Codex Manesse: Men of the Sword

codex-manesse_men of the swordA year without Codex Manesse… shame on me I guess… Anyway the theme of this modest update is  – a sword. Not as a tool of war, but as a symbol of status. Browsing Codex Manesse miniatures you may notice that many images depicting knights during very “civilian” activities like reading a letter or contemplating a poem there is often a sword around hanging on the wall or simply standing somewhere (see Emperor Heinrich).From narrative point of view the sword adds nothing to the image and the narrator could just omit this detail (wchich he often does), however the presence of a sword underlines high status of the man depicted.

For a medieval man sword was not only a tool of murder or a portable shrine making an impromptu cross when stuck in the ground. A sword was a powerful symbol – it denoted knighthood, justice, virtue, authority, Christendom and possibly had many other now not entirely clear meanings.

Anyway a curious thing is that with exceptions of evident martial or traveling context swords in Codex Manesse (and many other manuscripts from XIII-XIV century) sword is not carried fastened to the side hanging on a belt (or other device) but rather carried in hand. There could have been many reasons for this, but for me two most obvious and plausible ones are:

  1. Practical – having something heavy (ok i know that original swords where not that heavy but still) and cumbersome dangling around your leg for a better part of a day could be annoying. There are accounts of II WW officers complaining on the weight and discomfort of carrying their sidearms on their hip – it could be the same with the sword.
  2. Informational/Symbolic. – When carried by the side, a sword is not always in sight, especially when the bearer was wearing a cloak. However it is hard to miss when guy you’re looking at carries it in hand or resting on his shoulder and regardless of many romantic or chivalric, symbolical meanings of a sword the most obvious one was – power. When a sword was in sight all people around immediately knew  things just got more serious.


Sometimes, especially when you have almost no time for hobby, you need do put aside more complex projects just to make something different that you can finish in a short time. Its a kind of mental hygiene I guess. Below you can see my last such “fast and simple” project. A simple crank well. A universal design suitable for many fantasy, or historical settings spanning 2500 years. Below you can see the first test build and a test print.


It is intended as a sort of demo set for my 3d models. Now ahead of me is the boring part – the instructions…

P.S. To all whom it may concern… Marry Christmas and all… 😛 😀

P.P.S Sol Invictus!

Walls and fences in the field.

I hereby announce that Meadow Fences and Walls set is up for grabs at Wargame Vault. As I have a lot (a LOT actually) of test prints made during designing this set scattered around, you can expect some tutorial or inspirational posts with examples of what you can make of this set beyond of what the name implies.

Incoming – Medieval fences.


This is something I started just after finishing Concrete barriers.
Playing mostly fantasy (or historical) wargames I decided I need something similar – simple linear obstacles – but more suitable for historical and fantasy battlefields and thus an idea for a set of medieval field or meadow fences was born.

To be more precise it is rather a set of pre-industrial not just medieval walls and fences as these fence types were used for millennia before industrial made fences and bricks replaced them in many places of the world. Read more…

Paper rolls: some old things, some incoming and a little tutorial.

Making my model I often use thin paper rolls to create handles, poles, stakes, gun barrels and other elements so I decided to make a little tutorial on how I make them. Below you can some examples of potential use of such paper rolls, and btw some models that lay on my workbench for some time waiting for a better times :).

130323-foglerz6 I used quite a lot of rolls making the Veuglaire model and the gunners tools on the first photo. The hammer is made of two such rolls glued together perpendicularly with proper textured caps. The sponge pole is another with the sponge itself being a roll upon a roll. The powder chamber handles here are also rolled although could be as well just “folded to three”. Another roll here (although not visible) is the wheel axle.

Below you’ll find photos of three more models I used paper rolls with. First is an auto-cannon I made some year ago trying to make equipment for a military checkpoint its barell is a paper roll approx 1mm thick. Never had the time to texture it, but I keep it somewhere visible not to forget about it. (Probably when I will finally get to it I will redesign it anyway.)
On another photo paper rolls are used to support a primitive plank fence. It is a first photo of a set of pre industrial era field and maedow fences and walls I’m working on now. The set is actually almost ready, and I will post some more photos and info soon.
In the last model the paper rolls are used for lamppost and cantilevers (obviously). I made this victorian era gaslight lamp today with no drawing and design (that is why it is a bit crooked and uneven). I will probably make it into a design, as I like the effect pretty much and following the success of Aspasia Achsenberg in Papercuts I intend to make some more steampunk/victorian/gothic stuff.

CP131230   MF131230   GLL1312330

Going back to paper rolls, most elements I used paper rolls for I could probably make of wire, toothpicks or cocktail sticks, but there are several reasons I prefer to make posts and barrels of paper.

First is my paper purism. I like to make my models of paper entirely or at least as far I can make it of paper. There are rational reasons to it. PVA glue bonds differently with different materials. Making models of paper only ensures the bond is even on both glued surfaces. Furthermore I’ve found out that it is easier (for me at least) to destroy by accident a paper model containing rigid non paper components, while smashed 100% paper models can sometimes be straightened up or fixed.

The second thing about paper rolls is that I can always make them when I need them to a diameter I need. I’m usually to lazy to look for wire or sticks to suit my needs – especially when designing and testing models, when I’m  not sure what will I actually need.

Finally printed, textured elements IMHO  look better with printed textured models. Elements made of different materials even painted to suit the colour palette of the model will always look like an alien component that is somehow out of of the set. Of course you can wrap a wire or toothpick with printed texture, and sometimes I do that for stakes or poles 3-4mm thick. For small diameters (below 2,5 mm) it not as easy as it seems, and for diameters larger than 4-5 mm I prefer to make a hollow paper pipe and don’t need a tight roll at all.

Codex Manesse Court – Lords of the land.

Here comes another set of mighty lord and knights at the Codex Manesse Court.


This time lords of Holy Roman Empire (mostly) with Landgraff of Turingia and three Burggrafs of Regensburg, Reitenburg and Lienz. Swords in hands of Herr Landgraff and Burggraf of Reitenburg are usually interpreted  symbols of their judiciary power. These two fellows could have been known as particularly just judges (or the monk just wanted to depict them as such 😉 ).

Read more…