Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Saga of Banner Painting: The Hares

This morning, I've been thinking about how to paint the banner for my Splintered Light hares. To the left is a (not-so-good) photo of the banner. I cropped it out of an older photo I shot. As you can see, the banner is only partially painted, and the hare holding it was still unfinished at the time, (Yes, I repainted the ears, getting rid of the green blob. LOL.)

As of today, I've only finished my sword and spear foot soldier hares. Though I've painted the fur on all the figures--using a multi-layered  drybrushing technique that created too much pain in my carpal tunnel hands (I'll have more about how I've had to change that technique in a later post as well!)--I still need to paint the tunics on my officers and archer hares. So here I am, thinking about how I will paint that pesky banner.

Shield Patterns & Banner Patterns?
As for the colors I've been using, the sword and spear hares have a red tunic. The sword hares have a solid hunter green shield, while the spear hares have an avocado green and hunter green shield pattern, with each color taking up one half of the shield. At the moment, the banner is done in hunter green. (My archer hares will have a different colored tunic, but that is a post of another day. Wow, many teasers this morning!)

My original inspiration for these figures has been a combination of British Zulu Colonials combined with Vikings. I wanted a simple but interesting look for the shield patterns, which the Vikings provide. This sheet of transfers served me well. Would it serve as a pattern for the banner?

Too Much Research!
This morning, I spent a couple hours researching banners for inspiration: medieval, ancient barbarians, Warhammer armies, Lord of the Rings, Redwall, you name it. This is an area I know little about, so it was a good education. Plus, I needed to keep quiet because everyone but me is sick. Internet research is quiet. So here we go....

Rohan Banners are Cool, Right?
Rohan warriors have horses on their banners, which makes sense because they are horsemen. Here is a photo of the banners hanging inside the Golden Hall of Edoras from the movie. I like these banners, but fear painting anything like them. Horses for Rohan. What would hares value so much that they put the things on battle banners? Hmm....

The "McBride" Banner?
Dave McBride thought of this as well. His hares have crossed carrots on their banner. Okay, I get the joke. Carrots and bunnies with pink ears, purple for Easter. Yep. But a bit too cute for my hare patrol. So no Easter carrots for my guys. Keep on moving...

How About Medieval Banners?
Okay, so let's look at historical medieval banners. I love Arthurian anything, so how about those banners? So I pop over to Little Big Men Studios to look at their excellent pre-printed banners.  A few seconds after looking at them, I realize why they are pre-printed. Amazing stuff, but way too complicated to paint by hand. Same for all the other Medieval banners.

So What Have We Learned?
Well, I learned banners come in all shapes and patterns. Most banners are very artistic, from Lord of the Rings to Warhammer Elves to GW Empire to historical. I bow in admiration to folks who can paint by hand amazing banners.

So what will I paint on this banner? I still don't know, even after all this. I might cop out and just leave it green for now, finishing off the trim and other bits. Maybe I'll just divide it into halves like the shields? I don't know. I need to think more, and eat some lunch.

I want the banner to look good because I think banners catch peoples' attention quickly, so they need to look sharp. If you guys have any simple ideas that a newbie banner-painter like me can handle, let me know. I'd appreciate it!


  1. Taking a lateral step, who or what would hares and bunnies worship? In Watership Down the rabbits had mythical tales of El-ahrairah, a spirit/deity rabbit, so maybe something along those lines would work for the hares' banners.

  2. I didn't think about Watership Down. It might be something to think about. I don't have the Splintered Lands game book. Does that book give a mythology/setting for the creatures?

  3. Flowers....Hares are at their happiest bounding around the fields and hedgerows of rural England in March/April could stylise the Primrose, Bluebell, Daffodil and Snowdrop, taking inspiration from Art Nouveau or 'High Hippy' psychedelia (see Grateful Dead albums, Mouse and Kelly etc...) to give a more militaristic or 'macho' look akin to the Celtic look of Rohan's horses...

    just my tuppence's worth!


  4. A flower might be interesting as well, especially with the Celtic look.

  5. On my SLM stuff I've used LBMS 15mm Arthurian transfers on the Dwarf shields, and just basic quartered patterns on the Woodland guys.

    For banners I tend to abstract celtic designs, there isn't really a wrong way to do it;

    You could Hare-ify something like the dwarf's dragon? (which itself was a copy of an LMBS 28mm Saxon shield I think, and very close to the Watership Down representation of Rabbit Deity)