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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Albion Pompeii Gladius "The Pedite", ordered through KoA - reviewProduct Review Reply to topic
 
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Taras H




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Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Posts: 7
PostPosted: Tue 02 Jun, 2015 5:58 pm    Post subject: Albion Pompeii Gladius "The Pedite", ordered throu         Reply with quote

Greetings! I recently purchased Albion's Pompeii Gladius sword "The Pedite", and since I have not been able to find any reviews of this sword online despite it being available for a number of years now, I decided to write one.

I've done quite a lot of reading on Roman swords over the years, and out of everything that's available on the market, the design of Albion's Pedite is the one that's really called to me. The appeal comes from Albion's reputation for superb quality, and the fact that their sword designs draw upon archeological evidence. The fact that the blades are CNC machined, which takes away from the aspect of historical authenticity for some, has never been an issue for me. Basically, as long as the phenotype of the sword is quite close to "historically accurate", the design is aesthetically pleasing to me personally, and the sword is well-made/durable for when I need it - you know, when the zombie Apocalypse comes around and I run out of ammo for my AR and G17- I am happy!

So, I got ready to order one from Albion directly. Then, one day, while taking a virtual trip to the Kult of Athena website specifically to look at their high resolution photos of this sword (since they are literally the ONLY place on the net that shows this blade in high detail), I saw that it was listed as "in stock". WHAT!!? Albion in stock?! Boom! I pulled the trigger pretty much instantly, and without hesitation.

Shipping and packaging

What follows is an account of my experience ordering this sword from Kult of Athena, and the only reason I am mentioning it in this review at such length is because I feel it pertains to the condition I found the sword in after it was shipped.

The sword was shipped via UPS and came a day earlier than expected. It came in a box that was taped up with brown tape and filled with brown packing paper.




The blade was oiled up and wrapped in saran wrap, and the point of the blade was tipped with a plastic tip guard.

Now, I KNOW Albion does not ship their swords like this because I have personally witnessed how they package their stuff, which is pretty much a naked, oiled sword held in place in an otherwise empty box by two foam blocks glued into the cardboard, with one block supporting the blade right above the cross-guard, and the other several inches down the blade.



A third foam pad glued into the butt end of the box cushions the pommel, with the blade hanging otherwise unsupported at the other end.

Once I took the blade out, I immediately noticed some scuffing on the wooden guard.




This made me suspect the sword might have been a return, or was somehow mishandled prior to being shipped out to me.

Now, normally minor scuff marks are not a huge deal to me, and in fact, being a prop-maker myself, I ALWAYS expect a degree of “imperfection” or variation with hand-made pieces. But, when you are paying close to $1,000 (I’m in Canada, and the exchange rate sucks big time for us right now), for a top of the line, mostly machined product, you expect the condition to be near-flawless. So, just to be safe, I contacted Albion to see whether this scuffing was a normal artifact of tooling, or whether it was post-production damage. Their response to me was, and I quote: “I would contact KoA about this right away.” The urgency implied by “right away” made me quite nervous, so I fired off an email to KoA asking them about the scuffing, and possibility of obtaining partial refund on what to me seemed like a possibly lightly used sword, or a customer return.

Shortly thereafter, I received a rather pointed email from KoA, who appeared to have taken some offence to my suggestion that the sword was possibly used or a return, insisting that the sword was absolutely new. But, after a few emails back and forth, we cleared everything up with no harm and no foul.

In response to my comment regarding packaging, KoA stated that they beef up the packaging of a lot of the stock they move to increase security of the items in transit, which explains why their boxes contain packing paper, and other materials not typically found in Albion’s packaging. A friend recently purchased two blades from them and confirmed that the type of packaging in my box matched that found in his own parcels. Makes sense, but it also confirms that the sword WAS handled by someone else (for rewrapping, at the very least) having left Albion’s possession, prior to arriving at my door.

They went on to say that the scratches look as though they could have been caused by the coarse foam Albion uses to hold their swords in place. This also made some sense, and was consistent with the scratches I could see on the top edge of the guard. The scratches on the side however, could not be explained, as this surface would have had zero contact with the foam, so I can only speculate how they got there.

Regarding the foam itself, this type of closed cell packaging foam is OK for the metal-cross guard swords Albion ships, but may just be too coarse for the much softer wooden ones featured on their Roman swords. I don’t know how many of these Albion has made and shipped to date, but if the foam is indeed the culprit in my story, Albion's comment on this was, "This is the first time I have ever seen this happen with our packaging." So, maybe mine is an isolated incident. Or maybe it was due to poor handling. I will never know.

Moving on!

The Sword

Weighing only at 1.48 lb compared to 2.5 lbs of my Valiant Armoury Praetorian Mainz-esque blade shown for comparison here...



... the Pedite feels feather-light, and handles extremely well during dry testing (meaning, swinging the sword around without actually cutting anything). The blade is extremely sharp, and has such a small secondary bevel that it is almost impossible to see with the unaided eye. Being machined from 1075 carbon steel, it is as close to perfect as one can get (too perfect for some), showing a complete absence of hammer marks, and a perfectly straight central ridge. The sword is 67cm from tip to pommel nut, with the blade itself being 48.8 cm long. The sword balances at about 11.5 cm from the start of the blade at the guard, and the first 31cm of the blade from the guard up measure 45.65 mm wide; the blade then comes to a slight waist at approximately 37cm, where it measures 44.38mm, and then widens back to the original width right before it starts tapering down into the tip at 41.5 cm.



Subtle waisting of the blade on the Pompeii-style sword can be seen in several surviving blades, though I have always thought that any such narrowing can be attributed not so much to intentional design (and I fully admit that I may be wrong in my reasoning here) as to repeated sharpening and thus gradual stripping of the edges near the middle of the blade over time. I’ve seen some very old, very ugly knives that have developed skinny waists due to being sharpened one time too many over the course of their service, so I would imagine the same principle would hold true for a sword. Last week I had the pleasure of seeing Albion's sword "the Trajan" which also has a slight narrowing in the waist, though the narrowest point on that pompeii-style gladius is about half way up the blade, and seems more natural. The fact that Albion chose to have this narrowing to be so subtle over so short a distance so high up on their Pedite is a bit odd to me.

The cross guard and pommel are both said to be made of walnut, though the finish of the guard is lighter than that of the pommel.




This can also be seen on both Albion’s site as well as the photos on the KoA page for this sword here.

http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=ANR3...an+Gladius

The guard measures 6.3cm long, 3.5cm tall, and 3,5cm wide at the widest point, and contains an inset brass plate. Some people have commented that this particular design is not true to historical reference, and that the guards were typically round and not oval. I cannot comment on the accuracy of this assertion, however, and can only say that personally, I really like this part of the Pedite, and that the guard, hilt, and pommel configuration is actually what drew me to this sword.




The grip made of holly tapers down towards the pommel in overall diameter, and feels unbelievably solid in the hand. In fact, the whole sword is put together so well, that when you run your finger on any part of the hilt, the metal of the blade resonates as though you are touching the metal itself. It’s a very cool effect!

The pommel nut made of bronze is flawlessly machined, and is a nice accent to the whole piece. The peened tang can be seen at the centre of the nut in the following photos.




Overall, despite the minor scuffing on the finish of the guard, and the enigmatic waisting of the sword 3/4 of the way up the blade, I am in love with this sword. I cannot bring myself to cut anything with it to test performance just yet, though if I ever develop the courage to do so, I will be sure to post photos!




Thanks for reading!


Last edited by Taras H on Wed 03 Jun, 2015 3:01 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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Posts: 317
PostPosted: Wed 03 Jun, 2015 11:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks a lot for this review Taras H.
Always interesting to hear about swords one would normally never be able to afford.
Sounds like a sword for lightning quick counters against any barbarian coming in swinging against you.
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J. Nicolaysen




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Location: Wyoming
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2015 7:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice review Taras. I also have a VA Praetorian and am happy with it for my gladius, but Albion's offerings are always really tempting.
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Aaron Hoard




PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2015 8:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the review - an Albion gladius is definitely on my list for someday.
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