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.


  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”

Our Garage+ Project – Week 13 Update

Lucky week 13 was October 10-16 on the project. Some really beautiful progress – though the delay in windows and doors has kept interior work from progressing. Therefore, for this post I have mostly deck updates plus a few hobby tidbits at the end for my dedicated hobby crowd.

On Monday, deck proceeded on the deck stairs and fascia.

Cutting up and moving up PVC fascia for the garage deck.
Decking being enthusiastically installed over the Trex rain gutter system you saw last week.
Monday progress at the end of the day.

On Monday, our new Weber gas grill was delivered from Home Depot. It’s for natural gas so we can avoid the hassle of propane tanks in the future (though Lynn wants to use both). This is to be mounted on the new gas line on the back deck. We also got a nice drip mat and a cover for it. On Tuesday, Lynn and I put it together with the help of the manual and the Weber app. The process took us just under 4 hours (Weber says it should take 90 minutes – no way), and we worked well together to get it done. That means we are still happily married and no murders occurred or were even contemplated – which can be side effects of joint assembly! Of course, we can’t use it until the gas line is put in for it from the house.

Happy wife, happy life – and the new grill.

The rest of Tuesday saw work on the stairs to the garage deck and the deck itself.

End of day progress on Tuesday.

Wednesday saw more of the same.

Morning work Wednesday.
Now we had stairs all the way up on Wednesday!

Thursday saw a couple of things happen. First, Jonny Victor got a boom truck in and all the blue board got delivered – though work on it can’t start until – yes – windows and doors are in. At least this saves time climbing the new stairs.

The deck and stairs just got more attractive as the week went on.

Work began on the columns sheathing.
Different angle view, Thursday mid-day.
View from the back mid-day Thursday.

It was too dark to get a good shot of the total work – but Friday came and the fog, but it looked like this below.

Happy Friday morning showing fog and Thursday progress.

National Grid showed up and added loam and seed to the gas line excavation of last week.

National Grid repairing over the gas line excavation to the garage.

Our plumber was prepping to do some work, and asked about a vanity size. We also needed another solar cap for the deck posts (they are solar and are really cool at night – no pic yet as we needed 1 more). So, off to Home Depot for both and some more shelving for the cellar.

Before we left for Home Depot, this was the progress. You can also see the new grill on its new home.

On Saturday, I got to get a shot of the completed work. Not only is it amazing, but the views from it are as well. The deck height is higher than our home’s second story windows.

Week end progress!

Now, I mentioned I would add a couple of hobby items. Well, I have a few – three to be exact.

First, I was able to finish writing the update to my Civilizations Collide supplement for Feudal PatrolTM. This is a way to wargame the Spanish Conquest and do it quite historically. I am working on a book of scenarios for that too. When either is available for download, I’ll share that.

Second, as I was working on the supplement, it became clear that I needed to have a way of tracking damage on Cortes’ war wagons, as after enough Aztec slings and arrows and more have hit them, they would disintegrate into scrap lumber. I saw these nice Litko markers and got 4 for my war wagons.

Just in case you missed what a war wagon is!
These markers count down from (or up to) 20 – which is the amount of damage each war wagon has before they got into combat in one game scenario.

Lastly, I mentioned that we also have gotten shelving from Home Depot and have been assembling them and redoing storage in the cellar. We have put together 3 of these, 1 of these, and 1 of these. The last one replaced an old particle board printer stand that had been used for laundry soap, bleach, etc. It was messed up, and had a storage area under it. In the storage area were a couple of yearbooks from junior high I had not seen in a while, plus under the stand was a big lint-encrusted pewter figure of Marshal Michel Ney, the Bravest of the Brave, that I bought in France in the 1980’s! I was always fascinated by his story. However, I had zero idea how he ended up there.

Come, see how a Marshal of France can gather lint and dust!

Buck suggested that he would be a cool giant for a Wars of Ozz game, and Chris Palmer suggested that he could be a moss giant. I thought maybe a lint monster…but no, I’ll clean him up and put on a shelf as is.

Anyways, next week should have even more progress on the project – so thanks for looking and hope you found this interesting. Now I have blogs to read! (likely yours).

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

I think we were fully cooked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garage front.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Some of you are saying YES, finally!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the game, Minnie for Tabitha!

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

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

Other Distractions

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

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

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

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

RIP Aussie Chiller hat.

The watery spillway grave of my Aussie Chiller hat.

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

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

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

Aztec Raid – Mass Pikemen Gaming Session June 5, 2021

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

Surprise Raid on Outpost

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

The battlefield.


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

Deployment and special rules:


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

Conquistadores and Tlaxcalans: 

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

The map:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aztec Temple Rehab

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

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

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

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

The piece as it was when I got it.

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

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

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

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

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

All dusted up – note the extra magnets as masking.

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

The piece after first dry brushing and base coating.

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

After adding the tone but before the final highlighting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pavement WIP

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Prize A

Prize B

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

Prize C

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

Prize D

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

Prize E

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

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

Check out any blogs you don’t know!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what’s next for me? The following!

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

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

Until next time!

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

Aztec Temple High Throne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All my terrain so far.

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


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

Aztec Temple Sacrificial Altar

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

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

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

The kit in its box.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The contest rolls on though.

A reminder on the contest!

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

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

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

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

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


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

Aztec Buildings and Scatter Terrain from Acheson Creations

This post will cover the Aztec resin terrain/structures from Acheson Creations that I have recently finished for my  Feudal Patrol games in Mesoamerica (using my Civilizations Collide supplement). I purchased 6 structures from the company, and they were kind enough to throw in some scatter terrain that I believe will prove to be quite useful. The six buildings plus the 4 scatter pieces are all part of “Mark’s Aztec Building Challenge Contest“, as are all of the MDF I listed in the original contest post. While the buildings in this post would be probably more suited to a rural setting versus a cityscape, I think that the scatter terrain will be useful in several gaming ways.

Originally, my plan was to do finish all of the MDF structures first, and then move on to the resin ones. That concept did not pan out as I ran out of some key items for the MDF. The MDF need to match exactly so that visually the collection makes a nice panorama.

So, those shortages moved me onto the resin, which I had luckily prepped for priming back in March. I thought Acheson had made the recommendation to prime with Rustoleum “Painters Touch Ultra Cover Flat Black” – a rattlecan – something I usually avoid. (Now that I looked back at his website, that recommendation is not there?) Anyways, I got another delay in priming as the Massachusetts weather also did not play nice (it’s been cold and we even got 6″ of snow on April 16th).

I thought it prudent – prior to priming them – to give all a thorough scrubbing and washing. I also saw a need to install 1/8″ neodymium magnets for the resin structures with roofs – to make them more stable (and stay on the buildings during games). This would be useful on the tabletop and yet keep them easy enough to open up for gaming. I used different patterns for the magnets as you will see below – so the roofs won’t end up on the wrong buildings in error.

Subsequent to washing, I based these pieces back in March on 1.5mm sanded styrene card – so as to appear more flush with the tabletop. When the weather finally cooperated (one day), I primed them all with that flat black and then sprayed a coat of Army Painter “Leather Brown” over the pieces that would be lighter or brown. This group of pieces all needed different paints – I am listing what I used by type at the end of this post (this helps me remember for future consideration and projects but you may find it useful too). As I started them all before April began, these will be 10 more entries in the April painting challenge from Ann’s Immaterium called Ann’s “Paint the Crap You Already Own” challenge.

The pieces washed and with neodymium magnets installed. I would also have to figure out how to paint and finish the inside of the roofs so that I could mount them for the roofs’ exterior painting. I would mount all of these on styrene card.

One major difference here with these pieces versus how I have painted previously is my use of Army Painter “Soft Tone” (the “dip”) applied with a brush. This is an oil-based product, which I do not employ usually, mainly as I hate the need for cleanup with paint thinner. However, I thought that it would be a good use for the stuff that I bought back in 2017 – especially on the thatched roofs as it would both shade and provide a varnish-like protection. I could then dry brush over them with abandon and dull the dip’s shine with a final matte varnish.

I would need to finish the roofs’ interiors prior to the outside – and I basically treated them as separate pieces to be worked on.

Below, you will see I broke each of the pieces out so you can get an idea of the transformation. I must give a shout out to TIM of The Imperfect Modeler who graciously gave me some excellent advice for these pieces.

Cuezcomatl Granary Structure

The term cuezcomatl refers to a granary storage structure that was used in Mesoamerica before the arrival of the Spanish and even up to today in some rural areas (see reference here). The model was interesting to paint, and working on it also helped me to prepare for the other thatched roofs. In the end, I decided to use Army Painter Soft Tone (the “dip”) with a brush. This allowed me to both get some good detail shading as well as to protect the model. I can see this model being useful as a terrain piece, as well as an objective marker. The Aztecs were quite avid practitioners of raiding their neighbors for food as well as captives (or anything else that they wanted to take), as were all Mesoamerican peoples of the era. The Aztecs were just more adept at the practice.

Jaguar Warriors seize an enemy cuezcomatl

Maize Storage Structure

This piece had a few areas that I worked to improve upon. One was to fill an open storage well with “maize” – or at least something that could approximate it. Another was to convert the dowel-like smooth front pillars into a more convincing-looking pair of period wooden supports. The pillars did have a slight wood grain, but I wanted to make them more rustic. Lastly, I did need to do some drilling and magnet installation so as to allow the piece to stay together. As with all of the other pieces here with separate roofs, I needed to finish the inside of the roof (including up to varnishing) before I finished the outside.

Similar to the cuezcomatl piece, this one can serve as both terrain and an objective marker due to the food storage bounty.

Structure completed.

Aztec Veterans defend the maize.

Aztec Peasant/Farmer’s House

I had three peasant houses – this is the first one.

Novice warriors defend a peasant’s house – maybe not even theirs at the beginning of the day!

Huaxtec House

The Huaxtec were a people who lived near the east coast of Mexico. They were related to the Maya and were conquered by the Aztecs. I found this structure to be quite striking visually and I have to imagine that it was somewhat common. In any case, it was different than the others, so I thought it worth adding. The only issue that this piece presented was that the roof size did not line up as easily for the magnets – but enough to make a couple work enough to keep the roof on.

The Aztecs pillage the Huaxtec House.

Aztec Stone House

The third type of house is an Aztec Stone House. This is one of the two stone houses in the group. I decided that I would go for more of a sandstone or light limestone look for these.

Aztec Veteran and Novice Warriors deploy from the stone house

Aztec Noble’s House

The Aztec Noble’s house had an interesting roof and a bit of opportunity for some color.

The Aztec Snake Woman (General) and a Noble Captain depart for battle.

Miscellaneous Scatter Terrain

It was a nice surprise to get this scatter terrain. I used all of it except one – which was an African mask. I based it and primed it but did not paint it. As I will not likely use it, it will be another (5th!) prize in Mark’s Aztec Building Challenge Contest.

These will be nice treasure markers for the games. I played with some shiny (and tiny) beads (from Japan) and Swarovski glittery crystals from Michaels to make the treasure and fill the pots over some steel BB’s. I also had a chance to do some minimal Aztec freehand work on the pots.

The Leafy Pot treasure. Why is it on leaves? You got me – I don’t know!
The gold staff treasure – with a treasure chest, a silver carafe, a gold vase, and a large gold staff of some type.
Top view of the treasures
Elite Warriors – Cuachiqueh (“Shorn Ones”) – protect Montezuma’s gold.

That rounds out my pieces for April. I now have just two more pieces of MDF left for the contest – though I do have more planned terrain and structures – keep following!

Coming up next – these last two MDF.

I’d love to hear any feedback on these – and I did use a different photo set up as well – so let me know on that too if you want. Getting my last “jab” this weekend, as well as trying to play in two golf tournaments – so when will I get done and end the contest…who knows?

As far as Acheson, I must give them a very positive review on these resin pieces. Check out their stuff here. Their offerings and ranges are quite extensive across many periods. The sculpting is good and the details are nice, and the extras they threw in were very cool too. And other than the freebies that they threw in, I have not been paid by them in any way.

Thanks for looking and please let me know what you think in the comments section!

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

The next sections are references on the paints I used – mainly for me – so skip the rest if you are so inclined. Thanks for looking and I hope that you’ll let me know what you think about these models.


Cuezcomatl Granary Structure:
  1. Rustoleum “Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Flat Black” (spray can)
  2. Army Painter Color Primer “Leather Brown” (spray can)
  3. 1.5mm styrene sheet
  4. Sci-Grip “16 Fast Set Clear, Medium-bodied solvent cement”
  5. Vallejo “Brown Earth Gel Leather Brown”
  6. Vallejo Game Air “Desert Yellow”
  7. Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”
  8. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sand Yellow”
  9. Hataka “Jaune d’Ochre”
  10. Vallejo Model Color “Wood Grain”
  11. Citadel “Ushabti Bone”
  12. Citadel “Aggaros Dunes”
  13. Vallejo Game Air “Ivory”
  14. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Sand”
  15. Vallejo Game Air “Red Terracotta”
  16. Vallejo Model Color “Red”
  17. Army Painter Quickshade “Soft Tone” (dip)
  18. Hobby talus
  19. Gorilla Glue
  20. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  21. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  22. Vallejo Model Air “German Red Brown”
  23. FolkArt “Yellow Ochre”
  24. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  25. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  26. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  27. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  28. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  29. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  30. Americana “Desert Sand”
  31. DecoArt “Light Buttermilk”
  32. Army Painter “Soft Tone” (wash)
  33. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  34. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)
  35. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  36. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures 12mm Jungle Tufts
  37. Poster tack
  38. Plastic Plates
Maize Storage Structure
  1. Rustoleum “Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Flat Black” (spray can)
  2. Army Painter Color Primer “Leather Brown” (spray can)
  3. Green stuff (kneadatite)
  4. 1.5mm styrene sheet
  5. Birch wood
  6. Sci-Grip “16 Fast Set Clear, Medium-bodied solvent cement”
  7. Vallejo “Brown Earth Gel Leather Brown”
  8. 1/8″ neodymium magnets
  9. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  10. Vallejo Game Air “Desert Yellow”
  11. Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”
  12. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sand Yellow”
  13. Vallejo Mecha Color “Brown”
  14. Vallejo Game Air “Beastly Brown”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  16. Vallejo Model Air “Yellow Ochre”
  17. Vallejo Model Color “Wood Grain”
  18. Army Painter Quickshade “Soft Tone” (dip)
  19. Vallejo Model Air “German Red Brown”
  20. Wooden toothpicks
  21. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  22. Citadel “Hexos Palesun”
  23. FolkArt “Yellow Ochre”
  24. Citadel “Iyanden Yellow”
  25. Army Painter “Strong Tone” (wash)
  26. Citadel Air “Balor Brown”
  27. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  28. Citadel “Aggaros Dunes”
  29. Hobby talus
  30. Gorilla Glue
  31. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  32. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  33. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  34. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  35. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  36. Americana “Desert Sand”
  37. DecoArt “Light Buttermilk”
  38. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Sand”
  39. Vallejo Game Air “Sun Yellow”
  40. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  41. Army Painter “Soft Tone” (wash)
  42. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  43. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)
  44. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures 12mm “Jungle Tufts”
  45. Poster tack
  46. Plastic Plates
  47. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  48. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  49. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)
Aztec Peasant/Farmer’s House
  1. Rustoleum “Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Flat Black” (spray can)
  2. Army Painter Color Primer “Leather Brown” (spray can)
  3. 1.5mm styrene sheet
  4. Sci-Grip “16 Fast Set Clear, Medium-bodied solvent cement”
  5. Vallejo “Brown Earth Gel Leather Brown”
  6. 1/8″ neodymium magnets
  7. Gorilla Glue
  8. Vallejo Game Air “Desert Yellow”
  9. Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”
  10. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sand Yellow”
  11. Vallejo Mecha Color “Brown”
  12. Vallejo Game Air “Beastly Brown”
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Yellow Ochre”
  15. Vallejo Model Color “Wood Grain”
  16. Army Painter Quickshade “Soft Tone” (dip)
  17. Vallejo Model Air “German Red Brown”
  18. Army Painter “Soft Tone” (wash)
  19. FolkArt “Yellow Ochre”
  20. Citadel “Hexos Palesun”
  21. Hobby talus
  22. All Living Things Dry Dust Bath (chinchilla dust)
  23. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)
  24. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  25. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  26. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  27. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  28. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  29. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  30. Americana “Desert Sand”
  31. DecoArt “Light Buttermilk”
  32. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  33. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  34. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  35. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  36. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)
  37. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures 12mm “Jungle Tufts”
  38. Poster tack
  39. Plastic Plates
Huaxtec House
  1. Rustoleum “Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Flat Black” (spray can)
  2. Army Painter Color Primer “Leather Brown” (spray can)
  3. 1.5mm styrene sheet
  4. Sci-Grip “16 Fast Set Clear, Medium-bodied solvent cement”
  5. Vallejo “Brown Earth Gel Leather Brown”
  6. 1/8″ neodymium magnets
  7. Gorilla Glue
  8. Vallejo Game Air “Desert Yellow”
  9. Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”
  10. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sand Yellow”
  11. Vallejo Mecha Color “Brown”
  12. Vallejo Game Air “Beastly Brown”
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Yellow Ochre”
  15. Vallejo Model Color “Wood Grain”
  16. Army Painter Quickshade “Soft Tone” (dip)
  17. FolkArt “Yellow Ochre”
  18. Citadel “Hexos Palesun”
  19. All Living Things Dry Dust Bath (chinchilla dust)
  20. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)
  21. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  22. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  23. Army Painter “Soft Tone” (wash)
  24. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  25. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  26. Hobby talus
  27. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  28. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  29. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  30. Americana “Desert Sand”
  31. DecoArt “Light Buttermilk”
  32. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  33. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  34. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  35. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)
  36. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures 12mm “Jungle Tufts”
  37. Poster tack
  38. Plastic Plates
Aztec Stone House
  1. Rustoleum “Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Flat Black” (spray can)
  2. Army Painter Color Primer “Leather Brown” (spray can)
  3. 1.5mm styrene sheet
  4. Sci-Grip “16 Fast Set Clear, Medium-bodied solvent cement”
  5. Vallejo “Brown Earth Gel Leather Brown”
  6. 1/8″ neodymium magnets
  7. Gorilla Glue
  8. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  9. Vallejo Game Air “Desert Yellow”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”
  11. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sand Yellow”
  12. Vallejo Model Color “Wood Grain”
  13. Army Painter Quickshade “Soft Tone” (dip)
  14. FolkArt “Yellow Ochre”
  15. Citadel “Hexos Palesun”
  16. Vallejo Model Air “German Red Brown”
  17. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  18. Army Painter “Soft Tone” (wash)
  19. Americana “Raw Sienna”
  20. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Sand”
  21. All Living Things Dry Dust Bath (chinchilla dust)
  22. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)
  23. Hobby talus
  24. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  25. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  26. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  27. Citadel “Ushabti Bone”
  28. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  29. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  30. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  31. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  32. Americana “Desert Sand”
  33. DecoArt “Light Buttermilk”
  34. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  35. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  36. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  37. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)
  38. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures 12mm “Jungle Tufts”
  39. Poster tack
  40. Plastic Plates
Aztec Noble’s House
  1. Rustoleum “Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Flat Black” (spray can)
  2. Army Painter Color Primer “Leather Brown” (spray can)
  3. 1.5mm styrene sheet
  4. Sci-Grip “16 Fast Set Clear, Medium-bodied solvent cement”
  5. Vallejo “Brown Earth Gel Leather Brown”
  6. 1/8″ neodymium magnets
  7. Gorilla Glue
  8. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  9. Vallejo Model Air “German Red Brown”
  10. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  11. Armory “Dark Blue”
  12. FolkArt “Yellow Ochre”
  13. Vallejo Model Color “Red”
  14. Army Painter “Soft Tone” (wash)
  15. Citadel “Drakenhof Nightshade” (wash)
  16. Americana “Raw Sienna”
  17. Vallejo Game Air “Desert Yellow”
  18. Vallejo Model Color “Yellow Ochre”
  19. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)
  20. All Living Things Dry Dust Bath (chinchilla dust)
  21. Hobby talus
  22. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  23. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  24. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  25. Citadel “Ushabti Bone”
  26. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  27. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  28. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  29. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  30. Americana “Desert Sand”
  31. DecoArt “Light Buttermilk”
  32. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Sand”
  33. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  34. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  35. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  36. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)
  37. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures 12mm “Jungle Tufts”
  38. Poster tack
  39. Plastic Plates
Miscellaneous Scatter Terrain Pieces
  1. Rustoleum “Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Flat Black” (spray can)
  2. 1.5mm styrene sheet
  3. Sci-Grip “16 Fast Set Clear, Medium-bodied solvent cement”
  4. Vallejo “Brown Earth Gel Leather Brown”
  5. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  6. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  7. Vallejo Model Air “German Red Brown”
  8. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  9. Vallejo Game Color “Livery Green”
  10. Vallejo Game Air “Beastly Brown”
  11. Vallejo Model Air “White”
  12. Vallejo Model Air “Silver”
  13. Citadel “Waywatcher Green” (glaze)
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Dark Brown”
  15. Citadel “Yriel Yellow”
  16. Battlefront “Dark Leather”
  17. Vallejo “Thinner Medium”
  18. Vallejo Model Color “Red”
  19. Citadel “Skeleton Horde”
  20. Citadel “Retributor Armour”
  21. Citadel “Gehenna Gold”
  22. Citadel “Auric Armour Gold”
  23. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Rust Texture”
  24. Swarovski “Shimmer Effect Crystals”
  25. Steel BB’s
  26. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Light Rust Wash”
  27. Citadel “Nuln Oil GLOSS” (wash)
  28. Army Painter “Mid Brown” (wash)
  29. Vallejo Game Air “Desert Yellow”
  30. Vallejo Model Color “Yellow Ochre”
  31. Play sand
  32. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  33. Army Painter “Soft Tone” (wash)
  34. Citadel “Ushabti Bone”
  35. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  36. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  37. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  38. Americana “Desert Sand”
  39. DecoArt “Light Buttermilk”
  40. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Sand”
  41. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  42. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  43. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  44. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  45. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  46. Toho Gold 6/0 “E” Beads
  47. Miyuki 11/0 “Delica” Turquoise Beads
  48. Miyuki 11/0 “Delica” Gold Beads
  49. Miyuki 11/0 “Delica” Silver Beads
  50. Gorilla Glue
  51. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)

Game Aids and Tools for Feudal Patrol games using the Civilizations Collide Supplement

It’s my blogaversary! I started this blog 6 years ago today on March 19th, 2015!! It all started with this post – The Story of the Nightmare Legion. It’s been a fun journey.

I started this blog to share my minis and to share stuff that I learned after an extended absence from the hobby. I wanted to help with lessons learned and the like. Since then it’s been a blast, and I really appreciate all of you who read and follow this little blog of mine! I certainly have been inspired by yours.

This current post was one with which I struggled as far as deciding on whether or not to do write it as it involves making stuff to make my games easier for the players and for me as a GM. In the end, I was encouraged to give it a go (thanks IRO and TIM!). So, this post will be more of a how to (and a throwback to some of my earlier projects) in terms of stuff I have conceived of, designed, and built for my Feudal Patrol games using my supplement Civilizations Collide. After reading this, you might have some new ideas, you might know about some new materials, or you might just think that I am nuts. After all, the stuff I will show took 3+weeks to make.

Now, before I go any further, 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. Also, with 216 available figures for a game of Civilizations Collide, I needed some tools if I am going to provide CHOICE and AGENCY to my players.

To accomplish this, I have broken down my efforts into “challenges” with some supporting pics and links for the materials and tools. I hope that you find them interesting as they are really how I built “stuff” for my games.

The Under-Base Label Challenge

Challenge: The Conquistadores arrived in Mesoamerica in the early 16th Century and there had been many different Mesoamerican civilizations for centuries prior to that.  “Uniforms” in this era were anything but uniform.  In the game, Warbands and Elements within Warbands are composed of figures that are attired, armored, and armed differently.  In terms of both figure identification and using the points system to build Elements and Warbands, this poses a challenge, especially with my 216 available figures.  Having thought of this from the beginning of this project, I had kept an identification Excel spreadsheet for all 216 figures throughout the project – which helped immeasurably with having identification data for each figure.   I did take many pictures and also wrote (somewhat illegibly as is my curse) on the bottoms of the figures’ bases with a Sharpie.  However, I needed a clear and legible solution for the tabletop.   

Goal:  Make all figures easily and individually identifiable.  Ideally, have a system that identifies each figure and the points cost for each under the 1” and 1.25″ steel washer bases.

Solution: Create custom labels for use under the 1” and 1.25″ steel washer bases.

Process:  Using PowerPoint, I designed a ¾” round label that has both the figure identification number and the figure point value on it.  I cut and pasted additional circles and aligned them on the sheet for future removal.  Alignment of the circles and editing them was easy with PowerPoint – and was very helpful in later steps with the paper trimmer.  I filled one sheet or slide in PowerPoint full of the circles.  At that point all I needed to do was to copy that entire sheet and make a second sheet, and so on.  This enabled me to edit each circle on the subsequent sheets for all 216 figures.  I inputted the figure numbers and the point values from my master spreadsheet onto the circles.  I used a color code for the round labels by type – grey for the Conquistadores, gold for the Aztecs, and red for the Tlaxcalans. I also used a thick point circle on the border of the circles – I used 1.5 but I could have gone thicker.  The thicker borders help with aligning them for punching out later.  I then printed off the sheets of labels on Avery™ #8165 8.5” x 11” Trueblock® shipping labels that I bought at Staples. I took each sheet and used my Fiskars® SureCut™ Deluxe Paper Trimmer (from Michaels) to cut thin strips holding multiple labels.  This made punching out the labels easier.  I used my 5/8” punch from Michaels (Lever Punch, Circle by Recollections™), punch out the labels.  Even though the punch was 5/8” versus the 3/4” circle – they aligned better – as the thick point border helped me to position the strip.  The punch has a clear underside so you can see if you are aligned or not.  I affixed the labels to the underside of each base of each of the 216 figures.  I store and transport my figures in 11-liter Really Useful Boxes (which I bought from Staples but this UK company has their own website too in the US)  lined with Aleene’s® Magnetic Tacky Sheets™ (which Michaels sometimes carries too).  The labels did not impede the magnetic attraction that I needed because they were smaller in diameter than the 1” bases – and were centered on the washers – leaving enough steel available to get a “bite”.

End result:  Every figure now has a printed label with its ID number and point value printed on it underneath as you see below.

Printed off labels shown here in front of my PowerPoint design. Note the hole punch – trimming these with the Fiskars trimmer made punching them a breeze. (As if punching 216 labels could ever be considered a breeze!)
Example of the under-label of a Conquistador Sword & Buckler Man figure.

The Really Useful Box Organization Challenge

Challenge:  I can store and transport each of the figures in my Really Useful Boxes, but setting up a game and gathering figures from 216 figures for a warband can be too time-consuming if one has to look at each figure’s undersides!  I needed to make my Really Useful Boxes even more useful.

Goal: Make my Really Useful Boxes more organized and more functional such that each figure has an easily identifiable slot for selection and also to speed pick up after a game.

Solution: Design and build a system within each Really Useful Box that facilitates easy figure identification for both gathering figures for a game and picking them up after a game while preserving any benefits for storage and transport.

Process:  Each 11-liter Really Useful Box is about 12” x 14.5”.  I could have gone through endless iterations of how to organize the figures so that they would fit, and never be 100% sure my set up would work in reality.  I came up with an idea that I think worked.  Here again I went to PowerPoint.  Most of my figures are on 1” bases, but a few are on 1.25” bases.  I decided that I would make 3/8” labeling strips in layers upon which I could affix the figure identification numbers.  I wanted each figure to have 1/8” clearance on both sides, so each row would be 1.5”.  To verify how this would work, I made shapes in PowerPoint at 50% scale such that they fit on the screen.  The shapes included how much space I would need for each type of figure. This really worked – and is a process that I will use again.  You can see below my rough plan.  Once I had my rough design, employing my Fiskars® SureCut™ Deluxe Paper Trimmer I cut strips of card stock and affixed them to the magnetically-lines Really Useful Boxes with small balls of poster tack.  Then I made a second set of card stock strips to go on top of the first sets, affixing them with poster tack.  Lastly, I just printed off my Excel spreadsheet pages onto card stock with the figure identification numbers on them, trimmed them up, and affixing them to the now-raised card stock “line” with poster tack.  For the Conquistador cavalry, I made little corrals as they were in need of a bit more support.  I then put all of the figures into the boxes as you see below – I ended up needing 4 boxes.

End result:  Every figure has a labeled slot as you see below.

Really Useful Boxes before modifying them.
Using PowerPoint as a CAD program, I designed the reorganization. Before any cutting!
Aztec Box 1 finished
Aztec Box 2 finished
Conquistador Box 1 finished – note the cavalry corral.
Conquistador/Tlaxcalan Box 2 finished

The Movement Tray Challenge

Challenge: I needed a safer way to transport figures to and from the tabletop.

Goal: Design and make a couple of magnetically-lined movement trays.

Process:  This was pretty simple.  I just used some old 1/8” thick balsa wood under two Aleene’s® Magnetic Tacky Sheets™ and reinforced the glue with wood glue.  After being weighted down, the sheets were firmly attached.

End result:  Success – I have two movement boards!

Magnetic Movement tray with some Conquistador Sword & Buckler Men
Magnetic Movement Tray with some Aztec Cuachicqueh

The “Menu” Challenge

Challenge: Many of my games will be virtual, and some will be at convention games.  I needed a simple way to convey two key concepts.  First, I needed to present to the players the options that they had available with regards to figures’ stats and cost.  Secondly, I needed to help them organize their troops – especially as Aztecs and Tlaxcalans have special organizations. In my games they are bigger and can have novice warriors attached.  Normally, an Element in Feudal Patrol™ is 4-5 figures plus a leader figure.  A Warband consists of 2-4 Elements plus a Warband Leader.  To reflect how the Aztecs waged war, their Elements are bigger – adding up to 5 novice warriors to each Element (if they pay the point costs of course).  This is useful as the novices can be assigned to drag away any incapacitated enemy for either sacrifice or slavery – which is historically in line with what they actually did do.  Killing an enemy was regarded as “clumsy”. Additionally, each Mesoamerican Warband can have a Warrior Priest, who can both fight and help with Aztec or Tlaxcalan Morale results during a battle.  At this point, my players could look at the figures in the boxes, but not have any information save the figure number, what he’s carrying and wearing, and the point value (if you pick one up to see the label).  Certainly, this would not be efficient.

Goal: Design and make a simple way (a “menu” system) for players to make informed choices for both virtual and in-person games.

Process:  What I did here was to go back to my Excel spreadsheet and size up the data to fit on a dashboard (more on that in a bit).  Then I adapted Buck Surdu’s excellent data cards to fit on a single strip in Excel that would fit approximately 8” wide and 3/8” high.  These I would make for each of my 216 figures – plus 4 additional to represent having the Army leader (Cortes or Pizarro) as a mounted versus dismounted choice for the Conquistadores.  Each section of the Word document (basically a “menu” of figure choices) was organized as you see below.  I then cut and pasted the strips from Excel into Word as pictures (paste special).  I then added some brief information about the figures, as well as a picture of each of the 216 to help further identify the players’ options.  Lastly, I created worksheets at the end of each “menu” to help the players build their forces.  To do this, I went back to PowerPoint, and created the shapes that I wanted for the worksheets.  I saved each individual slide as a JPEG (make sure you choose “Just This One” when it asks, and then edited the JPEG size.  If it did not work, I just went back to the PowerPoint, resized, resaved as a JPEG, and repasted in Word.  You can see the results below.

End result:  I have three good menus that I can email or hand out to players at the beginning of a game and they will speed up the time for players to make their troop choices.  As a side note, I prefer that players get to make choices in games!

Screen shot from Aztec Menu
Screen shot from Conquistador Menu
Screen shot from Tlaxcalan Menu
Screen shot from Aztec Menu showing worksheets

The Dashboard and Stat Strip Challenge

Challenge: The players need a quick and easy reference system that designates their troops’ stats, and one that does not take up a lot of space.

Goal:  Design and build a system of sufficient dashboards and supporting elements of appropriate ease and flexibility such that the players can play easier and faster and have more fun.

Process:  I do like gaming systems and setups that are flexible – that is giving players adequate AGENCY. As you have read, the menus allow the players to make their choices, but to have them write down all data at the game’s beginning could be a bit of a pain.  Plus, there can be a variety of differnt types of figures in some Elements.  My solution was to build on what I already had been developing.  I designed a dashboard in Excel that would accommodate being printed off on card stock and placed in a 5.5” x 8.5” sheet protector such as this one from Staples.  And remember the stat lines from the menus?  I used them to fit on the dashboards.  How you say? Well first, I special-ordered steel base material in sizes of 5.5” x 8.5” from Wargames Accessories.  The steel sheets do have some rough edges – which I covered with scrap pieces from the Avery shipping labels with no problems.  These steel sheets fit inside the sheet protectors and under the dashboards – and I made 31 of these.  Then I cut and pasted each individual stat lines into Word as pictures.  Then I printed off each of these 216 + 4 stat lines (220 in total) onto strips of card stock and trimmed them with the paper trimmer to fit on the dashboards.  To affix them to the dashboards, I needed magnetic strips – 220 of them.  I found a really nice source on Amazon of 8.5” x 11” sheets made by Craftopia called Adhesive Magnetic Sheets that are the best that I have found.  Again, my paper trimmer helped here to trim the magnetic strips to ¼” size width (fitting nicely under the 3/8” wide stat strips).  I did need to replace my Fiskars blade once and augment that effort with scissors.  Each of the 220 strips could be now be added to the dashboards, but how to organize and store these!  My answer would come from Wal-Mart.  Cookie sheets!  I found inexpensive cookie sheets (see photo below) for $1.50 each that stack together.  I organized the strips as you see below and added troop categories – basically mirroring the menus.

End result:  I have a pretty decent system now for organizing a game.  I have every figure’s stat line on a removable magnetically-backed card on 10 stackable cookie sheets.  These stat lines fit perfectly on sheet protector-encased steel dashboards. 

Cutting magnets and stat strips
A dashboard with a stat strip flipped over to show the magnet underneath
Example of an Elite Cuahchic Dashboard – as Elites they would not have novices attached but if this was a Veteran Dashboard there would be sufficient room for the novices’ stat strips
An example of a Conquistador Dashboard
My solution for organizing my stat strips!
My 10 cookie sheets with stat strips, as well as the dashboards and other aids discussed here.
Closer shot of the cookie sheets with the labels on them mirroring the menus
The cookie sheets stack nicely for transport

The Tabletop ID Challenge

Challenge: Using the dashboards is useful, but telling which figure is which on the tabletop can be a challenge, especially virtually.  As with the previous challenges, the figure’s lack of uniformity poses a gaming identification challenge.

Goal: Design and create a system that would allow for easy identification of the figures but would not overly detract from the aesthetic of the game.

Process:  I thought that as I used steel washers under my figures, my best option was to try something else in the realm of magnets.  But what?  I used some refrigerator magnets as prototypes of “under-magnets”, developed the concept, and then used PowerPoint to refine it.  However, the concept of cutting out a few hundred magnets by hand was not appealing to me – plus I saw that they would look rough on the edges.  I contacted Fridgedoor in Quincy, MA and worked with them to make me the magnets.  There did not need to be any fancy printing on the bottom (non-magnetic) side as I knew that would be too tough and expensive.  I had them make 20 mil thick sheets with each sheet having 11 of the under-magnets that could be easily popped out.  One side (facing the figure) would be magnetic and the other printed black.  The square jutting out on the magnetic side would be where I would affix labels for the figures.  I used PowerPoint to make sets of differently colored and designed labels for the figures’ little jutting square.  For the Elements, I made L, 1-10, and X (L for the Leader, 1-10 for the figure in the Element, and X for the baggie I would store them in).  Then I printed them off, trimmed them, and affixed them.  I ended up with 34 sets bags of under-magnets in individual little zip lock with ID numbers.  This was made up of 33 sets of 11 and 1 set of 24 (different for Warband Leaders, Army Leaders, and Warrior Priests) for a grand total of 387 total under-magnets.  I stored these in a small Really Useful Box, which in turn goes into another Really Useful Box for the game (see below).

End result:  I have now a soup-to-nuts system for setting up and running my game more efficiently for both virtual and in-person games that is useful and easily transported.

My under-magnet design. Not rocket science!
Popping out manufactured under-magnets
Working on the under-magnets labels
How the under-magnets will be used. Here, a Tlaxcalan figure has a Leader under-magnet. The rest of the set is above him, including the “X” marked baggie. Multiple color schemes were used.
Lots of sets of under-magnets
Here you can see a group of Conquistadores and some Aztec Cuachicqueh engaging in battle – the under-magnets show who is who easily.

I hope that you enjoyed this blog (and all the other ones for the last 6 years!). Just for kicks, please take a look at my very first post, The Story of the Nightmare Legion. Here’s hoping I keep doing more and reading and more of yours as well – and let me know if any of my somewhat insane stuff inspires you or if I need to be medicated – just asking!

And here’s a pic for IRO who asked for a T-shirt shot in March. Not ready for selfies I guess.


I’ll be announcing my next free giveaway contest soon – this time I’ve got some terrain to do and if you guess closest you can win stuff FREE from me. Just like in the last contest!

Don’t forget to let share your thoughts in the comments section!

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

Previous posts on games, units, and other projects for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”

  1. Game Aids and Tools for Feudal Patrol games using the Civilizations Collide Supplement (this post)
  2. And the Winners of “Mark’s Conquistador Contest” are…
  3. Conquistador Cavalry. 24 figures total: Outpost Wargame Services #CON5 “Conquistador Cavalry in light armour 1” (4 horses & 4 riders); Outpost Wargame Services #CON6 “Conquistador Cavalry in full armour” (4 horses & 4 riders); Eureka Miniatures “Moving Horses” #100ANM05 (8 horses used as casualty markers).
  4. Conquistador Falconet and Crew (Artillery). 3 figures total: Outpost Wargame Services #CONA1 “Falconet and Crew”.
  5. More Conquistador Sword and Buckler Men. 8 figures total Outpost Wargame Services #CON001 “Sword and Buckler Men”.
  6. Conquistador Sword and Buckler Men (Wargames Foundry). 18 figures total in three blister packs: Wargames Foundry #SB015 “Swaggering Swordsmen”, #SB016 “Brutal Sword and Buckler Men”, and #SB017 “Bold Bladesmen”.
  7. Perro de Guerra (Conquistador War Dogs). 13 figures total: Outpost Wargames Services #CONS6 “War Dogs” (8 war dogs); Eureka #100CON13 “Dog Handler and Dogs” (1 dog handler/pikeman and 4 war dogs)
  8. Conquistador Foot Command, Crossbowmen, and a Couple of Officers. 11 figures total: Outpost Wargames Services #CONC1 “Conquistador Foot Command” (a leader, a banner bearer, a drummer, and a bugler); Eureka #100CON04 “Crossbowmen” (5 crossbowmen); and Eureka CONC1 “Conquistador Officer” and an unknown SKU officer (2 officers)
  9. Merciless Adventurers (this post) – Wargames Foundry #SB014 (6 Conquistadores with arquebuses)
  10. Audacious Arquebusiers! – Wargames Foundry #SB012 (6 Conquistadores with arquebuses)
  11. Mark’s Conquistador Contest – for my loyal blog followers!
  12. Montezuma and Chieftains – Wargames Foundry #AZ011 for Feudal Patrol – 6 Aztec figures (Montezuma, 4 Chieftains, 1 Warrior Priest)
  13. Aztec Shock Troops – Cuachic Warriors aka The Shorn Ones – 8 Aztec cuachicqueh warriors
  14. Tloxtoxl and the Priests of the Great Temple, Wargames Foundry AZ021 – 2 warrior priests, 1 priestess, 1 priest, 1 leader, and 1 signaler
  15. Civilizations Collide – The Wars of the Aztecs, the Inca, the Maya, and the Conquistadores is now available as a FREE Download for Feudal Patrol™ – plus a Feudal Patrol™ review!
  16. 18 Aztec Novice Warriors for Feudal Patrol Walk into a Bar – 18 Novice Warriors
  17. Aztec Warrior Priests (painted as Tlaxcalans), Ral Partha 42-302, circa 1988 (this post) – 6 figures – 6 Tlaxcalan Warrior Priests
  18. Tlaxcalan Novices, Elite Warriors, and Command Group – 18 figures – 8 Novice Tlaxcalan Warriors, 8 Elite Tlaxcalan Warriors, 1 Tlaxcalan Captain, 1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower
  19. Tlaxcalan Archers – 8 Veteran Tlaxcalan Archers
  20. Aztec Game for Feudal Patrol across thousands of miles – via Zoom!
  21. Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer – 1 Aztec General, 1 Aztec Drummer
  22. 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
  23. Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
  24. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  25. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  26. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

Total figures completed to date for this project: 230 figures:  109 Aztecs, 32 Tlaxcalans, 89 Spanish Conquistadores

Next up – buildings! 

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