Well, you can just model your characters as regular, and then split them apart. The modular mesh system(multiple mesh models within the same character model) is what I used. Then when you model any future armor or clothing types, you have to be mindful of the differences in structure( like where this piece of the modular mesh ends, and where that piece begins) of the model, so that things won't start to look wierd.
Yes in inventory the bows are similar to swords in the way that they are equipped, it's the actual gameplay that differs. In the coming weeks I will upload videos of both systems, but the gameplay swordplay and archery systems will need to be perfected before I upload a video of them. They are functional, but not 100 percent. Right now working on some cool medieval buildings for the game. Will upload pics of them when I am done.
I had an idea of having cities with multiple "prosperity" types, and textures tied to that prosperity level. Will comment further later.