So now I had the figures assembled and based all I had to do was paint them. I grabbed a selection of fairly neutral colours (this is supposed to be the Dark Ages after all) and basically blocked in areas, no shading, no highlighting, bugger all finesse, just speed.
Once done I then applied a coat of Army Painter Strong Tone - or as it is known here "gunk". I brushed it on, using it as a dip is just too messy and wasteful, and you do get some control with a brush. Then I left them to dry overnight.
The final parts of the cunning plan stumbled a bit. I had intended to use Late Roman Chi-Rho style shield transfers from Little-Bigman Studios but these were uncharacteristically late in arriving so I decided to go with some simple geometric patterns - quarters etc. Lastly the bases were painted with earth shades and highlighted, and then everyone got some nice, bright static grass clumps. These are important as they add some brightness to otherwise dull figures and also allow me to tell which group is which - ie one group has a green and yellow clump etc,
The end result after being blasted with matt varnish
I'm OK with these. They look ok on a table at normal viewing distances. I have to admit I feel a bit cheap and uneasy at the speed and short cuts I took, particularly the Army Painter which I'm still not 100% happy with. I tell myself I will go back and add highlights and more detail, these are still works in progress etc (some hope). What I also think is that these guys have now been on table five times, which I think means they have already done about 10 hours "in action" and I probably spent somewhere like a quarter of that time painting them. That is a damned good ratio under the circumstances.