My submission for the 'Hero or Heroic Group' bonus round in the Winter Painting Challenge was St George and the Dragon. This was the free figure that was given away at Salute 2005 and for me its one of the best models the South London Warlords have ever commissioned. It's a 28mm Mark Copplestone sculpt that comes in two parts and when assembled makes a very nice vignette showing England's patron Saint fighting a Dragon.
A quick internet search (All Hail Google!) reveals that real St George was probably born to a Greek Christian noble family in Palestine (modern day Israel) during the late third century and for a while was a soldier in the Roman Army eventually being promoted to the rank of Tribunus. In AD302 Emperor Diocletian issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested. George refused to hide his faith, was sentenced to death and subsequently became venerated as a Christian martyr.
The myth of Saint George verses the Dragon didn't become widespread until the publication of a book called The Golden Legend in 1483. This was a translation of a book by Jacques de Voragine, a French bishop, which incorporated fantastic details of Saints' lives. St George it was said "...came in to the province of Libya, to a city which is said Silene. And by this city was a stagne or a pond like a sea, wherein was a dragon which envenomed all the country."
The Dragon had been terrorising the city and the population had been offering up sacrifices of young maidens to placate the beast. George arrived just in time to save the Kings Daughter from this terrible fate! The population were so impressed with this act of pious bravery they immediately converted to Christianity en-masse.
St George became a popular Saint in England some time after the publication of this story and eventually was adopted as the nations Patron and in the minds of many was most definitely an Englishman.
This wasn't a particularly difficult model to paint but I got very behind on my painting schedule and ended up rushing to finish it on time. I'm still pleased with how it turned out but I'm sure I could have done better in certain areas had I not been up against a deadline. In particular I'm not happy with how the freehand painted shield design came out, although in my defence I have to say I have very little experience of doing this sort of thing (All Hail Decals!!). Anyway, I hope you like it.