Here is a work-in-progress shot of my new Silver Shields. They will constitute the right-most two units of my "Great" phalanx. I feel very reassured now that I know, for sure, that the front ranks will rank-up acceptably. All of these minis were painted by Shaun McTague and highlighted/finished by me. Chum Ian flocked the bases. I still need to grout around the bases of the front rank minis, a filthy, time-consuming job that I will save for later. You can click the photo for a close-up.
The key to ranking up the front rank pikes was to mount all the pikes at the same, correct angle to the horizontal. To facilitate this, I made a template out of MDF, sticky labels and a spare pike. The Blu Tack holds it upright. Next, I bend the arms of all the front rankers so that their hands "hold" the template's pike. Then I remove the template. Finally I glue a pre-painted pike in place, having scraped away paint so as to ensure a metal-to-metal contact. It works really well, I can fit a pike or more every minute.
The phalanx as a whole is progressing satisfactorily and the other 8 units should be finished in time, so long as I keep plugging away every night on it. I'll show some WIP photos in a few days time.