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Notes on making the diorama “Princess Bellefleur to the Rescue!” PDF Print
Friday, 21 November 2008
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Notes on making the diorama “Princess Bellefleur to the Rescue!”
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This article provides information about the building, painting and miniatures used in the making of the diorama “Princess Bellefleur to the Rescue!” for the Round Table of Bretonnia’s third anniversary painting competition.


The third anniversary painting competition was announced on September 26th, 2008, and I was determined to submit an entry this time, having been too late in entering something for the 2007 competition and much too scared to submit anything for the first one. However, as I like to set myself a challenge, I decided that I would submit something other than just a single miniature or a unit. I rather liked the idea of creating a diorama that would depict something dramatic and different from the usual ‘documented’ event taken from Bretonnian history. But what should I portray? 

After establishing what was allowed for submission within the rules of the competition, I looked at what miniatures I already had available among my collection and started to use my imagination as to what I could sensibly create in the 35 days originally set before the deadline. I rather liked the idea of creating a diorama that was as realistic as possible, showing the grim effects that are wrought upon the lives of the common folk by the foes of Bretonnia, but contrary to the usual Bretonnian canon. Typically, everything Bretonnian concerns knights, beautifully painted in bright, clean colours, and their ragged, peasant men at arms and bowmen fighting valiantly against the many adversaries of Bretonnia. The only females that appear on the battlefield are the alluringly feminine Damsels of the Lady, again, always beautifully painted, and only ever casting magic spells.

An idea for the diorama started to develop, based upon two particular miniatures that I already had and that would form the focus of the scene I would depict. I had a GW Mordheim boxed set of Beatsmen, among which was a minotaur dragging an unfortunate woman by the hair. I also had a second ‘Dynamic Tiriel’ miniature from Hasslefree Miniatures, the first one of which I had already modelled as my Bretonnian character, Princess Bellefleur, the Duchess of Brionne. When I looked at the Beastman and Tiriel miniatures, I could see immediate possibilities, especially as the dynamic posture of Tiriel lent itself perfectly for her to be attacking the minotaur.

My next consideration was where I would locate the scene depicted by the diorama, and what would its circumstances be? Also, I didn’t want the scene to just involve the two main characters. I also wanted there to be quite a bit of activity that would help to make the entire scene seem more believable and create some additional interest. Consequently, it was two medieval houses that I had bought from e-Bob Miniatures, with a view to using them as terrain pieces, plus a whole lot of ‘forest’ terrain pieces I’d already made some time ago, that helped to fix the location of the scene; a small community in a forested area. And, being that one of the two main characters was a Beastman, who happened to be dragging a female victim away by the hair, gave me the idea of the circumstances; an opportunistic raid on the isolated community by Beastmen.

To introduce the additional action and secondary interest, as well as depicting the grim reality of such a confrontation, I decided to include a couple of casualties and two or three characters who would help complete the scenario. I happened to have some ‘casualty’ miniatures from the Perry Miniatures’ Agincourt to Orleans 1415-1429 range; a GW Beastmen boxed set; a selection of spearmen from Mirliton SG; and a whole range of GW 5th edition Bretonnian men at arms and bowmen, including Champions, Musicians and Standard Bearers, from which I could select the most appropriate miniatures to make up the ‘supporting cast’.

I decided to have two casualties, one of which was another beastman – lending some credibility to the premise of the scenario representing an opportunistic raid by Beastmen. I selected one of the plastic gor miniatures from the GW boxed set and decided that it would have dispatched the other casualty represented by the prone Perry Miniatures figure. Again, by considering the pose of the gor miniature, I could see that it would fit perfectly across the body of the Bretonnian man at arms that it had just previously slain. I also decided that the spear the gor was carrying, which is unbelievably long, could be cut away from its right hand and the section that carried the spear head could be planted into the back of the fallen Bretonnian, so that it would look as though the gor had speared the Bretonnian man at arms from slightly behind and to one side. In addition, because the GW plastic beastmen figures are made with separate heads, arms, shields, etc. I could see the potential for adapting this to make the scene more realistically grim and grisly. Consequently, I decided that the gor’s head and part of his left arm would be made to appear as if they were severed from his body by a single mighty sword stroke that would have been wielded by none other than Princess Bellefleur herself!

OK, so far so good. I had started the virtual construction of my diorama, with four figures so far envisioned in place. I then considered by whom Princess Bellefleur would be accompanied. I sorted out a couple of the figures from my collection of spearmen, from Mirliton SG, that provided the correct poses that would add both action and further support to the scene. And finally, I decided to use one of the 5th edition Bretonnian Standard Bearers to carry Princess Bellefleur’s colours, since she is also one of my Bretonnian Dukes - albeit a female one and hence the Duchess of Brionne, which would link all the men at arms together with a common heraldry and livery colour. At last, together with the addition of the terrain pieces, my diorama was fully conceived. Now I had to actually make it! And by this time, at least 20 of the 35 days had already elapsed…    


All the materials that I used in the making of the diorama are listed below:

  • 30cm square of 18mm thick chipboard for the base.
  • 4mm thick cork tile and hardboard off cuts.
  • 2mm thick cardboard.
  • Trees and hedges from Games Workshop (GW) and my spares box.
  • Green talus (ground cover) and static grass from GW.
  • Balsa wood for the gate.
  • GW Citadel Goblin Green acrylic paint.
  • Fine grade instant Polyfilla (spackle).
  • PVA glue.
  •  Super-glue.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 November 2008 )
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