Aut Cesar, Aut Nihil, Wargaming the Borgias.

Aut Cesar, Aut Nihil, Wargaming the Borgias.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Small Steps,big ideas.

In 1986 I bought and painted a 28mm wargames army,representing the army of Cesare Borgia,Duke of Valentinois. I was inspired at that time by the BBC series,The Borgias, starring Oliver Cotton as Cesare,and some large Italian chap playing Pope Alexander VI. I must say the Italian was rather good in the part,albeit I couldn't pick up some of the dialogue.It was full of intrigue,loose morals,perfidy and poison,a bit like modern day Great Britain.
The army was full of some wonderful figures,bought from the likes of Connoisseur, Essex Miniatures,Hinchliffe and the like.It was in my eyes a lovely army.
Sadly like a lot of wargamers, I changed scales and discovered the joys of 6mm wargaming and subsequently sold all my 28mm armies,including Cesare Borgias army.
I replaced all my renaissance armies with 6mm figures,and enjoyed the experience.

Then something happened,almost an epiphany in some ways, firstly I played Warlord Games new rules,Pike and Shotte and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.Secondly John Reidy my bette noir,and long suffering wargames opponent,painted up two wonderful 15mm Italian Wars armies which got me thinking.Then thirdly Sky brought out their new series, The Borgias,which really is the dogs bollocks,albeit with some dodgy history,but who cares. It is beautifully filmed and is clearly attempting to balance out the notoriety of the Borgias. Once again,it has loose morals, intrigue etc,etc, and more
 importantly it has lots of soldiers in it.

 That was it , I decided that I was going to re build my wargaming army of Cesare Borgia,again in 28mm,but this time it is going to be my best ever painted army,god I sound like a child.

  The metal ranges are now pretty extensive, my favourites are Eureka Miniatures,but these are so expensive the only way I would own these,is if I flew over to Australia and broke into their factory and stole them.It would still be cheaper than actually buying them legitimately.
 I like the Artizan range,but its a bit small and not Italian enough, I thought about the Connoisseur range which is still available, but these figures have become a tad on the expensive side, and the range was never completed by the late great Peter Gilder.
 So it had to be the Perry twins. Most importantly,and just in case my wife actually reads this blog,which I doubt,the majority is going to be built in plastic [plastic=cheapish]
Inspired by a really good article by the great painter Richard Lloyd in the last issue of Wargames Soldiers and Strategy [thats a mouthful] Perry miniatures is my choice.
In future posts,I intend to provide details,of the actual troops types that Cesare Borgia used, and hopefully photographs of the actual wargaming figures.Naturally this army will need an opponent which at the moment will be an Italian Condotta army,maybe Caterina Sforza or something similar.Mind whether my painting skills will stretch to Caterina Sforza proving to the Borgias that she was capable of creating another ten sons is debatable.But who knows.
I also intend to post lists of my intended army,every wargamer thrives on lists, and hopefully the composition of each unit.
Its a big ask,as I still have a mountain of metal for my Seven Years War project [Independentwargamesgroup blog ] but I think Ican balance the two. We shall see, so in the words of Cesare Borgia ,....... Aut Caesar, aut nihil .

Robbie Rodiss, The Independent Wargames Group.



  1. Good stuff. The earlly Italian wars are definitely on my 'if i live long enough' list. My intention is to use both the original and reworked Suren Willie figures - due to my glacial painting speed neither the limited range (i'll never finish the army anyway) nor relatively high cost (though many modern ranges are catching up fast) should be a problem. Good luck with this, and i'll follow development with interest. Cheers.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement,funnily enough, I have been looking at the Wille range for gendarmes.
    Thanks Robbie


Honour Guard of Cesare Borgia.

Honour Guard of Cesare Borgia.