Sunday, January 17, 2016

'Epic Fail' from PeterD - Charles le Téméraire


My epic fail is Charles the Bold aka Charles le Temeraire aka Chuck the idiot, last of the Valois Dukes of Burgundy.  The figure is Perry Charles the Bold figure that comes with their Burgundian Cavalry Wing army deal, which was my birthday present last year from my wife.  
He has been kicking around in my lead pile since then, because I was loathe to paint up such a complete doofus.  However, Epic Fail seems to about cover it.  Last time I painted a Perry special for the Challenge I ended up with the third best in the Richard III class, so hopefully no repeats this year.


In picking a subject for this theme I was reminded of the scene in the film the "Producers" where Zero Mostel discards the idea of a broadway musical based on Kafka's Metamorphosis as being "not weird enough".  OK let's cover off the Epicness of Charles' Fail, to see if it's epic enough.


  1. Charles inherited the third most powerful European country, the Duchy of Burgundy.  It was a patchwork quilt of fiefs from the Upper Rhine to the Low Countries, and it was fabulously wealthy.
  2. He put together what is considered the first Renaissance Army using a combination of shot, shock and foot and hiring the best mercenaries from across Europe.
  3. This army as WRG puts it, remains popular with warmers despite losing 100% of it battles.  Yes that right it's an 0-fer army.
  4. He picked a territorial battle with the Swiss, who roughed every other power up badly.
  5. The way he failed on the field of battle.  Chronicles speak of poor reconnaissance, overly complex battle plans and failing to consider what happens if the enemy did something different that you expect.
  6. His cavalry strong army got surprised by massed pike columns three battles in a row.
  7. He died in the final battle.
  8. For extra points he left no heir but an infant daughter.  Now in Scottish history this is a regular rite of passage, but the Scots have a national identify where us the Duchy of Burgundy had none.
  9. As a result the third most powerful European country simply ceased to exist.  The French got the actual Duchy of Burgundy and the Empire got the Netherlands and "poof" it was gone.

So let's sum this up.  Builds the "killer" army, designs the "can't fail battle plan" and then goes about losing every fight badly by failing to get the basics right.  Yep he was a wargamer and we've all seen him on the table, or possibly been him on the table.


Ok back to the mini.  Charles is a Perry special issue metal, his standard bearer is a combo of a Plastic Knight and the Plastic "light" cavalry set.  I wanted to avoid the standard "Blue and white with red cross" look that screams "Burgundian Ordinance" so that I could use the figure as a French commander in the Italian Wars.  Swiss illustrations show Charles in Gilded Armour with Red so I went with that. I've used a deep crimson which corresponds to an existing silk garment attributed to Charles.


And I found a livery for Burgundian Guardsmen that was 1/2 black and purple with a white cross for his standard bearer.  The flag is paper, printed at home and a standard Burgundian banner.


I am experimenting with new basing techniques, and used the same method as my Italian polearm unit yesterday.


One last issue, I leave it to Curt and Brendan to decide if Charles counts towards the Renaissance Men side duel.  We didn't say "no theme rounds" and we didn't set a time limit.

35 comments:

  1. What a fascinating bit of history! I love having a dismal failure on your side in a battle- if you lose, it's historical, if you win, it is due to your superb generalship!

    FWIW, I think this should count towards the Ren Side Challenge!

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    1. Thanks Barks. I recall reading of two SYW gamers who presented each other with figures representing the opposing armies worst general! I also find it tough to live up to the bar set by Napoleon or Alexander.
      Cheers Peter

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  2. You don't fail to provide solid evidence. Nice figures and good research.

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  3. Always wondered what happened to Burgundy. Great entry

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    1. Now they just make great wine. Thanks Martin

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  4. Ending up naked on the ice with his face smashed in by a halberd was a sorry end to a less-than-stellar career. Charles the Bold, Charles the Rash, or Charles the Guy Who Really Should Have Thought This Through; he had none of the charm or diplomatic acumen of his old man, and he had a positive knack for getting on the wrong side of people.

    This entry works a treat, well done!

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    1. Thanks Evan. There is a couldn't have happened to a nicer guy element to his sorry tale. Cheers Peter

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  5. I've always had a soft spot for Charles the Bold. His army was always one of those which looked awesome (in the crazy world of the WRG 2nd Edition Renaissance Rules - ah, nostalgia), and then got minced by everyone. Especially the Swiss.

    "...poor reconnaissance, overly complex battle plans and failing to consider what happens if the enemy did something different that you expect" - well, that's certainly me!

    I loved this entry, the figures, the map and the history. Brilliant work, Peter!

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    1. Thanks Sidney! Good old WRG. Cheers Peter

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    1. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Thanks Adam

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  7. Theme rounds count for challenge points, just updating them now, should be up shortly.

    Oh, and marvelous entry, I liked the history lesson, as I had no idea what happened to Burgandy.

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    1. Great entry Peter - I think Charles the Bold is an excellent example of an 'epic fail' (poor man).

      I'd prefer if only base points for the figures count towards our Renaissance Men challenge as I have purposefully kept myself out of the bonus rounds.

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    2. Curt
      That would be perfect. I agree that the Bonus round extra points don't count, nor should they.
      Charles did seem to fit the theme nicely and theme gave me a reason to paint him. Now of course I came up with another epic fail idea on the bus ride home on Friday, but that will be a regular post.
      Cheers Peter

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  8. Great entry. For some reason I really like the juxtaposition of the blue and white plumes with the red clothing and gold armor.

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    1. I am glad that you liked the plumes Sean. I was quite happy with the effect. Cheers Peter

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  9. What a splendid entry and certainly a fail.

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  10. Great entry Peter - love the history and the figures. Well done.

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  11. Brilliant entry in brushwork and history! Apparently I'm Charles to my wife being more like the Swiss! ;)

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    1. Thanks David. But your wife lets you keep your head! Cheers Peter

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    2. Yes, a dangerous (and tragic) analogy to be sure. My suggestion: retreat before it's too late. :)

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  12. A great entry Peter, he didn't seem to have a lot of luck did he?

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    1. Thanks Ray. I think one makes ones own luck!

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  13. Poor sod had a bad time of it, didn't he. This is a nice, solid historical entry and I'm glad to see it.

    Great brushwork and basework Peter!

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  14. Briliant story! Being from the Dutch part of Burgundy it's refreshing to see this tale told here. As it happens on holiday in Switzerland I visited the castle of Thun and there the story of this war is told as well with armour on show and lots of maps and other related stuff.
    http://www.schlosshotelthun.ch/

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  15. Thanks Sander, I'll check out that link. Cheers Peter

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