Aut Cesar, Aut Nihil, Wargaming the Borgias.

Aut Cesar, Aut Nihil, Wargaming the Borgias.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Ottoman Turks.

 In a previous post a few weeks ago I mentioned that I was able to buy back a Turkish Renaissance army that my longtime wargames partner John Reidy had sold in 1987.
 At the time this army was damned near unbeatable using the George Gush renaissance rules, it was also the prettiest army we possessed. Anyway I have started re basing the army starting with some Feudal Spahis.
 This unit however only contains two of Johns original figures ,the other four were very kindly given to me by Doug Crowther and had belonged to the late great Peter Gilder.

 The two figures from Johns original collection are castings from the now defunct Campaign Miniatures created by Tony Walmsley. These are the figures with the yellow pants and the rider with the pink! top.These were a great range of figures and deserve a re issue.
 Anyway I am looking forward to having these chaps back in action.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Battleground 2014.

Well, there's been a slight delay after my trip to Battleground 2014, basically I was knackered after I finished the show. I must admit, it is becoming harder to put on a game at the shows, purely from a physical point of view. I find that standing for most of the day does take it out of you. [I know, sit down then.] Well that is easier said than done, I think I have had Saint Vitus's Dance since birth, and when I wargame I invariably stand. I have title this post Battleground 2014, but its more about wargaming and wargamers really.
 I know that the public who are aware of us, [and that wont be that many], generally view us as a bit odd, and we dont help ourselves at times. But I would like to say, that on Saturday and in the weeks before that, wargamers have shown themselves to me at least to be pretty generous souls and also all round good eggs.
 On Saturday I was given, a beautifully made road for my table, made by Dennis languishing in Redcar, who I met via this blog.
 I was also given three Minden figures that I needed to complete a regiment by Mark who had travelled up from Leeds, who I met via my other blog.
 I was also given four beautifully painted renaissance Turkish cavalry, an Italian man at arms, and a lovely painted Turkish artillery piece, all from the Gilder collections by Doug Crowther who picked up on my purchase of a Turkish army.
 Earlier this year another wargamer sent me 20 painted Citidal pike for nothing because I was short of some figures for a unit.
 These are just four instances of wargamers who apart from being very kind, prove how we tend to belong to a brotherhood and want to help each other if we can.
 In this day and age when everyone is doused in cynicism, and question the motives of everything that happens, I think its just refreshing that wargamers want to help each other for no other reason that because we belong to a group of like minded hobbyists.
 So I'd like to thank these kind souls, and if by chance John Ray is reading this, I don't mind collecting his armies personally from his home should he feel the need to give me them free gratis.
 Anyway ignoring that dream,  a bit on Battleground.
I think Pendraken and in particular Leon should be thanked for putting on the show, the North East certainly needs a show in the winter time and Stockton was always one of my favourite shows.
 I personally liked the venue, it was easy to find [ well it was for me] The hall was spacious and well lit. The car parks were free and there was plenty of them.
 Although the cafe was a walk across the car park the food was good and a decent price, especially the breakfast specials.
 As a first time effort in a new venue I thought it was a success.
 The show was busy on the morning [ as expected] but began to empty out by about 1.30pm.
This was a bit surprising as the show was closing at 3.00pm so it couldn't be described as a long show.

 I didnt seem to take many photographs of the games including mine own, which was a shame because the Lancaster Wargames Group had a great Spencer Smith SYW game on show, with some great wargames aids. The great Andy Callan  was part of that group and it ws nice to chat with him about the rules and the aids that had been made. I particularly loved the canister device and the shell device which had been made from a plastic pint glass.
 I also liked the WW1 game from the gents from the Tyneside Group, they always put on a game that I want to play in. As usual I went with the intention of buying little, and then spending a lot, this time it was more Crann Tara figures, which just keep getting better. Graham showed me some castings from the army of the Kingdom of Savoy, which looked a joy to paint. I also came away with another wagon that I dont need, from Westphalia Miniatures sold by Graham. He also very kindly sold me a copy of the history of the Wild Geese by Callaghan, which I have wanted for years. All at discounted prices I may add.
 So thats my last show of the year, as I dont think I can get to Leeds next week, and it seems fitting that the Stockton show has closed this years campaign for me.
Oh as for the game I ran. Its fair to say that if I had held a real life command for Cesare Borgia he would have had me shot, such was my poor generalship. So if anyone would like to send me some lucky dice, free of course.


Monday, 24 November 2014

Battleground Wargames Show 2014.

This weekend is the Battleground Wargames Show at the Queens Campus in Stockton on Tees.
Based at a new venue by the river Tees, I am really looking forward to the show. I know the gents at Pendraken Miniatures have been working hard to make it a success.
 I will be taking down Cesare's expanded army to hopefully inspire some punter to try the period.
I have copied the floor map of the show. I will be at table D, and look forward to chewing the fat with anyone who decides to drop by.
It should be a very good show, which deserves a lot of support.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Gilder Burgundians.

 I have now completed the re basing of the crossbowmen that I bought from Tony Runkee of Hinchliffe fame. These figures once belonged to the late great Peter Gilder and are well over thirty years old. I love them. I couldnt bring myself to replace the Burgundian banner painted by Tony, somehow it would be sacrilegious and somehow the naivety of the banner adds to the unit for me.
 I did however put them on new bases to make them fit in with my armies. I shall use them as French mercenaries for my Italian wars. I may even showcase these at the show at Stockton at the end of this month. No doubt someone will point out the fact that they are decked out as Burgundians, but hey ho.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Pro Gloria needs your support.

Now this is something that I have never done before, and its not on my bucket list either, but I have pledged some of my hard earned cash to support Pro Gloria's campaign to produce plastic 28mm landsknechts.
 I would ask that one pops over to their site and peruse the quality of the plastic figures on offer.
 This could be the chance to fill your army at lowish cost with beautiful figures.
 I must confess I dont need anymore landsknechts, and certainly Cesare did not use them in his army, but any renaissance wargamer always needs some of these chaps.
 So give it a go and support a great opportunity.
 Talking of Cesare, the wargames show at Stockton on Tees is getting nearer, and I intend to put on my armies of Cesare et al. at the show.
I have been kicking around a what if scenario and I hope I can find the time to put it together before the show arrives.
 Anyway I would love to meet and talk to any renaissance wargamer and actually anyone in general so make the effort and introduce yourself to me at the show.
 On another note, Pete of Pete's Flags kindly loaned me the first series of a German television series called THE BORGIA.
 So guess what its about? This production was made at about the same time as the Borgias, and one can now buy the second series.
 The series is actually in English and although not as sumptuous as the British version, this is a very good drama, which has focused more on the politics and story around Pope Alexander. It is also pretty graphic in both the violence and the sex, so really a win win situation.
 I have a feeling that as Cesare comes more to the fore the battle scenes may prove interesting. This can be purchased on both Amazon and E Bay, give it a punt, you will not be disappointed.
    On another note. I started this blog to record my rebuilding of my 28mm army of Cesare Borgia which I sold back in the 1980's. This was one of a number of big 28mm renaissance armies that John Reidy and I had back then. John had introduced me to the beauty of the renaissance and it just spiraled from there.
 John like me sold off his wonderful armies and changed scales. Unlike me he has never returned to the scale.
 Anyway the one army that I wished he had never sold was his wonderful Ottoman Turkish army circa 1500AD.
 Made up in the main of the wonderful Hinchliffe range, with some really good Minifig Janissaries it was the one army that I wish I could have bought but never did.
 Well that has now changed and through John I was able to trace the last owner and negotiate the sale to me.Having now seen the figures some twenty odd years on, I can say it was as good as I remember, actually it may have been better than I remember. So my next side project is to re base the whole army to fit in with Blackpowder and my Italians, add a few units and get it used.
 I cant wait to use the army asit was always a tough nut to break.  

Sunday, 19 October 2014

You can never have enough Cesare's.

 I am now the proud owner? of three versions of my general, Cesare Borgia. Two are by Willie and one by Wargames Foundry. However after buying this painted Willie general from Tony Runkee, I have decided to make this chap the definitive Cesare, the others are clearly impostors.
 I thought I should include a floozy [courtesan ] and a clerical adviser to emphasize  the status of this figure.
 I am currently working my way through a German television production of the Borgis,titled funnily enough The Borgia. This is a very good series, obviously not as well financed as the British version, but actually still very good. The script has actually attempted to follow the history. The speech is actually in English and is worth a punt. Recommended is the amount of political skulduggery in the production, closely followed by the violence and sex. There is a further two series to view, so I will reserve my final judgement until after I have seen the whole series.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A Blast from the Past.

 Another good thing about the internet is the ability to buy old figures from long defunct ranges. I bought these VULCAN pikemen already painted, but I thought they should get a bit of a makeover.
Possibly not the best sculptured figures but they still have a charm, for me anyway.

 A Willie Renaissance commander, which is the self same figure as I bought from Tony Runkee. I do like the style of him though, so two are better than one.

 Another Willie set, this time the Landsnect punishment group.Willie are still a good range to buy from with some lovely figures after all these years.

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Power of the Internet.

I know that a lot of people look on the internet as a two edged sword, especially so with a lot of inadequates that seem to inhabit the hyper space. But sometimes it can work for good.
In my case it began with a post about one of my favourite wargames photographs, which was of Peter Gilder's Gendarmes in an early Miniature Wargames. [ Post 'Where are they now']
 As I have stated before, that photograph really inspired me, and still does. As a result I posted a question about what happened to the army owned by Peter Gilder. Well I never got an answer, but Andy of Old Glory fame posted that he had been offered some figures from the Peter Gilder collection many moons ago. He then very kindly got in touch with the gentleman who had offered them and what followed is history.
 The chap was one of wargaming's unsung heroes, Tony Runkee, who had been with Frank Hinchliffe and Peter Gilder from the early days, as a modeller and as a painter. I think its well known that Peter Gilder employed a lot of talented painters to build up his collection, Tony was one of the main painters. Anyway he very kindly supplied me with a regiment of the original gendarmes from the Gilder collection and also threw in a unit of Burgundian crossbowmen. 

 Now they are of the time, but I can tell you the photographs dont really do them justice. The Hinchliffe gendarme was always one of their best figures and Tony was able to capture the look, well certainly in my eyes.
The quality has allowed me not to do anything to the gendarmes apart from paint an edge around the wonderful bases, and add one flag to cover some slight damage to a lance. No doubt they will not be to everyone's taste, which is fair enough, but to me they are perfection. I do intend to use them [ albeit rarely] and will have them on show at the Middlesbrough show in November.
 As regards the crossbowmen, I will have to carefully re base them, but I hope to keep a lot of their original bases if possible.
 I also managed to buy a general figure, which is a Willie general, ironically I have just finished painting the self same figure. Tony's is better naturally.I will show him when I have added some figures around him.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Some you win, some you totally bollocks up.

  I have found in my longtime experience in wargaming that sometimes nothing will go right. From the initial set up, to the dice throw which should be a given for success.
 Black Powder/ Pike and Shotte rules are very unforgiving and punish bad luck mercilessly.
 I set up this game to fight against John, using my Borgia army against a French army. From move one, things just didnt work. Throwing a 'Blunder' with my first throw, which saw two units of arquebusiers from the Black Bande leave the table for two moves set the precedent.
In move two I threw another blunder [ this means a double six by the way] which caused my light cavalry to ride away to obscurity.
 By move five I finally got my entire Gendarme command to move. In the meantime John was steam rolling towards my disorganised line which wasn't able to manouvre.
 By move Nine, Cesare Borgia was killed leading the Blacke Bande pike into inglorious rout,
 By move Eleven, my Italian army was streaming from the table, leaving the French to look on in disbelief.
 But was it a good game? Definitely yes. Sometimes being really bad somehow makes a game more pleasurable.Perhaps its the jinx of a newly painted unit?

Honour Guard of Cesare Borgia.

Honour Guard of Cesare Borgia.