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Thread: Review: Hanwei Albrecht II (Hand and a Half)

  1. #1

    Review: Hanwei Albrecht II (Hand and a Half)

    Stats from Cas Iberia: http://casiberia.com/product_details.asp?id=SH2034
    Stats as measured by myself:

    Blade Length: 34 and ¾ inches
    Length of hilt: 9 and ½ inches
    Overall length: 44 and ¼ inches
    Width of crossguard: 7 inches
    Blade width at crossguard: 1 and 15/16 inches
    Width of pommel: 2 and ¾ inches
    Point of Balance: 5 inches from crossguard
    Center of Percussion: 21 inches from crossguard
    Weight: I eyeballed it right at 3 lbs give or take a few ounces

    I would classify this as roughly a type XVIII or XVIIIa, which essentially means it is a hand and a half cut and thrust type sword. A sword of this type should have a reasonably stiff blade with enough mass near the COP to cut, while exhibiting a stout enough point to be useful in the thrust.

    What I like about this piece:

    It sells for under $200 and comes complete with a scabbard. It is tight and well put together. The metal work on the pommel of the rampant lion is extremely well crafted and the guild mark etchings on the blade are precise and striking. The fuller is well done with good straight lines and the blade comes sharp enough out of the box to cut milk jugs with. For myself, I am only 5’8 with wide hands, and I had no problem using this sword two handed with my left hand gripping the pommel slightly. A larger person would not share this ease however. The cord wrapped leather grip is a step up from most production grips I have seen on Cold Steels, windlasses and Gen 2’s.

    The blade took me a while to get used to handling because I was used to my Cold Steel Hand and a Half, which has a very different blade profile and balance, and at first I wasn’t enjoying this blades handling. But after getting more used to it, I have to say that through cutting exercises (both dry handling and actual cutting) I have found the blade to be a bit sluggish compared to the Cold Steel hand and Half. But I also think this blade is better handled from a high guard then the Cold Steel. It thrusts very well and the blade is nice and stiff through cuts while not being to stiff to cut with. To sum up, the blade does not give any bad vibrations when cutting, and thrusts well.

    Concerns:

    The tang is not as wide as I would expect. It is almost close to the level of a rat-tail as the pics will show. Compared to most windlass pieces I have owned (which have been exclusively Viking models) the tang is much smaller on this piece. Is this a problem? Likely it is if you are going to go out and cut 2x4’s. I have not noticed a single issue through dry handling and light cutting. I would not want to try cutting any hard targets with this blade though, given its tang construction.
    The grip while well done aesthetically is already starting to show wear from 2 weeks of handling again as photos will demonstrate. I will likely have to remove the grip at some point, at which time I will consider rewrapping it will cord.

    Also, the scabbard is loose around the blade and the blade rattles badly if you bump the scabbard into anything.

    Parting thoughts:

    This sword is based upon a surviving example. I don’t know how well it conforms to the original. But one thing to keep in mind about this piece being that it is a type XVIIIa, it only has about 1 and ¼ inch of blade at the COP, which isn’t a whole lot, so don’t expect this to cut like a warsword. But it can cut soft targets well and is really a beautiful blade to look at and own. When you consider it comes with a nice scabbard for less than most windlass pieces, I’d say it is a good piece to get at the lower end of the spectrum. I think the main beef most folks had with the windlass version of this piece that was offered some time ago was that the blade was whippy, which is kind of counterintuitive to a type XVIIIa. The hanwei offering does solve that issue nicely, and like the Edward III I also own, this is a great value if you don’t have the money to go for a higher end offering, or just like the look of this style and want to add it to your collection.
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    Mike J Arledge
    Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
    Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,--
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.


    Robert Browning
    --Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came
    http://www.facebook.com/CreyrGlasLightworks

  2. #2
    Tang Photo

    Not a very big tang in my opinion, wonder how wide most models tangs are for this sized blade?
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    Mike J Arledge
    Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
    Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,--
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.


    Robert Browning
    --Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came
    http://www.facebook.com/CreyrGlasLightworks

  3. #3
    Shot of the pommel. Its a lovely touch.
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    Mike J Arledge
    Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
    Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,--
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.


    Robert Browning
    --Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came
    http://www.facebook.com/CreyrGlasLightworks

  4. #4
    Shot of the etched guild marks on the blade.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Mike J Arledge
    Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
    Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,--
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.


    Robert Browning
    --Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came
    http://www.facebook.com/CreyrGlasLightworks

  5. #5
    A full shot of the hilt
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    Mike J Arledge
    Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
    Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,--
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.


    Robert Browning
    --Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came
    http://www.facebook.com/CreyrGlasLightworks

  6. #6
    Finally, a shot of the wear on the grip, this is through light use over roughly two weeks.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Mike J Arledge
    Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
    Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,--
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.


    Robert Browning
    --Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came
    http://www.facebook.com/CreyrGlasLightworks

  7. #7
    One more shot of the entire piece
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Mike J Arledge
    Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
    Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,--
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.


    Robert Browning
    --Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came
    http://www.facebook.com/CreyrGlasLightworks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Nipmuc USA
    Posts
    12,084
    Originally posted by mikejarledge
    Tang Photo

    Not a very big tang in my opinion, wonder how wide most models tangs are for this sized blade?
    I'm not sure you can judge the true width of the tang from what you are picturing. Consider that Gus Trim's stuff narrows to 1/4×20 threads.

    Otherwise, nice overview and pictures Mike, thanks.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; I've a very scary tang picture somehwere of one (quite skinny) that survived a lot of horseplay

  9. #9
    You are right, you can't tell much from the tang sticking out of the end, but I thought it best to err on the side of caution. I personally have few worries about using this sword, but would not dream of doing destruction testing with it.
    Mike J Arledge
    Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
    Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,--
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.


    Robert Browning
    --Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came
    http://www.facebook.com/CreyrGlasLightworks

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Sydney, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    103
    Wow, thank you. I always wanted to read a review about this sword since I'm still pondering whether to get it (the blunt version) or not.

    The measurements you provided will be very useful indeed.
    -The Squire

    "Whoever fights monsters must take care not to become a monster himself. For, as you stand looking deep into the abyss, the abyss is looking deep into you."
    --Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Nipmuc USA
    Posts
    12,084
    Here is my scary tang picture. The middle sword is an Oscar Kolombatovitch I picked up from Patrick Kelly some years ago (it seems like a different lifetime). The threads are 1/4×20
    http://forums.swordforum.com/attachm...=&postid=57460

    The fatter threads on one side belong to an MRL circa 1998-1999 and are 5/16×18 The other one is an earlier MRL/Del Tin that is also 1/4×20 threads.

    The Oscar was Patrick's main squeeze for some time. At one point he was bashing mail and plate, over beef, with it. Here is a descriptive thread.
    http://netsword.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000387.html

    It is out to pasture now, I use it as an example of where quality reproductions were in the 1980s. It is a big wide type XIV with a pencil slim tang. The double shoulder probably helped. I have done some light cutting with it but having looked at the tang as soon as I had it in hand, I don't push it hard at all any more.

    Without dismounting the Hanwei, I guess there is no way to know for sure. I do know they are fond of glue and that even if the pommel fell off, the grip would probably still remain on the tang. Whether there is good width and radius at the blade shoulders is the mystery.

    There were historically slender tangs as well but bigger is generally considered better.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; I do wish that Paul would drop by from time to time

  12. #12
    What bugs me about the tang is when you compare it to the tang on the practical version seen here:

    http://therionarms.com/reenact/therionarms_c389.html

    Note the size of the tang in the third photo down.

    Now, of course the tang as we see it in my photos could be that small for only the last length of the blade, but I kind of doubt it. I am not about to take mine apart to find out, but maybe someday the "industry" so to speak will do something like that.

    Edit: Notice though that the wieght from therionarms on both versions. They have the regular version at roughly 3 lbs 2 ounces, while they list the practical version at roughly 3 lbs 10 ounces. I would have to guess that a lot of that extra wieght is in the tang, and having handled the practical at a faire 2 weeks ago, I would almost say it made for a livlier blade.

    Not that I am unhappy with this sword, but I wonder at what could have been.
    Last edited by mikejarledge; 10-15-2006 at 05:01 PM.
    Mike J Arledge
    Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
    Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,--
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.


    Robert Browning
    --Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came
    http://www.facebook.com/CreyrGlasLightworks

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Nipmuc USA
    Posts
    12,084
    The Therion picture could simply be illustrating a more pronounced mushrooming of the tang end. On your example it seems not really upset at all. The guard and blade thickness of the pratical also probably account for a good bit of the weight difference.

    Hal Siegel, of Therion, does cruise through every now and then. I'd be interested in his take on the difference twixt the two, also if he has had any returns for failure. You could shoot him a missive, if you'd like. He knows the product pretty intimately and has been around a good long time.

    Bjørn also compared the Windlass and Hanwei swords at one point. It may be long gone. Tale of Two Swords, or some such thread. It might still be on his web page.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; I usually only take things apart if they do so easily, or loosen up
    Last edited by Glen C.; 10-15-2006 at 05:37 PM.

  14. #14
    I own the practical, and it looks like they actually cut the tang a bit down the middle and split it to peen it over in a sturdy but less polished manner... sorta like one of those brass brads they used to use to hold papers together (or that some of us geeks use in place of rivets when trying out armor patterns in cardboard).

    So the actual tang might be the same size, just peened in a more typical manner instead of split in half and then folded over.
    Freelance hack... and slash... and thrust...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Reston, VA
    Posts
    82
    I have had one of these for a few years now and even though I have gone upscale with Albion, A&A and customs, this is one of my earlier buys that has stayed in the collection.

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