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Web Video: Man at Arms
"I've built aluminum prop swords for a living. These are not aluminum props, this is a properly forged, deadly weapon."
Tony Swatton

Man at Arms is a show on YouTube's AWE Me Channel, where professional blacksmith teams use their skills to create real, functional versions of various fictional weapons. Initially master blacksmith Tony Swatton and his assistants would defictionalize a weapon based on fan demand. Later, a new season dubbed Reforged would focus on the Stagmer brothers as they combine weapons from different works into hybrid designs.

    Forged weapons 

    Reforged mash-ups 


Man at Arms provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Awesome, but Impractical: Some of the weapons are this despite all the love put in their crafting.
    • The Buster Sword is just too heavy to swing around. And that's despite the majority of the blade being aluminum, with only the cutting edge being steel. It's still an 80-pound sword. As they note when it's brought back out to show side-by-side with Sephiroth's Masamune in a later episode, with the Buster Sword they pretty much just lift it over a target and drop the thing rather than swing it.
    • The Diamond Sword has a very uncomfortable grip, but it's still a real blade.
    • Mjölnir had to be made with a hollow head to avoid being too heavy to wield. Or even lift, for most people. Tony said that after the video he intended to fill the hollow space with lead so that people visiting his shop would be unable to lift the hammer he'd been swinging around.
  • An Axe to Grind:
    • Gimli's axe and the Orcish battleaxe.
    • The Keyblade is of course a giant key, but Tony chooses to interpret the ward as a blade, making the weapon most similar to an axe.
  • Badass Boast: In the episode for Raph's sais, he talks about not being able to supply a computer file for the Asgardian swords he made for Thor to the props department for The Dark World because he made all thirty swords from the first movie by hand.
    Tony Swatton: There are no computer files, I hit it with a hammer! They're like: "No way, there's thirty of them, they're the same!" Yeah, that's what I do!
  • BFS: Cloud, Sephiroth and Ichigo's swords. The Buster Sword in particular wasn't so much swung through its targets as it was dropped on them (and needed two guys to get it up).
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Hit-Girl's naginata is designed to split into two separate pieces.
  • The Blacksmith: Tony Swatton, the person the show first focuses on, has, according to the opening narration, worked as a blacksmith for over thirty years, and made props (primarily weapons) for over two-hundred feature films.
  • Blade on a Stick:
    • Edward Elric's spear from Fullmetal Alchemist.
    • The Reforged series "TMNT Super Weapon" combined the weapons of all four ninja turtles into a double-sided polearm.
  • The Cameo:
  • Cool Old Guy: Tony Swatton. He's clearly also a case of One of Us.
  • Cool Sword: All the swords created, naturally, since they are inspired by examples of the trope in fiction.
  • Cosplay: A few episodes feature a cosplayer posing with the weapon (in a costume related to it) for the final sequence.
    • Sokka with the Space Sword.
    • Leona with the Zenith Blade.
  • Creator Cameo: Michael Maurino (a.k.a. Iron Stylus), art designer on the game League of Legends, is seen Squeeing over the finished Zenith Blade.
  • Defictionalization: invoked The entire point of the series is to make fictional weapons real. It should be noted that by "real", we (and Tony) don't mean the aluminum prop swords he makes for his day job. Each of the weapons made in the series is a real one with a steel cutting edge (except Mjölnir, of course). Yes, even the Keyblade.
  • Drop the Hammer: Thor's Mjölnir.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The workshop equipment is not to be played with. Tony reminds us on occasion that basically everything in his shop can kill or horribly disfigure you if you aren't mindful, as the Too Dumb to Live movie producer described below demonstrates. His old door had a sign on it saying something like "Authorized personnel only. No admittance. Everything inside is hot, sharp, poisonous, offensively rude, or all of the above."
  • Forging Scene: The biggest part of every episode, of course. This is basically Forging Scene: The Web Series.
  • I Meant to Do That: Said by Grant Imahara on testing Leonidas' sword on a watermelon and only chipping off a little bit.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Once per Episode, one of these gets defictionalized.
  • Impressive Pyrotechnics: Mentioned during the Masamune video; during the Buster Sword's forging, when they stuck the sword into heat-treating oil, it caused an 8-foot tall wall of flame. They were anticipating something similar to happen when heat-treating Masamune's less-so-but-still-large blade and put on fire safety gear in preparation and naturally nothing particularly impressive happens.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The reason for a katana being the weapon chosen by the Reforged gang to mash up with a lightsaber. A straight-bladed, double-edged sword would more closely approximate the range of attacks available to a lightsaber wielder, but there's no denying that a katana with a lightsaber hilt and a Galactic Empire emblem tsuba is cool.
  • Living Weapon: Honedge and Black☆Star's Chain Scythe are replicas of such, though this being real life, they aren't actually alive.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: The TMNT super weapon is of course a combination of a bo staff, a sai, a katana and a nunchaku. It comes out as a double-ended polearm, sai on one end and short katana-like blade on the other, with the sai attached to the handle by a chain that can either be secured in place on the end via a bayonet-like locking lug or left hanging loose by the nunchaku chain.
  • Nerdgasm: Each finished piece certainly aims at causing this, and they know it:
    Tony Swatton: (with the Buster Sword) How many geeks out there are having nerdgasms right now?
    Brian: (with Masamune) You mean, including us?
  • New Season, New Name: The focus shifting from Tony's crew to the Stagmer brothers' team is accompanied by the subtitle Reforged.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Tony Swatton admits feeling affinities with Tolkien's dwarves, being himself a bearded, stocky metalworker.
  • Prongs of Poseidon:
    • Finnick's trident. It's a bit different from the ubiquitous design but it still fits.
    • Reforged's Ninja Turtles mash-up weapon evokes the appearance of a trident by sticking Raph's sai on the end of Don's staff.
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: The Diamond Sword, as a consequence of forging a blade in the cubic/pixellated style of Minecraft.
  • Sharpened to a Single Atom: Tony has said, in response to a question about the sharpest of all his weapons, that his forging will leave blades with a monomolecular edge in nearly all cases, and it's just a matter of which materials will best maintain that edge while being used.
  • Shout-Out: The Keyblade episode concludes with the blacksmith breaking through a door with the newly-forged weapon and yelling "HERE'S TONY!"
  • Stab the Sky: An obligatory pose with He-Man's Power Sword.
  • Staring Through the Sword: An obligatory pose with the Sword of Omens' hilt.
  • Take That: The final scene of each episode, where the completed weapon is shown cutting things, often contains some of these. Examples include:
  • Thunderbolt Iron: Tony bought actual nickel-iron meteorites to forge into Sokka's sword. One of the main challenges of the build was having to layer and fold the crumbly and brittle meteorite metal with higher-quality steel in order to get the blade to properly forge.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Tony often relates a story about a movie producer who came into his shop while he was working and, to say the least, did not respect all the dangerous equipment. He picked up a random knife off a table and slashed it across his palm to see if it was sharp, cutting it to the bone in one motion. After getting first aid, he returned to the workshop and picked up a hot chunk of metal Tony was just forging, melting his skin and fusing the chunk to his hand. In a panic, he dipped his hand in what he thought was water, but was actually a vat of acid.
  • Wolverine Claws:
    • One of the weapons forged is a set of claws based on Wolverine's from the movie with the same name.
    • The first weapon of the Reforged season is their attempt to create a gauntlet of these claws as if the Dark Knight had designed it himself.


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