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Johannes Zenker





Joined: 15 Sep 2014

Posts: 88

PostPosted: Tue 11 Jun, 2019 7:31 am    Post subject: Initial Impressions: Landsknecht Emporiom "Gottfried&qu         Reply with quote

Hello again everyone.

My interest in the Messer was reawakened earlier this year during a workshop for aspiring HEMA instructors.
Thus I did the reasonable thing: some research into current providers of Messer simulators, and the guys from Landsknecht Emporium over in Hungary came out on top.

I initially ordered a standard M3C "Gottfried", as a thick blunt with walnut handle scales as I would like to do sparring at my HEMA club with it and their thin blunts are really thin - I've had the chance to handle one of those at Swordtrip - The Gathering 2019 in Munich.
Link to the shop page: https://landsknechtemporium.com/products/standard/messer/Gottfried-M3C-Messer

A week after I'd placed and paid my order, they announced the reintroduction of pommels via newsletter, which I instantly knew I wanted. Altering the order via Facebook communication was a matter of minutes, the additional price was invoiced on completion without issue. I was aware that this would mean that the hilt would be shorter than the default, but that made me want it even more if anything. Shorter-hilted Messers are lovely.

With shipping I paid a total of 345€ (their prices are publicly available on their website, so I have no qualms about disclosing what I paid)

I placed the order at the start of March, and for standard products their usual wait time is three months. Custom pieces are now apparently up to 6 months, as their popularity keeps increasing. I received confirmation that the sword was completed and shipped exactly 3 months after I placed the order, the Messer arrived four days later. It came packed in form-fitting cardboard wrapped in black packaging film, as opposed to a box, with no apparent damages.
Side note: While I'm kind of partial to Boxes, they too are problematic if not done properly as well, I've had enough cases of nearly or completely pierced cardboard boxes from shipments, by crossguards as well as blade tips. They do, however, protect the blade from heavy objects lying on top and flexing/bending the blade.

Initial impressions upon unwrapping the Messer were quite positive. It's solidly assembled (low bar, I know) and reasonably cleaned up. As pictures are much better at relaying visuals than my words, I'm attaching a gallery of pictures (cellphone camera) to this thread.
Overall I would say that it fit, form and finish are adequate for the price. It's reasonably well cleaned up, with few leftover traces of the grinding process in the blade, and those will no doubt come out when I scrub it down with a (brown) scotch pad for the first time.
While it is certainly made as part of a series and thus closely falls within the parameters set by the base model, it is clear that it was created by, rather skilled I'd say, craftsmen in batch production and not as a lovingly and perfectly finished high-end piece.

The lines and ridges aren't perfectly straight, the grind isn't perfectly even and flat. The point of the blade wanders a few mm to the right. Not the first blade I've seen this happen on - won't be the last, and it most likely won't matter either.
It's obviously a blunt blade and absolutely flaunts that fact even at a glance, but you can't really have super robust edges with sharp-like aesthetics.
There are a few hammer marks near the Nagel, the shoulders of the blade aren't perfectly flush with the back of the cross and the handle scales are reasonably well, but not perfectly fitted to the steel components. On the Nagel side there is some sort of filler/spacer material between the cross and the handle scale. I wonder what it is, if Ádam reads this I wouldn't mind him letting me know.
The pommel isn't perfectly in line with the crossguard and blade. I assume this happened when peening the assembly, as the handle scales aren't quite symmetrical either to compensate for this small fauxpas.
The shaping of the handle, however, is absolutely gorgeous, I love the deep fuller in the middle of the relatively thin and flat grip. The tubular brass rivets are flush with the handle and don't seem to uncomfortably rub against the hand and fingers.
A nice little detail is also that the Nagel is hollow ground on the blade-facing side. Speaking of the Nagel, I found it a tad too sharp on one side when using the Messer with bare hands, so I quickly sanded it down just enough with some 220 grit sandpaper - I don't mind that that may have produced the slight scratches on the crossguard block seen in one picture - it's going to get a lot more scratches eventually.

Finally some stats:
Overall length: 84.5cm
Blade length: 68.0cm

Overall weight: 810g (40g lighter than advertised, despite being a thick blunt)

Point of Balance: 13cm from the cross

Vibrational nodes: 1cm behind the cross
23cm before the point

Hilt length (grip/pommel): 14.8cm (11.6cm/3.2cm)
Nagel Block thickness: 1.5cm
Nagel height: 4.8cm
Width of the Cross: 14.0cm

Blade width at base: 4.0cm
Blade width narrowest: 3.8cm
(before the ridge)
Blade width at ridge: 4.0cm

radius of the point: 0.7cm

Distal Taper:
Base: 0.49cm
start of false edge: 0.35cm
at ridge: 0.30cm
5cm before point: 0.25cm
point: 0.45cm

Edge thickness:
Base: 0.4cm
5cm in front of cross: 0.3cm (anomaly)
middle of the blade: 0.35cm
at ridge: 0.25cm
5cm before point: 0.35cm (thicker than ridge and spine at this cross-section)

Preliminary handling characteristics:
It seems to be quite nimble with the low weight, however with a good portion of presence in the blade due to its shape, geometry and balance. It slashes well and will likely be able to readily beat aside incoming blades with Wecker and Entrüsthau. When moving the hilt while trying to keep the point on line, Messer rotates around a point 5cm behind the point (towards the hilt), which I find to give very good point control. The Nagel's peen is slightly recessed and provides a rather comfortable spot to put your thumb using a "thumb grip".

I may update this into a proper review a few weeks/months down the line after I've really put it through its paces and can gauge how the blade and edge hold up. The rather pronounced hollow grind that results in substantially thickened edges is very promising and I've had good experiences with this type of geometry by other makers - mainly JiNo and Pavel Moc.

Edit:
Adding some more context on where this fits as a historical piece:
The guys at Landsknecht Emporium had this M3C Messer as a staple of their lineup for years, and while it by their own account is their most popular article, they state that it is not based on a surviving original. Furthermore this exact type is also very rarely found in iconography, and they were looking into replacing it, as per this instagram post - apparently this project is on hold, though: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi6vC48gR9r/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

Some first impressions after using it for practice tonight:
It works great. We only did light freeplay, so despite also pitching it against a Comfort Fencing Feder, no damage to the blade was to be expected anyway. Some of the techniques we practiced with it (especially the Wecker) did feature some noteworthy blade on blade impacts, which left only superficial scratches along with a few dings at the corners of the spine. The crossguard and Nagel had to absorb some more noteworthy impacts and show the expected scratches and dings, entirely within my expectations. Nothing took a set or loosened up.

It does require some more control, as it has quite a bit of force once it starts moving. Especially when using optimized mechanics and rotating it properly the short edge could deliver a vicious impact. Should one not find this acceptable, I'm sure it would not be an issue to have it made with a regular length hilt to pull the balance back slightly.



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Hilt from above

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Transition blade to Hilt

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Bottom side of the Hilt

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Tang Drift

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Michael Kelly





Joined: 22 Sep 2015

Posts: 78

PostPosted: Tue 11 Jun, 2019 8:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recently received my (standard) Gottfried as well and I’d echo most of what you said... Mine is a sharp and I was amazed at how agile and nimble it is in the hand. Pretty impressive for the price point.
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Ian Hutchison




Location: Louisiana / Nordrhein-Westholland
Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posts: 515

PostPosted: Tue 11 Jun, 2019 9:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm with Mike, your review echoes mine of their 'landsknecht sabel' as well. The handling of their pieces is superb, and the finish, while perhaps not the most appealing to some, is actually very accurate to the originals which I really appreciate.

I have a semi-custom on order (I believe they plan to make a few examples) and will also be receiving one of their new bauernwehr designs at the same time. I will be sure to write reviews for those too.

'We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.' - Adrian Carton de Wiart
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Johannes Zenker





Joined: 15 Sep 2014

Posts: 88

PostPosted: Thu 20 Jun, 2019 2:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi again.
Glad you appreciate my input.

Some update after using it for about five hours of gloves-only freeplay, one evening of sparring in full protective gear and a seminar weekend where I used it in sword and buckler play. There may be a video coming from tonight's freeplay session.

The blade is standing up very well. It takes basically no edge damage, only the spine (i.e. behind the short edge, where it's rectangular) really required some filing after the sparring session. I think I had a few slivers of an older Ensifer Messer stuck to it after that one as well. Those tend to produce shavings in my experience.

Grip, cross, Nagel and pommel obviously show that they've taken hits, but that's all good.

The cross has unfortunately loosened slightly, so I can slightly rotate it using the Nagel as an axle (maybe by 1 or 2 degrees, just enough so it makes "clink"). Not really a problem yet, but as it impacts the materials of blade and hilt that are currently supporting it, it will probably loosen up further over time.

I believe that this might be a common consequence of the (historically accurate) construction method of sliding the cross down the blade as opposed to settling it onto the shoulders of the blade. It's a rather loose fit and if it's not solidly bound up on both long edge as well as short edge side, it's unsurprising that it starts to move in that direction.

I'm looking at fixes for this. I could shim it in two or three places, maybe with slivers of wood, black paper and resin/glue. Soldering it in place doesn't seem feasible, and back-peening it also seems difficult due to how the shoulders and cross line up. I wouldn't mind some input from the guys at Landsknecht Emporium what method(s) they'd suggest.
My earlier question about the filler material, of which I'd have to add more basically, was answered via Facebook message by Adam.
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Ian Hutchison




Location: Louisiana / Nordrhein-Westholland
Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posts: 515

PostPosted: Thu 20 Jun, 2019 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johannes, was your gap filled with cutler's pitch? Did Adam let you know where you could get some or how to make it? I'd also like to know for future reference. Thanks!

I have used thin slivers of wood in the past. It may loosen up eventually, but then you can just do it again.

'We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.' - Adrian Carton de Wiart
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Johannes Zenker





Joined: 15 Sep 2014

Posts: 88

PostPosted: Thu 20 Jun, 2019 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Unfortunately no, they're using historical methods but with modern materials there, which I think is fine: larch veneer as filler/shimming material and cyanoacrylate to fix it in place - cutler's pitch would be a really nice touch, but I'm not going to complain at the price.

As for my Messer, I've cut some fitting shims from beech and closed the necessary gaps with them (and cyanoacrylate). Rock solid for now, should be fine. I'm not too worried that acids from the beech might corrode the metal. The glue should prevent oxygen from getting in well enough.
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Adam Bodorics
Industry Professional




Joined: 15 Apr 2005

Posts: 130

PostPosted: Thu 20 Jun, 2019 4:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quick response here - on sharps, we prefer to use cutler's pitch (pitch and beeswax mixed to the consistency you like. Takes some experimenting, our current mix is around 1:1 IIRC. Use a double boiler, and that's about it) because it's more authentic, but on blunts we go with cyanoacrilate or epoxy, depending on the specific case as cutler's pitch is not a strong adhesive at all.
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Johannes Zenker





Joined: 15 Sep 2014

Posts: 88

PostPosted: Thu 20 Jun, 2019 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for clarifying, Adam. Always good to have manufacturers pitching in and dealing with critique head-on.

Oh yeah, I should mention that I find their customer support to be fantastic so far.
It was past midnight here in Germany as well as in Hungary (where they are) when I posted here and sent a message to them on Facebook, and even at that time I received a response within minutes. Guess some luck was involved, but it's still great commitment to the customers.
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Ian Hutchison




Location: Louisiana / Nordrhein-Westholland
Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posts: 515

PostPosted: Thu 20 Jun, 2019 5:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Adam! I will keep that in mind.

Johannes Zenker wrote:


Oh yeah, I should mention that I find their customer support to be fantastic so far.
It was past midnight here in Germany as well as in Hungary (where they are) when I posted here and sent a message to them on Facebook, and even at that time I received a response within minutes. Guess some luck was involved, but it's still great commitment to the customers.


Yes, it's really great how easy to reach they are and have a discussion with. Hope your solution works out!

'We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.' - Adrian Carton de Wiart
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