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Well, I brought home an Empire Detachment box to build Pikemen out of, took a look at the parts, and tried to figure out how to make Pikemen without buying brass rod, tubing, or any of that. I then got an idea- combine parts I can't use at once. So, I took the spears, and cut half the spearhead off, lengthwise (so it is bisected). I then took a Halberd and attached it to the spear, with the spearpoint (trimmed slightly to be shorter) acting as the 'other half' of the haft (because each piece has a half, so they join and make a whole... I need to post pictures). Then, just connect the whole conjoined thing to the pole and arms. You end up with a weapon somewhat longer than a spear, with a Halberd head. It's been a while since I read up on my Renaissance stuff, but I believe that this weapon is fairly similar to the Swiss Pike, and since the Swiss Pikemen very often served as mercenaries, the unit has a real-world tie-in. I'll post pictures soon.
Note: I do realize that this is still rather short, especially compared to the LotR Uruk-Hai Pikemen. However, it seems to me that ordinary spears are far too short to be realistic, so I'll keep the trend. Besides, a longer weapon with an axe head would look very heavy and unwieldy, and the models tip over a *lot*. I know. I've tried. With this method, the models look significantly different from both Spearmen and Halberdiers, yet don't stand out too much.
Hey, I drew a picture. Grey is the pole, blue is spear parts, red is halberd parts:
You can see how half the spearhead has been trimmed away so that the halberd can attach.
I know, I know, I suck at Paint. Crappy touchpad.
I don't do Empire so I'm not sure exactly what they look like but that sounds resonable. The idea of having a real-world tie in is a good one. You could probably look up images on the net for any more possible variations on the Swiss pikemen theme.
Also I think that it would be a good idea to do a little more to them than just give them new weapons. Have something new and unique about the uniforms they are wearing too.
it should work, ive toyed with the same idea myself- please post pics when youve done some. I agree with Leech though, you should do a bit of conversion on the troops themselves to differentiate them from Empire troops.
If your method doesnt work as you'd like try using wooden cocktail sticks- you could even attach the halberd blades to them if you are going for the swiss pike look over the macedonian type
PLAN CLAN MAN!!
He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man- S. Johnson
Well, my color scheme is a bit bizarre- I have black clothing like Gunnery School of Nuln, but boltgun metal armor, and the front of the armor has a gold and black checkerboard. I just finishd converting one model and I painted the clothing and armor, so I can post both here and in Painting when I'm done. But I'll see if there is anything else I can do for differentiation. The only thing is that I want them to fit in with the Empire Army I'm starting, so I can't radically change the models.
Hey, I got an idea- I'll bits order some skulls. I'll attach lots of skulls to the helmets and everywhere. Because white skulls will stand out against black clothing, it will be readily apparent, even if I only have a few.