Perro de Guerra (Conquistador War Dogs)

Dogs have been used in warfare for centuries. The Conquistadores used perro de guerra (war dogs) extensively in the Americas. They proved to be dreadfully effective weapons against Aztec and Inca troops. The Aztecs had only ever seen little Chihuahuas that they used primarily used for food.

By contrast, the Spanish had huge mastiffs, molossus dogs, deer hounds, and greyhounds. Many of these dogs were absolute behemoths – up to 250 pounds and three foot high at the shoulder. They were bred for war, and often wore armor with spikes and even spiked collars, and were more than capable of disemboweling an enemy with fangs alone. Here is an excellent post on these war dogs that does a nice job of summarizing the history of their employment in battle by the Spanish – I think it’s worth a look.

In addition to the horrific physical damage that they could do to opposing human beings, these war dogs caused opposing forces great psychological damage – to include inducing panic. The war dogs were new to Mesoamerica and quite deadly. In my supplement for Civilizations Collide (for games of Feudal PatrolTM ), the war dogs can both augment the attack of their owners and cause panic among their foes. Also, they can defend a fallen master against being dragged away for ritual Aztec sacrifice. To sum it up, they were viciously effective historically and can add quite an interesting element to a game.

A few years ago I remember playing one of the previous versions of the Sid Meier’s computer game Civilization – and the Spanish had Conquistadores as special units. It always struck me as interesting that the Conquistadores had war dogs with them as part of the animated unit icon in the game. When I began this project, I knew I’d have to find some 28mm war dog figures. I did find two sources for them: Outpost Wargames Services CONS6 “Wardogs” (available in the US from Badger Games) and Eureka Miniatures #100CON13 “Dog Handler and Dogs” (available in the US from Eureka US). The OWS SKU has 8 armored war dogs in two poses. The Eureka SKU has a dog handler armed with a pike and 4 different (and mostly smaller war dogs. Unlike what I wrote in my previous post, here I found the Eureka figures to be the better sculpts. But both are fine – we are talking about dogs. But BIG dogs. As far as basing, I needed to use a 1.25″ washer with some plastic card to cover the hole for four of the OWS and one of the Eureka models.

The eight OWS figures mounted for painting.
The dog handler and the four Eureka war dog figures. I don’t have a role for a dog handler in the game, but he’ll do fine being armed with a pike – and a stick (for the dogs I guess).

So then the issue was how to paint them. I looked at Osprey books, and on-line research on the different kind of dogs that were used. The picture below shows how I chose to proceed – more or less.

Clockwise from top left, a light-colored molossus dog, a darker molossus, a greyhound or deer hound, and a mean looking mastiff.

I decided to airbrush the different base coats and then go from there. The OWS ones were all armored with what appeared to be a braided cotton blanket. Half of these were made leaping forward (the leaping ones reminded me of Krypto) so there was a pillar underneath four of those models that needed obscuring. The second four OWS looked as if they were running. The Eureka ones had only spiked collars, but looked much meaner. My painting of these models took a few turns as I experimented with contrast paints, different dry brushing, and shading, as well as pigments.

The OWS war dog sculpts looked like Krypto to me.
I airbrushed different colors for the base coats of the war dogs. In the back you see the horses that I will use as casualty markers for the upcoming cavalry, but they are not part of the post here (but are part of Mark’s Conquistador Contest).

I then dry brushed the dogs’ coats. Then I ran into a new issue – how to paint eyes on a dog? I decided to use an off-white background with a ruby-red ink for the pupil – and leaving some of the off-white paint visible. I then made sure that the dogs’ faces were distinctive as the sculpts allowed me to be. I think my success was mixed, again these are dogs – but you can be the judge.

For the armor blankets (or whatever they were supposed to be called), I tried using contrast paints, then washes, and I was not happy as the dogs needed to be dirtier. What dog doesn’t roll around in the dirt and get dirty?

Therefore, I then went with a heavy use of pigments over the contrast paints and fixed the pigments with water. When I went to remove some of the excess pigments with Vallejo thinner and a cosmetic brush, some of the contrast paint started to roll up and come off – NOOOOO! After this, I just used water and a much lighter touch (though the first model I had to dirty up more to cover the damage as you’ll see below) and it worked ok. The next issue was that now after I had applied the pigments that the different colors that I had given the bands holding the armor on became pretty much brown. This meant that I needed some other way to distinguish them in games from a tabletop player distance – so I used some differently-colored flowered tufts. We older gamers need some help seeing ya know!

An OWS war dog after I finished removing some of the pigments. You can see the pillar supporting the model front here. I also added more washes after this. The dog’s face and paws have a glossy look, not because he had been drinking, but because I usually try to protect any inks or contrast paints that I used. Final varnishing is gloss then matte so any shininess is removed.
The group ready for flocking.
The models finished – you will see close ups below.

I numbered the war dogs as CWD1-8 for the OWS models and CWD9-12 for the Eureka models. The pikeman is CPM1. All of the dogs are slightly different in paint scheme – I hope. Click on any image for a bigger view:

Outpost Wargames Services CONS6 “Wardogs”

CWD1

CWD2

CWD3

 

CWD4

CWD5

CWD6

I only had one focused shot!

CWD7

CWD8

Eureka Miniatures #100CON13 “Dog Handler and Dogs”

CWD9

CWD10

CWD11

CWD12

CPM1

GROUP SHOTS

Lots of war dogs coming at you!
What’s for lunch? Or who? An unlucky Jaguar Warrior I guess…

This group counts as my second entry into Dave Stone’s Painting Challenge “PAINT WHAT YOU GOT CHALLENGE”.  For those of you interested in the progress of the “Mark’s Conquistador Contest” – and as always I do hope that you enjoyed reading this post – and please let me know your feedback in the comments section. After adding these 13, I have completed 36 figure and I now have 53 more figures to go. I am trying my best to get them done quickly and well.

Progress through 1/12/2021.

Lastly, our buddy TIM always ends his posts with a joke. I don’t always, but as a lot of you are from the UK, Australia, or other Commonwealth countries, AND as I am from NEW England, I thought I’d share the following picture from good old Worcester, MA – as it is too true.

Keep watching and hope you’ll stay with me!

And now my reference section (so I might remember what the hell I have done!):

Miscellaneous details and references for those interested in that sort of thing:

Previous posts on games, units, and other projects for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”

  1. Perro de Guerra (Conquistador War Dogs) (this post). 13 figures total: Outpost Wargames Services #CONS6 “War Dogs” (8 war dogs); Eureka #100CON13 “Dog Handler and Dogs” (1 dog handler/pikeman and 4 war dogs)
  2. Conquistador Foot Command, Crossbowmen, and a Couple of Officers. 11 figures total: Outpost Wargames Services #CONC1 “Conquistador Foot Command” (a leader, a banner bearer, a drummer, and a bugler); Eureka #100CON04 “Crossbowmen” (5 crossbowmen); and Eureka CONC1 “Conquistador Officer” and an unknown SKU officer (2 officers)
  3. Merciless Adventurers (this post) – Wargames Foundry #SB014 (6 Conquistadores with arquebuses)
  4. Audacious Arquebusiers! – Wargames Foundry #SB012 (6 Conquistadores with arquebuses)
  5. Mark’s Conquistador Contest – for my loyal blog followers!
  6. Montezuma and Chieftains – Wargames Foundry #AZ011 for Feudal Patrol – 6 Aztec figures (Montezuma, 4 Chieftains, 1 Warrior Priest)
  7. Aztec Shock Troops – Cuachic Warriors aka The Shorn Ones – 8 Aztec cuachicqueh warriors
  8. Tloxtoxl and the Priests of the Great Temple, Wargames Foundry AZ021 – 2 warrior priests, 1 priestess, 1 priest, 1 leader, and 1 signaler
  9. Civilizations Collide – The Wars of the Aztecs, the Inca, the Maya, and the Conquistadores is now available as a FREE Download for Feudal Patrol™ – plus a Feudal Patrol™ review!
  10. 18 Aztec Novice Warriors for Feudal Patrol Walk into a Bar – 18 Novice Warriors
  11. Aztec Warrior Priests (painted as Tlaxcalans), Ral Partha 42-302, circa 1988 (this post) – 6 figures – 6 Tlaxcalan Warrior Priests
  12. Tlaxcalan Novices, Elite Warriors, and Command Group – 18 figures – 8 Novice Tlaxcalan Warriors, 8 Elite Tlaxcalan Warriors, 1 Tlaxcalan Captain, 1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower
  13. Tlaxcalan Archers – 8 Veteran Tlaxcalan Archers
  14. Aztec Game for Feudal Patrol across thousands of miles – via Zoom!
  15. Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer – 1 Aztec General, 1 Aztec Drummer
  16. A June and July Jaguar Warrior Frenzy (plus some Aztec Veterans and a Warrior Priest to Boot) – 3 Aztec Veteran Warriors, 17 Jaguar Warriors, 1 Aztec Warrior Priest
  17. Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
  18. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  19. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  20. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

Total figures completed to date for this project: 177 figures:  109 Aztecs, 32 Tlaxcalans, 36 Spanish Conquistadores (53 more to go in Mark’s Conquistador Contest!)

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THESE CONQUISTADOR FIGURES:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. 1/8″ x 1.25″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  4. Poster tack
  5. Vallejo Mecha Primer “White”
  6. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  7. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  8. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  9. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  10. Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”
  11. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  12. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Cygor Brown”
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
  14. Citadel Air “Balor Brown”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “First Light”
  16. Vallejo Mecha Color “Off White”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “First Light”
  18. Vallejo Model Air “Dark Brown”
  19. Vallejo Model Air “Panzer Dark Grey”
  20. Vallejo Model Color “Neutral Grey”
  21. Americana “Buttermilk”
  22. Citadel “Runefang Steel”
  23. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
  24. Secret Weapon Washes “Ruby” (ink)
  25. Army Painter “Strong Tone” (shade)
  26. Reaper MSP “Grey Liner”
  27. Army Painter “Light Tone” (shade)
  28. Army Painter “Mid Brown” (shade)
  29. Army Painter “Tanned Flesh”
  30. Battlefront “Sicily Yellow”
  31. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  32. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aggaros Dunes”
  33. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Flesh Tearers Red”
  34. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Dark Angels Green”
  35. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Ultramarines Blue”
  36. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
  37. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gore-Grunta Fur”
  38. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Black Templar”
  39. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Militarum Green”
  40. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  41. Vallejo Game Air “Bronze Fleshtone”
  42. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  43. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  44. Citadel “Ironbreaker”
  45. Vallejo Model Color “Brown Rose”
  46. Secret Weapon Washes “Armor Wash” (wash)
  47. Battlefront “Flat Earth”
  48. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  49. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  50. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Snakebite Leather”
  51. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
  52. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Contrast Medium”
  53. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  54. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  55. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  56. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  57. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  58. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  59. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  60. Americana “Desert Sand”
  61. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  62. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)
  63. Army Painter “Meadow Flowers” (flocking)
  64. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures grass and flowered tufts (various)

Author: Mark A. Morin

This site is where I will discuss stuff that I find interesting and that includes family, friends, golf, gaming, and Boston sports!

47 thoughts on “Perro de Guerra (Conquistador War Dogs)”

  1. Very interesting post Mark. I knew dogs had been used in war but not in the capacity of attack dogs. I have to say if I was going into battle I would like one of them alongside me thats for sure. Nicely done on the painting and basing and certainly something very different. Nice to know the UK isn’t the only place with a pot hole problem. Can’t help but feel lockdown would have been a great time to repair some of them if possible.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Glad you liked the post Dave. Yeah, better to have one of these by your side versus at your throat to be sure. Our weather is quite destructive to the roads – the freeze/thaw cycle here plus inadequate initial construction and maintenance yields quite a mess.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Cracking lost Mark. An interesting and unique topic. I am not too fond of any breed of dog that fits the “breed for war/fighting” category, so these definitely look scary too me on a very visceral level. In combination with my disdain for the conduct of the Conquistadors this makes for a dark and sobering aspect of colonial warfare of the time.

    I think the variation in fur colour is a nice touch, while the blankets give the dogs a unified look. Also clever to use the bushes to hide the pegs. Usually I try to replace those with clear acrylic rod, but sometimes stability is more important.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks much! Indeed the conduct of the Spanish was far less than civilized, but remember the Aztecs were no saints either. It was, like most eras in human history, pretty damn brutal. As far as the rods go, these were so big that I needed to leave them, but the tufts did the trick well enough. Appreciate greatly the feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Quite true, at least in recent years the public narrative is a tad more balanced and even people not interested in history get a better understanding of the dynamics at play. I always thought and still think, that historical wargaming can do exactly that: make one research all angles of a conflict and come to a balanced conclusion. In the end most protagonist are all very grey.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice work on the doggies (the K9, version of moggies, you learn so much from me! 😉). Though it’s a rather vicious looking bunch isn’t it. Not really playing the game “letting loose the dogs of war!” though is it, especially if they were only used to Chihuahua’s! (like introducing people to Sharks who have only seen Goldfish 😁).

    Good joke too, by the way.

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Excellent work on the canines Mark, they truly look vicious ! It’s amazing how people forget about the use of different animals through history.
    Great joke by the way, living in the countryside most of our roads look like that ! LOL
    Did you know the reason we drive on the left actually dates back to Medevil times ? It was so when two knights passed they could see if their sword arm was armed ( left handed people were killed as heretics) and it became so engrained it carried on to present day, sadly without the swords ! LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Mark, these are terrible – just get them all stripped and re-painted and this comment has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve guessed a pretty late date in your challenge for getting all the conquistadores finished and you’re making such good progress! 😉 Seriously though, these have come out well! 🙂 I rate dogs harder to paint than horses, which is why I only have five painted dog miniatures! And, to be fair, you need to make sure Civilizations Collide has some rules in for Aztecs with Chihuahuas e.g. if a conquistador war dog sees a Chihuahua within two inches of an Aztec it will chase the Chihuahua off the board instead of attacking the Aztec. I don’t know what movement rates you use, but something like 30 inches a turn should be about right for a Chihuahua – we’ve got two of them, and they are fast!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the only way an Aztec would have brought his Chihuahua to a fight would have been in a lunch box (or doggie bag maybe 😆). I think painting a Chihuahua model would be very hard – though I’m assuming you won’t paint yours or eat them! Seriously, thanks and yes, the war dogs were harder to base and paint than I thought originally. I’m hoping the cavalry horses will be ok in the future, but they are near the end of the line. I have not painted cavalry since 1984. It will be difficult to predict (myself) when I will get finished as I have been batch painting some stuff like shields and some common base colors. Then I am going back and focusing on a unit at a time. Here I did airbrush the dogs and while I was at it I did base coat all of the horses (upright and incapacitated). That should make the contest more interesting as who knows when I’ll be done? Not even me. Though I am trying to get through them as well as I can expeditiously. What are your dogs names?

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      1. I’m pretty sure you’ll manage horses, despite when you last painted them! Our dogs are Midge, an eight year old girl we’ve had since she was less than a year old, and Dash, a ten year old boy we got from a rescue three years ago. Twenty year ago I told my wife “we are not getting a Chihuahua” and now I’d never have any other type of dog!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Like others have said, this was very educational. I had not heard of war dogs in that conflict. They’d be a great asset in thicker foliage with their powerful noses. Also, dogs have been a tool throughout history to terrorize others (unfortunately) so the Spanish using them to that end makes a lot of sense. I really like how you based the dogs and it was smart to incorporate different breeds into the mix as well. Those little touches really make them stand out. Finally, I can relate to the meme on New England roads! The roads in Chicago are only barely better than that picture and I complain about potholes to my fiancée almost incessantly!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent work, Mark. As a fellow Aztec/Maya/Inca/Conquistador player I follow your blog intently. I also own the Eureka dogs and handler. The Perros de Guerra were first used by Columbus in his brutal subjugation of the inhabitants of Hispaniola. Given their usefulness, it seems dogs never left the side of the Conquistadors ever since. Once the “Civilizations Collide” expansion takes form it may be time for you to disappear further down the rabbit-hole. Mays or Incas next? Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ralph and glad to meet a fellow player and very happy that you have been following my journey! If you were not aware, the Civilizations Collide is a free download from either Sally4th in the UK here https://wargamesbuildings.co.uk/epages/950003459.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/950003459/Categories/Feudal_Patrol or Buck Surdu’s website here http://www.bucksurdu.com/Buck_Surdu/FeudalPatrolFiles/CivilizationsCollide_v7.pdf. Sally4th also sells the rulebook and the cards for the game, The supplement is free, and the sources for the game in the US are On Military matters here https://onmilitarymatters.com/dfsearch.php?term=keywords&data=feudal+patrol&submit=Search and Noble Knight Games here https://www.nobleknight.com/P/2147818277/Feudal-Patrol. I do not make any money from the sales btw. There are rules for both Inca and Maya in the supplement – and I hope to paint some eventually as well!

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  8. I had no idea the Aztecs used war dogs; but then again I am woefully ignorant of all things Aztec. Still, I love seeing what you’re doing with them. I’m not a historical gamer, but I admire anyone who takes a fancy to a certain period/force and devotes the time to create an army for it. Good on you, Mark.
    And while your jab at Worcester was certainly amusing and right on the money, we both know the roads are hardly the worst thing about Worcester. Then again, I live near the Whaling City, so…glass houses and all that…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback – I rather enjoy the blog much more than Instagram! Glad you’re enjoying my journey, it has been fun (and long). A couple of points as I may not have been clear. The Aztecs did not use war dogs, but the Conquistadores did against them. The Aztecs only knew of Chihuahuas and those were food not pets. I should be finished soon and be ready to game these, even if only virtually. And I live only 10 miles from Worcester and grew up in hilly Fitchburg, which has terrible roads too. But I actually do like Worcester as it’s not too big and has a couple of good medical centers too and some good restaurants – if life ever gets normal again and they survive. I’ve always thought of myself as a Central Mass guy – my tax money and my sports allegiance go to Boston, but I like it out here (less so during a blizzard).

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      1. No, Mark. You were clear as day. Your post title is “Conquistador War Dogs.” That’s pretty clear.
        I’m the one who can’t read. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Excellent work on your war dogs! I knew that dogs have been used in various combat situations, but knew little of their use in times before WWI. D&D has “war dogs”, so I also knew they were likely used in medieval times. So, today I learned that they were used against Aztecs! Which makes perfect sense, as the Spaniards foe was mostly unarmored. That scene with the Jaguar Warrior you set up, is quite awesome, with all that in context. I can’t imagine being in that predicament myself. I’ve had a few close encounters with dogs, but never a whole pack of bloodthirsty combat trained canines. My guess is he wouldn’t have long to think about it!

    I wonder if the Aztecs use of bird feathers, bones, and animal skins, further encouraged the hungry war dogs appetites too?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Faust and good to hear from you. If you’ve seen the use of dogs by Ramsey in GoT that was inspired by the Conquistador use. It was quite barbaric – The dogs were trained to kill and fed human victims. Also before battle, they were not fed for days so as to be more ravenous. The Aztecs wore a lot of cotton- but the dogs went where there was not any protection.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I read about that on your linked page, good stuff! It’s also interesting that they had quilted armor on the dogs (to protect them from missiles), I would’ve thought it would be mostly leather. But I guess quilted armor was likely cheaper.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s an excellent set of literal dogs of war, Mark! Funny how we think of them as cute on the table when they would have indeed been terrifying in real life! Great strategis use of grass tufts as well – exactly what I was thinking when reading through and looking at the WIPS. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the tufts worked well. I find the Shadows Edge Miniatures tufts to be excellent. My main concern was making them look good and not out of place with the common themed bases I have for all of the others. The flowers might a bit, but a small price to pay for ease of play and identification. Thanks much!

      Like

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