Thursday, July 24, 2014

Then and Now: Bretonnian Archer

I first started playing Warhammer Fantasy in 1997. It was the magical age of "Herohammer" and goblin green bases. I first became interested in wargaming when a friend at school convinced me to start playing so he would have someone to play against. I started the painting aspect of the hobby when I received the wonderful 5th edition fantasy starter set for Christmas that year. In this blog post I will show you one of the first models I painted alongside a more recently painted Bretonnian archer from the same set.

One of these is better than the other one...
This Bretonnian archer was one of the first few models I ever painted. It was part of the all plastic 5th edition fantasy starter set with Bretonnians (Knights and Archers) and Lizardmen (Saurus Warriors and Skinks). The archers are one piece casts with two poses. The knights were remarkably good for the time, with a nice variety of posable arms and different helmets. This archer was part of the first unit of 10 I painted in this blue and red pattern. I primed these models with brush-on Citadel "Stinky Primer". I found it really difficult to get coverage over the primer now. Modern primers have much more tooth. It also had little bubbles on the details that made varnishing difficult (you can probably also tell I didn't varnish the original model, who had the money for that when plastic box sets were only $16...).

In 1997 the internet was in it's infancy still. My knowledge of painting techniques came from my friends and White Dwarf magazine. Nowadays we have access to the cumulative knowledge of many other painters. I really think this wealth of information has pushed the quality and standards of painting to new levels. For me, it has allowed me to progress as a painter much more quickly than I would have been able to otherwise. On the other hand, I definitely waste a lot more time looking for painting information as opposed to simply painting models.

I played my Bretonnian army based on the starter set for two years or so. The Knights of the Realm were very powerful with their special wedge rank rules. I won a lot of games by camping out behind my archers and then breaking my opponents with my lances. I think they may have been a little overpowered in our "meta" where we didn't bother with magic or psychology (hey, I was 12!) and couldn't afford enough metal miniatures for most elite units.

For this new model, it was a bit of a return to 28mm for me (as well as a trip down nostalgia lane!). I haven't painted any 28mm models since the Sorcerer of Tzeentch last April. With 15mm models I have learned that high contrast is key for tiny models. Painting this model, I think my contrast may be too high between the dark and light areas as the model ends up looking a bit dark overall.

I am planning to paint more random 28mm models in the future. It is fun to play around with models where the results and uniformity don't really matter at all. Hopefully I can find some more of my old models in my storage bins so I can make "Then and Now" a somewhat regular feature. One of my hobby regrets is selling off some of these older models for next to nothing. A few years ago I sold my old Bretonnians and Dwarves (a small force) and some Space Marines for very little money. The models were old and beaten up but it would be fun to repaint some of them and it might be nice to have a (poorly) painted army to bring out every once in a while.

Oh well, enough of this ramble. I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my hobby past. I'd love to know what you think of the two models and to hear your stories about how you got into the hobby and how your skills and passions have changed over the years. Thanks for visiting!


  1. looks nice, I like the dark slightly grimy look, looks like he's been on campaign for a while rather than just walked off the parade ground. I know its not a fashionable look for minis, which are all clean lines and 'popping' colours,, but I prefer it.

    1. Thanks. I'm glad you like it. I like gritty and darker too but it doesn't tend to pop as much on the table for 28mm models. The darker palette was a bit of a result of getting used to 15mm contrasts. I started the base colours a bit too dark for 28mm models and lost a bit of the lighter gradient.

  2. this ..."On the other hand, I definitely waste a lot more time looking for painting information as opposed to simply painting models." a thousand times...

    Speaking of which have you seen the youtube video regarding the Rivet Wars painting? It's really interesting and I think you'd enjoy it.

    Love that you've managed to do this post, wish I still had my first Chaos Terminator with super thick blobs of Enchanted blue and Blood Red mmmm :)

    Good work Cameron.

    1. Thanks Dave. The original model was definitely blood red and enchanted blue as well. I still have a lot of those old paints that I occasionally use but the blood red, enchanted blue, and chaos black were all used up. I haven't seen the rivet wars video. They've featured my silly putty masking tutorial on their website which has generated a fair bit of traffic for me.

  3. Oh god I had that beginner set aswell, probably around the same time :-D I really liked the contrast, it suits the scale perfectly. I still have my old High Elves army displayed at my parents (And also have my old Imperial Guards, from many 40k editions ago) and It's just fun to see how much ones painting skills have improved over the years :D

    Awesome with a nostalgia post like this!

    1. That's great you still have those two armies. It gives you something you can fall back on and play if you get back into either of those systems. I wish I still had more of those old models that I painted (and less of the old models I haven't painted...). It is interesting to see how things change. I even feel like that with my Flames of War models from 1-1.5 years ago. I try to always try new things with my painting so my painting style and skills are always changing.

    2. Well "armies" :-p I was very young and had no idea what I was doing, just enjoyed painting figures :-D

      I know that feel bro, it's a blast to try new things each project

  4. Haha, I remember those archers so well -- they were some of my first WFB models as well! I remember painting five of them at the same time, with the results so horrible that I was forever put off batch painting ;)

    The version with the "modern" paintjob is quite wonderful and brings out some qualities in the model I didn't even realise were there! Don't worry about it being too dark and gritty either: With Bretonnians, I think the contrast between the muddy, downtrodden commoners and the bright, heraldic Knights really is key, and your archer fits that concept perfectly!

    Regarding your plan of returning to painting random 28mm models, could some of those randomly turn out to be more Plague Marines? Pretty please? ;)

    Anyway, thanks for this equally nostalgic and interesting post!

    1. I am not a fan of batch painting myself. I always get bogged down and stop enjoying the painting as much. 2 models seems to be my sweet spot for painting. I keep trying more but always find it a bit tedious.

      The model itself is pretty decent considering these were pretty new mass produced plastics. The detail is not as sharp and pronounced as on more modern GW stuff but the sculpting on the clothes and face are decent.

      I definitely have plans for painting a few more plague marines. I've gotten away from 40k lately, but I want to apply some of my new techniques with oil paints and enamels to some 40k models. Some plague marines seem a good place to start.

  5. I painted the same model of bretonian archer :D I think it was my first figure haha

    1. Yeah, it definitely was a classic. I have always loved starter sets for the value and mini rulebooks. I'm a big fan of a good starter set.

  6. Wonderful..... T___T a lengthy comment erased for whatever erroneous reason Blogger can muster.... *sigh*

    Either way highlights were:

    1. Nice paintjob. Extreme highlights work well with scummy serf-type models
    2. I don't like good, shiny armour knights so never went with Bretonnians myself.
    3. Plague Marines are why I found your blog originally.
    4. I have a whole bunch of random 28mm figs ready to paint just to switch things up from time to time. It's a good habit.

    The end.

    1. I know the pain of a comment erased by blogger. Sorry to hear that it got erased.

      1. It did make me consider a ragtag mordheim band painted in a similar fashion.
      2. I liked them at the time. Now, I like a bit of a dark side for my fluff.
      3. I should do more plague marines. Plague marines are so cool. I feel they are just hard to paint well without them just looking cartoony green or overly messy. I need to give one another try. I have a whole bunch already converted and ready to go.
      4. I need to make more of a habit of it. Painting is a hobby and not a job (most of the time).

  7. They do look quite alot better.


More from Rust and the City:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...