Aztec Temple Rehab

Sounds like a good concept for a reality show doesn’t it? Circa 1520 or so…

Actually, it’s my latest attempt at adding another structure to my Aztec terrain/buildings for games of Feudal Patrol in Mesoamerica (using my Civilizations Collide supplement). There have been a good number of buildings from me lately (which is why I did my contest). There is also a link at the end of this post on all of my project terrain and miniature builds for it.

And this particular post is dedicated to Ryan MacRae and Chris Rett. Why?

Well, this temple piece has a somewhat unclear past. It was given to me by Ryan MacRae and Christopher Rett. It was left over from their back room cleanout at the Great Stories store in Uxbridge, MA. Ryan said it was maybe originally found in his dad’s garage? Was it a souvenir? A kit project? A piece for a terrarium or even an aquarium? Who knows. All I saw in it was potential as a reasonable secondary temple-type building for Tenochtitlan. It was in two unconnected pieces, had a few cracks, and seemed to be somewhat ceramic. Obviously, I needed to have it match my other pieces. I was not thrilled with the stairs and their alignment, and it was mostly (but not totally) symmetrical. Though I believe something is either symmetrical or its not right? The top would not stay on the top if bumped. Anyways, I thought I could try to make something more useful out of it gaming-wise.

The piece as it was when I got it.

I thought it needed a base, and I did have an spare piece of Revell plywood that I cut to size up to the piece – as symmetrically as possible.

I then sanded the edges of the plywood and the bottom of the piece, and attached the two with wood glue. As you can see, I found a way to compress the two while the glue set!

I then decided to use black Milliput to construct the stairs. Why black? It was what was available! I don’t have a lot of experience with it, and I chose it due to being cheaper than green stuff. I did not expect to get great sculpted details on the stairs – I just wanted something that would be aesthetically ok on the tabletop. I did consider using square wood dowels, but the work involved in sizing them seemed disproportionate to the needs of this project. I also would make the steps wider and more visible – but still they would not useable by a figure on a base.

As for the sculpting – it was a bit more difficult than I had imagined beforehand. I tried to use the existing lines on the piece as guidelines, and was successful for the most part. It’s not Michelangelo, that’s for sure. I actually was a little disappointed at this point, but I pressed on thinking the rest of the rehab may go better, and let the Milliput cure.

The dusting process was similar to my previous efforts with MDF – that being painting the model with a PVA/water slurry and dusting with a salt shaker containing the dust. I did add (temporarily) extra neodymium magnets so as to prevent the dust from blocking the installed ones.

All dusted up – note the extra magnets as masking.

I then moved on to painting it. I dry brushed it and then painted it in the same color schemes as my MDF.

The piece after first dry brushing and base coating.

I then used Army Painter “Light Tone” on it and let it dry. Once dry, I added more highlights.

After adding the tone but before the final highlighting.

To get a feel for the model, here are some eye candy shots.

One side
Opposite side
Top side view
Some Eagle and Jaguar Warriors and a Warrior Priest by the piece.

I learned a bit during the processes of this project. I’m on the fence on Milliput as an architectural sculpting agent – it was not easy to sculpt into the stairs and I did face a challenge with regards to the Milliput’s “slump” (a term used to describe how wet concrete settles and does not hold a shape). Though, the extreme slope of the stairs (as is found with the actual ones) made gravity NOT my friend in this aspect. Maybe green stuff or Apoxie Sculpt would have been easier but more expensive. I am unsure. I think my approach in the end worked out ok, and the painting helped I think – and you, dear reader, can let me know your assessments.

My biggest goal was for this piece to be a good add to my little mini Tenochtitlan tabletop. The next two pics are good comparisons. I think it succeeded. Not my finest work, but it is acceptable.

Next to the Temple High Throne
The piece seen next to all of my Aztec terrain (with some WIP Conquistador War Wagons in the back – more on them in a future post).

I think now my terrain just needs pavement and some causeways – I already have a working concept (below) and I will be making the surrounding lake swampy with some neat floating flora. More on this when I’m done with that!

My tabletop urban Aztec battlefield concept. There will be textured pavement and causeways on this MDF – and this will also be a future post! For rural areas, I have the other buildings.

The pavement is in WIP. I used MDF with sculpted DAS clay (including a Green stuff Aztec roller in judicious spots). It needs to set and get matte varnished, but I’m excited on the potential. I also need to build the causeways.

Pavement WIP

So that’s it for now – hope you enjoyed this post – let me know your thoughts – good, bad, or otherwise – in the comments section. Thanks for looking!

For all of my previous posts on games, units, and other projects for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide” – please see this page.


  1. Wood Glue
  2. Plastic Plates
  3. 1/8″ neodymium magnets
  4. Gorilla Glue
  5. Revell Birch plywood (1/4″ x 6″ x 12″)
  6. Paper clip wire
  7. Black Milliput
  8. All Living Things Dry Dust Bath (chinchilla dust)
  9. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  10. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  11. Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”
  12. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Sand”
  13. FolkArt “Yellow Ochre”
  14. Vallejo Model Color “Black”
  15. Vallejo Model Color “Red”
  16. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)

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!

40 thoughts on “Aztec Temple Rehab”

  1. Awesome work… I just remembered, I was going to drop you a message to say about the Greenstuff world Aztec floor roller. Something like it might be of use to you. I have got some examples of the effect if you want me to send some on. I got it for my Lizardmen army.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great repurposing of the gifted scenery piece Mark, and ties in well with the rest of your scenery.
    As for the problems you had with the Milliput, all the other mediums would suffer the same sag with the incline you were working on, the way to get round this, would be building in layers, so do all four bottom steps, let dry, straighten with a knife or sandpaper, then build the next layer, and repeat until you reach the top, once all done and dry, build the edges as these now have something to stick to and shouldn’t sag as much. Hope this helps

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Dave – and interestingly I considered that with wood but thought it would take too long (I was impatient I guess). Definitely next time I will be more patient, but you only learn by trying right? Really appreciate the tips Dave!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The alternative you could use, that I find quicker to work with , is the dense insulation foam, it can be cut and sanded easily, and easily glued in place. Fully understand the impatience, suffer with it greatly ! LOL

        Liked by 2 people

      2. In the end it really was a cost-benefit situation – I wanted to make something out of it but at some point it would have not been worth it versus other stuff in the queue.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow, you did an amazing job rehabilitating that temple, it looks a million times better than when you got it. I understand your frustration with Milliput, I agree with Dave that insulation foam would have been a lot easier. Still, we live and learn 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

      1. You can coat it with PVA to make it stronger Mark, and the high density stuff is pretty durable, or a thin coat of wall filler can add even more strength

        Liked by 4 people

      2. You can Matt, just be prepared Milliput doesn’t like to stick to it easily, greenstuff not so much of a problem

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I think the end result justifies all of the effort. The whole terrain project is excellent and will be well worth the effort when you first use it in anger. Cannot wait for that first BR.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That day is coming. Tomorrow I’ll be doing a rural scenario using those buildings, and the cityscape awaits varnish on the tiles (and better weather for spraying). Appreciate your kind feedback!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It looks great, definitely fits in with the overall look you have set for the other pieces, and the customisation works for letting you utilise and adapt an existing piece. You are fast coming to the end of this project, not too many more things to add.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. It is very impressive the way you took that somewhat rough looking gift and improved it! Your patience and creativity really paid off I’d say. It is neat seeing all of the terrain laid out on the table as well and it is going to be one awesome looking game when you get everything finished.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Oooh, I like that! 🙂 Well done, Mark! I use milliput a lot and would not have attempted that with it, but you’d probably have your work cut out however you tried it! I think it looks spot on (which means “exactly right” – I forget we speak completely different versions of the same language sometimes)!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Well done Mark a great conversion! I to have used such pieces and converted them into things I needed, I’m always on the look out in tourist and Dollar shops for things I can use!

    Liked by 2 people

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