An army needs a leader! My Aztecs troops will be used in skirmish warfare games of Feudal Patrol™ (check out these two links on the game here and here).
Feudal Patrol™ will launch very soon (very exciting!).
In the game, the basic unit is an Element of 5 figures, including a front-line leader. Up to four Elements will constitute a Warband, and up to four Warbands will make up a Battle Group. Similarly, up to four Battle Groups will constitute an Army. Most games will never be composed of an Army as the system is designed for skirmish level war gaming. Still, it could be used for big battles effectively.
At the highest level of course was the “huey tlatoani” or “Great Speaker” – the emperor of the Aztecs. Under him as the head of the War Council and the supreme field commander was the Cihuacoatl, also called the Snake Woman”. This was not a woman – but always a man – despite the name. Cihuacoatl was also a goddess of fertility and childbirth in Aztec mythology. Yes, it’s a bit confusing, and I’ll leave that right there.
The model was fairly straightforward, though I needed to make a rig of clothespins, poster tack, and specimen bottles (seen below) to paint the back ornament and the banner. Mold lines were easy to deal with on these, and the details were nice.
The challenges here necessitated using slightly larger washers as bases – and 1.25″ washers along with some smaller ones and some plastic card were needed (a list of materials is at the end of this post for those who are interested). As far as painting, care had to be taken with the components so as to not damage them during the build as well as to protect their paint jobs. A little varnish along the way helped here. The other major challenge was on the generals face painting. The details (such as the white markings on the lower blackened part of the face) here were the smallest I have ever attempted on 28mm figures.
I hope that you found this interesting. I am moving on to working on other troops – and A GAME (remotely run) next week with players in 3 US states and the UK – more to follow soon!
Until next time – take care and stay safe all!
Miscellaneous details and references for those interested:
Posts on Units for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest Supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”
Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer (this post) – 1 Aztec General and 1 drummer
When one looks at the historical images of various Aztec warriors of the 16th Century, some of the most striking ones are those of the Jaguar Warriors. The Jaguar Warriors were true elite warriors, similar to the Eagle Warriors in having high and noble status in Aztec culture. They wore elaborately decorated suits (tlahuitli) that affected a jaguar-like look, replete with head-encompassing hardwood helmets (cuacalalatli) carved to be jaguar-like in appearance. Their spotted gaudy suits were worn over quilted cotton armor vests called ichcahuipilli, which provided a degree of additional protection to the Jaguar Warrior.
The Jaguar Warriors’ actual designation was cuauhocelotl. This was an elite warrior classification level that one earned by capturing at least four enemy warriors for use as sacrificial victims on the altar or as slaves. Aztec warfare valued capturing an enemy warrior over killing one outright in battle. Attaining Jaguar Warrior status had its privileges, such as being able to drink pulque (a fermented drink made from agave), and to have and keep concubines.
In battle, they were armed with atlatl (spear throwers), macuahuitl (obsidian-edged wooden clubs or broadswords), or tepoztopilli (obsidian-edged thrusting spears). As Jaguar Warriors are iconic in Aztec warfare, I knew I needed to have some for my Aztec forces for the upcoming launch of Buck Surdu’s Feudal Patrol™ game, especially for the supplement that I wrote for the Spanish Conquest I called Civilizations Collide. With all of their colorful suits and shields, so I was excited to paint some up and add to my troops that I have previously described in this blog.
From Badger Games, I had purchased a couple of 28mm scale metal Wargames Foundry blisters: AZ012 “Heroes of Tenochtitlan” and AZ015 “Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors”. In AZ012 there were 6 figures – 3 Aztec veterans, 2 Jaguar Warriors, and a Warrior Priest. I would need at least 5 for the basic unit in Feudal Patrol™ (that being a Warband), so I thought that AZ015 would round that out as that blister pack was supposed have six Jaguar Warriors. Surprise – after opening it I found that there were seven! Bad news, however – the AZ015 blister pack had only 3 weapons, those being all atlatls in hands that needed to be mounted to arms – and only two of the 7 included figures were so designed. The other 5 figures were thus without weapons.
I contacted Badger Games and they were fantastically accomodating. They agreed to send me a pack of 8 Outpost Wargames Services Jaguar Warriors (AZ5), as well as another pack that I’ll describe in a future post. These AZ5 Jaguar Warriors come in various poses. Of note Badger also removed the AZ015 SKU from their website and contacted Wargames Foundry to advise them that every pack of AZ015 that they had had been similarly packed incorrectly. That’s exceptional follow through on their part and I appreciated that.
The downside was was that I had to wait another week+ to get going again on the project. When the OWS pack arrived, I was happy to see that there were two weapons (8 macuahuitl and 8 tepoztopilli) available for each of the 8 AZ5 Jaguar Warriors. This meant that I had plenty of extra weapons to arm the AZ015 Jaguar Warriors! All I needed to do was convert two AZ015 figures to hold an atlatl by cutting off their hands and replace with one of the three atlatls that came with the pack.
Now I had not 8, but 21 figures for this project, which was definitely not my goal at the start! Still, with this many figures, and permutations of shield design, weaponry, and colors, I needed a plan. So I made one – as shown below. Also, the WF and OWS sculpts were different of course, and I wanted a variety of Jaguar Warrior tlahuitli and cuacalalatli both for ease of play and to be historically accurate. The best resources were this were the plates in my Osprey books and two Steven’s Balagan blog posts (THANK YOU STEVEN FOR SHARING!). Both are phenomenal and invaluable (especially for shield design examples) – here they are:
Pohl, John M. D. (1991). Aztec, Mixtec, and Zapotec Armies – Men-at-Arms.London: Osprey Publishing.
Pohl, John M. D. (2001). Aztec Warrior, AD 1325-1521. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
Pohl, John M. D. (2005). Aztecs & Conquistadores. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
As far as my painting plan, I should mention that I have a numbering system for all of my figures for Civilizations Collide. This system will allow me to have a points-based menu (like a “take-out menu”) for the gamers. At the beginning of a game, they will be able to use the menu choose how to spend their available scenario points by choosing specific troops for their side by checking them off on a menu that I will provide. I have an Excel spreadsheet with the figure values and designations that I will use to make the menu. Also, I will print out a disc to glue under each figure’s base with that information as well. This, I hope, will make the gaming experience better and very easy.
The pictures below show my initial organizational plan for arming the figures – I did have another corresponding Excel plan (not shown) where I planned the base colors and the specific shield designs for each of the figures.
After I completed the plan, I mounted the figures in my usual way. I labeled the bottom of the washers under the figures with the figure number and I similarly labeled each of the specimen jars. I also organized the shields as shown below – plus I also had painted shields from previous projects available. I decided to first do their flesh and weapons, and then move on to do each figure in order and separately. This way I would gain experience (and hopefully improve) with painting the patterns on the tlahuitli and cuacalalatli, especially the jaguar-specific aspects. This approach did help me maintain focus on the figures. I ended up with fewer WIP pics, but this was a big varied project. Hell, most of these figures had not one – but two sets of eyes. It took about a month-and-a-half! Of course, the July 4th holiday weekend did keep me out of the painting mode – as did some golf.
Mounted for painting
Early painting of flesh
More early flesh painting
I did change my approach to the flesh painting a bit. Trying to get that right on dark flesh was a challenge. The list of paints I used was extensive given the breadth of the figures needs, but for flesh I mainly moved more to using Citadel “Darkoath Flesh” over a Vallejo “Sunny Skin base” with Vallejo Model Color “Medium Skin Tone” as highlights. I also experimented with Vallejo Model Color “Mahogany”.
Below are some examples of mostly completed and unvarnished figures which were awaiting shields, flocking, and of course varnishing.
WF Aztec Warrior Priest with a macuahuitl
WF Jaguar Warrior JA4 with OWS tepoztopilli
WF Jaguar Warrior JA5 with atlatl
WF Jaguar Warrior JA8 with atlatl – this was a conversion
OWS Jaguar Warrior figures JA12 and JA13. The figures are the same pose, but I armed JA12 with a macuahuitl and JA13 with a tepoztopilli. Note that I also gave them both different painting schemes.
Painting of the figures was followed by my working on the shields. Using my plan I was able to finish them all after a few days and they are shown below with a ruler for scale.
I then mounted the shields, flocked the bases, varnished them, and applied static grass.
Now comes the fun part – sharing the final products. Each of the figures is shown below – and I gave each blister a different photo background.
“Heroes of Tenochtitlan” (AZ012) Blister Pack (Wargames Foundry)
Hopefully you enjoyed the pics and this post – and if you have feedback, a favorite among these, or a least favorite – positive feedback or devastating criticism – I’m up for all of the above.
With many conventions cancelled, and even gaming club get-togethers not happening, it may be a while before these Aztecs get into a fight. I guess that just leaves more time to complete them – and eventually some Conquistadores and Tlaxcalans as foes.
Last weekend I had a lot of fun being on the Imperial Rebel Ork podcast. It was a lot of fun, and I really appreciated the opportunity. Though the Imperial Rebel Ork himself (aka IRO) apologized for the audio quality – I thought it was fine. Hell, we had to have our chat over quite a few miles:
All 10,463 of them.
The podcast is fun (and NOT just because I was lucky enough to be on it). Here is the link where you can access the podcast on Apple – though it’s on other platforms as well:
And of course IRO has an excellent blog that is well-worth following – he’s amazingly creative.
If you listen to the podcast (and YOU SHOULD 😁), it’s clear that there are some background details of our discussion that might be of some interest to you. Basically, it’s about how I got into the hobby back in 1982 or 1983, and how I got back into it in 2015, plus where I’m at now. So, I will share some anecdotes, pics, and links that many of you may not have seen before.
I described how I was a traditional board game wargamer – I really got my first wargame – Avalon Hill’s Afrika Korps – probably when I was 10 or 11. Others followed, like Waterloo, and War at Sea. Finding opponents was not easy – most of my friends and family thought these games to be uninteresting at best. Later, at West Point, fate got me as a roommate the irrepressible Dave Wood – who was a wargamer as well! We spent hundreds of hours playing the aforementioned games, but also especially Victory in the Pacific and Panzer Leader.
A major influence on my hobby was to come through Dave – and that was an introduction to Buck Surdu, who was at West Point in the class behind me and Dave. Buck had already written and had published his own sets (sets – not a set) of rules for different wargames. My first meeting with Buck was when Dave brought me up to a session that Buck had set up in the Department of Foreign Languages classroom – it was a giant fantasy miniature battlefield covered with old 25mm Ral Partha, Grenadier, Minifig, and other miniatures. This was set up on desks put together and covered with old US Army OD blankets as mats. I had never seen anything like this before – and I was stunned – and hooked. Buck had written the rules for the game as well. Before long, both Dave and Buck were lending me figures to paint for them as I wanted to try that too.
The first units I painted for them still exist! One was a group of Minifig halflings that Dave had that he let me paint for him. I did not really know anything about painting with highlights, washes, or dry brushing back then. Kindly, Dave gave them to me a few of years ago that I described here. I flocked their bases and varnished them, but left them unchanged otherwise.
A second unit was one I painted for Buck – a group of pig-faced Orcs that I think were from Minifig. I decided to give them a pretty gaudy paint job – with a Captain America theme. They were the “All-American Orcs”. Buck still has them and took a couple shots to show them to you in all their ancient “glory”:
Mind you, these were painted before my class graduation in May 1984, but I used no varnish back then so there are chips, and no flocking (washers were enough for me then) – but I’m happy to see them again, and humbled that Buck has kept them around.
Another unit (that I don’t have pictures of but Dave has somewhere) was a punk/new wave blue, red, and green mohawk-wearing group that I called “Paddy’s New Wave Bar and Grill Conscript Militia”. Yup, that was a thing back then.
Also, I, Buck, Dave, Doug Morris (’85), and another ’84 classmate Ken Thrasher also had Sunday night campaigns of Tunnels and Trolls (a role-playing game that competed with Dungeons & Dragons back in the day). The campaign I ran focused on a Balrog wizard who had dimensionally transported himself to the US in the 1960’s – and used LSD and other drugs – and then returned to rule a mountain lair replete with monsters, traps and puzzles with a 1960’s theme. The Balrog’s name? Why Purple Haze of course…
After graduation, I still puttered around with painting my own figures, as well as casting some in Prince August molds using – of all things – fishing lead weights. I was deployed to Germany, and got to host Buck and a friend of his in 1987 for a couple of gaming weekends and a side trips to Paris via Verdun. They were stationed in Italy. Buck recently shared this blast from the past with me – a big game using Buck’s Fantasy Miniature rules with some edits that I made. You cannot see a lot, but I made the game analogous to a Bastogne 1944 scenario – with sprites, dwarves, halflings, orcs and more. We used stuff like lichen and Styrofoam as terrain.
Then my hobby activities slowed to a crawl. I was a divorced single parent, then remarried, then divorced, then remarried…in the Army, then out…in many parts of the US, then more this and that…fast forward to 2015…
I had always saved all my miniatures and paints. I knew I would eventually get back to the hobby, but when? Well, a chimney fire required us to move a lot in the cellar during a rebuild, and my wife was moving my minis – and I said, “I’ll take care of them”. Next thing I know I’m painting again, gaming again, and blogging about it starting back in 2015. My first project was “The Nightmare Legion”, which only took more than three decades to complete – and was the subject of my first blog post in March of 2015,
On the podcast, IRO discussed a few aspects of my hobbying that you may not have seen before if you are a relative newcomer to the blog. So, here are a few links if you want to take a gander if you’d like some context:
This looks to be an exciting new game! My buddy Buck Surdu has teamed up with Old Glory and Sally 4th on this project – the link is here. It launches on June 27th, 2020.
There’s a great description at Beasts of War here’s a snippet from that page:
Wars Of Ozz Kickstarter Coming Soon
The idea is that the rules here take Baum’s world and give it a little bit of a post-apocalyptic Earth twist. Things then get even more quirky with the addition of the “Madness Bomb” which got dropped into the mix during the “Last Great War” where survivors were mutated and chaos reigned until the Wizard finally arrived.
This then all distills down into a new mass battle game with miniatures sculpted and cast by the team at Old Glory. All of the miniatures are cast in lead/tin and are you’ll be able to buy armies to build up your mass of troops as well as characters to lead them into battle.
There is more there to check out, and the miniatures look amazing. Here’s a shot of the Pumpkin Men:
I love the Tin Men:
And whatever these are – they look cool!
Just to be clear, I have no financial stake in this whatsoever, though I will likely be diving in to get some of this stuff, as well as the rules.
Thought my followers would enjoy checking this out, what do you think?
Well, yes – a golf post for a change (this blog is titled Life, Golf, Miniatures & Other Distractions after all)!
Please note that normally I would not just post a mundane golf story about myself. So, apologies in advance if I seem to be a bit self-focused here. I would not want to be too narcissistic, but some background for the reader may help.
I have been playing golf, mostly as a hacker, since I was 12. My late grandfather (who drove an M24 tank in WWII and was a hero of mine) got me started. He was absolutely terrible – he would be lucky to break 110 or even 120 for 18 holes. He did imbue me with a love of the greatest game – and I carry that with me to this day. I still have golf balls of his that I carry in my bag to honor his gift to me.
In the Army, I played when I could, and even joined clubs at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, at Ft. Belvoir, VA, and even the Canadian Forces course at Lahr in Germany. That Canadian course was fun as for one you had CF-18 fighters zooming overhead (quite low) and secondly it was the only place to be able to get Canadian beer like Labatts (the Germans would not allow it to be sold and the US had only American and German beer for sale at the Class VI store). I left the Army in 1992, and I did not play very often until 1998.
At that point I had moved to East Brookfield, MA, and was happy to discover that there was a golf course 0.3 miles away! The first tee was closer to my house than it was to the first green! That was Bay Path Golf Course – and I was a member there for 21 years. I was playing nearly 70 rounds a year (mostly at Bay Path), which is a lot when you consider that our Massachusetts weather is only good for golf from April to October for the most part. I kept a spreadsheet of all my scores, just to track progress and focus on improving. One goal eluded me, that being getting an eagle.
For those of you non-golfers, an eagle (not to be confused with my Eagle Warriors) is a score that is two shots under par. On a par three, it would be a hole-in-one. On a par 4, it would be a 2, etc. At Bay Path, it became a running joke that I had not gotten an eagle, even just from luck. I came close several times, only to be denied. I even hosted a pool for charity where members could bet whether I would get an eagle that year or not. Most all bet “not” by the way. Last year, Bay Path closed (sadly), forcing me to join a new club, Quail Hollow in Oakham, MA. It’s about a 15 minute drive from home. It’s a nice club, but a much more difficult course than Bay Path.
According to my spreadsheet, by last Tuesday, June 9th, 2020, I had taken 115,136 plus strokes since 1999 with never an eagle. That equates to 1,293 rounds – not including any scrambles by the way, So effectively, that’s about 5,172 hours of golf – or 215.5 days of golf! Many birdies, but no eagles!
Even more sadly, play was delayed here because of COVID-19. So while normally I would try to play in March or April, I did not get to play or even practice until late May. My game does not rely on any real talent – it’s based on hard work and practice. I also track my golf progress here for myself on the blog (see the main menu as well). So I had little expectations about early play and knocking off any rust.
There is a group that plays on Tuesdays at Quail that I joined up with called “Pit’s Crew” after the guy that runs it, Pit Caron. We play a 4-man scramble. On June 9th, we approached the 3rd hole, a par-4, 249 yard hole. I was the “B” player, and drove my ball right next to the green on the left fringe – maybe three feet off of it. For me this was a very good result as the fairway is quite narrow and the green is guarded by a deep bunker in the front. I then used my 56 degree wedge and chipped my second shot – it went up, up – it rolled – and plunk, it dropped in nicely!
I was happy that one of my teammates was a fellow former Bay Path golfer, Jim Kularski, who was our “A” man. It was gratifying that he got to see me accomplish something that he knew well that I had been trying to get for so very long. I also had on lucky golf gear from my West Point reunion last year. While it was a scramble, I played the same ball (a found Titleist Pro-V1 that I was using so as not to lose one of my preferred Titleist ProV1X’s), from the same position, so I am counting the eagle as having been my first. After all, at this pace, my next one will be in 2060 when I am 98…
Oh yeah, we also came in first place out of 18 teams.
So here’s some pics (thanks to Jim Kularski for the pictures – again, more to commemorate than to brag – but like I always say – it ain’t braggin’ if ya do it!
Readers of this blog have seen that I have been building a large force (Aztecs, Conquistadores, and others) for the 16th Century Spanish Conquest of Mesoamerica for the upcoming game of Buck Surdu’s Feudal Patrol™. This game is exciting for me as I got to write the supplement for this period (“Civilizations Collide”). I invested in a number of figures, and I have a need to push myself production-wise, without sacrificing quality. I had two blisters each (AZ017 “Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warriors” and AZ023 “Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warriors”) from Wargames Foundry.
Those Aztec names just roll off of your tongue so easily don’t they! There were two Ixtlilxochitl’s – Ixtlilxochitl I was a Chichimec leader who fought against the Aztecs of the Triple Alliance, and Ixtlilxochitl II was his grandson who fought against Montezuma II. So they were Aztecs – just not the ones that fought Cortes and the Conquistadores. Cuauhtli means “Eagle”, but these so designated are not Eagle Warriors. So, the names chosen by Wargames Foundry for the blisters sound Aztec, but are a bit off historically. Still, the sculpts are great.
These metal figures were sculpted by Josef Ochmann and are 28mm in scale. They are available in the US from Badger Games and from Wargames Foundry internationally. Each of the two blister packs had 6 figures leaving me with 24 figures – with 12 of them being duplicates. Similar to what I did with the Novice Warriors, I decided to differentiate them by both a color theme and by their shield designs.
As I had finished 24 figures previously, this project would effectively double my Aztecs – hence I am doubling down.
I also had a few technical goals here for this project. One was to improve upon my painting of flesh tones on the models. The second goal was to attempt to improve my shields by freehand painting historically accurate and authentic shield designs. The last goal was to try better to use contrast medium to thin contrast paints on these figures. As always, dear reader, you may be the judge and jury on that – and I am open to how well or how poorly you think I did here. I find that sometimes when I am doing a platoon-sized project, I can easily overlook mistakes that would not be overlooked when doing a smaller group or even an individual figure. Hopefully, I was able to catch any errors.
This will be a photo-heavy post. I’ll share some WIP and some eye candy of the finished figures, along with the list of paints used here. To do 24 figures at a time can make quite a list as you will see at the end of this blog post.
Figure Prep and Priming
Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warriors blisters
Cuautli’s Veteran Warriors blisters
Ixtlilxochitl veterans early flesh painting
Cuauhtli veterans early flesh paintin
May 17th progress
May 17th progress
May 29th progress
May 29th progress
There were a few problematic mold lines – most I caught and filed/fixed but some were on the figure’s faces like below. To eradicate some mold lines, I would have had to nuke the face, which I did not want to do. In the end, I think I minimized most of the more egregious mold lines.
Mold line on face I missed
Same model, no facial mold line!
The shields that came with the blisters was more than sufficient. For the 24 figures, I needed an additional 18 shields for figures that did not have one. I also had leftover shields from the Novice Warrior project that I saved – so I ended up painting 29 shields. It was a good chance to try some new techniques and practice with some different Aztec designs (of which there are many luckily). The most difficult type to paint were the type that were cloth-covered types with “crenelated” surfaces (as on those the paint flows into the shields’ low areas). I also had to be careful when painting both sides so as to protect the previous coats of paint. Using diluted satin varnish between side swapping helped to protect the work, but I still did need to go back over the shields and touch them up. In the end, I was happy with the results and will save the extras for future use.
I used a plate and poster tack to prime
Then I took each type and painted them separately on smaller plates.
First, here are Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warriors – there are 6 poses with two of each painted. One was “blue-themed” and one was “red themed”, mainly to add to tabletop differentiation in addition to the shields.
Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warrior 1 – armed with an atlatl
Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warrior 2 – armed with a macuahuitl
Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warrior 3 – armed with a cuauhololli
Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warrior 4 – armed with a macuahuitl
Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warrior 5 – armed with a macuahuitl
Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warrior 6 – armed with a tepoztopilli
Secondly, here are Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warriors – there are also 6 poses with two of each painted. Once again, I painted 6 as “blue-themed” and 6 as “red themed” in addition to the shields.
Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warrior 1 – armed with a macuahuitl
Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warrior 2 – armed with a macuahuitl
Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warrior 3 – armed with a macuahuitl
Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warrior 4 – armed with a macuahuitl
Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warrior 5 – armed with a tepoztopilli
Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warrior 6 – armed with a macuahuitl
I enjoyed painting these – though I do not think that I will be doubling down with a project of 48 at a time – “a man’s gotta know his limitations” as Dirty Harry so eloquently said.
Here’s the 24 all together:
Oh yeah, I also just got a set of Feudal Patrol™ cards from Buck as a gift – try and guess which deck backings are my current favorites?
Hope that you enjoyed the post and the minis – if not, let me know – if yes, the same.
Until next time – take care and stay safe all! Posts on Units for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest Supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”
In building a set of troops for the Spanish Conquest, I came across a couple of blisters of 25mm Ral Partha figures called “Aztec Arrow Knights”. These were in my lot of unpainted lead for the period, sculpted by R. Kerr, and dated from 1988. The blisters held 6 figures armed with huge feathered arrows – think javelins with fletching. As I thought that they were interesting potential elite troops with unique weapons, I decided to add one of the two blisters to my Aztec forces, keeping the other in reserve for future painting.
As I discussed previously, I had been doing research on the Aztecs. I looked for suitable color plates or guides to paint up this unit. To my surprise, there is a bit of mystery and possibly even controversy about Arrow Knights. History provides little evidence in the codices as to their existence – though there are clues here and there.
Possible Arrow knight on the right?
Is there a giant arrow here?
I suppose it’s not out of the question that an elite unit of Aztec warriors specializing in launching massively huge javelin-like arrows could have existed. Perhaps there was some confusion with the atlatl (ot-la-t) a spear-throwing device? Just because old Ral Partha made these does not mean that they did exist – but for the purposes of my games and my Aztec Army – they do now.
Of course, painting them would be up to me for choosing the colors. The only picture that I found was from a computer gaming site – and it did not match any of the plates. I did like the markings known as “hawk scratches”. I decided that I would give the unit a coloration similar to the cuahchic elites – that being a yellowish suit of tanned hide that would have been worn over their quilted-cotton armor ichcahuipilli (each-ca-we-pee-lee).
It was fun to break into this old blister from Ral Partha’s “1200 A.D.” line. The figures were all in the same pose, but I figured that I could orient their arrows in slightly different positions, use slightly different colors on each , and give different shields to each for aesthetics and ease of tabletop identification and playability. A familiar challenge was that the arrows were all lead – and vulnerable to bending and breaking. I also wanted them to have two big arrows – one to throw and one to use in melee.
The problem with doing this were twofold. First, I did not want to sculpt 6 little extra arrows – and second the little 25mm hands were too small to accommodate even the arrows provided. My solution was to use some steel wire pikes I had gotten from Iron Winds Metals during my Rooman War Party project. I cut the pikes to size and used super glue to affix them to the arrows. They would be the “second” arrow, albeit without fletching or another obsidian head. I think it worked – and you can be the judge.
Early flesh painting May 4th
Moving on to headdresses and other colors
Next, I’ll share some close up eye candy shots of each, a scale comparison, and some group shots.
Arrow Knight #1
Arrow Knight #2
Arrow Knight #3
Arrow Knight #4
Arrow Knight #5
Arrow Knight #6
I am also adding a new feature here. I want to be able to share related posts on the larger Aztec project with folks who have not seen all of the previous posts. Additionally, I need a way to help me keep track of my progress! Therefore, the list of links below will accomplish both for me.
Posts on Units for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest Supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”
As shown in my last post, I have started building forces of appropriate figures for tabletop wargames using the soon-to-be published Feudal Patrol™. These are Aztecs and other troops from the era of the Spanish Conquest in the 16th Century. This is a major project for which I eventually hope to have over 150 painted figures. I have a ways to go, as this project brings that total to a mere 18. Still, the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step…
I acquired a large lot of Aztec figures on eBay probably 4 or 5 years ago. Most of them 25mm scale, and from Ral Partha dating from around 1988. In the lot were also two baggies of 3 Aztec Eagle Warriors (#25 AZ4) – ostensibly 25mm as shown on the Tin Soldier UK website. I was not familiar with Tin Soldier UK, but they have a pretty nice range of figures worth checking out. Of course, 28mm is the scale that I am going for – and sometimes 25mm can work for 28mm. While I was waiting for my order of new 28mm stuff to arrive (which I received this week), I decided to paint up some of the older figures and see if they could work with my 28mm figures visually. To my eyes, the Tin Soldier UK Eagle Warriors looked close enough to 28mm to work.
The Aztecs had two main elite unit types – the Jaguar Warriors, and the Eagle Warriors (sometimes referred to as the Eagle Knights). There were also the lesser-known Arrow Knights, which I will post about next time. To be an Eagle Warrior, one had to have captured up to 20 enemy for sacrifice or equivalent deeds of valor (well, in the eyes of Aztec society anyways). They were full-time professional warriors and along with the other elites were equivalent to nobility among the Aztecs.
Normally, Aztec Eagle Warriors would be armed with melee weapons, in particular the macuahuitl obsidian-edged club/sword. All of these 6 had the same pose and were armed with tepoztopilli (obsidian-bladed thrusting spears). They also had the weapons in a throwing versus a thrusting pose. Therefore, I decided to go through the 25mm Ral Partha Aztecs that I had and see if I could get any macuahuitl or cuauhololli (round-headed club) as extra weapons. The extra Ral Partha macuahuitl were way too small and bendable, but there were some cuauhololli that would work. I ended up using two of the cuauhololli and four of the tepoztopilli as weapons for the six. My plan was to orient each of their weapons slightly differently and also to have different shield patterns and different colors for authenticity and ease of tabletop play.
Now, as for the spaghetti-like tepoztopilli, they needed a solution as they were made from lead and were as floppy and vulnerable to bending as most leaden miniature spears are unfortunately, especially those from the 1980’s and earlier. The odd thing is that the model shown on the website indeed does have a macuahuitl instead of a tepoztopilli! My guess is that they redid the mold at some point as these model thrusting spears were too weak for use in gaming. In any case, I decided to try using a thin layer of Apoxie Sculpt on the shafts. Apoxie sculpt is easy to use and can be made more workable when used with wet fingers – and it gets hard as a rock when it cures in 24 hours. This process gave me much improved tepoztopilli, but still the underlying lead made them somewhat (though less) vulnerable to bend.
The models themselves were not too difficult to assemble. I did need to clean up the mold lines and the hands needed to be drilled out carefully to hold the weapons. I did pull out some of the molding rubber out of one model’s eyes, but overall I was happy with the quality of the castings. I definitely liked that the shields were not separate.
I made a unit plan as there were many ways to do the unit – and I wanted to have something to refer to along the way. In particular, one of my goals for this project was to give each Eagle Warrior a different shield design – and for that design to be historically correct. Over at Steve’s Balagan, I found his blog to be a wonderful resource for Aztec and other shields.
Most pictures that I have found on Eagle Warriors showed them in golden brown outfits – but some mention that there were possibly red, green, and blue ones as well. I decided to make three in golden brown, and then make the others in red, green, and blue. The accouterments and shields would also add to the differentiation on the tabletop. Unlike the novices, the pics that I saw of Eagle Warriors all had orange loincloths, so that feature was common here.
My next big challenge was painting designs on the shields. My handwriting is awful, and hand-drawing designs on shields has not been a strength for me – and these are tiny. I decided to let the engineer in me break out. I used an art template to trace a 9/32″ circle on a piece of paper, and then I cut that out. It proved useful in helping me to lightly sketch the designs on the shields in pencil – as guides for painting. I tried several designs that I saw on Steve’s Balagan blog.
I wanted to get these done for the weekend, and my wife helped fuel my push with a home-made pizza (that tasted even better than it looked!).
Below are a couple of WIP shots after I finished painting the shields – for me, this was a result that I was surprised to see.
Last month (March) was the first month in several years that I had not painted any miniatures at all. This happened because I was busy early in the month looking for a job, and then the pandemic hit with all that that entailed. I decided that I would take the time to honor a commitment made to my good buddy Buck Surdu (who attended West Point with me).
Buck has published many games, and as readers of this blog know, I am very fond of his Combat Patrol™ – WWII Skirmish card based system. If you take a look at his website, you will see many different (and very well done) free supplements that have been written for other periods and conflicts – check them out here. One limitation of Combat Patrol™ is that it does not adapt well to the periods before firepower became predominant in warfare – such as before the 17th Century. Buck has developed a new set of card-based rules for these earlier skirmish battles called Feudal Patrol™ – and they should be published this year I believe.
So back to my commitment – I agreed to help Buck by researching and writing one of the free supplements for the upcoming Feudal Patrol™. But which era?
When I returned to the hobby (back six years or so ago), I bought many miniatures that I found on eBay that were from the 1970’s to 1990’s. It was my way of catching up. One of the groupings I bought were Aztecs, so (without a fully developed concept – or an in-depth understanding of the history of the Conquest) I volunteered to write a supplement covering the Spanish Conquest of the Americas in the 16th Century – covering the Aztecs, the Maya, the Tlaxcalans, the Mixtecs/Zapotecs, the Inca, and of course the Conquistadores. The research (reading 4 books and other internet material) for this took me the better half of March, and writing the supplement (about 30 pages) took up the rest – so no painting in March for me. I have finished the draft and we’ll see where that goes – but so far it looks (to my biased eyes) pretty good.
The resources that I found were adequate I believe – as the authors are all subject matter experts. Besides, I just needed enough to design a gaming supplement – not pursue a doctorate. In any case, I now can start painting forces to use with the supplement and hopefully bring to club meetings and conventions.
I started with Aztec novice warriors. A major aspect of warfare in this period was the overriding need to take captives. The Aztecs would place the taking of captives at a higher premium than actually killing the enemy. Rank and prestige in the Aztec army (and Aztec society) were dependent on two things – the number and the quality of the enemy warriors one had captured. These captured were used for ritualized sacrifice or for making into slaves. The value of all captives was not equal – capturing a high-ranking member of a strong warrior tribe was better than a weaker one from a less-respected foe. Aztec troops were typically composed of a group of veteran warriors and an attached group of novices. The novices were usually (but not always) in a second rank, following the veterans. The veterans were supposed to be responsible for the novice’s training. In the game, I match up a group of novices to an equally-sized group of veterans (not elite units).
Novice warriors advance by capturing enemy warriors under the tutelage of the veterans. The first two blisters that I had were “Aztec Novice Warriors II” and came from Wargames Foundry. These are available in the US from Badger Games – here is a link to them.
The metal models cleaned up easily enough – but I discovered that there were a few lingering mold lines that I missed. Still, these would be a nice way to challenge my painting skills (and add to them) as I had not painted human flesh of any type in 28mm for several years – maybe these old 1970’s era Minifig neanderthals were the last similar types that I did. As these novices are mostly wearing only loincloths, it would be a lot of skin to paint.
The packs also came with many shields. Each blister pack of six contained 3 novices armed with slings, two armed with an obsidian-bladed wooden sword club called a macuahuitl (ma-kwa-wheat), and one with a a roundhead club called a cuauhololli (kwa-ho-lolly). One of the macuahuitl figures had a quilted cotton armor tunic called an ichcahuipilli (each-ca-we-pee-lee).
As a side note – part of the research into this era was the major challenge of pronunciation and spelling for Aztec terms!
I filed and cleaned the models, and mounted them on 1″ steel fender washers for painting. These were then mounted on specimen jars with poster tack for ease of painting.
By April 19th and 20th, I had gotten the models to where I could begin to choose which shields to use and affix. I did this with first Gorilla glue, and then with E6000 epoxy – allowing to harden overnight. At that point, I was able to use shading on the models and the shields – and flock the bases.
April 19th progress…
April 19th progress…
For flocking, I used Army Painter “Brown Battlefields”, followed by some pigments (see painting list below). I then airbrushed the models with varnish, and after that dried overnight, I applied random grass patches to the bases.
For better viewing, I will now share close up groupings of photos of each type of figure and some group shots as eye candy.
First, the slingers with cocked arms:
A blue-themed slinger w/cocked arm
A red-themed slinger w/cocked arm.
Both slingers from the side
Next, the slingers loading their slings:
Red-themed slinger loading
Blue-themed slinger loading
Rear view of these slingers
Next, the novice figures with shields and macuahuitl advancing.
Novice w/blue shield + macuahuitl advancing
Novice w/red shield + macuahuitl advancing
Both of these models, front
Both of these models, rear
Next, here are the two cuauhololli-armed novices.
Blue shield and cuauhololli
Red shield and cuauhololli
Both cuauhololli novices
The one type of figure with a macuahuitl , and a quilted cotton armor tunic called an ichcahuipilli.
Red-themed figure w/macuahuitl and ichcahuipilli.
Blue-themed figure w/macuahuitl and ichcahuipilli
Both figure w/macuahuitl and ichcahuipilli, side view.
Both figure w/macuahuitl and ichcahuipilli, back view.
The sixth type, a slinger with sling above his head:
Lastly, as an add-on bonus , I also redid seven Archive Power-Armored Archive Frinx infantry that I found on eBay a while back. I have a good number of Frinx and game with them often as shown in this blog – just search for “Frinx” on my blog and see what I mean!
I did not paint their original colors, but they were done well-enough with a dotted camouflage scheme, very different from my other brightly-painted Frinx. But as they were based such that I’d never get them off of the bases that they were on, I just touched up the worn-away paint, used some shading, varnished them, and improved the worn bases. I’ll use them as commando Frinx. For fun, here they are:
That’s it for now!
PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THE AZTECS:
1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
Poster tack and plastic plates
Vallejo “Surface Primer – White Primer”
Vallejo “Flow Improver”
Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
Vallejo Model Color “Red”
Vallejo Model Color “Black Grey”
Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
Battlefront “Dark Leather”
Battlefront “Wool Brown”
Citadel “Dryad Bark”
Tamiya “Copper (XF-6)”
Tamiya “X20A Thinner”
Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
Deka Lack “Blau” (a survivor from 1987!)
Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
Citadel “Balor Brown”
Elmer’s PVA Glue
Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
Vallejo Model Air “Moon Yellow”
Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (shade)
Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
Americana “Desert Sand”
Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)
Thanks for looking – please let me know your thoughts and feedback!
Greetings from the Massachusetts lock down! I hope all of you are safe and that soon life will be returning back to normal for us all. If you have lost a loved one, a friend, or a job, or just been stressed out, my thoughts and prayers with all of you. This will eventually pass.
I have not been doing much on the blogging front except trying to keep up with others’ posts. At the beginning of April, the projections for death in the US were for 100,000 to 200,000 if we were lucky and did everything correctly in terms of mitigation. Frankly, that floored me and I went into a bit of a focus on the news, keeping up with my family (Mom and daughter/granddaughter). My Mom is on her own, and I worry about her. My daughter lives nearby and has taken walks with our 3 year-old granddaughter so we have gotten at least to see them. It kills us not to hug them both, but as my daughter works in a cancer radiation treatment clinic at a hospital in Worcester, we have painfully practiced “social distancing” during these brief but welcome visits. Of course there is communication via phone and Facetime, but it’s not the same.
The death toll has been mercifully less, but still very bad. Here in the US, as of this writing there have been over 48,000 US deaths, and approaching a million cases. In Massachusetts the surge/peak is coming up – and we have had 42,000 cases and nearly 2,000 deaths. I know that all of you are dealing with this and it’s horrible. I have some strong opinions on this, but I don’t want to get too political on my blog. My thoughts could be summarized by the article here.
My wife has been home on paid leave, but who know what will happen on this front. I have still been looking for a job, but with millions of Americans out of work and the understandable difficulties with interviewing – I have been staying home. I did fly to Virginia on March 9-10 for a face-to-face interview – which was an eerie experience. By the end of the week, everything was shutting down and we were in lockdown. And then the job did not come through.
Needless to say, tabletop wargaming is at a halt – and golf is impossible as all the courses are closed as nonessential.
I kept busy researching and working on a supplement for Buck Surdu’s upcoming game of Feudal Patrol™ – basically a new game similar to his Combat Patrol™ WWII card-based gaming system. It will cover the pike and shot era and earlier. My project was based on the Spanish Conquest of the 15th Century – so Aztecs, Maya, Inca, Tlaxcalans, Mixtec/Zapotecs, and of course Conquistadores. This has been on my “bucket list” – and I will share some more of that in future posts – but it did consume a lot of time (which I had to spare). I started painting Aztecs as well – but more on that later as well.
By the way, Buck redesigned his website – and it is an incredible free resource for unit organization and equipment for WWII. Here is an example.
Also, besides watching the news and the business channel, I watched TV, played cards (a rummy type game) with my wife, and did the grocery and pharmacy shopping. Thankfully I have a respirator that I use when I airbrush – so I wore that on these infrequent trips out of the house. It reminded me of my Army days with the old M17 gas mask.
I have a treadmill, and that helps with exercise too.
Earlier this month maenoferren22 at Bogenwald posted a challenge to share the view out the front window. I’ve enjoyed looking at others – so I thought I’d join in. It took a bit longer for me to get involved – as we are in early spring and it’s been cold and rainy. So. here’s some shots of my East Brookfield, MA home from inside and outside.
That’s it. Oh yeah, I do also listen to a couple of podcasts. Many of you know IRO (imperialrebelork). Along with his buddy Big Waz in Australia – he has The Fly on The Wall Podcast. He also just started a nice hobby podcast named, Imperial Rebel Ork podcast. I enjoy both – and TFOTW has been around a year now. Helps to get over the pandemic a little bit.
Here is my little promotion pic, with my Australian-descended friend, Caesar (who is 26 years old now).