The Arthurian Warband

The Arthurian Warband
The Arthurian Warband naked
This article describes the painting and construction of a small warband of28 mm figures for table top historical miniatures war games.The group depicted is a warband or comitatus (body guard) of the British kingwho defeated the Saxons in Britain around 520 A.D..

Many are familiar with the romantic notion of King Arthur fromnovels and movies, butfew know of the actual king who fought the Saxons and wasperhaps the last king of a united Britain.Following the decline of the Latin speaking Roman Britain,and prior to the proto-English speaking Saxons,there was a Celtic speaking King Arthur who ruled Britannia.A good book describing the historical King Arthuris John Morris'sThe Age of Arthur.

The figures are from Foundry.Many people use these figures for skirmish gamesor Warhammer Ancient Battles games.

King Arthur
King Arthur
This photo shows King Arthur upon his horse with upraised sword.Unlike more conventional paintings of King Arthur,such as the famous Angus McBride paintingthat adorns the cover of theOsprey Arthur and the Anglo-Saxon Wars,I opted to paint Arthur with black cape and horse tailto make him look a little more fierce and evil.

Arthur's shield has a "chi rho" decal fromLittle Big Men Studios.These decals are great. They are dry transfers, sosimply peel off the protective acetate and rub ontothe shield.The decal has a nice crackelure look to it that would be impossible for me to paint.The "chi rho" symbol stands for the first greek letters of the word Christ,as Arthur was a warrior king who believed in Christ.

A Sutton Hoo type parade armor
A Sutton Hoo type parade armor
Arthur's sidekick here is another Foundry figure with a variant on the famousSutton Hoo parade armour.The figure is nicely sculpted with scale armor and roman type horsehair crest.Before the historians in the audience groan about eastern Mercian armor onan Arthurian figure, it is theorized that the famous Sutton Hoo armor wasstolen from the Saxons.My conjecture is that the Saxons stole it from the Brits, who were much bettermetal workers at that time.Whatever your belief about this beautiful armor, I think this makes a greatsidekick for Arthur.

Arthurian Foot Command
Arthurian Foot Command
To the right is the Arthurian foot command.This is a mix of figures from several Foundry sets.The two central soldiers look like commanders as they havevery nice armor.You cannot see it, but they also have nice shields courtesy ofLittle Big Men Studies.The flankers are Late Roman musician and standard bearers.I've included them because I believe it is likely that KingArthur adopted many of the Roman ways after Rome leftBritain around 410 A.D..Similarly, I've use lots of red in the noble's clothingas it is likely they too adopted many Roman dressing habits.

Foot soldiers
Foot Soldiers
Here are some Late Roman/Arthurian foot soldiers.They wear white tunics with some fancy design work.I've used a technical Sakura Pigma Graphic pen to ink inthe fancy embroidery.The shields are again with decals from LBMSin a mix of Celtic and Christian designs.

Bow soldiers
Bow soldiers
Here are some Arthurian bow soldiersagain with white tunics and fancy shoulder designs.The bows are strung with ordinary thread.It is easiest to follow this process:

  1. Take a long length of thread and glue the midpoint to the soldier's hand. Let it dry.
  2. Stretch the end to the bow and glue those in place. Let it dry.
  3. Trim the ends of the string.
The secret is to let it dry and trim later.There is too much roomfor error if you attempt to stretch it and trim it all at once.

Maybe next time I will add tiny arrows made from brass wire.The firing archers look like they are missing something.

Thanks for reading the article.I thoroughly enjoyed painting my Arthurian Warband figures,and I hope you enjoyed reading the details of its construction and painting.More miniatures-related articles are atDan Becker's Miniatures and Models site.Thanks for stopping by and reading about my miniatures.

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Last modified: Thursday, 09-Jun-2011 12:51:16 MST.