OK, I just spent a little over an hour to get the white onto these five models. Figure about 22 minutes a model to paint the feathers and the tabards from black to brown to bone to white.
Ugh, what a pain in the rear. There just isn't a lot of options - a white undercoat wouldn't have worked, and from my experience it is harder to get a really good shadowing on white base coated models. It's great for set pieces, but for speed, I prefer black priming.
Of course, then you still have to deal with white.