Who are we, and how did we start making LARP weapons?
FakeSteel Armory was founded by two long-time friends - Jakub and Adam. We started playing airsoft together more than 15 years ago, which has lasted to this day, but in early 2017, we have also fallen head over heels into LARP battles, but we were annoyed that, unlike with airsoft, LARP weapons in the Czech Republic often do not look very believable. We ordered some nicely designed weapons from major foreign manufacturers to test out, but we quickly sobered up once we confronted them with the Czech battlelarps. The foam handguards were too soft, the weapons too light and poorly balanced. The blade was also too flexible for our purposes. In comparison with the weapons used in our country, their only advantage was in appearance. Therefore we decided to try to make an alternative to both and combine the beauty of Western weapons with the durability and performance of Czech style blades.
Later on in 2022 we were joined by Radek, who handles the production of our LARP blasters and crossbows.
How are the weapons constructed, and from which materials?
FakeSteel weapons are made chiefly from PU (polyurethane) with the focus on LARP fantasy battles. They consist of a foam blade/head (very durable and flexible PU foam) and a hard rubber hilt (partially bendable PU resin) or PU foam handle. The core is either a round, or a rectangular fiberglass rod.
We do not use any latex in our production. The products therefore don’t require any of the special care necessary with latex weapons.
The weight distribution of our weapons is enhanced via steel tubes and lead which are secured in the handle portion. The lead is safely encased and there’s no need to worry about it coming in contact with you or your opponents. The handle is wrapped in cow leather. All parts and materials for the swords and other weapons come from the EU. The weapons are hand-cast, painted and manufactured in Czech Republic.
All of our swords are made with reinforced Kevlar tips. The Kevlar sleeve is bonded to a fiberglass core and molded into foam during blade manufacture. This creates a very strong and flexible core in the blade tip, which greatly increases the durability of the weakest portion of the blade. We utilize a similar style of rubber reinforcements in our war hammers and polearms.
FakeSteel foam weapons vs Softer foam blades
FakeSteel larp weapons are made of very durable foam. This type of foam, however, may have some imperfections, which form during production, such as small bubbles, not perfectly smooth surface, small dimples, etc.
We always inspect our finished products to ensure that all of our foam weapons meet high standards of safety, function and durability. These are the three main features we focus on. We don't discard weapons with small imperfections, that don't have an impact on safety and proper use.
However, if visual perfection is more important to you, the less durable Soft foam blades are an alternative. This different type of foam is much less likely to produce visual imperfections.
To cater to scenes, which require softer weapons than our standard production, we also offer blades labeled as Softer Foam. These blades are designed by us, but manufactured by a different company. They are comparable to blades from other major manufacturers on the market. However, the hilts they are mounted in are made by us.The Softer Foam is less durable than the one we make, but we put it through rigorous testing and it holds up adequately. Like with our standard blades, the tip is reinforced with kevlar. They also come in two colors - Silver and Graphite. Due to lower density of the foam, the blades are also roughly 20% lighter than their standard equivalents. The straight variants are manufactured with a round 10 mm fibreglass core only, but the Softer Foam sabres feature the same tapered rectangular core as our sabres. If available, the scabbards are of the same construction as scabbards for our standard blades.
We recommend not using our Softer Foam blades against armor with sharp hems or shields with unpadded edges. Shields like this are common in the Czech scene and they can lead to damaged blades a lot faster than padded shields.
Larp blasters and crossbows
Our LARP blasters are constructed from steel and wood. They work using pneumatic pressure built via a spring powered plunger, identical to other spring powered toy weapons on the market. All of the shooting mechanism is contained within the barrel, which houses the plunger and has the catch assembly mounted directly onto it. The lock is purely decorative and doesn’t interact with the shooting mechanism. The plunger in the barrel is sealed using leather, which allows you to use any commonly available lubricant to maintain it. The barrel itself is stainless steel, but the lock assembly is not, it is therefore good to keep the lock oiled to prevent it from rusting. However, rust on the lock does not diminish the functionality of the blaster in any way and should be relatively easy to scrub off.
All of the materials used for the blaster are durable, but no material is indestructible, so don't put needless stress on the product. The barrel could be damaged by excessive denting, so try to avoid throwing the blaster against hard surfaces. The wood used is beech, which is quite sturdy, but can likewise be damaged through excessive force. The lock and trigger guard are attached with screws, which can tear out if the lock is pried hard by something, this can be fixed by applying a bit of epoxy glue into the hole and inserting the screw back in.
Our crossbows are constructed with wood, steel, hemp and polycarbonate. The mechanism used for priming the crossbow is a typical rotating nut design made out of steel. This is an extremely reliable and durable system. The body of our crossbows is solid beech wood, which is hard to damage. We use stainless steel for the rail, which prevents rusting and ensures, that it remains smooth, but it requires periodical lubricating with petroleum jelly, especially if you're using rubber fletched bolts, like those sold in our store. The rest of the components are regular mild steel and they should also be kept oiled to prevent rust, which won't effect their functionality, unless it reaches an extreme stage, but it doesn't look nice. The bolt holder is also mild steel, so if you accidentally bend it, you can bend it right back.
The material used for the bow in our crossbows is polycarbonate. This material is quite resistant to physical shocks, but if you cut into it, the cut can become a fault line and the bow could snap when priming. To prevent this, it is coated in several layers of fabric. Polycarbonate is also susceptible to many common solvents, which can create cracks. Therefore, do not remove the covering. If you decide to coat the bow in a different material, do it over the fabric as well. If the cover gets torn, place a piece of tape over the hole before applying any glue.
Polycarbonate can get fatigued if it's under stress for too long, therefore don't leave the crossbow primed for extended periods and remove the string between events.
The rope used is hemp, which is protected from fraying on the rail by a leather protector. When stringing the crossbow, make sure the seam on the protector is not in contact with the rail.
Due to the fact that our wooden products are handcarved, not the work of machines, not every manufactured piece has precisely the same weight or length, but the differences are measured in grams or milliliters and they do not impact the performance. We make sure that each piece produced meets our strict criteria for appearance and quality.
How are FakeSteel weapons different from other foam weapons on the market?
After our experience from the Czech battles, we decided that we want to produce weapons that visually resemble high-end Western foam swords, but at the same time have a more pleasant weight and better control, typical for Czech made weapons. We place great emphasis on having an authentic Point of Balance in our weapons, so we try to maintain it at around 7-8 cm in front of the crossguard. When designing new weapons, we strive to be as close as possible to real historical pieces and to understand the practicalities and design decisions made by period weaponsmiths.
The foam of our blades has an outstanding durability and lasts a really long time. We have successfully tested weapons over several years in regular Czech battlelarps, but also hard "Kekel'' events, which are comparable in intensity and equipment to battles in the SCA.
Despite that, no foam is indestructible. The longevity of our weapons depends mainly on the style of fencing in your community and the force and regularity with which you strike hard edges of armor or shields, but based on our experience, it will survive considerably longer than other similar weapons on the market.
Review and test videos of the Octagon arming sword from our US customer Rob IE:
How to order, and how long does delivery take?
We currently manufacture our larp weapons to order and we usually do not have any of them in stock. Your weapons will go into production only after you order and pay. How long the production takes depends on how busy we currently are. We try to make and send the weapons as quickly as possible, but we cannot guarantee the precise completion of your order. We are currently averaging 20-40 days between order and shipping for meele weapons and 30-50 days for range weapons.
The exception are weapons from the Ready to Ship category, which are usually shipped within 3-5 workdays.
Round or rectangular fiberglass core?
When ordering, you should consider whether you want a round 10mm core or a 15x6mm rectangular core.
- Round core: The round core bends and vibrates the same way in all directions, even in the direction of the edge. This core has no direction where there is a greater risk of breaking. A round core is narrower than a rectangular core, so there is slightly more floam on the blade, combined with the flexibility, blows from a round-cored sword may feel somewhat softer than those of a rectangular-cored one. The round core is better for more chaotic battle larps, or beginner fencers.
- Rectangular core: The sword will generally be about 50 g heavier than the round-cored variant. The rectangle behaves a lot more like an actual sword blade, it does not bend or noticeably vibrate in the direction of the edge. However, it bends and vibrates even more than the round core when you hit or parry with the flat of the blade. With strong and frequent blows to the flat side of the blade, there is a bigger risk of damaging the rectangular core than a round one. Due to the more accurate blade dynamics and increased weight, the rectangular-cored swords are more suitable to people with some amount of familiarity with fighting or somewhat structured fights, as they offer a more authentic and precise fencing experience.
It is also possible to choose a heavier and more durable 16x8mm rectangular core. The weapon will be about 100g heavier than the round-cored variant and be more tip heavy. However, the overall durability and strength of the weapon will increase significantly over both other options. Suitable if you want to use the weapon primarily for very hard battles in armor, like the Czech "Kekel" style events.
How to take care of our weapons and repair them?
Avoid cutting the weapons with sharp objects, likewise do not hit hard or rough objects, like rocks, benches or trees. Try to avoid substantial blows to edges of armor, especially things like swordbreakers. Also, pay attention to the potential sharp edges of your own gauntlets, as some can cut into cross guards or other parts of the hilt when fencing.
Make sure to avoid long term compression of the weapons, especially during storage. Our cross guards are made of hard rubber and do not mind blows in combat, they bend slightly but return immediately. The cross guards however can get deformed with extreme bending over longer periods, when they are for example put under luggage in the trunk of a car or in a chest.
If you tear the foam of the weapon, you can repair it with a high-quality flexible superglue. We personally recommend Loctite Super Attak Power Flex gel, which fills up and strengthens the crack in about 10 minutes. The color of the weapon can be restored or changed with paints made for plastics. A broken core unfortunately cannot be repaired.
The care and use of our LARP blasters is explained in this video:
Taking care of leather FakeSteel products
Our holsters, munition satchels and sword-belts are made from high quality vegetable tanned leather and the staining and subsequent oiling is done with natural agents, and as such they necessarily require some maintenance. Let’s elaborate intelligibly:
Best method of caring is to actively use the products. The more you use them, the better. This is especially applicable to belts because they are worn in the most “personal” manner.
If your product spends some time (namely circa month and more) stored somewhere, please make sure you use leather conditioner (readily available in your local shoe or DIY stores) before taking the product on an event again, because after that long while of idleness, the material may be prone to undesirable cracks.
The conditioner usually comes with a handy manual, but putting a small amount of it on a cotton cloth and then rubbing the whole product should do the trick.
Other instance in which some level of care is greatly advised is if your product gets wet somehow – during rainstorm, while crossing wild rivers and/or streams, after falling overboard, whilst fighting some terribly drooling monster or celebrating something by ingesting liquids of various origin after a day well-spent – we advise to let the product dry naturally and then, once again, thoroughly rub it with an above-mentioned leather conditioner.
Finally, please do note that leather of all kinds tends to get ever so slightly darker with time and both from usage and maintenance.
How safe are weapons? Is it possible to thrust with them?
We recommend the use of protective equipment, like quilted/padded clothing, gloves, helmets, or other pieces of armor, that match the style and intensity of your fighting, however our weapons can be used without any, if you do so responsibly. You should always pull your blows to match the equipment and build of your opponent, always leaning towards less power. Never target sensitive areas such as the head, face, crotch, etc. and follow the specific rules and guidelines of the event you are taking a part of.
Our non-polearm weapons were not primarily designed for thrusting, as it is banned in the Czech Republic at most battles and LARPs. And while our tips are as safe as the tips of any other manufacturer (and often more so, due to our kevlar reinforcements and durable foam), we do not condone stabbing with any larp swords or a similar weapons, be they from us or other manufacturers, as we do not think it is safe without eye and throat protection. Mainly given how little foam and material there is between your opponent and the relatively narrow core, when the tip bends sideways, and how easy it is to put a lot more force into a stab accidentally. Even if your event allows you to stab with such a weapon, we strongly recommend not doing it.
Our polearm weapons were however designed for stabbing and can do so safely. The tips of those have a lot more material between your opponent and the core at any thrusting angle and their cores and hafts are likewise a lot safer due to their much wider diameters. We still recommend caution and pulling your thrusts however, as they can easily slide on shields to unfortunate portions of your opponents body.
All avaliable types of blades
Which weapons can the scabbard and sword belts be ordered for, and how are they designed?
We currently offer scabbards for the following types of one-handed blades: Arming, Viking, Broad, Langmesser, Hanger and all types of daggers. The scabbards for swords have a durable PP plastic core and are covered with leather and a steel or brass chape; they also feature a leather belt with a brass buckle. The sheaths for the daggers are only leather with a steel or brass chape.
An alternative to scabbards are leather sword belts, which can be ordered with all weapons and also separately.
Is it possible to combine pommels and crossguards from different hilts?
No, this option of customization is not possible. The moulds are made for entire hilts and it is therefore not possible to have for example a pommel from the Fishtail hilt and a crossguard from the Falchion hilt.
We are certain that you will love our weapons and build many great memories with them!
Jakub and Adam - FakeSteel Armory