The etch is perhaps the most difficult to depict by photograph because of the difference in the chromium content of the stainless steel, the inability to depict the depth of the etch, and the way the light reflects in unretouched images.
In all cases the horizontal "lines" and color variations that appear in the images are a result of light reflecting off of the bevel and the blood groove in the blades. All images are completely unretouched, so we did not remove these lines and color variations.
- Anchor/Globe Detail: All three swords have an overall good quality etch; however, one can see differences of detail with the high resolution images of the Marine Corps Emblem. One can clearly see the rope in emblem of WKC's etch. The rope appears as dots in Country One's etch (likely due to their etch plates having worn flat over time). Country Two does not appear to have any rope on the emblem of its etch.
- Flag Stars and Pole: WKC and Country Two both have visible stars on the flag; Country One’s stars look more like blobs that tend to run together. You'll also notice that the pointed arrow on both Country 1 and Country 2's etch bleeds off the edge of the sword.
- Etch Border: The USMC specification is for the etch to have a border to the etch that is unbroken by the letters U, S, and M. The WKC etch provides the Marine a distinct and visible break between the border of the etch and the bottom and top of the three letters. Country 1's plate wear has allowed their etch to run into the border of their etch over time.
- Lettering Details: One of the best examples of the lettering quality is the shape of the "M" letter. The Marine Specification details how the "M" is to be shaped, and we believe WKC does a superior job of detailing the "M" shape.
[photos are not retouched]