Stonehouse Miniatures Aztec Terrain for my Tenochtitlan Cityscape

When I was at Historicon in November 2021, I ran my “Cortes’ Causeway Escape Attempt” scenario for a Feudal Patrol game for the Spanish Conquest in Mesoamerica (Aztecs vs. Conquistadores) using my supplement Civilizations Collide. One of the issues with my terrain with which I was not fully pleased was the Temple of Yopico model I was using. As readers of this blog may recall (the relevant post is here), I was using a relatively small pyramid that had been given to me that I had converted for the cityscape. Unfortunately, you could not put figures on it for gaming, and I had a template made for gaming with it – certainly this was not an ideal solution for a model of the Temple of Yopico.

My converted temple from last year.

As fortune would have it, in very early February, I discovered that Stonehouse Miniatures sells a pretty good looking Aztec Pyramid made out of foam and resin pieces that looked to me like it would work for 28mm. They also had several other cool items like a skull wall temple courtyard and a moon goddess plaque in resin. I have usually found that most commercially Aztec terrain is made to look like ruins – more suitable for an Indiana Jones scenario or Ghost Archipelago than for Tenochtitlan in 1520. Happily, these new finds were not models of ruins! Yay! I ordered them and they arrived on Valentine’s Day. As 10 days later TotalCon 36 would begin, I needed to get moving forthwith!

The Stonehouse stuff that I ordered.

The temple was painted black, and the other resin was totally unpainted of course (as one would expect). My cityscape is more of an oxidized-limestone hue – so I had my work cut out for me. The three main pieces of the temple that were made of foam – not a material with which I had a lot of experience (but not zero). The rest were made of resin. However, with TotalCon 36 coming up rapidly February 24-27, I was a bit under the gun to get them done, along with some other stuff I made for my France 1940 What a Tanker game (about which I’ll share in details in a future post).

The new building on my tiles. Definitely, the pyramid color needs adjustment!

Given the timing constraints that I was under, I first proceeded to work on the temple, then on how to safely transport it, and finally onto finishing the other resin pieces – so I’ll describe that process here. With this approach, I could at least get the pyramid done, and if I could get to the other pieces before the convention, that would be great.

Let’s start with the pyramid. The model kit is designated BRA-105, “Aztec Pyramid Complete”, and includes 1 single-piece foam Aztec pyramid, 2 foam base expansion pieces, 4 sets of resin stairs, a resin temple (top piece), a resin sacrificial altar, and 4 resin braziers.

BRA-105, “Aztec Pyramid Complete” kit.

First, the issue of priming came up. While using my airbrush would not melt the foam if I primed it – as opposed to a rattlecan – I decided to consider the manufacturer’s black color as the prime. The braziers, the altar, and the other pieces that I got in my order (discussed later in this post) were all unpainted resin. I washed all of them first, scrubbed them, and let them dry while I worked on the pyramid.

Wash that resin!

I had decided that a series of dry brushing applications would be my best bet to achieve the color I wanted – with details added afterwards. On the pyramid’s stairs, there were a few places that had exposed resin surfaces (where the black paint had not adhered). I would deal with those by spot-painting with black primer before I did further work on it. As for the painting process, lots of widespread dry bushing would ensue as the next steps. For the foam pieces, they were quite nice as tabletop wargaming terrain pieces go. The pieces had enough detail that even the small molding defects could be made to look like they were a result of weathering. This was especially the case around the bricks. I was concerned with the friability of the foam, so I proceeded with due caution and planning to deal with that vulnerability.

This is after the first dry brushing color was applied to the one on the left – with the untouched other half for comparison. The first two colors in sequence were Citadel “Tallarn Sand”, then Citadel “Karak Stone”.
The left piece has the second dry brushing color on it – the one on right is for comparison and just has the first color.
The first two dry brush applications on the pyramid are complete here.

The last color to be dry brushed was a craft paint – FolkArt “Yellow Ochre”. I liked the way it worked on the pyramid.

After the yellow oche was added.

From then on I worked on the stairs (dealing with any remaining exposed resin as well) and added colors to the pyramid’s details. The underlying manufacturer’s black served well to define the deeper details, but washes were needed too.

Here you see the painted colors on the pyramid after the dry brushing applications but before the final wash and varnishing.

I then applied Army Painter “Light Tone” with a brush and let that dry, as well as Citadel “Carroburg Crimson” on the red stairs. Finally, I brush-applied a 50% thinned coat of Vallejo Mecha Color “Matt Varnish” to seal the porous foam and to help protect the paint on all of the pieces. These foam pieces were too big for my spray booth and in any case I thought that the foam would blow around too much from an airbrush.

Drying after washing and varnishing.

By February 18th, I could say that the pyramid was done, minus the braziers.

Pyramid done – angled view.
Pyramid done – side view.

I was pretty pleased with the final result, but I still needed to try to get the braziers done and a storage/transport solution built for it.

As being able to transport it and the other accouterments was imperative, I modified a 32-liter Really Useful box with hot glue and posterboard. This also allowed me to create a storage/transport solution for my hills that I use for the Battle of Otumba (of which more will be shared soon when I post about the game but you can see one of the hills in the background of my last post).

Let’s get back to the box. I measured the space that each piece would need in it and marked the box’s interior accordingly with a Sharpie. I lined the bottom of the box with thin sheets of foam from Michaels for cushioning. Then I cut the posterboard into sheets and hot glued those into the box. I left enough room at the top to build a storage box for the smaller pieces.

The storage/transport box’s main compartment as viewed from above. The two hills are shown here with the pyramid sections. The small resin temple is in the foam sheet roll as seen on the left as due to its size and heft (solid resin) it needed protection. On top of this would go the thinner storage box.

As discussed, I did have the pyramid’s braziers to do as well as the other smaller resin pieces – so I actually built the storage box for all of them before I painted them. This way at least I could get the pyramid to the convention.

For the top storage box, I cut the bottom piece of posterboard out and made the sides with posterboard and hot glue. I used wooden toothpicks as pins to secure the posterboard while the hot glue set. This was a new technique for me that I had as an idea and one that worked great – I just broke the toothpicks in half and drove them into the posterboard with an unsharpened pencil immediately after the hot glue was applied. The toothpicks disappeared into the posterboard nicely.

Lastly, I made a posterboard top for the box and put it over the previously shown main compartment.

At this point it was February 19th and now I could attempt to finish the resin pieces. In addition to the braziers that came with the pyramid, I had UTW-301 “Skull Wall Temple Courtyard” and BRA-125 “Moon Goddess Plaque”. The UTW-301 contained 2 more braziers, a skull gate, 6 taller skull walls, 4 smaller skull walls, 6 corner skull wall pieces, a stellae, and yet another sacrificial altar. This kit appears to be no longer be offered on Stonehouse Miniatures website, but most of the components are there under other SKU’s. The BRA-125 was just the plaque. I decided that I could indeed try to finish these as well.

I needed to find a mounting solution for painting these – so used the same combination that I had previously used for tank turrets for the braziers and the corners. I just handled the walls and plaque carefully as I went along. After drilling the braziers, wall corners, stella, and altar out and mounting them on screws and magnets and then into wooden blocks, I moved on to painting all of these on February 22nd.

I brush-primed them with Vallejo Surface Primer “German Dark Yellow”, followed by a generous wash of Secret Weapon Washes now-discontinued) “Sewer Water”. As is my custom, I will list all the paints I used at the end of this post for those interested.

Despite my scrubbing and cleaning, I found some of the resin pieces quite resistant to painting. Still, with a second application of paint or by adding a bit of primer or wash, I was able to get them done.

Smaller remaining resin pieces mounted, primed, and washed.
Close up of the walls from above.

As the braziers were higher on the priority list (with 4 being part of the pyramid), I worked on them first. By the end of February 22nd, they were all done and drying.

Braziers – done!

Then it was onto the other resin. The skull walls had some bubbles (that one would expect from any resin piece), but not many. In any case, I thought they should be dull and sallow-yellowish, reflecting the idea that these skulls had been on the racks for a long time. This also allowed me to camouflage any of the resin bubbles with dry brushing and washes. Besides, these skulls are so small that on the tabletop they would be background around my temples and buildings anyways.

I followed a similar dry brushing pattern as I used for the temple pyramid for the walls, with adaptations for the skulls themselves. By the end of the 22nd, all the resin was painted, varnished, and drying.

Walls and Moon Goddess Plaque done.

I played around with them on the next day (23rd) to see what configuration to use.

One possible configuration. I ended up deciding that all the skulls should face outward.

As it was the 23rd (and I would be packing my car that very day for travel the next morning for TotalCon 36), I partially mocked up the cityscape to see how all of the new pieces would look on my cellar floor. I decided to add the walls as a courtyard next to the pyramid and as eye candy on the side of another building.

Mock up on the floor – but it was time to pack!

I was successful (barely!) at getting all this done for TotalCon 36. At that convention, I ran 4 games – one each Thursday to Sunday, and each game is worth its own blog post. Therefore, I will be sharing more posts and pics of those in the coming days. I also want to catch up on others’ blog posts too, and do a catch up post on my garage+ building project (which has been taking up time too along with grandfather duties). Basically, for my blog followers, that’s why I went silent in February!

As a sneak peek, here below is what the temple looked like in action at the convention.

A preview of the action!

Thanks for taking a look and I hope this was fun for you. As stated, I’ve got more posts for you in the queue! I’ll try not to have you drink all these from a firehose – especially Roger!

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

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.

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

On The Pyramid Structure:

  1. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  2. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  3. FolkArt “Yellow Ochre”
  4. Vallejo Model Color “Black”
  5. Armory “Dark Blue”
  6. Vallejo Model Color “White”
  7. Vallejo Game Color “Scarlet Red”
  8. Americana “Kelly Green”
  9. Americana “Cadmium Yellow”
  10. Citadel “Flash Glitz Yellow”
  11. Army Painter “Light Tone” (shade/wash)
  12. Citadel “Carroburg Crimson” (wash)
  13. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  14. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

On The Smaller Resin Pieces:

  1. Vallejo Surface Primer “German Dark Yellow”
  2. Secret Weapon Washes “Sewer Water” (wash)
  3. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  4. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  5. FolkArt “Yellow Ochre”
  6. Vallejo Model Color “Black”
  7. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  8. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Dark Angels Green”
  9. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Dark Oath Flesh”
  10. Citadel “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
  11. Citadel “Fire Dragon Bright”
  12. P3 “Blazing Ink” (ink)
  13. Citadel “Morghast Bone”
  14. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Skeleton Horde”
  15. Army Painter “Light Tone” (shade/wash)
  16. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  17. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

On the Storage/Transport Box:

  1. 32-liter Really Useful Box
  2. Posterboard
  3. Hot Glue
  4. Toothpicks
  5. Foam sheets

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!

34 thoughts on “Stonehouse Miniatures Aztec Terrain for my Tenochtitlan Cityscape”

    1. Thanks David, I could have blogged in February or worked on stuff and I chose the latter. Now I have the pleasure of going through a month’s worth of posts – which is well-worth it. Glad to be back and more stuff to come. Hope all is well with you in AUS.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. That is brilliant, Mark! 🙂 Fits onto your city tiles nicely and also gives you the option of just using the top half for a smaller pyramid if you want to. Looks really good with the figures on it, so I can imagine you’re very pleased with it!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. What with various Civilisations’ penchant for things like oversized doors and the like, I think they’d have the scale elasticity to actually fit nicely. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I liked the small pyramid when you got that done for, but the new one is an awesome piece, much better suited to this project! Well done getting it table ready in the time before the Con. Excellent!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Excellent work Mark, especially on a deadline, the whole board is taking on a life of it’s own, and is a truly awe inspiring piece to see.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Not a problem matey, as you well know I’m absolutely hopeless when it come to checking E mails and as for Facebook and Instagram forget it 😅😅! I did check with IRO and he said you were taking a break🤓👍🏻

        Liked by 1 person

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