Painting Poorly: A Song of Ice and Fire - Knights of Casterly Rock

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by CMON Games

"There is No Limit to Lannister Pride or Lannister Ambition..."

Welcome back, Westerosi!  Today, we're going to be wrapping up the last cavalier unit from the first wave of A Song of Ice & Fire Miniatures Game releases, as we've already done the Flayed Men and Stark Outriders.  Today's unit has been one that I've just been seeing tear up the competitive scene lately, and honestly, it doesn't look like that's going to change anytime soon.  I'm of course talking about the Knights of Casterly Rock.

This Lannister cavalry unit is just a MONSTER if they can get a charge in, and can decimate just about any unit if they do, however, from a painting aspect, they can pose kind of a problem since they're mainly just red on red on red...

Let's see how we're going to tackle this and keep these models looking interesting.

1. Gameplan, Prep, and Prime

So, while there is a LITTLE bit of reference material from the HBO series:

We never really get a good look at them, what with the fog and all, so we're going to have to settle for basing their look off of the in-game art.

Red armor with the typical gold trim, along with a bright red caparison for the horse.  With this in mind, I've assembled the following paints:

We've got Basic Skin Tone, Flat Earth, Chocolate Brown, and Gold by Vallejo, and Plate Mail Metal by the Army Painter.  I've also chosen two different shades of red, a dark red and a light red, and black and white from the craft store, as well as the same metallic red that I used for the Tully Sworn Shields, which is also from the craft store.

If you can't find it, or want to spend the money on some nicer metallic paint, Vallejo makes a Metallic Red in their Mecha Color series.

I've primed all of my Knights with the white Stynylrez airbrush primer I spoke about during my Jaime Lannister, Maimed Hostage tutorial, but you can use any spray on primer and that'll work just fine.  Once that's done and dry, it's time for basecoats!

2. Basecoats

Reminder: always thin your paints 50/50 with water unless otherwise noted.

Using your dark red, we start off painting the cloak, shield, and feather of the rider, along with the caprison of the horse.  We may have to add multiple coats of this in order to get a nice even coverage of red.

For the standard bearer, this would also mean painting the field of the flag.  Try to avoid any lion logos, as covering up red with gold can be difficult.

Next, you'll be taking your metallic red and painting the breastplate, helmet, elbow armor, tassets (thigh armor) and forearm armor, while leaving the glove itself unpainted (for now).

Here's another angle of some of the portions of armor on the arm that we're painting and there's also the small center portion of the armor on the horse's head that you'll want to paint this color as well.

If you're not interested in using a metallic red for these portions, I suggest using some other shade of red than what you're already using on the caparison and cape in order to break up the red blob that is starting to develop.

After that, you'll be mixing up some of your 50/50 black/white mix and painting the boots, gloves, skirt, and sleeves of the rider.  This includes the portions of his arm between the metallic red armor as you can see above, as well as his arm pits.

Now using your chocolate brown, we're going to paint the rig of the horse.  So this means the reigns, bridle, any straps, along with the saddle, as well as the handles of the lances/flagpole, the straps of the shield, and the sword scabbard on the riders' left hip.  Some portions of the saddle, such as the horn, can be insanely difficult to paint, so just try your best, and don't worry if you have to touch up certain areas later.

Once that's done, you'll get your plate mail metal and paint the blade of the spear, the armor on the upper arm of the rider, along with the gorget (portion of armor covering the upper chest and neck) and the rest of the horse's armor.  You'll also take this time to paint the stirrups and any buckles or rings within the horse's rig and the metal knob at the top of the flagpole (which I actually forgot to do).

Now for the part that's kind of a &$^#.  Take your gold paint and don't thin it.  Use it nice and thick to get good coverage, and paint the trim of the flag, the back and trim of the shield, the sword hilt and handle, the pauldrons (shoulder armor) as well as the lion emblems on the flag, breastplate, and shield.

Time to bust out your basic skin tone and paint the faces of the two guys with their visors up.  Nothing too fancy here, just try to not get any paint on the helmet.

Once that's done, you'll work on the horse.  Five minutes of internet research I've done on horse breeds tells me that pure white horses are quite rare, so I figured that if any house would have them in Westeros, it would be the Lannisters.  So, we're going to touch up our white horse, and paint the muzzle/nose with the basic skin tone, and cover our hooves with the 50/50 black/white mix.

Of course you don't HAVE to paint your horses white.  If you'd like more variety, I'd suggest taking a look at my Stark Outrider or Flayed Men tutorials which go into detail about how to paint various breeds of horses.

3. Shading

Keeping it pretty simple today with only two washes: Flesh Wash and Dark Tone, both by The Army Painter.  If you want a more subtle shading for your horse, you could also use Light Tone for shading the horse, however, I went with Dark Tone for a really strong contrast.

Starting off with the flesh wash, you'll apply this to the faces of the two riders, and the fleshy muzzles of the horses.

Now apply the dark tone to the rest.  All of the rider and all of the horse.  If you're using light tone for the horse, you'd only apply the dark tone to the rider and the horse's rig, while using the light tone on the horse itself.

Let it dry for an hour or so and you're ready for highlights.

4. Highlights and Finishing Touches

Okay, so the first thing you'll be highlighting will be the noses of the two riders with exposed faces.  Just take your basic skin tone and get the top of the nose.  Don't worry too much about highlighting the other parts of the face, as they're mostly obscured by the helmet, and wouldn't be getting much light cast on them anyway.

You will, however, be highlighting the nostrils and lips of the horse with the basic skin tone.  Just the nostril ridges and the tips of the upper lip to add some depth.

Next, you'll be taking your lighter shade red and highlighting each fold in the caparison of the horse and every fold in the cloak of the rider, along with the top of the feather.  In addition, you'll be highlighting the outline of every scallop at the bottom of the caparison, along with applying a top down highlight on the portion of the caparison covering the horse's neck.

This is a time consuming step, but really necessary to give the figure more depth and look less like a big red blob.

When you're done with that, you'll be taking your flat earth and highlighting all of the brown.  So the spear handles, flag pole, and the straps of the horse's rig.  For the saddle, you just want to outline the edges of the saddle, as shown above, while for the rest, just paint a line on the top edge of the pole/leather strap.  This creates a nice strong highlight against the dark brown base.

The last thing you'll be highlighting will be the horse itself.  If you've chosen to make the horses white, you'll need to highlight all of the muscles and face back up to that color, while leaving the darkened portions shaded.  Just focus on painting the portions of the horse that stick out, such as a cheek or eye lid, while leaving the grooves darkened by the shade.  If you ever mess up, you can always add shade again and start that section over.

The very last detail you'll want to paint will be the eyes of the horse.  Using your detail brush and your 50/50 black/white mix, carefully color in both eyes and...

5. Cavalry Charge!

There you have it, guys!  With these guys ready and painted up, there's nothing that a charging Lannister Cavalryman carrying a lance can't decimate.  Don't believe me?  Just ask Jaime...

Well, ALMOST nothing...

As always, this along with all my other A Song of Ice & Fire painting tutorials can be found here, and if you've felt like these tutorials have helped you out, please consider becoming a Patron.  I don't receive any kind of sponsorships or free supplies or miniatures from anyone, so the only way I'm able to keep creating quality content is through the financial support of my readers.  Each dollar truly does count and brings us closer to the goal of providing AD-FREE content on my blog!

Join me next time as we journey north, for night gathers, and SOMEONE'S watch must begin...
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  1. how did you get the metallic red to be so vibrant? Mine comes out pinkish, did you base with a different base color to achieve the deep red metallic for the armor?

    1. Hi, Jeremy. The basecoat will come out pinkish. That’s why you apply the dark tone afterwards. It helps mute it and deepen the reddish color. Hope that helps.

    2. Thanks! I did an accidental glaze with a darker red that kind of produced the same result.


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