So you have rounded up potential safety razors you are thinking about buying and Vikings Blade The Chieftain is one of them. You are thinking how does it compare to others. Is it only looks or does it perform as well also? And maybe you have even heard about the accusations that The Chieftain is a more expensive Baili razor in disguise. Well, I will answer all of those questions and go even deeper to give you all the facts. So keep reading.
+ Easy blade insertion
+ Good grip
+ Mild razor
– With all the marketing gimmicks I find the company to inspire little trust
- Mildly aggressive shave. That’s why it is suitable for beginners, as there is less risk of cutting yourself
- Has a twist-to-open mechanism opening the Butterfly doors to assure easy blade switching
- Is packaged into an elegant and luxurious package. This feature comes in handy should you consider this as a gift for someone
- Fit and finish are very good
- Comes in two different finishes: chrome and black + rose gold
- Good quality/price ratio
Vikings Blade has the most tasteful package in this price range. Exterior has a clear minimalist style showing the logo and the name. Inside the outer shell made out of thick cardboard, there is a leatherette box that holds the razor. This package gets you excited when opening it just like it should do. To sum it up it is one very handsome package and definitely something that would make a great gift.
The Chieftain has good weight and size to it. It feels sturdy enough while being comfortable when used. The dimensions are such that it appeals to most men. To those who prefer smaller razors as well as to those who enjoy bigger and larger razors.
Weight: 3 oz (85 g)
Length: 3.7″ (9.4 cm)
Made in China / Australia
How Does It Feel In Your Hand
Most modern razors come in two sizes. The standard currently seems to be around 3.5″ / 9 cm and usually, there is also a longer version available. Take Merkur 34C and 38C for example. Both have the same head, design but one (38C) is marketed as a “long-handled” razor. Same also for The Chieftain and Vikings Blade The Vulcan. They both share the Twist-To-Open mechanism, but the Vulcan is heavier and has a longer handle (4.6 ” / 11.8 cm ).
Shorter handle adds more maneuverability while the longer one feels more comfortable in my “bigger-than-average” hands. In the end, this has little to no effect on the shaving quality of the razor. It comes down to your preference. If you happen to have a Gillette Mach 3 or 5 around, for example, then compared to The Chieftain it is longer. It gives an idea how it feels when shaving.
The handle has good knurling on it. So it won’t get slippery when your hands are wet or covered with soap. There are two options to choose from – gold + black and chrome. Both look nice and feel solid.
The weight is rather average just like the size. Its hefty without being bulky. Let’s compare it to two other beginner-friendly razors. Merkur 34C HD and Edwin Jagger DE89 – both are widely recommended for beginners. And both weigh around 2.8 oz / 80 g, which is almost the same as The Chieftain.
What About The Design
The Chieftain design is based on old Gillette classics. They have added a touch here and there, but the twist-to-open mechanism design is old. But there is nothing wrong about that. Many companies have designed their razor based on the old classics, take Weishi Nostalgic for example.
To switch the razor blade, you have to turn the knob at the tip of the handle. This will open the butterfly doors, revealing the slot where you insert the razor blade. Once the blade has been inserted, you turn the knob in the other direction, and the butterfly doors will close.
The handle is made out of brass and covered with chrome. The base plate is made out of zamak (pot metal) that is still vulnerable to corrosion. This is common for most razors though.
Now for years, Vikings Blade has been accused of using Baili razors BD179 and reselling them under their own brand with a 4-5x price tag. This is apparently not true as can be read from here: Official Statement by Baili. It seems that Vikings Blade uses the Baili factory to manufacture their own design. If you look closely, you can see that there are some minor differences between those models. The Chieftain has a thicker base plate. Also, it has four small lather holes compared to only two longer oblong ones on the Baili.
Will It Shave?
Vikings Blade The Chieftain comes with 5 razor blades that are made out of Swedish steel. The razor coupled with the default razor blade gives a very mild shave. You have to make multiple passes to get a good close shave and even then I wouldn’t call it baby-butt-smooth. You can add some aggressiveness using sharper razor blades like Feather, but the overall design makes it at best a moderately aggressive.
The mild nature can cause you to add pressure to the razor while shaving to get a closer shave. This can lead to skin irritation if you are prone to it.
That said it is a wonderful razor for a beginner. Because it is mild yet efficient enough to get a close shave, it is good for learning the technique.
Comparison: The Chieftain vs. Baili BD179
I chose Baili BD179 for this comparison because of the many accusations that The Chieftain is rebranded Baili. After all, they do both look very similar, are TTO razors and are mild. Yet they are not the same razor.
First, let’s look at the head design. As I already mentioned previously, The Chieftain has thicker baseplate and also four lather holes. Baili has only two. Both heads are made out of zamak (pot metal), and they deliver very similar mild shave.
Then there is the weight. Baili BD179 weighs 2.4 oz / 68 g, that’s .6 oz / 17 g less than The Chieftain. The difference in weight is noticeable but will not affect your shaving. Size wise they are the same, both are 3.7″ / 9.4 cm. The weight difference comes from the materials used. The Chieftain is made partly from brass while BD179 is made out of zamak (pot metal). Brass doesn’t rust so in some ways it is more durable.
The last thing that sets those two razors apart is the way they are packaged. Vikings Blade delivers their products in a luxurious box that I covered in the beginning. Baili BD179 comes in a very practical plastic travel case with a mirror but lacks the elegance of The Chieftain. The same thing can also be said about the finish. The Chieftain with its black and gold finish looks far more refined compared to the yellow gold plating of the BD179. Both also come in a chrome finish.
The Chieftain markets itself as a more sophisticated razor. Hence the price. Baili, on the other hand, caters to the ordinary working man. Plain, simple and good value for money.
To summarize the key differences:
- BD179 weighs less, but the difference is small – .6 oz / 17 g. Both are 3.7″ / 9.4 cm long
- The Chieftain is made partly out of brass while BD179 is wholly made from pot metal. This makes The Chieftan a bit more durable
- Baili BD179 razor head has two lather holes and the base plate is thinner
- Baili BD179 comes in a straightforward and practical plastic travel case. The travel case is a nice feature if you travel a lot
- The Baili BD179 is good value for money if you don’t care about the looks and the minor quality differences
What I dislike about Vikings Blade are the marketing gimmicks. They brand themselves as a high-quality small workshop with a lifetime warranty and ingenious designs. The truth is that they use a mechanism which was developed almost 100 years ago by Gillette and order the razors from China. You can argue as much as you wish that they added a thicker base plate and four lather holes, but in the end, it is just cosmetics.
Otherwise, I find the razor to be excellent. If you happen to have a coarse beard, then you might want something more aggressive. But if you want a mild reliable twist-to-open razor that gets the work done, then this razor is for you. After all, most of us just want a comfortable shave and don’t care about the companies history and production line.