MRLs Soldiers Dagger

Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by Patrick Kelly, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. Patrick Kelly

    Patrick Kelly New Member

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    Here's a new one from Museum Replicas Ltd. They're calling this one the Soldiers Dagger.
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    I purchased this item through Kult of Athena:
    http://www.kultofathena.com/

    Some time ago I decided to purchase any MRL related items through Ryan Whittaker at KofA. I have found KofA to be prompt and reliable, exactly the opposite of MRL. If their website states an item is in stock it is, if it states the item ships in a week it does. I've also found their prices to be lower than MRL themselves. This dagger is an example: MRL lists it at $90.00. KofA sells it for $70.00, not a bad savings.

    When I enquired about this dagger Ryan didn't have any in stock since MRL hadn't started shipping them, in spite of listing it in their latest catalog. About two months after the order was placed the dagger arrived, far sooner than I'd anticipated given my past experience with MRL.

    I don't know if MRL based this one on any specific historical example. However, I liked its overall size and design, and the cost wasn't significant, so I decided to check it out thinking it might make a decent project piece. The pommel is fairly substantial and places the point of balance directly at the grips ferrule. The blade came nearly sharp and it didn't take much effort to put a fine edge on it. The finish was a bit scuffed here and there so I used some grey scotchbrite and oil to even out the finish. This also removed the black "Made in India" located at the blades base. The dagger itself is solidly assembled. I couldn't detect any evidence of peening on the pommel face, so I'm assuming the tang is threaded. However, the pommel wouldn't budge and I decided not to force the issue. The grip is bound with fine cloth cord, not the leather cord as stated in MRLs sales pitch. The cord is tightly bound but was a bit 'fuzzy' upon arrival, something that neccesitated a bit of clean-up.


    Given the price point I have few complaints with this dagger. My only one lies with its scabbard, which I neglected to photograph. The scabbard is the typical MRL affair of a leather body with steel fittings. However, MRL doesn't dye their scabbards, they paint them and this is very obvious with the brown paint on the scabbard. In short, it's N-A-S-T-Y. I'm going to attempt to remove the paint and use leather dye to improve its appearance.

    Overall the dagger is a nicely sized piece. Nothing particularly jaw dropping or unique but it does seem solid and useable. A bit on the larger size as befits its name but still handy. I can't really comment on its suitability as an accessory for living history work due to my inability to site a similar original. However, larger daggers like this are illustrated in the Maciejowski Bible. All in all, not bad for $70.00
     
  2. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Hmm, not too bad at all. I really need to make myself a "utility dagger", the list of thigns to make never seems to end!

    If you had to guess, what sort of time period would you think a design and shape like that could have come from? The Mac Bible was ~1250AD but I would have thought that design looked a bit more 133-1500's? Or were they even pointier by that stage?

    Slowly learning history through osmosis......
     
  3. Patrick Kelly

    Patrick Kelly New Member

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    Surviving daggers of this type are actually pretty rare. It seems the ballock and rondel styles were more common. Many of the surviving examples of sword-hilted types are actually single-edged. Putting a piece into an historical era based on things like blade profile is a tricky proposition. There were infinite variations on every theme, which makes dating anything from pre-14th century a bit difficult. The Mac Bible is one of the few historical resources that actually shows large sword-hilted daggers being used, hence the reference. However, I do think it's plausible to see more acutely pointed daggers from the 13th century, afterall they aren't swords and weren't put to the same use. Many of the ballock daggers from circa 1300 are acutely pointed. In reality these don't seem to have been as common in real life as they were in history. If I had to narrow it down I'd probably put it somewhere in the 14th-15th century. In the end I hesitate to attempt a definitive catagorization without seeing more historical examples.

    So I guess the short answer is: I don't really know.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2006