The other day after I painted those Stark archers I made some noises about perhaps breaking up the rather austere Starks with some nice opulent Lannisters. Instead I’ve veered off my original plan altogether and decided to paint some Stark allies in the form of some very fancy looking Tullys.
For a while I really struggled with the shields. The Tully colours are blue and red (paly wavy azure and gules, a trout embowed argent apparently, no I don’t know what that means either – ask The Imperfect Modeller, he understands these things). The trouble is the rest of the scheme is very blue, so too much blue on the shields and the whole model just turns into a blue blob. Too much red on the other hand and it would look like they’d borrowed some Lannister shields, especially as I’ve not painted any other parts of the model red. Trying to get a mix of both colours on there looked set to be a lot of work and most likely lead to a lot of freehanding, something I was keen to avoid because a) it’s hard, b) it’s a guaranteed way to slow the project to a crawl, c) it seems a bit counter-productive when the models already have such nice designs on their shields and d) have I mentioned it’s hard? Brainwashed as I am by Games Workshop my next thought was to try blue and white (if it’s good enough for the Elves of Ulthuan…). Here’s a rare WIP picture of how far I got before I decided to change tack.
Blue and white conjures images of the sky, little clouds, snapping pennants and snow-capped peaks. Perfect for the Knights of the Vale in fact, should CMON ever make them, but not so good for river loving Tullys.
Then I realised that the answer was staring me in the face. I had been thinking of the raging white waters of upland brooks, not the placid green depths and winding meanders of a lowland river. I even managed to mix in some nice muddy reddish brown after all.
These really are some of the nicest models in the range in my book, and very straightforward to paint as well. Part of me wants to drop everything and paint some more straight away, and part of me thinks it would be wise to make them a treat for after I’ve worked my way through some other stuff. We’ll have to see which school of thought wins out.
Whilst we’re on the subject of Tullys, I’ve also painted that most famous, complex and divisive daughter of the house; Catelyn (that’s “Lady Stark” to the likes of you and me). Like her opposite number in the starter box, Cersei Lannister, she’s not the greatest miniature ever sculpted so I didn’t knock my pan in trying to paint her to perfection. She’s done, I’m happy enough with the results and that’s good enough for me.
It’s not just about Starks and Tullys though. Something I want to capture with this army is the appearance of an alliance of Northern houses. In time I plan to include Karstarks, Umbers, Mormonts and Boltons. Maybe someday I’ll be able to add some Manderlys, Glovers and Hornwoods too (again that’s assuming CMON both make them and then decide to actually sell them in the UK…). Those who are familiar with the later books or series of the TV show often forget – I know I do – that the Boltons start out as allies sworn to support the Starks. In this case the men of the Dreadfort will be represented by a squad of the ominous Black Guard. As mercenaries these lads can also fight alongside my Lannisters (or even any other factions I might decide to paint – although as I’m a bit of a “book loyalist” I don’t really see that happening – unless the wildly unlikely happens and the Boltons join up with some other faction in a later book).
As with the Tullys I really like these models so I’ll aim to prioritise them in the near future. So long as I don’t invite them to any weddings everything should be fine…