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Kit Review: Heron Armoury - Meyers Longsword

Tim Noyes - Meyer Longsword
This is a custom sword made by Tim Noyes aka Heron Armoury.

Albion - Meyer  Longsword
A little about Tim. I've bought perhaps a half dozen swords off Tim over the years. As a supplier of re-enactment swords he's might be a little off the beaten track for some HEMA practitioners so to put him in context he is probably the best there is in the middle end of the UK re-enactment sword market. This includes the usual favorite re-enactment suppliers like Armour Class or St George's Armoury.

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.

Pros

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.

Cons

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.

Summary

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.

Comments

  1. Hi, I've just came across this review and since I'm looking for a new federshwert I would like to ask you few questions. How does it hold together after few yers? Have you used it often? Also, you mentioned it's quite a stiff blade. Have you handled Comfort Fencing dobringer? How does it compare? Would you say it's too stiff for tournament / full contact sparring?
    Best regards,
    Jedrzej.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi. It's held together beautifully over the last three years though I haven't used it as much as I would like. I haven't handled a Comfort Fencing Dobringer but I have got a Danelli longsword and have experience of Regenyei: it's far less wobbly than these. I'd say it's perfectly fine if everyone is properly geared up. It has flex but it's not as instantly pliable as the current trend in tournament Feders, i.e. you can push it into your hand and it will flex it just won't instantly go into a U-shape. I hope this is helpful?

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your quick response! Indeed, it is quite helpful. Now I'm even more interested in Tim's feder ;) Will have to check with him, if he is still willing to make one and ask for the current pricing. CF dobringer is a lot stiffer then Regeneyi and I haven't had the pleasure to hendle one of Danelli's. My biggest concern after reading your review was that it might be too stiff, but from what you are saying that's not the case.
      Thanks again,
      Jedrzej.

      Delete
  2. I'm perfectly happy with the flexibility. If a tournament will allow an Albion Meyer they will be happy with this sword. Of course you could ask Tim to make a more flexible sword, he's a skilled craftsman after all and this type is a custom job for him anyway.

    ReplyDelete

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