Category Archives: savage swans

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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More Savage Swans – in 6mm!

Over the last two years I have been slowly painting up 28mm RSM SYW figures for my ImagiNation of Altefritzenburg and it’s famed fighting force, von Donovan’s Savage Swans. These have seen service in the last two Ayton games run by Henry Hyde. The core of the force was the main battalion shown here with grenadiers detached.

Savage Swans - 28mm RSM figures

Now I really love the Ayton games but I am a slow painter when it comes to 28mm and I can only really see myself using my 28mm ImagiNation forces for Ayton or related games. I am firmly in the ‘paint both sides’ and ‘do my own thing’ camp and getting enough together for a full game myself is never going to happen in my lifetime! So the solution? Recreate my entire ImagiNation forces in 6mm! I then stand a decent chance of painting up enough for a game…maybe…

Although I’m undecided on rules long term I do want to try Maurice so that was my starting point. Basing was an issue though and I looked at several options (see earlier post). The ‘convention’ for Maurice in 6mm seems to be to use the Polemos 60x30mm basing, two bases to a unit. For column, people just turn the bases sideways. Now, I wasn’t really happy with that, and also because I wanted to add some extra figures to each base, the option of using 30x30s (which solved the column ‘problem’) still didn’t look right. So the end result is…. 40x30mm! I really think 4x 40mm stands LOOKS right for a battalion in line. I’ve also added a command stand (equally 40x30mm) so that when they are all in column I am only 10mm out in the line/column lengths.

So here they are. The Savage Swans in 6mm!

The Savage Swans
The company officers lead the way
Count Vladimir Belisarius, the Colonel of the Regiment, along with the Colours

Now, because I’ll be using these for Maurice and I still wanted to keep the option of playing other people open, I can remove the grenadier company and still have a unit with the ‘standard’ 120mm frontage.

NCOs and Drummers keep the troops in line and in time

And placing the command in the front when in column gives the same column/line length when using 3 stands t oa unit and only 10mm out when using the lot.

In column

These were fun to paint. All foot figures are Baccus. The mounted officers are Adler. Foot officers are standard bearers with the pole cut down to sword length. And painting the Swan’s standards was a bugger in 6mm!

Officers and Colours to the front

I tried a different technique to pain these. Light grey undercoat, black wash. This REALLY brings out the detail on the figures and I have to admit to being surprised at how much there was that just got lost with a black undercoat.

I have the figures for the Grenzers, Indians and cavalry lined up as well. More to come…

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WIP – Savage Swans: the Return…

Well today I took a flexi day. Had wanted a day off since the Christmas/New Year ‘break’ after which I was totally knackered! There was meant to be a big system upgrade at work this weekend so I’d decided that this and next week were out. However, it’s just been put back ’til 18th Feb so I thought I’d grab it now. It’s dropped my flexi to about -16 hours but I should be able to pull it back over the next few week… 🙂

So, what was the plan for the day? After dropping kids at school I spent a bit of time tidying up the attic. It still doesn’t look like it but a lot of stuff is now in drawers and I have some space on my desk/painting table. May will see the next Ayton game for which I have great plans (see the Painting Master Plan to the right). I’d hoped to start before Christmas to try and avoid the rush to finish in May but there was too much on and I only managed to spray undercoat a good batch of figures. So today I thought I’d at least make a start.

First up are two small batches to add to what I already have. We have the next contingent of ‘Native’ warriors from the Colonies, under the command of JaegerMeister Hans Gretal of the Altefritzenburg Jaeger Korp. After their outstanding performance in last years game I have high hopes for this larger force. Along side them are the second squadron of the Legion Uhlans. The initial squadron was just not meaty enough to deal with Old School size units so I’m doubling it to 12 figures and will include an office and standard bearer.


All figures are RSM. I’m hoping to get these done by the weekend and then start on the first of the Ottomans. I want at least one unit done, then will start the artillery for the Legion, then return to the Ottoman cavalry.

I’m not sure yet if the painting is up to the last lot. I’d painted a good few 28mm before I got to the Uhlans so my ‘eye’ was in. These are the first 28mm I’ve painted since last May so we’ll just have to see.

And most worryingly, the mystery Ral Partha green paint is getting close to unusable so I’ll need to prioritise units that will use it.

Anyway, nice to be back painting.

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FUBAR – VonDon Corp. – complete

Well, after a few grabbed sessions over the last few days I’ve finally finished (for now) my VonDon Corp. contingent for FUBAR. This gives me enough for a viable little game so all I need now is some opposition, of which more anon. On to the Swans in Space…

The whole contingent looks like this:

I’ve added the Command Team with (from right cockwise), Cpt Lamm, medic, ATGW team, Lt. Schneider:

The contingent can still call on the heavy weapons if needed:

The Recon Team, with their Combat Walkers and prototype power armour:

There are 4 teams, each with their own IFV. Yellow Team:

White Team:

Red Team:

Blue Team are the rapid response team, either in their ARV (Airmobile Recon Vehicle):

Which enables team to deploy with support from the ARV HMG:

Or with their standard IFV:

Any of the Teams can be deployed further afield with the OSTV (Orbit-Surface Transport Vessel):


And yes, it is Starbug!

So there we are. Enought to be going on with. I have a small EarthGov monitoring team nearly done and have planned out the colonists and a rival corporation. And I have some Dark Realm Miniatures coming as well.

That will do for now…


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