One of my slightly back-burner projects is a Dark Age army of those funny British ex-pats living in France, the Bretons. I’ve already done some of the cavalry and infantry, enough to field them as a Lion Rampant force in the meantime while I build up enough for a big-battle ruleset. You can see the rest of the stuff I’ve painted here.

To be honest, what gave me a poke to get on with the archers was actually Lion Rampant. Having played a bit I found you really need some missile troops, and I got fed up with getting spanked by everybody else’s Expert Archers from across the table without managing to get any charges in.

A full unit of 21 including command group

A full unit of 21 including command group


I got this mob as a unit deal from Crusader. At £20 for 20 figures including a command group that’s got to be some of the best value metal figures anywhere. I actually got an extra figure in the bag, too. They’re good sculpts with a decent range of poses, not some kind of bargain bin rubbish. The figures are their “unarmoured Normans”, but I reckon they’ll do fine for their Breton neighbours if you give them a Celtic-looking banner.

They did require a bit of cleanup before painting, there was a fair amount of flash on them, but mould lines were very slight or non-existent. I also appreciate castings that have the mould lines in sensible places, as these are.

It’s a pretty basic paint job for a quick unit of rank-and-file liberi archers. A range of block colours and a coat of Quickshade Strong Tone before some light highlights (just faces, really) is all they got. I’m a slow painter, and was deliberately trying to up my pace on this unit. Most of the work apart from basing was done in about a week (probably about 2-3 nights painting in that time, plus a few shorter snatched sessions) which I reckon is good going. Being able to knock out a reasonable sized unit in that time gives me a lot more confidence I can put together a bigger army some time before the heat death of the universe. I just have to stop getting distracted by other projects!

This unit is going to provide some fire support for my Bretons, as I’ve found them lacking long-range firepower when playing Lion Rampant. The idea is to mix them in with my foot yeomen and class them as “mixed weapons”, which should give a couple of all-purpose units that can shoot and fight reasonably well.

For my long-term project of a Dark Age army for War and Conquest they can form up as part of the battle line. They’re light troops, but able to put out massed fire, so I can do a unit of up to 21 in three ranks.