Category Archives: savage swans

An update at last! A bit of everything…

Since the Ayton game in May I’ve been right off painting. Distinct lack of mojo. I think the regular annual stress of getting everything painted for the weekend was a little too much. Always worth it for the game but it can be hard to get back into the painting routine afterwards. And it has taken a while. But as ever, a deadline has provided the spur!

This coming weekend sees a gathering of some of the Ayton gamers and members of the Loose Association of Wargamers forum gather in Framlingham, Suffolk for a weekend of gaming, beer and good company. There are a number of games planned (which I’ll report on next week) but for once I didn’t need to paint anything. Which of course, meant I had to do SOMETHING! And as my plan for the Saturday was to take part in a 20mm WSS game being run by Iain Burt (Essex Boy) this seemed the obvious chance to do the Savage Swans in another scale and period! I had hoped to do a small brigade but, as you’ll see below, I was working on other stuff as well so in the end just did the main unit and an officer.

The figures are Les Higgins 20mm customised by Iain Burt and are done in the traditional buff and green of the Swans.

swans20mm01 swans20mm02 swans20mm03 swans20mm04 swans20mm05I have to admit I found the 20mm quite hard to paint. The techniques I use on my 15mm and smaller didn’t quite work, and the 28mm style seemed overkill. But they got there in the end.

Long terms plan is to do the dragoon contingent and a couple of units of Altefritzenburgers

So, having done those, what else?

Well, following the pummeling my troops took from the massed enemy guns at Ayton I decide the Swans needed their own artillery battery so to start that I present Die Große Eingelegte!

swansgun02 swansgun03 swansgun01The gun is a Fife and Drum 12lb Vallieres generously given to me by Jim Purky in my last order. It is a lovely big model! I have a two horse F&D limber to do at some point but for now the limber is an Irregular Miniature model. The figures are RSM. For my other guns I had done the marching figures fixed to the gun ‘base’ but have decided single figure basing is better. The curved base done especially for me by Martin at Warbases.

I have two ways of deploying the gun. Using a large textured base (idea stolen from World2Dave!) I can slot the figures in and have spare slots for markers, barrels, cannon balls etc.

swansgun08 swansgun07 swansgun06 swansgun05 swansgun04The alternative is to just use a loose gun and single based figures:

swansgun09 swansgun10 swansgun11The gun crew are Fife and Drum Continental gunners. I have all my gunners and engineer types with read waistcoats and trousers. The others have black leggings which tempers this a bit but these chaps are going for the whole red leg look! And it is great news that Fife and Drum and an increasing number of the Minden range are now available in the UK from Crann Tara Miniatures

I will add a second gun (smaller) and eventually use this limber for that and the big limber for the 12lb’er

And that is not all!

I’ve recently just finished reading two novels and two novellas by Marko Kloos which fired up my 6mm SF interest. And while searching for 6mm figures I came across Microworld Games and after contacting owner Steven Salotti ordered some sample packs of their Foundationist infantry. Steven kindly threw in some vehicle samples as well. They are lovely little figures. A little smaller than my existing ex-Adler Dark(est) Star but the right style I wanted.

I’ve only painted a couple of squads and some support but will be doing others and I have plans for a couple of dropships to go with them. Painting was simple. Mid-grey undercoat, black wash, lighter grey dry brush and weapons. I’ve painted each squad with a different colour shoulder pad to help ID on the table.

naccorp01 naccorp02 naccorp03 naccorp04 naccorp05My 6mm SF is based around powerful corporations and these represent the NACCorp – North American Commonwealth Corporation.

So I’m quite pleased with that lot and looking forward to this weekend where I hope I will take lots of pictures!



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C19th Swans complete…

Well, after a bit of an effort over the last week I’ve finally finished the C19th incarnation of my Savage Swans. I’ve still got the mascot to do but that requires a little green stuff work so is still on the workbench:

IMAG3451 IMAG3452 IMAG3453 IMAG3454The standard is a single flag rather than the two I use in the C18th version and merges the two with the symbols of the Kindgom of K’ha’Ramel in the upper quadrant to honour their service in the great Byzarbian Campaign.

Currently working on the artillery crews…

IMAG3457Lots still to do….


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Savage Swans – A Hundred Years On

So much for my New Years Resolution of more regular blog updates. Fatjerm it has been six weeks since I last blogged and I have sinned… well, probably not, but I’ve been less than productive on the painting front! Despite the impending big game in Ayton and the shed load of stuff I need to paint I’ve done very little. However, over the last couple of weeks I finally made a start on some Spencer Smith Franco-Prussians which I am using for the C19th representation of Von Donovan’s Savage Swans. The C18th version were RSM miniatures, Austrian Musketeers:


and I wanted to keep the vaguely Germanic theme and pointy helmets do the job!

IMAG3370 IMAG3371I’ve only painted twelve so far (three more stands to do) but it’s a start. I have Jaegers and artillery and uhlans to do next! And almost six weeks left to do it all!

No problems…



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A Festive Byzarbian Interlude!

Yesterday was the last meeting of the Tyneside Wargames Club of this year. And my FIRST game at the club this year! Not a good score really. Apart from the big Ayton game in May and a small game at the Pendraken Birthday bash, this is the only gaming I’ve managed this year. I’ve got a reasonable amount of painting done but the lack of gaming has been a little frustrating. But enough whining!

As this was to be a big event for me I wanted to make it a decent game and it made sense to bring out the 28mm ImagiNation forces again. As two other Ayton participants live locally  – Phil (Norman D Landings) and Ken (Marshallney) I thought a small game to follow on from the game in May would be nice. To keep within the framework of game milieu meant that myself and Ken were on the same side and Phil’s forces the enemy. As that meant a rather uneven bias in the forces I tried to pick a scenario that worked around that. Reading through Charles S Grant’s The Wargame Companion I saw details of a small Teaser call Wagon Train. I thought this had possibilities as I had a decent set of wagons and guns and limbers in my forces. I then had a look through the Battlegames Magazine Table Top Teaser compendium and found a variation on the same Teaser and decided to use this as the basis of the game.

If you want to see how the game went before reading some of the details and comments below you can find an eyewitness account from the ever reliable Private Lamm in his Journal entry. And an annotated galley: Byzarbian Interlude. I’ll apologise in advance for the odd shot with tape measures and dice in but given the amount of vodka I’d drunk throughout the game I was lucky I could hold the camera steady!

The defenders were to be the forces of Altefritzenburg defending the wagon train and Wheyeydia coming to the rescue. The forces of the Sultan Pasha are normally allies of Altefritzenburg but for this game a thought a little treachery on their part might even the odds. Phil’s forces, though small, was quite tough with the camel gunners providing good firepower and the lancers a good strike force. The plan was that they would be the starting force. On predetermined turns they would have two forces arriving to support them. These were to be the forces of the Pasha Sultan! The Sultan has always had dealings with pirates (he counts some his friends and allies) and it seems those about to be put to siege in the town are old friends and he feels obliged to turn against his new allies and return to his old ways. The forces of Wheyeydia do not know this. When they arrived on table I moved them as supposed my own troops but at the orders of Phil. At the point they would declare their intentions (i.,e. fire on or attack their allies) they would then move over to Phil’s control.


The forces of Wheyeydia again had a predetermined arrival order by choosing an envelope at random which listed each unit and the turn they arrived at point D. Luckily Ken chose the envelope which saw his forces arrive from turn five onwards.The main attack force arrived on turn one at point A. The forces of the Pasha began to arrive on turn three at point B with the cavalry arriving on turn six at point C.

The version of the Teaser in the magazine had the wagon train moving at 4″ a turn. In retrospect this turned out to be too slow as once Phil’s lancers drove off the Uhlans they descended on the wagons and stopped the main force getting across. The table was also slightly smaller than the 9’x 6′ of the original and I think this meant that Phil’s troops got in sooner than planned. We also game him the first move which also helped.

The arrival of Ken’s troops was not helped by failing his first 2-3 command rolls which reduced his movement to 100mm a turn. And we also forgot that troops in column away from the enemy could make double march moves! This meant that although Ken’s troops effectively drove off the enemy it was by their impending presence rather than through combat! I must apologise to Ken as yet again his fine troops struggled to come to grips with the enemy through no fault of his own.

The rules we used were the same as at Ayton and are from Henry Hyde’s forthcoming The Wargaming Compendium. As none of us had played the rules since May I’m sure we missed a few things (like the March Moves!) and I’ll hopefully be giving Henry some feedback in due course. Overall they played well though.

It was nice to get the troops out again and there was a fine selection on display. Ken’s forces were a mix of Old Glory, Jackdaw and Wargames Factory.

Ken's Troops
Ken’s Troops
Ken's Troops
Ken’s Troops
Ken's Troops
Ken’s Troops

While Phil’s were a fine selection of Old Glory for his (N)Ottomans and I think Foundry for the Pirates?

Phil’s Ottomans
The attack at the ford begins
The attack at the ford begins
The dreaded camel gunners
The dreaded camel gunners

My own were predominantly RSM with a few Eureka for the Turkish pirates and the Sultan Pasha himself.

From the Eureka Harem set!
From the Eureka Harem set!
RSM Austrians
RSM Austrians
RSM Ottomans
RSM Ottomans

And the fine desert scenery was supplied by Lawrence. If you browse Richard’s (Herkybird on TMP) blog you will see many examples from Lawrence’s collection and having decent terrain really helped make the game look good.

And as it was the last Club meet of the year there was copious alcohol to be had so many thanks to all the chaps at the Club for making my first game of the year a memorable one!



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Post Derby Update

Well, the various comments over on TMP re the ‘Derby’ show have been interesting. I hope the organisers don’t take it too much to heart as I think most critisisms were pretty valid and meant constructively. Price of food, noise and atmosphere are, I suppose, very subjective.

Still feeling tired from the excesses of the weekend and with my wife away last night and today in Manchester (and so the added stress of sorting our sometimes less than cooperative kids!) and being full of cold, I decided to take a flexi day and spend some time at home. I had great plans of doing lots of things in the attic but in the end managed the following:

Watched S02E02 of Homeland – getting interesting!

Watched Expendables 2 – very silly…

Confirmed the extras I had ordered from Baccus enable to finish off the units I wanted. I know have enough to do five more battalions, which will be all Altefritzenburgers, once I decide on uniform colours. And standards… I have one units on bottle tops waiting to go though.

While at Derby I picked up a sample sabot base from Martin at Warbases. I had had some steel 15mm discs done by Precision Wargames Supplies to use as bases for my 15mm Splintered Light minis for the TFL Dux Brittanniarum rules. I’ve only got a few painted but will be putting the two starter armies together slowly. The bases are very thin and light so normal depth MDF sabots are just too deep. Martin spent a little time investigating the options and came up with the following:

The actual base is 1.4mm mount board under the normal 2mm MDF with an insert in each round hole to raise it to the level to make the thin steel bases flush. The 3mm hole in the middle is for adding a small magnet to hold the figure in place. The steel bases do not give enough weight to really steady the figure. The magnet will help.

So this gave me the chance to base up what I had painted so far.

I only have one unit of warriors, my leader and four archers. The archers and leaders will be on 20mm bases. I’ve yet to decide if they need a sabot as well.

The main unit is the 6th Century incarnation of my Savage Swans!

The plan is to have nice regular bases for the shieldwall (though I still think they are a little too far apart) and the ‘random’ bases for loose groups and Saxons. When I get round to painting them!

Next up will be more 6mm Imagi units. And hopefully I’ll sort the colour schemes so Ian can paint the other ‘French’ units.


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