I'm currently running The Great Pendragon Campaign for one of my tabletop RPG groups (which you can listen to here, if you're so inclined as to listen to RPG actual-plays). For those of you not in the know, this is an epic campaign for the King Arthur Pendragon game that takes players from the rule of Uther all the way through to the death of Arthur.
Part of the conceit of the game's framework is that as you move through the Arthurian saga, you move through the history of the Middle Ages. When you start out, technology and social mores are equivalent to the time of William the Conqueror; by the end, everyone's running around in Gothic armor and there's chivalry and chaste amor and all that stuff.
The campaign is divided up into Phases, and with the advent of a new Phase generally comes a shift in technology and fashion. The Great Pendragon Campaign features little vignettes at the beginning of each chapter showing a typical knight, squire, and lady of the Phase. As this venture represents a significant investment of time on my part, I decided to do the thing properly and take that vignette idea and turn it into little three-dimensional dioramas.
At present, I've so far made two dioramas: one for the Uther/Anarchy Phase, and one for the Boy King Phase. There are four more remaining to be made, and I'll post them on this blog as they come along.
First up, then, is the Uther/Anarchy diorama. These phases are not only evocative of the Norman period, but also feature some elements of the historical late-5th/early-6th century time that the phases nominally take place in, so I had fun researching Dark Age fabric dyes and colors. This is a time of pugnacious knights, Saxon invaders, and high social mobility.
Next up is the Boy King Phase. As the name implies, this is the period of King Arthur's appearance and subsequent consolidation of his rule, and this is when the Medieval gloss fully overtakes the Dark Age period. It reflects the time of Henry II in England and the appearance of concepts of chivalry and tournaments. Hand-painting those chekers was fun!