Category Archives: savage swans

ShedCon 2018 – Grays

Despite a knackered foot and hobbling around I made the trip down to the home of Iain Burt (Essex Boy) in Grays for a 20mm WSS game to christen his shed! 

The shed is outstanding. Plenty of room for an 8’x5′ table and six of us around it. Lots of storage at one end and under table. The table is great, can be reduced in size to 6’x5′ if needed and was all built by Iain himself. The raised edge has hills and sky painted on to aid with taking nice pictures! I arrived Friday afternoon and although Iain has been planning an preparing this game for over six months I was roped into painting the bases in trees and later he was finishing basing figures! But the plan in the day was to get up early and at 8am go into the shed to lay out the table. That shouldn’t  take long should it? I knew he has some painted blankets so just throw those down and lay out the terrain on top? Not Iain… 

First a layer of 1″ polystyrene laid down followed by a double layer of compressed underfloor insulation sheets….

The river sections were then laid out and the course marked and the whole thing cut out of the insulation board to create a recess.

The blankets were then laid down, tucked under the boards and locked in by the edges and pressed into the recess to allow  the river to sit in that with matching blanket material to blend it in. A LOT of work but it really looked good.

Now the roads. These were made for the game and just needed laying out as planned as they only fitted one way. Half an hour late after looking at pictures and ‘trimming’ a few bits they finally all fitted! 🙂

A few buildings and fields and a LOT of trees added and we had the final table. Well worth the effort. The trees especially looked the part.

The scenario was a simple one. Myself and Dave Hall were defending the road junctions. Five wagons were placed at road entry points (mostly on the far side) and at end of game the other side (Simon, Gary and Tim) had to have clear roads to exit at least three of the wagons off their side of the table. As long as we had a unit that could charge the road along a route then it was blocked. We started with four infantry brigades deployed anywhere two feet away from the three ‘enemy’ sides of the table. They started with five brigades coming on at table edges. Other brigades (cavalry and infantry) were fed in to either side as Iain saw fit. Rules were based on Rank and File with a few mods from Iain.

I’ll post all the pics in a gallery but a few here to describe the key events of the game. I was defending the right against Simon with a Yomper brigade (it’s the name we give to the figure!) which included the Savage Swans and the Alterfritzenburg brigade was deployed centrally to cover against a central attack by Tim. 

Dave had the tougher job of defending the left village and centre against a determined Gary and Tim.

The battle around the village was savage with Gary having to battle through angry townsfolk and then unit after unit being thrown back before, after pushing and pushing, Dave was thrown back. Although, the road was almost open Dave was able to put up a final line of defence and with a unit of cuirassier in support still controlled the crucial junction.

In the centre Tim had a tough task. Both myself and Dave had brigades blocking his way and the impassable woods made it hard to make numbers tell as he tried to cross the river and bring his force to bear. Two gun batteries caused casualties even at distance and as both were often able to converge on one unit it made progress slow. However, as the flanks came under more pressure and unit had to be moved in support the defence in the centre weakened and with a little more time the defence would have collapsed. However, time was on the side of the defenders!

My battle was to be a grinding affair on the right to seize control of the road. After Simon’s initial attack stalled he withdrew to control the road. As his cavalry came on some went up into the woods to battle with some stubborn local militia. As his force consolidated its defence it became clear I would need to advance and contest the road as if we did lose the other flank then we could not afford to give an easy ‘point’ away here. So my first brigade advanced and the ensuing firefights did not go well for me. Supporting dragoons and cuirassiers came up and the dragoons charged into the face of multiple battalions and guns and did not fair well! The supporting cavalry did push back Simon’s line but they too were eventually thrown back. The Savage Swans were the only unit of the brigade to survive and as supporting units of Altefritzenburgers, battered from their own battles, came up in support it was clear that here too the defenders still contested the road. 

So, as the day drew to a close it was decide the defenders had done their duty and held the roads! It was a great game. The rules worked well. Each unit rolled for quality as they took their first test. I ended up with quite a few green troops! We used low ammunition rolls which restricted the power of guns a little. And the various markers and flags that Iain produced made the game flow really well. Equally the good company and their approach to the game did likewise. A pleasure to play with the chaps again! Here we all are: Iain Burt, Simon Tonkiss, Andy McMaster, Dave Hall, Gary Phillips and Tim Hall.

It was a pleasure to play with Iain and Gary’s collections and to christen the new shed in such fine a manner. Many thanks to Iain for all the work put in.

And as a final note, I spent the Sunday helping Iain buy a new PC and then setting it all up for him. I was rather shocked when I saw the PC it was replacing! I don’t think I’ve seen a monitor that small for nearly ten years!

Thanks for looking. All the images from the day are at: ShedCon 2018 Gallery

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As Ayton looms…

…I’m finally cracking on with the figures needed. To add to the crossbowmen I finished a few weeks ago I’ve added 12 more Foot Sergeants (though they may end up as Yeoman!) and 6 Foot Men at Arms. All are Conquest Normans. And as I’m retaining the Savage Swans theme the tough chaps get the usual colour scheme! I’ve got another 12 foot and 6 mounted half done. Hope to get them finished by Friday. Then may attempt some more!

Ayton always provides a good focus for painting. If only I could realise that a few weeks earlier….

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Von Don Corp. Air Support

Many moons ago (2011!!) I decided to re-use some random 1/300 SF models to recreate the Savage Swans (my ImagiNation force which started in the C18th) as the military arm of VonDon Corporation (von Donovan being the family name of the original commander of the Swans) and relocate them to the not too distant future! http://blog.belisarius.org.uk/2011/09/fubar-vondon-corp-complete.html Although I re-painted a Red Dwarf Starbug as a basic transport vessel I’ve never added any combat craft… until now…

Although I’ve been focused on X-Wing the last week I’ve also prepped a few things to paint for a little LAW painting challenge and for Ayton. And as I’ve been prepping stuff for use in Horizon Wars I thought I’d paint a few ships that I got off my mate Slugbalancer a few years ago! These are from an old Star War range that I’ve not really seen anywhere else but found this pic online:

So as I wanted these for VonDon Corp. they needed to be in the standard buff and green colour scheme. I’d forgotten I did the other stuff green and then added the buff but the other way round seems to work OK as well. So here we have the VDC Combat Air Support.

One Ganymede Fighter and two Burt Assault Support Ships (know by the troops as the Burt Big Ass).

Quite pleased with them really. Wasn’t sure how to do the canopy glass but it doesn’t look too bad painted. The planned X-Wing tonight didn’t happen. Party as the lad was a total nightmare this morning so we are each in each others bad books, and partly he had a friend over to play.May have to wait until the weekend now…

A

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Ayton 2016 – Day 1

What a great weekend! This was our 6th Ayton gathering and it is testament to the pleasure it brings and the friendships that have developed that we all keep coming back. Occasionally ‘Real LifeTM’ gets in someone’s way and they miss a year (this time it was Essex Boy’s turn) but we’ve had a core of regular attendees. EB was much missed (we told him that at least! :)) as were his fine Gateway Alliance troops. And last year our Ayton host Mr Peeler was carted off to hospital and so missed the weekend. Good to see him back this year.

The last couple of blog entries detail what I painted for this years game and this year the size of our forces was restricted and there were no sillies or exotic troops.

This year’s participants were:

The Grenouissian Alliance comprises:

  • Paul ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Bright, Lord Drumcharry, with the forces of Dal Riata
  • Ken ‘MarshalNey’ McGarry, Viscount Gascoigne of Gateshead, with the forces of Whyeydia
  • Andy ‘Count Belisarius’ McMaster, Oberstgeneral Seamus Gunter von Donovan, with the forces of Altefritzenburg
  • Gary Phillips, General von Slivovitz, with the forces of St Paulin  and in overall command.

The Army of Granprixian Revenge consists of:

  • Mark ‘Peeler’ Phillips, Lord Peeler, with the forces of Aytonia
  • Peter ‘Purps’ Mark-Smtih, Marèchal de Camp le Duc du Flappe, with the Margraviate of Cress
  • Dave ‘World2Dave’ Hall, General Amore, with the army of Medetia
  • Dave ‘Buff’ McClumpha, Otto von Weeze, with the expeditionary force from Borscht
  • And Simon ‘Goat Major’ Tonkiss, Generalmajor von Hauptzeige, with the Diplomatic Enforcement Corps from Prunkland(Prunkländischediplomatischedurchführungskorps)

And Messrs Hall and Waudby (The Two Tims) were doing their own 54mm loveliness. I would have loved to have taken more pictures as both their games looked lovely (especially the AWI game) but you can see a few here: Ayton 2016 Other Games.

This year we returned to the C18th and Henry Hyde ran a campaign following on from the previous games and placed within his Wars of the Faltanian Succession Imagination milieu. You can read about the build up and see they lay of the land over on Henry’s blog along with Henry’s very pretty map. Hopefully later this year/next year Henry is releasing a book on Wargames Campaigns which I look forward to.

Depending on the map moves for the campaign we usually have 2-3 games on the first day which gets us back into the flow of the rules and sets the scene for Day 2. My opening game saw myself (with the forces of Altefritzenburg), allied with Ken’s Whyeydian army assaulting the army of Dave Hall’s Medetia as they marched East along the hills while we marched West in the valley and then faced off when we spotted each other. We initially had slightly confusing orders from our CinC sending us West. Which to me seemed a good plan so I penned orders to that effect and was joined by Ken and his Army. Unfortunately our CinC meant East! But the die was cast and battle commenced! Simon (Goat Major) was to take command of some of the Medetian forces as he awaited his own troops arriving on the other table.

I’ve created a big gallery with lots of photo from all of Day 1 but this is how our game went.20160430_105051

The forces of Whyeydia deployed on the left. While my infantry took the centre with my cavalry on the right, supported by a small but very useful Grenouissian contingent. The Medetians chose not to deploy their cavalry on our right. Although fairly evenly matched they would have been isolated from their main force by the intervening wooded high ground. This however left them facing Whyeydia who only had one (admittedly very pretty) hussar regiment. I deployed the famed Savage Swans in the centre to assault the right side of the town while Whyeydian took the left, and the blue coated Braunschweig troops would cross the river and attack the Medetian troops on the hill.

20160430_105126First blood went to neither of us! As we had been scouting the area prior to the enemy arrival we had Jaegers in the right hand woods. Unfortunately they immediately fell foul to an annoyed bear! Losing two figures before acquiring a new rug for the officers’ quarters!20160430_113239My batteries were deployed along the line to support all attacks but as the Medetians had two batteries of heavy guns covering my infantry assault I engaged in some counter battery fire. This was to prove most effective as by game end I had driven off two of his three batteries with heavy loss!

20160430_15363420160430_122419 20160430_153654In the woods our assorted light troops were to spend the entire game skirmishing to no real advantage to either side. As my cavalry had no real opposition I began to manoeuvre them towards the centre to try and support and exploit the infantry assaults. However, on turn 5 a contingent of local Borgenmark troops arrived (along with my remaining light troops and lancers) and they were forced to re-deploy to face this threat. Although my lancer squadron launched a charge against the superior enemy they were driven off. But the flank was secured and both forces faced off to no clear conclusion.20160430_140759

20160430_142436The real action was to take place in the centre and left. Emerging from the town in the centre the Braunschweig brigade advanced across the river screened by their Jaegers. They took some casualties from the enemy guns but these in turn were silenced by their own guns who were to inflict much punishment on the waiting Medetian infantry.

20160430_105227The Jaegers swarmed across the bridge to harass the enemy and cover the battalions crossing the river. As a unit of hussars appeared they were forced to evade and the hussars crashed into the first battalion and suffered heavily as a result. This delayed the river crossing and by game end the Braunschweig troops has just started exchanging close range volleys. Medetia still held the high ground.20160430_12154520160430_12153820160430_14550820160430_151652Once the infantry had advanced the famed Braunschweig Kuirassiers advanced into the centre, taking some casualties from enemy guns, but once these had been driven off by their own guns they advanced rapidly to assault the newly exposed infantry to the right of the town. Unfortunately, the losses suffered advancing, charging uphill, and a volley as they went in left them a little weary and a fine defence by the enemy infantry saw them thrown back in disarray! Sorry Tim! 20160430_12223720160430_161818My main force advanced in four lines, the Swans leading the way. They took casualties from heavy guns in the way in and a fine first volley from the defenders saw the first battalion retire. The second exchanged volleys at close range but the wall was to be the decider and they too retired to redress the ranks.20160430_11272120160430_143329_00120160430_150425It was now the turn of the Altefritzenburgers but they were to fare little better. Often taking fire from two enemy battalions the first battalion was to retire as well and at game end the final full strength battalion was ready for its turn, with the Swans now reformed to its rear.20160430_15170020160430_165144

However by now events on the left meant the day was not to end well.

The massed infantry of Whyeydia advanced valiantly but artillery and heavy volleys were to drive them back from the assault on the town.

20160430_105432Meanwhile on their left the massed Medetian heavy cavalry descended on the them and although they fought valiantly they were gradually driven back on the far left.

20160430_14582520160430_105140The hussars attempted to rescue the flank but were no match for cuirassiers!20160430_151718With their left flank driven back this expose their centre to cavalry charges and as they day close it was clear the assault had failed…20160430_154551The Medetians had put up a solid defence.
20160430_170021

Their guns had taken a battering but they held the high ground and their massed cavalry, with room to deploy and no cavalry to oppose them were to decide the affair on the left. And if I learnt one thing about assaulting infantry behind walls it is this: NEVER let Ken roll any of your saving throws!!! 🙂

At that point we declared. Battle still raged on the other table and again did not go too well for our troops. We were eventually driven back and our combined forces were to meet on the open plains north Lit de la Rivière. But that tale will be told later…

We were using Henry’s Shot Steel and Stone rules (as we have always done for C18th games) but this year both myself and Dave were using smaller battalions. Mine being five stands with an added battalion gun to bring them up to six. Six is the minimum for a Normal size unit as I needed to avoid any Small unit reaction test penalties. What we found in the first couple of turns were that a two gun heavy or medium battery firing at advancing infantry were hitting on a 5,6 with 10 and 8 D6 respectively. And the target needed a 6 to Save. Once the heavy guns got to medium range they only needed 4,5,6. Despite a new rule giving a -1 if you have just changed target in covered arc with an additional -1 if outside this often saw a unit taking 5-6 casualties in a shot! One casualty per base triggers a reaction test with potentially a -6 for casualties that turn at least! This saw my first unit recoil quite swiftly! Myself, Dave and Ken decided to halve the dice for guns. Work them out as normal and then halve and round up. We found this made the guns still quite effective but not a killer for our smaller units. It also meant I had a chance to get across the open ground before I lost a stand and became a Small unit. This worked so well that we adopted for our second game (of which more anon) and on Day 2 Henry adopted it generally for all players. It made a BIG difference to our games. We also agreed not to mass guns against a single unit.

So that was Day 1. A most excellent a fun game and played in great spirit. I can’t really comment much on the other game other than that it looked good, had massed cavalry and flank attacks!

The evening, as tradition demands, was spent feasting in the Forge pub and then trying to stay there all night! They eventually kicked us out at 2am….

More soon…

 

 

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Battalion Guns!

In preparation for Ayton I needed to paint up five battalion guns to add to my ‘smaller’ battalions. I already have one gun with the Savage Swans but needed another and two each for the Braunschweig and Alterfritzenburg battalions. My existing gun was based on 50x50mm to match the infantry bases which was fine when the gun was more of an attached gun rather than integral to the unit.

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Iain Burt (Essex Box), the Picasso of basing, suggested that a narrower base, matching the four figure command stand (33mm x 50mm) would make the integral gun more a part of the unit. Less space in the line. Seems to work.

20160406_183213 20160406_183234

Having recently seen pics of John Ray’s battalion guns I wish I had done them with crew pushing them along as it looks very good (assuming I can find the right figures!) and I will probably do this with the next lot.

And the Workbench currently has four command figures in progress and 14 kuirassier. Not long ’til Ayon now! 🙂

 

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