we can’t stress how real it feels. And the blade is brighter than ever!
The blade is a little heavier than older models, and with good reason – instead of a hollow tube the Neopixel sabers have a string of powerful LEDs running the length of the blade. We’ll talk more about that in a moment – but for now, appreciate these photos of the ASP saber next to the original saber we reviewed for SBG!
THE SABER - FUNCTION (Video)

We mentioned earlier that the new Neopixel sound and light board was on the market, and we opted for this technology for the ASP saber. It did not disappoint.

Older Saberforge sabers (like others on the market) create a steady hum, can detect when you move the saber and make a sound, and detect when you make a hit and make another sound. The Neopixel takes this feature to hyperspace and back – instead of separate sounds, the steady hum changes pitch and intensity based on how fast or slowly you move the saber. The LED blade flashes when a “hit” is detected, and when you thrust with the saber the tip of the blade flashes with the impact instead of the blade as a whole. The entire experience feels much more realistic than before, and simply has to be experienced to be believed.

The previously mentioned LED blade allows for a start up and shut down effect that makes it look like the blade is emerging from the hilt – just like in the films! We have to admit, we had a bit of a shiver when we saw it light up for the first time. However, it should be noted that the LEDs are more fragile than the standard blades, so it cannot be used for full strength dueling like other sabers can. A worthy trade off considering the results!

For our video we chose the sound font Ranger’s Blade and a classic green color, but there are literally dozens of possible combinations that come with the saber. And that’s not all – using the USB connection, more sound fonts can be downloaded from the internet and loaded for use on the saber. It’s outstanding technology and we know we are barely scratching the surface of it in this review. For a brief look at what this is like, check out the video below:

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION
Saberforge is a company dedicated to their craft, and nowhere is that more clear than with their ASP platform. It was easy to use and brought us a saber that was light years ahead of anything else we’ve seen from similar companies. We’ve played with this saber for hours since it arrived and it’s not losing its luster anytime soon.
 
For us, the regular sabers from Saberforge are still incredible. But the ASP and Neopixel elevate this product to heights we never anticipated would be available. It’s pure, ridiculous fun, and Star Wars movies are much more fun to watch while you have one of these around.
If you are so inclined, check out the builder at the link below. And if you do decide to order one – tell Saberfore that the Sword Buyers Guide sent you. We want them to feel the love of our community the way we do – for Star Wars Month, and every other month!
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Hope you enjoyed this Star Wars themed edition of the digest. Next month we will be back to our usual programming of course, and lots of stuff to show you all that has been happening behind the scenes in the last few months.

But in the meantime, be it sabers of light or swords of steel, happy swordening!

  • Paul Southren