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Ian Hutchison




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

Posts: 553

PostPosted: Fri 22 May, 2020 4:46 pm    Post subject: Landsknecht Emporium: Albrecht, Falke, Adorian, Gustav         Reply with quote

Back in March I took receipt of a new batch of messers and swords from Landsknecht Emporium; a type XVIIIB Albrecht longsword, a Falke kriegsmesser, Adorian and Gustav single-handed messers.

Here they lie along side some of my other Landsknecht Emporium products:


There aren't a lot of reviews of these online, so I thought I'd provide my thoughts and some stats. If there is anything specific you would like to know about these, or want to see more pictures, please feel free to ask!

Firstly, let me get it out of the way, they all feel great and handle wonderfully. This should not come as a surprise if you've used any of Landsknecht Emporium's products. I performed oberhau, unterhau, and mittelhau from vom tag, unterhau from alber, and mittelhau from ochs against water filled plastic bottles. None of the blades had any issue cutting these targets, even in the upward diagonal cuts which can sometimes be a bit tricky.

Albrecht:
Weight: 1150g
PoB: 14.5cm
Length: 122cm

Despite being a thrust oriented sword, the Albrecht cut smoothly, it was the only blade I thrust with, skewering the bottles with ease. The long handle allows a variety of grips and provides good leverage. The smooth, round pommel also facilitates comfortable gripping. The angular, stepped handle is seen in historic pieces, but rarely in reproductions, it is both eye catching and helps edge alignment. The seam of the grip wrap is good, but ends too soon, about a quarter centimeter before the pommel, this being my biggest criticism. The sword normally has a simple, flat crossguard with a slight horizontal 'S' curve. I paid a little extra for some embellishment: beveled edges and some decorative filework. I would recommend that the curve of the crossguard twist be directed away from the forearm, instead of toward it as on this example, as I have found it can sometimes interfere with 'snap cuts' using the wrists.

Besides the interesting grip, the sword has a few other unusual features. The pommel is hollow and brazed together; not only is this an under represented, historically correct method, but really helps the handling qualities of this sword. If it were solid, it would balance and handle very differently, probably for the worse. The blade is ground on large radius wheels, this helps replicate some of the profile elements you see on the originals such as a distinctive, triangular raised portion at the base of the blade, reminiscent of a ricasso.

Also as a result of this hand grinding, the center ridge on one side of the blade is a little off center toward the tip. The blade itself is also very slightly 'sabered' near the tip, though this might have occurred during heat treatment. Some would consider these minor flaws, I have no problem with them because they are historically appropriate and representative of the nature of the manufacturing process.

All in all, it's a well balanced, pleasant handling sword, which despite its thrusting design, cuts light targets just fine. From an aesthetic standpoint, it would be nice if the leatherwork met the pommel fully, from a functional standpoint, it might be preferable to curve the crossguard twist away from the wrist instead of towards it.

Falke:
Weight: 1212g
PoB: 12cm
Length: 103cm

This was a chance purchase allowed by another customer's cancellation. I had seen Matt Easton's review of this messer, and the original woodcut on which it was based, so I definitely had an itch for one. I have no regrets about picking it up, it is unsurprisingly the most accomplished cutter; sailing through water bottles with almost no effort. The Falke is probably a very forgiving sword as well, with its broad, curved blade. The grip provides excellent leverage, it's comfortable and the cross section helps align the blade. Handling is good, not at all heavy, but definitely 'choppy'; it wants to swing. The leatherwork of the grip is nice and clean. The metal fittings seem to have the most refinement and polish of what I received, which may be indicative of the comparatively higher price point.

My understanding is that grip is held to the tang with wooden pegs, not unlike a katana. If you want a blade for serious backyard cutting, the Falke would be a great choice. However, my biggest criticism of the katana is also one I have of the Falke; the grip length seems long for the length of the blade, which itself is perhaps a tad too short. This is entirely subjective though, and I know the design is not ahistorical. The Falke came with a wood-lined leather scabbard, which seems well made and is the best finished of the lot, and two simple by-knives.

Adorian:
Weight: 837g
PoB: 7cm
Length: 66.5cm

This is a slightly non-standard version of the Adorian as it has a curved clipped point rather than the regular straight one. This is the lightest and narrowest of the messer blades, but still cut very confidently. It has an extensive, and sharp, false edge. It is also the quickest handling, and the least obtrusive to wear around. It is the most 'big knife'-like in my opinion. The Adorian's qualities strike a great balance between performance, utility, and convenience that have quickly made it one of my favorite single-hand pieces. If I were a 16th century burgher, the Adorian would quite possibly be my go to carry piece.

The blade has a few chatter marks from the grinder near the base, and the nagel has a slight knick; these don't really bother me. What was slightly more concerning was a crack running from the base of the antler grip up toward the lower rivet. The base of this crack had been filled with pitch, but the top looked untreated and as if it might spread toward the rivet. I filled it with a non-expanding super glue, which I hope will be enough to arrest it. Additionally, the leather scabbard seems slightly tight for the blade. When the blade is inserted, the seam along the back is stretched open revealing a gap. This may have been the case with historical scabbards, but it does seem a bit unsightly.

Still, everything considered, it's a real favorite.

Gustav:
Weight: 905g
PoB: 7.5cm
Length: 65.5cm

This is my second Gustav, I previously owned a very early version. That was a great cutter, but the new version is a definite improvement. Although the blade is now a lot lighter (905g vs 1162g), it still has the same forward presence and point of balance, and cuts confidently, thanks in part to the broad blade. The unusual yelman-like false edge is also well-sharpened.

In return for the weight savings, it now recovers from blows much more readily, and allows quicker and more reactive parrying. I additionally find the new knuckle-bow and nagel more attractive than those on the previous generation. The grips on mine are of antler, and swell toward the pommel, providing a reassuring grip. However, as on the Adorian, these also had cracks radiating from one of the rivets, though they are not as long or as wide yet. The scabbard is wood lined and well-made, though on the reverse side, the leather seams do not meet up near the tip in a few spots.

While this new model of Gustav is much improved, the very slightly more responsive handling of the Adorian, with no noticeable decrease in cutting performance (against water filled bottles at least), nudge that messer ahead in my personal estimation. The two blades appear to be of equal thickness, but the much broader blade of the Gustav may more readily handle heavier targets than those that I tested.


I hope this proves useful to anyone interested in messers, or on the fence about Landsknecht Emporium products. They are not always the prettiest (an authentic aesthetic which I appreciate in truth!), but they are some of the best handling pieces I've encountered, well-sharpened, and excellent cutters.

'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


Last edited by Ian Hutchison on Sun 24 May, 2020 6:05 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Johannes Zenker





Joined: 15 Sep 2014

Posts: 104

PostPosted: Fri 22 May, 2020 6:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this and giving LKE a bit more spotlight.

My experiences basically line up with yours. In the 250-400 price range, their pieces basically has no equal when it comes to historicity (despite at least the Gottfried being only a "historically inspired" piece in terms of shape) and handling.

I have three different pieces from them myself, one of which I've already posted my thoughts on here: http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=335487#335487 . That one is still going strong, the thick blunt blade is very sturdy, although the cross is still loose. I've not been able, and quite frankly not terribly motivated, to permanently fix that. For the price, it's perfectly within historical parameters and not disruptive in training - although it would be nice if the tempered steel would sing instead of clatter on impact.

The second piece, a sharp Gottfried, may very well be getting its own review soon enough, though it may not have that much more new input aside from some nice pictures. It's very pretty, and has the cleanest finish of the three pieces I own. Came nice and sharp, was also easy to further touch up. Its cutting performance is as good as its looks, and its handling remarkably agile.

The third piece is a rather massive sparring Kriegsmesser, which I only received last week. I've written down some first impressions, but before I post them online, I want to refine them a little and get some sparring and partner drills done with the KM. For now I'll just say that it's a very intersting, almost eye-opening piece that I can't wait to use in training.
Let's hope the pandemic situation improves enough so that we can get back to practicing properly soon.
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T. Kew




Location: London, UK
Joined: 21 Apr 2012

Posts: 193

PostPosted: Sat 23 May, 2020 11:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For the Albrecht, it's worth noting that this direction of twist is very standard on s-shaped guards. By curving towards the wrist, it gives some extra cover to the back of the hand and forearm against attempted cuts behind the blade.
HEMA fencer and coach, New Cross Historical Fencing
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Ian Hutchison




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

Posts: 553

PostPosted: Sat 23 May, 2020 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T. Kew wrote:
For the Albrecht, it's worth noting that this direction of twist is very standard on s-shaped guards. By curving towards the wrist, it gives some extra cover to the back of the hand and forearm against attempted cuts behind the blade.


Interesting point, I had not considered that. It does indeed cover the wrist a bit more, though it does also interfere in the draw during a snap cut.



Johannes Zenker wrote:
Thanks for posting this and giving LKE a bit more spotlight.

My experiences basically line up with yours. In the 250-400 price range, their pieces basically has no equal when it comes to historicity (despite at least the Gottfried being only a "historically inspired" piece in terms of shape) and handling.

I have three different pieces from them myself, one of which I've already posted my thoughts on here: http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=335487#335487 . That one is still going strong, the thick blunt blade is very sturdy, although the cross is still loose. I've not been able, and quite frankly not terribly motivated, to permanently fix that. For the price, it's perfectly within historical parameters and not disruptive in training - although it would be nice if the tempered steel would sing instead of clatter on impact.

The second piece, a sharp Gottfried, may very well be getting its own review soon enough, though it may not have that much more new input aside from some nice pictures. It's very pretty, and has the cleanest finish of the three pieces I own. Came nice and sharp, was also easy to further touch up. Its cutting performance is as good as its looks, and its handling remarkably agile.

The third piece is a rather massive sparring Kriegsmesser, which I only received last week. I've written down some first impressions, but before I post them online, I want to refine them a little and get some sparring and partner drills done with the KM. For now I'll just say that it's a very intersting, almost eye-opening piece that I can't wait to use in training.
Let's hope the pandemic situation improves enough so that we can get back to practicing properly soon.


Thanks Johannes, I should have mentioned something about the price point! The single hand messers are a great value anyway you look at them. Something like the Falke depends on what your priorities are, since it approaches Albion levels in terms of pricing.

I look forward to your review of the Gottfried and sparring kriegsmesser, I don't have either of those, but I want a slightly customized Gottfried for sure.

'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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