Okay, here is Needle. The blade will be about 30 inches, we’ve held that up to varying girls around Arya’s age and that seems to be an appropriate length.
We went through quite a few design revisions with Needle. Originally we were going to do a rapier style blade, as I’m sure many of us picture the Braavosi blades to be, however, GRRM pointed out that Mikken was not a Braavosi smith and despite the fact that eventually Arya would be trained by a Braavosi and that Jon meant for her to learn that different style is does not mean Mikken would be up to making a fancy rapier.
So what we have is a very thin bladed sword in that style, but without all the fancier hilt adornments. Mikken’ mark, as it were, is etched on the blade near the hilt.
The best part about Needle is this, it should be much quicker to get to market than Longclaw has been, we don’t need to do any tinkering with funky blade finished to get a Valyrian style, it is just a simple blade. Right now GRRM is in Europe and when he returns hopefully we will have technical drawings for his approval, at which point we’ll be able to start on the prototype for the blade and then hopefully get it released as soon as possible.
We will try to have the blade done in high carbon steel, but there are issues involved in mass production that can dictate the type of metal we use, and we’re not going to want to sacrifice quality in other areas, such as hilt construction, by using high carbon steel.
On the topic of Longclaw, we will start taking preorders by Monday. Initial preorders will be paid by check or money order, the retail price on Longclaw will be $240. Again, the edition size on all of our blades is 2500 pieces, and they all come with autographed COAs as well as edition numbers individually laser etched into the back of the blade. We estimate Longclaw arriving in the 4th quarter of this year. Then hopefully Needle can be available by the first quarter of 2009.