You will learn respect! Well, you’ll at least something about metalsmithing in this video from Man at Arms: Reforged. Every time Ilya and the crew hit the shop, we’re completely blown away by the amount of work and finesse that goes into recreating fandom’s favorite weapons. Their latest build, Kitana’s war fan from Mortal Kombat II, is no different.
Much of the video is dedicated to creating the Hamon, a visible barrier that outlines the hardened parts of a sword. Extreme heat changes the chemical properties of steel, transforming the metal from its workable form, pearlite, into a hard, brittle form known as martensite. By coating the spine in a special clay, the team is able to create a heatsink, essentially preventing the non-cutting edge from forming any martensite during tempering. This not only adds a cosmetic element typical of Japanese swords, but also limits the depth at which a blade will chip during combat. Should a crack breach the hard edge, the malleable spine beneath will prevent the blade from shattering on impact.
Legend has it that eighth-century smith Amakuni Yasutsuna developed this process after a battle left the royal army’s swords chipped and broken. Determined to get back in the Japanese emperor’s good graces, Yasutasuna and his son locked themselves away with the useless weapons, emerging from isolation only after they’d created a new sword, an”unbreakable” weapon with a curved, tempered blade. Just how much of that story is true remains a mystery, but Yasutsuna swords dating back to 749 AD have been found with evidence of differential tempering.
The Man at Arms team repeated the process tenfold to create the twin war fans, and the resulting weapons are certainly fit for a 10,000-year-old princess. They might not be capable of generating a windstorm, but we certainly wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a blow.
IMAGES: Man at Arms: Reforged/Youtube