Bit dark, but purple shaft with bat wing fletching

Equipment review – Batwing feather fletchings

Rob Shooting

Rob Shooting

Okay, so for the past several months I have been trying out a new flethching profile on my arrow set up. In the past I have always stuck with the shield profile, with Sharon preferring a parabolic profile on her arrows. I feel that a lot of the time it is personal preference, but I’ve found a 4 or 5 inch shield to work well on my flatbows and a 3 inch has always been my preferred choice on my recurves.

These new fletching are a completely different profile called Batwing and being produced by Gateway (https://www.gatewayfeathers.com/ ). So would they prove to be a Joker in the deck or a hidden ace? Sorry had to include some kind of Batman related joke. You can partly blame Sharon for the joke as she’s nicknamed this batch of arrows the Jokers due to the colour scheme resemblimg the colours of the Jokers suit from Batman. Then again it might be nothing to do with colours and more to do with how I shoot them.

So why those colours?  Well I went with bright yellow fletchings and green nocks in the hope I would be able to see them in the target against the purple cresting.

Batwing fletching

Batwing fletching

The purple was partly because of it being club colours and a follow on from testing out the paints Lee had provided me for the Goblin Snot paint review a few months back. If you haven’t seen the review I was quite impressed by the paints.

Back to this review, the fletschings come in three sizes, 2 inch, 3 ½ inch and 4 ½ inch. Though I have all three sizes I’ve only tried out the latter two sizes on my flatbow. Of these two, I found that for my flatbow setup the 4 ½ inch have proved best. I know a couple of compound archers have tried the smaller size on their arrows with some success too.

For reference I normally shoot a 5 inch shield fletching. Whilst the 3 ½ worked ok, I found that they weren’t as forgiving when I had a poor release.

I’ve found the 4 1/2 inch offer stability in flight which is comparable to the larger five inch fletchings.

As I know some of you will be wondering about arrows speed and having put the arrows through a chrono the arrows are coming in at 176-180 Feet Per Second. That may not sound very fast but remember I’m not shooting carbon arrows, but wood ones. For those interested the arrows weigh between 455 and 465 grains, with a 80 grain pile up front and measuring 29 ½ inches being made from port orford cedar.

I wanted to wait before writing up this review so I could test them in a variety of conditions, which I think I have now managed. For those of you who shoot field, you know what it can be like shooting in a wood with variable cross winds between trees. One thing I have noticed with shooting these over the last few months  is they don’t appear to be as adversely affected by wind as my previous choice of five inch shield.

Wet weather, yes it is something that we as field archers have to encounter and despite having one of the warmest and driest summers on record in the UK we did get some rainy days. Wet weather has a huge effect on feather fletchings, often resulting in the feathers profile flattening down and offering very little stability. I was curious to see how these would cope in wet weather and whether the shape would make a difference. I have to report they don’t appear to have the same problem as normal shield that collapse and flatten.

I was a bit worried that their shape might result in them not coping with the occasional foray into the undergrowth which can happen when I miss the target, but so far so good. They don’t seem to have a problem with returning

I bought mine from Merlin Archery in Loughborough

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgYQlcB7yww

So overall I think they work pretty well and look quite cool too.

Thanks for reading.

 

Finished arrows in the sun

Equipment Review – Goblin Snot Paint

Goblin Snot paints

Goblin Snot paints

Okay, so this is not one of the most pleasant sounding products I have encountered, but if you can look past the name you can have pretty decent paint.
Lee Ankers of Heritage Longbows was kind enough to provide me with same sample colours (pink, white, orange and purple) to try out. There are obviously other colours but these would prove to provide a good selection as it offered both light colours and darker shades. If you check out their website for full colour list of what is available. (https://www.heritagelongbows.com/).
Before I applied them to the shafts that would become arrows I tried the paints out on some off cuts to get used to applicator and how many coats might be needed.
Samples after one coat

Samples after one coat

I did have a play at applying the paint to a pre varnished shaft, which worked petty well giving an even coat but it didn’t seem to adhere as well. I did find if I then applied a couple of coats of clear varnish over the top it did protect the paint.
I applied the paints to the bare wooden Port Orford Cedar shafts, after giving them a quick sand to remove any dust of rough patches.
First stage - orange being applied

First stage – orange being applied

Since Sharon wanted two contrasting colours on her arrows, I used masking tape to avoid me covering areas I wanted to cover in a different colour and to form an edge.
Second stage with the pink being applied

Second stage with the pink being applied

Firstly I have to admit I really like the purple. I’ve never been a huge fan of the colour in the past, but it works well for contrast. I’ve made up a few arrows with purple cresting and bright yellow fletchings and they work really well, as the contrast means you can see the arrows in flight and stand out in a number of target faces really well.
Bit dark, but purple shaft with bat wing fletching

Bit dark, but purple shaft with bat wing fletching

The orange and purple go on very easily and after a couple of coats, you can a good deep colour and covering. The white and pink need a little more work, taking three to four coats to get a consistent covering, which is expected really as being a lighter colour.
I’ve included a few photos of the arrows I made up for Sharon with the pink and orange as these happen to be matching to her fletching colours. The orange had two coats and the pink three or four.
I left the paint to dry for a couple of hours between coats, giving a very light sanding to ensure a clean smooth surface for each of the coats.
The paint goes on easily enough, once you get the hang of using the applicator, which has a sponge on the top of the bottle.
One tip is not to squeeze the bottle to much as you’ll end up with loads coming out. (Yes, this happened to me and fortunately I had put some old newspaper down just in case as I have been know to make a slight mess).
I’ve varnished with a clear acrylic varnish from a local model / hobby craft store.
Close up of a couple of finished arrows

Close up of a couple of finished arrows

Another tip would be to take your time when applying to make sure you have an even application.
Finished arrows in the sun

Finished arrows in the sun

Overall I think they work pretty well, being easy to apply and drying evenly.
Thanks for reading.