Sunday, February 19, 2012

Byzantine Navy...

I guess I ought to be finishing the next part of the Raesharn Spring Offensive of 66941, but right now we have Broadband issues that dissuades me from that for the time being.

Instead, I thought I'd do something completely different. Years ago, whilst visiting Greece with my partner, Karen, we took a look, among a multitude of fascinating sites, sights and museums, the Nautical Museum of Greece, I think in Khania, Crete. Therein I found a couple of fine postcards featuring models of some of the Byzantine dromons on display.

You can see that the sketch that heads this post was modelled upon the first of the postcard pictures.

Having long had a Byzantine wargames army of the 11th century, I bethought myself to add some naval elements. To be honest, I never got past the first one.

I scaled the thing roughly at 500 to 1. The length of the vessel is 10cm (representing c.50m) long by 2cm beam - possibly a little beamier than it ought to be as the length width ratio seems to have been nearer 7:1 than the 5:1 I allowed myself.

The frontage of the element was the standard 40mm for a 15mm-scale army, but that meant, of course, a rather more depth than usual. The old DBM rules were pretty flexible in this regard, fortunately.

The materials used for this model were my usual assortment of cardboard, balsa, bits of skewer, tissue paper, cotton and pins. The shields lining the waist of the vessel were the severed heads of the pins I used for the oars.

One of the fascinating features of the dromon was its little fighting tower in the bow, with a long Greek fire projectors (syphons?) over the port and starboard quarters, and through the mouth of the dragon figurehead.

I really, really, must make some more of these...


  1. Very nicely done, I've always been a fan of the Byzantine Navy and army. I have a few resin galleys in 25mm that I'll convert to Dromons some day...)

    1. Hi Don -

      I don't know anyone who does Byzantine vessels as such, but possibly resin Venetian and/or Ottoman of, say, 16th Century I have thought possibly adaptable. But these were quite small models.

      I didn't know anyone did these in 25mm scale, though. It sounds like a rather large vessel for the table-top (upwards of 18 inches in length for a fairly small vessel), or have I misunderstood the scale?

      Meanwhile, although I haven't included any, I did consider placing a few 1:300 scale figures here and there anout decks. Over scale, of course, but they would probably look right...

  2. Yes, you really should make some more. That one is a very fine model.


  3. Wonderful looking model Ion.

    It is a shame we see so few naval elements on the table, supporting land engagements, these days. Well at least in Ancient/Medieval games locally. I have recently completed my first Peter Pig ship to support my ECW armies. It is 1/450th and has some crew which I think add to the look.

    1. I was thinking much the same thing (about the paucity of supporting naval elements in coastal actions) this morning, particularly in view of a follow-up article I plan to post in the next day or two. This was a naval squadron I made some 15 years ago for a Mediaeval German army (DBM) then being used by a certain Wargames buddy. Unfortunately these cogs have been unemployed for more than a decade...

      Very sad.