We interrupt our regular WW2 content for a quick leap back into the Dark Ages. Joining the small but growing band of Breton troops in my collection we have a unit of dismounted cavalry ready to mix it up on foot.

These miniatures are Crusader Miniatures Normans, but these lot aren’t Normans. They’re the Normans’ next-door-neighbours, those other foreign immigrant types the Bretons (the Normans were from Scandinavia, the Bretons were from Britain).

The easiest way to make them look a little less Norman is to chuck all the kite shields. So I’ve gone for round shields with a Celtic design to reflect their Celtic heritage. That’s probably not 100% historically accurate, after all loads of folks actually used kite shields including more than a few Bretons I’d wager, but the kite shield has just become shorthand for “I’m a Norman” and I wanted something else.

The miniatures themselves are ok, but not amazing. They’re decent sculpts, and some are nicely posed, I really can’t complain. Some of the casting was a little iffy though, several guys have miscast left sides to their face, but to be honest in a nasal helm it’s not that obvious (especially if you just plonk an eye about where it should be).

The shield designs really make this unit, they’re ready-made transfers from LBMS (“Dark Age Celtic”). Why Celtic? Well the Bretons were a Celtic people, their language is similar to Cornish. The unit banner is an Arthurian British one, which is close enough for British Celts who opposed the Saxon push into Britain. I bought the shields from Crusader when I bought the miniatures, but if you get transfers sized for Gripping Beast they work nicely.

Progress on the Breton army

This project has been majorly on the back-burner for too long, so I decided to pull finger and just paint some. So far I’ve got about a dozen light and heavy cavalry painted, and enough light infantry for a couple of units (Breton Warband for Lion Rampant). I’ve also done a unit of archers.

Crusader were having a sale recently, cutting the price of their units deals. These are normally great value at £25 for 20 metal infantry, so getting them any cheaper is a steal. So I bought these guys and some cavalry. The cavalry are the heart of a Breton army, especially the Milites, or professional soldiers. This unit represents Milites who have dismounted to give the army a bit more staying power. The Bretons are a bit short on decent infantry, so unless you buy in some Viking or Frankish mercenaries they’ll need these Milites if they want to hold a battle line.