Moving along with the first element of the Shén legion:
I use plastic rod for my javelins/spears/pikes, with a different diameter for each type. For pikes I am using 1/16" (1.6mm) rod from my stash of materials that I have hoarded for just such an occasion. The price tag on this particular material dates back to 1996!
Step 2 of the process:
Pikes for all, with shields for the rear rank, which is the right-most ones in the above pic! The pikes are approximately 3"/75mm long. The hands needed to be drilled out, but the material is soft enough and the hands big enough so the chore was not too difficult.
The miniatures now have a coat of black gesso for primer. I am going to let the gesso dry for a few days before the next step.