Saga Sunday – Poles Apart 2: How to Paint Individual Models as Part of a Unified Force

For my  Saga: Age of Crusades Polish army, I decided to give myself until mid-October to get everything finished. Three weeks later, I think I am roughly on track. If you fancy taking a trip back in time (as in three weeks ago, not to Medieval Poland!), then you can have a look here.

Last time you saw them, the army was in a state of assembly. Since then, I have undercoated everything using Vallejo Black Primer through an airbrush and started painting.

In terms of numbers, I had 19 cavalry and 36 infantry to complete. To date, I have completed 28 infantry and five cavalry (33/55 in total). As you can tell, I have found the infantry much simpler to get to grips with. This is mainly due to the fact that I have been able to batch paint them, whereas all of the knights’ heraldry is individual.

You can see the finished models here:

The challenge, and what has taken the time, has been choosing colours and schemes that reflect the fact that each model is an individual. We are a long way off the national, uniformed armies of the Eighteenth Century! Rather, these models exist within the feudal system, which has a focus on personal fealty to the local King, Baron or Duke, rather than to any higher concept like a state. Thus each model (or at least each knight and his attendant troops) should be different.

However, a mis-matched horde of multi-coloured troops would not only be a terror to paint, it would also look poor as an army on the tabletop.

Therefore, I thought I would share some of my observations on how I have tried to tie models together and give a sense of cohesion to the force


The cavalry are all different colours due to their heraldries, but where possible I have tried to use at least one of the two core colours for the force on each: red or white. By doing this, force is tied together without looking overly uniform.

This is much simpler with the infantry, who have been given shields all featuring red and white.

Rather than have them wearing these colours, most of the infantry are painted in neutral tones, in the majority un-dyed cloth. To speed up painting these I used the same colours on a number of models.

Doing this across the archer and spear levy units allowed me to paint bigger batches and also ties the units together. I did the same with the leggings, incorporating the same colours onto different models. You can see this in the second photo above where the blue is used on the leggings of the first, the hood of the second and the leggings of the spearmen.

2. Patterns

Where the models have different colour schemes, I have tried to tie the models together using similar iconography. I have chosen diagonal lines, arrow shapes and stars to mix and match. This helps tie together models with different colours, yet still makes them look individual. Stars are mixed onto some of the infantry shields too to tie them in with the knights.

3. Basing

Basing helps tie the force together as a force. When painting an army, I like to paint the bases first so that I can pick colours which complement it. The scheme above is my typical Northern Europe blend: Citadel Rhinox Hide with highlights of Terminus Stone and Screaming Skill.  Hopefully soon I will get round to doing a post on different bases a these really can impact the overall feel of a force and help it to look unified on the battlefield.

That said, there are still lots of models to paint for this army. By matching the colours and shapes in the heraldry of the remaining models and painting in batches they  should hopefully be finished by my mid-October deadline.

That should give me enough time to get on with our Necromunda challenge too. Two forces in three months would be great! Fingers crossed, but I may be getting ahead of myself…

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