Vikings Blade. Presenting the Emperor Augustus Adjustable TTO...

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Str8on2, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    A repost of mine from another forum. I just copied and pasted it here.....

    Not going to write up a review based on one shave. Rather just a quick assessment and my initial thoughts on the razor in general. As some of you know, it’s a Vikings Blade branded razor. It’s the Emperor model in which 2 versions are produced. One in a Frosted Chrome finish and the other in a Brass/Gold & Cognac two tone scheme.

    I’m not going to go into who manufactures the razor for VB, whether it be Baili, Weishi or some other Chinese/Asian manufacturing facility. As you all know, with some of these products coming over from the Asian continent, some or most can be questionable in terms of quality, fitment and just overall how the final product performs. This razor is something that is completely different from anything else I’ve tried from Asian razor manufacturers. The build quality is top notch. There is a substantial robustness and heft to the razor and the coating finish on the razor is nearly impeccable to be honest. The numbers on the dial are very well done and is quite accurate within the whole range of movement. There is no click/lock as in the Gillette family of adjustables but, the movement is solid yet smooth, almost identical to the Rex Ambassador. You will not accidentally move the dial while shaving. This is not your Grandpas or Dads Gillette FB, Slim or Black Beauty here Gents. The VB beats all 3 of them in terms of size and weight. You want a heavyweight adjustable? This might be your pony....

    The first shave was very good as I started it off on 7 just to see how it would compare to the Gillette’s trio. That starting point was very good for me as it felt somewhere between an 8-9 on a Slim. Good blade feel but, not harsh and overly done. It’s a good bet that at it’s max setting the Gillette’s fall a bit short. Not a fact, as I only used 7 & 5 on the dial but, I’ll be venturing there on my next shave to make it conclusive one way or the other.

    Overall it was a very nice shave and experience. Not all is smelling Rosey though. There are a couple of things that stood out to me and one of those was when opening the TTO doors. It just doesn’t open far enough like the Gillette’s do in allowing the blade to be placed easily into the razor. You’ll see what I mean with a few pics that I will include below. You kind of have to tilt the blade to one side to clear a door then it can be placed on the blade tray. Perhaps nothing big for some but, the fact still remains that it’s not as easy to place a blade in the VB compared to the Gillette trio. The blade tabs are also an issue with the razor head as they do protrude a bit on either side. A deal breaker for some, not so much for others, myself included. Still, it should be pointed out. There is also quite a bit of blade movement laterally from one post to the other. But, I also found that type of movement with the Gillette’s as well. Just hadn’t noticed it much. Call it a wash. The last thing has nothing to do with shave performance but, rather aesthetics. I am not a big fan of brand marking or etching on a razor and those markings of the company brand name and model are just plain tacky to me. It kind of ruins a very nice and eye pleasing razor until you see those markings. Just wasn’t needed in my opinion.

    Here are a few pics to kind of show the razor and a couple of things that I had mentioned above. Like I stated in my previous post, I will need to get in at least a full weeks worth of shaves in before giving the thumbs up or down on the VB Emperor Augustus Adjustable. One shave in and it has my attention.....

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    Size comparison with a couple of Gillette’s. Slim on the bottom, Black Beauty Special Edition up top....
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    Head designs are very similar to one another.
     
  2. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Some more pics to point out a couple of things I mentioned in the previous post....

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  3. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    And the last few pics showing as best I could blade exposure and gap from lowest 1 setting to the highest setting 9...

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    Also would like to point out that it does have a dual comb plate. A smooth straight bar and a micro serrated side that is similar to the Gillette’s, perhaps it bit more deeper.

    I apologize Gents for the poor pics.
     
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  4. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Two very good shaves so far with the VB Emperor. Last night's shave I was a bit cautious and didn't max it out. Today I pulled out the stops and went for it on max @9. Real good blade feel and slightly just a touch more than either the Slim & 109. Feel more on the serrated side compared to the straight bar version. An impressive 2 pass shave. The weight is the plus on this so far. No pressure and just let it fall. 2 down and a few more to go.....

    Yesterday's shave

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    Today's shave

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  5. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    Moderator
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Gus @Str8on2. Sounds like this razor offers some competition to the Modern Razor market. I visited the website and page for The Emperor Augustus Adjustable Safety Razor and was surprised to see two bit of information that impress me. The price is affordable. It's a brass razor.

    Looking forward to following your impressions as you discover the ins and outs of this unit.
     
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  6. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the kind words. I actually purchased the razor for aesthetic purposes as a shave forum member on another site posted a few pics and I was intrigued by the looks and his initial review. Believe me, I went in expecting the worst (a la Parthenon) and just hoping for a somewhat decent razor that could provide a decent shave at best. Well, this thing here stood me on ears. The build quality is outstanding and the finish is second to none. This is no Baili or Weishi remake, that is for sure. Everything is made from a quality alloy minus the blade tray, which is Zamak. But, even that component is finished well and coated with the same durable coating on the rest of the razor. Pleasantly surprised is an understatement. The first shave was quite good and the second shave was even better.

    For the price, it is a quality tool and very good performer so far. I really would like to get in at least half a dozen shaves in to see durability and wear if any of the hard coating wears thin or not but, I’m beginning to sincerely doubt that this will be the case. My early thoughts are that it’s a quality product from packaging to performance. As I stated in my opening post, there are a couple of things that stare at me especially the doors not opening fully as the Gillette TTO’s do and the brand stamping on the doors but, nothing that can be a deal breaker so to speak. Maybe with some use the doors will perhaps loosen a bit more and open up and allow easier blade installation. Let’s see what time will bring with this contender. I will give a full review once I get a solid week of use in.
     
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  7. John Ruschmeyer

    John Ruschmeyer Well-Known Member

    Based on the pictures I've seen here and elsewhere, I think that the adjustment mechanism is similar to that of the Ming Shi Unscrew 3000s- a fixed blade bed and doors with safety bars that move up and down according to the adjustment setting.
     
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  8. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, you would be correct. Also, I would like to correct my earlier statement concerning the TTO doors not opening fully. They actually do. One must open the adjustment setting to max and the doors actually extend outwards fully. Once that is done, the blade install is super easy and you just adjust the collar to your preference again and close the doors. My apologies for speaking to soon.....
     
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  9. brit

    brit Well-Known Member

    cool review sir, nice razor..
     
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  10. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    Moderator
    Glad you spotted the issue. Another possible detractor resolved for this machine.

    I enjoy my adjustable DE razors on max settings for aggressiveness and efficiency.
     
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  11. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Three shaves in and no issues to speak of yet. Just close, smooth and comfortable shaves. The Elios Inox blade has been quite a pleasant surprise also as there have been mixed reviews with it across the forums. Not a bad thing to say about them as it still has life left after it’s third use. Hopefully the rest of the blades in the tuck are spot on and can deliver the goods. The VB Emperor Augustus is trying to make a solid point that it can hang with some of the more established and performing razors in the game. I like underdogs........

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    Yes and I should have done a more thorough check before opening my yapper. But, I realized my mistake and just wanted to be clear that it takes a nanosecond to install and remove your preferred piece of steel. Blade feel is quite good in the upper ranges while still retaining above average smoothness. Plus, it has a nice operating window for one’s angle of attack whether riding closer to the bar or slightly off the cap, it works for both shallow and steep angles.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
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  12. clint64

    clint64 Blind Squirrel

    Great review @Str8on2 Really good job on the photos as well Gus. Do you prefer this razor or the Parker Variant?
     
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  13. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Clint. That is a very good question. I hold the Variant in high esteem as you know. The Variant is a wonderful two piece adjustable that gives me great shaves. I still wouldn't put the VB Emperor at that level, yet. Still early but, it's making a compelling argument. I need to get a few more shaves in to determine if it belongs among my best adjustables. We'll see......:eatdrink047:
     
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  14. clint64

    clint64 Blind Squirrel

    I look forward to your ongoing reports.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  15. brit

    brit Well-Known Member

    nice looking razor, without the rockwell problems..
     
  16. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    Moderator
    That it is. Like what Gillette might have made after Black Beauties if they'd have stayed in the adjustable DE game.
     
  17. brit

    brit Well-Known Member

    i think gillette would have done better if they kept with de for their loyal millions and made carts their new adventure. forcing people to change up was dishonest..
     
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  18. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    @Str8on2
    Very nice reporting.
    Thank you.
     
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  19. Badgerstate

    Badgerstate Well-Known Member

    It looks like a Weishi adjustable to me.
     
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  20. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    2 more shaves with the VB Emperor and nothing else to say about it. It just shaves very well. Up and down the ranges there are no discrepancies concerning whether the shave gets to harsh or uncomfortable at it’s highest setting (9) nor at it’s minimum does it feel like it’s not cutting (1). It does, just very mildly. For me, settings 1 & 2 are a bit too mild but, for someone with light growth that’s not thick or coarse, it just might do. It has worked very well for me from 4 all the way up to 9 without a hiccup. From modest to very good blade feel which by the way is enhanced on the semi scalloped (serrated) bar compared to the straight bar side. The heft really does do a number on helping with the shave as the weight of the razor just lets one make contact and let it do a controlled fall down ones face. Whiskers are removed easily and comfortably. You can shave one whole side of your face and it rinses and cleans just as good as any Gillette adjustable and feels just as good if not better shave wise. The knock is perhaps the weight, the handle length and the cheesy brand imprint on the TTO doors. I do give the edge to the Gillette Adjustables in that since it is considerably lighter than the VB Emperor, it feels a bit more equally balanced in the hands. So does the VB but, it feels like the weight is a bit more centered around the handle. Just my take on it. Still, it feels great and robust in the hands. The Gillette’s all brass construction is another feather in its cap as it has proven the test of time for 60+ years and still counting. The VB with the Zamak blade tray, although very well done and electroplated (expensive to do and better that powder coating) can be an issue down the road. Only time will tell truthfully.

    Heresy? Blasphemy for the Gillette adjustable Nation lovers out there? Perhaps but, the fact still remains that in my 6 shaves with it so far it has performed extremely well and dare I say a bit better than the iconic brand that nearly holds a Holy like cult status among the traditional wet shaving world, myself included. Hey, I have 2 Gillette’s that shave wonderfully as well and won’t ever leave my den but, in overall shave quality and feel I would definitely say that the VB Emperor is at minimum the Gillette’s equal. Build is excellent and the price is tough to beat.

    This ain’t no Baili or Weishi folks. Whoever makes it for the Vikings Blade family owned business is producing a high quality product with tight tolerances and standards. VB just might have gotten their s%#t together and have decided to do it the right way..... Good for them.

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