Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bretonnian Questing Knight

As another fun change-up, today I present a figure from Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy Battles range. I have been [very] slowly working on  Bretonnian force, which is based on Chivalric Knighthood and the Arthurian Legend. In my opinion, these are some of the best scuplted figures GW offers.

This particular knight is a Bretonnian Questing Knight. These knights have gone above and beyond normal chivalric vows, eschew their lances, and go on the noblest of quests in search of visions of the Holy Grail. They apparently aren't at all adept at traveling light. Our current nobleman rides into the field bedecked with a chest of drawers among his equipage.

This sudden resurgence of interest in fantasy knight figures is owed in no small part to Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell, and to A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. Between these two I have suddenly found the motivation to take the brush to some patiently waiting archers and knights. 

Knights are a fun challenge for the miniature painter. Done properly to the standards of history, legend, and fantasy literature, they should each wear their own unique sigil, and wear the colors and devices of their houses. Doing large batches of knights at a time can be creatively exhausting as you scrape the far corners of imagination for any remaining kernels of ideas. I try to stick to strict heraldic colors, being red, yellow, blue, black, and white.

The sigil for this knight is a Fleur de Lis, reversed black on white or white to black. The devices are free-handed, though I did cheat and use a white paint pen for the white on black.  He is painted as a noble of Mousillon, a disgraced and somewhat suspect realm in Western Bretonnia. A fun detail on this particular figure is the chest of drawers and other baggage. I took the chance to create an illuminated manuscript on the open book, which is based , to the best of my painting abilities at this scale, on actual medieval and dark age illuminations such as the Book of Kells.

Though I wanted the figure to be predominantly black and white for the heraldry and barding, the overall effect was somewhat dull and muddled, so I added yellow as an accent to bring some interest and color to the composition. The stripes on the barding are actually taken from First World War German aircraft markings, but seem to hold the proper look here.

The basing has been influenced in no small way by Agincourt. In addition to normal base sand and flock, I have sculpted some hoof-prints in putty, so it could paint up as muddy ground. A drop of gloss varnish completes the look.

Hopefully my fantasy book series' will hold out long enough to do a few more knights and another group of longbowmen (did I mention the magic of painting with books on tape??!)

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