Quartermaster, Baladeo, Boker, & Tops Knives


After I published my process for reviewing knives, some of you wanted me to do some quick reviews on the blades I own, but for various reasons, are undeserving of a full review.

These are quick and dirty overviews and I 100% gloss over some of the aspects. I picked four blades out at random and if this proves popular, I’ll do it on a semi-regular basis so you can get a general “look” at some harder to get shinies, or in some cases, some thoughts on knives that are just not popular enough to warrant a full review.

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Today I’ll be reviewing the Quartermaster Barney McGrew Flagged, the Baladeo Papagayo, the Boker Tech Tool 1, and the Tops Lite Trekker – basically 3 folders and a fixed blade.

Quartermaster Barney McGrew Flagged

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I rarely buy knives for functional reasons these days. So many of the damned things in the closet that I am spoiled for choice. Looking at this oddball, it’s clear why I snapped it up. Ridiculous; everything.

In terms of functionality, the Quartermaster Barney McGrew Flagged is average at best. It’s a friction folder with a ball bearing pivot, which makes no sense because it’s just too damn smooth and tends to loosen overtime. On another note; secondary “pin” locking feature is badly implemented. Check out the CRKT Journeyer for pin style locks done right. Another feature that’s badly implemented is the locking retainer/bar when the knife is closed. It should have gone through both scales instead of just one. The result is a jarring, cheap experience.

The pistol grip is… interesting. I first handled those with the Ka-Bar TDI and I have to say I theoretically like it. I say theoretically because in all practical applications it’s equivalent or inferior to a standard knife shape. I like the idea of it tactically, but since I have zero direct experience using it, it ends up being a novelty rather than a boon. The styling is off the wall ridiculous, quasi-reverse tanto, aggressive jimping, and crazy textured/anodized titanium, but sadly standard black G-10 scale on the reverse.

Why? If this was all titanium it would be pretty damn magnificent; instead, I end up loving it from one angle. Maybe it’s just me but I am fed up with black G-10. I would have taken pretty much anything else at this point.

Quartermaster Barney McGrew Flagged Summary & Availability

  • Pros: Unique as ****. Clean grinds; nice quality hardware (those pivots!).
  • Why it won’t have a full review: Too rare and too niche for the blog.

Availability: Limited run of 300 for Heinnie Haynes in the UK.

Baladeo Papagayo

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Quirky knife. The Baladeo Papagayo is pretty damn cheap and that’s pretty much the sole reason I bought it. The brand itself is not particularly well known and I have never had a request for a review. After handling it for a while, I can understand why. The reality is that it’s not a bad knife, but it’s a thoroughly boring one. The best aspects of the knife are what make it so bloody boring. Neutral handles, neutral blade, neutral lock. This is a knife designed to cut. I think this is a modern rendition of an old school slippie, but without the historical appeal.

In terms of cutting performance, the grind (hollow) is a relatively lean, basic spear point. It’s possibly the most boring design one could ever envision. Aesthetically, the pivot placement bothers me (symmetry matters folks!), and if it was any other colour besides lime green – it would be overlooked more than pretty much every other knife I own.

Scales are injected molded rubbery plastic. Very soft and reasonably pleasant to hold. Once again, it’s just a rectangle, so ergonomics, etc. are predictably neutral. Maybe “folding steak knife” would be a more apt description? As for the lockup, it’s a standard backlock, although interestingly, the scales go over it. In practice, it works out just fine.

Baladeo Papagayo Summary & Availability

  • TLDR; Decent knife to use in cold weather (skin + metal in sub zero temps never work out well).
  • Why it won’t have a full review: Nothing to talk about beyond the materials (rubbery plastic) and the packaging (pretty transparent cylinder). Fit and finish is very 90’s too. Reminds me of a Pradel knife.

Amazon Availability: Amazon.com • Amazon.ca

Compare Prices: Blade HQ

Boker Tech Tool 1

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I bought the Boker Tech Tool 1 when I first moved to the UK in May last year. Very nice looking slippie with a great blade. It’s like a more comfortable and heavy duty Swiss Army Knife.

Sadly, the design left me a bit cold with the glass breaker pommel (I snapped it off the first chance I got), and the screws were so soft that they stripped very easily. Thankfully, I just cut a flat head slit and removed the pocket clip. Now I have a pretty slipjoint with decent ergonomics and a solid blade that just slips into my pocket discreetly. Bonus point is that its scales are a very fetching bright red G-10 courtesy of my model being a Heinnie Haynes exclusive.

It’s not as inexpensive as I wanted. For a few bucks more I could have gotten a USA-made Case, but the adjustable pivot and modern twist make up for that in my opinion.

Boker Tech Tool 1 Summary & Availability

  • TLDR; It’s a modern slipjoint with decent steel (12C27) and allows pivot adjustment. Grinds are clean and once you get rid of the pocket clip & the glass breaker it becomes a socially palatable knife for when you are in environments where knives are frowned upon.  The reaction I get is similar to what you would expect from a Swiss Army Knife.
  • Why it won’t have a full review: I have done too many slip joints in the past year (many of which were far more interesting) and I have received zero requests for this particular knife to be reviewed. It’s also a pretty straightforward slip joint with no real revelations – what you see is what you get!

Amazon Availability: Amazon.com • Amazon.ca

Compare Prices: Blade HQ • GP Knives

Tops Lite Trekker

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I admit I have slacked off on fixed blade reviews over the years. The reality is that they are harder for me to do than folding knives and simultaneously do not command as much interest from my readers. The Tops Lite Trekker is a perfect example of the sentiment. I have owned it as well as many other “outdoor” blades for over a year and still it lingers alone in my closet. Whilst I will 100% review the Cold Steel SRK as well as the Schrade SCHF9, I think it’s unlikely that the Tops will get its moment in the spotlight.

Tops is a company that creates an insane amount of models and I find myself gravitating towards the Frog Market Special and other more neutral/practical designs (at least for my uses) rather than this particular option. My biggest quibble with the Lite Trekker is the top guard – practically, it’s not prominent enough to stop me from resting my thumb over the spine of the blade, but its very existence (which in my opinion is superfluous) is enough to put me off.

Also, I am not a fan of the lime green paint on the scales. I know that was my fault because it does come in different colourations, but nonetheless I feel like I will wait until I have the Tops Knives *I want* rather than settle and review this one.

Right, so the knife itself is superbly made, as are all Tops Knives in my experience. Fit and finish is comparable to ESEE and the grinds are dead on perfect. That blade is ground, sharpened, and coated to perfection. It has literally zero defects of any kind. As for the scales, neutral’ish handle (they taper outward towards the butt) and the lanyard hole is oversized and pretty awesome looking. I have zero practical complaints beyond my initial dislike of the top guard.

As for the package, the sheath is kydex and well formed. Very, very tight with no give or rattling as is common on the cheaper stuff. This is solidly made and I must admit I prefer the pocket clip (spring steel) option far more than the Spyderco G-Clip alternative. It also has a firesteel/magnesium bar striker combo – super well made with its own kydex sheath securely attached to the primary sheath.

All in all, zero complains. Perfect grinds with a blade that is versatile and will do whatever you ask of it.

Tops Lite Trekker Summary & Availability

  • TLDR; Very solid, perfect fit and finish with a practical blade design (and grind).
  • Why it won’t have a full review: It may still yet (never say never), but I imagine I will wait until I get my hands on what I deem to be the some of the best Tops Knives.

Availability: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk • Amazon.ca

Compare Prices: Blade HQ • GP Knives

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That’s it for today! Let me know which knives you’d like me to do mini reviews of and if you like this style of post in general. If you guys are a fan, I’ll keep doing these, as they’re a pretty fun way for me to show off some of the lesser-known knives that I own.



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