best designer ever

Guess who just got murdered~

Some sketches for my favorite dorito shaped demon, rest in pieces lol

Half cosplay, half my rad photoshop skillz

(Amelia, the Burrowing Owl Siren from @emo-rock-tale)

anonymous asked:

You've talked before about how katana's weren't that great due to the low quality of the metal used way back when. But what if someone made one today? If you primarily used titanium instead of low-quality steel, plus modern forging techniques, could you develop a much better sword that a real person could use in a fight?

The poor quality iron that Japanese smiths had access to is part of the problem, but it’s not the only issue. The design was (in part) a result of that limitation. You can work around those, using high quality steel forged directly from a billet, with a grip you can actually use in a variety of situations, but you wouldn’t have a katana, you’d have a saber.

Those design flaws are intrinsically what defines the katana. Folding the blade is extremely fetishized in defining the quality of a katana. It’s not just a defining characteristic, you will see people using the number of folds as an indicator of how skilled the sword smith was. This is probably a large part of why they continued using the technique, while other cultures, like the Vikings, abandoned folded blades once they had access to better smelting technologies.

In fact, a lot of modern, “katanas,” you can buy, aren’t. They’re not produced with the proper metal, and they’re using machine forged blades. They’re just sabers. Ironically, even the junk ones are superior weapons to traditional katanas. (For one thing, you can actually parry with the blade.)

Using titanium as your base material for a sword isn’t a good option. It’s light weight, strong, and won’t hold an edge without becoming incredibly brittle. Heat treating it is either functionally impossible or prohibitively expensive (maybe a little of both). It’s a fantastic option for a lot of applications, but combat blades don’t make that list.

I don’t really have a lot to say on the subject of titanium, because I don’t do metalworking directly, but (nearly) everything I’ve read on the subject says, “don’t.” There are titanium alloys you use, but the metal, in general, just doesn’t have the characteristics you’d want in a sword (or machete). It is an excellent choice for items that need to survive excessive thermal shock and constant wear, which is probably why you will find aftermarket titanium parts for firearms, it just doesn’t work well for swords.

If you’re really dead set on getting a titanium blade, you can buy titanium kitchen knives. Though, holding an edge while slicing carrots and slabs of meat isn’t quite the same as doing so while slicing through screaming slabs of meat who are trying to return the favor.

You can make excellent blades from high quality steel. No folding required. Actually, please, don’t fold high quality steel. The entire folding process was originally an act of necessity, to get functional steel out of the iron the Japanese had access to.

You’d also probably want to add a functional hand guard to the thing, and contour the hilt. These aren’t mandatory, but they would help. The thing is, none of this is really necessary.

Real people did use actual katanas forged from tamahagane (pig iron), and killed each other in the real world. Humans are very inventive about making sure they have a way to kill each other, and the katana is an excellent example of this.

Limited by their available resources, Japanese swordsmiths found a way to turn the iron they had into something they could use in weapons. Japanese swordsmen developed and refined techniques that allowed them to take the resulting blades into combat while working around their inherent fragility, and they used the things for centuries. They turned the blade into a symbol of their identity.

To be honest, I don’t even hold this against the Japanese, the katana is a symbol of their ingenuity. It’s not a particularly good sword, but that’s kind of missing the point. It is, their sword. It is a symbol. Hell, it is literally a holy icon.

What you can’t do is take a katana out of its natural environment and expect it to flourish. Weapons are designed and adapted to deal with the environment they’re used in. On the global scale, the katana was about four centuries obsolete when it was first developed. Which, really doesn’t matter, because the Japanese weren’t using them against anyone who had a decisive technological advantage.

The problem is, a lot of people, look at how the katana functioned in its native environment, and how the people from that culture regarded it, and then assume that a civilization which had never engaged in long range exploration and had no frame of reference, were able to accurately assess that they had created, “the best swords,” in the world.

It’s a sword. You can make vastly superior ones by changing the design, at which point it’s still a sword, but it’s not the same sword. The katana was an excellent weapon for Feudal Japan, not because it was somehow the best blade design ever envisioned, or because it had some superlative quality, but because it was a symbol of who they were as a people.

Take it out of that environment, drop it into a world that has moved beyond swords entirely, and you’re left with an object that can still have cultural meaning, and personal importance, but trying to cling to it is to deny the changing world.

Icons like that are still important to point to and say, “this is where we came from; this is a part of who we are,” but, that’s not the same as saying, “progress is irrelevant, this will always be the best solution.” And, yes, that second part is an element when discussing the katana. Folded steel was not, strictly, a Japanese invention, other civilizations did use that method to produce early steel weapons. They faced the same issues with fragile blades, and continued searching for better smelting methods and higher quality materials. The Japanese didn’t, and instead fetishized the blades. Make of that what you will.

I’ll still say, actual katanas are beautiful pieces of art. It’s the entelechy of how a civilization viewed conflict. They’re an example of serious ingenuity and craftsmanship. If you take it out of context, it’s not a particularly good weapon, but that’s missing the point.

-Starke

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Greg your face your FAAAAAAAAAACE: Twelve O’Clock High edition


bonus:

anonymous asked:

Idk if you've ever watched Steven universe but if you have, what do you think Hiro and Penny's fusion would be?

hmmm….probably look like an anime character lmao

welp. meet fusion penniro everyone

@listenkittycat wanted IPRE taagnus this morning and i couldnt stop thinking about my first post about taako constantly casting levitate just to be taller than magnus so here they are Combined