So, I thought the answer was gluing the spears in better. Easier said than done. More like gluing my fingers to the Spartan helmets. Besides, I wasn't exactly keen on straight wire spears and how they looked. They did not look like ... well, spears. They looked like bo staffs.
I saw that Xyston made leaf-headed wire spears, and I wanted to buy some Xyston Thracians - so I went to the Warweb website to order them. Unfortunately, I got so caught up ordering Xyston's other products I forgot to buy the spears themselves! (Don't you hate when that happens?)
Next stop was TMP on how to cheaply make my own and the one that intrigued me was the buy who made them out of the plastic bristles of a broom. I was skeptical, to say the least. The advantages, he said, were that they flexed, so you could move them against other troops in combat and when you hit them accidentally with your hand, that give would mean it would not snap out. You just needed to make sure they were stored straight. Crimp the head with pliers and you have a flat spot; cut with scissors to shape to a spear head.
Well, I was intrigued, but still skeptical. So, off to the dollar store to find me some bristles. The problem there is that so many products don't really have adequate bristles for making spears.
The bristles on many brooms fray. The bristle itself is made up on tiny strands bonded together, that separate after using the broom awhile. I don't know if the dollar store is cleaning its floors with the brooms in their stock, but most of the products on the shelf were already frayed, leading me to believe that cutting the ends would start the fraying process (like yarn or twine does).
Scrub brushes were better in that they didn't fray and were the right thickness, but they are extruded in a wavy pattern or as flat strips, which doesn't make for a good spear.
Finally, I got to the bottle, dish, and toilet brushes. The bristles were a little thinner than I wanted, but they were straight and smooth and for $1, produced a LOT of spears. So, crack the plastic handle and throw it away. Untwist the metal wires holding the bristles, and be ready to put a lot of material into a ziplock bag. You can take pliers and crush the tip, cut with scissors to shape, and then glue in the hand. Once they are in their firmly and have dried, they give enough so there is no threat of snapping out of the hand.
I starting adding green stuff to the flattened head to give it more depth, but I found that putting green stuff straight to the bristle without flattening it, produces a spear head harder to shape. Definitely better to flatten the bristle then add green stuff, wood filler, caulk, or whatever to add body.