Out of all of Albions swords, the one design that I always liked the look of most was the Mercenary. It has all the things that I look for in a sword, mainly the ability to use it in one or two hands and to be light and manoeuvrable without sacrificing cutting ability. In my opinion it is a perfect cut and thrust sword. Unfortunately I wasn't able to afford the Mercenary but as Albion had a squire line version that was essentially the same sword albeit a little bit simpler in grip design and polish, I couldn't pass it up. Especially as the sharp version was in stock. The sword cost 525 Euros and 55 Euros for shipping.
Historical Overview The xva type swords were used when the thrust was the preferred method of winning a sword fight compared with earlier sword types with wider blades that favoured the cut. Due to all the advancements in the armour of the day, these swords with their needle points were able to get into the gaps that weren't protected by an opponents armour. Although the point was the primary offensive part of these swords, the cutting edge wasn't completely abandoned and sword makers tried to find a good balance between a strong narrow point and a decent cutting ability.
Full Disclosure I purchased this sword with my own money and have no affiliation with Albion or Albion Europe.
Initial Impressions As Albion Europe only ship swords once a week and I missed the shipping date by one day, I had to wait a week before it was shipped out to me. It arrived 3 days after it had been sent which isn't bad considering it was coming from Sweden. When I first removed the sword from the box I was surprised how light it felt. It still had some blade presence which is a good thing but also seemed to be very well balanced and a lot of fun to swing around. The first thing I did was check how good the sharpening was done but I'll get to that in a bit.
Blade length: 33.8inches (86cm)
Grip length: 6.3 inches (16cm)
Overall length: 43 inches (109cm)
Blade width at guard: 2.4 inches (6cm)
Guard width: 7.5 inches (19cm)
Balance point: 4 inches from guard (10cm)
COP: 20 inches from guard (51cm)
Weight: Just under 3 lbs.
Blade A nice wide blade at the guard tapering down to a slightly reinforced needle tip. It has a fairly good polish but as this is the squire line version it is rougher than its next-gen cousin and this is to be expected.
Now onto the sharpening job. As I had previously owned one of Albion's squire line Viking swords, I expected the sharpening to be similar since they are the same line of swords but in fact they are very very different. Whereas the Clontarf had a nice clean secondary bevel, the 15th century bastard sword has a very rough secondary bevel. It looks very ugly in my opinion and could have been done a lot better, especially considering I have owned lower end swords from various manufacturers that were sharpened cleaner.
As to how sharp the sword actually is, I think it is about right. It not super sharp but it is far from dull. It is easily sharp enough to cut off various limbs! Curiously the first 3 inches of the blade have not been sharpened at all, which makes the otherwise nicely tapering blade look a bit odd. This shouldn't be too hard to fix although it is a bit strange.
The blade has very little flex which is correct for a sword designed for the thrust. The point is quite thick and I doubt it would ever roll or bend in any way.
Grip. Made from stabilized birch and wrapped in plain black leather. The seam is nicely done and cannot be felt when handling. Has enough room for two hands when the bottom of the pommel is gripped as well.
Guard A well made upward turning guard (not sure what type) polished to a slightly higher level than the blade.
Pommel A scent stopper pommel finished again to a slightly higher level than the blade. Very comfortable to hold and most importantly gives you that extra bit of grip space. Very nicely done peen. It would make a very effective weapon when the blade cannot be used.
Handling It is a wickedly fast sword with excellent point control. Can be used effectively in one hand but it really comes alive in two hands. I had to change my technique a bit as I have been using war swords for the past few months and I had a tendency to over swing on this sword because it feels so light. Definitely my first choice sword for when the zombie apocalypse comes.
Test Cutting In all honesty this isn't a great backyard cutter. It struggled on anything tougher than plastic milk bottles. Keep in mind that the sword is intended to cut the human body, which isn't too difficult (I imagine ). One thing I did notice while cutting is an annoying click that sounded like it was coming from either the grip or the guard. I know this has been mentioned on other Albion reviews so it didn't concern me too much, I'm sure it doesn't effect the structural integrity of the hilt. I would like to know what it is though.
Conclusions Overall this is a very nice sword. I would describe it as a sword that would be used by a 15th century soldier who wasn't really concerned with shiny blades or fine details. Perfectly designed for its purpose and nothing else. I can understand that some people would be put off by the rough sharpening and plain grip but none of these things have a big impact on how the weapon works. If people don't like the simplicity of it, that's what the next-gen Mercenary is for. This is definitely a sword I intend to keep in my collection.
- Light and responsive sword
- Excellent point control
- Historically accurate
- Very sturdy and well put together
- Looks great
- Sharpening is a bit rough and part of the blade near the guard isn't sharpened.
- Quite expensive
- Wait time if the sword isn't in stock
- No scabbard
I would definitely recommend this sword to anyone with an interest in swords frankly! Its a wonderful sword to handle and with a little work it can be bought up to Mercenary level.
I have also experienced very similar sharpening jobs on the 2 SL Vikings I recently bought. I feel like that can be remedied with some files and paper etc. Kind of a shame but they are the stepped down versions of the NG line so there are going to be certain concessions I suppose. Still, NICE SWORD.