Fancy moustache and a chicken – Portos the Musketeer

You may know the drill: People send each other miniatures to be painted and receive a unique artwork in the end to add to their collection. There were no limitations in terms of period or setting. In the end I decided to sent out a slightly converted Dragonborn Bones miniature. I am sure it will see quite a bit of play in our DnD campaign.

In turn I received a miniature from a period I was not familiar with at all. Namely a musketeer roughly dated to the beginning of the 17th century. Yes, you think right: The three musketeers. Hagen miniatures sells a set called ‘The four musketeers‘ based on the 1973 film ‘The three musketeers‘. French author Alexandre Dumas published his historical novel Les trois mousquetaires in 1843/44 which all movie adaptions are based on.

Alexandre Dumas looking cheeky. Nadar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dumas work is, however, not entirely fiction, rather it is based on historical figures with similar names. D’Artagnan for instance is based on Charles de Batz-Castelmore d’Artagnan, a bold soldier, spy and bon vivant with a brilliant career at the french court. He died during the siege of Maastrich in 1673, again on campaign and ever loyal to the French king.

Given history and fiction go hand in hand in Dumas work, I thought I would take a similar approach to painting the miniature: Coming up with my own version of one of the famous musketeers, but naturally  inspired by history. I thought the sculpt would make a good Portos, moustache and all.

A royal scheme

I stuck with red and blue as the two main (royal) colours, but did not paint a white cross; the traditional emblem of the Mousquetaires du roi. Instead I felt like trying something new: a brocade effect. The miniature wears a doublet, thus a nice even surface is provided to experiment.

First I tried to paint a floral scheme using red and yellow as contrasting colours. Unfortunately the result was far from perfect and I had to repaint the doublet. My second attempt was more subtle: Just the appearance of geometric patterns in a light blue on top of the dark blue doublet.

Naturally there is still room for improvement. In fact, I did improve my brocade technique a few years later and was more successful with Lem the Halfling Bard.

Boots, straps and belts are kept in different brown shades. Accordingly, the focus is on the doublet and the face. I thought of making the coat draped over the arm blue or red with a white cross. However, I think the light brown adds some variation without making the miniature too busy.

Some white accents on the feathers,  sleeves and pants add some interest to the red cloth and the black hat frames the face nicely. I decided to give him grey hair: an old veteran that has still some fight in him.


I think a good base complements a nice paint job. So I decided to put a bit more effort in it and fashion a diorama base. The idea was to capture an idyllic mediterranean scene, maybe in Spain or Greece.  A weathered stone wall separates the base and allows to have two scenes playing out: The old musketeer facing an opponent, emphasised by a line he draws in the sand: “No further!” Behind the wall a chicken is oblivious to the ensuing fight and goes about its business.

Hagen Miniatures, Die vier Musketiere, Musketiers, Dumas, D'Artagnan, brocade, 28mm, daggerandbrush, scenic basing
The line is a subtle addition, but is a nice way to tell a story with the base.
Hagen Miniatures, Die vier Musketiere, Musketiers, Dumas, D'Artagnan, brocade, 28mm, daggerandbrush, chicken
A-well-a ev’rybody’s heard about the bird bird bird bird. B-bird’s the word oh well-a bird bird bird.

I also added a small olive tree to emphasise the mediterranean theme of the base. Brushes, olive leaves and taller grass are a mix of MiniNatur products. The taller grass is in actual fact Pine tree foliage. A good way to use any leftovers.

Per usual light coloured soil gives a very naturalistic appearance. In my opinion it is superior to the old sand and paint mix.

The stone wall is actually a custom sculpt that I will use in terrain boards and for dungeon modules.

28mm, daggerandbrush, wall, sculpey, stone, sculpting
The raw sculpt before baking. I made a press mold and a copy, only to cut it in pieces and use part of it for the wall.

Colours used

Light leather parts and cloak: Basecoat of RMS Tanned Leather with a wash of Vallejo Umber Shade. Followed by highlights with successive amounts of Vallejo Gold Yellow and RMS Pure White.

Dark leather parts, chicken body: Basecoat of Vallejo Flat Brown with a bit of RMS Blood Red. Vallejo Deep Yellow and RMS Tanned Leather mixed in for the highlights.

Hat: Basecoat of RMS Pure Black followed by highlights with MRP Sapphire Blue.

Hair: Basecoat of RMS Pure Black. Followed by highlights with Vallejo London Grey.

Linen shirt, feathers: Basecoat of RMS Pure White with a hint of Vallejo Flat Brown, wash with Vallejo Umber Shade and highlights with RMS Pure White.

Pants, sword sheath, feathers, chicken’s comb and sleeves: RMS Blood Red mixed with Vallejo Flat Brown followed by a wash with Vallejo Umber Shade. Deepening of shadows with adding some RMS Pure Black to the basecoat tone. Successive highlights with Vallejo Golden Yellow.

Hagen Miniatures, Die vier Musketiere, Musketiers, Dumas, D'Artagnan, brocade, 28mm, daggerandbrush, chicken
My soul still seeking for the land of Greece…

Face: 50:50 of Vallejo Medium Fleshtone and Vallejo Basic Skintone for the basecoat. Followed by a wash with GW Reikland Flesh. Successive highlights with Vallejo Basic Skintone and RMS Pure White.

Bronze parts: Brown Base Coat (Vallejo Flat Brown) followed by Vallejo Bronze and a wash with GW Reikland Flesh. I then mixed some Vallejo Bright Bronze in it for the first and the second highlight. Finishing touches with some Vallejo Silver. Vallejo Smoke was then applied to add again more depth in some places.

Steel parts: Basecoat of MRP Pure Black followed by Vallejo Gunmetal Grey. For the highlights Vallejo Oily Steel with successive drops of Vallejo Silver. Vallejo Smoke for added depth.

Blue doublet and brocade freehand: Basecoat MRP Sapphire Blue with a hint of Vallejo London Grey. Followed by highlights with successive amounts of RMS Pure White.

Chicken’s beak: Basecoat of Vallejo Deep Yellow with a bit of Vallejo Flat Brown, followed by a wash with GW Reikland Flesh and successive amounts of RMS Pure White for the highlights.

Hagen Miniatures, Die vier Musketiere, Musketiers, Dumas, D'Artagnan, brocade, 28mm, daggerandbrush,
He entered the remains of an old Norman hold through a ruined portal, his pursuers closing in. “Let them come”, he thought by himself, pressing his back against the cold stone.
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Thomas Stoesser
7 years ago

Very cool stuff, my friend! I just stumbled across your blog for the first time and I think I will spend some more time tonight reading through it. Keep it up!

Daniel Hosier
7 years ago

Very nice workmanship, the Brocade looks great and I really like the stone wall. Interesting story thanks for sharing.

7 years ago


7 years ago

Beautiful work as always. Knowing the work and knowledge that goes into your flora, I find the effect of the foliage and the base more impressive than the miniature perched on top – which is sublime in itself.

7 years ago

Splendid! Great paint job on the figure, and the base is simply stunning. I love the narrative it invokes… Depending on the movie, I can even envision someone stumbling over the chicken soon 🙂

7 years ago

It is always a pleasure to read your articles. And to admire your lovely figures, I think the fellow who got the figure is ecstatic.

7 years ago

Oh, MAN. That last photograph is simply fantastic! The figure is great-I love the consistently muted colors. Nice job in hinting at a story with your basing…the line in the sand, and chicken both fire the imagination.

Mark A. Morin
7 years ago

Very nice work!