Painting as many pieces of a model separately is the only approach!
Saddles were painted on their own, the horses were painted separately,
as were the riders and the shields.
Makes for way less headaches for hobbyists that are not enthralled with painting.
Here we have a paper Banner I found over at http://onelover-ray.blogspot.com/search/label/Viking%20flags (Don't throw a one Blog)
To avoid unsightly white areas after I close the flag, I painted the inside edges with colors that would blend with the outside.
Heres the Bannerman. I used a sparing amount of white glue on all edges of the flag,
Fold The banner with some realistic ripples and voila!
I sprayed the shields on the sprue brown, gave a quick tan dry brush, and painted the bosses silver.
And added the decals. These shields are ready to protect the pagans!