From The Collection - Loxley Sword, 2010
For day one of the blog, a bit of everything - an editorial, a history lesson, and a collection spotlight. For the first dive into merch, we'll look at one of my favourite items in my collection - Windlass Sheelcrafts' beautiful replica of Robert Loxley's sword from Ridley Scott's 2010 film Robin Hood.
In the film, Robert Loxley, a member of King Richard's guard, is trusted to return the crown to England following Richard's death. Ambushed on the road to his ship, Loxley is attacked by turncoat Sir Godfrey, and is soon found by deserting army archer Robin Longstride and his companions, John, Allan and Will. The dying Loxley begs Robin to return the sword to his father, which he agrees to. The script on the hilt of the weapon stirs Robin's memory - 'Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions'; a mantra written by an earlier generation in their mission to bring justice to the kingdom; a group including Sir Walter Loxley, and Robin's own father...
This sword is part of Windlass Steelcrafts' & Universal's Robin Hood Collection from the spring (or autumn, for the upper half of the planet!) of 2010, tying in with the film release months earlier. Included in this collection were items worn by characters in the film, and there was certainly no shortage of products; Robin Hood's (Russell Crowe) suede hood, sword, undershirt, chest plate, etc., as well as other leather goods and weapons attributed to Marian (Cate Blanchett), King John (Oscar Isaac), Sir Godfrey (Mark Strong) and King Richard (Danny Huston), as well as other misc. items such as generic soldier helmets. Some of these items are still relatively easy to find, tunics, helmets and boots, particularly, but others, like the original version of Windlass' suede hoods (now re-branded as simply 'Outlaw' hoods) are far rarer to source. This sword, too, was an absolute bitch to find. Like the famous Locksley sword from 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, there have been dozens of knock-off versions of this sword - the hard part was finding the real deal. After nearly eight years of searching online, I finally found somewhere with the original versions in stock - the wonderful Knight Shop. And as per my yearly tradition, this became 2018's birthday present to myself!
The most immediate thing you notice about the sword is its beautiful faux-turquoise beads imbedded in the hilt, six each side, in a 2x3 arrangement. The hilt is comprised of a dark-stained wood with hardened plastic panelling, weathered to look like it's had its fair share of battles. The octagonal pommel features a cross pattée on one side, reminiscent of the Templar knights' seal worn on their tunics in the film. The blade is a robust carbon steel, with a smooth, even finish (sharpened by request!), making the total length of the sword a hiccup over a metre.
The craftsmanship of the sword is amazing - the weight of it is very impressive, but you can
feel the sturdiness in the hilt. I have another film replica sword (no namedropping!) and the difference between the two is huge, the key difference being the join between the blade and the hilt; on one, the blade is simply added in, secure, but you can feel the fragility; with Windlass' sword, the blade barely moves at all it's held so strongly in place, with little to no 'wobble' in the blade due to its strength. As both a prop replica and a piece of functional weaponry (as the manufacturer boasts!), it's an exquisite piece. While not identical to the screen-used sword, its embellishments are actually to its strength - the original sword hilt, as seen in the above screencaps and the photos below, is washed-out (though presumably due to its use), with the colour of the beads worn down, the details on the handle less sharp and prominent. It's fair to say that the replica is manufactured to be displayed and seen up-close, as opposed to the original prop, that has one or two close-up shots but is largely in-hand, and so the details don't need to be as sharp. It's interesting to note the beads in the prop seem to be much flatter, almost entirely, as opposed to the rounded detail on the replica.
The sword comes with a shield-shaped wall mount, printed with the 'Loxley coat of arms.' This seems to be a bit of artistic licence, being a mix between the film's Templar symbol as well as heraldic elements thrown in for colour and balance. I haven't spotted it in the fi;lm, though it may well be hidden in there somewhere! It's a beautiful compliment to the sword, though I haven't got around to mounting the sword yet - I'm so paranoid about cracking the print when attempting to fix the [supplied] hook screws! That's the next big project...
Being a collector, naturally I'm a huge packaging guy - I love ordering an official product with the logo slapped on, like a big seal proving it's legitimacy, because I'm a sap. The box comes with a boldly-coloured sleeve showcasing the sword, and with the Universal and film's logo front and centre, with a few ads for the other products in the line, of course.
Also available in the range is both Godfrey's and King John's swords; I'd love to get my hands on these both one day, as they hold the same amount of exquisite detail as Robin's (Godfrey's containing lettering down the blade, John's with decorative studding on the hilt, and both with a corresponding wall plaque).
After years of trying to add this to the collection, it was awesome to finally get a closer look at the sword, as well as owning my first big prop replica from a major production. It's not the only high-quality, severely-detailed Robin Hood sword I have in my collection, but that's another article...
What would you like to see discussed? A big movie, an obscure show, a weird knick-knack from a forgotten decade? Let me know in the comments or send a message!