Capt. Calico

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About Capt. Calico

  • Rank
    Bilge Rat

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Chicago IL.
  • Interests
    Captain of The Cerberus, a Belegarth pirate crew operating out of Chicago. Known for singing, drinking, and carousing.

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  1. How to fly your colors?

    Having made my crew a larger flag for use at our events, I've come across a small dilemma. You see, the smaller flag was easily hung from a nearby tree branch or tent pole, but this larger flag (about 4'X6') is another matter. I've seen portable, telescoping flagpoles (for tailgates and the like), but the sturdy ones cost upwards of $300, which is more than I can spend. My current plan is to try three 5' sections of thick PVC or metal conduit (painted to look like wood, of course) connected by two 4-way joints. Rope will be run through the horizontal arms of the joints and staked down to the ground, creating a sort of rigging to stabilize the pole once it's in the ground. I was wondering if anyone could find any immediate fault with this plan, and wanted to see what all you creative folk have come up with for flying your colors.
  2. How to fly your colors?

    Having made my crew a larger flag for use at our events, I've come across a small dilemma. You see, the smaller flag was easily hung from a nearby tree branch or tent pole, but this larger flag (about 4'X6') is another matter. I've seen portable, telescoping flagpoles (for tailgates and the like), but the sturdy ones cost upwards of $300, which is more than I can spend. My current plan is to try three 5' sections of thick PVC or metal conduit (painted to look like wood, of course) connected by two 4-way joints. Rope will be run through the horizontal arms of the joints and staked down to the ground, creating a sort of rigging to stabilize the pole once it's in the ground. I was wondering if anyone could find any immediate fault with this plan, and wanted to see what all you creative folk have come up with for flying your colors.
  3. The Jolly Roger

    There is also the factor of light and human color perception. If the flag were a deep navy blue (think like on US Navy Peacoats), the light in which the witness viewed the flag could very well have made it appear blacker or bluer. I had this exact argument over my Navy Bridge Coat with one of my past girlfriends. She swore it was black until seeing it laid over black fabric, while to me it was blue, clear as day. Worse still, the words we use to describe color are imprecise. We have this problem in WWII reenacting with Olive Drab colors. Is it khaki or green? Mustard brown? The same item viewed under different like can look like all three. Officer's uniforms are often called "chocolate brown" though they have significant green tint that would make me wary of any chocolate.
  4. The Dread Crew of Oddwood

    I did a quick search to see if these guys had come up before and didn't see anything. Ran into them at the Bristol Ren Faire and they've been on my playlist ever since. They're not remotely period, but they have a great sound that conjures the popular, fantastical image of pirates. Their genre is what they call "Heavy Mahogany," as it is folk-metal inspired, but played on acoustic, folk instruments unlike most "Pirate Metal" and the like.
  5. Sword Reviews?

    *Edit: accidental double post
  6. Sword Reviews?

    My cutlass has a rounded tip on the end, much like you propose. I know it's not a period proper sword (closer to an 1860's cutlass than anything in the pirate period), but it was before I had the means to afford anything of real quality and before I was as enthusiastic with historically proper gear. I don't have a picture of it handy, but this pirated from the internet (I believe it is civil war era) shows a scabbard tip similar to mine, though mine is more of a ball shape instead of this more bell shaped one. The scabbard what came with my Anix Cutlass has a scabbard tip similar to this bell shape. If you had the means and know-how (or knew someone with both) it seems that adding a little metal ball or other blunt fitting to the tip would be pretty straight forward. Of course, one could also replace the metal tip entirely (I know I've seen scabbard fittings for sale, but can't find the website for the life of me) with something more suitable for large crowds.
  7. Sword Reviews?

    I know there've been quite a number of topics about various swords on the market, but nothing with really good reviews for those of us searching for a period (or almost period) weapon. So I figured I'd try and get the ball rolling on it with a few of my own. First, the Anix Cutlass by Depeeka http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=AH4225 First impressions of the sword are good. It looks nice and vaguely period. I've not seen a sword of its type from the period, but I haven't looked too hard either, and it certainly has a simplistic, piratical look. The build quality seems pretty good. Carbon steel blade, full tang, peened pommel. I haven't used it in impact or cutting tests so I can't speak to the durability of the build, but it seems pretty robust. The scabbard mine came with is not the one pictured, but I actually like it better, I'll try to get pictures up at some point. The finish on the hilt is fairly robust, but will rub off with time and wear. My chief complaint with this sword is that it feels "dead" in the hand. It's got very little in the way of distal taper, so the handling is less than lively. That being said, for the price (about $85) it's a good hip-hanger and handles reasonably well. Next, the 1751 Infantry Hanger (Indian Import) from GGedneyGodwin http://gggodwin-com.3dcartstores.com/British-Hanger-Model-of-1751--India-Import-56-I_p_756.html First off, yes I know it's not strictly period, but it's at least in the ballpark. Their 1742 model would be even closer, but isn't quite as purdy. Windlass' English Cutlass is similar to this, but lacks the wrap-around quality of the guard. For looks, it's pretty good. The scabbard is a bit rough, and it's obvious that corners were cut to save cost, but it looks ok on a baldric. The first thing I did was leather wrap the grip to add some contrast and make gripping it easier. There being my first complaint: the hilt is uncomfortable. The brass grip offers little in the way of leverage and almost requires wearing gloves. What's more, the hilt is really quite cramped. The grip is about a half inch to an inch too short for even my fairly small hands, making a proper sabre grip (thumb up the spine) rather uncomfortable. This, combined with the broad blade and lack of distal taper, make it less than pleasing to handle. It really requires muscling to get moving. It is carbon steel, though what type is unknown, and appears to be full tang. The pommel is peened. I've heard that the tiny hilt is endemic to the India made swords, so I suspect that their standard 1751 (for an extra $50) is a bit nicer, though I can't say for certain. Collector's Armoury Pirate Cutlass http://www.replicaweaponry.com/pirate-cutlass-replica-without-scabbard.html So this thing is cheap. REAL cheap, so I took a gamble on it to use as a loaner hip-hanger for my crew. For the price, I was reasonably surprised at the quality. It's not great by any means, but there are swords twice it's price with worse quality. They claim the blade is carbon steel, but I have my suspicions. It appears to be full tang, but hard to tell really, and the pommel is peened in place. The sword feels very robust. The hilt feels solid and the guard is much thicker than I expected for such a cheap sword. It looks rather similar to a cutlass seen in Nassau's Pirate Museum (https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMNzpg9tq7oHB0_6mfDokCOK8vkXeyQEPxM_L5OY53izctEDnVz6rBuS4zqG0otWQ?key=Q25UbHdndnE2enFRQlFVTG45SmxxYUxiTlRDM2d3) though I cannot speak to the antique's authenticity. The biggest gripe with this sword? It's a wrist-breaker! If I thought the previous two swords were dead in the hand, this one is an elephant's corpse. The wood grip offers little purchase and is less than ergonomic (mostly square, really) and the balance is so far up the blade as to be truly uncomfortable to swing. Sluggish is an understatement. At the price, it'll make a decent prop, but leave it in your belt as much as you can. Lastly, Mystery Cutlass from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007EB76UA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00 I took a gamble on this one as well as it was on sale and, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised! The fit and finish on this thing is actually the best of any sword I own. The ad claims carbon steel, and I was skeptical when buying, but it does appear to be carbon steel rather than stainless. It also appears to be full tang, but it's hard to tell, and the pommel is peened. The hilt feels well put together and is quite pretty. Like the 1751, it has a rather small hilt, but this one is surprisingly much more comfortable. Part of this might be due to the handling. This is by far the most lively blade I own. It has a noticeable distal taper and is really a joy to handle. The scabbard is a similar pattern to the 1751, but is far nicer in quality. It does seem to be at least mostly correct for the period (the double-shell guard, like that of a smallsword, especially sticks out) and looks great on the hip. I have no idea who makes this sword or much of anything else about it, but I'd recommend them to my whole crew if I hadn't grabbed the last one. If anyone has any leads on this sword's origin, let me know. Please feel free to post your own reviews below and I'll gladly answer any questions I can on the swords I've already reviewed.
  8. Not the best idea ever thought up...

    If I may put in my $0.02 (and do some necro-posting while I'm at it) as a trained stage combatant: There are, in fact, safe ways to simulate combat, violence, or threats for a photo, none of which involve functioning firearms nor live steel. It is my personal opinion that if you are amongst the public in your persona, then your firearms should be locked away safely/replaced with inert replicas and live steel should either be left at camp or securely peace-tied into it's scabbard. Inert pistol replicas are cheap. For swords, there are a few options: Blunted "Stage Combat" Steel: To be clear, blunted does not mean "unsharpened." Blunted means that you have a thick, somewhat rounded edge that would be prohibitive to sharpen and a rounded tip. This is how most good "stage combat" weapons and sparring swords are made. To the layman, they look plenty like the real thing and are significantly safer. Ordering a "battle ready" sword and declining the sharpening service does not make it a blunted sword. Stage Combat Epees: The fact of the matter is, a blunted cutlass is still a pretty effective bludgeoning weapon. Even safer is to go with a smallsword or rapier fitted with a stage combat epee blade. the trade-off is that you MUST be aware of your point as even a blunt epee is unpleasant to get poked with, let alone in the eyes or other vulnerable bits. Plastic: Yes, I know we all love the weight of steel on our baldric, but plastic might be the safest way to go. The Jack Sparrow plastic sword (not the one that makes sounds) looks pretty decent once you've painted it up and might even fit in your real scabbard. If it doesn't fit, the existing scabbard can also be made to look pretty ok with some paint and sandpaper. At the end of the day, however, "safe" weapons are not enough. You must be a safe performer (and, yes, if you're going to the pub in pirate persona, you are performing.) To that end, here are some rules/tips/guidelines, some of which were touched on above. 1. Always keep track of your weapon.This means many things, but two in particular. The first is to always know where your point/muzzle is in relation to other people. If you're in a crowd, posing with a blunted sword, and somebody trips and falls onto your blunted point.....well, no one will be happy. Keep this in mind. The second is to say that, sure, maybe you're responsible with your weapons. But drunken Joe Lunchbox sitting next to you probably isn't, and Joe Lunchbox is thinking how funny it would be if he were to draw your sword and hold you at it's point! If someone reaches for your weapon, you better damn well notice. 2. Never point directly at your victim. With both guns and, to a lesser extent, swords, it is advisable to never point your weapon directly at your "victim". Instead, aim over one of their shoulders or slightly off to one side. The camera will hide this deception from almost any angle and it will be safer, not to mention it will put the other person slightly more at ease. 3. Clear an area. Crowds and drawn weapons are bad news. If you wish to take a picture with your weapon drawn, make a safe perimeter to do so. Whether this means clearing an area of people or finding a more secluded area, it is absolutely necessary for safety. 4. Know your distance. There are three kinds of "distance" in stage combat. These are "In Distance", "Out of Distance", and "Fight Distance." Fight Distance is about 8 inches from the furthest reach of your weapon (so, if you're holding somebody on point, they should be at least 8 inches from the tip of your weapon). In distance is close enough to touch, and out of distance is too far to be believable. In most cases, you want to be in Fight Distance. If you must close distance, however... 5. Cheat with the flat. NEVER touch your edge (blunted or not) to another person. If you must put a blade to someone's throat or somesuch, lay the flat of the blade against them. It's all about creating an illusion. 6. Don't drink. Posing with your weapons is a performance, and you don't go on stage after drinking. If you intend on drinking, leave the weapons behind.
  9. Post yer colors, mates!

    I just finished making our crew a new flag as the old one was a bit small for our purposes. It's painted on cotton canvas. The skull and crossed swords are obviously taken from the flag (probably erroneously) attributed to Jack Rackham (seemed appropriate given my character name). The stars are for Chicago, our home port, and the Trinacria and Harp are symbols of Sicily and Ireland, respectively, and are indicative of both my and my character's heritage.
  10. Welcome aboard!

    I'm hoping we'll be at Bristol this year, so I'll hope to see you there!
  11. Water, beer and rum

    From what I know, and this may be dodgy, this is essentially how grog became a thing. What I've been told is that initially the navy tried supplying drinking water, but stagnant fresh water tends to grow all sorts of nasty stuff in it when left alone for long periods. So, they tried beer but it was very expensive and had the side effect of getting the crew pissed. Rum solved the first problem (what with having all of the sugar cane in the world from the Caribbean colonies) but only exacerbated the latter (plus, any good drinker can tell you, liquor does not quench thirst worth a damn). So, a solution was devised involving mixing rum, water, and various fruit juices (often lime). The alcohol in the rum kept the water from going scummy, the water diluted the alcohol so no one would get so drunk off the stuff, and the juice made it taste a bit better, prevented the mixture from spoiling, and helped keep scurvy at bay.
  12. Welcome aboard!

    We do not, but we do have a facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/GoodShipCerberus?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
  13. Welcome aboard!

    Thanks for the welcome! Sure, that'd be great.
  14. Welcome aboard!

    Thanks to y'all for allowing me passage. I belong to a group called Belegarth, a Medieval/Fantasy fighting game, and am captain of one of a handful of pirate crews operating in the game (so far as I know we're the largest). Our (nonexistent) ship is The Cerberus and we operate out of Chicago. The name's Calico simply because, when I first joined, I took too long picking a character name and someone essentially said "Calico...that's a pirate name and you're a pirate" and it stuck. Our crew holds all kinds from the very historically based (our surgeon, Daimen, who would like to thank Mission for giving her a new bit of history to obsess over) to the historically inspired (Myself. I like to go a bit Hollywood, but using as much in the way of period correct bits as possible) to the outright goofy Hollywood types. Our main business at Belegarth events is not to be proficient fighters, but to sing at other camps in exchange for liquor. I've been perusing your forum for some time now and found myself down the rabbit hole, as it were. You all seem a great fun lot and I thought it polite to quit lurking in the shadows and actually step through the doors.