The Strongblade Sword Design Contest was a stunning success! More than fifty brave souls offered us the results of their earthly toils– more than fifty blades to be scrutinized by peers, inspected, judged and voted on. We didn’t know quite what to expect on our first go around of this, but we were simply blown away by the enthusiasm, creativity, and mad skills that flooded our servers.
We received an incredible variety of sword, created in a plethora of different mediums. The swords were hand drawn, computer designed, carved from wood, cardboard or metal, and, in one case, sculpted from dairy-free, low-trans-fat mayonnaise. Wait. No, that last one was a dream I had.
The Gondolin Cleaver, By Zach L. One part Elven. One part Dwarf. Three parts awesome.
So, the results?
Our winner was the exquisitely designed, elven-esque short sword “Gondolin Cleaver,” by Zach L. It’s not surprising that this skillfully rendered sword received the most votes (check back soon to read an interview with Zach and his techniques for designing swords). But there were other entries that gave this one a run for its money. Lots of others! We had a brilliantly conceived rapier with flat guards. An antler-hilted sword. A dueling saber and an Irish short sword. We were treated to a lovely 17th century polish saber, a wanderer’s sword, a lethal looking falcata and a double bladed cutlass. Some of the swords had thorns, some had teeth, all had inspiration and insane creativity to them.
I wish I could speak on each and every one, but I would get nothing done for the rest of the week and this post would reach manifesto length. So I will pick out a few designs that really caught my eye, for one reason or another. Beginning with our winner…
The Gondolin Cleaver
By Zach L.
It’s not often that someone can improve on the designs of New Zealand-based WETA Studios, but Zach manged to do just that. This sword is based on a beloved blade from classical fantasy, and Zach knocked it out of the park. Not only is the weapon elegant and beautiful, but it has a marvelous efficiency of design. The lines flow freely and with grace. There is no clutter. And note the opposing curve of the blade and the hilt. A truly gorgeous weapon, conceived and drawn by someone with enormous artistic talents. My next post will be an interview with Zach, so come back to the Strongblade Edge next week for that!
The Courtier’s Blade
By Phillip T.
Full disclosure: As some of you know, I am an author of historical fiction and fantasy. The novel I am currently writing is a fantasy set in a 16th-century-ish time period. So rapiers are on my mind…
The idea of combining a flaring leaf blade from Greek swords into a rapier is a stroke of genius. The flaring tip is not so wide that it would throw off the balance, but wide enough to give the sword a real uniqueness and beauty. I do wonder if the flaring tip might not be a little superfluous on a rapier, but it certainly looks awesome. My challenge for Phillip is to come up with a sheath design…
The Berserker’s Seax
By Michael K.
I love the brashness of this weapon, and had fun reading Michael’s description. What’s not to like about a hand-and-a-half seax? Beautiful angles, a squat guard shaped like ravens, and a pommel sculpted to look like Yggdrasil, the Norse Tree of Life. Great work Michael!
By Eric T.
An utterly unique design, with panels cut out from the sword. The panel shapes and positioning remind me a little of stained glass—if stained glass was made to cut you into little pieces. A beautiful juxtaposition of delicate and fierce.
Daedric Great Sword
By Simon H.
A wonderful show of fantasy craftsmanship. Simon put this sword together from cardboard. No easy feat considering the meticulously carved curves and the razored teeth on the large blade. This is a savage looking weapon, two-pronged and long-hilted. Great work.
By Russ S.
This one wins the “lethal” category, hands down. Or hands off (yeah, severed). Every inch of the sword is a killing tool. It doesn’t matter what direction an enemy comes from–only pain awaits him (or her). I imagine a gladiator using this type of sword might take wounds of his own from the pommel spikes from time to time, but what’s a little self-laceration in the face of the sheer terror of this murderous sword.
By Julian C.
It’s a little difficult to make out all of the wonderful details of this sword, but the design is brilliantly conceived. Simple–but wide–hand guard, and a second edge on what is traditionally a back-bladed weapon. Well done, Julian.
The Royal Rapier
By Israel T.
And to close out the highlights, here’s another dazzling rapier entry. The blade is more reminiscent of a tuck, but the hilt is undeniably rapier. Beautifully color-coordinated, with brilliantly designed and drafted swept guards. Another madly talented artist, rounding out our snapshot of the entries we received.
Apologies to all the other entrants. Any one of the entries could have been highlighted in this post. They were all *that* good. In the end, we resorted to the time-tested rochambeau (rock-paper-scissors) to decide between a few of the swords. If you entered the contest, please watch your inbox for an email from Strongblade (and check your spam filters, just in case).
We want to thank each and every one of you for your entry, and hope to see more entries in our next contest.
Until next time. All hail the Strongblade Forgemaster, Zach L!