LOS ANGELES--When Spike TV's "Deadliest Warrior" needs to re-create weapons of the distant past to pit soldiers of bygone eras against each other, it turns to weapons fabricator David Baker and his workshop.
Hidden away in the vast basement below the "Deadliest Warrior" Los Angeles studios, Baker and his team combine historical research with carpentry, metallurgy, and weapons expertise to forge copies of the swords, shields, bows, and arrows used by antiquity's greatest armies. Baker brought years of experience making swords and other realistic period weapons for Hollywood to "Deadliest Warrior," and he brings a passion for weaponry to every creation.
The workshop uses an array of targets and mannequins (and the occasional side of beef) to test the effectiveness of the devices Baker and his crew create. During CNET's visit, the show was pitting Iraq's Republican Guard against the Khmer Rouge, and a fresh pig carcass stood in for the enemy body subjected to wounds from each army's blades. But neither weapon on this show ranked with Baker's favorites.
"Hannibal's Falcata is one of my favorite swords," Baker said. "Ivan the Terrible's saber is another one of my favorite weapons. They're both great cutters."
During a break on the set, I was able to fire one of the vintage bows on the show's archery range. While I was able to get the arrow to the target, suffice it to say the French would've survived Agincourt if I had been on Henry V's long bows.
For a closer look at the weapons Baker creates, have a look at our gallery above.