Posts Tagged ‘Polearms’

The Midnight Dragon Corps…

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

So a while back I ran across a rather interesting polearm:

Midnight Dragon Blade

Midnight Dragon Blade

[click to view full size]

Yes. The Midnight Dragon Blade. Dunno if it was intended for hunting dragons at midnight, or is the signature weapon of the secret sect called the Midnight Dragon Corps. Personally I’d much prefer the latter. anyway, I haven’t blogged about a polearm in a while, so when found this while looking through my archives, I thought it would make for an interesting post. Expecially since this is of a rather unusual design.

Like your average polearm, this one has a suitably lengthy shaft, in sweet blackness, tipped with a silver pommel cap sporting a design I had a hard time placing. On one hand it looks like a chain mail pattern covering some kind of flowerbud, and on the other, it could be scales on the outstretched talons of a dragon. Hm. My design-fu is weak today…

Either way, it thought it was cool. Three quarters of the way up the shaft we have a silver band, and just below the head, a dragon is depicted wrapped around the shaft, looking up towards the head. Now the head of this polearm is where it gets interesting.

The flat black head of this polearm is an eclectic collection of curves, arcs, and points, which I normally love to see, except in this case, there does not seem to be much purpose behind the arrangement. However, just for giggles, I’m going to try see if I can classify it based on it’s general features. 🙂

On one side we have what looks like the outstretched wing of a black dragon, which I thought looked very cool. It’s rearward orientation would suggest that this could be used in a bill hook fashion, however billhooks generally did not have an additional large blade on the opposite side as an accoutrement.

Opposite the wing hook we have a large beautiful crescent of black steel. Almost looks like an axe head, which would put it in Bardiche or pole cleaver category, except pole cleavers are usually single edged. Not to mention the little sub crescent in the top of the curve, besides being really annoying, really kills the axe head shape. Which is possibly why I find it annoying. But I digress.

There is also no real forward point to speak of, the top of the axe head curves too far in to make a good thrusting point, so this would probably be best used as a hacking, hooking or or cutting weapon. So we are left with the generic “random blade on a long stick” polearm, AKA – the Halberd.

Halberds perhaps come in the widest variety of blade shapes and sizes, but to be honest, they also generally all have a good useable thrusting point as well, which this doesn’t have. However, since there are versions of polearms with bill hooks on one side and large axe like blades on the other, I’m gonna stick with that, as two out of three isn’t bad.

Meh. Who am I kidding… This thing is unclassifiable. It’s a fantasy weapon. They threw me for a loop by omitting “fantasy” from the name, but the “Dragon” in the nomenclature should have given it away. You’d think i would have figured all this out by now. Live an learn I guess…

It’s still a cool looking polearm, though… 🙂

Midnight Dragon Blade – [King of 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]

Another Unique Dragon Spear.

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

With the number of “twin dragon” related weapons I have been coming across, I was not in any way, shape or form, surprised to find this dark little beauty:

Double Dragon Spear

Double Dragon Spear
[view full size]

I thought this was interesting because although it looks cool, it’s design is more or less a rather large deviation from traditional spear territory. I’ll explain in a second what I mean, but first things first. Lets talk about aesthetics.

I love the design of the blade. If you have spent any time reading this blog, you may probably have surmised that I like black blades. And in that department, this weapon is not wanting in the least. But even more interesting, is what they did to the blade.

Each end of this weapon has a very broad spear point, with both edges sharpened, and then fins or barbs cut into one side of the spear head. The base of the blade narrows a bit and then flares out into a set of small wing-like blades. The blade is attached to the black shaft with a fitting that looks like a small dragons head with it’s wings outstretched. I just love the overall effect.

Now lets talk functional design. This weapon is unique in three ways. First, the fact that it has blades on both ends of the weapon kinda pulls it on the fringes of traditional spear design. Not that many double ended spears around. Next is the length. This is a relatively short weapon for a spear. The double ended spears I mentioned earlier? Usually half size. With small heads. Short, huge headed double-ended spears? Not exactly a common occurrence.

Last, and most certainly not least, is the fact that the shaft of this weapon actually comes apart at the middle. “Comes apart you say?”. “Yep!” sez I. This weapon is actually two identical weapons joined into one. I suppose you could say they were two very short spears combined into one double ended, medium sized one. Though individually, they are so short, they’d be probably work better as small axes…

Altogether, I love this weapon. The fact that the spines on each of the blades point in opposite directions when in spear form is an added detail that just makes this that much cooler in my book. Probably because I like the idea that you can twirl it like a baton, and always have the the straight edge of each bade facing the same way every revolution. But that’s probably just my overactive sense of symmetry at work. Just ignore it…

Double Dragon Spear – [Top Swords]

A Dragon Naginata…

Friday, October 12th, 2007

I ran across an interesting variation of a Japanese polearm today. Specifically, an unusual naginata.

Dragon Naginata

Dragon Naginata.
[view full size]

Naginata have an interesting history. They were traditionally intended to be used against opponents on horseback. Much like the European halberd, or pike. The naginata was so useful during the age of Japanese calvary, that they became a status symbol.

When the naginata was no longer useful as a battlefield weapon, the naginata was given to the wives and women of the Samurai class in order to protect the household while the Samurai were away at war. The naginata eventually because a status symbol for woman of the samurai class, becoming for Samurai women what the Samurai sword was for the male Samurai. A symbol of honor.

But all of that interesting history aside, I thought this particular design was interesting for a couple of reasons. First, the most common naginata design is essentially a modified mid sized sword on a spear shaft. This head of this naginata is actually closer in design to a broad sword, than a katana. Not completely out of left field, but not exactly standard naginata design either.

And another interesting difference is that the spine of the blade on this naginata has fins, for lack of a better word, which is equally unusual in a naginata, but not unheard of in a broadsword. Last, but not least, I liked the black treatment of the blade. Hey, it’s the details alright?

Dragon Naginata – [True Swords]

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