Footsore Flashback: Painting Dark Age Irish

Hello and welcome to Sculpting, Painting and Gaming.

We’re dipping our toe in the Footsore archive again this week with this piece from commission painter Márton Megyeri. This article focuses on Márton’s recent commission to paint those perennial favourites, Footsore Miniatures’ Dark Age Irish.



Recently I’ve been working on a client’s collection of Dark Age Irish, which he will be using for Saga.

My client ordered a handful of dark age Irish models from Footsore miniatures. The sculpts are great and each of them is truly an individual character. They were a joy to paint.


Irish of the Dark Ages are well known for the intricate tartan design on their clothes, which can be quite difficult to paint on a 28mm figure. On the other hand these figures were chosen to make the army look more interesting, so I had to try to do my best when painting the patterns.

When it comes to Dark Age colour schemes I try to paint the clothes mostly using beige, light brown, light grey or olive green to give the miniatures a more natural, dull or worn look. But, for the fancy guys, I went for more interesting colour schemes which used used more vivid colours like blue, green and in, some cases, red while having some of the more natural colours to maintain consistency with the rest of the warband. I tried to pair contrasting colours for the stripes and chequered patterns to make the miniatures more visible on the tabletop.

In terms of their hair, moustaches and beards, I mostly used reddish / brownish colours (the only exception being the venerable druid-like guy with the grey hair and beard). The severed heads some of them are holding have blonde / light brown hair as I imagined these have been taken from some unfortunate vikings after a recent raid.

Shields, in my opinion, really set the look of Dark Age miniatures, so it’s important to make them look striking. These guys have small shields, so I wanted to paint simple designs rather than anything too intricate. Thus I simply quartered or halved them or painted a cross into the middle.


In terms of basing the warband has an autumn theme. Modelling sand was used to cover the surface of the bases. These are painted with dark brown and than highlighted beige using the drybrushing technique. For vegetation I always use various static grasses and / or tufts of at least two colours. I often go for the ones with a contrast next to each other, such as a yellowish or beige tuft and darker green static grass or brown tuft and a lighter coloured static grass. Clump foliage and flowers are also added to finish it all off. In my opinion it provides a quite compact and natural look.

I have based the warlord and the bannerman individually in order to have an extra standard-bearer who could join a unit of warriors or hearthguard by replacing another figure.


The command group blister contains four figures: one hornblower, a standard-bearer, a veteran soldier and a venerable druid-type guy. It offers plenty of options; the druid could easily be used to represent one of the priest figures in Saga if mounted on a larger base (40mm in most cases) or could be also added to the warlord’s base to represent an advisor for the chieftain. The veteran makes a perfect addition to a hearthguard unit or even a curaidh on foot.


The other two blisters are Irish Heroes. These are obvious choices for curaidhs, but they’re also perfect additions to hearthguard units.


All in all, these figures are great additions to any Dark Age Irish warband. They are the nucleus of a formidable warband, requiring only a handful of additional purchases from Footsore Miniatures to form a complete force.



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The Dark Age Miniatures featured are produced by Footsore Miniatures. Just one of Footsore’s extensive range of historical miniatures, they are typical of the quality and attention to details our sculptors lavish on each and every one of our models.

From the Vikings to Feudal Japanese, Goths to Normans, Early WWI British and more, Footsore Miniatures bring you the very best in historical wargaming. See the webstore for their complete range, special offers and deals.



About Márton ‘Marcello’ Megyeri

Marcello has been a wargame enthusiast and hobby hero for 14 years (and counting!) Passionate about painting, modelling and tabletop wargaming, he is a co-organizer of the Saga-focused club event and gaming community, Friday Night Holmgang located in Budapest, Hungary.



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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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