Building an Aztec Cityscape – Part 2: Pavements

An Aztec cityscape gaming table would be incomplete without the use of proper pavements. Tenochtitlan was not built to look hardscrabble. These pavements would need to go under the massive buildings I had to represent the city of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire.  This post will cover the pavements I made for the cityscape. As I shared in my previous post, Building an Aztec Cityscape – Part 1: Causeways, Lifting Piers, and Removable Bridge Sections, I will similarly share my WIP photos as well as my lessons learned.

Many contemporary images of Tenochtitlan show a brilliantly white city. I am not convinced that this was its actual appearance. Much of the rock used would have been basaltic or limestone-like in quality. Both are subject to oxidation, and turn brownish-grey over time. That would be particularly true for pavements that were exposed daily to the intense rays of the sun. The painting below reinforced my decision not to go with a white/bleached appearance of stone structures for this project. I went more brownish/grayish.

A painting of Cortes at the Battle of Tenochtitlan (from Britannica). Note the brownish appearance of the masonry.

As with the causeways that I built, I used the MDF sheets I bought from Home Depot. They were 1/4″ thick sheets of 2′ by 4′ that Jeff Smith helped me to cut into ten 1’x 1′ and ten 6″ x 6″ sections. Then I laid them out to see if my initial layout concept would work. It did. But, unlike the causeways, I had an idea that the pavements should look weathered, and have some patterns sculpted onto them – Aztec patterns.

A few months prior I had learned from a friend in Maryland (Greg Priebe) that he had a surplus Aztec Roller from Green Stuff World (see it here). I was deep into painting the figures that I had at that point – but I traded some Ral Partha Vikings to him for it – with some idea that I would use it when I got to the point of building a cityscape – somehow. (THANKS GREG!!)

I was not going to like just having the MDF just be painted, I wanted a more tactile, almost 3D effect on them.

However, we are talking about 15 square feet of surface! I considered using green stuff and Apoxie Sculpt (both too expensive and potentially difficult for a huge build like this). I considered using modeling clay and then baking it and passed as that would end up potentially with either MDF on fire or a cause for my wife to terminate my existence for using her stove or both. After perusing YouTube for some ideas on sculpting on the MDF, I found this video from a guy named Luke in the UK where he used DAS clay mixed with PVA glue to use with Green Stuff Rollers. I decided that I would give that approach a go. I bought this DAS in white at Michaels.

Before I started, I needed to test and practice with the roller itself. It has a rectangular pattern, but it is a roller. Therefore, I would need to know where to start and where to stop. The solution came in borrowing some of my granddaughter Tabitha’s Play-Doh and marking a start and stop point on the roller with a Sharpie (and then returning the Play-Doh of course). This also let me figure out how large the imprint would be.

The roller pattern on Play-Doh as a test pattern.

The next step was to figure out the marking/sculpting plan for each pavement. I decided that having 3″ x 3″ squares would work well with both the larger and smaller MDF tiles. I needed to have a properly-sized template for the Aztec roller such that I could center it on the sculpted tiles. I planned to do 6 large tiles with the roller imprint, 4 without, and 9 small tiles without the roller imprint, and one with it. The roller imprint would be approximately 3″ x 5.5″.

Designing the larger (1′ x 1′) tile with the roller imprint centered.

It was now time to, well, get all messy and sticky with DAS and PVA. I used a smooth pastry roller (my own thank you not my wife’s), and a carpenter’s square (also mine!) to smooth out the DAS/PVA as well as to score lines in the mix at 3″ intervals. I used separate plastic tubs to mix the DAS/PVA and to clean my tools.

A tile without an imprint.
This shows how I sculpted the tile surfaces for the roller. The DAS/PVA mix is on top – and I used a roller and wet fingers to smooth the top. Then I marked off 3″ squares and drew the edge of the carpenter’s square across as a tool. If there was to be an imprint, I placed and traced the template as you see here. Then, I would use the Aztec roller to make the imprint.
An example of the rolled imprint. It was not always perfect, but I was able to smooth out the edges as best as I could. I expected to be able to make them work – and in the end they did. This was the worst example – I got better over time. In any case, when I was dry brushing I was able to make all look pretty good (though you can be the final judge).

The roller worked fairly well, though there was a learning curve to be sure. I definitely needed to have a tub of water, a brush, and microfiber towels to clean it (and my tools) constantly. The DAS/PVA on the MDF was left to dry over 24 hours. On a few of the larger tiles, I was surprised to see some of the MDF had a bit of warp from the drying clay/glue combo. The smaller pieces had none. Lesson learned. Certainly, finding enough flat surface for all 15 square feet to dry was not easy. I ended up using multiple card tables in the cellar. Yes, the wife was annoyed again. This whole process used up three packs of DAS – that’s 3 kilograms/6.6 pounds – of the stuff.

Drying tiles.

Once they had dried, the next question was how to paint them? I decided to use up my cans of Army Painter Strong Tone and Soft Tone (the dip), as they would be otherwise gathering dust in my paint shed. They theoretically would provide a bit of protection as well. Again, I also needed 24 hours of drying after application – yet again.

The Army Painter “dip” drying.
After the dip dried. I was happy with the way the pavements looked, except for the glossy effect.

Normally, I do not use spray varnishes, but these large pieces were good candidates for a spray of Krylon matte varnish. It was warm outside, so I gave them a coat. All went well – until some of the pieces – mainly one – started bubbling up like a cheese pizza. AHHHHH!

From what I could figure out, that was caused by the aerosolized solvent in the can vaporizing in the DAS and trying to release through the varnish and the dip surface. Luckily it was only on one large tile, but that tile took a rework and made this last at least a week or two longer as I tried to find the right combination to recreate a similar color. This took me into mid-July.

More drying time needed! Hell, drying SPACE. 15 square feet to go on a 24 square foot mat is a lot!

I then brush varnished and shaded all of the tiles. At this time I moved on to dry brushing the imprints with Citadel “Astorath Red”. I also darkened the edges with DecoArt “Raw Umber”. The tiles line up together on the lines nicely. Though some warp is visible, it is not horrible. I also went over all of the tiles and shaded them as needed so that the colors were similar and no untouched DAS/PVA was visible.

A comparison of the imprints before and after on the pavement tiles.
All six tiles with imprints.
Close up shot of a completed tile.
An imprinted tile with some Aztec warriors for comparison.

Of course, when you see the completed cityscape, you will be able to better judge how all of these came out. As they are modular, I should be able to use them in many ways. They certainly meet the Aztec criteria of symmetry. Also, these all can be part of Dave’s Season of Scenery Challenge!

At this point in the project, I noticed how the edges of the tiles were a distraction and needed some attention. I thought that seeing bare 90 degree edges and MDF sides coming out of a lake (or swamp) was a less than aesthetically correct situation for my cityscape. People would have built the city up from the lake – and that would have involved reclaiming the lake as dry ground. How? Well, I am sure that the Aztecs would have used slave labor to haul and deposit tons upon tons of rocks on the water’s edge.

My fix was to build some revetments around the cityscape’s edge plus some lily pads, and cattails – which will be the next installment in this series!

I hope that you enjoyed this part 2 and that you stay tuned for the rest – let me know your thoughts in the comments section and I appreciate your giving this a read!

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/MODELS:

  1. 2′ x 4′ MDF sheets – 1/4″ thick
  2. White DAS Air Dry Modeling Clay
  3. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  4. Army Painter “Strong Tone” (the “dip”)
  5. Army Painter “Soft Tone” (the “dip”)
  6. Krylon “Clear Matte” (spray varnish)
  7. Army Painter “Mid Brown” (wash)
  8. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  9. Americana “Bleached Sand”
  10. Army Painter “Strong Tone” (wash)
  11. DecoArt “Raw Umber”
  12. Citadel “Astorath Red”
  13. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  14. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  15. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)

Building an Aztec Cityscape – Part 1: Causeways, Lifting Piers, and Removable Bridge Sections

I have been working through July to build a representative 6′ x 4′ cityscape gaming table that would evoke the flavor of the city of Tenochtitlan, which was the capital of the Aztec Empire. On the arrival of Hernan Cortes in 1519, Tenochtitlan was populated by an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people – making it even larger than contemporary London. It was built on an island in Lake Texcoco, and was linked to the mainland by multiple causeways. These causeways also had removable or liftable bridge sections. In effect, Lake Texcoco formed a “moat” around the city, making it impregnable to enemies for hundreds of years (until the Spanish Conquest occurred anyways). The causeways would be of major importance during all phases of the Spanish Conquest. Cortes met Montezuma II on a causeway for the first time. The Spanish and their Tlaxcalan allies would fight desperately at different times to both escape Tenochtitlan (La Noche Triste) and to return to conquer it afterwards. The nature and importance of the causeways were major aspects of these battles, so any representation of the city of Tenochtitlan needed to have causeways.

A 1524 map of Tenochtitlan showing the causeways (from History Today).
Detail of a Tenochtitlan causeway (from Learnodo Newtonic).
Cortes meets Montezuma on a causeway for the first time (from Pinterest).
A painting of Cortes at the Battle of Tenochtitlan (from Britannica).

To build a city of such size would be massive – and certainly beyond the scope of a reasonably-sized gaming table. My goals were to make something special – while ensuring that it was something that could be used in games of Buck Surdu’s Feudal Patrol in Mesoamerica (using my Civilizations Collide supplement). I wanted a diorama that could be played on. To that end, I have built many buildings and figures that have been previously shared in this blog. What I needed to add was the underlying structure of the city – “the cityscape”.

The work that I did to build and paint this cityscape was extensive and would overwhelm a single blog post. Hell, it almost overwhelmed me just building it! Therefore, I have decided to break my work on it into 5 posts that I will share over the next few days. There will be a lot of WIP shots on each category, leading up to a final reveal. I am also continuing with my weekly garage+ build posts (like here and here), and I have some golf stuff to add as well. This is “Life, Golf, Miniatures, & Other Distractions” after all! My blogging drought is coming to an end! As for the cityscape posts, here is the listing of what is on deck:

  • Building an Aztec Cityscape – Part 1: Causeways, Lifting Piers, and Removable Bridge Sections (this post)
  • Building an Aztec Cityscape – Part 2: Pavements
  • Building an Aztec Cityscape – Part 3: Revetments, Lily Pads, and Cattails
  • Building an Aztec Cityscape – Part 4: Cortes’ War Wagons
  • Building an Aztec Cityscape – Part 5: Tenochtitlan – THE FINAL REVEAL

To build the cityscape, I started off with building the causeways, but work on all of these components overlapped. Please enjoy them and hopefully this is useful for my fellow gamers, modelers, and hobbyists. Luckily, these all can be part of Dave’s Season of Scenery Challenge – which is fun as well.

Initially, I wanted to plan the cityscape layout for a 6′ x4′ mat. I drew a rough sketch, and decided that I would get two 2′ x 4′ sheets of 1/4″ MDF from Home Depot. My friend Jeff Smith (a fantastic woodworker) has a lot of tools – to include a nice table saw, which I do not have. As I needed more precise cuts than I could achieve with my Black and Decker skilsaw, I enlisted his help. He was able to cut all the pieces in no time at all (and again, thanks Jeff!!!).

My initial rough concept of how to use the MDF sheets. They would be the basis of all of the cityscape construction. The pavements and causeways are both planned here, as well as where I wanted it all to go.
Jeff cutting some causeways.

After the MDF was all cut, I laid out the pieces that I had on my FLG swamp mat, and arranged my buildings. Later, I would get a water mat from them, as I thought the swamp would not work as well. After the MDF concept layout, I was on to the building of the six causeways. I usually went through the process of doing one phase of work on one piece (like a prototype), and if that worked, moving on to the rest in similar phases.

My initial concept laid out on a swamp mat.

My causeway section prototype would be 5″ wide and a foot long. I spaced out some 6″ craft sticks evenly across the bottom and used wood glue to affix them. These would be to support the wooden piers and stones around them on the sides of the top surface. This worked ok, so I did all six with the cross-glued craft sticks.

Lining up the craft sticks on the bottom of the first causeway. At the top you can see some wood I was planning to use as piers – more on those shortly.
After I glued all the craft sticks across the bottoms, I weighted them down and let the glue set overnight.

While the glue was setting on phase I of the causeway undersides, I built the two removable bridge sections. These are 6″ long and the same width as the causeways. These would be analogous to a medieval drawbridge. I broke up craft sticks irregularly and dry-fitted them to the top of the bridge sections. Then, I weathered the wood by beating a small chain on and into them with a ball peen hammer. After this, I glued them on with wood glue and let dry overnight. I did not press these with weight as I wanted a less uniform surface of the bridge to represent wear and aging.

My chain and ball peen hammer weathering of the craft stick wood surface.
The weathered wood ready for gluing.

Then, I went back to the causeways. The cross-sections were ok, but I needed to have a way to add the revetments along the sides – so I added more craft sticks longitudinally on each side. They would jut out about 1/2″ on the side of the causeways.

Here you see four of the six causeways after the first gluing – and before adding more on the sides for the rocky revetments.
Here are the longitudinally-added craft sticks set with binder clips for overnight drying.

Once dry, I covered the surfaces with glue and then chinchilla dust.

After adding the chinchilla dust and allowing for drying. Next up would be the painting and shading of the causeways’ surfaces, then onto adding the piers and rocks.

I finished painting the removable bridge sections and build and painted 4 lifting piers out of square dowels and 1/8″ plywood.

The masked causeways ready for painting, along with the 4 lifting piers and the 2 removable bridge sections. I masked the sides as I wanted to have a clean gluing surface for the piers and rocks. Having an airbrush sped this process – especially relative to all of the gluing!
I base coated the causeways, lifting piers, and removable bridge sections (ignore the WIP pavements behind – that’s a sneak peek at the next post!)
All painted and shaded – except I wanted to add a bit more to the bridge sections…
…which you see here – I added some contrast to the planks.

Next, I moved on to the side piers and causeway revetments. The following day I grabbed a dry oak branch from the woods behind the house and cut it up. As each causeway section would need 14 wooden piers (seven per side), I figured I’d need 84 piers. So, I initially planned on using some birch wood discs I had plus the oak sections. I cut up the wood in sizes I thought would work well. However, as I laid it out (dry fit), I was not happy with the appearance. At all. Clearly, compared to a 28mm figure, the wood size was far in excess of what would have been used as piers along the causeways.

It was time to regroup. For piers, I then decided to use 1/8″ wooden dowels instead. I cut them up roughly to represent timber and glued them together in threes – and if you are doing the math, yes, that is cutting up and gluing together 252 pieces for the 84 piers. This project had a LOT of gluing and drying stages! I also found a nice source of rocks at Michaels – those little filler stones that some people use in glass vases. These were much cheaper than any hobby talus would have been. The time downside was that for effective placement I needed to glue one course of rocks at at a time – one rock at a time – with PVA – more gluing and waiting for drying…

Detail of the pier and rocks gluing. I cut the pier wood pieces irregularly as possible to add realism.
The first side of a causeway glued up with piers and rocks and a 28mm Conquistador for comparison. The PVA would dry and “suck” up nicely into the crevices.

I then painted the piers and added some shade to them.

Painted piers

For the rocks, I painted them with Vallejo “Grey Surface Primer, followed by a layer of Reaper “MSP Black Primer” on the bottom (where the rocks would have been by the lake), and added some slime to them there as well. After that, I added an aggressive layer of shading with Citadel “Nuln Oil”. The effect on the rocks was excellent. You can see a list of all the paints and other materials that I used at the end of this post.

Adding black primer to the bottom of the rocks over the grey primer in an irregular pattern to represent the water line.
After adding grey and black primers to the rocks.
Finished causeway with the Conquistador. Note the effect of the shading on the rocks.
Top view
A finished causeway, lifting piers, and removable bridge section on my new FLG water mat.
Tlaxcalans assault the city from the causeway (another sneak peek!)

With the causeways, removable bridge sections, and lifting piers, I now have terrain components that I can use for the cityscape. I also could use them for a causeway battle, and add war canoes in the lake with Aztecs shooting bows, slings, and atlatl at the Conquistadors and Tlaxcalans from the water.

I think you can see why I am breaking up this into multiple posts! This started in June and ended in July. My next post will focus on the design and building of the cityscape pavements. I hope you found this useful and will keep following this series – and please let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Thanks so much 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.

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

  1. 2′ x 4′ MDF sheets – 1/4″ thick
  2. Wood Glue
  3. Binder clips
  4. GOCREATE Jumbo Craft Sticks
  5. All Living Things Dry Dust Bath (chinchilla dust)
  6. Painters Masking Tape
  7. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  8. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  9. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sand Yellow”
  10. Vallejo Game Air “Desert Yellow”
  11. Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”
  12. Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (shade)
  13. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Sand”
  14. Citadel “Ushabti Bone”
  15. FolkArt “Yellow Ochre”
  16. Vallejo Game Color “Red”
  17. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)
  18. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  19. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  20. Gorilla Glue
  21. Ashland “Decorative Filler” (rocks)
  22. 1/8″ wooden dowels
  23. Vallejo Model Color “Wood Grain”
  24. Vallejo “Surface Primer Grey”
  25. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  26. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  27. Vallejo Environment “Slime Green Dark”

Our Garage+ Project – Week Two Update

This week on the Garage+ project saw the installation of the concrete footer and the walls – as well as inspection of the foundation. The RJH Concrete crews, under Andy Cormier Homebuilding, did a great job and worked fast on a few warmer July days. The photos below tell the tale.

The concrete crew arrived early on Monday, July 26th.
They got to work quickly to place forms for the footer.
Footer placed – an earthen excavation wall collapsed on the right but that was no problem. Note how sandy our soil is!
Footer view from the second floor of our house.
By Monday afternoon, the crew stripped the footer forms.
On Tuesday, July 27th, the wall forms were delivered and assembled on the footer.
Crew assembling the forms.
By Tuesday mid-day, two concrete trucks arrived and the placement of the concrete began.
One of the two delivery trucks – because of our underground leach fields, the trucks had to deliver with every extension possible to get to the back walls.
Extensions in action.
Some of the concrete finished work on Tuesday.
It was a hot day, but the crew worked hard and fast.
Finishing work proceeds on the concrete walls.
On Wednesday, July 28th, the forms on the walls were stripped to reveal this!
Same view as above but a different angle.
On Friday, the foundation was inspected and passed!

This upcoming week promises to be full of activity as well. Stay tuned!

Our Garage+ Project – Week One Update

I wanted to see if I can do a quick weekly update on our garage+ project as there is some interest. Why garage+? Because we are, as discussed in my last post, not only demolishing and replacing the garage, we are adding a lot of functionality by way of a second floor and a big deck – plus replacing the deck attached to our home (the garage is not attached), repaving the driveway, and replacing our front door, etc. This is because we have no intention to move!

I’ll be doing this “garage+” as a separate series – as long as I can – hopefully weekly. My hobby and golf stuff posts will be separate – though I also have to get in some Aztec stuff for Dave’s Season of Scenery Challenge – maybe the garage+ can also count! I’m, as you Brits and Aussies say, chuffed, to get this going. Though I neglected going through my followed blogs for a bit (hobby stuff and golf and this project!), and I just finished a month of blog reading over the last week – so FINALLY I am caught up).

As for week one, Andy Cormier got in the excavator as you saw on Monday the 19th of July. He was able to knock the garage down easily on Tuesday – though I missed it as I was…yes…golfing. My wife did get a few shots of that – the garage not my golfing…

The garage is gone!! All that you see here is the asphalt floor as the building is somewhere in a dumpster traveling for disposal/recycling.
On Wednesday, it was time to remove the asphalt floor. It was clearly originally placed by hand as the thickness of the lift varied considerably. The asphalt was not placed by a professional! There were all kinds of junk underneath, to include wood and the power supply to the building (just laid under the asphalt). Andy capped that power off.
After the asphalt was carted off (it gets recycled differently), Andy was able to excavate under the original floor. I was curious to see if there were footings of any type under the double 2″ x 4″ and the single 2″ x 6″ boards that supported the roof on the left side. There were not!!! Also, here you see that under the back end of the garage that the previous owner had basically dumped in broken building refuse of many types (bricks, chunks of concrete) as “foundation” under the back wall. No wonder it was slumping! The engineer in me was amazed at such poor construction practices (old habit dies hard – even though I last did construction in the US Army).
Andy also had to deal with a lot of roots that found their way under the building – our soil is exceptionally sandy and well-draining in East Brookfield. It put up no resistance to many roots!
Getting down to 4 feet below grade. Some folks thought we were installing a pool!
Mid-excavation view from our second floor house window.
Friday it looked like this – all excavated and ready for next week.
Same Friday view from up in the house on the second floor.

That’s where we are now – hoping that some concrete work can begin next week. Stay tuned and let me know if you like this post, want more, or less, I aim to please! Thanks for taking a look.

A Real Life, Golf, Miniatures, & Other Distractions Update – And yes I am alive! and more!

It’s been a very busy time here at home since my last blog post in early June. Some of you have wondered if I had gone past my expiration date. Rest assured, I, for better or worse, am still on the top side of the fairway (or maybe the rough anyways).

This post will be a bit different than the standard fare I usually offer here. Yes, the title of my blog is “Life, Golf, Miniatures, & Other Distractions”. Too often, however, I neglect everything EXCEPT miniatures here. But as I now have a good deal to share on all of these, well, I guess for once I’ll give equal billing. You see, I have been building my Aztec cityscape. It’s a tabletop wargame set up that needs its own (and probably multiple separate) posts.

That is NOT the subject of this post – you did read the title friend?

No, this time instead, I’ll ramble through each of the aforementioned title topics about “stuff” that has gone on in the last month. I’ll share some hopefully interesting photos and a few observations that will (maybe) make you say wow! Or Hmmm! Or Huzzah! Or WTF? Or a combo? Your choices of course. Chuckling is allowed and strongly encouraged

As its been over a month since my last post, sit back and enjoy – I think that I did for the most part.

Life

This section is dedicated to the more important parts and events of my life – you know, the ones that I don’t usually write about. But they are important – and yes, even more important than minis or golf (oh please don’t make me write that again but it’s true). Most of this section is organized chronologically, but not aligned with the other sections – a lot of this is about family, vacations, and food!

Let’s start here with my wife Lynn and I celebrating her birthday back on June 12th. We got a pair of 2.5 pound lobsters and had a great meal at home!

As the pandemic really kept the planet at home, and as I am often remiss each summer in taking my wife to the beach as often as she’d like, I felt that it was important that this year I make an effort – especially as she was to be on vacation – to get her to the beach. Now, she likes Newport, RI, but I’ve always preferred Hampton Beach, NH. And she likes it too by the way – so I’m not a total ass! As her vacation weeks were fixed (I’m always off so no big deal for me), we looked at the calendar and June 28th looked like the only day of her first vacation week that would not be rainy. It also was hot as hell – so, we made the 90 mile trek to the New Hampshire coast.

Looking out towards my UK friends from under my umbrella. You are over there somewhere.
Beautiful day at the beach.
The north end of Hampton Beach.
As New Hampshire is The Granite State, it was nice to see these old rocks at low tide. We were just sitting behind these by 100 yards.
Same area as previous shot. looking at the ocean.

Now please understand, the water here is truly cold – usually not warmer than 50 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 10 degrees Celsius for you metric types). No Gulf Stream here to warm the water. As this day the air temp was 89 degrees Fahrenheit with a slight breeze (that’s 32 degrees Celsius for you metric types) – it felt like we were in a convection oven even under our umbrella. I took a couple mile walk to get the photos and some exercise and despite sunscreen got a (mild) sunburn and a couple blisters from the hot sand! Amazing to experience such heat with such cold water so close. Yes, I know that it gets hotter in other places (and I’ve lived down South too plus some time in the Sahara), but for us this was really hot. Lynn and I decided to head out for the boardwalk and some old (like us) video games, shade, and a snack, and some shopping. Oh yeah, and especially shade.

I think we were fully cooked.

After our little saunter along the boardwalk (which was much cooler), we decided to head out and grab dinner. Years before we met, unbeknownst to either us, both of us were aficionados of Brown’s Lobster Pound in nearby Seabrook, NH. We both had gone there since we were kids. It was nice to discover we had that in common when we met, and have been there every time we went through the area. We always get steamers (steamed clams) and lobsters. It’s a BYOB place, so we grabbed a few adult beverages and grabbed a nice spot on the picnic tables inside and waited for our orders.

LOVE THIS PLACE!
The place does a LOT of business – here is the outside takeout line for fried food.
Always good to park at low tide…
The causeway by the restaurant – soon in a future post you’ll see how it inspired my Aztec causeway colors – but not now! LET’S SEE FOOD!
Start with steamers…
End with a couple of 2 pounders!

That was a fun day. The rest of the week was rainy, to include the weekend. On the third of July, we managed to gather to celebrate Buck Surdu’s birthday…ok, we did not do that… 😁 – but we did get in a belated Father’s Day for me, a partial belated birthday for Lynn, and a day early Independence Day celebration. I got some cool gifts and cards! As it was my second Father’s Day celebration without my Dad, it felt better, especially with family.

Me, my Mom, my daughter Ellen, my wife Lynn, and the cute little one (no, besides me) is my granddaughter Tabitha who is four and a half now.

A week later Lynn and I were again having seafood withdrawals, so we hit a favorite place of ours, Red Crab Juicy Seafood in Worcester, MA (just 10 miles away). It specializes in Cajun seafood.

What a menu! And you can order every special on any day!
Spicy hot seafood, a gorgeous wife, and a Corona!

Ok, enough about food. We have been working on replacing our garage since before the pandemic. It looks like a Dr. Seuss house, only less useful. The previous owner of our house had won the Massachusetts State Lottery back in the 1970’s when it was a $50,000 drawing once a week (now it’s made up of dozens of games and much bigger payouts). He’s long dead now. In any case, my understanding is that with his winnings he bought a new car, one that was too big for his garage. The easy fix for him was to cut off the end of the garage, cut the stringers on the left side, and use scab lumber to extend the garage in both directions. As you will see from the photos below, while his fix lasted his lifetime, it was not going to rival the pyramids.

The garage as seen from our house’s 2nd floor. If you look closely you can see the roof’s deviation at the back where the extension was done. I have spent a lot of effort with a roof rake over many winters trying to keep the roof from succumbing to the weight of snow on this bad roof. Our septic leach field is under the grass and goes right up to the driveway – so a two car garage replacement was not practical.
The electric door still works – but barely. The door itself was shaped to the ground underneath instead of making the ground level. The door panels are particle board and warped due to exposure to moisture. This project will also encompass replacing the driveway, and installing a second floor and deck on the new building. We are also replacing the current deck we have now attached to the back of our house.
Door on side rotting away.
Roof and stringers rotting away.
Here you can see the warped door panels and the siding barely hanging on (I nailed it back on after a winter blizzard nearly took it all off).
The inside is totally NOT critter-proof, and structurally suspect. We have not stored a car in here for years – it’s been a shed basically. Mice did significant damage (>$800) to one of our cars in it, and after that no more was it a true garage for us.
It is a mess. We just emptied it out as the demolition starts soon.
The structure is put together somewhat haphazardly – and again it is a critter home.
The extended area with recycled lumber is shown here – and somehow there is no ridge pole – unless you count that thin piece of plywood masquerading as one.
Structurally, the left side is supported by a huge beam (approximately 7″ x 5″), which supports the weight of the left roof extension as the stringers were cut and sort of renailed together. All that weight rests on a pair of 2″ x 4″s – set in…I think the ground. I can’t see any proof of a footer at all. Again, not built to any code I ever read about.
The other end of the beam is supported by a 2″ x 6″, that also has the wiring coming in from underground…somewhere…probably under the driveway.

Now our good friend IRO is converting a carport into a shed using recycled materials, and is doing a FAR better job than was done with this monstrosity. In any case, it needs to go. We knew we wanted to do something extra here as we wanted some entertainment space and a deck to overlook the pond in back. Before the pandemic, we hired an architect, Lasse Aspelin, to design us a new garage with a second floor and a 16′ x 16′ deck, plus a new deck for the back of the house. We now have cleared the Town’s Conservation Commission, Building Inspector, and Zoning Board of Appeals (not going to bore you but that took a long time – over a year), and demolition starts this week. Here is what we are going to build:

Garage front.

Side view
Deck detail
Second story room
The garage interior. The new building will have all utilities, to include gas, water, and a mini-kitchenette and a bathroom on the second floor – perfect for entertaining.
The new house deck as will be seen from the garage deck.

It’s a big project, but one that will allow us to fully benefit from our home and property for years to come. Plus, now at least one car can come out of the snow in winter! We have hired Ready Installs of Shrewsbury, MA to do the project – and they are working with subcontractors like Andre Cormier of Cormier & Sons out of Fiskdale, MA.

News Flash!! As I write this post, Andre showed up with the excavator and we are excited! He even might let me take the first whack! Have some preliminary silt protection (for the pond) installed and the power cut to the building, but we are that much closer to starting!

The cavalry has arrived – or at least Andre and his excavator!
As stated in Blade Runner, for the old garage, “Time to Die”.

Golf

I play golf at least two-three times a week. 18 holes on Tuesday in a scramble format on Tuesdays, 9 holes of medal play on Thursdays, and 18 competitive holes of some type on the weekend either in the club sweeps or a tournament. I have taken a couple of lessons this year and am making some swing changes which is not an easy process. I have also been hitting range balls at least once a week.

In May, I got fitted for new clubs (my last new set was 10 years ago). I got on the launch monitor and was fitted for Ping G425 MAX driver, 3 wood, and 3,4, and 5 hybrids. For irons, Ping 710’s. Basically, I’m brand loyal to Ping. More on that in a bit.

I played in two tournaments – one was a scramble in the monthly “Tour of the Brookfields” on June 19th. I did not lead my team to victory, as we ended up only -4 (67) and 63 won our flight. It was another rainy and cold day too, so a tough scoring day.

The final scores – my team was in the Palmer flight on the far right at 67.

On July 1st, I got good news and bad news on my new clubs. The good news is that the G425’s finally arrived. The bad news was that the irons would take until mid-August – remember they were ordered in MAY!!

These new sticks were available for the second tournament, the Member-Member at Quail Hollow in Oakham, MA on July 11th. I played with Dan Befford as a partner. I shot a 96 (net 79) so I felt like I could have done better, but the new clubs were a help. We did not win anything, but we did have a good time.

Miniatures

Some of you are saying YES, finally!

Again, I have been working on my Tenochtitlan cityscape components over this timeframe. They will be my entry into Dave’s “Season of Scenery” painting and modeling challenge – but I did get a few things done in June miniature-wise that would not count towards it.

I decided that based on my last post, where I showed the raid scenario I ran at the Mass Pikemen, that I needed a few things made. Both were fairly easy. The first was a cornfield that could provide some nice tabletop scenery as well as potential Aztec cover. Inspired by Chris Rett’s creation, I stole his HO scale cornfield idea and built one for myself.

The JTT Creations corn stalks – I had two boxes of 28 so 56 in total.
I decided to have a blank row between the rows of corn to allow the figures to be place in the field. I used 6″ popsicle sticks and marked 7 holes equally spaced on each for 1/16″ drilling with my Dremel (after painting).
Used Vallejo texture paint and some others to highlight and shade the sticks, then drilled and glued the cornstalks.
Finished cornfield! This is the 15 row configuration with spacers.
I could also leave one space out and do 7 sticks x 2 as you see here.

I also wanted a few magnets for affixing to my steel figure bases in games of Feudal Patrol using my Civilizations Collide supplement for the Spanish Conquest. These would be for situations such as loading the falconet, figures losing a shield or a weapon, or just getting away from the leader for any reason (see below).

The magnets I have for my games clockwise from the upper left: figure that is captured and being dragged off, “READY” and “AIM” for falconet prep to firing, “UNARMED” for a figure that drops a weapon or has it broken, “OUT OF COMMAND” for an individual figure that has strayed too far from its leader, “NO SHIELD” for when a figure has a broken shield, and “WEAPON MALFUNCTION” for a sling, bow, crossbow, or arquebus that has a repairable issue.

On June 26th, I took that game (replete with my new magnets and the cornfield)on the road to Great Stories in Uxbridge, MA. There, I reran my rural “Surprise Raid on Outpost” scenario again.

We had 5 players, and the randomness of the setup put the Tlaxcalan archers on the left flank of the defenders. The Aztecs had better luck this time but still fell short of victory due to their incurring excess casualties. You can see a lot of the pictures of the battle here and here (I was too busy as GM to take more than the one’s below):

The raid begins. Even Chris Rett and Mike Paine and Ted Salonich got in the action!
Ryan is happy (his Tlaxcalans did a lot of damage), While Chris is waiting to unpin her Conquistadores – which eventually happened.
Aztecs full of arrows…
The sole Aztec to survive the trek to try to get into melee with the bow-wielding Tlaxcalans!

As a result of this game, I will be adjusting the victory points and making some “BERSERKER” markers.

I offered a raffle prize from my stash and Ryan won it. I wanted it to have a good home.

There was also a store raffle, and I won – and got my grandaughter the Minnie below!

After the game, Minnie for Tabitha!

Lastly, on the miniatures front, I was happy to see a couple of my ideas and posts shared! One was a What a Tanker game shout out (in English) from Naval Gazing, and one was a French post from Small Maya that was dedicated to this blog! Check out these posts! Very nice and thank you!!

As I wrote, as my cityscape is finished, I will start posting about it!

Other Distractions

Ok, I did not know where to put this, but “Other Distractions” seemed to be about right.

I walk a lot for exercise – especially if not a golf day. One of my favorite hats has been a gray “Aussie Chiller” hat that works well for a sunny walk or golf. On a windy day, because it’s one size too big, it can fly off my head in a stiff breeze. I’ve had the hat for several years.

Two days ago, a Sunday golf tournament I was to play in had to be canceled because the course was too wet – we’ve had nearly 5 inches of rain in July and 1.7″ came Saturday night. The weather broke, and I went for a walk with my Aussie Chiller on as the wind was low.

However, during my 5-mile walk, a dump truck drove by and the breeze it made took off my hat perfectly like a frisbee. Unfortunately – this happened as I was walking over the spillway for Lake Lashaway. Helplessly, I watched it land in the torrential spillway’s dead center, never to be seen again.

RIP Aussie Chiller hat.

The watery spillway grave of my Aussie Chiller hat.

I did order another one, but as you can see, they are NOT cheap.

Oh well, until next time dear reader – I now have a month of followed blogs to read!!!

But, as always, let me know what you thought of this post! Happy Summer! (OK Happy Winter Aussies!)

Aztec Raid – Mass Pikemen Gaming Session June 5, 2021

The Mass Pikemen returned to tabletop wargaming with live face-to-face interactions on June 5th! We played a game of Feudal Patrol in Mesoamerica (using my Civilizations Collide supplement. The game scenario was as follows:

Surprise Raid on Outpost

A Tlaxcalan village is being raided by the Aztecs, seeking to take wealth, food, and prisoners.  The Aztecs know the majority of the Tlaxcalan troops are with the Conquistadores elsewhere, and expect an easy task.  Unbeknownst to the Aztecs, there are some Spanish troops at this town who will help to defend it.

The battlefield.

Objectives:

  • A: a maize storage structure – 10 points to either side for control
  • B: Cuezcomatl Granary Structure – 10 points to either side for control
  • C: Tlaxcalan Noble’s House – 10 points to either side for control, 5 more for securing the gold inside and having possession of it.
  • Additionally, the attacking Aztecs gain 5 points for each prisoner taken, 2 points for each enemy otherwise incapacitated, and 1 point for any enemy that runs off the tabletop.  The defenders gain 8 points for each prisoner taken by Tlaxcalans, and 3 points for each enemy otherwise incapacitated, and 2 points for any enemy that run off the tabletop.

Deployment and special rules:

Aztecs: 

  • All Aztecs troops deploy anywhere on the south side of the tabletop 6” from the long end of the mat.
  • The Aztec Warband Leader controls two Warrior Priests

Conquistadores and Tlaxcalans: 

  • The Conquistador leader (a Warband Leader) deploys from C.
  • Each of the three Spanish/Tlaxcalan elements deploy in 1,2, and 3 and are hidden from the Aztecs but predetermined before the game start.  This means that some will be out of command and cannot swap dice at the beginning of the game (24” command radius). At start, they can be outside of their huts.
  • Tlaxcalan element cannot swap dice, and cannot be considered out of command radius.

The map:

  • The fields are muddy and movement rate through them is at half-speed.

In this game, an element is 4-11 figures depending on type, and warbands are made up of 2-5 elements.

The Aztecs had an overall commander with his conch blower as a signaler. Under him was one warband leader commanding two “twinned” 11-figure veteran/novice elements, an elite 6 figure cuahchic (“Shorn Ones”) element, an elite 5-figure Eagle Warrior element, and two warrior priests.

The Spanish had an overall warband leader commanding an elite element of 5 figures and an elite element of 5 figures plus a war dog. The Tlaxcalans – who were separate but allied – had an elite warrior leader with 4 veteran bowmen.

The overall troop points were 54.75 for the Aztecs and 36.5 for the defending Spanish/Tlaxcalans. The fields were slightly moved for the actual game. Of note, the command radius for a warband leader is 24″ – so the Conquistadores have two command and control challenges. First, they start with one of their elements starting the game over 24″ away from the leader making them “pinned” – meaning they only get to activate half as much as normal until they can be made “unpinned” (not an easy task). Second, the Tlaxcalans are independent actors – meaning that the Spanish have limited command and control of them – but they are not limited by command radius restrictions either.

The Tlaxcalans ended up starting at 1, with the other two Conquistador elements at 2 and 3. The Conquistador leader was at C. The Aztecs deployed their elements (from the Aztec left to right) as follows: veteran/novice twinned element, cuahchic elite element, elite Eagle Warrior Element, and the other veteran/novice twinned element.

Scott looks over the tabletop. He would command the Tlaxcalans.
Glenn moves up his twinned veteran/novice element while his ally Chris watches…
…and promptly takes fire from a Spanish arquebus and a crossbow! The blue glass beads indicate morale checks that the Aztecs had to take and did pass here.

On the Aztec left, Chris moved up his veteran/novice twinned element to take on Scott’s Tlaxcalan bowmen. Historically, the Tlaxcalans were superior bowmen. Chris had to cross a lot of open ground, and the Tlaxcalans dispatched two novices from long range (novices typically are without armor). He then tried on a subsequent activation to charge into melee with the Tlaxcalans – a good move – but the Tlaxcalans were able to react and loose even more deadly arrows into the Aztecs.

Scott grins after sending an initial hail of lucky arrows into Chris’ approaching Aztecs. The incapacitated Aztecs are lying off their bases. The blue beads each indicate a morale check that the Aztec element would need to pass – and more would come…
Only 4 out of 11 figures made it to the Tlaxcalan bowmen, and they had little effect as the Tlaxcalans repelled their assault.

In the middle of the tabletop, the two elite Aztec elements were making good progress forward. The Conquistadores were lucky enough to unpin their handicapped element, making their defense much stronger. That element had a wardog, and they challenged the advance of the cuahchic and the Eagle Warrior elements. That scrum left the Conquistadores with several dead – including the war dog. The cuahchicqueh (plural of cuahchic) advanced, but the Eagle Warriors lost heart and failed morale – running away from the fight.

Then Chris had even more morale checks to make. Luckily for him he endured them, but his unit was pretty decimated. Chris’ Aztecs had 14 morale checks to make. They passed, but were a spent force.

The Shorn Ones (cuahchicqueh) do a number on the Spanish and their war dog.
The Shorn Ones advance to the cuezcomatl granary storage structure (objective B), while their Eagle Warrior comrades run away.
Here you see Chris’ Aztecs – or what’s left of them – and their pile of morale check pips.

Glenn’s advance on the right of the elite elements was making good progress. They had a bowman, an atlatl user, and several slingers in their veteran/novice element. His non-missile weapon-armed Aztecs charged into Leif’s Conquistador element, hoping to take them down (especially as they had the arquebus and the crossbow). Glenn and Leif both did damage to each other in the ensuing melee.

Leif defends against Glenn’s Aztec assault. At this point, the Aztecs were threatening also to take out the Conquistador officer.
Scott and Leif appear confident in their defense.
Leif – commanding the Conquistador officer – takes out an Aztec – but quickly three more of Glenn’s Aztecs gang up on the leader, who kills another, and wounds one more but…
…the Conquistador officer is overwhelmed by the Aztecs, and is incapacitated and dragged off for sacrifice. This left both of the remaining Conquistador elements in a “pinned” status – meaning that they would only activate half as much as an unpinned element – a significant disadvantage.
And finally, an Aztec Warrior Priest showed up to make sure the granary remained in Aztec hands.

The Conquistadores were able to sprint one remaining unwounded trooper over to objective C (Noble’s House), gaining control of it, and its gold, for important end of the game points. The Tlaxcalans were also able to secure the maize storage structure (A). Meanwhile, the Aztecs gained control of the granary (B). The overall scoring led to a Spanish/Tlaxcalan victory with a score of 63-38. If the Spanish had not secured the Noble’s House and it’s gold, it would have been 48-38.

The players all had a good time and really enjoyed the game. Some are already on the way to buying their own copy of Feudal Patrol !

I do like the scenario -and I thank Buck Surdu and David Wood for an earlier week Zoom playtest. When I update my supplement (which is coming by year’s end or sooner), it will be one of the scenarios I add. I do need to finish off my cityscape and THAT is in progress.

I do thank Saturday’s players as well. It was soooo nice to finally have a face-to-face game for the Mass Pikemen’s Gaming Club. On the next go-around, I will adjust the forces slightly – probably giving another element to the Aztecs and maybe a falconet or another element to the Spanish – depending on the number of players. I will also add points for incapacitating or even capturing warband or higher leaders.

So, when will that be? June 26th at 1 PM at the Great Stories Comics and Gaming Store in Uxbridge, MA! The Mass Pikemen are taking this (and other future games) to a great hobby store, Great Stories in Uxbridge, MA. We will be gaming there and at our home in East Brookfield going forward – hopefully alternating between sites for gaming.

I hope that you enjoyed this battler report – let me know your thoughts in the comments section!

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.

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.
Completed!

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.

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THIS MODEL

  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)

And the Winners of Mark’s Aztec Building Challenge Contest are…

Back in March, I launched my second “giveaway” contest. Basically, it was called Mark’s Aztec Building Challenge Contest, and I invited folks to guess as to when I would finish a bunch of terrain for my Aztec games of  Feudal Patrol games in Mesoamerica (using my Civilizations Collide supplement).

ALL OF MY TERRAIN SO FAR!

I have chronicled my progress here in this blog and I am hopeful that you’ve enjoyed the journey. I am happy to say that on today, May 22nd, 2021, I finally finished all of my pieces that were in the contest. Not ALL of what I have to build, but I am very close to done – more in a bit.

We had 18 entrants – not bad. And here – in no particular order – are the prizes I offered:

Prize A

Prize B

A three blister prize! Ral Partha 42-301 Aztec Generals, 42-305 Aztec Arrow Knights, and 42-309 Aztec Warriors w/Long Thrusting Spears (really tepoztopilli). 18 figures in total. All are unopened from the 1980’s. Works for 25mm or 28mm scale games.

Prize C

A two blister prize! Ral Partha 42-309 Aztec Warriors w/Long Thrusting Spears (really tepoztopilli) and 42-308 Aztec Warriors w/Darts & Light Spears (really atlatl) . 12 figures total. Both are unopened from the 1980’s. Works for 25mm or 28mm scale games.

Prize D

A two blister prize! Ral Partha 02-212 Savages: Bowmen (2 blisters – 12 figures total). Both are unopened from the 1990’s or early 2000’s. Works for 25mm or 28mm scale games.

Prize E

A primed and based resin African mask from Acheson Creations suitable for whatever you want to use it as!

So here are the results – please join me in congratulating the winners!

Check out any blogs you don’t know!

You can see how you ended up above – pretty interesting how as a group your average was 5/19 – just three days off!

1st Place: Buck Surdu from Buck’s Blog – just three days early! Taking the Gold for the USA!

2nd Place: Chris Palmer from the HAWKS blog! Taking the Silver for the USA!

3rd place: John from Just Needs Varnish! Taking the Bronze for the UK!

4th Place: TIM from The Imperfect Modeller! Another Brit!

5th Place: Pete from Pete’s S/P Blog (his second win!) One more for the UK!

Congrats to the winners! Buck gets first choice, then Chris gets second, then John third, then TIM fourth, then Pete gets what’s left.

Just confirm in the comments section which one you want, and then email me your shipping information to MarkAMorin@aol.com (I’m sure that will work fine – I have some of yours but just to be sure). That way the winners can choose from what’s left after higher winners have chosen.

Thanks to ALL of you (even if you lost) for playing and to ALL of you, more importantly, thank you for your encouragement and support!!! It really helped me and inspired me.

And check out the blogs listed – all are worth more than a look!

So what’s next for me? The following!

Going to convert this into a miniature temple for Tenochtitlan. It looks like something from a tourist shop of a DIY kit, but I’m grateful for it (thanks Ryan).
Conquistador War Wagons! Four of them (think wooden APC’s). From Gringo 40’s.
Cortes from Gringo 40’s

I’m also going to try to make Aztec “pavement” for Tenochtitlan. (no pic).

Until next time!

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.

Aztec Temple High Throne

At the center of Aztec life was their religion, which drove many of their cultural, military, political, and economic practices. The Aztecs had over 200 deities, of which the chief one was Huitzilopochtli, the patron god of the Mexica and of their capital Tenochtitlan. He was also the Aztec god of war.

In trying to replicate an appropriate Tenochtitlan cityscape for 28mm games of for Feudal Patrol games in Mesoamerica (using my Civilizations Collide supplement), I have been building and painting multiple types of resin and MDF buildings. This plan by necessity would be clearly downsized from the original, but should have the flavor of the era and location. The painting below from LFIllustration is one that I saw recently on my Pinterest feed. It that gives an idea of what I have been going for conceptually in terms of the cityscape, the farms, the causeways, and more if dealing with Tenochtitlan and its environs circa 1519-1521.

I really like this picture – note the war canoes by the causeway. This appears to be a depiction of Cortes’ arrival at Tenochtitlan and his meeting Montezuma II for the first time. Of course, the causeways would later play a major part in Cortes’ forces escape from and later return to (and conquest of) Tenochtitlan.

In order to motivate myself to get through my terrain building as efficaciously as possible, In mid-March I devised “Mark’s Aztec Building Challenge Contest”. This was to reward my followers with a guessing contest as to when I would finish all of the terrain in the challenge – as well as to give me impetus to getting through all I was setting out to do. As I wanted like terrain and building pieces to be matching/similar in color and texture, and I needed several paints, I did end up having some materials delays – and others that I have described previously as well. But finally, I have finished all of the pieces in the challenge! I will be posting the winners on a separate and subsequent blog post that will shortly follow this one, so I am adding a bit more suspense to the contestants – but not too much. I just felt I should give this piece its own due, and do a separate contest wrap-up.

So, you ask, what piece is it? Why, it’s “Temple High Throne”. It is another MDF kit. This one, like my previous Aztec MDF, also came from from Things From the Basement via 4Ground via Badger Games – you can see it here. Basically, it is a high raised platform, and as such, Montezuma II would have this platform as his throne overlooking Tenochtitlan in the temple complex. It is adorned with serpent/snake heads and a giant idol image of Huitzilopochtli. Overall, the kit was of good quality and I enjoyed building and painting it. I will have to add some rules about the steepness of the steps with regards to both movement up and down and melee combat.

I built and painted parts of the kit contemporaneously with the Temple Sacrificial Altar for economy of effort. I will go over some WIP and share some eye candy after that. As is my practice, I list the materials I used is at the end of this post for those interested. Also, as Huitzilopochtli is – at least to me – quite monstrous – and physically quite large here as well, I am adding this bad boy/building to the painting challenges being run by Angry Piper over at Dead Dick’s Tavern And Temporary Lodging called “Monster Mayhem 2021” (subject to his assent of course). I found the image below on line and used it as the basis for my painting of the large Huitzilopochtli idol. It’s a bit different than the others I have seen, but I thought it would be a good general guide.

Huitzilopochtli – I can spell this pretty easily now! I liked the charcoal and sky blue-colored face paint.
The kit box.
The model all glued together with the top idols just dry-fitted for planning.
The idols and the serpent heads were then given their chinchilla dust treatment. The idol face on the right is described in my last post.
I started multiple serial dry brushing and tone applications as you see here. I also decided the circle colors on the tower should match those of the Huitzilopochtli image, and that the serpents/snakes should as well. The chinchilla dust gives a great result to the dry brushing and tone applications.
As the chinchilla dust surface of the dusted model is quite rough and porous, I painted in the idols’ lines in the MDF with relatively thick black paint. While this felt like “paint by numbers”, I did find it gave a sufficiently primitive look while making later color choices more effective for me.
The rear view of the model shown above.
A close up view of Huitzilopochtli’s idol face after I lined it. I decided that I would paint the front and sides of the idol, basically treating it like a billboard in terms of color application.
Early painting of the idols and circles but before toning it all down on the sides. I did apply a diluted brush matte varnish to the idols as I wanted them to pop and not be dulled down by the tone. I thought that some poor Aztecs would have been enslaved to keep the idol paints fresh. You can tell me if that worked or not conceptually.
A face only a mother could love, and maybe not even then. The brush on varnish is still moist here.

After all the painting, I glued it together. A challenge was the Huitzilopochtli idol due to its height and its thinness. Both prevented using rubber bands during the gluing process, but I think it worked out ok. Now, I will share some eye candy shots of the completed model.

Front left side.
Back side.
Front right side.
Aztec Temple High Throne – close up shot of the top.
Montezuma, and an Aztec Captain and his conch blower signal the troops to muster…
And the Jaguar Warriors answer the call!

Thank you for taking a look. I have a few more buildings and some other stuff coming up for this project, as well as a rules update, but I’m pretty happy with the progress. I will share those shots on the next post, and eventually I hope to have a nice shot of all the terrain on the tabletop – I’m just not there yet. But, my gaming club is back LIVE on June 5th, so I’m close!

All my terrain so far.

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 THIS MODEL

  1. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  2. Poster tack
  3. Plastic Plates
  4. All Living Things Dry Dust Bath (chinchilla dust)
  5. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  6. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  7. Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”
  8. Citadel “Ushabti Bone”
  9. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Sand”
  10. Vallejo Model Color “Black”
  11. Vallejo “Thinner Medium”
  12. FolkArt “Yellow Ochre”
  13. Vallejo Game Air “Desert Yellow”
  14. Vallejo Model Color “White”
  15. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sky Blue”
  16. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  18. Vallejo Model Color “Red”
  19. Martha Stewart Crafts “Pale Bronze”
  20. Citadel “Yriel Yellow”
  21. Vallejo Model Color “Clear Orange”
  22. Secret Weapon Washes “Sunshine” (ink)
  23. P3 “Red” (ink)
  24. Vallejo Game Color “Bloody Red”
  25. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sand Yellow”
  26. Vallejo Mecha Color “SZ Red”
  27. Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
  28. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  29. Vallejo Model Air “Silver”
  30. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)
  31. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  32. Army Painter “Mid Brown” (wash)

Aztec Temple Sacrificial Altar

Historically, the Aztecs and their Empire were well known for dominating Mesoamerica prior to the arrival of the Spanish. One of the more gruesome aspects of their way of making warfare involved the priority of capturing their enemies for both slavery and human sacrifice. A lowly commoner’s only way to ascend the social hierarchy in Aztec society was be a warrior who captured many enemy of perceived value (in other words not easy marks).

So, it became obvious that a suitable sacrificial altar-type building to drag these poor souls to their sad end would be necessary for games based in a city like Tenochtitlan. Obviously, in 28mm scale, I can only try to approximate the elements of a cityscape on a 6′ by 4′ tabletop, but the Aztecs would have had a place for ritual sacrifice as part of one.

In this post I will share my latest – and largest to date – MDF kit build for Feudal Patrol games in Mesoamerica (using my Civilizations Collide supplement). It is called Temple Sacrificial Altar and is scaled for 28mm figures. It has a large idol overlooking a small altar on a raised platform. This one, like my previous Aztec MDF, also came from from Things From the Basement via 4Ground via Badger Games – you can see it here.

The kit in its box.

This is part of “Mark’s Aztec Building Challenge Contest” (which you will read more about shortly in this blog post), as well as being part of not one but two painting challenges being kindly run by a couple of great bloggers. The first is “The Summer Solstice Painting Challenge” from Ann’s Immaterium. Its supposed to be an entry that you consider your “best”, and as I think you’ll see I think this building is one I feel qualifies – and this is my entry. The second is from Angry Piper over at Dead Dick’s Tavern And Temporary Lodging called “Monster Mayhem 2021”. As the idol on the building is pretty monstrous, and Angry Piper concurred – it’s my entry here too!

On to the project – the kit was an enjoyable build but much more detailed than previous attempts – so it took longer. Plus, as you’ll see, I had to do some circling back on the paint job. It happens. I did also dust this baby up with chinchilla dust again – and thanks again to The Imperfect Modeler (TIM) for introducing me to Chinchilla dust. There are a few WIP shots this time as well.

I started by wiping down the kit with a moist microfiber cloth.
Assembly was pretty easy. After earlier using rubber bands to secure the walls and stairs while they were being glued together, I used large washers to secure the top while it was being glued.
Next I dusted up the idol here (the dragon heads are for the next project) and the base.
Using my airbrush, I base coated everything.
I added the stairs and began painting. The model pieces are dry-fitted here and not glued yet. Here you see my initial – yes INITIAL – color choices for the idol. That would change.

Thanks to Pinterest, I got an image on my feed – of course on the day after I painted it – that would, well, make me somewhat aggravated but also allow me to take a new direction. The idol face apparently comes from an Aztec calendar – and the reddish image I saw on my feed fit my concept much better than what I originally chose.

I found that lining the recesses with black paint helped greatly. As the chinchilla dust is very absorptive (especially on MDF), I mostly used somewhat thicker paints – even craft paints with the brush. Otherwise, you can get some capillary effects. My list of the materials I used is at the end of the post.

More or less a repeat photo with the new idol shot – plus the little sacrificial altar dry fitted to the base.
I ended up using the white and red and black scheme you see here on the model. You also can see the highlighting of the chinchilla dust. I did find that I needed to go over the highlighting again with Army Painter Light Tone (the initial highlighting was over a toned-down base coat) – but I liked the final outcome.

It took me from the end of April to complete this model. I had some needed supplies finally arrive, allowing me to proceed. And I think now I’ve single-handedly bought the world’s supply of Army Painter “Light Tone”.

An aside as it affects how the contest challenge is proceeding. I had several delays beyond the supplies and repainting that I described, such as, well, golf, and mundane medical issues. Not that my game has been any good mind you! As for medical stuff, count my final COVID-19 jab that knocked me down a bit the next day (AND it was also at a golf tournament – bad call to schedule that on my part), plus a series of allergy/sinus issues, and a nearly broken toe (got a bit lucky with a bad bruise) – all causing me to slow down a bit. Oh yeah, multiple meetings and a town hearing to get (hopefully) approval to tear down and build a garage. And I still need another hearing! I hope to post on that IF AND WHEN I get approved.

The contest rolls on though.

A reminder on the contest!

Without further ado, let’s look at the final completed model and some Warrior Priests checking out the new digs.

Front view.
Top view. Note the bloody altar with a little BFTBG.
Detail of the front and the altar. There were two golden eagles and two faces on each side of the model. I also stuck with the red and white symbols on each corner.
Right side.
Rear of model.
Left side.
This Wargames Foundry warrior priest has the heart of a poor Conquistador – who was apparently already dragged away.
All my Warrior Priests (and a Priestess) checking out the new building. All are from Wargames Foundry, and you can see their stories here, here, and here.

All that I have left in the contest challenge is this model below. FYI, some work has been started.

Thanks for looking and I hope that you found this post enjoyable to read and check out. As always, please do let me know your thoughts in the comments section !

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 THIS MODEL

  1. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  2. Poster tack
  3. Plastic Plates
  4. All Living Things Dry Dust Bath (chinchilla dust)
  5. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  6. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  7. Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”
  8. Citadel “Ushabti Bone”
  9. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Sand”
  10. Vallejo Model Color “White”
  11. Vallejo Model Color “Red”
  12. Vallejo Model Color “Black”
  13. Vallejo “Thinner Medium”
  14. Vallejo Game Color “Bloody Red”
  15. Vallejo Game Color “Livery Green” (REPAINTED)
  16. Citadel “Waywatcher Green” (glaze) (REPAINTED)
  17. Citadel “Bloodletter” (glaze)
  18. Vallejo Game Air “Sun Yellow”
  19. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  20. DecoArt “Light Buttermilk”
  21. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Blue” (REPAINTED)
  22. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  23. Vallejo Model Air “Fluorescent Red”
  24. Vallejo Model Air “White”
  25. Vallejo Model Air “Silver”
  26. Martha Stewart Crafts “Pale Bronze”
  27. Citadel “Carroburg Crimson” (glaze)
  28. Citadel “Yriel Yellow”
  29. Vallejo Game Air “Beastly Brown”
  30. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
  31. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)
  32. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  33. Citadel “Blood for the Blood God”