Sword Buyers Digest Online Magazine
Issue 121, February 2018
Your Monthly News & Updates

Welcome to the first edition of the digest for 2018!

After some rather bad news to finish off the year in 2017, this year things are finally starting to look up a bit. So in this issue, we take a sneak peak at what is coming down the line for the industry in 2018, check in on our 'close to beta launch' Fantasy Sword Project (as well as offer some early bird specials) and all the usual Digest goodness.

Hope you find something of interest!
Fantasy Swords Project Update

Behind the scenes, the dedicated website for our Fantasy Swords Project is coming along nicely - indeed, it is quite likely that by the time all the prototype swords we have in development are complete, the website will be ready for its beta launch.

And here are a few pics of some of the prototypes to give you an idea of how close they are to completion.

First up, the dreaded Brand of the Fallen.
And of course its, angelic twin - the Flame of the Host - Sword of the Imperial Royal Family of Aelutia.
And then there is one of my favorites, the unique 'Katanaesque' Castir of the Escians.
Speaking of the Escians, we have also been busy making all the artwork and stories to accompany the swords - here is a sneak preview of the Escians weilding the Castir!
If all goes to plan, we SHOULD be doing a soft launch of the beta version of the accompanying site around the middle of this month. Not 100% yet as the final modifications to the site will take some considerable time, but as some of the other swords we have assigned to this project are ready to go, some will be available BEFORE the site is officially launched..

You will see what I am talking about with my next article!
Scorpion Swords: Limited Release of 3 of the Swords from the Legendary Swords Project!
An Aelutian Legionnaire with the early period Aelutian Gladius
Ahead of the launch of the Legendary Swords Website - we are delighted to be able to offer Digest subscribers the opportunity to get their hands on 3 of the swords born from this project and designed by winners of the Fantasy Sword Competition.

There are three designs that were chosen as winners from the competition - swords designed by the community FOR the community. You can read one of the reviews of the 'Goblin King Sword' here on the SBG forums.
Limited First Release - Only 10 of each available to pre-order
Of the three new designs, only 10pcs will be available to pre-order and will be made on a first come, first served basis with completion and final delivery 6-8 weeks after ordering.
Early Aelutian Gladius

The magical sidearm of the Aelutian Imperial Legionnaires, this sword was in use for over 2000 years. The legend of this sword is that it is made from 'Coronatite', is nearly indestructible and has armor piercing qualities - which isn't far from the reality of this tough, hard wearing Fantasy Gladius..

The Aeultian Gladius $329.99
Sword of the Goblin King

This wicked, spiky, mean sword with dark moon glyphs looks like any other Goblin sword in Eletreus. But this poisoned blade made from 'Goblin Steel' belongs to the notorious and mysterious Goblin King of Shamble Island and has been enchanted by powerful and sinister Goblin magic. Click here for the designers hands on review.

Sword of the Goblin King $284.99
The Orc Kings War Cleaver

In the broken Kingdom of Thane, the Orcs rise again. This time, the tribes are united by a powerful Orc Warlord in league with an ancient evil - and in his hands is THIS powerful chopping blade, thirsty for blood and slaughter, the only thing the Orcs excel in..

The Orc Kings War Cleaver $284.99 
Remember, only 10pcs of each design are available to pre-order ahead of the release of the beta version of the Legendary Swords website. So get in early to become a part of one of SBG's most exciting community driven projects to date.
Special Report:
The Sword Industry - 2018 the year ahead
Last year was a very tough year for the sword industry - indeed, in the last quarter of the year the industry was hit hard by a perfect storm that threatened it to its very foundations.

But as we head into the second month of 2018 it looks like things might finally be starting to stabilize, at least in the short term.

Some well known sword makers are still going quite strong so it seems - as Windlass Steelcrafts was featured on CNN's 'Traders' segment and explained that they do over $20 million a year in sales, though their biggest orders are for lots of 20,000 swords for various militaries, but they are still at the forefront of producing props for television and movies, most notably, Game of Thrones.
CNNs Traders 2:38 Segment on Windlass Steelcrafts

Likewise, most US based custom sword makers still have huge backlogs and waiting lists, so orders have - for the most part - not slowed down all that much.

And the worst of the issues effecting the supply and production of swords in China have passed,and while many component makers were shut down, the larger forges have started making their own.

For example, our own Forge Direct Japanese project has been revitalized and is about to come back online again in the next few days with a huge selection of high quality and traditional sukashi iron tsuba and koshirae, some of which are pictured right..

The only issue is pricing - many cost increases to sword production over the years have not been passed on to sword buyers, but this year something will have to give as the profit margins on functional swords have shrunk to the point that they are completely unsustainable, meaning now is the best time to buy and lock in the old pricing before the inevitable rise.

With the pending launch of our Fantasy Sword site, we are hoping that 2018 will see an increased interest and availability of reasonably priced, high quality functional fantasy swords that I am hoping will spark a new trend of creativity and originality in the sword industry that has been sorely missing the last 5 years.

New designs are in the works at several of the major forges - perhaps most notably, the highly anticipated new European sword designs by Ronin Katana that everyone is drooling for that should hit the shelves in Winter/Spring of this year..

Coming Soon from Ronin Katana!
Beyond this, it is very hard to predict - the sword industry is a small and fickle one, and in this politically correct age when so many people are paranoid about weapons in general, an easy target for overzealous legislators. But we will do our best to keep you informed of any changes, for better or for worse, and while 2018 is unlikely to be a bonanza year for the industry, it has certainly started off on a better note than we were dreading..

As always, stay tuned and we will keep you informed..!
Video of the Month

Joerg from the Slingshot channel is always an interesting fellow. And this video, on making a 'Damascus' pattern plywood sword that can actually CUT is both entertaining and informative - and proves that you don't need much of a blade to do the old 'fruit ninja' cutting tests..

If you haven't seen his videos before, you can visit his channel here. My personal favorite from all his videos is his 'Orc Cleaver vs Katana' tests.
Best Forum Posts

A collection of four of the best and most recent posts and threads from the SBG Sword Forum.

Here's why we wanted to increase vendor participation
This thread is the PERFECT example of why we wanted to have more manufacturers involved with the forum. So many issues could be solved if people had just been civil.. One day, with some super strict new rules, maybe we can get some to come back..

New Sword Maker Joins the Fray
It is always heartening when a new sword maker joins the community - and here we welcome Damien from Kowalstwo Art - Sulowski with some of his amazing works.

Funniest Myths about Historical Arms and Armor
Samurai Armor made from bamboo? Military swords were over 8lbs? A collection of wild and crazy arms and armor myths and urban legends.

Folded Steel and Making Katana
We have been over it before, but in this thread we look at it from a different angle - how hard is it to make a Katana, and why folded steel is not necessary (at all)..

Forge Direct - Relaunch Countdown!
We weren't sure if we were ever going to be able to do it. But we are delighted to say that it is now only 3 days before we relaunch our Forge Direct project!

With new components available for the Custom Katana, the return of the Chinese Sword line up, and not one but SIX new Chinese Fantasy Sword designs joining the Legendary Swords Project - not only is it coming back, but bigger and better than ever before!
One of the New Fantasy Designs to be added to the Forge Direct Line Up
As all the forges are about to close down for Chinese New Year Celebrations, we were able to secure the best pricing possible for the relaunch - and straight after Chinese New Year, when the smiths are all fully rested and eager to get back to work, is one of the BEST times to order from them while they are nice and fresh.

So we plan on some very special pricing to celebrate the relaunch and give the Master Smiths a nice chunk of work for them to get stuck into when they come back.

Yup, this is going to be big..
What's New at the 'Kult'
Kult of Athena has always been one of the best 'go to' places to buy swords. With an emphasis on speedy shipping, up to date stock levels and honest customer service, not to mention some of the lowest prices around, it is no wonder they are and have been the most popular sword seller around.

This month, we take a look at their 'what's new' section to pick out the best buys - and this month there sure are some unique and special deals available.

Many of the swords this month are one offs, such as the Angus Trim Xa5 Arming Sword for $994.95.

A genuine Angus Trim Arming Sword up for grabs

There are also some blades by Arms and Armor, Pre-owned and semi-customized swords from the Hanwei/Tinker Pearce line, Darksword Armory and BKS to name a few more.

But for real bargain hunters, my pick would be a couple of unusual designs by Deepeeka..

It looks like there is only one of each available - and being a Deepeeka this is going to be more of a project piece or display sword than anything that you can use straight out of the box. But for around $150 for each sword, you get a whole lot of sword for not very much money..

A whole lot of Flamberge goodness for just 159 bucks

Kind of reminds me of a budget version of the Brand of the Fallen we are developing with BCI (but the Brand will be quite usable out of the box, that is for certain).

Definitely worth a look this month.
That's it for this issue of the digest. Lots going on right now, and behind the scenes we are working around the clock to make it all happen. So stay tuned folks. All indications are that 2018 is going to be a very unique and big year for a change.

Until next issue, stay safe and happy swordening!

- Paul
Paul Southren | Sword Buyers Guide.com