My first go at Dark Age models was quite modest with just four figures to get a feel for painting more in future. Completing the first group of are a standard and priest. Both figures proved just as enjoyable as the Warlord and his daughter. We'll see if I remain as enthusiastic once the main order arrives and the model count grows but I'm optimistic because the figures are so nice. When I initially lined up the figures and posted them on a forum someone commented I'd done a nice job of coordinating the models so they looked as though they were all affected by the same imaginary wind. I admit it wasn't by my design, dismiss the possibility of dumb luck and put it down to the talents of the sculptor who designed them to flow together so naturally.
I learned a little bit as I painted the standard bearer. I have a lot to learn about the Dark Ages so while I knew what a draco was by sight I didn't know what it called and it made for some awkward moments in my Goggle history lesson. I echoed most of the colours I used on the other characters and simplified the embroidery to denote his slightly lower status. The cloth sleeve of the draco repeats the black and yellow of Eadwald's shield. I wanted some more decoration on something large and important like the standard so I added some circles I'd seen on some shield designs and painted the fringe of fins and demarcations in costly red.
There priest stands apart from the rest of the group. While all the other characters are richly dressed his plain robes mark him as an outsider. I chose a dull, limited palette and attempted to make it look worn and faded. The last time paint a monkish robed figure was a 40k priest and his cassock had been a too rich brown. His otherness also marks him as a model with much more flexibility. The garb of a simple monk or priest, at least to my eye doesn't change as much as the dress of a warrior or high ranking figure. I can see this figure having another life if I ever play games in the medieval period. His base is simple enough like the others he could accompany crusaders to the Holy Land.
The unnamed standard bearer is obviously a warrior trusted implicitly by the Warlord. I'd considered painting him as a greying veteran like his master but opted instead to paint him as a younger man. I'm considering making him a survivor of a Viking raid that Eadwulf rescued as a boy. Having him come away from such a traumatic experience would turn him to the purpose of fighting the raiders for life. Did Eadwulf see such anger in a boy's eyes that he took him in or was it pity or regret for what he had done before aligning with the Saxons?
The priest is quite young. He was probably sent to Eadwulf by the Bishop to insure his spiritual well being; More likely he wanted someone to spy on him and be assured of his loyalties or gather muck on the upstart warrior. As already decided Eadwulf's faith is divided. Like many Pagans come Christian he is likely playing both sides of the fence venerating the new and old gods. I see the early relationship between the two as mutual mistrust but over time maybe they could find respect for one another on matters outside of faith. I like to think that the young monk sees the warrior as a, "virtuous pagan" and waits patiently for him to find faith on his own terms.