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"Removing Pikes from 15mm Figs?" Topic

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Mako11 Inactive Member05 Mar 2016 3:45 p.m. PST

I was doing a little inventorying last night, and ran across some troops with limp spaghetti noodle pikes. I can see that they definitely aren't going to work, and want to replace them with either nylon bristle brushes, and/or brass pikes.

Not really sure why manufacturers bother to make them that way.

Any tips on how to remove them quickly, and easily, and yet still preserve the hands/fingers of the figures?

Specifically, I'm looking to remove them from some Minifigs Renaissance minis, and perhaps some from Essex figs as well.

Also, while we're on the subject, might as well get opinions on the nylon bristles vs. brass pikes options too.

Clearly, nylon is the cheaper and more survivable of the two options, but can they be made to look as good as the brass ones?

I suspect the brass pikes will draw more blood, which I guess could be a plus, since people would be more careful with those stands, and figures, due to that.


timurilank05 Mar 2016 4:00 p.m. PST

I have not used nylon bristles but do use brass rod for pikes, spears, lances and standards.

The armies for my Witcher project are Legio Heroica figures which mean weapons are separate. The weapons which are packaged with the figures are cast in soft lead and do not stand up to heavy handed treatment.

Brass rods do.


Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2016 4:05 p.m. PST

I have a bunch of pike and spear units with wire shafts, and I won't make any more. Because the wire doesn't bend, wire poles tend to get popped off during handling, so every game has a few spears or pikes to re-glue, and sometimes the hand breaks instead. Pike units tend to suffer more than other types, because there are so many wires and they're so tall. I'll still use wire for the one or two flagpoles on my command stands.

An idea I never tried is to drill vertical pikes or poles into the stand under the unit, which might help with the sturdiness. Not much help with horizontal spears or lances, though.

My next experiment is nylon bristles, because I'd prefer the pikes to have some give and spring back to position after bending. I bought a whole broom to cannibalize for my Diadochi. :-) I have no advice about painting yet, but I bought a can of tan Krylon Fusion to try out as a primer. I'd love to hear practical advice from anyone who has already done this.

- Ix

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2016 4:43 p.m. PST

With the small hands of figures like Minifigs then you are likely to lose at least part of the hand. Cut the pike off above and below the hand and then use a drill to cut a groove into the hand – they are so small that drilling through it is likely to destroy the hand. Where the hand is held closer to the body it will be easier to keep the hand intact.

Bill McHarg Inactive Member05 Mar 2016 5:21 p.m. PST

If you use a pin vise and go slow, you can drill them with little problem. Cut the pikes off close to the hand. Use a needle to make a small indentation in the metal so the drill won't slide around when you start it. When you start drilling, keep your finger under the part being drilled. Important notes: 1)Don't force the drill down, just keep steady pressure. 2) Make sure to take your finger out from under the hand before you drill all the way through. This usually gets learned the hard way. I have used a dremel to do this. I have also run a drill completely through my finger and out the nail. I don't recommend it. It is too powerful. :)

Ilodic Inactive Member05 Mar 2016 11:07 p.m. PST

I do the same with cut and drill with a pin vise. However I have started using styrene rod vs brass or bristles. They come in a variety of diameters, don't stab, flex, easy to paint, and unlike bristles, you can shape to put a nice "leaf" or other style head if needed.


Timmo uk06 Mar 2016 4:42 a.m. PST

I've been doing hundreds of conversions of Minifies 15mm pikemen for a good friend of mine. I usually cut off the cast pike either side of the hand and the base if it is attached then drill the solid hand through. This is preferable to trying to cut away the part of the cast pike in the hand. I use a mini power drill for this. I'm doing hundreds so can't use a pin vice, it would take far to long. I make up pikes from brass wire.

The odd hand crumbles when drilling and I rebuild these with green stuff but the failure rate is about 1 in 30 so that's no big deal.

Some poses I do cut a slot in the hand with a razor saw blade that gives a grove perfect for a 0.5mm pike. I'll let the blade nick the edge of the base as I cut and this gives a second point to superglue the pike onto to improve the security. At this size paint will disguise a lot.

bruntonboy06 Mar 2016 7:04 a.m. PST

I don't bother with a drill. Chop the pike off and use a sharp edged file to file a deep groove in the hand and glue the pike into that. You lose the hand detail but once painted you never notice.drilling is possible and fairly easy- if you are doing a few. For an army of the blighters I just file.
I tend to use bristles rather than wire as it glues more securely and having some flex they hardly ever get knocked off.

Colonel Bogey06 Mar 2016 7:15 a.m. PST

I cut off either side of the hand and use a pin vice with a 0.8 or 1mm bit.
I make the replacement lances / spears out of straight lengths of florist wire (flatten end with pliers; 2 cuts to form into an arrowhead shape and then tidy up / make less lethal with a file).
I have broken some hands on Essex 15mm models but it generally works well and is probably sturdier than cutting a groove.

Midlander6507 Mar 2016 2:36 p.m. PST

I have replaced the cast pikes and lances on all my figures with brass wire and never had any problems with breaking them off – I have suffered one or two minor puncture wounds though.

I use a pin vise with a 0.5 mm drill for 0.7 mm brass wire which I fix with epoxy.

Cut the cast weapon off close to the hand on the side from which you will drill (usually but not always the top) but leave it there on the other side for support until the hole is through – this minimises the risk of snapping the hand off. With care you won't lose any hand detail but if you do, in 15mm, it isn't so hard to make a new hand with a small blob of glue or putty.

Wherever possible glue the weapon with two points of contact – three if you can with two hands and the base.

As well as being more robust and looking better, I think replacing cast pikes, spears or lances with wire is a really effective way of giving a degree of uniformity to a unit with figures from a mix of manufacturers.

mindenbrush25 Jul 2016 6:21 a.m. PST

Just replacing the flag poles on my Bluemoon/AB ACW standard bearers.
Cut away the existing flag pole, drill out the hand(s).
Add new steel wire flag pole and 2 part epoxy glue in place.
I do have some of the 'copper' coated 28mm small spears/15mm pikes that Gripping Beast used to sell, they are excellent for 15mm flagpoles.
I have also placed an order with Corintani UK for some link

Oh Bugger Inactive Member26 Jul 2016 8:28 a.m. PST

I favour brunton boy's method you lose less hands and its quicker. Bristles are great and seldom need replacing but the steel pikes/spears look better but you can stab yourself with them if you are not careful.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2016 1:06 p.m. PST

And quite often if you are, as well. The other day I went to pick up a group of figures to spray undercoat them and, not wearing my glasses, missed that some of them were "vertical" and managed to get four of the wee Bleeped texts impaled into the upper side of my fingers. Strangely, it didn't hurt, but it did bleed quite a bit.

As Timmo's "good friend" I can vouch 100% for his method. They look so good "en masse" that although my FoG:R armies are only meant to have four pikemen (in a single rank) on each base, I'm actually reducing each figure's stand so I can get twice as many on, ending up with 16 figures in four ranks of four, on two bases for an ECW regiment. This also allows me to make the four figures in the centre ensigns – so lots of flags with a ring of pikes around them.

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