Archive for the ‘Polearms’ Category

A spear to die for… Or on…

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Many moons ago, I engaged in a little whine about a so called fantasy axe that looked more like a big knife with a (pointlessly, I might add) swivelling head. I remember thinking (and commenting) on how the design might make for a good spear head. Well guess what:

Sonjas Revenge

Sonyas Revenge Spear
[view full size]

OK, so the head on this spear isn’t exactly identical to the head on the Fantasy Axe. But it’s the same idea. It’s a double bladed, or more accurately a forked spear head, where each blade represents one side of the double pointed fork.

And a rather menacing fork it is. Notwithstanding the brownie points this weapon gets for having a black spear head, the overall contours of the spear are very… shall we say curvaceous? I mean seriously, just look at it. The spear head is all curves and points. In Phyreblade parlance that combination is commonly referred to as being “Dead sexeh”… *ahem*

But as I was saying, certainly an evil weapon. In the hands of a vengeful Amazon. Be afraid. Be very afraid… 🙂

Sonjas Revenge – [True Swords]

The Grim Reaper Strikes Again!!

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Besides the last scythe post with the futuristic fancy schmancy super skull scythe, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t see another scythe again. How wrong was I!

The Monster Scythe

Monster Scythe
[view full size]

Yes, this is indeed a scythe-like monstrosity. Simple lines. A loooong wood shaft. A mean looking sliver of razor sharp steel serving double duty as a blade. All in all a rather evil looking weapon, quite worthy of the Grim Reaper. Except for one thing. This isn’t what a scythe is supposed to look like.

This is what a scythe is supposed to look like:

A modern day scythe

A Contemporary Scythe
[view full size]

See the difference? Notice the two handles? The curved shaft? The blade canted at an angle to the shaft? That’s what a scythe is supposed to look like. In fact, in my oh so humble opinion, the original design looks a whole lot more sinister than the straight shaft design above. I suppose it’s cheaper to sell a straight shaft, but it just loses soo much character that way…

Ya know, just as a side note, I’ve always wondered how effective your average a scythe would be in a battle situation. I kinda think it would suck. Yes, yes, I know. No, I don’t hear the Grim Reaper complaining, but hear me out. The traditional scythe is designed to cut grass or crops at around ankle level. The curve in the shaft and the cant to the blade is designed to keep the blade parallel to the ground while the wielder holds the handles, and rotates their upper body from side to side,  standing upright.

Now while that may be fine for the farm, in battle, it would make a rather tough weapon to wield. Especially if you wanted to hit anything but your opponents ankles. if you tried aiming for an opponents head, let’s say, the grip would be wrong, the blade would be canted in the wrong direction, it would be a nightmare! So given the scythe’s design inadequacy for battlefield use, how come the Grim Reaper is always portrayed with a traditional scythe, reaping some poor saps head off like it was a head of wheat? Just a random thought…

And yes, I am already undergoing counseling, thank you very much…

The Monster Scythe – [True Swords]

The combat spear…

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Today we have yet another treat from the infamous movie “300”. I present to you the signature polearm of the Spartan army, the long spear:

“300” Spartan Warrior Spear

300 Spartan Spear

[view full size]

Now some people underestimate the power of the spear. People look at it and say, “Well yes, it’s cool for throwing, and for distance attacks, but beyond that it’s useless. Not so. It has it’s drawbacks, yes, but in the hands of a skilled warrior, a spear can be just as deadly as a sword. People don’t realize how functionally flexible a spear can really be.

Besides the obvious advantage of being a good projectile weapon, a spear at full length is a great distance thrusting tool. the fact that a spear was usually used with both hands meant a skilled warrior could be both fast and accurate with their strikes. And while a spear was more or less it useless for slashing, depending on it’s design it could also be used much like a staff weapon. Once you got it spinning, it could be used to deliver some serious blunt trauma. And if grasped at half length it could be used like a short thrusting spear/sword.

Interestingly, in the Movie “300” we are treated to numerous sequences where the long spear is shown used to it’s maximum advantage. In large numbers, an army armed with spears could keep even mounted, well armored attackers at bay quite efficiently. And even in one on one combat, a spear can be quite the effective stand off tool, keeping an opponent at “spears length”, as it were, and making their supposedly “faster” close in weapon, like an axe or a sword, useless.

And lets not forget also, that unlike a sword, a spear is much easier to throw, and the ability to engage the enemy at long distances was a big advantage to a spear wielding combatant. Given also that the amount of steel that was needed for a spear was usually only a small fraction of that used for a sword, you could make many more spears with the same amount of steel.

300 Spartan Warrior Spear

300 Spartan Warrior Spear
[view full size]

All of these factors combined are what made the spear such a flexible, formidable battlefield weapon. But besides all of that, I just happen to like this spear because its got that really mean looking, sharp point, it actually comes apart, and as we all know, flexibility is golden when it comes to weapons like these. And of course, being spartan, this one has that “Don’t mess with me, I’m Spartan…” look…

But ultimately, and most importantly, while most other spears are of light colored woods and chrome, this one is all black… You can’t beat that with… anything. No wonder the Spartans were so full of WIN! 🙂

“300” Spartan Warrior Spear – [True Swords]

Axes of the Glorious Klingon Empire!

Monday, January 14th, 2008

 qaleghqa’neS! Welcome to the next installment of “Weapons of the Klingon Empire!” Today, we take a look at Klingon axes! The axe is a rather uncommon weapon in Klingon battle, for two reasons. The first being that, in close quarters combat, such as narrow star ship corridors, or cluttered bridges, large axes would have been more of a liability than a benefit. Naturally, once Klingons became a fully space faring race, battle axes became obsolete.

The second reason is that the betleH, the universal Klingon melee weapon that replaced almost every other, was designed to allow both close-in and extended reach techniques in close quarters combat. It was so well engineered for Klingon melee battle techniques, that no other large weapon could really come close to the kind of versatility the betleH offered the Klingon warrior.

As a result, most of the axes we will see today are Klingon designs adapted from medieval, pre-starship weapon design. First up, the ‘aqleH.

The ‘aqleH

 The Klingon 'aqleH

 The ‘aqleH (or half betleH) is perhaps the most modern combat axe of the Klingon empire, developed for planetary based forces to use against a blitz attacks by mounted aggressors. Developed is perhaps not the best word, more like adapted, since, as you can see, it is essentially a standard betleH, cut in half and mounted on a shaft.

Because of it’s considerable length, this weapon would never see the inside of a starship, however for the same reason, it also served double duty as the only Klingon polearm of note, though historically, polearm weapons were rarely used at all, since Klingons found much greater honor in close quarters quarters combat.

The ‘alngegh

The Klingon alngegh

 The Klingon ‘alngegh is a medieval Klingon design that reflects many of the similar design philosophies of human battle axe development, spawned in the face of heavily armored opponents. The heavy, wide curved blade, allowed it to be used for both slashing and chopping against lightly armored foes, while the spiked rear head made it a great weapon for piercing heavier plate or mail armor.

Indeed the function and use of this weapon was identical to that of it’s human human counterpart, but in this axe you also begin to see the spark of what eventually inspired the design of the magnificent betleH known as the Sword of Kahless

The jey’naS

 The Klingon jey'naS

The third, and final axe weapon of Klingon origin that I am aware of is called the jey’naS. The jey’naS is a unique double bladed axe design, but unlike traditional medieval Human axe design, this weapon features a unique double hook blade design. It’s hard to tell what inspired this particular design.

Because of the voids behind each blade it would not be a particularly strong chopping weapon, and would have been fairly useless against armor, so my guess is that this  weapon probably predated the ‘alngegh. However it would have been quite adequate at slashing duty.

Also the head of this axe is not only pinned onto the shaft, but also has a long tang that extens all the way down through the shaft, and is secured to a metallic pommel, just below the widely flared base of the grip. The flared base would give the wielder a very secure purchase, and the extended tang and buttcap would make it very resistant to extension forces.

Combine those design elements with the large voids, and very sharp points at the bottom of each hook-like blade, and you can see this being designed to trap an opponents weapon, or possibly even hook, impale and unseat a fast moving mounted aggressor. A fairly stereotypical Klingon tactic, given that they tend to prefer close up face time with an opponent.

But all in all the jey’naS is also one of the more unusual, but aesthetically pleasing axe designs I have come across, though I am torn between it and the ‘alngegh for my favorite Klingon axe design. They are both great weapons with all the curves and points you could ever want out of an axe…

Sadly, that ends this episode of  “Weapons of the Glorious Klingon Empire”. Special thanks to Kri’stak Forge, and the Klingon Imperial Weapons Guild, for keeping the flame of honor alive. I hope you’ll join us for our next installment. Until then, I bid honor to your great house. Qapla’ batlh je!

Kri’stak Forge – [Klingon Imperial Weapons Guild]

A spear with no shaft… and folding guards.

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

In a few previous posts I’ve talked about all kinds of spears, dragon spears, tribal spears, long spears, short spears, etc. Today however I will be talking about a weapon whose design is very closely related to the spear, but isn’t really a spear:

The Ikkakuryu Marohoshi

Ikkakuryu Marohoshi
[view full size]

The Marohoshi is an interesting weapon. As you can see, it is essentially a spear head, complete with cross guards and tassel, that is used without a shaft. This weapon was probably a result of people using spear heads as impromptu weapons when the ranges became too close to effectively use a spear, or when they needed an additional close quarters combat blade.

The Ikkakuryu Marohoshi

Ikkakuryu Marohoshi
[view full size]

The marohoshi actually has one additional feature that would have made it a perfect concealed carry weapon in feudal Japanese times. It had a folding guard! I imagine that as people began carrying these spare spear tips around for backup, it would have been unwieldly to carry about a large spear head, with over sized cross guards, on ones person. So what do you do? Make em foldable!

If you look closely, you can see there is one large crossguard that is pinned to the blade, and basically swivels out parallel to the handle/blade. The second guard, acting as a locking pin, is inserted into a slot in the handle of the maroshoshi just beneath the swiveling crossguard pin, securing the first guard in place perpendicular to the first. Then the second guard is then tied into place by it’s tassels to ensure the whole thing stays together.

The long tassel of the second guard also allowed for a shaft to be secured to the handle  of the marohoshi, which could then be used as a spear. Now obviously, this design, consisting of multiple parts and 3 steps to make it secure, wasn’t particularly fast to deploy, however it was more likely designed for versatility than speed.

All and all, I thought this was a pretty interesting weapon.

Ikkakuryu Marohoshi – [Jin-1 Jutte Kobo]

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