Aztec Serpent Statues

When it comes to building Aztec scenery in a city – I have found symmetry to be a very important consideration both in regards to your design scheme and placement of terrain pieces. Over the last couple of years, I also have found it difficult to find appropriate pieces that fit what I am attempting to build and are not either ruins or priced way too high to consider buying.

In December, I was speaking with Dave Stone of Wargames Sculptors Blog on Zoom (he is in the UK). I had wanted to have a chat with him and we set up something. I knew he had a hobby business, but really I thought he was interesting and someone I’d like to chat with over Zoom. We had a nice talk.

Over the time we spoke, the subject of war canoes came up – and Dave did have an African hollowed out canoe for purchase on his website. After we spoke, he was kind enough to cast one for me to see if it would work, and sadly it was too small. But, in his terrain pieces he did have “Aztec Style Serpent Statues” that looked pretty cool – so I ordered 4 – and Dave cast them up and kindly threw in the canoe (which you can see in my last post here).

The statues went for £6 each. They are resin, and scaled for 28mm gaming. I got the four in December, just in time for (ironically) Dave Stone’s “Paint What You Got” painting challenge (which you should join if interested). Why four – well, yes, this was for that symmetry I mentioned! I also got some LITKO 60mm bases for them as well as I thought they needed them – both for aesthetics and to reduce the chances that they’d get knocked over on the tabletop as they are pretty massive for resin pieces. I washed them and scrubbed them to prepare the statues for priming. They were excellent casts, with a few areas that needed some green stuff in a few bubble holes, but certainly much less than one might expect to find. One was a little lighter color than the other three, but that didn’t matter at all.

I decided that I needed to walk a fine line with these as they are supposed to be statues, and not giant monsters. They had bands on them that could be made of gold, as well as a “skull collection nook” on top that was very Aztec. So I tried to paint them such that they would have an Aztec color flair, but look like they’d fit in Tenochtitlan. I wanted to base them such that they would be centered and strongly affixed to their 60mm bases/plinths. Thus, I decided to make a template and drill out the bottoms for 4 screws.

The template, the model base, and the underside of the model. I used a 7/64″ drill bit and four #4 x 3/4″ screws in each base.

Then it was time to prime them. I went with an brushed application of Vallejo “German Green Brown” primer, then I followed that with an airbrushed layer of Vallejo “Dark Yellow”. After that, a good washing with Secret Weapon Washes “Sewer Water”. As usual, you can see the list of all the paints I used at the end of this post if that interests you.

Doubly primed, looking too much like somebody didn’t clean up after the dog!
After priming, a deep series of washes to get into the recesses.

Then it was time to get base colors onto the models. I went with a yellow theme and a red theme.

After heavy dry brushing. I liked the yellow but the red seemed too dark, so I used a lighter shade on a subsequent drybrush application.
A comparison of the lighter color on the right.

I proceeded to paint all the other aspects of the models – but I wanted to use inks to bring out the features on the serpents’ faces. For that, I use an off white and then add ink in layers.

Before the inks added.

I decided to do a test of possible inks for the heat sensors on the serpents’ heads.

Which green to pick? I chose the Secret Weapon Washes Green ink as it looked almost turquoise. The eyes would have reversed colors (red and yellow) as you see here.
Models all painted here – all I needed to do was add texture to the bases, dry brush that, and varnish!
Top view showing the “skull collection nook”.
View from the back.

I thought it would be useful to show the Aztec Serpent Models with some of the other tabletop figures and terrain I may use.

The four with an Aztec warrior to show scale.
With the Aztec Temple High Throne – my only wish is that the heads could have been mirrored for better symmetry…
…of course I could always do this with 4.
Two by the Sacrificial Altar
…or 4.

Lastly, I needed a way to store them for transport – and I had some extra space in my 32-liter Really Useful Box that I have my buildings in – so I modded up some poster board with hot glue and made a little cubby for them.

I’m pretty happy about these and I will be having them in my cityscape! Do you prefer the yellow or the red – let me know!

Thanks for checking these out.

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 AZTEC SERPENT STATUE FIGURES:

  1. LITKO 60mm bases
  2. Vallejo Surface Primer “German Green Brown”
  3. #4 x 3/4″ screws
  4. Gorilla Glue
  5. Green stuff (kneadatite)
  6. Vallejo Surface Primer “Dark Yellow”
  7. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  8. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  9. Secret Weapon Washes “Sewer Water” (wash)
  10. P3 “Sulfuric Yellow”
  11. Americana “Primary Red”
  12. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)
  13. Citadel “Astorath Red”
  14. Army Painter “Red Tone” (wash)
  15. Vallejo Mecha Color “Off-White”
  16. Citadel “Morghast Bone”
  17. Citadel “Waaagh! Flesh”
  18. P3 “Red Ink” (ink)
  19. Vallejo Game Ink “Yellow” (ink)
  20. Secret Weapon Washes “Green” (ink)
  21. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Ork Flesh”
  22. Citadel “Contrast Medium”
  23. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Skeleton Horde”
  24. Citadel “Armageddon Dust” (texture)
  25. Vallejo Model Air “Gold”
  26. Secret Weapon Washes “Golden Brown” (wash)
  27. Citadel “Nuln Oil GLOSS” (wash)
  28. Vallejo “Satin Varnish”
  29. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  30. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  31. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

Aztec War Canoes for the Spanish Conquest

During the 16th Century Spanish Conquest of Mesoamerica, much of the combat occurred on and around the capital city of Tenochtitlan. That city was built on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco – effectively making it a fortress city connected to the mainland by multiple causeways. Those causeways had removable bridge sections to hinder any enemy from using the causeways to take the city.

The Aztecs built roads around the lake for trading and military purposes. But also the surrounding lake provided a great opportunity to use war canoes as means to deploy their warriors either on the lake or onto the shoreline. This allowed the Aztecs to dominate Lake Texcoco and its environs for centuries.

In researching possible scenarios to game the period, I found that the need for war canoes (and other aspects) kept coming up. So first, I needed rules for their use – so I wrote them! And now you can have your own free copy of the new and updated 2nd Edition of the Civilizations Collide supplement for games of Feudal PatrolTM  just by clicking here and going to the Sally4th website. Again THIS IS FREE!!

I have identified at least 4 scenarios where war canoes would be needed:

  • July 1, 1520 – La Noche Triste – Bloodbath on the Tacuba Causeway (the final breakout attempt by the Spanish continues on the Tacuba causeway out of Tenochtitlan as he is harried on all sides to include by war canoes).
  • Early 1521 – Aztec Raid on the Conquistadores’ Brigantines (The Aztecs attempt to burn Cortes’ assembling fleet before it can set sail on Lake Texcoco).
  • May 22, 1521 – The Battle of Tlacopan (The Aztecs counterattack an attempt by Olid and Alvarado to seize and destroy the aqueduct at Chapultepec which supplies much of Tenochtitlan’s water.  The battle takes place on a causeway with the Aztecs able to use war canoes on both sides of the Spanish and the Spanish have brigantines).
  • June 1, 1521 – The Battle of Lake Texcoco (Cortes leads his brigantines and allied war canoes against the massed Aztec war canoe fleet to seize naval control of Lake Texcoco and begin the siege of Tenochtitlan).

There easily could be other scenarios involving war canoes.

However, finding and sourcing reasonably-priced war canoes was problematic. As readers of this blog know – I was lucky to be able to trade 19 painted Viking figures to my friend Greg Priebe in Maryland for 19 3D-printed canoes. I also got a Blood and Plunder one from Firelock Games at their Historicon booth (for $20 – yikes), as well as a single scratch-built balsa wood one (for $3) from a table at Wally’s Basement at Historicon. Lastly, I got a canoe from Dave Stone of Wargames Terrain Workshop (priced at 2 pounds). That made 23 canoes for me to paint up of four different types.

Luckily, Dave Stone is also running a “Paint What You Got” painting challenge over on his page – for stuff you had unpainted from December 26th to the end of January. So these (and some other cool stuff from Dave I’ll hopefully put in a future post coming shortly). But back to the canoes and how I completed them all.

Greg’s stuff arrived safely just before Christmas, as did the one from Dave. I sized up Greg’s – and it looks like they will fit 4 figures well – but 5 was too many as you see below on the left. I gave the Greg canoes a good washing and tried to get as many of the little strings off as I could.

Next, I looked at the other three types. The Blood and Plunder resin one can handle 5 or 6 figures, while the scratch-built balsa wood one would need some seat removal to handle 4 figures. The resin one from Wargames Terrain Workshop is really nice – but was too small to accommodate my 1″-based figures. I can use it as additional nice eye candy on the tabletop, so I put it into the painting queue.

In mocking up the possible transport capabilities of each war canoe model, it became clear that they needed magnets inserted to hold the figures in place during game movement. Otherwise I would risk having figures get damaged or just not be aesthetically pleasing.

I worked out a template plan and drilled out 9/64″ inch holes for 1/8″ neodymium magnets as you see below. Note that I mark the top of the magnets with a red sharpie so that all of the magnets have the same direction of polarization. I also used a similarly-oriented stack of magnets on the underside of the war canoes to properly seat each one on the drilled side in its Gorilla Glue-imbued hole. Otherwise it is VERY easy to have magnets go onto other unwanted ones in other holes. Generally, I stacked two magnets in each of four holes in the war canoes.

Checking to see how the figures would be held in the canoe by the magnets underneath – concept did work!

The next step was to do the same with the other types.

Checking the hold on the balsa wood model – also worked.

Then it was on to priming. In order to really protect the models and to fill in as much of the 3D printed lines, I double-primed these. First, with a brushed on MSP “Black”, then after that dried with an airbrushed application of Vallejo “German Green Brown”. As is my custom, I listed all of the paints that I used at the end of this post for those interested.

The 23 ready for priming.
After the black priming but before adding the brown green primer.

I wanted to make a nice wooden appearance to these – so I decided to serially airbrush a somewhat zenithal series of applications of sequentially-lighter colors on the canoes. Then I would add a sepia wash and see if I needed a darker one inside the canoes (I did).

I went left to right with these colors – followed by a wash. It was a bit tedious as I had two sides to do – and I had to allow enough drying time before reversing the models in order to paint the other sides.

I think I achieved my goal with regards to the wood tones. The balsa wood and B&P models ended up a but darker, but I think that is fine as complete uniformity would not be great. With that said, let’s see how they look on the tabletop with some Aztec Warriors as passengers!

Eye Candy

Flotilla from the starboard side
Close up looking at the bows
Top view, port side
The Blood and Plunder war canoe version with a commander and some warrior priests inside.
The balsa wood war canoe will serve as a command canoe in most scenarios I run, as will the B&P model.
Here they come!
Close up of the front of one of the 3D models.
Aztecs on the move
Jaguar Warriors in a war canoe.
Cuachicque (“Shorn Ones”) and a warrior priest in a war canoe. Normally I will have a designated paddler, likely a novice warrior, in the back of each canoe.
A view of the side of the Jaguar Warriors’ canoe – this shows the wood tone nicely – not too streaky, but naturally not uniform. It also shows that the magnets are holding the figures well.
I was able to fit all 23 of them in a 3-liter Really Useful box with some room to spare. You can see the little Wargames Terrain Workshop canoe nestled in the larger Blood and Plunder model.

I hope that you enjoyed this post. Let me know your thoughts and feedback – always appreciated. And more is to come for sure.

Hint: more Wargames Terrain Workshop terrain coming very shortly!

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 WAR CANOE FIGURES:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. Neodymium magnets
  4. MSP “Black Primer”
  5. Vallejo Surface Primer “German Green Brown”
  6. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  7. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  8. Vallejo Model Air “Berman Green Brown”
  9. Vallejo Model Air “Desert Yellow”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “Light”
  11. Vallejo Model Air “Sand/Ivory”
  12. Vallejo Model Air “Ivory”
  13. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sand Yellow”
  14. Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (wash)
  15. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  16. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

My 2021 Hobby, Gaming, and Blogging Roundup

2021 was another one that we all want to forget in many ways, but not all.

I set out some goals for myself back last December for 2022. Some were around gaming, some around hobby production, some were around golf, and more. Back when I was working in “the dreaded private sector”, I had sales goals to hit every period – be it yearly, quarterly, thrice annually, or whatever. Every manager would ask you for “stretch goals” – which was pretty unnecessary as the sales quotas you were given from corporate were never layups anyways. Still, it’s always good to have a plan and try your best. It’s also good to be honest with yourself and be accountable to yourself. Hopefully, that’s what I did with regards to my goals in 2021.

How did I do versus my 2020 goals?

Paint 250 figures or more

That did not happen, though my production was pretty good at 104. For three months I did not do any painting (August-October) as I was pretty involved with the new garage+ project.

Not even all of them now…

Complete the figures and terrain for Civilizations Collide

I have to give myself full credit here – the building of the Aztec cityscape was an epic project. However, I still am finding that I have more to do as I develop scenarios for my Spanish Conquest scenarios booklet – so yes I built what I planned – I just have more to do to flesh out the other scenarios with terrain and figures.

Historicon 2022

Complete my figures for Wars of Ozz, ok at least 40 of them

Big miss here – did not get to them. I did get to play a game at Christoricon though – commanding the Greater and Lesser Pumpkinheads.

I gotta paint mine (these are not).

Paint up a platoon from Wargames Supply Dump for Combat Patrol™.

Big miss here – did not get to them either.

Attend and run games at conventions or club nights or both, if possible – to include Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi games, What a Tanker©  Battle of France May-June 1940, and Aztec games (live or virtually) for Feudal PatrolTM using my “Civilizations Collide” supplement

No retro sci-fi games or WaT games this year – but I did run multiple games of for Feudal PatrolTM using my “Civilizations Collide” supplement, to include at Historicon.

Christoricon

Get my golf handicap down below 15

HA! I have hovered around 20-21 all year. I did get new clubs this year, and I won my flight in the Club Championship (and as a caveat it was the D Flight, but I am proud of that).

I did get a trophy…

Play golf (in season) at least twice a week

I did do this!

The new G425 toys! I also got G710 irons.

Make between 30 and 36 blog posts of value and quality

As far as quality, I would judge them as up to standard (but that is the reader’s judgement, no?). Quantity-wise, I did 54, so that’s a “check”.

Get back on the Imperial Rebel Ork podcast

Well IRO euthanized his podcast earlier this year, so that wasn’t possible. Understandably, the man had a cabin to build!

Build a new garage

As most of you know, that is on-going, so not yet done.

Through early December

Personal Highs for 2021

  1. Continuing to serve my Town (East Brookfield, MA) as the elected Board of Health Chairman during the pandemic. Specifically, getting over 500 seniors vaccinated (1/3 from neighboring towns even), and getting nearly 100% of the 56+ residents vaccinations.
  2. Completing the Aztec cityscape and bringing it to the gaming at Historicon – and playing with Harry (borderguy190 at War Across the Ages and Other Dark Horrors).
  3. Getting together with Dave Wood, Buck Surdu, Greg Priebe, Chris Palmer, and Duncan Adams in person and on Zoom games. Even had The Imperfect Modeller on one game as an observer (which was cool).
  4. Winning my flight in the club championship at Quail Hollow Golf and Country Club in Oakham, MA.
  5. Having fun Zoom chats with Luke (IRO), Dave (The Imperfect Modeller), Dave (Wargames Terrain Workshop), Mike (despertaferres), and Pete (S/P Project Blog).
  6. Getting the garage started and mostly done.
  7. Getting together with family especially my daughter Ellen and my granddaughter Tabitha.
  8. My wife Lynn, every day (seriously).

Personal Lows for 2021

  1. One that comes to mind I’ll save for next year as it was 2022. Still a fresh wound.
  2. That pandemic thingy from China, ’nuff said.

My goals for 2022

Well, its time to set my goals for 2022.

  1. Paint 150 figures or more.
  2. Complete the remaining conquistador figures for Civilizations Collide.
  3. Complete the remaining terrain for Civilizations Collide, to include the brigantines.
  4. Complete the remaining Maya figures for Civilizations Collide.
  5. Complete the scenario booklet for Civilizations Collide.
  6. Complete my figures for Wars of Ozz, ok at least 40 of them.
  7. Paint up a platoon from Wargames Supply Dump for Combat Patrol™ .
  8. Try to get my Nomonhan WaT project off the ground.
  9. Attend and run games at conventions or club nights or both, if possible. This would include TotalCon34, HMGS South Recon, HAVOC, HUZZAH!, Historicon, and BARRAGE .
  10. Get the Mass Pikemen more active once the pandemic diminishes.
  11. Celebrate my wife’s retirement (and mine belatedly) with a nice trip.
  12. Finish the garage+ and launch that baby successfully.
  13. Post on the blog 48 times or more – and in good quality.
  14. Be a good blog follower.
  15. Have multiple Zoom chats with fellow hobbyists.
  16. Go to a golf school and get my golf handicap down below 18.
  17. Play golf (in season) at least twice a week.
  18. Win my flight in the Championship.
  19. Be a competitive golfer.

Again, thanks to all who make the time to read this blog – Happy New Year!

Lastly, here follows a detailed list of the 2021 production. You can access more details here.

2021 Production
  • 104 figures painted
  • 0 figures cast
  • 25 figures assembled
  • 144 terrain pieces made or assembled
  • 145 terrain pieces painted
  • 1 figure or terrain piece conversions
  • 1 creation or component sculpted or scratch-built
  • 0 molds made
  • 1,051 game pieces/game aids made and/or painted

Historicon 2021 — War Across the Ages, and other dark horrors

Below is a blog post from borderguy190 that some of you may not have seen – I am reblogging it with his permission. I (Mark) met him (Harry) at Historicon and he was a player in my Aztec/Conquistador game. I think he did a nice player review of my game as well as a superb review of the convention. His blog site is here – and I highly recommend you take a look! Now, here is his Historicon post:

One of the biggest joys of my year is getting to attend Fall In!, or as in the case this year, Historicon. Last year was a complete bust for conventions, and here in Michigan, the small local cons got called off for C19 earlier this year. Fall In! was my last hope. At some point […]

Historicon 2021 — War Across the Ages, and other dark horrors

Historicon 2021, Christoricon, and Axis & Allies

This post will cover my wargaming over the extended Veteran’s Day weekend – hopefully you will enjoy the discussion and the photos of the games here. Hell, grab a beer or a wine or whatever! Some cool pics and links to be sure.

I had been planning to attend the last Historicon – but it got moved (I think there was a pandemic or something, I (try) to forget). The event was then rescheduled for November. As Historicon and the other HMGS events have been on my bucket list, I wanted to go as a GM anyways and player too.

Also, as followers of this blog know – I have been deep into building out a series of games for the Spanish Conquest over the last year-and-a-half. This has involved many aspects – writing a rules supplement, painting figures, and building a series of games and battlefields much more for the for Feudal Patrol games for the period of the Spanish Conquest in Mesoamerica 500 years ago. I also recently rewrote my supplement Civilizations Collide – which will be a free download (as will a scenario booklet with multiple historic scenarios that I am working on now). So, I was very much looking forward to Historicon 2021.

Therefore, I signed up to run two games – both of which are scenarios on my in-progress booklet. I planned on running both my “Surprise Aztec Raid on the Spanish Outpost” and “Cortes’ Causeway Escape Attempt” games on Thursday night and Saturday morning respectively.

The Maryland-based H.A.W.K.’s were kind enough to admit me as a game master and share their room. I have been long-time friends with two members, Dave Wood (my old West Point roommate) and Buck Surdu (who also has been a friend since our West Point days which are now going back aways). Buck is also the author of many games, to include  Feudal Patrol and Wars of Ozz© (see a nice review of Ozz here).

My friend Craig Hogan, myself, and Dave Wood back at USMA – probably Ring Weekend in the Fall of 1983. Craig sadly was killed a few years ago now in a private plan crash.
Thanksgiving 1987 in Hagenbach, Rhineland-Pfalz, West Germany, Buck, myself, and my daughter Ellen (who is 34 now). We got together for gaming and the holiday. Buck came up from Vicenza, Italy where he was stationed to my place with a buddy, and we gamed and we had fun.

Through Dave and Buck, I have been lucky to make new friends with others of the H.A.W.K.’s, like Greg Priebe, Chris Palmer, and Duncan Adams (and many more too – like Zeb, Don, Eric and others – please don’t feel left out if I did not mention you). Due to my ongoing garage+ build (of which there are a number of updates that are listed here), I missed BARRAGE in September. So, I was pretty stoked about the opportunity to get together with friends (and make new ones) and push lead around the tabletop.

However, as fate would have it, some folks would not be able to attend Historicon due to personal reasons. As seeing and gaming with friends are as much a draw for me as the convention itself, I needed to make a change in plans. We had a Zoom call, and collectively arrived at a new plan. I would drive down from Massachusetts and meet Dave in Maryland for a gaming afternoon on the 11th at my hotel room. Then on Friday morning I would run my “Surprise Aztec Raid on the Spanish Outpost” game in Chris Palmer’s gaming room in Maryland, and then play in an Ozz game afterwards until I needed to leave for Historicon (about 90 minutes away). Friday night I would drive up to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to set up my “Cortes’ Causeway Escape Attempt” game for Saturday morning play.

So, on a 28-degree morning in Massachusetts, I defrosted my loaded car (12 boxes of terrain, plus 2 mats, a wagon, plus a suitcase) and headed to Maryland – arriving around mid-day – where it was 4o degrees warmer. Ah, New England!

Frosty morning departure.

Axis & Allies

Dave and I have now gamed since 1982 – so coming up on 40 years. We have played Avalon Hill’s “Victory in the Pacific” (as well as other titles) dozens of times over the years. On Thursday, after I arrived, we decided to be different and try Milton Bradley’s “Axis & Allies” this time – a board game with plastic miniatures that we have discussed many times but never played before. I got this game back in the mid-80’s. At one point there was an on-line version but we never got around to playing that either. For this game, we picked sides at random, and Dave played the Axis, and I the Allies. It was Veteran’s Day, and as we are obviously both vets, it was a nice add.

The game went back and forth. A lot. I managed to keep Russia in the game – and built an industrial complex in India for the British. This allowed me to build 3 units per turn there in an attempt to keep the Japanese off the Russian’s back.

After the first turn, I had consolidated a nice position in Mother Russia to try to thwart Dave. And yes, the shirt says what I am impressed with – Dave has run dozens of marathons and many runs up to 50 miles and maybe more in distance.
We had a back and forth fight over the Karelia territory that had a factory I did not want to lose. Eventually, I did.

Meanwhile, my Indian gambit attracted a lot of Japanese attention – maybe too much. Dave hammered away at it and while the Japanese were unsuccessful he did attrite my forces and that prevented me from exploiting my force buildup.

Dave made multiple attacks on India supported by carrier-based fighters and land-based bombers. I had sent the American-supported Chinese infantry in to help defend. Meanwhile, Russia fell.

Dave kept hammering away at India, and eventually had his Germans violate Afghan neutrality – hitting India for the decisive blow. Yes, the Germans took India by blitzing panzers through Afghanistan…

I built India up and flew in American air support, but the next turn it fell.

I did desperately roll for Weapon’s Development for both the Americans and the British – with only the British succeeding in getting 3 – Rockets, Super Subs, and Strategic Bombers. My rocket and strategic bomber attacks slowed the German’s production, but it was too late…congrats to Dave!

Christoricon – Surprise Aztec Raid on the Spanish Outpost

Originally I was supposed to run my one of my games at Historicon on Thursday night – that being a rural one where Aztecs are making a surprise raid on a Tlaxcalan village (acting as a Conquistador supply depot) – only to see that there were indeed some Spanish there. Instead, we went to Chris Palmer’s house and I ran the game on early Friday morning. We joked and called it “Christoricon”. I hosted and there were 5 players – Buck, Duncan Adams, and Dave for the Aztecs, and Chris and Greg Priebe for the Spanish/Tlaxcalans. The defending Spanish/Tlaxcalans had one Warband of three Elements – 23 figures worth 41 points. The attacking Aztecs had two Warbands of 3 Elements each – 53 figures worth 78.25 points. Buck has already written a great post about this game and the others that day on his blog here – and his write-up and pics are great. I took some photos that you see below, but for me, simultaneously being a GM and a photographer is not easy – so I do recommend you take a look. Meanwhile, here are my pics.

The game is ready to begin. Chris and Greg elected to place the Conquistador Element armed with arquebuses further away from their leader in their secret deployment in lieu of their Element of Sword & Buckler men. This meant that they were “pinned” with their black powder weapons only activating at best on half of the turns. They could have “unpinned” but as luck would have it the dice did not let that happen. Note also that Franco the unlucky Conquistador made the trip!

Chris chose to send out his war dogs towards Dave’s Aztecs as a screen, and they promptly took atlatl damage. Dave, Duncan and Buck moved up quickly, while Greg took up a position in the maize field with his dangerous Tlaxcalan bowmen.

Dave moves up his “twinned” Elements of veteran/novice warriors towards a wounded war dog.

The Spanish then had their Catholic Priest take possession of the gold (possession of the gold was one of the game objectives) and drag it to a more secure location while they contested the Noble House (another objective) – (insert joke here).

Battle starting at the Noble House – the war dogs are already going down here. Their priest has already dragged away the gold to a safer location.

Buck’s advancing Elite Cuahchicque (“Shorn Ones”) took the full volley of arquebus fire from the less-activating pinned Spanish. Despite these Elite Aztecs taking a lot of damage and having a ton of Morale checks to overcome, Buck was able to rally his troops successfully against the odds twice. Meanwhile Duncan moved his Jaguar and Eagle Warriors against Greg’s Tlaxcalan bowmen in the cornfield – hoping to best them in melee.

Dave and Buck confer while surveying Duncan’s advance – and their chances at victory – with concern. This shows the second volley that Buck’s Elite Shorn Ones took and the blue beads are Morale checks he needed to pass. He did. Twice.

Slowly, the tide of battle started turning in the Aztecs’ favor. Dave’s attack on the Aztec right was making headway, and they were gaining control of the objectives.

Priest still dragging the gold away here.
Lots of carnage on the tabletop.

Eventually, the Spanish and Tlaxcalans were overwhelmed.

The game ended as a resounding Aztec win, as they had control of three objectives, as well as dragging off 9 pour souls for sacrifice, killing 2 more, and making one run away. The Spanish had only the gold, but did dispatch 15 Aztecs and capture one more. The final score was 86-40 as you see below. I think the players had a good game. Congrats to Dave, Buck, and Duncan!

Christoricon – Ozz

After the Aztec/Spanish game, Chris Palmer ran a Wars of Ozz© game that I played in briefly – again, Buck’s blog post has an excellent account as I left after having stymied Dave’s advance a bit (though I was pretty well smashed force-wise in that effort). I commanded a force of Winkies with allies (Greater and Lesser Pumpkinhead Warriors). My sacrifice was not in vain, and it allowed Chris and Greg to smash the Munchkin center.

I love the Ozz figures!

I then drove to Historicon, and set up for Saturday morning’s game.

Historicon – Cortes’ Causeway Escape Attempt

The drive up to Valley Forge Resort Casino was uneventful – though finding the H.A.W.K.’s room was a challenge. The gaming was not located in one location at the resort. Unfortunately, it was also a Friday night at a casino and all the close parking was gone. Luckily, I have a little collapsible wagon and was able to get into the room with my stuff in a few trips and set up the terrain and the troops for Saturday morning’s game, Cortes’ Causeway Escape Attempt.

My game flyer

You can see a short Instagram video of the set up here.

It’s a BIG battle. The Spanish/Tlaxcalans have three Warbands of three Elements (2 Spanish, 1 Tlaxcalan) plus support – 77 figures (including the 4 war wagons) worth 161.75 points. The Aztecs have five Warbands of 2-3 Elements each – 109 figures worth 154.25 points. 186 figures in total. This battle is Cortes’ second attempt to escape. He would do a second on the following day, and three days later a third – La Noche Triste. Originally, on the Historicon listings, the game was supposed to be La Noche Triste – which again happened three days later (and of which I will have that scenario written soon) – but I needed war canoes for that one. Those I don’t have yet, and will be mentioned here in a bit.

Back to the game set up. As I was setting up, I had a number of people come by to remark positively on the game visuals – terrain and figures. They had seen my posts on different forums (or fora both are ok!). To all of you, thank you so much for your kind words and interest.

Besides all of the cityscape – and it’s a lot I know – but with everything predeployed I just needed to put players on their troops and let them know what they needed to do on their part of the battlefield.

As I mentioned before, I had previously needed to cancel my Thursday game – and I got a comment from one of our blog community – Harry (aka borderguy190)- that he was disappointed as he had signed up for the game. I apologized, as I wish I could have ran that too at Historicon as well. But the good news was that he would be playing in this game!

He joined 7 other players. They seemed to grasp the concepts of the game quickly – and I did get some help from Greg Priebe and Buck Surdu in the early turns before they had to help run an Ozz game.

The game set up.
Troops deployed and dashboards out. My undermagnets and game markers really have proven their worth – especially in big melee scrums.

In this game, the Conquistadores are surrounded, and need to fight their way out from the Palace of Axayacatl where they were holed up with their hostage/puppet Montezuma II. They have war wagons, and while these are helpful in providing cover against missile weapons, they are also rickety and slow – and prone to breaking. In fact, all of them broke during the game and were unable to move afterwards. The Aztecs are trying to get to the Conquistadores and avenge the massacre that the Spanish perpetrated at the Festival of Toxcatl. Their Tlaxcalan allies are mostly on the other end of the tabletop and trying to break into Tenochtitlan to help their Spanish allies escape.

There were ups and downs for both sides all over the table. The Conquistadores breakout went slowly, but they did take out a lot of Aztecs. On the other end where the Tlaxcalans were trying to help, the two sides traded missile fire and got into a scrum but were unable to change the status quo.

Lots of action! Harry (in red) ponders his next move.
Aztecs swarm the war wagons and wound the crossbowmen and arquebusiers inside.
Thinks get more contested in Tenochtitlan.

One of the aspects of the game is the importance of The Banner of Cortes. It provides inspiration to the Conquistadores and helps them to reduce negative Morale effects. However, I also made its capture (as well as incapacitating Cortes and dragging him off for sacrifice) game objectives. The Aztecs took some heavy losses BUT were able to take out the bannerman and seize the banner. This lead to the Spanish having to try to satisfy Honor and retake the banner. However, this did not happen before the game’s end. As it was worth 50 points (see below), it was decisive.

The Banner of Cortes is taken!
Aztecs won 78-35. The 50 points for the capture of The Banner of Cortes made all the difference!

Thanks so much to all who played! I did not win any awards for the game – though many said I should have. Anyways, the best reward is happy gamers afterwards – and I got that in abundance!!

The gamers! Very cool group – thanks to all!

After the game, I got a lot of positive feedback, and learned of some areas to help make the play easier. Those suggestions have already have already been acted upon when I got home (mainly on the dashboards such as linking the undermagnet colors to the dashboards).

After the game, I then went with Greg and Buck to the vendors and the Flea Market. It was nice to go to the Badger Games booth and actually be remembered! Also, I was looking for canoes to use as war canoes, but only found one from Firelock Games that was $20. That is way too expensive when you need as many as do. I also found one in the Flea Market – a balsa wood scratch-built one from an estate sale- for $3. I am going to use both for gaming and as ideas on how to make my own. Of importance, Greg is a big lover of his 3D printer – and in exchange for me painting up some Viking figures for him, he will make me a good number of canoes! Win-win! So, my next job will be to paint those up.

I look forward to returning to the gaming and convention scene as a GM and a gamer. I hope you found this interesting – 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.

More Game Aids and Markers for Spanish Conquest Feudal Patrol Games

Back in March of 2021, I shared a post on gaming aids – specifically for my games of Feudal Patrol games using my supplement Civilizations Collide. This post expands on that list with a few more additions. It’s basically a process post.

As I wrote back then in March (quoting myself) – and it’s still true:

…I want to emphasize that I did not need to do any of these projects to play Feudal Patrol™. Period. I did because they suited my personal needs and – well – I get thoughts of stuff in my head that need realization.

Buck’s Feudal Patrol rules have more than adequate tools and game aids. They are fantastic. My goals here were for myself so that I can make my games easier for me mainly.

Now, as time has gone on I have realized that I wanted a few more things to ease play for me as a GM – specifically to adapt to the period. I am sharing those here and my processes as they may prove useful for some, and just interesting for others.

First, as far as steep-stepped structures (such as temples that one might expect to see in the Aztec or Mayan Empires), they pose a challenge gaming-wise. I have updated my rules for melee combat on these steps (but they are not yet published – but I use them). Most commercially available steep-stepped structures are either ruins (not ideal for depicting them in their heyday) or lacking adequate space on the steps to place figures during a game. Most of my figures are on 1″ bases, and getting them on the steps of my structures was not happening. I did not want them to be just big eye-candy on the tabletop. So what to do?

Make templates!

Below, I will share what I did and how – with the assumption that all my figures are 1″ based and that there would actually be sufficient depth in real life for them to stand on the steep steps in single rows.

The main need was for the small temple that I am using as The Temple of Yopico in Tenochtitlan. I figured out the size of the sides and the top, and adjusted for 1″ steel washer bases. You can see that each side should allow for 14 figures plus one on the top. After drawing these, I then I cut out the graph paper templates.
Ready for backing

Clearly these needed some heft – and my other main hobby, golf, allowed for some good cardboard backings with a glue stick application. I pressed them down with a book and a 25 pound dumbbell.

For phase 2, I traced the templates onto card stock, and in pencil drew in the lines. Next, cut out the card stock. Then I used red and black Sharpie pens to outline the steps and edges and color in. Add the glue stick, and press again under the weight.

I am pretty happy with the results and look forward to using them.

Final templates
A mock up of the templates with them full of Aztecs facing off against some Conquistadores. In games, I will have these templates setup off of the table for resolving combat but am showing it next to the temple for comparison.

I then did the same for the Temple High Throne and the Temple Sacrificial Altar structures that I have, just in case that they are needed.

The next marker project was a continuation of my previous one that I mentioed above with some additions. In a game, Elite troops such as Jaguar or Eagle Warriors (and more) can go “berserk” – basically making a fanatical charge until either they kill an enemy or are killed. There are advantages and disadvantages to trying this as a player. I found that if Aztecs went into “berserk” mode on the battlefield, I needed to differentiate that on the tabletop, as some figures would, while others might not – plus they tended to charge far afield on the tabletop. To remedy this, and for better availability, I wanted more of the same magnetic markers. I did the same as you saw previously – using cheap magnets and craft paints and printing off labels that I cut out. As I use steel bases, magnets are a good help.

Lastly, I printed off some new 2-sided 5″ x 8″ cards with all the special Morale rule differences for my game versus other eras/theaters. Mine are meant to evoke the nature of the Spanish Conquest.

Morale Cards – and yes I see the typo!

Now, I as I write this I am getting ready to hit the road for a fun weekend of gaming with some old friends. Well, we are all getting older at this point I guess…beats the alternative!

I am hoping to share a good post on all the games when I return. Also I need to do a follow up on the garage+ project as a LOT is happening. If you are unfamiliar with my garage+ project, you can catch up on all of them here.

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.

Catholic Priests for the Conquistadores for Feudal Patrol Games

Clearly, 500 years ago, the Catholic Faith of the Spanish Conquistadores was a huge part of their culture. One only need look at The Banner of Cortes to see that. As such, they were accompanied by priests that said Mass for them and worked – and did fight – alongside them in Mesoamerica 500 years ago. Remember, for them, in 1518-1521 it had only been a little over 20 years since they had successfully had the Reconquista and reclaimed the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors after 700 years of occupation. More recently, the Conquistadors had seen success in the Italian Wars. Much of that success was attributed to Providence to be sure.

For my Civilizations Collide scenarios for games of Feudal PatrolTM , I have updated my rules for priests on both sides. The updated supplement is soon to be made available for download, as is a planned 16-scenario booklet. In these games, the beneficial effect of Catholic Priests is that they can help reduce the number of Morale Checks that the Spanish might need to take as a result of combat and casualties, as they motivate them to fight on. They can also defend themselves, albeit understandably less effectively than a traditional Sword and Buckler Man.

While I have many Sword and Buckler Men figures, no appropriate figures to use as priests were in my unpainted mountain. After a good search I did find a few at Badger Games from Gripping Beast/Saga and Conquest Games. These looked quite medieval, but to my knowledge I would not think that religious garb or holy garments really changed much over the centuries back then. These were probably designed for the era of Viking raids. Plus, the two that I got that were from Conquest games were monks. And yes, as a practicing Catholic, I am familiar with the differences! Still, these looked the part as best as I could tell, so I bought them. They are 28mm and metal. As for painting research, I used the only plate I found in John Pohl’s Aztecs and Conquistadores (page 168) showing a priest as a guide for painting. Clearly, a monkish look – in black – was going to be fine for the tabletop.

With Historicon and some upcoming gaming looming as early as three days from today, I painted the three up quickly right after I finished Hernan Cortes. I’m fairly happy with them for gaming the period.

The two Conquest Game figures were both monks, the Gripping Beast/Saga one was called a priest:

  1. Catholic Priest/monk figure from Conquest Games Ecclesiastics/Monks Line via Badger Games (#CG CGMM121f Monk in Cowl) – designated CCP2 by me
  2. Catholic Priest/monk figure from Conquest Games Ecclesiastics/Monks Line via Badger Games (#CG CGMM121g Monk with Holy Cross) – designated CCP1 by me
  3. Catholic Priest figure from Gripping Beast/SAGA Priests Line via Badger Games (#SPR06 Christian Priest 2) – designated CCP3 by me
The three as received
I removed the slotted bases from the two Conquest Games figures and based them all on good old steel washers. You can see a glaze on the steel washers – that’s Gorilla Glue, which I use to improve later paint adhesion on them (especially the rims).

As I was hurrying to get these done, I took few WIP shots, but here you go below:

Primed up
Painted (base coat) and ready for some final touches

I want to mention a few areas of, well, let’s say minor challenges in painting these. First – and as someone without this condition I want to be sensitive. Two of them have shaven and/or bald pates. Painting shaved heads/bald heads was a new one for me and took a bit of experimentation to get acceptable results. After all, I would expect that these men of the cloth would have tanned up a bit facially. Still, the head and face on CCP3 (the Gripping Beast/SAGA figure) was not that easy to get right. Secondly, for all three you can imagine that their cloaks would have been less than pristine. I used some pigments for that. Lastly, highlighting black robes with gray was something I did want to play with here.

CCP1, 2, and 3. My three Priests. CCP3 actually has a sword in addition to his staff.

I like CCP 1 the best and CCP3 the least – mainly because of the face being a bit mushy. CCP2 is quite mysterious.

Well, now they have joined the ranks of the Conquistadores. Off to gaming with ye!

I hopefully have one more pre-Historicon post to share with you later today on gaming aids – if I can get it done before I have to pack. Then I’ll be silent for a bit and hopefully get a good post-weekend post on the gaming.

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 CATHOLIC PRIEST FIGURES:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. Poster tack
  4. Vallejo Mecha Primer “White”
  5. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  6. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  7. MSP “Brown Liner”
  8. Vallejo Mecha Color “Off-White”
  9. Vallejo Model Color “Black”
  10. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  11. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Cygor Brown”
  12. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Snakebite Leather”
  13. Vallejo Mecha Color “Dark Steel”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Bright Brass”
  15. Army Painter “Tanned Flesh”
  16. Battlefront “Dark Leather”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Silver”
  18. Vallejo Model Color “Black Grey”
  19. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Black Templar”
  20. Citadel “Contrast Medium”
  21. Vallejo Model Color “German Grey”
  22. Vallejo Mecha Color “Brown”
  23. Citadel “Longbeard Grey”
  24. P3 “Brown Ink”
  25. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  26. P3 “Ruby” (wash)
  27. Vallejo Game Color “Bronze Fleshtone”
  28. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  29. Vallejo Model Color “Brown Rose”
  30. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  31. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  32. Battlefront “Flat Earth”
  33. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  34. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  35. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  36. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  37. Vallejo “Pigment Binder”
  38. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  39. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  40. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  41. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  42. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano, 1st Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca

Or, let’s just call him Cortes for short – to avoid all the accent marks, surname confusion, and titles!

I got this figure from Gringo 40’s excellent collection of Conquistadores. It is from Gringo 40s Conquistadores line (#CONQP1 Cortez). The figure is 28mm in size, metal, and overall an excellent sculpt. I will be heading back to them for more figures. I had not painted a figure since I completed the war wagons back in August (also from Gringo 40’s), and really not a soldier since February. I am surprised at how much terrain took up the intervening time – as well as my garage (and now if you’ve not seen these you can see all of my garage+ project posts all in one place – here). But, let’s get back to Cortes.

In his early 30’s, Hernan Cortes made his way into the history books as a Conquistador and the vanquisher of the Aztec Empire. He lived to his early 60’s. Now, there are plenty of negative things to say about his life – and by no means am I considering him a “good guy” – just as I would not do that for Montezuma or any Aztec either. Both combatants were pretty damn brutal in so many ways. They were all men of their time – not today – and if you want to check out the Wikipedia page on Cortes you’ll get a flavor. He was remarkable in many ways, good and bad, and he was complex. I wanted a true Cortes figure for my Civilizations Collide scenarios for games of Feudal PatrolTM .

Of course, Cortes played a major role in the Spanish Conquest 500 years ago, especially as a combat leader. He also is bearded, and my good friend Roger over at Rantings Under The Wargame Table threw out a challenge for Mo’vember around such guys. Therefore, he is my submission for Roger’s challenge.

I was able to paint him up pretty quickly – and it felt great to paint again.

Primed and ready for Mo’vember
Early work on base coat
Base coated Cortez before washes and highlights added
Highlighted and washed – and very shiny – though I knew the matte varnish would help tone this down) some. I played with several metals here.
Flocked and varnished
Finished off with some grass and some touch up shading

And add a label:

I enjoyed painting Cortes. I tried to give his armor different shading and tones while maintaining an overall proper look. The photo gallery below is not as good a group of shots as I’d like – it was tough to get the lighting correct – he’s thankfully not that shiny (as you saw above).

I thought I’d add a picture of Cortes and Montezuma II. Cortes will get a lot more play in my scenarios anyways, but his picture is a little less shiny and better here, so here it is.

The two major figures in the Aztec Empire’s Fall

I hope that you enjoyed this – I have one more related post to do prior to this week’s Historicon game (I’m running it there on Saturday morning).

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 THIS HERNAN CORTES FIGURE:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. Poster tack
  4. Vallejo Mecha Primer “White”
  5. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  6. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  7. Vallejo Mecha Color “Off-White”
  8. Vallejo Model Color “Black”
  9. Vallejo Model Air “Hull Red”
  10. Battlefront “GI Green”
  11. Battlefront “Boot Brown”
  12. Citadel “Ironbreaker”
  13. Vallejo Model Color “Red”
  14. Vallejo Mecha Color “Dark Steel”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Steel”
  16. Vallejo Model Air “Bright Brass”
  17. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Snakebite Leather”
  18. Vallejo Model Air “Gun Metal”
  19. Battlefront “Flat Earth”
  20. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  21. Vallejo Game Air “Chrome”
  22. Army Painter “Tanned Flesh”
  23. Vallejo Game Color “Bronze Fleshtone”
  24. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  25. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  26. Vallejo Game Color “White”
  27. Citadel “Nuln Oil GLOSS” (wash)
  28. Army Painter “Red Tone” (shade)
  29. Citadel “Cryptek Armourshade Gloss” (shade)
  30. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  31. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  32. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  33. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  34. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  35. Vallejo “Pigment Binder”
  36. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  37. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  38. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  39. Vallejo Model Air “German Red Brown”
  40. Citadel “The Fang ”
  41. Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (shade)
  42. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  43. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

Building an Aztec Cityscape – Part 5: Tenochtitlan – THE FINAL REVEAL

Yes! It’s finally time for the FINAL REVEAL of my Aztec cityscape. It’s been a labor of love – to recreate this tabletop for gaming. What game you ask? Why of course – Buck Surdu’s Feudal Patrol! I wrote the gaming supplement for Feudal Patrol™ games during the period of the Spanish Conquest. The supplement involves the Conquistadores, the Aztecs, the Tlaxcalans (and more Mesoamericans who fought the Aztecs), the Maya, and the Inca (in South America). I called it Civilizations Collide, and it’s a free download from Buck’s website or from Sally4th in the UK. If you have not checked this excellent game out – do it!

This is Part 5 of my series on “Building an Aztec Cityscape”. There are a lot of background history and WIP details in these posts that for brevity I won’t repeat here. However, if you have missed the other parts, they are listed below with their links:

As for wargaming the period of the Spanish Conquest 500 years ago, I want to be clear. It was brutal to be sure, and as I have stated often, there were no good guys on any side. I did not aim to glorify any aspect of the time, but to raise awareness and knowledge of it through wargaming.

From the start of this project, I wanted to create a unique and hopefully stunning tabletop for these games. I had a vision of creating a nice cityscape – an encompassing panorama that I had not seen anyone else do at any convention. Also, the cityscape needed to facilitate a fun gaming experience, so visually, I felt that had to go big. I had already painted 230 figures for the period. I had built many buildings too. Therefore, I wanted something that had the “flavor” of Tenochtitlan. However, with the tabletop designed for 28mm skirmish figures, (about 1″ tall), building a true-to-life and historically accurate Tenochtitlan would have required a gymnasium-sized playing area. I have seen stunning photos from SALUTE in the UK that were for 15mm gaming, but that scale went far beyond what I envisioned – or what was feasible for me. For travel to gaming conventions, the cityscape needed to be able to be broken down and transported easily. It needed to be useful for multiple games. This post will reveal my solution, for better or for worse.

I started out with historical research into several sources, and thinking about what I wanted and what I could do. After I had my initial concept, I then refined it into the two plans that I put on paper below.

First rough draft of the plan.
Then, I refined the plan.

The previous posts describe in more detail how I got here. So, let’s show some eye candy – and I will be posting on the Combat Patrol Facebook page and sharing a link to my IGTV page where you can view a video of the cityscape.

Here I set up some figures on the cityscape – many of these images were shown in previous posts – but here you get to see the whole thing!

Ta daa! Click on the images for a bigger view.
End view – the mat is from FLG.
Opposite lengthwise view
Angled view from the end.

As before, this is DEFINITELY (I think anyways) my last entry into Dave’s Season of Scenery Challenge! Thanks Dave for running the challenge and letting me be part of it. At least it’s the last part of the cityscape posts.

I also want to especially thank my wife for tolerating this bit of my madness. And of course I thank my old West Point comrades Buck Surdu and Dave Wood, Greg Priebe, Chris Palmer and the HAWKS, Chris Abbey at Sally4th, Dave at The Imperfect Modeler (especially for the chinchilla dust tip), GED at Gringo 40’s, IRO (for inspiration), Joerg Bender at Things From The Basement, the Uxbridge Historical Gaming Club and the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.

A SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL the bloggers listed below who have taken the time to encourage me over this project. I am indebted to you all – you kept me focused, and motivated.

BLOGS I FOLLOW

Check out their blogs! As for the video link, here it is:

On IGTV: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CSxxc6hAL5-/

I’m not an award-winning videographer – but I hope that you enjoy the video.

What’s next? I will be going to my first HISTORICON and bringing both my cityscape and my rural tabletop. I will also be adding the two naval types (brigantines and war canoes) to the next version of my Civilizations Collide supplement – along with new scenarios and scenario-specific rules. I hope that you will like these. Yes, I have more work to do!

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section – and 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.

Building an Aztec Cityscape – Part 4: Cortes’ War Wagons

War wagons!

War wagons were wooden carts for deploying missile troops. They had slits in them for crossbowmen and arquebusiers to be able to fire from while having some protection against enemy missile weapons. I think of them as wooden APC’s (WPC’s maybe?). Hernan Cortes used them as he was besieged in Tenochtitlan in 1520 – yes – over 500 years ago now.

This is Part 4 of my series on “Building an Aztec Cityscape”. The war wagons were so integral to the events in 1520 that I needed to have some as part of my cityscape. If you have missed the other parts, they are:

The first use of a war wagon in medieval Europe is ascribed to the Hussites during the Hussite Wars (1420-1434) in Bohemia. They were horse-drawn and would be linked together like a mobile fort.

A modern replica of a Hussite war wagon (from Wikipedia here).
Hussite war wagons deployed (image from New World Encyclopedia)

Nearly 100 years later, Cortes would build some similar ones. These would be constructed as a measure of desperation to escape the Aztec capital. Cortes’ war wagons were thrown together during the time when they were besieged by the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan.

I need to give you a condensed chronological synopsis – the history of this time is quite full of twist, turns, and intrigue. The timeline is confusing but important for context. Therefore, listed here below is a condensed chronology with respect to the use of war wagons and a couple of possible wargame scenarios that I am working to build:

  • November 18, 1518 – Cortes departs the Spanish colony of Santiago de Cuba with his expedition – before he could be detained by Lieutenant Governor Velazquez (who had originally commissioned his expedition). Cortes leaves abruptly so that the Governor (who had justifiable suspicions about Cortes and his motives) could not relieve and replace him prior to his departure.
  • February 1o, 1519 – After fitting out in Trinidad and San Cristobal de la Habana, Cortes sails for Mexico.
  • March 22, 1519- Cortes arrives in Mesoamerica. He will fight and win several battles with both the Maya and the Tlaxcalans up until later in 1519. By that time, his victories will have given him a few key assets. One of these, from the Maya, was a slave girl named Malintzin aka La Malinche who was to serve Cortes as a key translator, and later, his mistress. The second was a post-conflict alliance secured with the Tlaxcalans, whose warriors would provide the bulk of Cortes’ forces.
  • November 1, 1519 – Cortes begins his march to Tenochtitlan to try to meet Montezuma II.
  • November 8, 1519 – Cortes arrives at Tenochtitlan and meets Montezuma II. He and his contingent are welcomed to the city and stay in it.
  • November 14, 1519 – through a ruse, Cortes successfully seizes Montezuma II and makes of him a puppet/hostage.
  • March 5, 1520 – Meanwhile, back in Cuba, Lieutenant Governor Velazquez sends an expedition led by Panfilo de Narvaez to intercept Cortes
  • April 19, 1520 – Narvaez and his troops arrive in Mexico. Cortes, with some of his Conquistadores, leaves Tenochtitlan to deal with this internecine threat. He leaves behind a trusted lieutenant, Pedro de Alvarado, in charge of the remaining Spanish/Tlaxcalan forces in Tenochtitlan.
  • May 16, 1520 – The Aztec nobility and elite troops in Tenochtitlan celebrate the Festival of Toxcatl. It is a large assembly of all the elite and elite military of the city, who are unarmed and dancing in a city square or plaza. Alvarado, afraid that the celebration is a prelude to an attempted massacre on them, seals off the plaza where the dancing/celebration is taking place. His Conquistadores methodically move through the throng and murder or capture every possible Aztec. One of the captured elites is Cuitlahuac, Montezuma II’s brother.
  • May 29, 1520 – Back on the coast, Cortes defeats Narvaez (despite being outnumbered by Narvaez by 2:1). He incorporates Narvaez’ surrendered troops into his forces and returns with them to Tenochtitlan on June 24th . (This Conquistador-on-Conquistador fight would be a good possible scenario for a wargame (using my Civilizations Collide supplement to Buck Surdu’s Feudal Patrol rules).
  • June 2, 1520 – The Aztecs have been fully enraged since the festival massacre – and the situation is dire for the Conquistadores.
  • June 25, 1520 – In an attempt to mollify the Aztecs, Cortes releases Cuitlahuac. This was a rare strategic error. Immediately, Cuitlahuac, who rightly viewed his brother to be no more than a Spanish puppet, assumes Montezuma II’s powers and takes command of the siege of the Spanish as the new Aztec Emperor. The Spanish are besieged and are holed up in the Palace of Axayacatl. The Aztecs attempt to burn the Spanish out of the palace, but are repulsed by cannon and arquebus fire.
  • June 27, 1520 – Cortes forces Montezuma II to go to the roof of Palace of Axayacatl to plead with the Aztecs to stop the fighting. He is struck in the head by a rock from a sling and is gravely injured. At the same time, Cortes instructs his troops to scavenge wood from the Palace of Axayacatl and build several war wagons. His hope was that by using war wagons he could protect his own missile troops from the slings and arrows of the Aztecs – and make it easier for the Conquistadores to escape Tenochtitlan and survive.
  • June 28, 1520 – Cortes makes his first attempt with his war wagons to reach the causeways. He loads them with crossbowmen and arquebusiers, and supports them on the ground with sword and buckler men, and cannon (probably falconets and maybe lombards). Their movements are not powered by horses, but by the Spanish themselves. The Conquistadores fight bravely, but are pushed back. (This would be a possible scenario for a wargame on the cityscape with the war wagons).
  • June 29, 1520 – Cortes decides that the Temple of Yopico, a tall structure, was enabling the Aztecs to be able to hit his troops with enfilading missile fire from above. This is his second use of his war wagons, and he literally used them in a half-circle (yes, “circling the wagons”). He uses them similarly as before to help the Conquistadores to reach the Temple. This time they were tactically successful. However, the war wagons were to take so much damage that they are destroyed in the process. Cortes, beneath his personal banner, successfully leads his troops to ascend the 100 steps of the temple, killing many war priests and setting fire to the structure. But, the Conquistadores cannot hold the position against the Aztec numbers and are pushed back. (This – the assault on the Temple of Yopico – would be a second possible scenario for a wargame on the cityscape with the war wagons).
  • June 30, 1520 – Montezuma II either dies of his head wound, or is killed by the Conquistadores – accounts differ.
  • July 1, 2020 – La Noche Triste (the Night of Sorrows or the Sad Night) – the Spanish break out of Tenochtitlan at a high cost in lives, materiel, and looted treasure. (This – La Noche Triste – would be a possible scenario for a wargame on the cityscape and/or just the causeways with or without the war wagons).

Of course, then followed the Battle of Otumba, where Cortes used his cavalry to save his entire force against overwhelming odds. Eventually, he was able to regroup and with the help of brigantines, make a successful assault and conquer the city of Tenochtitlan. And yes, I have brigantines in the queue, along with war canoes. Plus I will be adding the two naval types (brigantines and war canoes) to the next version of my Civilizations Collide supplement – along with these two scenarios.

The only good image I can find of war wagon use comes from the cover of Sheppard, Si. (2018). Tenochtitlan: 1519-21. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, shown below. It is an excellent resource, and I do recommend it. There is a larger blow up of the same picture in the book – and you can see the war wagons in the lower right hand side at the base of the temple.

Enough background information (at least I hope). In looking for war wagons, I was challenged. I did consider scratch building some until I discovered these at Gringo 40’s in the UK in their 28mm Conquistador section.

From Gringo 40’s website.

Yes! I had found my solution! I ordered four from them, and the company was great. They even gave me a free Cortes figure (which I will paint soon I hope). Even better, these were solid METAL. Assembly was just adding the undercarriage axle supports, the wheels, and a wheel spacer. There are two benches inside and I can get two figures into the wagon. One challenge faced me that was new – no brush or angled brush would reach under the benches for painting. They do look nice though.

On the left is my 28mm Cortes figure, and the war wagons as received. The one with the figures in it is dry-fitted with the other pieces. While I have three figures in there, after painting them I’m now limiting that to two.
A close angle of the same shot as above. The only brush access to the bench undersides was restrictive through this end.
I gave the war wagons a spray prime – and then after a curing period, a brush prime – swirling a few cheap brushes like mops on the insides – getting as much primed as I could. This destroyed those brushes, but that was fine. Then I glued on the undercarriages and pressed them down.
After the previous step, I attached the wheels and spacers/holders for the wheels, and reapplied primer which as you see here was needed.

I then used various browns (I list all my paints and more at the end of this post). to approximate a used wood tone. After all, these war wagons were made from old recycled lumber. At this point in the project, I still wondered how I was going to get paint etc. under the benches, as well as how I was going to varnish them. As you may imagine, these are heavy! I decided that they needed a “dip” – in some Army Painter dip. To retrieve them without a huge mess, I used a pot I bought from a Salvation Army Thrift store, some twine from the hardware store, and an old piece of balsa.

The war wagons in brown, and the pot, dip, and twine.
How I was able to suspend the war wagons into the dip in the pot. I just had to restring each one after the dipping process.
After the dip.

I needed to do more shading and some dry brushing after the dip, and then I spray varnished them outside (as I could for once).

Nice enough to varnish outside! Not common weather in New England year-round, but it’s summer.
War wagons finished!

As this is the penultimate (love that word) post in the series, I will share some action shots below of the war wagons on the cityscape.

Battle in the Cityscape! Cortes tries to break out!
Trying to escape Tenochtitlan with their lives – and their gold – the Conquistadores fight towards the causeways.
Close up shot of a war wagon with an arquebusier and a crossbowman at the ready. The poor sword and buckler men get to push.

I think these will be very fun in a game. I just need to write rules specifically for their use.

The next post will be….(insert drumroll)…the FINAL REVEAL.

I hope to have a video link as well as pictures of the cityscape for you. These, because they are “vehicles” and were completed in July and August, all count as more of my entries into Dave’s Season of Scenery Challenge! Thanks so much for looking. I hope that you enjoyed the brief history and the war wagons themselves.

Please let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section! And the FINAL REVEAL is coming!!!

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. Vallejo Surface Primer “German Green Brown”
  2. Gorilla Glue
  3. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  4. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  5. Vallejo Model Air “Dark Yellow”
  6. Rustoleum Painters Touch “2x Ultra Cover Satin Ivory Silk” (spray)
  7. Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”
  8. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  9. Vallejo Model Color “Wood Grain”
  10. Citadel “XV-88”
  11. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  12. Army Painter “Soft Tone” (dip)
  13. Cotton Twine
  14. Army Painter “Strong Tone” (wash)
  15. Krylon “Clear Matte” (spray varnish)
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