Just now, I am painting an awful lot of pikes, and so have developed a system to streamline painting them, built around my invention, the “pike block”. The major advantage of using such a block it that it’s not necessary to handle the individual spears at each stage of the painting process, which saves a lot of time: it’s a pike production line!
My pike of choice is the Wargame Foundry 100mm. I cut the pikes down to random lengths between 90mm and 99mm, because I feel this makes the finished unit look more natural. These spears don’t have a shaped head, but are a lot blunter than the attractive but lethal North Star pikes (which I do use a lot, on other projects). The downside it that I need to paint a trompe l’oeil pike head on each, which, luckily, isn’t quite as hard as it sounds.
The “block” itself, above, is assembled from Jenga blocks, glued together and with a layer (or two) of magnetic basing stuck to it. The magnetic basing holds the steel spears in place whilst I paint them.
- First I wash and dry the pikes, and prime white
- Next I paint one half of the pike in Games Workshop Tallarn Sand
- I paint the final 8mm or so of the pike in Tallarn with a touch of black mixed in
- Next I paint 7mm of the head in black, leaving a 1mm ring of the shaded Tallarn, visible, this now forms a shadow under the spear head
- I then paint over the black (leaving as thin a strip of the black as possible to delineate the edge of the spearhead) with a dark metallic, such as GW Leadbelcher
- Next I paint a slightly lighter strip in GW Ironbreaker, around the 3mm tip of the spear, to depict the blade, and another 2mm band next to the black band, to depict the socket
- The remaining visible 2mm of Leadbelcher, becomes the waist of the spear
- I put a tiny dob of GW Runefang Steel on the very tip of the spear
- Finally, I turn the spear around and paint the other half of the shaft
The stages are depicted above. The tips look a bit rough, but much less so when on the stand of figures, as below.
The process sounds complex, but it is quite feasible to paint 40 pikes in an evening, and they look great from a distance, as the eye fills in the details, giving the spears a real impression of having shaped heads.