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Scout Books

Site Contents

By Dan Beard

Fig. 30. 

Armed Kites are of a more relentless and bloodthirsty order than the strategic unarmed warrior.  The peculiar mission of these rampant champions of the air is to cut the enemy off from his base of supplies; then with a satisfied wriggle, and a fiendish wag of the tail , this ferocious flyer sails serenely on, while his ruined victim falls helplessly to the earth, or ignominiously hangs himself a some uncongenial tree, where his skeleton will struggle and swing until beaten to pieces by the very element that sustained him in his elevation before his thread of life was cut. 

In this sport, new to most Northern boys, they will find an exciting and healthy pastime, one that will teach them to think and act quickly, a quality that when acquired may be of infinite service to them in after years.

Armed Kite Fighting.

These aeronautical cutters might be appropriately named the Scorpion, "Stingerree," Wasp, or Hornet, because they fight with their tails, the sting of the insect being represented on the kite-tail by the razor-like cutters.

The tactics used in these battles of the clouds are just the opposite from those employed in fighting with unarmed kites.

To win the battle you so maneuver your warrior that its tail sweeps across and cuts the string off your antagonist.

Armed kites are usually made after the pattern of the American six-sided or hexagonal kite. They are two and one-half feet high, covered with paper cambric, or, when economy is no object, with silk.

As a successful warrior looks well after his arms, so should the tail of a war kite receive the most careful attention.

One very popular style of tail is made of strips of bright- colored cloth about one inch wide tied securely in the middle to a strong twine, the tail ending in a fancy tassel.

Another style is made of long narrow strips of white cloth securely sewed together.  This tail is not so apt to become knotted or tangled as the first.

How to Make the Knives.

The "cutters" of an Armed Kite to be attached to the tail are made of sharp pieces of broken glass called knives.

From a thick glass bottle, broken off below the neck, chip off pieces. This can be done with the back of a heavy knife blade or a light hammer. The workman cannot be too careful or cautious in breaking or handling the glass, as the least carelessness is sure to result in bad cuts and bloody fingers.

From the slivers or chips of glass select pieces thick on the outside curve, but with a keen sharp inside edge. It may take time, experience, and several bottles to get knives to exactly suit you.

How to Make Cutters.

Fasten three knives together with wax (Fig. 30) so that each shall point in a different direction, bind on this three slips of thin wood lengthwise to hold the wax and glass firmly, and cover it neatly with cloth or kid.

A piece of twine looped at each end should pass through the apparatus lengthwise. This, of course, to be put in the before the slips are bound together. Excellent cutters can be made of blades from an old penknife.

A much simpler weapon is made with a piece of stout twine one foot long, dipped in glue and rolled in pounded glass until thickly coated with a glistening armor of sharp points. Two of these incorporated in the lower half of the kite's tail will be found to be effective cutters.

Boys participating in this war of kites should always bear mind the fact that it requires but little skill to cut an unarmed kit, and that there is no honor or glory to be gained in vanquishing a foe who is unable to defend himself.

There are many other attachments, improvements, and amusing appliances that suggest themselves to an enthusiastic kite-flyer.

See Also:

Unarmed War Kites

American Boy's Handy Book






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.