New prototype: Forge of Honor 2-in-1 Sword Holder!

And now a post from the toy-creator himself: Dale Taylor!

Do real men sew? I won’t answer that. But I can tell you that operating a sewing machine is a lot like operating a power tool – with less sawdust and more frustration. Nevertheless, I persevered and sewed up a workable prototype sturdy enough to put in a little play testing. Paper prototypes work fine for sizing and pattern making, but they perform poorly on the battlefield as any warrior will tell you.

Without further ramblings, I’d like to introduce our first Stretch Goal:


When we reach $20,000 in pre-orders, the 2-in-1 Sword Holder will be included in all reward tiers that include complete sets (one for each set purchased).

Over my lifetime, I’ve found most people aren’t really interested in the design process of a product. Kickstarter is a new milestone in product-development history. I see many backers of projects do want to know about the design process. What follows is a short account.

It’s a mystery why I could not think of this particular design shape earlier in the design process. Over many months, I went through many iterations to the shield design and its handles, trying to figure out a way to store the sword on the back. I tried adding a small shield to the side of the sword for fitting in a secondary shield slot. I tried creating a pocket slot behind the pillow on the back of the shield. Nothing worked very well, and they all detracted from the final product appearance. It was very frustrating. The show must go on, and you have to make compromises if you want to ever ship a product.

So, I gave up. Until…

We attended the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver last Friday with some friends. With our thoughts always on Kickstarter, we brought enough Forge of Honor gear for the entire party of 3 kids. The youngest among us loved walking around with FoH gear, but he grew tired of carrying both the sword and shield in two separate hands. He even tried to figure out how to carry all three in one hand.


At the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. You need 2 hands to carry Forge of Honor. Let’s fix that!

It struck me as a major flaw in the experience. The Sword, Shield and Targimal were jolly good fun at home. You can just toss them on your bed or the couch if you get tired. But taking FoH on an outing was different. If a kid grows weary of carrying all three, he’s either out of luck or his parents are recruited. I certainly don’t want that! I knew something had to be invented to attach the sword to the shield so that all three items can be carried with one hand – even if the ultimate holder was a parent. What came to me, finally, was not only elegant, but provided a bonus: The new holder attaches to a belt like a holster. In retrospect, it seems so obvious.

The plush swords are really thick and wide, and the sword holder has to be big to accommodate the sword. I went through several paper and masking tape patterns, adjusting the angle, the straps, and the shape each time. Finally, the 2-in-1 sword holder was born.

Dale, an advocate of outdoor sewing, does sewing. Seriously! Even threaded the needle 100+ times. (Just ask his mom). Lower left: Aventail watches approvingly. Lower right: The paper prototype.

Such is the nature of product design — and why I’m glad I can take instant action and add this to my Kickstarter project. No committees, no chain of command.

The world needs Kickstarter for these very reasons.

Thanks and keep sharing our project:

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