Kobold Press

Real Steel: Kobold’s Choice

Gunstock Spontoon
Real Steel has been around for over two years and 24 installments. Although I’ve done my best to act on suggestions, I haven’t been able to get to them all. In part, this is because I have received so many suggestions, and also because I have the practical matter of Real Steel projects needing to fit in with what I have going on in the shop.

So this time I’ll make sure I create what the kobolds ask for. Here are some projects I’d like to try. Simply vote for the one you’d most like to see. And if you like, add some suggestions about where you’d like to see the project go. Whichever weapon receives the most votes gets made, and I’ll video document the whole thing from start to finish; forging, grinding, heat treating, hafting, and testing—you will see it all.


The standard Roman javelin, a pilum or two were issued to every legionnaire. About six ft. long with a three-ft. long wooden haft and the remainder being of iron (I’ll use steel), a pilum came in heavy and light models.

There is evidence that a clever design trick was built into each weapon to prevent its reuse by the enemy. The iron tip was hardened, but the rest of the iron shaft was left soft enough so that it would bend when it struck a target—usually an enemy shield. The enemy soldier would then have to discard the shield or struggle to remove the pilum, with neither being a good choice in melee. In either case, the pilum and the shield became useless.

I will demonstrate a throw, though maybe not with a legionnaire’s practice.

Gunstock Spontoon

Native Americans invented this devastating melee weapon after observing Europeans using their muskets as clubs in close combat after firing the single shot. A spontoon blade was affixed to a gunstock-shaped hardwood club.

Flanged Mace
Flanged Mace

And last, the choice of evil clerics since 1974: A hopped-up club capable of defeating armor, the head of the flanged mace has heavy steel flanges radiating from the center. Because flanged maces are sometimes made with a wooden haft, sometimes all steel, please state your preference if you vote for this one. I will use modern flux core welding to assemble this weapon if it’s selected.

What’s It Gonna Be, Kobolds?

Post your vote and any relevant comments. I’ll start work as soon as comments close. This poll will close down on Monday, February 4, 2013, by noon Pacific, so be sure to vote before then!

23 Replies to "Real Steel: Kobold’s Choice"


January 29, 2013 at 1:59am

I went for the flanged mace with the wooden haft, because weight will be an issue if you want to wield it effectively (I think).

Damian the Tiefling

January 29, 2013 at 4:39am

I think the flanged mace with the wooden haft would be interesting. I’m not familiar enough with the other two weapons to say whether or not they would be of much use to my group, and the all metal mace just seems a bit too heavy for your average wielder.

Morgan Boehringer

January 29, 2013 at 4:53am

Flanged mace; wooden handle. Simpl becoz the flanged mace is one of my ultimate “rule of cool”, visually mean weapons, and wooden becoz I really want to see the integration of the metal
and the wood, and the design and engineering considerations that go into that…
I do love the gunstock spontoon, ever since the Last of the Mohicans movie…
I also was under the impression the pilum had a fragile wooden “lock” holding the spear part in place that broke on impact, but that was replaceable. Either way, it does seem like the pilum (or some pilums) were kind of fire and forget weapons designed to not only kill and injure but also hamper…

Todd the Bladesmith

January 29, 2013 at 5:11am

Everyone please make sure you follow the link in the last paragraph to vote in the survey.

As always comments and suggestions are welcome right here!

Morgan Boehringer

January 29, 2013 at 6:29am

(Sorry if I didn’t make it clear Todd. I voted flanged mace, wooden handle.) ;)

Todd the Bladesmith

January 29, 2013 at 6:37am

Some FYI on the maces – I’ve made moon hammers with wood handles and with steel handles and the weights are pretty close. The wood handled version gets a thick walled steel collar and a 24″ x 1.125″ oak handle, the steel handled version gets a 18″ x .625″ mild steel handle. So while the weight may be close the wood handled version has a reach advantage and has more weight concentrated at the head (because of the collar).

Caleb Collins

January 29, 2013 at 6:38am

So voting for all three, and demanding that you do three times the work, that’s just not an option? :P

I voted for the gunstock spontoon, but won’t be disappointed whichever is selected.

Todd the Bladesmith

January 29, 2013 at 6:42am

@Morgan Boehringer – yes, clear, but please make sure you use the survey! :)

On the pilum; when I researched I did find evidence of a lock to make it easier to put a new “warhead” on a handle, but I didn’t see anything about it breaking on impact. If you see anything on this I’d love to see it.

Todd the Bladesmith

January 29, 2013 at 6:58am

@Caleb Collins – there’s nothing that says we can’t carry a strong runner-up into the voting for next project. :)


January 29, 2013 at 9:29am

Flanged mace, steel haft vote registered. I find myself interested in how that would work compared to a sword.


January 29, 2013 at 5:22pm

You want to see a gunstock spontoon in action? Go watch the forest fight scene early in “Last of the Mohicans.” In fact, I highly suggest watching it before you cast your vote… ^.^

Todd the Bladesmith

January 29, 2013 at 5:43pm

@thorr-kan – Do you mean how it used in melee, or how it’s made? I’m thinking melee, but don’t want to assume…

@TheGentlemanGamer – Yes! I’m pretty sure that’s when I first became interested in them. Really good fight scene!


The Bull

January 29, 2013 at 11:49pm

Ah Tood

It is damn hard to vote cause all three are damn good weapons.

So in hope that the ones will not make it this time but get their chances later I vote for all three of them ;0).


Philip Kendall

January 30, 2013 at 3:46am

Flanged mace, wooden handle please :-)

Todd the Bladesmith

January 30, 2013 at 5:12am

@The Bull – The hope is that no popular weapon will be left unmade. :)

@Philip Kendall – If the survey is going in the same direction as the comments it looks like the wood handled mace is pulling away.


January 30, 2013 at 7:46am

Personally, I think that I’m voting for the mace for some reason.


January 30, 2013 at 8:32am

@Todd: both actually. I’m interested in how the forging goes and how it handles.

I’d *love* to see a traditional forging, without any modern techniques used, but who’s got time? And I’ll admit, seeing the modern tools used to make archaic weapons is really cool.

Todd the Bladesmith

January 30, 2013 at 9:01am

@Dmitri – whatever your reasons, they’re good enough for me. :)

@thorr-kan – There’s another type of mace I’m interested in that’s almost all forged. The best analogy is a bar mace. I’ll make sure it gets cycled through soon. Of course I use a propane forge and sometimes a hydraulic press, but most of the work will get done with hammer and anvil.

Steven Hammond

January 30, 2013 at 5:07pm

I voted for the steel handled mace, bet interested to see any of them.


Lord Mhor

January 31, 2013 at 10:42am

I voted for the flanged mace, because I’ve been training with one, on and off, since 1977! SCA . . .

What would be quite cool would be the infamous and greatly-feared “bladed” mace (rather like the German style, shaped and pointed at the end like the image above) – exactly like the flanged one but with the edges *sharpened*, allowing it to perform a grazing slice on the target in the event of a glancing blow.

That way, the impact would make a “SPLIK” sound rather than a mere “THWAK”!

Todd the Bladesmith

January 31, 2013 at 10:56am

@Steven Hammond – it seems to be going that way…

@Lord Mhor – I’m going to research the bladed mace – I must confess ignorance. If you have any references, please point me to them!

DM Liz

February 2, 2013 at 9:02pm

I’m voting for the pilum because recreations of maces are a dime a dozen out there; I’m not really interested in seeing yet another one and the description of how the pilum is used in battle is quite intriguing. Whatever happens with this poll, I hope you will eventually make one of these!

Todd the Bladesmith

February 3, 2013 at 5:48am

That’s the spirit Liz! It’s not over till the votes are counted. I was actually predicting that the gunstock warclub was going to run away with this – I’ m very surprised, but happy to make whatever is called for from deep within the warrens.