Tlaxcalan Novices, Elite Warriors, and Command Group

The Tlaxcalans were a Nahua people that were at a constant state of war with the Aztecs of the Triple Alliance for decades. The Aztecs never fully conquered the Tlaxcalans, as they found them to be a far more useful source of slave labor, sacrificial victims, and resources than as a vassal state. The Aztecs were able to take these captives and supplies by allowing the Tlaxcalans to merely exist – and by challenging them repeatedly to a series of “Flower Wars”. Flower Wars were basically ritualized arranged gang-like “throw downs” where usually the Aztecs would emerge victorious, as they were a larger and far more powerful empire based in Tenochtitlan. Certainly, with this level of abuse, there was no love lost between the Tlaxcalans and the Aztecs.

Into this theater of conflict came a new revolutionary factor in the early 16th century. Hernan Cortes and his Conquistadores arrived in Mesoamerica in February of 1519. In September of that year, he encountered the Tlaxcalans and briefly fought them – as the Tlaxcalans were unaware of who the Conquistadores were or from whence they came. Both sides came to peace terms relatively quickly after some tough fighting – during which mutual respect was gained for their respective courage and capabilities in battle. The Tlaxcalans informed Cortes of the vast riches (especially in terms of gold) of Tenochtitlan and their emperor, Montezuma II. The Tlaxcalans happily joined the Spanish on their march to Tenochtitlan and indeed were staunch allies for them. Indeed, without the Tlaxcalans who formed the bulk of Cortes’ forces, the Spanish would never have been able to defeat the Aztecs during their conquest of New Spain.

I have been working on building Aztec, Tlaxcalan, and Spanish forces for the upcoming launch of my rules supplement for Buck Surdu’s Feudal PatrolTM skirmish tabletop war game. My supplement will be a free download from the website and will be called Civilizations Collide. The supplement will cover many aspects of the Spanish Conquest to include the Aztecs, the Inca, the Maya, and more. Back in August, I began to work on the Tlaxcalans. I was working on my Tlaxcalan Archers, (which you can read about here), and quickly realized that the level of detail that I wanted to achieve on these figures could not be achieved if I was to work on too many at a time. Therefore, I broke up the project into two phases. The first phase was the completion of the 8 Tlaxcalan Archers. For the second phase – which this post concerns – I had 18 figures, all from Outpost Wargames Services via their US distributor, Badger Games. Eight were from TX2 “Tlaxcalan Novice Warriors in Padded Vest”; eight were from TX3b “Elite Warrior in Feather Costume”; and two were from TXC01 “Tlaxcalan Captain and Conch Blower. These are all 28mm in scale and metal. Still, this two-phase approach took me a lot longer than I had expected to take to finish these – primarily as there were (as you will see) multiple shields, weapons, and backbanners to paint and assemble. As source materials I used both multiple Osprey books and especially the two blog posts from Steven’s Balagan blog on Tlaxcalan painting and especially his post on shield painting and design. These are fantastic resources and I recommend them highly for anyone interested in the period in addition to the Osprey books. I also recommend Badger Games as a source for these figures as well as those they sell from other manufacturers.

I will generally show some WIP stuff and discuss some of the aspects and challenges of the project and how I dealt with them. I’ll end with a recap of where the overall project progress is now, and what paints and stuff I used here. I did not take as many WIP shots as I normally do because while I have tackled more figures at a time previously, this project phase kept me very busy (and as this was during golf season, that took some hobby time too!). If WIP shots are not for you, just scroll down to the “Eye Candy” section to see how they all came out. With all of the photos – just click on them if you want a bigger view.

TX2 “Tlaxcalan Novice Warriors in Padded Vest” WIP Shots

The TX2 baggie of Novice Warriors as received
The painting plan for the Tlaxcalan Novices. I did find that I needed to change the weapons selection after painting as some of them did not fit quite well into the figures’ hands or did not look as good. I chose specific shield designs from Steven’s Balagan and the Osprey books. The numbers you see are applied to the base bottoms and help with my ability to make game menus and aids later on.
Here you see the novices mounted on 1″ steel washers on specimen jars with poster tack for ease of painting. I also labeled them (and all the figures) with their numbers, their future weapons, and their planned shields. The Tlaxcalan Archers behind them were completed in phase 1 (a previous post described them.

I chose to try to paint all of the separate components (figures, shields, weapons) before assembly. I did find that I had a bit of difficulty getting certain the weapons to fit easily to some models so I ended up switching between issuing a macuahuitl (broadsword/club-type with obsidian edges) or a tepoztopilli (obsidian-edged thrusting spear) for a few. I should have tried to widen the figures’ hands a bit more than I did. Certainly, I think using Citadel “Apothecary White” contrast paint on the white ichcahuipilli (quilted cotton vest armor) was a big win.

TX3b “Elite Warrior in Feather Costume” WIP Shots

The Tlaxcalan Elites would be a bigger challenge – primarily because in addition to the figures, weapons, and shields, each had a huge (and relatively heavy model-wise) feather backbanner. I ended up using a wooden jig to hold them during the project in between painting colors. According to my research, there were other types of backbanners – and even this type (TX3b) was supposed to have the white egret backbanner as an option. All I had were 8 of the same type of backbanners- so I diverged a bit with color selections on the center section to aid with tabletop identification. I also decided to paint them a bit differently. I used Citadel “Nuln Oil” as a wash immediately after priming white. This allowed me to get better shading – especially with subsequent uses of contrast paints on the feathers. After I painted the backbanners, I applied a satin varnish to preserve the brighter colors as I used a final matte varnish at the end of the assembly. Clearly, between the costume and the feathered backbanner, these elites had a lot of “battle plumage”! Historically, fighting in melee with the backbanner on must have been tough. I do wish I had had one of the egret backbanners, but not enough to buy any more…yet.

I did paint the elite figures a bit differently as well. I find that dry brushing over contrast paints leads to too much abrasion and wear on the contrast-painted areas. These Tlaxcalan elites have a nice feathered costume, and I wanted to bring that aspect out. So, I painted the figures’ flesh first, then similarly applied Citadel “Nuln Oil” as a wash. Then I dry brushed the costume with Citadel “Hexos Palesun”, followed by an wash-like application of Citadel “Iyanden Yellow” contrast paint thinned with Citadel “Contrast Medium”. My only change going forward would be to paint the flesh base after as of course I had to cover up some errant dry brushing.

Left is an elite figure after dry brushing but before adding the contrast paint. The right one has had the contrast paint added as I described above.
A finished Tlaxcalan Elite figure – more to see in “Eye Candy” below.

TXC01 – “Tlaxcalan Captain with Conch Blower”

Finally, I wanted to add some leadership for the group. For painting, I followed a similar path as described above for the elites and the novices.

TXC1 as received. I ended up giving both a tepoztopilli (spear).
Gotta have a plan!
Fast forward – and the Captain completed. I do like the way he came out – and more eye candy below.

Notes on Painting Shields, Assembly, and Basing

As discussed, this project took a lot of time on details. Each figure had its own distinctive shield design. After free-handing these, I used a satin varnish similar what I did on the backbanners.

The shields were affixed with a “sandwich” of E6000 epoxy and Gorilla Glue. The weapons were attached with Gorilla Glue. Assembling the backbanners was trickier. They weighed a lot, and I wanted to make sure that they would be set up for both tabletop survival and looking good. I used Gorilla Glue on them, and then finished off the mount with green stuff. This necessitated yet another wait for curing. I primed the green stuff black and left it black as I liked it better than the brown I originally planned. Better yet, it is solid, and will support the figure as it is picked up!

Figures painted – need weapons, shields, backbanners, and bases flocked and finished!

As for basing, I probably do too much, but I think bases are so important. This time I did the bases before affixing any weapons, shields, or backbanners. I used Army Painter Brown Battlefields with PVA (Elmer’s) glue. I then add two kinds of Vallejo pigments with Vallejo airbrush thinner. Once that is dry (again a wait) I drybrush the base with four different shades of tan. After varnish, the last step is to add some static grass with PVA, and gently vacuum that mix (once a bit tacky) so that the grass gets a little frilly.

The absolute last thing I do after final matte varnish is added and static grass is to highlight the obsidian-edged weapons with some Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”.

Eye Candy

For shots here, I got a new background from previous posts – and added some cacti that I had flocked and washed. Hope it adds to the shots!

Tlaxcalan Novices

TXN1 – has the red-striped-over-white war paint and is armed with a macuahuitl.

TXN2 – has the red-striped-over-white war paint and is armed with a tepoztopilli. Also has the “thick-lipped” shield.

TXN3 – has the black mask war paint and is armed with a macuahuitl.

TXN4 – has the black mask war paint and is armed with a macuahuitl.

TXN5 – has the red-striped-over-white war paint and a different head cover, and is armed with a macuahuitl.

TXN6 – has the red-striped-over-white war paint and a different head cover, and is armed with a tepoztopilli.

TXN7 – has the black mask war paint and is armed with a macuahuitl.

TXN8 – has no war paint and is armed with a tepoztopilli.

Tlaxcalan Elite Warriors

TXE1 – has no war paint and is armed with a macuahuitl. The center of his backbanner is tan.

TXE2 – has no war paint and is armed with a macuahuitl. The center of his backbanner is yellowish-tan.

TXE3 – has the red-striped-over-white war paint and is armed with a macuahuitl. The center of his backbanner is yellowish-tan.

TXE4 – has the black mask war paint and is armed with a tepoztopilli. The center of his backbanner is light green.

TXE5 – has the red-striped-over-white war paint and is armed with a tepoztopilli. The center of his backbanner is tan.

TXE6 – has the black mask war paint and is armed with a macuahuitl. The center of his backbanner is bright white.

TXE7 – has the red-striped-over-white war paint and is armed with a tepoztopilli. The center of his backbanner is bright white.

TXE8 – has no war paint and is armed with a macuahuitl. The center of his backbanner is light green.

Tlaxcalan Command Group

TXC1 – Tlaxcalan Captain, with no war paint, armed with a tepoztopilli. His backbanner has a serpent on it.

TXC2 – Conch Blower, with no war paint, armed with a tepoztopilli.

Tlaxcalan Command Group

Next up I need to add some warrior priests for the Tlaxcalans – and I have some old Ral Partha ones that will do the trick – I hope – stay tuned!

Miscellaneous details and references for those interested:

Posts on Games and Units for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest Supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”

  1. Tlaxcalan Novices, Elite Warriors, and Command Group (this post) – 18 figures – 8 Novice Tlaxcalan Warriors, 8 Elite Tlaxcalan Warriors, 1 Tlaxcalan Captain, 1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower
  2. Tlaxcalan Archers – 8 Veteran Tlaxcalan Archers
  3. Aztec Game for Feudal Patrol across thousands of miles – via Zoom!
  4. Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer – 1 Aztec General, 1 Aztec Drummer
  5. A June and July Jaguar Warrior Frenzy (plus some Aztec Veterans and a Warrior Priest to Boot) – 3 Aztec Veteran Warriors, 17 Jaguar Warriors, 1 Aztec Warrior Priest
  6. Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
  7. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  8. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  9. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

Total figures to date for this project: 97 figures:  71 Aztecs, 26 Tlaxcalans

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THESE TLAXCALAN NOVICE AND ELITE WARRIORS AND THE COMMAND GROUP:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. Plastic plates
  4. Poster tack
  5. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White Primer”
  6. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  7. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  8. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  9. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  10. Battlefront “Wool Brown”
  11. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
  12. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Contrast Medium”
  13. Army Painter “Tanned Flesh”
  14. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  15. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  16. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  17. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
  18. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  19. Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
  20. Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
  21. Citadel “Averland Sunset”
  22. Vallejo Game Color “Bronze Fleshtone”
  23. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  24. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Darkoath Flesh”
  25. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  26. Army Painter “Red Tone” (shade)
  27. Citadel “Caliban Green”
  28. Vallejo Model Air “Tire Black”
  29. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  30. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  31. Vallejo Model Air “Moon Yellow”
  32. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
  33. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown”
  34. Citadel “Biel-Tan Green” (shade)
  35. Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (shade)
  36. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Iyanden Yellow”
  37. Citadel “Hexos Palesun”
  38. Vallejo Game Color “Livery Green”
  39. Citadel “Auric Armour Gold”
  40. Citadel “Nuln Oil GLOSS” (shade)
  41. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Terradon Turquoise”
  42. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Snakebite Leather”
  43. Citadel “Hexwraith Flame”
  44. P3 “Sunshine” (ink)
  45. Secret Weapon Washes “Blue” (wash)
  46. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Blue”
  47. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
  48. Vallejo Game Air “Escorpena Green”
  49. Vallejo Model Air “Cockpit Emerald Green ‘Faded’”
  50. E6000 Epoxy
  51. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  52. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  53. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  54. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  55. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  56. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  57. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  58. Americana “Desert Sand”
  59. Green Stuff
  60. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  61. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  62. Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
  63. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

Thanks for looking!!! Please let me know your thoughts and feedback in the comments section – I really appreciate hearing what you think.

A June and July Jaguar Warrior Frenzy (plus some Aztec Veterans and a Warrior Priest to Boot)

When one looks at the historical images of various Aztec warriors of the 16th Century, some of the most striking ones are those of the Jaguar Warriors.  The Jaguar Warriors were true elite warriors, similar to the Eagle Warriors in having high and noble status in Aztec culture.  They wore elaborately decorated suits (tlahuitli)  that affected a jaguar-like look, replete with head-encompassing hardwood helmets (cuacalalatli) carved to be jaguar-like in appearance.  Their spotted gaudy suits were worn over quilted cotton armor vests called ichcahuipilli, which provided a degree of additional protection to the Jaguar Warrior.

The Jaguar Warriors’ actual designation was cuauhocelotl.  This was an elite warrior classification level that one earned by capturing at least four enemy warriors for use as sacrificial victims on the altar or as slaves.  Aztec warfare valued capturing an enemy warrior over killing one outright in battle.  Attaining Jaguar Warrior status had its privileges, such as being able to drink pulque (a fermented drink made from agave), and to have and keep concubines.

In battle, they were armed with atlatl (spear throwers), macuahuitl (obsidian-edged wooden clubs or broadswords), or tepoztopilli (obsidian-edged thrusting spears).  As Jaguar Warriors are iconic in Aztec warfare, I knew I needed to have some for my Aztec forces for the upcoming launch of Buck Surdu’s Feudal Patrol™ game, especially for the supplement that I wrote for the Spanish Conquest I called Civilizations Collide.  With all of their colorful suits and shields, so I was excited to paint some up and add to my troops that I have previously described in this blog.

From Badger Games, I had purchased a couple of 28mm scale metal Wargames Foundry blisters: AZ012 “Heroes of Tenochtitlan” and AZ015 “Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors”.  In AZ012 there were 6 figures – 3 Aztec veterans, 2 Jaguar Warriors, and a Warrior Priest.  I would need at least 5 for the basic unit in Feudal Patrol™ (that being a Warband), so I thought that AZ015 would round that out as that blister pack was supposed have six Jaguar Warriors.  Surprise – after opening it I found that there were seven!  Bad news, however –  the AZ015 blister pack had only 3 weapons, those being all atlatls in hands that needed to be mounted to arms – and only two of the 7 included figures were so designed.  The other 5 figures were thus without weapons.

I contacted Badger Games and they were fantastically accomodating.  They agreed to send me a pack of 8 Outpost Wargames Services Jaguar Warriors (AZ5), as well as another pack that I’ll describe in a future post.  These AZ5 Jaguar Warriors come in various poses.  Of note Badger also removed the AZ015 SKU from their website and contacted Wargames Foundry to advise them that every pack of AZ015 that they had had been similarly packed incorrectly.  That’s exceptional follow through on their part and I appreciated that.

The downside was was that I had to wait another week+ to get going again on the project.  When the OWS pack arrived, I was happy to see that there were two weapons (8 macuahuitl and 8 tepoztopilli) available for each of the 8 AZ5 Jaguar Warriors.  This meant that I had plenty of extra weapons to arm the AZ015 Jaguar Warriors!  All I needed to do was convert two AZ015 figures to hold an atlatl by cutting off their hands and replace with one of the three atlatls that came with the pack.

1 AZ015 somewhat in error
The Wargames Foundry AZ015 “Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors” improperly packed blister as received.  As a side note, Chimalpopoca was an Aztec emperor in the 15th Century.

Now I had not 8, but 21 figures for this project, which was definitely not my goal at the start!  Still, with this many figures, and permutations of shield design, weaponry, and colors, I needed a plan.  So I made one – as shown below.  Also, the WF and OWS sculpts were different of course, and I wanted a variety of Jaguar Warrior tlahuitli and cuacalalatli both for ease of play and to be historically accurate.  The best resources were this were the plates in my Osprey books and two Steven’s Balagan blog posts (THANK YOU STEVEN FOR SHARING!).  Both are phenomenal and invaluable (especially for shield design examples) – here they are:

Books:

  • Pohl, John M. D. (1991). Aztec, Mixtec, and Zapotec Armies – Men-at-Arms.London: Osprey Publishing.
  • Pohl, John M. D. (2001). Aztec Warrior, AD 1325-1521. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
  • Pohl, John M. D. (2005). Aztecs & Conquistadores. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
  • Sheppard, Si. (2018). Tenochtitlan: 1519-21.Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
  • Wise, Terence (1980). The Conquistadores – Men-at-Arms.London: Osprey Publishing.

Steven’s Balagan posts:

As far as my painting plan, I should mention that I have a numbering system for all of my figures for Civilizations Collide.   This system will allow me to have a points-based menu (like a “take-out menu”) for the gamers.  At the beginning of a game, they will be able to use the menu choose how to spend their available scenario points by choosing specific troops for their side by checking them off on a menu that I will provide.  I have an Excel spreadsheet with the figure values and designations that I will use to make the menu.  Also, I will print out a disc to glue under each figure’s base with that information as well.  This, I hope, will make the gaming experience better and very easy.

The pictures below show my initial organizational plan for arming the figures – I did have another corresponding Excel plan (not shown) where I planned the base colors and the specific shield designs for each of the figures.

2 AZ012 Heroes of Tenochtitlan (Wargames Foundry) plan
The WF “Heroes of Tenochtitlan” AZ012 blister figures initial plan.  The “AV25” for example means that it was an “Aztec Veteran #25”.  JA1 means “Jaguar Warrior #1”, and so on.  I later changed the Warrior Priest designation to AWP1.

3 AZ015 Chimalpopoca's Jaguar Warriors (Wargames Foundry) plan
The AZ015 WF “Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors” blister showing OWS weapons, the conversion of JA9 and JA9, and all the shields to paint from both WF blisters.

4 AZ25 Jaguar Warriors (Outpost Wargames Services) plan
The OWS AZ5 pack of 8 and their shields.  I found both these and the WF sculpts to be fun to paint.  As this post goes on, you can be the judge of their different styles.

After I completed the plan, I mounted the figures in my usual way.  I labeled the bottom of the washers under the figures with the figure number and I similarly labeled each of the specimen jars.  I also organized the shields as shown below – plus I also had painted shields from previous projects available.  I decided to first do their flesh and weapons, and then move on to do each figure in order and separately.  This way I would gain experience (and hopefully improve) with painting the patterns on the tlahuitli and cuacalalatli, especially the jaguar-specific aspects.  This approach did help me maintain focus on the figures.  I ended up with fewer WIP pics, but this was a big varied project.  Hell, most of these figures had not one – but two sets of eyes.  It took about a month-and-a-half!  Of course, the July 4th holiday weekend did keep me out of the painting mode – as did some golf.

I did change my approach to the flesh painting a bit.  Trying to get that right on dark flesh was a challenge.  The list of paints I used was extensive given the breadth of the figures needs, but for flesh I mainly moved more to using Citadel “Darkoath Flesh” over a Vallejo “Sunny Skin base” with Vallejo Model Color “Medium Skin Tone” as highlights.  I also experimented with Vallejo Model Color “Mahogany”.

Below are some examples of mostly completed and unvarnished figures which were awaiting shields, flocking, and of course varnishing.

12 Jaguar Warriors painted

OWS Jaguar Warrior figures JA12 and JA13.  The figures are the same pose, but I armed JA12 with a macuahuitl and JA13 with a tepoztopilli.  Note that I also gave them both different painting schemes.

Painting of the figures was followed by my working on the shields.  Using my plan I was able to finish them all after a few days and they are shown below with a ruler for scale.

13 Shields

I then mounted the shields, flocked the bases, varnished them, and applied static grass.

14 All flocked and varnished
All ready to get off the painting mounts.

Now comes the fun part – sharing the final products.  Each of the figures is shown below – and I gave each blister a different photo background.

“Heroes of Tenochtitlan” (AZ012) Blister Pack (Wargames Foundry)

Aztec Veteran Warrior AV25

AV25 Aztec Veteran Warrior
The first of three Aztec Veteran Warriors in the blister.  I experimented with darker skin tones on this figure.  The background photos are of a young Mexican cornfield.

Aztec Veteran Warrior AV26

AV26 Aztec Veteran Warrior
This Aztec Veteran Warrior was a more interesting sculpt for me than the previous one.

Aztec Veteran Warrior AV27

AV27 Aztec Veteran Warrior
This was the only figure of all of these that had an already-affixed shield.

Jaguar Warrior JA1

JA1
I looked to create a true jaguar coloring with this figure, though he came off a bit dark. in these photos.

Jaguar Warrior JA2

JA2
The blue and spot patterns were from an Osprey plate.  The shield was one of the more difficult freehands to do.  The blue color is purposefully dark as were the Osprey images.

Warrior Priest AWP1

AWP1
I enjoyed painting this guy and his shield.  Again, the details came from an Osprey plate.  The white-dotted tlahuitli and shield were supposed to be emblematic of the stars in the night sky.  Warrior Priests have special rules in my supplement and in general help keep an attached unit in the fight longer (better morale).  I have more of these to do – eventually…

All of the “Heroes of Tenochtitlan” Blister

10 Heroes of Tenochtitlan

“Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors” Blister Pack (Wargames Foundry)

Jaguar Warrior JA3

JA3
Some shields were simple wicker-covered designs like this one has.  The background for this blister is a Sonoran Desert shot.  The rosettes (jaguar spot patterns) were a challenge on all of these figures.

Jaguar Warrior JA4

JA4
I tried a lighter base on the tlahuitli here.

Jaguar Warrior JA5

JA5
Another Osprey plate-inspired base color.  I love his facial expression.

Jaguar Warrior JA6

JA6
Painting a complex design on a wicker-type shield is definitely harder!  The OWS tepoztopilli’s definitely worked well with the WF figures.

Jaguar Warrior JA7

JA7
Another blue-themed WF figure with a simple shield and OWS tepoztopilli.

Jaguar Warrior JA8

JA8
One of the conversions with an atlatl.

Jaguar Warrior JA9

JA9
Another conversion with an atlatl.

“Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors” assembled

22 Chimalpopoca's Jaguar Warriors assembled

“Jaguar Warriors” Pack (Outpost Wargames Services)

Jaguar Warrior JA10

JA10
A lighter pattern with the OWS shield.  These shields were smooth and easier to design and paint patterns.  The sculpts have their own distinct character – less fine detail than the WF ones, but no less visually impressive to me.  However, I did really find the OWS sculpts to have easier tlahuitli to paint as they were far more amenable to dry brushing and shading.  The background photo for all of these is an Aztec temple.

Jaguar Warrior JA11

JA11
One of the fun aspects here was being able to use so much yellow on most of these.  Yellow is a tough color to use (I find) on minis, and it’s a common color for the Aztecs shields and tlahuitli.  JA10 and JA11 are the same sculpt – I just added different weapons and used dissimilar paint and shield schemes.

Jaguar Warrior JA12

JA12
This sculpt seemed to be almost more dog-like with its cuacalalatli (hardwood helmet).

Jaguar Warrior JA13

JA13
JA12 and JA13 are the same sculpt, with different colors, weapons, and shields.

Jaguar Warrior JA14

JA14
I liked his charging into action pose!  I wonder if the tails cased problems in melee for those who had them?

Jaguar Warrior JA15

JA15
Another red-themed warrior.

Jaguar Warrior JA16

JA16
Just two pics here as he’s one of the few with his shield facing front.  Got the shield design from multiple places.

Jaguar Warrior JA17

JA17
More like a snow jaguar – but an available pattern.  Checkerboard shields are fun!

“Jaguar Warriors” Blister Pack assembled

24 All OWS Jaguar Warriors

And next here you have all 21 gathered:

25 Project Aztecs

Hopefully you enjoyed the pics and this post – and if you have feedback, a favorite among these, or a least favorite – positive feedback or devastating criticism – I’m up for all of the above.

With many conventions cancelled, and even gaming club get-togethers not happening, it may be a while before these Aztecs get into a fight.  I guess that just leaves more time to complete them – and eventually some Conquistadores and Tlaxcalans as foes.

This project hopefully counts as an entry for me for Azazel’s  illustrious “The Jewel of July 2020: Community Painting Challenge” under the “Heroes” category – just that there’s 21 of them!  By the way, it’s been mercifully extended until the end of August if you want in – check it out at the link.

I’m also reading this book as more research:

27 Book

Until next time – take care and stay safe all!

Miscellaneous details and references for those interested:

Posts on Units for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest Supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”

  1. A June and July Jaguar Warrior Frenzy (plus some Aztec Veterans and a Warrior Priest to Boot) (this post) – 3 Aztec Veteran Warriors, 17 Jaguar Warriors, 1 Aztec Warrior Priest
  2. Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
  3. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  4. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  5. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

Total figures to date for this project:  69 Aztecs

26 all Aztecs through this project

 

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THESE AZTEC VETERANS, JAGUAR WARRIORS, AND THE WARRIOR PRIEST:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. E6000 Epoxy
  4. Poster tack and plastic plates
  5. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White Primer”
  6. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  7. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  8. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  9. Battlefront “Wool Brown”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
  11. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
  12. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  13. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  14. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  15. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
  16. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Contrast Medium”
  17. Vallejo Model Color “Medium Skin Tone”
  18. Vallejo Model Color “Light Flesh”
  19. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Darkoath Flesh”
  20. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  21. Vallejo Model Color “Mahogany”
  22. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
  23. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Skeleton Hordes”
  24. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  25. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  26. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  27. Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
  28. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown”
  29. Vallejo Game Air “Escorpena Green”
  30. P3 “Cygnar Blue Highlight”
  31. Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
  32. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Terradon Turquoise”
  33. Army Painter “Red Tone” (wash)
  34. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
  35. Citadel “Carroburg Crimson” (shade)
  36. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  37. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Snakebite Leather”
  38. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  39. P3 “Sunshine” (ink)
  40. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
  41. Vallejo Model Color “White”
  42. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Nazdreg Yellow”
  43. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Ultramarines Blue”
  44. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Black Templar”
  45. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  46. Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (shade)
  47. Citadel “Yriel Yellow”
  48. Citadel “Drakenhof Nightshade” (shade)
  49. Citadel “Biel-Tan Green” (shade)
  50. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Flesh Tearers Red”
  51. Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
  52. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  53. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Iyanden Yellow”
  54. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aggaros Dunes”
  55. Vallejo Model Color “Light Orange”
  56. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aethermatic Blue”
  57. P3 “Sulfuric Yellow”
  58. Citadel “Ceramite White”
  59. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  60. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  61. Citadel “Bloodletter” (glaze)
  62. Vallejo Mecha Color “SZ Red”
  63. Vallejo Mecha Color “Purple”
  64. Vallejo Model Air “Cockpit Emerald Green “Faded” ”
  65. Vallejo Mecha Color “Fluorescent Green”
  66. Americana “Desert Sand”
  67. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  68. Vallejo Model Air “Satin Varnish”
  69. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  70. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  71. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  72. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  73. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  74. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

Thanks for looking!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx

Last month (March) was the first month in several years that I had not painted any miniatures at all.  This happened because I was busy early in the month looking for a job, and then the pandemic hit with all that that entailed.  I decided that I would take the time to honor a commitment made to my good buddy Buck Surdu (who attended West Point with me).

Buck has published many games, and as readers of this blog know, I am very fond of his Combat Patrol™ – WWII Skirmish card based system.  If you take a look at his website, you will see many different (and very well done) free supplements that have been written for other periods and conflicts – check them out here.  One limitation of Combat Patrol™ is that it does not adapt well to the periods before firepower became predominant in warfare – such as before the 17th Century.  Buck has developed a new set of card-based rules for these earlier skirmish battles called Feudal Patrol™ – and they should be published this year I believe.

So back to my commitment – I agreed to help Buck by researching and writing one of the free supplements for the upcoming Feudal Patrol™.  But which era?

When I returned to the hobby (back six years or so ago), I bought many miniatures that I found on eBay that were from the 1970’s to 1990’s.  It was my way of catching up.  One of the groupings I bought were Aztecs, so (without a fully developed concept – or an in-depth understanding of the history of the Conquest) I volunteered to write a supplement covering the Spanish Conquest of the Americas in the 16th Century – covering the Aztecs, the Maya, the Tlaxcalans, the Mixtecs/Zapotecs, the Inca, and of course the Conquistadores.  The research (reading 4 books and other internet material) for this took me the better half of March, and writing the supplement (about 30 pages) took up the rest – so no painting in March for me.  I have finished the draft and we’ll see where that goes – but so far it looks (to my biased eyes) pretty good.

1 books
Research, research.

The resources that I found were adequate I believe – as the authors are all subject matter experts.  Besides, I just needed enough to design a gaming supplement – not pursue a doctorate.  In any case, I now can start painting forces to use with the supplement and hopefully bring to club meetings and conventions.

I started with Aztec novice warriors.  A major aspect of warfare in this period was the overriding need to take captives.  The Aztecs would place the taking of captives at a higher premium than actually killing the enemy.  Rank and prestige in the Aztec army (and Aztec society) were dependent on two things – the number and the quality of the enemy warriors one had captured.  These captured were used for ritualized sacrifice or for making into slaves.  The value of all captives was not equal – capturing a high-ranking member of a strong warrior tribe was better than a weaker one from a less-respected foe.  Aztec troops were typically composed of a group of veteran warriors and an attached group of novices.  The novices were usually (but not always) in a second rank, following the veterans.  The veterans were supposed to be responsible for the novice’s training.  In the game, I match up a group of novices to an equally-sized group of veterans (not elite units).

Novice warriors advance by capturing enemy warriors under the tutelage of the veterans.  The first two blisters that I had were “Aztec Novice Warriors II”  and came from Wargames Foundry.  These are available in the US from Badger Games – here is a link to them.

2 In blisters
My first two blister packs of Aztec troops.

The metal models cleaned up easily enough – but I discovered that there were a few lingering mold lines that I missed.  Still, these would be a nice way to challenge my painting skills (and add to them) as I had not painted human flesh of any type in 28mm for several years – maybe these old 1970’s era Minifig neanderthals were the last similar types that I did.  As these novices are mostly wearing only loincloths, it would be a lot of skin to paint.

The packs also came with many shields.  Each blister pack of six contained 3 novices armed with slings, two armed with an obsidian-bladed wooden sword club called a macuahuitl (ma-kwa-wheat), and one with a a roundhead club called a cuauhololli (kwa-ho-lolly).  One of the macuahuitl figures had a quilted cotton armor tunic called an ichcahuipilli (each-ca-we-pee-lee).

As a side note – part of the research into this era was the major challenge of pronunciation and spelling for Aztec terms!

I filed and cleaned the models, and mounted them on 1″ steel fender washers for painting.  These were then mounted on specimen jars with poster tack for ease of painting.

3 each blister had these
The blister contents  – there were many more shields than I needed – as I did not think slingers should have shields.

4 prepped amd mounted for painting
Mounted for priming and painting.  I used a plastic plate to mount the shields for separate painting and later attachment to the models.

6 after base flesh
Early base coat of the flesh with Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”.

5 slinger with contrast paint on leg
I decided that I would try to paint a lighter flesh base coat and then use Citadel Contrast paint (in this case Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”) on that.  Here, I have only done one leg to show the effect.

7 after adding contrast paints
The Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh” proved to be in need of thinning.  I painted these in order from left to right, and the ones on the far right came out way too dark and needed a redo.  By using Testors Universal Thinner with the Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”, I was able to get a better Aztec skin tone.

8 lightened slingers
The two slingers on the far left after the redo.

10 close up progress April 18
I tried to highlight and shade the flesh here such that from a distance the figures would look right.  I also gave each type of model a slightly different color theme on their accouterments for easier identification and better play on the tabletop.

11 start on shields
Moving on here to start painting the shields.  I had very little experience in panting tiny designs on tiny shields (as you will see).

By April 19th and 20th, I had gotten the models to where I could begin to choose which shields to use and affix.  I did this with first Gorilla glue, and then with E6000 epoxy – allowing to harden overnight.  At that point, I was able to use shading on the models and the shields – and flock the bases.

For flocking, I used Army Painter “Brown Battlefields”, followed by some pigments (see painting list below).  I then airbrushed the models with varnish, and after that dried overnight, I applied random grass patches to the bases.

17 after varnish
Finished models.

For better viewing, I will now share close up groupings of photos of each type of figure and some group shots as eye candy.

First, the slingers with cocked arms:

Next, the slingers loading their slings:

Next, the novice figures with shields and macuahuitl advancing.

Next, here are the two cuauhololli-armed novices.

The one type of figure with a macuahuitl , and a quilted cotton armor tunic called an ichcahuipilli.

The sixth type, a slinger with sling above his head:

And some group shots:

20 Blue themed warriors
The blue-themed novices

21 Red themed warriors
The red-themed novices.

22 Group shot
The twelve novices assembled.

I hope that you enjoyed seeing these figures and my processes.  I do believe that I can improve upon them and I hope to do so with subsequent projects for the Spanish Conquest – there will be several going forward.  I did want these to count for the Ann’s April 2020 “Paint the Crap You Already Own!” Painting and Hobby Challenge over at Ann’s Immaterium blog.

Lastly, as an add-on bonus , I also redid seven Archive Power-Armored Archive Frinx infantry that I found on eBay a while back.  I have a good number of Frinx and game with them often as shown in this blog – just search for “Frinx” on my blog and see what I mean!

I did not paint their original colors, but they were done well-enough with a dotted camouflage scheme, very different from my other brightly-painted Frinx.  But as they were based such that I’d never get them off of the bases that they were on, I just touched up the worn-away paint, used some shading, varnished them, and improved the worn bases.  I’ll use them as commando Frinx.  For fun, here they are:

1 after wash
After varnishing.

3 Done
In the desert.

5 Frinx Leader casualty card
Close up of the leader.

4 not a fair fight
How did this happen?

That’s it for now!

 

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THE AZTECS:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. Poster tack and plastic plates
  4. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White Primer”
  5. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  6. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  7. Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
  8. Vallejo Model Color “Red”
  9. Vallejo Model Color “Black Grey”
  10. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  11. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
  12. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  13. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  14. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  15. Battlefront “Dark Leather”
  16. Battlefront “Wool Brown”
  17. Citadel “Dryad Bark”
  18. Tamiya “Copper (XF-6)”
  19. Tamiya “X20A Thinner”
  20. Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
  21. Deka Lack “Blau” (a survivor from 1987!)
  22. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  23. Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
  24. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  25. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  26. E6000 Epoxy
  27. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  28. Vallejo Model Air “Moon Yellow”
  29. Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (shade)
  30. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  31. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  32. Americana “Desert Sand”
  33. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  34. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  35. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

Thanks for looking – please let me know your thoughts and feedback!