Category Archives: Bretonnia

Bretonnian Week: The End of the Quest

We can’t leave Bretonnian week behind without a group shot now can we? Here we go then, some brave knights (and their downtrodden peasant) encountering a ravening beast deep in the Forest of Arden. All together now – “For the Lady!”

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I’ll be back from holiday soon so expect to see more Vampire Counts just around the corner, plus we’ll be venturing at last into the mysterious Chapel…

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Bretonnian Week: The Beast

In the most recent edition of the Beastmen army book for Warhammer there was a little snippet of text describing the Warherd of Khorok Manripper which roams the Forest of Arden. As the Forest of Arden was obliterated alongside the rest of Bretonnia during the End Times, I’m sure Games Workshop will have no issues with me showing it here.khorok-manripperIt’s such a wonderfully “Warhammer” concept, full of the setting’s trademark blend of grubby eccentricity. Moreover it’s one of my favourite bits of Bretonnian fiction and as soon as I sat down to write a list of concepts to cover in this week I knew I had to include a beastman from Khorok’s herd.

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I’ve enjoyed all of this week’s models a great deal, and I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite. If you put a gun to my head and forced me to choose however I’d probably plump for this one*. Perhaps it’s because he’s a conversion, and thus uniquely mine, whilst the others were built pretty much as intended, or perhaps it’s because he’s chaotic and evil whilst the others have been honourable goody-two-shoes.

*Or in my panic just name whichever I thought of first and blub a lot. So please don’t, there’s really no need for violence here…

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I tried to match his heraldry to that of the other Bretonnians I’ve painted (with the exception of the Green Knight of course) in order to create the impression that it was the cousin or brother of one of the other knights that he looted the armour from. Of course, there is the darker possibility that this knight was never killed at all but was simply corrupted and mutated by the forces of Chaos until he found himself roaming the forest in bestial form, becoming a braying warrior of the very herd he once set out to slay…

Although I aimed to repeat similar heraldry on all of the knights you may have noticed that I avoiding repeating it exactly. The aim was to reflect the idea that each knight is a hero in his own right and, although he proudly wears the colours of his house, he also puts his own spin on it so he can be recognised in battle and his deeds celebrated.


Bretonnian Week: The Green Man

My friend Sam, who painted these and these amazing models, recently decided to have a bit of a clear out and offloaded a lot of his unpainted models onto me. Included amongst them was the Green Knight (although he also passed me several others which we’ll see in due course – plus the Cairn Wraith from last week). Since then he’s stood on my painting desk, sternly challenging me to paint him (the Green Knight that is, not Sam, that would be weird). As soon as the idea of doing a series of Bretonnian models occurred to me I knew his time had come. After all he is Bretonnia, a living avatar of the land and it’s immortal defender, so there could never be a better moment.

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With retrospect I’m not entirely happy with the green stained metal armour on the horse’s head, I reckon it would have been better to keep all the armour the same colour, so I may go back and change that at some point.

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It’s such an iconic model, and one I’m glad to have painted – especially as I would probably never have bought it myself (so thanks again if you’re reading this Sam!). Someday I may return to the character and convert my own, playing up the qualities of the green man and trying to further weave together the concepts of the knight and the ancient spirit of nature. In the meantime however your feedback and comments are, as ever, very welcome.


Bretonnian Week: The Old Knight

We’ve seen the glorious young knight now it’s the turn of his old, somewhat world-weary, comrade.

To call this model a conversion may be something of a stretch, he’s based almost entirely on this barbarian from momminiaturas, with the chaos symbols carefully scraped off his shield, and his club switched out for a sword. It’s not a huge change but I think it does a rather nice job of transforming him into an old knight, no longer as glory hungry as he once was but still ready to take up his sword in defence of his lands.

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Bretonnian Week: The Peasant

Few things are as inherently Bretonnian as a grubby peasant, whether he’s labouring in the fields for his feudal overlord or forming a ragged line of defence against whatever marauding invaders are currently despoiling said lord’s lands. Sadly my knowledge of actual peasant life is almost entirely gleaned from Monty Python, interspersed with dim recollections of a professor of agricultural history telling me that’s completely wrong.

I’m also not sure where this chap originated. He came to me in a box of other miniatures donated by a friend who was having a clear out (expect to see more of them later). Where he came from before that is a bit of a mystery to me though – I’m not even sure he’s a GW miniature. If anyone has any ideas feel free to suggest them in the box below.

Whatever weapon he originally held has long since snapped off so I replaced it with a suitable spear for him to lean world-wearily on in the background whilst his betters gallop past looking glorious and probably trampling his ill-kempt rows of cabbages into the bargain.

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Bretonnian Week: The Knight

This week Warhammer: Total War sees the arrival of the Bretonnians as a playable faction (for free no less!). Having been unloved and under-supported by Games Workshop for a very long time before their crushing demise during the End Times this must come as rather good news to fans of chivalry, honour and the constant oppression of ugly peasants.

I must confess that my interest in the peoples of fair Bretonnia has been slight at best and, although I was half expecting them to be reinvented to cash in on the resurgent interest in all things medieval in the wake of Game of Thrones I wasn’t entirely surprised when they went to meet Madam Guillotine instead.

The trouble with the Bretonnians was the lack of a distinct Warhammer flavour that left them looking like the odd man out in the setting. The Warhammer world always suffered from being cobbled together from whatever ideas the developers fancied in the early days, creating a miss-matched muddle that later generations had to wade through . From that point of view it’s no wonder they decided to kill it. Over time however some of those races evolved into distinctly Warhammer-y creatures – casting off, to a greater or lesser degree, their influences and standing on their own two feet/paws/hooves/whathaveyou. Not so the Bretonnians who remained stubbornly the medieval French. Now that’s not to blame the Bretonnians, a few more updates would have helped a lot, nor is it intended to do down the French (I’m spending all week with them) – but they certainly stand out like a sore thumb when battling against a Tolkien-esque walking tree and a scheming bio-mechanical ratman.

Like the Dukedoms of Bretonnia itself the faction suffered badly from neglect, it’s models outdated and its background often feeling tacked on or cobbled together. Often one was left with the impression that Games Workshop themselves didn’t know what to do with it – was it a pit of decadence and corruption, as in the early years, or a shining beacon of heroism and virtue? The latter hardly seemed to fit in with the general grubbiness of Warhammer in general, both in the Old World and 40k, whilst the former might very easily have been taken as a pinch of cross-channel sneering on the part of GW. Too much of the Bretonnian history and map also owed its origins to real world history – a problem that was quite widespread in the Old World – mixed up with Arthurian legends in a way that did nothing to help it gel with the wider background. The Knights, for example, are often obsessed with questing after the Grail – presumably unaware that Corbulo of the Blood Angels has it. Yet it’s never been particularly clear to me how said Grail fits into Warhammer and the culture of a non-Christian people like the Bretonnians. And let’s not forget the time when GW decided to cash in on their Nottingham base by shoehorning in Robin Hood (plus Merry Men). The result was a nation that appeared to have escaped from Monty Python and sat rather uncomfortably on the edge of the limelight, the unwanted guest that GW regretted inviting but doesn’t know how to evict without causing a scene.

However, having bashed the Bretonnians severely, perhaps I owe it to them to give them a second chance. After all once upon a time, long ago now, I even regarded them highly enough to consider starting an army of them. That may never have happened but this week I’ll be trying to redress the balance with a series of models dedicated to all things Bretonnian. Continuing the theme I’ll be away all week in Bretonnia’s real world equivalent  – France – so don’t expect me to be that quick at replying to comments. Fear not however, put your thoughts in the box below anyway and I shall feast on them when I return!

In the meantime let’s set the ball rolling with this knight, the only finished miniature from that long abandoned Bretonnian project. Coconut shells at the ready – here we go!

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