|Tim Noyes - Meyer Longsword|
|Albion - Meyer Longsword|
In my experience Heron Armoury is slightly cheaper than most mid range sword suppliers, re-enactment or otherwise. Also unlike many mid range suppliers he doesn't usually have a 6 - 12 month waiting list. His swords also don't have such a mass produced and "off the shelf" feel as say St George's Armoury or Albion Swords.
My experience of Heron Armoury swords are that they are solid, reliable lasters. They do not burr easily and I've never heard of them breaking. Often times they show their worth by staying solid while lighter, cheaper swords get chewed up in free play.
Communication with Tim is also good, he will usually respond within 24-48 hours to an email. If you live in the UK he's a easy person to call up. Certainly he's not in the almost unheard off "excellent" category, i.e. pro-actively contacting you when there is a problem or hold up, but he's probably as good as it gets.
There's just something intangibly quality and craftsman-like about Tim's swords. From the brass fittings in the grip to the little odd forge markings still just visible on the guard and blade. You can really feel that this sword was forged and not just grinded into being.
For a supplier who is perhaps better known re-enactment circles if you stress that the sword is for HEMA use then he does a really good job making HEMA suitable swords. This is nothing of the sword shaped bars of steel that characterize normal re-enactment suppliers. The blade has good handling characteristics and though it is a deliberate direct copy of the Albion Meyer in terms of dimensions there are good little touches: the pommel isn't quite so heavy so the blade action is better placed and the shiel is slightly less rounded therefore acting as a better blade catcher.
When you factor in that he's quality and he produced the above for me at slight less than Albion, $571 NZD to $615 NZD, then it's all good. Postage cost was also significantly cheaper at $200 NZD compared to $350 NZD. Considering that this is a "custom" sword and that I could have had any additional tweaks on it I wanted, I think that's great value.
The blade is slightly less substantial than an Albion Meyer and pretty flexible but this certainly ain't no federschwert! To my mind this errs on the side of a "heavy" fighting blade, which to be fair was pretty much what I wanted as I have a federschwert.
Tim like all good re-enactment craftsmen can be a bit of a flake. By this I mean that you can order one sword and receive it within the same week but when you order the next it can take 6 months. This was more of a six month sword with "lost orders", "weddings" and "postage issues." However, to be fair, I made clear to him I was in absolutely no rush and compared to other suppliers Tim's worst case is actually many other suppliers best case, i.e. Armour Class.
Great sword and I'm looking forward to many years use from it. Unlike most swords that I've ordered when I got this I wasn't thinking "it's great, but next time I'll get X, Y and Z changed." Would thoroughly recommend.