Pikes, Spears and Javelins

I often get asked why some of our figures come waving their fists at you. Its not that they are an intentionally aggressive lot, although when you see the beautifully sculpted expression on their little faces you might think otherwise- but rather that the solid fist is our way of making sure that when you get to putting spears etc. in their little handy-pandies that said weapons will stay there.

As a general rule you will find with our figures that most of them have the weapons cast into the figures hands. The major exceptions to this rule are Lances, Pikes, Spears and Javelins. The reasons for this are pretty obvious when you think about it. The longer an item is the more difficult it is to cast accurately and in proportion so a cast pike quickly becomes a cast tree trunk and then, after a little use on the table, a cast stump. The same applies if the weapons are cast separately and then stuck into the figures hands with the additional problem that a good number of the spears and rather more of any hand weapons, swords and such, remain stuck to your fingers and not the weaponless soldier. Fiddling around with separate weapons can seriously raise your stress levels.

In general we have adopted two different methods of coping with this problem.

1. The Blank Right Arm

Some packs will contain figures with no right hand but a selection of 'plug-in' hands holding various weapons. Many of the ECW range are like this as are the Hundred Years War and some Italian Wars. Odd packs throughout our ranges may have a few figures like this especially Command figures.

This idea enables us to provide extra variants by supplying extra weapons. For example all the ECW cavalry packs contain both swords and pistols so the gamer can choose how he arms the figures. Nothing could be easier than plugging in the appropriate weapon with a drop of superglue. Of course you may have to deepen the hole in the arm or perhaps trim the peg on the hand a little shorter, but that's not hard. A little ingenuity can add even more variants. For example Royalist cavalry of the English Civil War used, to a limited extent, pole- axes, which look uncannily like the warhammer supplied in some of the Hundred years war packs, I had a couple spare so it was no big deal to plug them in to a couple of Royalist cavalry-extra details to individualize your units. No problem.

2. The Solid Fist

This one will take a little more work and at this point it might be a good idea to nip out and buy yourself a mini-power drill or some such. A Dremel will do the job or any of the many small drills that are available for about 25 or upwards. Ah you're back then. OK I'll carry on. You did remember to get some small drill bits. Oh good, about 0.5mm and sometimes 1.0mm should do. It takes a little practice to drill out the figures hand and not your own, younger gamers should get an adult to do this, A good tip is to mark the place you want to drill with the point of a modeling knife so the drill bit will bite into the metal without skidding off and biting into you!! CARE IS NEEDED HERE.

Once you have drilled out the hand so that there is a hole through the fist you can put in the pike, spear or whatever. Using those from our PSJ range you will need to glue on the sprearheads. I find this easier to do after I've put the spear into the figures hand. But you may not so it is your choice. Once the spear shaft is in the figures hand dribble a drop of superglue down the shaft just above the hand so that it seals the spear into the hand. There you go nothing simpler. Done properly that joint should now be almost immovable.

ANOTHER QUICK TIP A few packs, mainly the ECW commands have extra plug in hands to make standard bearers. For these, drill out the hand BEFORE you stick it into the figures wrist or the drill will tear out the hand from the wrist.

Needless to say all this sort of work should be done in the preparatory stage before undercoating the figure prior to painting. Also at this stage remove any little bits of flash or mould tags on the figures and their shields. Once you've done this you are ready to start painting.

Andy Copestake - Old Glory UK