We received the final Longclaw approvals back from GRRM today. This means we’re really really close. There are a few changes we need to do, just minor things, but as soon as those are done and we have a proof we’ll get some photos taken, put them up, and start taking preorders.
The main change that I think you all may be interested in is that we’ve decided to make the plaque white on gray. As you may recall the idea is that a bastard will use his father’s colors in reverse, however originally we were doing white on black instead of white on gray, as would be the case since the Stark colors are gray on white. Once we had the first prototype though we noticed a mockup of a gray plaque looked better, and well, since it was technically more accurate GRRM agreed and we decided to go with it instead.
On the topic of preorders, for our International customers, could you please respond with what country you are from? We need to compile of list of shipping costs for Longclaw to various International destinations and I’ll make the countries of fans that post here a priority so that those ones are done when we first start taking preorders.
In Non-Longclaw news, the Needle concept art is nearing completion.
Many people have been asking for an update on Longclaw progress, so here we go.
Things have taken much longer than we initially wanted. The blade is ready to be manufactured, prototypes are done, tooling is setup, but now we cannot quite get the finish we want. With Longclaw we are establishing the look of all the Valyrian Steel products we are going to be producing, so it is important we get it right, the good news is though that once we do get it right, we will not experience this same delay with any of the other swords. Hopefully we’re able to nail down the right finish by the end of the month, then mass production can start with delivery ending up around May.
We’ve also changed the plaque based on feedback. The design mostly the same but after discussion with GRRM we have tweaked the front leg to be a more realistic angle.
The second sword we will be producing is Needle and we’ve already started the design process on it. Needle should also be simpler to produce and might also end up coming out in 2008. We’re also considering doing Needle in high carbon steel. It may not be possible, but considering the blade is small and needs no special finishing we think it is worth a shot.
The third sword will likely be Ice, unless A Dance with Dragons comes out and features a new sword we want to make instead.
This is the pommel for Longclaw. In the books it is described as carved stone, but it isn’t feasible to mass produce a stone carving, and a cast stone-like product (aka resin) just wouldn’t be that durable. So the pommel will be cast metal.
We went through numerous design revisions with GRRM on this as well. There were versions with the wolf’s mouth open, the ears back, looking up full in profile, looking up just in relief, and the looking forward version you see here. In the end GRRM chose this design with the wolf looking forward, mouth closed, and ears up. So the way it will be displayed on the plaque is with the wolf’s head looking out towards you.
In manufacturing news the 3D computer models of the handle parts are nearing completion and the COAs have arrived from the printer. So this week we will be sending all those COAs to GRRM for signing. Hopefully signing his name so many times doesn’t interfere with his writing or typing ability for A Dance with Dragons.
With this line of swords our plan is to show the crest & words of the house the sword belongs to on the wall plaque that will ultimately hold the sword. We had a little bit of a problem with Longclaw though because it is only newly in Jon’s possession & Jon doesn’t, technically, have a house.
We thought of doing the Stark design anyways, we thought of doing the Mormont crest, we thought of maybe using some sort of Night’s Watch symbolism (but they only use black officially, and crow is a slang term). Ultimately the appropriate plaque to use would be one that reflects the sword’s destiny, and only one person knows what that is.
Would Jon ever be a Stark again? I don’t know, but George R.R. Martin told us to use the Stark colors in reverse as that is what bastards in Westeros often do. Also, GRRM did a reading from A Dance with Dragons which you can listen to here which seems to allude to Jon perhaps becoming legitimate. Will Jon remain in the Watch? Will he join with Stannis as Lord of Winterfell and a Stark in name? I guess we’ll find out in ADWD.
For our next sword, Needle, we will face an equal challenge. What type of symbol should Arya have? Stark? Faceless Man? Something else? We’ll see.
Here is a glimpse of the concept art for Longclaw’s blade. This texture is going to be achieved with an etch and glaze wash combination. We went through around 16 different styles of blade coloring & texturing with George R.R. Martin before he picked this style for Longclaw. It is very dark, almost black, with jagged lightning bolt-like streaks. I know many people envision modern damascus steel when they think of Valyrian, but GRRM wanted something significantly darker.
Interesting though, in the design revision process he mentioned that while he liked this style for Longclaw, other blades might have different texture patterns. So apparently different Valyrian steel blades can exhibit different textures.
We’ve finalized the techical drawings for the blade, from crossguard to tip it will be around 39 3/4 inches, and at the crossguard the blade measures almost 2 3/4 inches wide.
Manufacturing tooling should begin in June or July, and we expect a prototype to be ready in September or October. Assuming GRRM has no problems with the protoype we’ll start taking preorders at that point for delivery in early 2008.
More concept art shall be released at a later date.
How Much Will These Cost?
We aim to provide the swords at a price competitive with other such reproductions. How much each sword costs will depend on the final cost of materials for producing the sword, and the larger swords (Ice or Longclaw) will be more than the smaller swords (Needle). We aim for all of the swords to come in at $150-$300.
Are The Swords Functional?
As said in the original announcement, we’re making stainless steel display swords, not functional swords. High carbon steel functional swords of the quality we would want to release would be $600-$1000 or more each, this is out of the price range of most collectors. If there is sufficient demand we may go back and make functional versions of the swords on a very limited basis. It is understood there are many purists out there that disdain stainless steel display swords, however to make a sword at an accessible pricing level with the kind of quality we desire it has to be stainless. So for those who only want functional swords and nothing else please be patient, you may just get your wish.
Will There Be Preodering (a waiting list)?
Yes, just as soon as the first prototype is done and we have pictures to show you what you will be buying we will open things up for preorders for those willing to put down deposits.
Will You Make XYZ Sword?
We’re not just making Valyrian Steel blades. We plan to make all the popular arms and armor from the series. So yes, Dawn, Needle, the Kingslayer’s sword, possibly a Dornish spear, or the Hound’s helmet, these will all be made, assuming there is sufficient demand anyways.
Can You Ship to XYZ Country?
We’ll be able to ship most everywhere in the world, however many countries forbid the import of weapons and consider display swords to be weapons. Other countries require the recipient to have a special license. If you’ve never bought a sword before you should check the laws in your country to make sure you can buy one and have it imported.
We are both proud and pleased to announce that we have obtained the exclusive license to produce arm and armor reproductions from George R.R. Martin‘s bestselling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire.”
This is a new business for us and this line of swords will be our first, however we are dedicated to delivering to collectors a top of the line display sword in both quality and aesthetics. To this end we have obtained the services of industry veterans who have worked for other manufacturers and on other reproductions from books or movies.
The lead designer for our sword line is a 20 year veteran of sword & knife design. He has worked on reproductions from the Lord of the Rings movies, has his own line of fantasy swords, and has had his works featured in dozens of other movies and TV shows.
We have been working very closely with George R.R. Martin through each stage of the design process, and he has final approval on all sword designs to make sure they follow his vision of Westeros as closely as possible.
Our initial goal is to produce all of the major Valyrian steel swords mentioned in the ASOIAF book series, as well as the prominent non-Valyrian blades such as Needle. Each sword will be a limited edition run of 2500 pieces and will include a certificate of authenticity personally autographed by Mr. Martin himself. These swords will be high quality display pieces and will come with plaques bearing the crest of the house which holds the sword.
Depending on the success of the line we will expand into other arms or armor from the series or possibly produce an even more limited line of battle-ready reproductions.
The first sword in the series will be Longclaw, once the sword of the Mormont’s, now wielded by Jon Snow. The concept art for this blade has been completed and approved and we will be releasing it to you in the future. We aim to have this sword ready for sale in 2008.
We will be taking both retail and wholesale orders from this site, as well as providing updated information on designs and release dates. So please bookmark this site or subscribe to updates by entering your email address in the box on the right so that you can be advised when we have new information for you.
If you have any questions about the line, please leave a comment and we’ll do a FAQ post that answers the most common questions.