Monday, April 26, 2010

The Tools Of Combat

I have newfound respect for the video games Half Life, BioShock, and Team Fortress 2. I was recently browsing in a hardware store, as manly men who do manly things are prone to do.

While there, I discovered that they sold wrenches and crowbars. When sold in a hardware store, the assumption is that they will be used to somehow aide in building, repair, and the opening of crates. In the aforementioned video games, they are in aide of bludgeoning.

Okay, you can use the wrench in TF2 to build and fix things, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also used to bust some heads.

My assumption with those games has always been that the wrenches were of exaggerated size, and that the crowbar was dangerous mostly by virtue of its teeth. I believed they were sturdy and handy to have, but ultimately not that big or heavy.

I was wrong! They had 24 inch long aluminum wrenches weighing 12 pounds and 36 inch long crowbars with definite weight to them! I know 12 pounds doesn’t sound like much, but (CAREFULLY) try swinging that around sometime. These could definitely be used as strong weapons.

My first thought upon making this discovery was that the characters in these games must be badass muscle men, which is a little weird when you consider Gordan Freeman, the world’s alpha nerd. Anyone who can swing these things endlessly and without effort must hit the gym a lot.

My second thought involved TF2 Engineer cosplay with an actual wrench at a future convention, which was immediately followed by thoughts of me being thrown out on my ass by convention security.

Assuming, of course, they can get past my sentry.


  1. You should do these artistically aided posts more frequently, this was hilarious and probably much more illustrative (pardon the bad pun) than the traditional text only blog post. I SALUTE THEE GOOD SIR.

    If i ever get around to starting my own blog I will definitely take advantage of this form as a means improve my art as much as to augment my writing.

  2. I absolutely love the last picture. :-D

  3. Hee, Engineer FemTedd cosplay. WANT!

  4. your sentry needs a better design to be fully protective of you.

  5. Love it! Especially the Freeman picture. I am a big fan of Half-Life, even though I've only played the first game.

    Turns out one of the disadvantages to having siblings is watching them beat computer games before you do.

  6. A wrench as an actual weapon doesn't surprise me. Don't forget that the wrench is one of six murder weapons in the board game Clue!

    So whodunnit?

    I say it's Dan Shive with the Wrench in Artist Alley. Case closed.

  7. I own both a wrench and a crowbar. I bought them both at a hardware store on a whim. Both are of the largest size available, and both because of the aforementioned video games. However, I did lend the wrench to someone so he could wrench some pipes, and apparently it is a thing of plumbing glory.

  8. You're surprised that Freeman is muscular? Freeman has always been the star example of combining brains and musscle, the hero that can not only outthink his enemies, but also beat them to a bloody pulp.

    Being surprised about Freeman being muscular is like being surprised Frodo Baggins is short.

  9. Have a drop forged steel pipe wrench that's made for a 12" nut. I imagine it could do a bit o damage. I have no idea how much it weighs. (12 inch wide jaws, each flang is 13" long. with the jaws open there's more than 2 more feet of handle as well)

    I also have what is more commonly known as a 'spud bar'. It's a crowbar on steroids. 66 inches long bar of steel.

    What really annoys me is you can rarely use these things for anything like what they were intended to be used for; for example, carrying a 3' crowbar would be great for getting through a lot of doors. Really. Shatterproof windows? pullleeze. Boards nailed across a door. heh yah right.

    I think if I ever am in charge of a game with a wrench, I'll put at least one spot where ya do a bit of plumbing to get past something, just cause...

  10. Well, Freeman DOES have the HEV suit, and goodness knows how heavy that is. Unless, of course, it powers up any bludgeoning he may do.

  11. Security can be pretty lack on conventions, well over here it is (sometimes)

    5 years I'm standing on the F.A.C.T.S. convention in my home town of Ghent (East-Flanders, Flanders, Belgium for now, Europe) for the BVC vzw, which is a Star Trek fan club.
    We see a lot of real looking fake weapons passing bye (really need a phaser rifle this year to aim at the ridiculous amount of armed storm troopers passing bye our stand).

    Well to make the point, this year the venue had changed to the much larger convention center of our town, and two of our guys who were dressed as characters out of Shaun of the dead were hold by security,not for the fake-blood covered bats but for the fake cigarettes they had in their mouth.

  12. dude. my dad is a machinist/tool and die maker/valve repair man. i grew up with those HUGE wrenches.

    i even have a 20 pound nut that such a wrench could be used on. it was an old nut. and its threads were stripped.

    now a comment on the egs lack of hammerage. i have a 16 pound sledge i've cut down the handle on that i use for amature blacksmithing.. for the fun of it you know? cause hot metal+banging=fun... the girls can borrow it if they want ^.^

  13. The question is not about whether or not you could get into a convention with a large wrench, but whether or not you would want to. I just went to the Stumptown comic convention in Portland, OR, and let me tell you: six hours with a backpack that had 2 graphic novels and a dozen business cards was feeling quite heavy after 7 hours.

    Also, I finally joined the world of modern gaming, and I got TF2. I'd suggest we play together, but I want to protect my fragile ego.

  14. A 24" aluminum wrench?


    The University of Waterloo Engineering Society mascot is a 60" steel wrench of the kind used in the oil industry.

  15. Try making that cos-play wrench out of structural foam, then painting it with a plastisol coating (plastisol or Plasti-Dip, as one brand is known, comes in a variety of designer colors for the cosplayer on the go...) Once the plastisol sets, it can be hit with high temp. aluminum paint if a silver finish is desired. That, or you could just overlay the foam with foam-core board if the shape were angular enough (say, a Stilson Wrench?)

  16. I take it you didn't venture into the garden area? Not that I know what specific store you went to, but some hardware/home improvement stores with garden centers have crowbars approaching four feet in length, and about 25 pounds. :D I think they're used mainly for levering up paving stones and such, so they hide them from the regular hardware seekers.

    That being said, the illustrated blog post was amusing. I'm trying to decide if I like the first or second illustration best; both are amusing, and the first has the added adorableness. ^^

    I don't think you'd be kicked out of a convention for having a wrench, so long as you don't actually use it to hit someone. Even if it was made out of foam or something, using it to hit someone would be grounds for either a stern talking to by the con organizers or just getting booted from the con period, so~. Cosplay away. :)

  17. Trains require large wrenches too:

  18. On a not related note
    I had mailed Dan few weeks back, got no answer, not that I was expecting one.
    And now it turns out I was like 50% correct on some of my assumptions.

  19. You didn't know solid steal wrenches and crowbars were heavy? LOL
    Try picking up a sledge hammer some time. They even have versions with small handles. No way you're throwing those things around. Mario must be eating steroid laced mushrooms.
    Ya know that would explain a few things.

  20. Or Mario is so out of it he doesn't even notice the weight

  21. @Velraptorx10 Naw, he's just from Brooklyn. Everyone from that town gets racial feat "You call that thing heavy?"

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  23. Resender is right about Convention security.
    My best friend cosplayed as Lil' Slugger (Shounen Bat) from Paranoia Agent once with roller blades he painted gold and a metal baseball bat he bent and painted gold.

    After several hours at the convention the security officers finally took him aside and told him... to take the roller blades off.