|Warlord plastic pikeman marvels at the new pikes|
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good metal pike, and have used them quite a bit- I also have the scars to show it. More times than I care to remember I’ve impaled myself on my pike blocks. Looking for a good, and much more economical alternative, I found others making and using styrene plastic for pikes. Here’s my step by step on how to make your own.
|The bare bones version showing plastic pike|
The most important tool that you will need, and might not have in your tool kit is a pair of smooth pliers. Smoothing meaning no teeth in the inside grippy part. Aside from that you will also need:
Cutting blade- A basic Exacto works, but for this job a chisel shaped blade is very helpful
Measuring device- to measure out your styrene pike lengths; once you’ve cut one, you can use it for a jig. If they are off a bit, I’m sure that’s more “historically accurate” than them being all regimental.
Metal Pin- use this to align hands
Drill- in case a hole needs to be enbiggened
Rat Tail file- cleaning up any hands if needed
Glue- Super glue, gel type is the best
Note: Sharp things are sharp, pokey things are pokey and gluey things are gluey- all can give a good dueling scar- so please be safe and responsible when using them.
For this exercise we are making pike for my Triumph of Death pike miniatures. These minis come with polystyrene plastic sprues.
Take your polystyrene rods and measure them out in sections to cut for your pikes. I measure mine at 60mm, which is roughly a 15 foot pike. Cut the rods into your pike shafts. At 60mm you will get 5 pikes with a bit of excess. We’ll use the extra for practicing making pike heads.
|I've cut it twice and it's still too short!|
Making spear points
This is actually quite easy, but does need a bit of practice. Take your flat nose pliers and “pinch” about 3mm of the end of a sprue to make the flat part of the point. Note that if you want a wide head squeeze more. Pike heads in general are not very wide, so I don’t squish the plastic too much. Really it’s up to you- but do try and practice on the off cuts first.
|don't move the blade, rotate the sprue.|
Next take your favorite cutting tool and cut the flat shape to a point. First cut one side, then roll the styrene to the other side and cut it. If it’s a bit uneven, just trim a side to match up.
Once you have all your pikes made, time to put them in the hands of your troops. With my Triumph of Death Skeletons the hands are made big enough to accommodate the styrene, and even a bit bigger, but sometimes in the mold and casting the hands get out of alignment to each other. I use a large sewing needle to put through the hands and straighten them up before I glue the pike in. You can also use this pin to move and pose the hands into a slightly different position to add variety to your unit, by slowly prying the hands about. This technique may mean you have to cut the back hand away from the body first. If you find any flash, a rat tail file of a blade will make short work of it.
Next, add the pike into place where you want it to go, then slide it up a bit, add glue to the hands and slide it back in. I use my Exacto knife to hold the pike in place while the glue is setting.
Ready for Muster
That’s all there really is to it. When you have them all done, use a good primer and you are ready for painting.
Say- won’t the paint peel or break off it the pike it bent?
I’ve been making these for about 5 years now, and have yet to see any of my pike peel. If you use a good primer and paint, and seal afterwards it should not be an issue. If it does, simply re add some paint and re-varnish!
Here are some examples of the Pike skeletons with plastic pikes. Note that these guys have thicker (2mm) styrene rods for pikes to help visualize better.
Cheers, and thanks for following through. This technique also of course works great for spears, and banner poles. If you have any questions, or have your own method in making these I'd love to hear from you.