Green with Envy: Greg Licitri on How to Paint Footsore Miniatures’ Dark Age Irish

Hi, I’m Paul, and welcome to this week’s edition of Sculpting, Painting and Gaming, your weekly dose of hobby and wargaming awesome.

This week’s article see the return of France’s finest, Greg Licitri. Having already dazzled us with his basing skills back in June, Greg’s back to demonstrate how to paint your Irish miniatures (which are, incidentally, available here from Footsore Miniatures). Just follow these succinct instructions, and your Irish will make your friends green with envy. Prince August’s P967 Olive Green, to be exact.



Here’s a painting tutorial for the Irish in Studio Tomahawk’s game Saga or any other game set in the dark ages. This tutorial uses Prince August’s Vallejo paints exclusively.


Recently, during an exchange on France’s Saga’s group page, a question arose: how do you paint the Irish for Saga? What shades should you use and what patterns should be used on the clothes? Seeing the confusion and lack of insight on the group inspired me to write what I hope can be the definitive guide for those wishing to start an Irish Warband.

Prince August products have the advantage of needing less dilution than other brands of paints on the market; this means we have a much finer paint to work with.

Many of the techniques are the same as in my original article: TUTORIAL: Painting a Saga Soldier, so I will not go over them again.

Research is paramount when painting any historical miniature. Learning how the warriors were dressed and in what materials is vital. In my experience a painter can gain valuable insight as to the wool hues by using the various Saga discussion groups.



Based on information I discovered on one of these groups, I composed the following pallet of ‘Irish’ shades, all of which are on produced by Prince August. I used these paints for almost all of my historical miniatures.

P821 German Camouflage Beige WWII
70309 Panzer Aces Periscope
70333 Panzer Aces Carrista Al
P860 Middle Flesh
P889 Olive Drab
P941 Burnt Room
PG07 Yellow gold
P982 Brown Red
PG61 Khaki
P981 Orange Brown
P904 Dark Blue Grey
P898 Dark navy Blue

PG01 White skeleton
P950 Black
P918 Ivory Bone
P984 Matt Brown
P921 Uniform English
P804 Beige Red
PG66 Brown Flesh
PG54 Gunmetal
PG58 Polished Bronze
PG52 Elven Money
PG201 Lavis Black
PG203 Shadow Lavis

But enough of the chatter, let’s get to the painting!



I love using two shades for the undercoat , the first being a basecoat of dark brown, with a lighter brown applied using the zenithal technique. This immediately creates a solid foundation of light and dark over which to apply your paints.


Let’s start with the metal, which I will begin to paint using a layer of Prince August’s Gun Metal. Prince Augusts metals have a lot of metallic pigments and can be mixed with pigment-free tints to change the colour without diluting the metallic effect. Try Olive Drab from Prince August’s Classic line, or Dark Navy, also from Prince August Classic.


For leathers, I use three shades to avoid monotony: Matt Brown, Burnt Shadow and a 50/50 mix of Prince August Classics’ Brown Red and Matt Brown.


For the skin, a PA Classic Brown Meat base offers a good compromise between colour and coverage.

For clothing, I chose a navy blue for the lord, and a blue / white, dark blue / grey for his aide-de-camp. The other shades of the Irish pallet can also be used.



And now we highlight the leathers and the paint the wood using Uniform English.

Note: For highlighting, take the base colour and mix this with the highlight as a ratio of 50/50. Then add more of the highlight to the mixture again with a 50/50 ratio for the second highlight.



I highlighted the skin using Red Beige. During this step I took the time to paint the beards and hair in black or black plus Burnt Shade and the shoes in Khaki (so as to have varying shades)


Then comes the final stage of highlighting, and Ivory Bone is going to be your friend here. Highlight the wood with Ivory Bone, trying to simulate the veins in the wood.


Highlight the hair by mixing the base colour with Ivory Bone. When applying this highlight, be sure you don’t apply this shade beyond the lower half of the hair.


Highlight the shoes with Ivory Bone as well as all the leathers.

At this point, you should have a result like this:



The wash

Now let’s move on to the wash. This step is intended to blend your highlighting, darken your hollows and add contrast to each surface. Be careful though; washes must be applied meticulously. They need to be thin enough to not stain but strong enough to keep their ‘hiding power’.

Use a black wash on armour and the darker leathers.


Once the wash is dry, take the time to highlight the skin with a mixture of Red Beige and Ivory Bone


Paint the gold with Olive Drab and highlight the metals with Elf Silver. After that it’s back to the washing stage with a 50/50 diluted wash—using water or medium—on the skin, the wood, the gold.



Highlight your lighter clothes with your base + Ivory Bone mixture, then this mix with White, always in 50/50 ratios.


Highlight your darker clothes with your base + Dark Blue / Grey, then add to this mix Ivory Bone, always in 50/50 ratios.


For the aide-de-camp, I chose a simple tartan that has the advantage of being easily achievable while still representing the status of this man.

Start the tartan by painting wide horizontal stripes in periscope Panzer Aces. This paint is quite liquid and coats the garment without the need to force it, making the line easier to paint

Then do the vertical stripes before completing your tartan with a thin line in the centre of each blue stripe.



For a change, I chose to paint the shield in yellow with a 50/50 mix of English uniform and golden yellow


I highlighted the shield with a 50 / 50 mix of Golden Yellow and Medium Flesh. Finally, I highlighted the upper part of the shield with Medium Flesh + Ivory Bone


For the motif, I started by drawing a simple outline with black diluted 50/50 with water. If you’re hesitant to make a mess on your miniature, then practice on a piece of paper beforehand.



Now for the finishes; painting the eyes, motifs on the clothes and the techniques for the shields.

To contrast, I chose a base of Medium Flesh highlighted with white.

For the shield, use a wash of Brown Orange diluted 20/80 with water on the lower part of the shield.

Finally, using diluted Olive Drab from an unshaken bottle, shade the bottom of the clothes and armour. You can also shade the lower parts of the arms and any area that should be dark.

A quick note on Prince August’s paints and mediums: the form and composition of Prince August’s paints mean that unless you shake them vigorously before use, what will come out closer to a coloured medium rather than an actual paint. You can use this to help in your shading.

At this point, you should be satisfied with your work, and you can move on to the base, as outlined here on Sculpting, Painting and Gaming.

And here is the final result with finished bases.


I hope you found this tutorial useful. I’ll be back with more tutorials on other styles of tartan, different shield motifs and other ways to paint the clothes. Until then, à la prochaine.




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The miniatures shown in this tutorial are taken from Footsore Miniatures’ excellent range of Dark Age Irish warriors. Like all miniatures by Footsore, they are beautifully sculpted, expertly cast and competitively priced. Be it the Armies of the Caliphate or Anglo-Saxons, Irish or fuedal Japanese, Footsore Miniatures have the historical miniature you want at a price you’ll love. See our website for more details.

About the Author

Paul L. Mathews
A born-again wargamer since 2015, Paul L. Mathews is now the editor at War Banner. He is also the head honcho at his own freelance enterprise, Tabletop Creative. A dull boy, Paul's interests include editing and staying up past his bedtime

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