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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Curse of Ivo Taillefer

Ivo Taillefer was a Norman minstrel, juggler and knight who earned immortality at the Battle of Hastings. There he asked William for the honor of first strike against the English.  William agreed and Ivo rode out alone. History says Ivo put on a show, juggling his lance and sword while singing the Song of Roland.  An enraged English warrior stepped forward and challenged Ivo to single combat. History doesn't tell us whether he too was a juggler but I suspect as much.  Ivo slew the challenger and took his head for a trophy.  Needing more heads for his next juggling feat, Ivo charged the enemy by himself.  Anyone who thinks this turned out well, raise your hand.  No-one? Quite right, Ivo was pulled from the saddle and hacked to bits.
Ivo's tentmates greased his scabbard to great effect.
After belatedly discovering Ivo, I decided to paint him as a hero for my Norman warband.  I used Gripping Beast's "William the Bastard" figure with a small modification.  I sawed off William's club-armed hand and pinned a sword hand in its place. After all, history doesn't say anything about a juggled club!

My decision to paint Ivo a bannerman activated the Curse of Ivo.  As I was finishing his figure, I knocked over a bottle of Elmer's glue that knocked Ivo right off the table.  I failed to catch it on its way down and the fall sheared his pinned sword hand clean off. Mildly enraged, I redrilled Ivo's stump, repinning & repainthing his hand.
With Ivo and his bannerman complete, I put them on a 60mm base.  Handling this heavy base was tricky and sure enough, the curse kicked in again while I was applying flocking.  I lost the grip on the base, juggled it for a millisecond and lost it again.  This fall broke off the pinned banner and bent Ivo's mount badly.  Many foul oaths were issued and I had to walk away from the painting table.
When I returned, a  few things were clear. First, I'm no Ivo.  I can't juggle a lance, sword or even a 28mm version of our hero.  Also, the 60mm base was too heavy and awkward for the frequent handling in a skirmish game.  Ivo fought and died alone and it seemed his ghost demanded single basing.  I pried the figures off the big base and rebased them, each alone.


The results are not as pleasing as the big base. Still, I'm hoping single basing puts an end to the Curse of Ivo and my poor attempts at juggling.  So far, I've gone 8 hours without dropping him.  I think that means the curse is lifted!  
Now try that with lead figures.