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I'm going to make metal pikes (using florists wire)for my eventual Pyrrhic pike men.
As I'm sure you can appreciate, pikes in reality were quite long - 4.5 to 6 metres, in fact.
I will have to compromise on this both for storage & for practical use on the wargames' table.
So I'm thinking I could live with 60mm. This is shorter than a real pike ,after scaling, but
still should look impressive enough & suggestive of the lengthy weapon.
Your suggested blend of 'about right', look, handling and storage seem eminently sensible to me.
I went for 65–68 mm for me Swedes to GåPå (using a mix of the plastic provided and thin fencing wire):
A similar length for the late 17th century Imperials and Poles that I have on the go.
These more recent Mars figures come with some wonderful, hard plastic sticks that you can cut and sharpen to taste.
I saw a post on one of the blogs that I follow (can't recall which now, sorry) where the author had hit on using bristles from a stiff, outdoor broom head, cut and sharpened. Sounds like a great idea to me.
I'd say go as long as close to 80+ mm as you can make them, within the bounds of the other constraints.
your photos are very helpful. The "look of the thing" is a useful concept.
I, too, have heard of the broom bristle idea but I think I want something a little more substantial.
The florist wire was absurdly cheap so I will cut a length, put on a spear head & see how it looks.
I know the strict dioramists will shake their heads but they should forgive us for "needs must" over strict realism.
I use plastic broom bristles for pikes and long spears, and find this is very effective. The plastic bristles are strong, flexible, light, the right width and can be cut to around 60-70mm length depending on the broom head. I also find it easier to glue plastic to plastic than metal to plastic, although a drilled hole will hold a wire pike perfectly well. A single broom head also yields hundreds of 'pikes'. I simply trim both ends of the bristle, flatten about 3- 4mm one end with using the flat bit of a pair pliers, and trim to form the pike head. It takes about 30 seconds per pike. Obviously, for a sarissa/phalangite pike you can do the same at the butt end to form the ferrule (I forget the technical Greek term for the spike at the end!).
Here are some lansknechts (Redbox and Orion) showing the effect with 60-65mm pikes:
I look forward to seeing your phalanx as this develops!
@ Minuteman: a fine body of troops & no-one could quibble with your pikes.
I did check out the local hardware store for a suitable broom head & it wasn't all that cheap @ $15. The florist wire came in packs of 30 lengths about 35cms long for $4.50 so dearer per pike but not outrageously so.
I think I'm over painting masses of figures in a short time, so the Pyrrhic project will take many, leisurely & enjoyable months before the army hits the wargames' table.
Thanks. It sounds as if florists wire is a bargain price in your part of the world, broom heads a little less so. The wire will, I am sure, give a good result and as you observe it is the mass effect of the long pikes that makes a difference visually: I seriously doubt that anyone is going to be cheeky enough to measure your phalanx's pikes once they are on the tabletop!
I know what you mean about taking your time over masses of troops. My current project (Thirty Years War) involves a lot of pikemen...around 250 when I counted the figures up a few days ago...and many of these have required broom bristle pikes. Thankfully, I am now through the 'pike making-fixing-securing-undercoating phase'; I now simply have a lot of figures to paint.:grinning:
And all this just as the Strelets WoSS cavalry sets are hitting the retailers!
I don't do figures with pikes, but as for the broom bristle thing, I use nylon paint brush bristles for vehicle radio antennas and after 40 years of doing that I am still on the same paint brush. So I suspect one broom would last several lifetimes of basing figures. The biggest advantage is once they are on the figure, they never need repair, because they don't break and you don't injure yourself when you put your hand on a stand of them.
Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog
Is this the derivation of " Brush with Death"
Don't tell him Pike !
Ah, I feel foolish now. Oh well back to those pesky Vikings !