The Dolorous Stroke

 Something unexpected today!

A few months ago I was lured into this new project by a group of fellow fools which enthusiastically committed to build up a tiny force -and eventually even get to play!

Then the lockdown loomed upon all of us and of course, as it tends to happen with these group projects, it all got stagnated until today. But hey, now that at least I got my bunch of minis painted, I thought I could show some pics.

You can find the rules here. It's a pretty narrative oriented game, in which you take control of a Knight and a small retinue and get to live adventures and encounters. The background is wide open, so it's not specifically oriented towards the Arthurian Legend, despite the title. You can perfectly set it in the ambientation of your choice -though, of course, it works better on the low fantasy side of the things, with a knight errant taking quests and fighting for honour and virtue.

Let's move on the minis. After some debate, we agreed to use Valdemar Miniatures for the project. It was challenging, as they are 1/72 (roughly 20mm) scale, which is most definitely out of my comfort zone. But precisely there was the carrot for me. 1/72 it was then.

As you will immediately see, the minis are amazing. Incredibly detailed. Not 'incredibly detailed for 20mm minis'; they are awesome in absolute terms. More than many 28mm minis. The variety of the ranges is sweet and you have anything you need to create any kind of medieval vignette imaginable. Just have a look at the link above and judge by yourself.

Stretching it to my particular project, the challenge consists of a knight errant, a squire, a retinue of men-at-arms and a monster. Absolute freedom of choice within those categories, but that's what we all agreed to do. Let's get started then:

The Knight Errant

I needed two versions, a mounted knight and a foot one. I got these:

Awful, overexposed pic

Awful, overexposed pic, but on foot

They were not exactly the same mini, but the differences were minor, I could make this work.

Head swap on one, sculpted mail on the other...

This should be enough

They are not 100% exact replicas, but at this scale it was more than enough to make them look as two versions of the same knight. Time to splash some paint!

Basic livery

The fresh shield is for the mounted knight; the worn out one for the dismounted version

The loyal horse also needed the same treatment

This is my first experiment with yellow Contrast paint (everybody was talking about them, I had to give them a try!) and I have to say it worked much better than expected. It solved me the whole shading work and just had to focus on highlights. Point to GW, render unto Caesar.

I made some different quick designs to decide over the heraldry.

In the end I used a mix of A and C
See, the drangon from A

This took some time

Yet some more time!
Then the checkers from C

Could you imagine me doing a project without checkers?

I say no. Not on this blog

Just a close-up of my insanity

Time consuming and pretty exhausting, but the model deserves it, trust me.

Almost there

Let's hope I can glue it this way and it resists!

This is the final result on both:

I'm happy with them, specially considering the scale. So it was time to move along...

The Squire

This mini was meant to be simpler than his master, both in design and livery terms. I got a mini bearing a banner, which I thought fitted the subject.

Quite a simple surcoat and no fuss about this one

The squire still has to earn a heraldry of his own, but his shield could still show something that tied him to his knight, so this is what I did:

Checkers. More checkers. Hahaha (maniac laughter)

This is the basic thing, bearing his lord's banner:

I had to sculpt that thumb. The tiniest thing I've ever sculpted

The final pics:

Alongside his master:

Well, it looks like we have the core of something. Now it is time to muster the troops...

The men-at-arms

The rules of The Dolorous Stroke are designed for a group of 4-5 miniatures, I think. But once I got all these minis... you know. These things happen.

I had to paint them all. You would have done the same

The short pikes (or are they long spears?) are 28mm spears. They fit in surprisingly well.

 As opposite to the knight (and in lesser measure the squire), the men-at-arms were supposed to dress in a more simple way. Not a gaudy livery, but just earthy colours; unexpensive clothes for humble peasants.

Fifty shades of brown

The restricted palette is a conscious decision, with the sole exception of the yellow sash, to tie in with the knight theme. In cases like these is when you realise you can never have enough tones of brown.

Why the lack of variety in weapons?

They all have the long spear for one reason. They are not to fight some other knights for a piece of land. They will have to hunt and face...

The Monster

The archvillain will be this beast:


A Hydra by Grenadier. Extremely beautiful, seriously.

And huge. I needed a CD as a base

I think I've seen a lot of hydras in dark, cold tones. Greens and blues mostly. I wanted something different, something warm, so I tried brown. Brown and yellow would keep visual coherence within the whole project.

Contrast again. Time saving indeed

However, I highlighted each and every scale, one by one. Four layers. Four f&# layers.

This is the second layer, I think

I used Contrast again for the crest. I'm really making the most of these paints!

Here it is. I used DAS for the base

And this tiny branch I found on the park

The problem is that the base is really huge and the hydra leaves a lot of open space at both sides. I needed something else. A pal from the group suggested me a corpse or someting like that.

Fortunately I had these

Speed paint, I just wanted to have him finished

Enough as a base filler

The pose of this other one was just perfect for this

Ouch. Blurry pic

But you get the idea

Sniff sniff

So just have a few pics of the whole project:

We have been talking about adding some scenery, but I still don't have it. Until I wait for the rest to finish their projects I think I'll get a  piece.

I've enjoyed this thoroughly. The change of scale and theme has been challenging, but refreshing. I really hope I have the chance to get a game with these anytime soon!

I have another medieval project pending (in fact I planned it like more than a year ago, sigh), so I'll see if I'm in the mood for keeping the knighthood-ish painting mojo!


  1. Terrific work and I do look forward to seeing the game...

    1. Thank you! I really want to roll some dice over these!

  2. Cracking work the Hydra looks amazing well worth the effort!

    1. Thanks! It was kind of exhausting, but I think it was the right choice in the end! Not the kind of work I'd do everyday, but something worth of doing from time to time

  3. Simply wonderful! I love to see projects like this that evolve for a specific purpose, but with a real sense of cohesion and narrative. The heraldry on your knight is really striking - brilliant brushwork on such a small scale. I love the scenic extras on the hydra's base, again they really reinforce the narrative. You could even push a little further and use some blood effects on the wounded knight and the ground around him.

    1. Thank you! The story was really unfolding in front of my eyes as I was painting the minis. A narrative game about these should be a fun thing to do!
      I thought about the blood, but my previous experiments hadn't been that satisfactory. I believe there are specific paints for that effect, so I may give them a try!

  4. Oh my!!! That heraldry!!! And the hydra!!!!

    1. Thank you! The heraldry was just a matter of splitting the parts up until they all together made sense as a figure. First a horizontal line, which would be the back of the dragon. Then the line of the neck. Then a line that would be a leg... Take as many rests as you need, don't rush over it.
      And the same goes for the hydra! One scale, one scale, one scale... rest. Do something else. Back again.
      That's why having several projects at a time can be useful! :D

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, man! This can be done the same with Bretonnians or Perrys, of course, but the 1/72 experience has been something new!

  6. Cuanto material en una sola entrada! ...por el título pensé que te llegó la hora de visitar al proctólogo...

    Voy a tener que revisarlo todo porque hay mucha chicha. Por un lado el look histórico y por otro el mostro.

    He de decir que el amarillo y el negro me parece una elección top notch!

    1. ¡Jajajajaja! Me acerco a la edad, pero no me parecía tema para una entrada de blog :D
      Podía haber hecho cuatro entradas (que era la idea original del grupo, una por mes y animándonos unos a otros), pero al final estas cosas de grupo ya sabes cómo acaban. Ya que tenía todo esto pintado, me he animado a hacer una entrada más tocha. La lástima es la mierda de fotos, pero vivo resignado con eso :S

  7. Wow, those are great, particularly for a slightly smaller scale too. The heraldry is great and very eye catching.

    The Hydra and the victims on its base are the best though!

    Did the others complete their challenge figures as well? it would be great to see them all together...

    1. Thank you! I've enjoyed it all much more than expected (though it's been more time-consuming than anticipated)
      The original idea was that everyone had one phase completed per month, so we would encourage each other to keep on the path, but I'm afraid it all derailed pretty soon (as it tends to happen with such group projects). Some of them have stuff finished, but almost no one published pics. Whenever they have their projects done I'll make a compiling post :)

  8. Replies
    1. Gracias, la verdad es que me ha llevado más tiempo del que esperaba invertir en este proyecto, pero me ha parecido una cosa curiosa de hacer.

  9. Oh wow Suber! I could go on and on but ... just wow (salutes) :)

    1. Thank you very much! It's been a nice challenge, far from my usual stuff, it's been totally worth of the time!

  10. Dilo todo..., al final el único que has cumplido al 100% has sido tú, los demás estamos en diversas fases de realización con el proyecto.

    No puedo añadir mucho más a lo que ya has comentado sobre el por qué del proyecto y qué buscábamos con él. Respecto a tu parte del proyecto, para mí lo más impactante ha sido el pequeño diorama que has creado con la hidra y los peones derribados por ella. Con dos minis bien elegidas, logras crear una historia maravillosa.

    Enhorabuena por haber completado el proyecto con el nivelado al que nos tienes acostumbrado

    1. Gracias, pero el proyecto sigue abierto, estoy deseando ver las cosas que hacéis los demás involucrados. Lo del diorama (como lo demás) fue surgiendo sobre la marcha, es uno de esos proyectos que cobran vida propia a medida que los desarrollas :D

  11. Simply splendid heraldry and the hydra is ace! I also really like the varied muted tones of the footmen,oh and you didn't get back to me,or maybe you didn't get the message, do you like squats?
    Best Iain

    1. Thank you! I wanted an overall coherence within the project, but showing some differences. This medieval stuff is kind of more your area of expertise than mine, so it means a lot, thanks!
      Oh, sorry, I don't recall a message about Squats. I'm not really into then, but of course they never harm :D

  12. My god... this diorama is a true masterpiece, Suber! Cannot say what I love more - the scales of the hydra or the emblems on the the knights' shields. This is simply awesome!

    1. Thank you so much! Well, they are not as small as the 15mm stuff you do, so it was easier to achieve! :D
      It's been a nice ride. In fact, seeing small scales stuff like yours, for example, is highly inspirational. It made me wonder if I would ever dare to this kind of experiment, and I have to say it's been quite a lovely challenge!

  13. My eyes started to water from looking so intensely at all the pictures you took. Wow, this is impressive. .
    So happy to hear you tried out one of the smaller scales and you did it with such finesse.
    The freehand on the shields, banners and horse, the hydra, it's base ... Wow, I don't even know where to begin with my praise.
    A masterclass paintjob on all of them!

    1. Thank you very much! Well, this was just to pull me out from my comfort zone, so I knew I didn't want a mere regular job, it really deserved more than regular attention. It's been challenging, true, but joyfully rewarding. Not a thing to do on a regular basis (not for me, I sadly tend to have the urge to finish things and rush too much on my work), but something to enjoy from time to time :)