Aztec Eagle Knights, Ral Partha 42-303, circa 1986

The first figures that I got to paint came from a triad of companies – Ral Partha, Minifig, and Grenadier – back in the 1980’s. There were others too – but Ral Partha was my favorite company, as I was mainly into buying, painting (and casting) 25mm fantasy figures in those days. I left the hobby in the late 1980’s, and subsequently came out of my hobby time machine in early 2015 with the Nightmare Legion. To my surprise, I found that Ral Partha – and many others – were gone or subsumed into other entities. For example the Ral Partha lines now can be found at now Iron Wind Metals. Also, for many manufacturers, metal figures were being replaced by – dare I say it – PLASTIC. Oh, the horror.

Anyways, I discovered that there were still a good many metal options available and I have stayed mostly with metal figures. One of the lots that I bought on eBay around 2016 was a bunch of unopened and opened Ral Partha Aztec figure blisters. I sorted them and put them away. Then in 2019 Buck Surdu asked for collaboration on supplements for his new rules set called Feudal PatrolTM  . I jumped in, and now most of you know it resulted in my writing my supplement called Civilizations Collide in late 2019/early 2020. It’s free to download at that link (and you should!).

I then started painting figures and terrain for the period in April of 2020. Now, after two years, having painted and assembled 254 figures (109 Aztecs, 113 Conquistadores, 32 Tlaxcalans), 21 war canoes, 5 brigantines, a TON of terrain, and written 55+ blog posts (you can see the list of posts here), I felt I was ready to move on to my 34 Maya figures and finish up. After a whirlwind of preparation for gaming at HAVOC! 2022 and HUZZAH! 2022, I thought that I was prepared to move on to my 34 Maya figures…

Or was I…

I had painted or given away all of my original eBay lot score – all except 12 remaining Aztec Eagle Warriors. They were metal (of course) Ral Partha figures – so 25mm not 28mm, in two blisters (one opened and one not). The SKU designation for them is #42-303 “Aztec Eagle Knights”, circa 1986, sculpted by R. Kerr. From their storage location I heard them desperately cry out – “don’t leave us behind – it’s already been 36 years since we were cast! You need us to join your Aztecs!”. Funny, they cried out in English and not Nahuatl…

So, being somewhat of a completionist (insert sarcastic comment here), I decided to finish the LAST of my Aztecs. Besides, this would bring me to an even 300 figures of all types for the period (once the 34 remaining Maya were done) and that seemed to me to be an auspicious number to round out the project.

The 2 blister packs. One of the opened figures was partially painted and needed to be stripped.
Curiously, this was in the unopened blister pack – I had never seen this before – and I wonder – where is #13 now?

Historical Background

Aztec Eagle Warriors were, along with the Jaguar Warriors and the Shorn Ones, at the apex of the Aztec warrior classes. They would be armed with melee weapons, in particular the macuahuitl obsidian-edged club/sword, the tepoztopilli (obsidian-bladed thrusting spears)and the cuauhololli (round-headed club).  To be a member of any of these classes required that one had captured many quality enemies for sacrifice on the Altar of Huitzilopochtli. Indeed, while they battled almost incessantly, the status and rewards were great for them. Here is a good summary of the history of the Eagle Warriors.

Painting and Assembly Plan

I had previously assembled and painted 6 Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK (documented in this post). I numbered those EA01-EA06. These will be EA07-18. As I have 17 Jaguar Warriors that seems good. Similar to the previous Eagle Warrior project, I found that the#42-303 Ral Partha Eagle Knight tepoztopilli were way too soft and bendy. While the macuahuitl were small and bendable, I found that both five of those and three of the cuauhololli that would work.

I replaced four of the shafts of the tepoztopilli with leftover North Star shafts I had cut for my Conquistador pikemen. I drilled out the ends and used green stuff to bind them together. The other challenge were the limited poses. In each blister of 6 there are just TWO poses – one with a left arm forward and one with a right arm forward. (FYI these two are still available from Iron Wind Metals less any shields or weapons here). At least mine have weapons and shields!

The two poses.

As before, my plan was to reorient each of their arms into different poses, and to give each one a different weapon that was also oriented slightly differently. I would also give them a variety of colors for their suits (tlahuiztli), using red, light green, dark green, and light brown. Add to that I would use different shield patterns and different feather colors for authenticity and ease of tabletop play.

And yes, I had a painting plan matrix in writing!

Assembly, Modifications, and Painting

My first task was to redo the tepoztopilli (thrusting spears).

The stripped one and the rest now washed (I always wash metal before painting) and ready for pose adjustment and priming.

Using pliers, I carefully and slowly reoriented the arms as best as I could to turn 2 poses into 12 – or close enough to it. Then, I repaired any flattened spots by stippling with an Exacto knife point.

The Eagle Knights with their weapons affixed. I ended up using green stuff to affix the weapons to the ones armed with tepoztopilli (thrusting spears). I made three of them left-handed warriors. In the rear are my Tin Soldier UK Eagle Warriors – watching the new additions/recruits in progress. They look like a conga line, and I wanted more variety of poses with the Ral Partha ones.

Then it was on to priming and applying a dark wash.

A close up of the wash-over-prime effect.

Then I base coated the figures – using several contrast paints.

Then I dry brushed and washed each painted figure to achieve the color variations. Additionally, I painted (well, inked) the feathers on each helmet differently so no two are alike. Then I added gloss varnish to the feathers so that later when matted down the colors will “pop” a bit more. It also helps protect the inks I used here.

Then it was on to adding the initial flocking before returning to work on the shields.

Initial flocking before pigments added. After the two pigments set, I dry brush the bases with three colors.

The shields here are quite difficult to paint up with patterns. The surfaces are not smooth, and of course they are tiny. Below are the patterns I gave them under a gloss varnish – again to protect the colors.

The shields – painted and all glossy here.

Then it was time to mount them to the figures, add a matte varnish, and then add some grass.

Give us each a shield please!
It was hot out so I took these outside to speed the curing of the matte varnish.
All done and ready for play – and eye candy!

As promised…eye candy – note the color variations here and different poses.

Eye Candy

EA-07

EA-08

EA-09

EA-10

EA-11

EA-12

EA-13

EA-14

EA-15

EA-16

EA-17

EA-18

Group Shots

The four Eagle Knights armed with tepoztopilli.
Three were armed with cuauhololli.
The final 5 are armed with macuahuitl.
Here is a size comparison with a Tin Soldier UK Eagle Warrior. It will work ok on the tabletop!
All of the Ral Partha Eagle Knights together on my Things From the Basement Aztec Temple Sacrificial Altar!

I hope that you enjoyed this post and the photos – I tried playing around with my new iPhone and lighting – I’m not 100% sure I’ve got it down yet. I painted these in between a LOT of golf, so I’m happy that they are done. If you have any feedback, I’d love to read it in the comments section.

My Aztec figures now count up at 121:

I still can’t believe I painted all these…

As a second FYI, these Ral Partha figures are still available from IWM – here is the link. (Only again now they come without shields or weapons). I am sure that the lead content is no longer there too.

The Aztecs are DONE! On to the MAYA!

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

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

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THESE EAGLE KNIGHT FIGURES:

  1. Kneadatite (green stuff)
  2. Shafts from North Star Military Figures 100mm wire spears (leftover from building Conquistador Pikemen)
  3. Gorilla Glue
  4. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  5. Gorilla Glue Gel
  6. Poster tack
  7. North Star Military Figures 100mm wire spears
  8. Vallejo Mecha Primer “White”
  9. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  10. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  11. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  12. Vallejo Mecha Color “Off-white”
  13. Vallejo Mecha Color “Black”
  14. Vallejo Game Color “Bronze Fleshtone”
  15. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
  16. Battlefront “Skin Shade”
  17. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  18. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Dark Angels Green”
  19. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Skeleton Horde”
  20. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Creed Camo”
  21. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Contrast Medium”
  22. Americana “Kelly Green”
  23. Vallejo Model Color “White”
  24. Americana “Apple Green”
  25. Vallejo Game Color “Bloody Red”
  26. Citadel “Carroburg Crimson” (wash)
  27. Secret Weapon Washes “Fallout” (wash)
  28. Secret Weapon Washes “Green” (wash/ink)
  29. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Iyandan Yellow”
  30. Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
  31. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aggaros Dunes”
  32. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  33. Vallejo Model Color “Burnt Umber”
  34. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
  35. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
  36. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Flesh Tearers Red”
  37. Vallejo Game Ink “Yellow”
  38. Citadel “Gehenna’s Gold”
  39. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  40. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  41. Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
  42. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  43. Citadel “Cryptek Armourshade Gloss” (shade)
  44. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown”
  45. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  46. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Terradon Turquoise”
  47. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Blue”
  48. Secret Weapon Washes “Just Red” (wash/ink)
  49. Vallejo Model Color “Black Green”
  50. Secret Weapon Washes “Yellow Snow” (wash/ink)
  51. Vallejo Game Ink “Green”
  52. Vallejo Game Ink “Red”
  53. Vallejo Game Ink “Blue”
  54. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aethermatic Blue”
  55. E6000 epoxy
  56. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  57. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  58. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  59. Army Painter “Brown Battleground” (flocking)
  60. Vallejo Model Color “English Uniform”
  61. Army Painter “Mid Brown” (shade)
  62. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  63. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  64. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

My HUZZAH! 2022 Recap

HUZZAH! 2022 was held in South Portland Maine from Thursday May 12th to Sunday May 15th. This would mark the first time that this great convention ran since the beginning of the pandemic.

I had previously attended HUZZAH! as only a gamer in 2019 and blogged about it here. I was impressed with the games there and as well with the Maine Historical Wargamers Association (MHWA) that runs it. I was determined that I would run some games there in 2020….

That became 2021…

And that became 2022 – which was the return of HUZZAH! By this time I had a LOT of games that I had build for Mesoamerica and the Spanish Conquest. There were 8 four-hour game slots available at the convention – one on Thursday evening, three on Friday and Saturday, and one on Sunday morning. Of course – I had just ran 4 four-hour games at HAVOC in Massachusetts in April. So, I thought, why not push myself and run 6 Feudal PatrolTM   games in four days? Hell, it would be fun my using my supplement for Civilizations Collide for so many games to a brand new audience.

That’s 6 out of the 8 available four-hour slots! That’s 24 hours of GM’ing in about 60 hours…not counting set up and take down. Well, I gave it a shot, and while as I write this it’s late June, I thought I’d share some pics with you folks as it was a BLAST! I’ll take each game in turn.

Besides, you all DID ask for game pics – buckle up, there’s a bunch here!

Thursday Evening, “Cortes’ Causeway Escape Attempt”

The first game scenario that I ran was “Cortes’ Causeway Escape Attempt”. This involves the Spanish trying to escape Tenochtitlan on June 28, 1520. For those who have not seen my HAVOC posts on the scenario – here is the game briefing:

While Cortes was away confronting Narvaez at the Battle of Cempoala, some of his troops under the command of Pedro de Alvarado had remained in Tenochtitlan. Cortes had previously bloodlessly seized Montezuma as his prisoner/puppet, so he felt relatively secure to make the trek to Cempoala.  This was not the case with Alvarado. He feared that the Aztecs were planning to surprise his troops and massacre them; thus, he decided to strike first.  At the Feast of Toxcatl (an annual Aztec religious festival), hundreds of the political and military elite of the Aztec Empire were participating in the “Serpent Dance” – and were unarmed. Alvarado took the chance and attacked all of those celebrating with no quarter. Most were murdered and some were captured. The warriors killed by Alvarado and his men were among the best in the Aztec Empire. Still, the Spanish and their Tlaxcalan allies were far outnumbered in Tenochtitlan, and they now faced an entire city that was rising up against them. Cortes returned from the Battle of Cempoala. His forces were reinforced by the men and equipment of Narvaez who had defected to Cortes’ banner. He was able to enter Tenochtitlan with his men, and soon learned of the general uprising. As a goodwill gesture, yet a strategic mistake, he released Montezuma’s brother, Cuitlahuac – who had been captured by Alvarado at the massacre. Cuitlahuac almost immediately became the leader of the Aztecs, effectively becoming the new Emperor – and Montezuma’s replacement. The siege of the Spanish began in earnest.  The Spanish had occupied the Palace of Axayacatl, were without water, and were coming under increasing attack. The Aztecs even tried to burn the palace down around the Spanish, but were stopped with artillery, crossbow, and arquebusier fire.  Cortes tried to use Montezuma one last time – to see if the Aztecs surrounding them would stand down. Montezuma was brought out at the Palace of Axayacatl try to get the attackers to stop their assault. Montezuma’s exhortations not only failed to sway the crowd of enraged Aztecs, but he was hit in the head by a rock from an Aztec sling. That wound would incapacitate him. Shortly afterwards, he died. The cause of his death was the slung stone or perhaps he was murdered later by the Spanish as he lay unconscious – the truth is forever lost to history. In the end, Cortes realized that he had no safe escape route to the causeways. In any such attempt, his troops would be vulnerable to a massive volume of missile fire. Cortes ordered his men to tear out any lumber available from the palace to build a number of war wagons.  These would serve as similar devices to the Hussite war wagons of the 15th Century, but would be moved by humans, not horses. Cortes hoped that they would hopefully provide cover for his own missile troops from withering Aztec missile fire – and therefore help his forces make it to the causeways. With these war wagons, Cortes launched an escape attempt that he hoped would be able to punch through the Aztecs and escape to the causeways – and then onto the safety of the mainland and the his Tlaxcalan allies. 

In the game. the Spanish broke through the Aztecs, though at significant cost. The Aztec commander was taken out by the Tlaxcalans (Conquistador allies). This was effective at reducing the Aztecs command and control, allowing Cortes to live for another day…again. Below are some game pics with a few descriptions.

The Aztec players make their moves
As the Aztecs surround the Spanish War Wagons, they find the Spanish full of fight.
One of the Spanish war wagons (on the left here) breaks, but the fight to escape continues on the right.
The Aztecs surround the broken war wagon.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the tabletop, the Tlaxcalans take out the overall Aztec leader (Cuitlahuac), greatly diminishing the Aztecs command and control.

Friday Morning, “Surprise Aztec Raid on the Spanish Outpost”

On Friday Morning, I had a full table for my “Surprise Aztec Raid on the Spanish Outpost” scenario. I also ran this game at HAVOC and at TOTALCON 2022. Here is the game briefing:

Near harvest time, 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.  This is a generic scenario based on Aztecs launching a surprise raid Veracruz or a Tlaxcalan Village serving as a supply base for Cortes.

It was a lot of fun and I was honored that the game won the Best in Time slot award which was nice. It was a pretty exciting game with a few twists and turns. In the end, it was an overwhelming Spanish victory (64-6) as the Conquistadores and their Tlaxcalan allies held off the raiding Aztecs.

The game starts.
The Spanish deploy awaiting the Aztec assault,
The Aztecs attempt to hit both Spanish flanks.
One Aztec Element moved around the muddy field, while another got a bit bogged down.
Another Aztec Element advanced up the middle – using the cornfield as concealment.
Surprise! The Spanish had a falconet as reinforcement.
A Spanish war dog valiantly defends his incapacitated master, stunning an attacking Aztec.
Mid-game, the MWHA came by and honored me with the “Best in Time Slot” award for this game! Yeah, I was happy!
The Aztec attack begins to falter.
Conquistador arquebusier volleys hold back the Aztecs, allowing them time to consolidate their defense.
The falconet’s langridge (similar to grape shot) disperses an Aztec charge, though one of the crew is incapacitated.
The defending conquistadores and Tlaxcalans begin to pick off the disorganized Aztecs.
The Aztecs’ attack slows and begins to be pushed back.
Victory for the defenders!

Friday Night, “La Noche Triste – Bloodbath on the Tacuba Causeway”.

This game was on Friday night, and is one of my favorites. It has war canoes, cavalry, and desperation! I had another full table for the game of “La Noche Triste – Bloodbath on the Tacuba Causeway”. I also ran this game at HAVOC. Here is the game briefing:

The struggle for the high ground of Temple of Yopico had been a fleeting success for Cortes.  Importantly, the Spanish had not succeeded in the most important task at hand – allowing Cortes and his troops to escape Tenochtitlan and reach the safety of Tlaxcalan allies on the mainland .  While the Spanish did temporarily seize the high ground of the temple, their war wagons were now destroyed, their supplies of food and water were gone, and they found themselves again trapped in the Palace of Axayacatl surrounded by thousands of angry Aztecs.  Times were even more desperate.  For those trapped in the city, one last try would either succeed or fail.  Either way, a Spanish failure meant either death on the battlefield or on the Altar of Huitzilopochtli.  Success might still mean death on the battlefield.  Cortes knew that the Aztecs had removed multiple spans over the canals on the causeways, which effectively meant that he would have to bridge those gaps to get to the mainland.  Cortes’ men stripped beams from the palace, and had constructed pieces to make temporary haulable bridge pieces.  No matter which causeway the Spanish took –  they faced a dire situation.  Cortes decided to try to make a night escape attempt with all of his forces – and head for the Tacuba Causeway – which was the shortest way out of the city.  He left at midnight, and under the cover of darkness, made headway undetected – for a while.  The Aztecs finally detected the Spanish movements, and raised an alarm.  War canoes, manned by Aztec warriors, surrounded Cortes’ troops on both sides of the Tacuba Causeway, and he faced enemies to his front and his rear.  Cortes’ men and his Tlaxcalan allies had taken with them as much looted treasure as possible, as well as prisoners (sons and daughters of the now-late Montezuma).  The Aztecs are hell-bent on stopping their escape.  A Tlaxcalan warband will try to help clear the way to the Spanish from the mainland.

The Spanish fought valiantly but this time Cortes was not successful. The Spanish managed to bridge the causeway gap but the Aztecs would not yield and their war canoes were effective.

Here are some battle shots:

The game set up and awaiting players.
The Spanish successfully bridge the gap and get “a burst of exuberance” – but the Aztecs were determined.
War canoes deploy against the Spanish on the causeway.
Eagle Warriors pursue the fleeing Spanish, while slingers pelt them mercilessly from the canoes.
Arrow Knights hold back the Spanish at the gap.
Spanish casualties (on the right) mount. Almost all of their cavalry got taken out in the city.
A long view of the mayhem. Not a good day for Cortes.

Saturday Morning, “The Battle of Otumba”

On Saturday morning I ran “The Battle of Otumba” scenario, where the conquistadores held out on a rocky hill against a massive Aztec onslaught while hoping that Cortes would arrive in time with the cavalry to save the day. The cavalry arrived, but were ineffective (just damn unlucky) and the Aztecs won an overwhelming victory with the casualties that they inflicted. I also ran this previously at TOTALCON and HAVOC, but with very different results (which I believe speaks to a balanced scenario).

Here is the game briefing:

For almost two weeks, the troops under Cortes retreated across central Mexico – hoping to reach the safety of Tlaxcalan territory.  All of the Spanish were wounded to some degree – many died each day from the wounds suffered during La Noche Triste and the subsequent skirmishes that occurred as the Aztecs, under Cuitlahuac, pursued them mercilessly.  The Conquistadores found themselves on a small rocky outcropping – and according to Diaz nearly surrounded on two sides.  They were just short of the mountain pass that would bring them to safety of Tlaxcala.  They took up an infantry square position bristling with pikes and halberds upon on the rocky outcropping overlooking plains.  The Aztecs rained missile fire upon the Spanish, and subjected them to numerous human wave attacks.  The brutal end was near when Cortes noticed that the attacks were being coordinated by the cihuacoatl, the High Priest of Tenochtitlan, the Cihuacoatl Matlatzincátzin.  He was the one who was acting as the Aztec General.  This High Priest was using signalers and bannermen to coordinate the attacks.  Cortes personally rounded up what remained of his cavalry and with great personal courage led a mounted charge towards the High Priest and his retinue.  The Aztecs had never before faced a massed cavalry attack.  While the hooves of the Spanish cavalry were previously unable to make such a charge on the smooth pavements of Tenochtitlan – at Otumba, they were able to make a classic cavalry attack.  The charge succeeded in killing the High Priest and many of his officers.  It was reported that Cortes himself dispatched the High Priest with his lance.  With the death of their leader and disruption of his communications system, the Aztec attack faltered.  It quickly fell apart without the command and control that the signals had provided.  Cortes and what was left of his troops were able to escape to fight another day, and eventually conquer the Aztec Empire – but this battle could have changed the course of history.

Here are pics of the game:

The battle begins.
The Spanish defend the hill.
The Aztecs press the attack.
The Spanish fight back valiantly, but the Aztecs are having a good run.
The Aztec attack is relentless.
The Aztecs begin to move onto the hill – the Spanish take more casualties – where’s the cavalry?
The cavalry!
The Aztecs start taking casualties – and the impending Spanish cavalry attack looms large!
In the end, the cavalry attack was thwarted by brave Aztec novices and warrior priests. Victory to the Aztecs!

Saturday Night, “The Battle of Lake Texcoco”

As followers of this blog know, I built a fleet of brigantines (well 5) for this game, “The Battle of Lake Texcoco”, which you can read about here and here. I was REALLY excited to roll this out -and I needed a BIG table -which MWHA did accommodate.

Here is the game briefing:

To seize control of the Aztec island capital of Tenochtitlan, Cortes realized that he needed to control the surrounding waters of Lake Texcoco.  This meant building a fleet.  To accomplish this, Cortes used scavenged lumber from his previously-scuttled seafaring vessels to build brigantines in pieces in Tlaxcala.  These prefabricated pieces were then man-portaged by his Tlaxcalan allies to the shore of Lake Texcoco.  Here they were assembled, and made ready for combat on the lake.  While simultaneously he sent land-based conquistadores to attack Tenochtitlan’s causeways, Cortes launched his brigantines to attack Tenochtitlan.  In his way were hundreds of Aztecs canoes waiting to swarm over the Spanish.

I was really thrilled at the response. What fun it was – an Aztec vs. Conquistadores naval game! It was total mayhem! How? Collisions, ramming of canoes, brigantines getting boarded, canoes getting sunk by arquebuses, ship cannons firing and wiping out whole canoe crews, Aztecs avenging their comrades by wiping out the same cannon crew, and the overall Aztec commander personally boarding a conquistador brigantine to make an assault that cost him his life and the game.

WOW!

And I was honored to receive my second Best in Time Slot award of the convention! Not bad for a naval game scenario designed by a West Pointer 😁!

Here are some battle shots:

The game set up – the tabletop is > 6′ x 10′. Here are the predeployed brigantines awaiting to enter onto the tabletop. You can see the war canoes in the rear.
A view of the set up from the opposite side.
Loaded war canoes ready to fight!
Loaded brigantines ready to fight!
Each brigantine had a dashboard showing the crew and artillery.
El Marcos and El Dólar deploy!
The gamers are filled with anticipation.

The Aztecs try to board El Conquistador (on the left) which has gotten grounded, while El Marcos moves forward.
A tabletop full of naval mayhem.
Yay! My second “Best in Time Slot” award!
BOOM!
El Marcos loaded langridge and fired its falconet at the three war canoes in the center. The fire was devastating, nearly wiping out two out of the three. The third war canoe avenged their comrades’ demise with atlatls – subsequently killing all of the falconet crew. The blue beads represent morale checks that would need to be taken by the riddled Aztec canoes.
In a desperate attempt, the overall Aztec leader attempted to board El Marcos and kill Cortes. That ended up causing the Aztec leader’s untimely demise.

Sunday Morning, “Raid to Satisfy Huitzilopochtli”

On the final day of the con, I an my 6th (!) Feudal Patrol game in 4 calendar days, “Raid to Satisfy Huitzilopochtli”. This is set pre-Spanish Conquest and simulates a “Flower War” that the Aztecs historically used to seize food, wealth, and people from their unlucky neighbors like the Tlaxcalans. This was the first scenario that I had designed for Civilizations Collide, but I had not run it in a while – so it was nice to see how it played out.

Here is the game briefing:

The Aztecs conduct a raid of a neighboring village to gain captives for slavery and blood sacrifice.  The defender may choose to be Aztecs of the Aztec-Chichimec Alliance, Mixtec/Zapotec, or Maya.  This is similar to a “Flower War” during which both sides deployed for a showdown.  

Here, the Aztecs outnumbered the Tlaxcalans and used maneuver effectively, and inflicted a good number of casualties . Meanwhile the Tlaxcalans made good use of terrain and made the Aztecs pay for their assault. In the end, the defenders got more points than the Aztecs and eked out a victory. 32.5 to 22. It was a really nice way to end the con with a good group of players!

Here are some game pics:

The set up – Aztecs attacking from the left.
The Aztecs move up while the Tlaxcalans use the wall for defense.
A view of the action at the wall.
The Aztecs take arrows from the Tlaxcalans.
Eagle Warriors attempt to flank the defenders.
The Tlaxcalans take casualties, but hold the wall.
The Aztec attack falters…
…just as the Eagle Warriors go berserk and cross the wall.
Aztec Arrow Knights move up.
The battle turns into a scrum – and the count of casualties inflicted gives the Tlaxcalans the winning edge.

I want to thank the MWHA for a great convention – my only wish was that there were no masking requirements – but I can overlook that in the light of the events of the day.

I had a great time and look forward to next year’s HUZZAH!

Thanks also to the players, and a special thanks to Leif Magnusson, who helped me GREATLY during set up and take down (out of the goodness of his heart too!).

I hope that this post was of interest to you all – and thanks to for looking and sharing any feedback in the comments section below.

And yes it’s a bit late!

Conquistador-crewed Falconets & Lombards for my Brigantines in Feudal Patrol Games

Now that’s not a short title – and this was a big project. But as I shared in my last post on Building Cortes’ Conquistador Fleet, I needed to kit out my Spanish brigantines with artillery and appropriate crews for my scenarios for my games of Feudal PatrolTM  using my supplement for Civilizations Collide.

This post will cover that effort, as well as a brief review of the Army Painter “Speed Paints” that I used on the five crews. I also will share some additional photos of the firing/smoke markers and the storage/transport solution I arrived at for the fleet. The five are again El Dólar (The Buck), El Gregorio (The Greg), El Perro de Guerra (The War Dog), El Conquistador, and El Marcos (The Mark).

After looking at each ship, I decided that each crew would be a warband unto itself and be generally composed of three elements plus their Warband Leader:

  • 1 Warband Leader
  • Rowing/tiller Element – 6 Conquistadors rowing (3 per side), plus one at the tiller acting as their leader (7 total in that Element)
  • Artillery Element – One falconet or lombard crew of three figures plus the gun with one of the crew acting as a leader
  • Arquebus/crossbow Element – One to four figures deployed in the opposite castle (fore or stern) from the ship’s Artillery Element

I needed a few criteria to be satisfied here. First, I wanted the 28mm crews and guns to be different both in terms of paint scheme and in terms of figures/poses. Given that, sourcing the crew proved to be a bit of a challenge. I found the one two-man crew set from Outpost Wargames (via Badger Games) that I previously painted for land warfare (detailed here) to be lacking for my needs here on ships due to size and composition. (I do like that set but not on a ship.)

Secondly, I wanted their bases to reflect a ship’s deck. And yes – my other Conquistadors would still have ground-flocked bases – but the artillery needed to belong to a specific ship in my view and look just like that. Thirdly, deck space on the ships was tight. So, getting a three-man crew to fit with any gun would require that I use smaller bases than my usual 1″ bases – and I ended up using Wargames Accessories square .75″ for the crew members and 1.25″ x 1″ steel bases for the guns.

Wargames Foundry has a nice set (#SB018) available from Badger, and I used two of them – less the halberdier that I added to my land-based forces (and also used some as leaders/helmsmen). For the other three, I did a cobbling together of figures and guns from Gringo 40’s, Iron Wind Metals, and Eureka Miniatures.

This project was going to have to be squeezed in between HAVOC 2022, my Florida trip, and get finished before HUZZAH 2022 where they would debut on the tabletop. I also received my Army Painter “Speed Paint” set and decided that this was a good time to try them out as completion speed was indeed of the essence.

The crews and guns ended up as follows for each brigantine:

  • El Dólar: a falconet and three crewmen from Wargames Foundry #SB018 to be deployed in the stern castle facing to the starboard side
  • El Gregorio: a falconet and three crewmen from Wargames Foundry #SB018 to be deployed in the forecastle facing forward
  • El Conquistador: a Gringo 40’s lombard (#CONQA3), crewed by three Iron Winds Metals figures #DH412 (wick/match), #DH413 (swab), and #DH414 (ram) to be deployed stern castle facing to the port side
  • El Perro de Guerra: a Gringo 40’s falconet (#CONQA2) , crewed by three Iron Winds Metals figures #DH412 (wick/match), #DH413 (swab), and #DH414 (ram) to be deployed stern castle facing to the port side
  • El Marcos: a Eureka Miniature’s lombard (#100CON12), crewed by one figure from Wargames Foundry #SB018 (wick/match), and two Iron Winds Metals figures #DH413 (swab), and #DH414 (ram) to be deployed in the forecastle facing forward
The figures sorted.
Organizing the crews.
Mocking up the guns to see what size bases would work.
I broke up popsicle sticks and made each base look like the decks.
I lightly primed each figure and gun base lightly. I decided to paint the guns and then affix them to the bases.

I broke into the Speed Paint set and made a comparison chart.

First, I painted the guns.

I used mostly AP “Sand Golem” on the wooden parts of the carriages, with Vallejo Model Air “Gun Metal” as the base colors for these. All of the paints used are listed at the end of this post for those interested.

I needed a painting plan (starting point anyway) for the 15 figures. I tried to use as many of the Speed Paints as possible.

A painting plan of sorts.

I returned from Florida on April 28th – and HUZZAH was 13 days away! I hit the Speed paints again.

I did not take a lot of pics during the painting – but these are good I think.

April 28 progress.
By April 29th, I had basically had the figures painted and saw that washes on the metals and highlights on the flesh were definitely needed.
April 29 close up.
More April 29 progress close ups.
These are DH414’s on April 29. The flesh needed highlights.
A Wargames Foundry figure on April 29th.

Next up was varnishing on April 30th. I waited as I had read on Azazel’s blog that the Speed Paints can reactivate – so I wanted to leave 24 hours+ to dry.

Before varnishing with an airbrush.

I did see some of the Speed Paint (“Sand Golem”) on the guns reactivate and migrate – but that was it. It was easily fixed.

After varnishing.
Close up showing the Speed Paint “migration” on this gun. Apparently the Speed paint reactivated and splashed onto the gun and wheels during airbrush varnishing. Again, easily fixed – but not desirable. I’ll use the Speed Paints again, but with caution.
April 30 varnished close up shot #1.
April 30 varnished close up shot #2.
April 30 varnished close up shot #3.

I then needed to add smoke to the figures lighting the fuses – and make smoke markers for the falconets and lombards.

Added wisps of smoke to the matches. I think these came out fine for tabletop play.

Then I was on to making some big smoke markers.

Finished eye candy time! Here are the completed cannon crews on each ship – plus I loaded up the ships with their entire crews for good measure.

El Dólar

El Dólar falconet and artillery Element
El Dólar with entire crew

El Gregorio

El Gregorio falconet and artillery Element
El Gregorio with entire crew

El Conquistador

El Conquistador lombard and artillery Element
A fully crewed El Conquistador

El Perro de Guerra

El Perro de Guerra falconet and artillery Element
El Perro de Guerra and her entire crew

El Marcos

El Marcos lombard and artillery Element
El Marcos firing
El Marcos fully crewed.

The Fleet Fully Crewed

Ready for HUZZAH! – oh wait, what about transport and storage?

Oh yeah, to get these ships safely to conventions I built a transport box for the hulls with posterboard and hot glue (and minor burns) and used a Really Useful Box for the sails (the crews go with my other figures). I also used the box to fit in my war canoe box.

All of this got done just under the wire – next up I’ll show you how they did at HUZZAH 2022!

(hint – they were a big hit)…stay tuned…

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

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

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THESE CONQUISTADOR ARTILLERY CREWS AND GUNS:

  1. War Games Accessories .75″ square bases
  2. War Games Accessories 1.25″ x 1″ rectangular bases
  3. Gorilla Glue
  4. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  5. Popsicle sticks
  6. Army Painter Speed Paint “Sand Golem”
  7. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  8. Vallejo Mecha Primer “White”
  9. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  10. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  11. Poster tack
  12. Vallejo Model Air “Gun Metal”
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Black”
  14. Army Painter Speed Paint “Crusader Skin”
  15. Citadel “Runefang Steel”
  16. Army Painter Speed Paint “Malignant Green”
  17. Army Painter Speed Paint “Magic Blue”
  18. Army Painter Speed Paint “Cloudburst Blue”
  19. Army Painter Speed Paint “Holy White”
  20. Army Painter Speed Paint “Speed Paint Medium”
  21. Army Painter Speed Paint “Blood Red”
  22. Army Painter Speed Paint “Grim Black”
  23. Army Painter Speed Paint “Plasmatic Bolt”
  24. Army Painter Speed Paint “Hive Dweller Purple”
  25. Army Painter Speed Paint “Orc Skin”
  26. Army Painter Speed Paint “Gravelord Grey”
  27. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  28. Army Painter Speed Paint “Fire Giant Orange”
  29. Army Painter Speed Paint “Slaughter Red”
  30. Army Painter Speed Paint “Camo Cloak”
  31. Army Painter Speed Paint “Hardened Leather”
  32. Vallejo Model Air “Chain Mail”
  33. Army Painter Speed Paint “Pallid Bone”
  34. Army Painter Speed Paint “Runic Grey”
  35. Army Painter Speed Paint “Highlord Blue”
  36. Army Painter Speed Paint “Zealot Yellow”
  37. Army Painter Speed Paint “Absolution Green”
  38. Army Painter Speed Paint “Purple Alchemy”
  39. Army Painter Speed Paint “Dark Wood”
  40. Vallejo Mecha Color “Off-white”
  41. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  42. Vallejo Model Color “Black Grey”
  43. Vallejo Model Air “Bright Brass”
  44. Citadel “Nuln Oil GLOSS” (wash)
  45. Army Painter “Tanned Flesh”
  46. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  47. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade GLOSS” (wash)
  48. Vallejo Model Air “Armour Brown”
  49. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  50. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  51. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  52. Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”
  53. Pillow batting
  54. Hot Glue

Building Cortes’ Conquistador Fleet

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire is the story of how  Hernan Cortes and his Conquistadores built a ragtag fleet of small brigantines to seize control of Lake Texcoco. This body of water – (located then where Mexico City is now) – in the 16th Century surrounded the Aztec island capital of Tenochtitlan. To defeat the Aztecs, Cortes knew that he must control that lake as well as the lands around it. But how?

Cortes realized that he needed to build a fleet.  To accomplish this, Cortes used scavenged lumber from his previously-scuttled seafaring vessels to build small brigantines in pieces in the safe haven of his native allies in Tlaxcala.  The ships’ prefabricated pieces were then man-portaged by the Tlaxcalans to the shore of Lake Texcoco.  Here they were assembled, and made ready for combat on the lake in the spring of 1521.  Then, Cortes simultaneously sent land-based conquistadores to attack Tenochtitlan’s causeways while launching his brigantines to attack Tenochtitlan.  These ships were manned by conquistador infantry and had significant firepower – to include lombards and falconets with their crews. In Cortes’ way were swarms of Aztecs in hundreds of war canoes waiting to swarm over the Spanish vessels.

To me, this sounded like an incredible scenario for tabletop wargaming. As covered numerous times in this blog, I have been developing tabletop wargaming scenarios for games of Feudal PatrolTM  using my supplement for Civilizations Collide. I had previously amassed and painted the war canoes…but I needed a fleet for the Spanish. Of course, there were no “dedicated” models for the types of ships the conquistadores would have manned. After seeing an image from the Mexican Naval Museum of a diorama of the battle by Alejandro Linares Garcia via Wikimedia Commons I was inspired.

A photo of the diorama of the Battle of Lake Texcoco at the Mexican Naval Museum. This photo inspired me!

Looking at this image, I had a good concept for the war canoes – and I decided to that the Spanish would likely would have used simple designs for their prefab brigantines – like medieval cogs.

I decided that for a game I would need 5 brigantines to go up against my 21 war canoes. Sourcing these ships became a challenge but help arrived from Buck Surdu and Greg Priebe who kindly offered to assist me in the way of two different 28mm scale medieval cog models that were 3D printed! Meanwhile, I found that Sarissa had a medieval cog kit (#L031), and I ordered two. By early March of 2022, I had all four ships in the building queue, and I had decided as well to scratch-build one as well so that I would have a varied fleet of five. Naming them became the next step – so the 3D models became (for obvious reasons) El Dólar (The Buck) & El Gregorio (The Greg). I named the Sarissa models El Perro de Guerra (The War Dog), & El Conquistador (The Conquistador of course). Lastly, for totally self-aggrandizing reasons that escape me now, I decided that my yet-to-be-designed scratch-build would be El Marcos (The Mark).

I will go through each ship’s build and share some photos and my processes of both building and painting them. Building these and painting these (and building the last one) were FAR more work than I had imagined at the start. Still, I think the MANY pics below will tell the story (it was a big project).

El Dólar & El Gregorio

These two had similar hulls, but different forecastles and stern castles. They came in bags that Buck and Greg had put together – and I needed to figure out how to assemble them by looking at photos from the 3D printer file. I decided that I would double-prime them then paint them with a series of airbrush browns. I also would modify all of the brigantines to have rowers as well as sails as historically that was the case.

Lots of 3D printed pieces to figure out!! It turned out I would use most – but not all of them. On the left is El Gregorio with the half-purple half- gray plastic hull, with the black El Dólar hull at top. There were multiple stern and forecastle options.
El Gregorio showing sanding after washing the plastic.
El Gregorio mock up. I had already glued the mast pieces together and used green stuff to secure the different pieces. I also had drilled out holes for neodymium magnets in the main mast and the hull, and inserted these as you see here.

I ended up needing to do a lot of drilling, pinning, and sculpting with green stuff to create the masts, and yards/spars. By the way, if I misname any parts here my defense is that I am a graduate of West Point, and NOT Annapolis! Though if you feel the need to correct me that’s all good – and GO ARMY BEAT NAVY! Ok, back to the builds…click on the pics for a better view.

The magnets I had inserted into the mast bases and the decks were insufficiently strong to suitably secure the masts to each hull. While I wanted to be able to remove the masts for transport, the situation was such that the masts would just easily fall over. My solution came in the form of some excess vinyl/rubber tubing I had lying around and hobby matchsticks I had purchased while stationed in West Germany in 1987! Real Cold War era matchsticks REALLY absorb PVA!

Nothing like 35 year old matchsticks!

By using the cotton twine fibers and PVA, I was able to custom fit the masts into each support. Importantly, as these two had two hull pieces, I used some styrene sheets to affix them together. This way there was more strength than just gluing together the hull halves. – and I could paint them to look like they were moving through the water. As a side note, I did not give the other three a water base so that I could use them for an Aztec raid scenario where they are in assembly on land and the Spanish are surprised.

I also mocked up the oars and put some together to see how they would go together.

I masked up the twine sections with painters masking tape and double-primed the components outside on the first day that was warm enough in March to use a rattle can. I had separated the pieces so I could more easily paint all of them and then assemble everything afterwards. It proved to be a good call.

Rattle can priming

These were now all brown. I wanted to add some styrene on El Dólar so that its forecastle supports would mount better. I also prepped all of the oar locks by drilling out holes for 1/8″ wooden dowels. This caused some unwanted damage to the brittle plastic, so I then fixed/strengthened each hole with green stuff and brush-primed the oarlocks. Then I serially applied different browns via airbrush in a zenithal fashion until I was happy with the base color on both ships.

At some point in the past I had bought some Pebeo Studio Acrylics “Auxiliaries Modeling Paste HD. I added some in a wavy pattern to the water bases.

Regarding the color of the ropes, I was unhappy with the look of the ropes. I had used “Apothecary White” and hated the look. I redid them (thanks to a suggestion from Chris Palmer) with “Skeleton Horde” – and I liked them much better.

The old rigging color – no good. I would adjust this.

It was then time to work on the sails, more rigging, and the water base. I made the sails with dowels and card stock and PVA. Binder clips helped immensely with the shape. I mounted the sails with tiny metal jewelry rings through holes I drilled in the dowels . I also made ladders for El Dólar., and dry brushed everything on the ships wood – then shaded as needed. The water was dry brushed as well

I then thought that the sails were too pristine. As I was drinking some Darjeeling tea, I used the tea bag to stain up the sails – and I would do this for all 5 ships eventually.

Good thing I’m a tea drinker.

Lastly, I want to show the completed 3D printed ships:

I was pretty happy with these – but now it was time for the Sarissa MDF kits!

El Conquistador & El Perro de Guerra

These two models were a bit smaller than the 3D ones. Unsurprisingly, these took a lot of gluing and patience. I did need to modify some damage to one of the tillers as well when a rubber band snapped it off of one. Still, the kits were fun and well-made – I just needed to try to match the colors (relatively) of the 3D versions. For this I relied more on washes than paint. I also needed to modify these with oars and sails. Here are the photos:

Then LOTS of gluing…

I mocked up one to see how the figures might fit inside.

Mock up of a Sarissa model – I had yet to work on the masts or sails.

In the above photo you can see the two-man falconet crew are looking less than ideal size-wise. At that point I ordered more falconets, lombards, and crew to better suit the brigantines – but that’s another upcoming post!

Then it was washing time – lots of washing…Army Painter must be happy…

Hull washing.

Then I moved on to sails and rigging.

Sails, oars, and rigging done – though the sails and rigging need work yet here with paint and Darjeeling.

Now let’s see El Conquistador and El Perro de Guerra as completed:

El Marcos

I decided to give scratch-building a brigantine a go – if only because I wanted the challenge. Luckily, I had learned a bit from the previous models, though as you will see below there was overlap during my builds. Also, I was able to repurpose some leftover MDF as a template for a new hull and keel!

Unlike the Sarissa models, where the hull glued to the ribs of the cogs, I glued the deck to the square dowels and then added the hull by gluing it to the combination of deck and keel. Then I inserted 1/8″ dowels as ribs into the slots – gluing them to the inner hull and keel.

At this point, I had the hull basically constructed.

For the stern and forecastles, I used basswood. I was not happy with the look as the basswood was too smooth. I decided to glue a bazillion (I think) custom-cut matchsticks inside and out of the castles to give them a more rustic look.

The next step was to mount the castles – which I did by drilling out holes for dowel supports. Then I adjusted the heights of the supports with 1/4″ steel washers to get the right look. I also made the mast and yard.

Once again during this project, I had to wait for the glue to dry. On a side note, that need alone dragged the duration time out every time I needed to glue something – which seemed unending. I then started the washing and painting of the brigantine as I found that easier to do before adding the castles.

I also needed oars and oar locks.

After some work on El Marcos‘ rigging, she was done.

So now I had the five brigantines – and only two were exactly alike (the Sarissa models). I hoped to outfit them all with different lombards and falconets (both early cannon) plus crew. As I built these just before HAVOC 2022, this post had to wait, as after HAVOC was my vacation trip. And as mentioned – I had 5 cannon and 15 cannon crew to build for these brigantines – plus game aids for the battle. I hope to post about that project next. But first let me share a couple of group shots.

The fleet!
All assembled.

Thanks for checking out this post – it was a lot to build and if PVA was toxic I’d already be dead after this. Let me know which of these you liked best (or liked least) I’d love to read any thoughts you have on this project. More to come!

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

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

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

On the 3D-Printed Brigantines (El Dólar & El Gregorio):

  1. 3D printed Medieval Cog ship kits from Buck Surdu and Greg Priebe
  2. Gorilla Glue
  3. Hobby matchsticks (from West Germany in 1987!)
  4. ½” rubber tubing
  5. Rustoleum black spray primer
  6. Army Painter “Dark Leather” primer
  7. Vallejo Surface Primer “German Green Brown”
  8. Cotton twine
  9. Wooden popsicle sticks
  10. Wooden dowels (3/8″ and 1/8″)
  11. Small (tiny) nails
  12. 1/8″ neodymium magnets
  13. Paper clip wire
  14. Jewelry/bead wire rings
  15. Green stuff
  16. White card stock
  17. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  18. Plastruct 1.5mm styrene sheets
  19. Plastruct Bondene cement
  20. SCI Grip Fast Set solvent cement
  21. Pebeo Studio Acrylics “Auxiliaries Modeling Paste HD”
  22. Vallejo Model Air “Armour Brown”
  23. Vallejo Model Air “First Light”
  24. Vallejo Model Air “Brown”
  25. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  26. Army Painter “Mid-Brown” (shade)
  27. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  28. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Skeleton Horde”
  29. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  30. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
  31. Citadel “Chronus Blue”
  32. Craftsmart “White”
  33. Darjeeling tea bags

On the Sarissa MDF Kit Brigantines (EL CONQUISTADOR & El Perro de Guerra):

  1. Sarissa Medieval Cog ship kits #L031
  2. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  3. Gorilla Glue
  4. Hobby matchsticks (from West Germany in 1987!)
  5. Wooden popsicle sticks
  6. Army Painter “Mid-Brown” (shade)
  7. Jewelry/bead wire rings
  8. White card stock
  9. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Skeleton Horde”
  10. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  11. Darjeeling tea bags

On the Scratch-built Brigantine (El Marcos):

  1. Recycled MDF from the Sarissa #L031 leftover MDF
  2. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  3. 3/16″ balsa wood
  4. Revell 1/8″ Basswood
  5. Gorilla Glue
  6. Hobby matchsticks (from West Germany in 1987!)
  7. Wooden popsicle sticks
  8. Vallejo Surface Primer “German Green Brown”
  9. Cotton twine
  10. Wooden popsicle sticks
  11. Wooden dowels (,1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/8″)
  12. 1/4″ steel washers
  13. Small (tiny) nails
  14. 1/8″ neodymium magnets
  15. Paper clip wire
  16. Jewelry/bead wire rings
  17. White card stock
  18. Vallejo Model Air “Armour Brown”
  19. Vallejo Model Air “First Light”
  20. Vallejo Model Air “Brown”
  21. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  22. Army Painter “Mid-Brown” (shade)
  23. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Skeleton Horde”
  24. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  25. Darjeeling tea bags

HAVOC 2022

The HAVOC 2022 gaming convention ran in Sutton, MA this year from April 8-10. It was the first one held since 2019 due to COVID. As I promised, I would share some pics and brief discussions about the four Feudal Patrol™ games I ran there. Yes, it’s a couple of months late post-wise, but I think the pics are nice enough to share. As I shared in my last post, the last two to three months have been very busy!

I ran “Surprise Aztec Raid on the Spanish Outpost” on Friday night, “July 7, 1520 – The Battle of Otumba” on Saturday morning, “July 1, 1520 – La Noche Triste – Bloodbath on the Tacuba Causeway” on Saturday night, and “Cortes’ Causeway Escape Attempt” on Sunday morning. Yes, that’s a lot of games, and each one had a four hour time slot. This convention also occurred right before our Florida trip (for RECON and golfing which you will read about in a future post hopefully shortly). Also, the HUZZAH gaming convention was coming up May 12-15, so I was aware that I had a LOT to do to be ready for that. More on HUZZAH later…

At HAVOC you will notice that masks were required for the convention – hopefully the next time HAVOC happens we won’t need them. I definitely think they kept attendance lower than otherwise. Just my opinion.

For this post, I’ll share my game briefing and then a gallery of photos that you can check out individually. The game briefings help the gamers to understand the basics of the scenario and how it fit into the history of the Spanish Conquest. I do not run the games in any historical sequence – I rather set them up based on the time slots and time required for setting up.

“Surprise Aztec Raid on the Spanish Outpost”

I have run this gaming scenario several times before – and it really works well at a con or club gaming day.

Here is my game briefing:

Near harvest time, 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.  This is a generic scenario based on Aztecs launching a surprise raid Veracruz or a Tlaxcalan Village serving as a supply base for Cortes.  This scenario lasts 10 turns.

Below are the pics – as memory serves, the Spanish held on to a victory.

“July 7, 1520 – The Battle of Otumba”

This is another scenario that has been popular.

Here is my game briefing:

For almost two weeks, the troops under Cortes retreated across central Mexico – hoping to reach the safety of Tlaxcalan territory.  All of the Spanish were wounded to some degree – many died each day from the wounds suffered during La Noche Triste and the subsequent skirmishes that occurred as the Aztecs, under Cuitlahuac, pursued them mercilessly.  The Conquistadores found themselves on a small rocky outcropping – and according to Diaz nearly surrounded on two sides.  They were just short of the mountain pass that would bring them to safety of Tlaxcala.  They took up an infantry square position bristling with pikes and halberds upon on the rocky outcropping overlooking plains.  The Aztecs rained missile fire upon the Spanish, and subjected them to numerous human wave attacks.  The brutal end was near when Cortes noticed that the attacks were being coordinated by the cihuacoatl, the High Priest of Tenochtitlan, the Cihuacoatl Matlatzincátzin.  He was the one who was acting as the Aztec General.  This High Priest was using signalers and bannermen to coordinate the attacks.  Cortes personally rounded up what remained of his cavalry and with great personal courage led a mounted charge towards the High Priest and his retinue.  The Aztecs had never before faced a massed cavalry attack.  While the hooves of the Spanish cavalry were previously unable to make such a charge on the smooth pavements of Tenochtitlan – at Otumba, they were able to make a classic cavalry attack.  The charge succeeded in killing the High Priest and many of his officers.  It was reported that Cortes himself dispatched the High Priest with his lance.  With the death of their leader and disruption of his communications system, the Aztec attack faltered.  It quickly fell apart without the command and control that the signals had provided.  Cortes and what was left of his troops were able to escape to fight another day, and eventually conquer the Aztec Empire – but this battle could have changed the course of history.  This game will last 5 turns and can accommodate 4-12 players on a 6’ x 4’ tabletop.

The Spanish took massive casualties but the arrival of Cortes and his cavalry managed to eke out a Spanish victory.

“July 1, 1520 – La Noche Triste – Bloodbath on the Tacuba Causeway”

Here is my game briefing:

The struggle for the high ground of Temple of Yopico had been a fleeting success for Cortes.  Importantly, the Spanish had not succeeded in the most important task at hand – allowing Cortes and his troops to escape Tenochtitlan and reach the safety of Tlaxcalan allies on the mainland .  While the Spanish did temporarily seize the high ground of the temple, their war wagons were now destroyed, their supplies of food and water were gone, and they found themselves again trapped in the Palace of Axayacatl surrounded by thousands of angry Aztecs.  Times were even more desperate.  For those trapped in the city, one last try would either succeed or fail.  Either way, a Spanish failure meant either death on the battlefield or on the Altar of Huitzilopochtli.  Success might still mean death on the battlefield.  Cortes knew that the Aztecs had removed multiple spans over the canals on the causeways, which effectively meant that he would have to bridge those gaps to get to the mainland.  Cortes’ men stripped beams from the palace, and had constructed pieces to make temporary haulable bridge pieces.  No matter which causeway the Spanish took –  they faced a dire situation.  Cortes decided to try to make a night escape attempt with all of his forces – and head for the Tacuba Causeway – which was the shortest way out of the city.  He left at midnight, and under the cover of darkness, made headway undetected – for a while.  The Aztecs finally detected the Spanish movements, and raised an alarm.  War canoes, manned by Aztec warriors, surrounded Cortes’ troops on both sides of the Tacuba Causeway, and he faced enemies to his front and his rear.  Cortes’ men and his Tlaxcalan allies had taken with them as much looted treasure as possible, as well as prisoners (sons and daughters of the now-late Montezuma).  The Aztecs are hell-bent on stopping their escape.  A Tlaxcalan warband will try to help clear the way to the Spanish from the mainland.  This scenario can accommodate 6-10 players and lasts 10 turns.

This time, Cortes’ escape failed and the Aztecs won the day handily.

“Cortes’ Causeway Escape Attempt”

The last game I ran was my massive “Cortes’ Causeway Escape Attempt” game. I was honored to win the “Al” award for this game – described by Battle Group Boston as follows:

“Starting at Havoc XXVI (2010), this award is presented for the game with the most stunning visual appeal. Our crack team of experts (expert team of cracks) will vote on the game that made us say “Wow!”.” The Al award was created in honor of Al Garnache, an avid and active local player.

This is the second time that I was honored to win this award – the other being in 2018 for “Attack of the Warbots”.

Here is my game briefing:

While Cortes was away confronting Narvaez at the Battle of Cempoala, some of his troops under the command of Pedro de Alvarado had remained in Tenochtitlan. Cortes had previously bloodlessly seized Montezuma as his prisoner/puppet, so he felt relatively secure to make the trek to Cempoala.  This was not the case with Alvarado. He feared that the Aztecs were planning to surprise his troops and massacre them; thus, he decided to strike first.  At the Feast of Toxcatl (an annual Aztec religious festival), hundreds of the political and military elite of the Aztec Empire were participating in the “Serpent Dance” – and were unarmed. Alvarado took the chance and attacked all of those celebrating with no quarter. Most were murdered and some were captured. The warriors killed by Alvarado and his men were among the best in the Aztec Empire. Still, the Spanish and their Tlaxcalan allies were far outnumbered in Tenochtitlan, and they now faced an entire city that was rising up against them. Cortes returned from the Battle of Cempoala. His forces were reinforced by the men and equipment of Narvaez who had defected to Cortes’ banner. He was able to enter Tenochtitlan with his men, and soon learned of the general uprising. As a goodwill gesture, yet a strategic mistake, he released Montezuma’s brother, Cuitlahuac – who had been captured by Alvarado at the massacre. Cuitlahuac almost immediately became the leader of the Aztecs, effectively becoming the new Emperor – and Montezuma’s replacement. The siege of the Spanish began in earnest.  The Spanish had occupied the Palace of Axayacatl, were without water, and were coming under increasing attack. The Aztecs even tried to burn the palace down around the Spanish, but were stopped with artillery, crossbow, and arquebusier fire.  Cortes tried to use Montezuma one last time – to see if the Aztecs surrounding them would stand down. Montezuma was brought out at the Palace of Axayacatl try to get the attackers to stop their assault. Montezuma’s exhortations not only failed to sway the crowd of enraged Aztecs, but he was hit in the head by a rock from an Aztec sling. That wound would incapacitate him. Shortly afterwards, he died. The cause of his death was the slung stone or perhaps he was murdered later by the Spanish as he lay unconscious – the truth is forever lost to history. In the end, Cortes realized that he had no safe escape route to the causeways. In any such attempt, his troops would be vulnerable to a massive volume of missile fire. Cortes ordered his men to tear out any lumber available from the palace to build a number of war wagons.  These would serve as similar devices to the Hussite war wagons of the 15th Century, but would be moved by humans, not horses. Cortes hoped that they would hopefully provide cover for his own missile troops from withering Aztec missile fire – and therefore help his forces make it to the causeways. With these war wagons, Cortes launched an escape attempt that he hoped would be able to punch through the Aztecs and escape to the causeways – and then onto the safety of the mainland and the his Tlaxcalan allies.  This scenario lasts 10 turns.

I was pleased to run so many games and especially to see that the players had a great time. My personal thanks to all at Battle Group Boston for a fun convention – and especially to Leif Magnuson for ALL his help with setting up and taking down of my games.

And of course, a big THANK YOU to the players. It has been very rewarding to see players coming back again and again just to play in my games. As Cortes would say, muchas gracias!

Next up in the blog – RECON Convention in Florida, gaming with Buck Surdu and Dave Wood, and golf school with my lovely wife Lynn!

Thanks for taking a look and I hope you found this interesting – if late!

Battle Report! The Battle of Otumba – (Feudal Patrol) TotalCon 36, Chapter 4

This post covers the fourth and final game that I ran at TotalCon 36 in Marlboro, Massachusetts. The game is a scenario for The Battle of Otumba, which happened on July 7, 1520. I ran the game on the morning and early afternoon of Sunday, February 27th, 2022. As with my two previous Aztec games the rules that I used were Feudal Patrol with my Spanish Conquest rules supplement Civilizations Collide.

My flyer for the game.

I designed the scenario itself to be short but intense. I will share some of the historical background as well as the the key components of the scenario. Then, I’ll share some photos and a narrative of the game as it was actually played at TotalCon 36.

Background:  For almost two weeks, the troops under Cortes retreated across central Mexico – hoping to reach the safety of Tlaxcalan territory.  All of the Spanish were wounded to some degree – many died each day from the wounds suffered during La Noche Triste and the subsequent skirmishes that occurred as the Aztecs, under Cuitlahuac, pursued them mercilessly.  The Conquistadores found themselves on a small rocky outcropping – and according to Diaz nearly surrounded on two sides.  They were just short of the mountain pass that would bring them to safety of Tlaxcala.  They took up a position bristling with pikes and halberds upon on the rocky outcropping overlooking plains.  The Aztecs rained missile fire upon the Spanish, and subjected them to numerous human wave attacks.  The brutal end was near when Cortes noticed that the attacks were being coordinated by the cihuacoatl, the High Priest of Tenochtitlan, the Cihuacoatl Matlatzincátzin.  He was the one who was acting as the Aztec General.  This High Priest was using signalers and bannermen to coordinate the attacks.  Cortes personally rounded up what remained of his cavalry and with great personal courage led a mounted charge towards the High Priest and his retinue.  The Aztecs had never before faced a massed cavalry attack.  While the hooves of the Spanish cavalry were previously unable to make such a charge on the smooth pavements of Tenochtitlan – at Otumba, they were able to make a classic cavalry attack.  The charge succeeded in killing the High Priest and many of his officers.  It was reported that Cortes himself dispatched the High Priest with his lance.  With the death of their leader and disruption of his communications system, the Aztec attack faltered.  It quickly fell apart without the command and control that the signals had provided.  Cortes and what was left of his troops were able to escape to fight another day, and eventually conquer the Aztec Empire – but this battle could have changed the course of history.  This game will last 5 turns and can accommodate 4-12 players on a 6’ x 4’ tabletop.

The map:

My set up plan for the tabletop. Below you will see how this translated to the tabletop.
The map drawing brought to life. 2 Aztec Warbands (one Elite, one Regular, each made up of 3 Elements) are surrounding the Conquistadores’ defensive position on a rocky outcropping. The Aztecs are controlled by the High Priest of Tenochtitlan, the Cihuacoatl Matlatzincátzin, who has a small Retinue Element around him and his two signalers. The Spanish infantry are made up of 1 Warband of 4 reinforced Elements, commanded by Pedro de Alvarado. A cavalry Element, led by Cortes, will deploy on Turn 3 from a location that was previously chosen secretly by the Spanish. The potential deployment locations for the arrival of the cavalry are the numbered squares you see here, plus one to either side. All of the Spanish do start the game with one wound. The Aztecs are all fresh, and hoping to take out many Conquistadores.

There are a few special rules in place for this scenario:

Special:  The special rules for this scenario are based on the situation that both sides faced at the Battle of Otumba.  The Spanish were fighting to survive, and were all wounded in some way or another by this point in time.  The Aztecs were for once more concerned with the final annihilation of their enemy than with the prestige earned by taking them as prisoners.  If any Spanish were still alive to be dragged off afterwards – fine – but for this battle it was a true do-or-die for both sides.  The most important special rules for this scenario are:

  • Each Conquistador (humans and war dogs but not horses) starts the battle with one wound. Typically each figure is incapacitated after having been wounded 3 times, but some key leaders might need 4 to be taken out. War Dogs take 5 wounds.
  • The Spanish have taken up a “rectangular” infantry-type square defensive position on the rock outcropping as shown on the map.  They should have pikemen and halberdiers facing out on each side.  Their Warband Leader, Pedro de Alvarado, is in the center.
  • The Spanish infantry and cavalry know that there is nowhere to run, therefore they do not make any Morale Checks.  Also, the infantry may not leave the safety of the outcropping during the game to attack the Aztecs. 
  • If Alvarado becomes incapacitated all of the Spanish infantry would become “pinned”. That means they activate half as often as a non-pinned unit.
  • Cortes and the Conquistador Cavalry Element is off the map initially and deploys on Turn 3.  The Spanish player must secretly choose a Turn 3 entry point for his cavalry prior to the start of the game.  This point chosen will be one number – 1 through 6 as shown on the map above.  This allows the Spanish player to deploy his cavalry at the numbered point or to the point its immediate right or left.  As an example, if the player chooses point 5, he can enter the game at 4, 5, or 6 with his cavalry.  If the player chooses 1 or 6, he will be limited to 1 and 2 or 5 and 6 respectively.  The cavalry Element and Cortes will both arrive on the board on Turn 3. 
  • The cavalry led by Cortes must attempt to take out the High Priest of Tenochtitlan (the Aztec Battle Group Leader) and his retinue.  By doing this successfully (by either incapacitating or routing him), the Aztecs’ Elements, Warbands, and Warband Leaders all become pinned.
  • The Aztecs must try to take the rock outcropping and incapacitate as many Spanish as possible until Turn 4 begins – the turn after the Spanish cavalry arrives.  At that point, and no sooner, the Aztecs in Elements of Warband 1 and 2 may try to engage the cavalry.  The Retinue Element may engage the cavalry without similar restrictions.
  • The Aztec Battle Group Commander, the High Priest of Tenochtitlan, the Cihuacoatl Matlatzincátzin, has the same Morale capabilities as Montezuma has – that is to say that on his activation he can remove up to six morale pips from Elements within twenty-four inches of him.
  • The retinue of the High Priest of Tenochtitlan will start the game around his location – with all of their figures within 8” of his initial location.

The side with the most Victory Points wins. There are no prisoners taken in this scenario by either side.

  • The Spanish earn points by inflicting casualties:
    • Incapacitating the High Priest of Tenochtitlan is worth 100 points.
    • 10 points for incapacitating a Warband Leader.
    • 2 points for each enemy incapacitated.
    • 1 point for any enemy figure that runs off the tabletop.
  • The Aztecs earn points by inflicting casualties:
    • Incapacitating Cortes is worth 50 points.
    • Incapacitating Alvarado is worth 25 points.
    • The Aztecs earn 5 points for each enemy who is incapacitated, to include horses and war dogs.  Thus, a cavalry figure is worth 5 for the rider and 5 for the horse.

In a nutshell, the Aztecs need to overwhelm the wounded Spanish on the outcropping and load up on Victory Points. When the cavalry arrives – the Spanish need to kill Matlatzincátzin and thereby “pin” the Aztecs Elements and Warbands. The Aztecs of course do need to avoid the demise of their leader before the end of Turn 5 as that is the Victory point jackpot.

Let’s move on to the game! I was very happy to have my fullest table of the convention- 12 players! A little more than half (7) had at least half had played Feudal Patrol™ before (and most of those were previous players at my other two  Feudal Patrol™ games at TotalCon 36 so that was nice to have enticed repeat players). I briefed the game and ran through some examples of play for the newbies, and we were off. As Feudal Patrol™ is extremely easy to learn, all were playing smoothly in no time.

At the start – what a crowd of happy gamers!
The Aztecs advance. The players on that side were sufficiently aggressive given the game’s VP objectives. The Conquistadores gave as good as they got.

Among the Elite Aztec Elements, the Cuachiqueh (Shorn Ones) hit Conquistador Element C1 first, while the Jaguar Warriors hit the far end of Conquistador Element C3. Casualties on both sides were immediate.

The Jaguar Warriors (top left) and Shorn Ones (center) hit the wounded Spanish hard. The Conquistadores hold.
Veteran Aztec Elements hit C4 in the center of the hill (shown above on the right). Casualties ensue yet again.
Now another Aztec Veteran Element joins the fray on the right here. The Spanish continue to hit, and to be hit. The Jaguar Warriors launch a couple of atlatl’s at the Spanish on the left – but accidentally wound two of their own who were in harm’s way. Friendly fire…isn’t.

The first two turns saw a BUNCH of casualties. With the Aztecs getting 5 VP for each incapacitated Spaniard (versus 2 VP for the Spanish in reverse), the Aztecs were loading up on VP, swarming the outcropping, and beginning to break any semblance of the Spanish having a cohesive defense. One of the Aztec Veteran/novice Elements did lose heart in the melee and a few of their warriors took off for home, easing the pressure on one corner (between C2 and C3). This did not seem too important at the time, but this did limit the Aztecs a bit.

The cavalry arrived on Turn 3 – and between them and Matlatzincátzin was…absolutely NOTHING.

The cavalry arrives, and bears down on Matlatzincátzin (by the white die). Take a look at the faces (ok, masked faces) of the concerned Aztec players on the other side of the table for effect! The cavalry was not able to engage Matlatzincátzin on this activation, but they were close.

The Aztecs then were lucky to activate the Retinue Element in an attempt to save their leader. They decided to heroically use their Retinue Element to try and block the cavalry’s advance. The Retinue sprinted their novices and priests into position, hoping to block the advance of the Spanish cavalry – more or less as human speed bumps!

While the rules do not permit infantry to engage moving cavalry, in this tactic they succeeded a bit – as they denied most of the cavalry “impetus”. In the rules, cavalry gets impetus (and a much better attack strength) if it has a straight line of at least 4″ before it hits an enemy. Without impetus, cavalry can still attack, albeit less effectively. While the Retinue Element was activated, Matlatzincátzin and his signalers did not, and could not move.

The Aztec Retinue Element tries to block the Spanish cavalry.

Soon after, the Conquistador cavalry got a second activation. They made several attacks against members of the retinue (all devastating). However, all eyes were fixed as one cavalryman managed a non-impetus attack on Matlatzincátzin…and despite the odds MISSED HIM!

Matlatzincátzin and his retinue are attacked by the cavalry. Things looked dire.

In response, Matlatzincátzin thrust his tepoztopilli (thrusting spear) at the oncoming Spaniard. He hit his horse, killing it, and this unhorsed his attacker. The act of unhorsing the Conquistador injured the already hurt cavalryman… AND BY FALLING FROM HIS HORSE HE WAS KILLED BY THE IMPACT!!!

Insert loud Aztec player cheering because that indeed happened then!

Meanwhile, Cortes deployed onto the table as well. Seeing what happened to his comrades fighting Matlatzincátzin, and not wanting a similar fate, he took a simpler route, and hit the Elite Warband Leader from behind, and killed him (not overly brave, but effective). This “pinned” all Elements of the Elite Warband. Then he killed The Elite Warband Leader’s Warrior Priest for good measure with a well-placed lance to the back. Then Turn 4 ended.

On Turn 5 (the last scheduled turn of the game), Matlatzincátzin activated first, and decided to head for the hill and some of his warriors there for safety. His Retinue Element (or what was left of it) had managed to take out another cavalryman and horse, but not before accumulating a boatload of Morale pips. The Spanish cavalry was still coming…

The aftermath of the “human speed bump maneuver”, with Matlatzincátzin (at the tip of the 12 Retinue Element red Morale pips) trying to get to the hill. Note the black dice on all the Elite Aztec Elements because of Cortes’ (by the red 2 die on the left) having just dispatched the Elite Warband Leader. This loss would limit these Elite Elements in trying to help Matlatzincátzin. The Retinue Element – if activated, would need to clear 12 Morale pips before they could help. Not likely!

Matlatzincátzin and his two signalers would just make it safely to the hill on Turn 5. However, a brave and very wounded Conquistador Sword and Buckler man (the leader of C4) leapt into action and attacked Matlatzincátzin, giving him 3 wounds (he could take 4). The Aztec High Priest struck back and wounded the Spaniard, but not fatally, and that combat ended.

Then, the Aztec infantry killed Pedro de Alvarado, pinning the Spanish infantry on the hill. This accomplishment was big, and gained 25 VP, but was a bit too late – as had it happened just a bit earlier Matlatzincátzin might not have been able to be attacked by the infantryman.

Next, the cavalry activated, and two of them bore down mercilessly on Matlatzincátzin, quickly taking him out – and that earned the Spanish 100 VP -and that pinned ALL of the Aztecs.

At this point, the convention was wrapping up and we called the game for scoring – the Spanish won 160-130 with their last minute taking down of the High Priest of Tenochtitlan. In the end, the game played out similar to how history played out.

Aztecs: 130 points

  • Incapacitating Alvarado: 25 points
  • Incapacitating enemy Conquistadores/war dogs/horses at 5 points each: There were 21 (out of 38 possible!), yielding 105 points

Spanish: 160 points

  • Incapacitating the High Priest of Tenochtitlan (Matlatzincátzin): 100 points
  • Incapacitating a War Band Leader (the Elite one): 10 points
  • Incapacitating enemy Aztecs at 2 points each: There were 23 (out of 65 possible), yielding 46 points
  • Aztecs who ran away: 4 at 1 point apiece

It was an exciting game and there were a lot of smiles all around afterwards – on both sides. It was an engaging game for all and I look forward to running it again at future conventions and club dates. Much thanks to ALL of the players, and much thanks to the TotalCon 36 staff for a great convention. I hope that I captured a bit of the game’s drama for you and that I made it interesting to read about.

I know that four posts are a lot from one con – but these four games were all a blast to run, and worth their own posts.

Thanks again for looking.

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.

Battle Report! Cortes Causeway Escape Attempt – (Feudal Patrol) TotalCon 36, Chapter 3

This post covers the third game that I ran at TotalCon 36 in Marlboro, Massachusetts. It ran on the morning of Saturday, February 26th, 2022, with a snowstorm having dropped a good amount of snow on the night before.

The scenario has Hernan Cortes and his besieged Conquistadores trying to escape Tenochtitlan as the flyer describes below.

The rules used were Feudal Patrol. These games for the Spanish Conquest in Mesoamerica (Aztecs vs. Conquistadores) are run using my supplement Civilizations Collide.

I did run this game before at Historicon. However, since then I have added even more – and I believe better – terrain. So much so that setting this bad boy up is a major effort. Thanks so much again to Bryan Clauss for his help in setting this up with me on Friday night.

Most of this post will be photos of the game. Thanks to Joerg, Mike, and Mal for letting me use some of their shots – it’s tough to GM and photograph a game at the same time! With the previous night’s snowstorm turnout was mixed and this game can easily handle a dozen players. I had to downsize it a bit to accommodate fewer Saturday morning players. Still, I got some walk on players, and in the end had 5-6 players for most of the game. It worked. One of the players, Mark, had seen the game at Historicon back in November and came from Maine just to play in it at TotalCon 36- what an honor and a compliment!

All set up and ready to go – my set up. There are battles on each of the causeways on the far side where the Tlaxcalans are trying to break through to help their trapped Spanish allies. On the near side, the Spanish and their war wagons are trying to get to a causeway and escape Tenochtitlan.
Here you see the game set up at a closer angle. Members of two Aztec Warbands
are on and around my new Temple of Yopico pyramid, facing off against two Spanish Warbands with a couple of war wagons. The war wagons provide cover for a crossbowman and an arquebusier apiece, and are being pushed by Sword and Buckler men. They are prone to breaking down as well.
In the game, the Spanish decided to move towards the nearest causeway seen here on the right.
The Spanish make their move and try to cow (and incapacitate) the enraged Aztecs with arquebusier and crossbow fire. The Aztecs (Mark) would try to flank the Spanish on the right by moving around the small temple.
The players picked up Feudal Patrol very easily and were gaming away in no time. Here I help adjudicate a scrum from the flanking Aztec charge previously noted.

Down on the other end of the tabletop, there were three Elite Aztec Elements (one Elite Warband) attempting to hold off three Tlaxcalan Elements (one Regular Warband) on three different causeways.

This Tlaxcalan Element was loaded with bows, and very deadly. They faced Elite Aztec Arrow Knights (think atlatl’s with two really big spears/darts, similar to Roman pila). Steven moved up his Aztecs to launch a volley, but the Tlaxcalans activated first, and loosed their bows.

The ensuing volley wounded almost every Aztec. The Aztecs returned fire in a massive single volley – unfortunately one poor Tlaxcalan was hit multiple times instead of several (I’m sure his buddies appreciated that!).

Here you see the wounded Aztecs facing the Tlaxcalans. They have moved up a Warrior Priest to remove Morale pips and spur them on in the fight.

On another causeway, the Aztecs sent an Elite Jaguar Warrior Element against an Elite Tlaxcalan Warrior Element (the other two Tlaxcalan Elements were Regular).

The two Elite Elements face off.
Here is a wider shot of the action – showing a few fights: the scrum between the Tlaxcalans and the Arrow Knights is on the causeway on the right; the one between the Tlaxcalan Elites and the Jaguar Warriors is on the far side; the Spanish fight the Aztecs on the left of the photo.

The Jaguar Warriors successfully went berserk and charged the Tlaxcalans. The fight became a draw, with the Aztecs taking some prisoners, losing some warriors, and accumulating a boatload of Morale pips. In the game, going berserk is a way to fight better and avoid being stunned in combat, but Morale pips accumulate. Once a berserker kills another figure, he is stunned, and once a berserking leader is no longer berserking, Morale checks start.

Brutal fighting with the Jaguar Warriors holds up the Tlaxcalans – one of whom is being dragged away for sacrifice here.

The Spanish kept pushing their wagons forward, but one of them broke a wheel and became immobilized. Still, the Spanish made good progress towards the causeway.

Close up shot of the Spanish moving towards the causeway.

The other causeway fight was between an Element of Aztec Eagle Warriors and a mixed Tlaxcalan Veteran/novice Element. The Eagle Warriors also successfully berserked into melee. Fighting here was also heavy, and the Aztecs and the Tlaxcalans took prisoners.

This fight pitted the Eagle Warriors against the Tlaxcalans. No quarter was given.
The view from the three causeway battle side. Leif on the far end (in the hat) has taken command of all the Spanish and is fighting Mark (in the green). One of the Spanish players left, leaving Leif in charge of his troops. He was an RPG player whose game had cancelled and who had to leave for another game – and who had not played miniatures before. I asked him what he thought of the game, and his answer was along the lines of, “it’s ok, just too much of a simulation for me”. That response gave all the wargamers at the table a huge chuckle, and I took it as a great compliment!

At the end of the game, the Spanish had nearly made it to the causeway. The Tlaxcalans and the Elite Aztecs were in heavy back-and-forth fighting on the other end. I added the score up – and it was Spanish/Tlaxcalans 22, Aztecs 20! One figure lost either way would have made a difference – so obviously it was a fair fight. The gamers were very happy, and the tabletop got a LOT of folks coming by to take photos, which was nice to see. As you might well imagine, this tabletop is the best I have ever done IMO.

Thanks again to Leif for all his help, and to the other gamers who were outstanding too.

I will be running this again for sure at HAVOC and HUZZAH!

Lastly, on a personal note, as I mentioned, I had to downsize the game a bit – removing some Elements so that the game could flow. One of the Elements I left off were my cuachicque Elite warriors – known as the “Shorn Ones”. They were the Aztecs toughest. I decided to enter them in the painting contest that was running coincident with the game as a unit – and they won! The post link has better pictures than below – it’s tough to photograph them in a case.

Winners (and they did not even have to fight).

I have one more TotalCon 36 post remaining to share, the Battle of Otumba. You definitely want to see my post on that epic fight!

Thanks very much for looking.

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.

Stonehouse Miniatures Aztec Terrain for my Tenochtitlan Cityscape

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

My converted temple from last year.

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

The Stonehouse stuff that I ordered.

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

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

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

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

BRA-105, “Aztec Pyramid Complete” kit.

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

Wash that resin!

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

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

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

After the yellow oche was added.

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

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

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

Drying after washing and varnishing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Braziers – done!

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

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

Walls and Moon Goddess Plaque done.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A preview of the action!

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

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

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

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

On The Pyramid Structure:

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

On The Smaller Resin Pieces:

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

On the Storage/Transport Box:

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

Conquistador Halberdiers and Pikemen – plus Pedro de Alvarado – for the Battle of Otumba

On July 20, 1520, Hernan Cortes and his Conquistadores found themselves at a significant historical juncture. They had been fighting the Aztecs in retrograde for weeks as they attempted to reach the safety of the lands of their Tlaxcalan allies. Every single one of the Spanish was wounded in some way or another – and they were exhausted from being pursued incessantly by the enraged Aztecs. Cortes and his men had been lucky to narrowly escape from the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan during La Noche Triste. The safety of the lands of their Tlaxcalan allies lay past a nearby mountain pass, just beyond reach.

The Aztecs, with vastly superior numbers, had managed to nearly surround the Spanish and deny them their route to safety. The Conquistadores now were desperately defending a rocky outcropping with pikemen, halberdiers, crossbowmen, and sword and buckler men. The Aztecs wanted nothing less than finishing off the hated Spanish – either by killing them outright or by taking them as captives for ritual sacrifice to their god of war, Huitzilopochtli.

Here, both sides would fight the Battle of Otumba, and the fates of both the Spanish Crown and the Aztec Empire were in the balance.

The Battle of Otumba

You can click on the links I shared above and learn more about the Battle of Otumba. It was a near-run battle – and Cortes and his men were truly in danger of being sent off to oblivion at the hands of the Aztecs. The short version is that Cortes recognized that the Aztec attacks on his position were being coordinated by banners and signalers – all led by the High Priest of Tenochtitlan, Matlatzincatl. Cortes left the infantry on the outcropping to gather together what little cavalry he still had left. Cortes then personally led a cavalry charge to take out Matlatzincatl – and succeeded. Supposedly, it was Cortes himself who was able to dispatch Matlatzincatl with his lance.

At this point, the Aztecs had never before seen nor fought against a cavalry charge. It was indeed one of epic shock and awe. After the death of Matlatzincatl and his signalers, the Aztec attack broke up for wont of command and control, and Cortes and his men were able to make it to safety. This would allow them to regroup, get reinforced, and eventually destroy the Aztec Empire. Therefore, this was probably one of the Aztec’s last and best chance to annihilate the Spanish. By failing to do so – though many more battles would be fought – the seeds of the ultimate demise of the Aztec Empire were irrevocably sown.

As one of my scenarios for my games of Feudal PatrolTM  using my supplement for Civilizations Collide, I have designed a gaming scenario for the Battle of Otumba. It is a skirmish-type scenario but one that will hopefully evoke the spirit of the battle. For the Conquistadores, I already have adequate cavalry figures for Cortes’ charge. As discussed, from my research it appears that the Spanish took up their defensive position on the rocky hillock using pikemen and halberdiers almost in an infantry square. As I only had one pikemen figure that had come from Eureka Miniatures as a war dog handler, that would be insufficient to say the least.

My digging around websites yielded me three sources that I drew upon to remedy this shortfall: Eureka Miniatures USA (4 halberdiers from #100CON03); Wargames Foundry via Badger Games in the US (2 halberdiers from two #SBO16 that were part of a couple of artillery gun crews); Gringo 40’s (UK) (8 pikemen from #CONQ4 and a Pedro de Alvarado figure.) All of these figures were 28mm scale and metal. This group would get me to where I wanted to be.

A side note about Pedro de Alvarado. He was a key lieutenant of Cortes and a prominent player in the Spanish Conquest. He was a redhead, which was a novelty to the Aztecs. He is remembered both for his skills as a soldier and especially for his cruelty and acts of mass murder on native peoples – both Aztec and Maya. However, he played a big role at many battles, including the Battle of Otumba, and as Gringo 40’s had his figure, I got him as well. As I always say, in the Spanish Conquest, there were few “good guys” on either side. History must be understood in the context of the period – and it was a brutal one.

Pedro de Alvarado

These figures arrived in December, and were definitely in my sights as submissions for  Dave Stone’s “Paint What You Got” painting challenge in addition to my war canoes and Aztec Serpent Statues.

I filed and washed the 15 figures in preparation for mounting for painting and priming. However, let me share a few notes. I liked all of the figures as far as the sculpts go. However, the Gringo 40’s pikemen were only available in one pose – which I ordered nonetheless as I figured that I could deal with via a painting plan (so they would look different enough from each other). These also had a pike included – but it was a soft metal pike that would not have survived a gaming session.

I replaced them with ones from North Star Military Figures cut to the same size as the originals. I have used these spears on other projects – notably my beloved Rooman Pikemen – and they are nice but VERY sharp (I recommend filing down the tips a bit or you and your players will have a hypodermic battlefield with real blood).

The Gringo 40’s also came with nice swords that I liked. Both the pikemen and the halberdiers needed a good deal of pin vise drilling to accommodate their weaponry. Alvarado came in two pieces but is a great sculpt. The Wargames Foundry figs were also two of the same – so more challenge for me to make their appearance dissimilar. The Eureka halberdiers were nice too.

After a nice scrubbing, all 15 ready to go forward to mounting for painting.
Mounted and primed.

One of the challenges I found was airbrush priming of the pikes, halberds, swords, and Alvarado’s sword (and hands). This was difficult due to their being easily moved by the air pressure. I broke out my holder rack to use – and it helped – though I did need to deal with subsequently painting the parts under the clips.

Holder rack.

After priming in white, I washed them all with a 50% thinned application of Citadel “Nuln Oil” as shown below.

I worked on the base coats by using an Excel sheet paint plan as I needed a lot of paints to make this work – especially for the pikemen. I did make use of several contrast paints here as well – but I used them in combination with other products to shade and highlight. When you are trying to give 8 different pikemen different beards/hair, tunics, leggings, etc., you do end up with a good number of permutations! As usual, I list of all the paints, inks, washes, etc. that I used at the end of this post if that sort of thing interests you.

Finally all of the figures here are painted, shaded, and highlighted – they still needed flocking and varnishing as you see.
I flocked the bases first with PVA glue and Army Painter “Brown Battlefields”.
Then I added pigments to the bases and fixed with thinner, and let them dry.
Once dry, I dry brushed them with three brown/tan tones, then applied matte varnish via airbrushing. This is the recipe I used for most of my figures for the Spanish Conquest.

After the varnish dried, I added Army Painter “Grass Green” and 12mm jungle tufts from Shadow’s Edge Miniatures. I did add the tufts as they will help the bases blend with my rocky outcropping/hill I have for the battle – and I have found them to be the best tufts on the market.

I numbered my halberdiers CHB 1-6 and my pikemen are CPM 2-9. Alvarado is Alvarado! So, here they are as completed – first Pedro de Alvarado from Gringo 40’s:

Pedro de Alvarado

Next, the halberdiers. CHB1-4 are from Eureka, and CHB5 and 6 are the same figure from Wargames Foundry.

CHB1
CHB2
CHB3
CHB4
CHB5
CHB6
Group Halberdier Shot
Halberdiers completed and ready for action.

Lastly, here are the pikemen, CPM2-9. All are from Gringo 40’s and are the same sculpt – but hopefully I have varied them enough in color and appearance.

CPM2
CPM3
CPM4
CPM5
CPM6
CPM7
CPM8
CPM9
Pikemen Group Shot
All 15 of these Conquistadores
You can almost here them yell their rallying cry, “¡Santiago!”

I am looking forward to their upcoming game at TotalCon36 in Marlborough, Massachusetts on February 27th. I am also running two other Spanish Conquest games there on Thursday, February 24 (Surprise Raid on the Aztec Outpost) and Saturday February 26 (Cortes’ Causeway Escape Attempt), as well as a What a Tanker game (France 1940) on Friday. Slots for all are still available – come on down!

I now have painted 92 Conquistador, 32 Tlaxcalan, and 109 Aztec figures since I started this project. I still have more to go – specifically brigantines and cannons with crews, and a good-sized group of Maya. I hope that you found this rather lengthy post interesting. Yes or no, let me know and thanks for checking in.

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

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

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

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. Gorilla Glue Gel
  4. Poster tack
  5. North Star Military Figures 100mm wire spears
  6. Vallejo Mecha Primer “White”
  7. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  8. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  9. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  10. Vallejo Mecha Color “Off-white”
  11. Battlefront “Black”
  12. Vallejo “Thinner Medium”
  13. Army Painter “Tanned Flesh”
  14. Vallejo Model Color “English Uniform”
  15. Vallejo Model Color “Black Grey”
  16. Citadel “Troll Slayer Orange”
  17. Citadel “The Fang”
  18. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
  19. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  20. Vallejo Model Color “Brown Rose”
  21. Citadel “Runefang Steel”
  22. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
  23. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  24. Vallejo Model Color “Vermilion”
  25. Citadel “Caliban Green”
  26. Vallejo Game Air “Sun Yellow”
  27. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  28. Vallejo Model Air “Brown”
  29. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gore-Grunta Fur”
  30. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
  31. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sky Blue”
  32. Vallejo Mecha Color “Grey Green”
  33. Vallejo Game Ink “Black Green”
  34. Secret Weapon Washes “Blue” (ink)
  35. Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”
  36. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  37. Vallejo Model Air “Dark Blue”
  38. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aethermatic Blue”
  39. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Shyish Purple”
  40. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Contrast Medium”
  41. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Magos Purple”
  42. Vallejo Game Ink “Violet”
  43. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  44. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  45. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Space Wolves Grey”
  46. Hataka “Gris Blue Clair”
  47. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Ultramarines Blue”
  48. Vallejo “Glaze Medium”
  49. Citadel “Castellan Green”
  50. Battlefront “German Camo Orange Ochre”
  51. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Snakebite Leather”
  52. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Steel”
  53. Vallejo Model Air “Gun Metal”
  54. Vallejo Model Air “Bright Brass”
  55. Vallejo Model Air “Black – Metallic”
  56. Citadel “Waystone Green” (Technical)
  57. Citadel “Nuln Oil GLOSS” (wash)
  58. Vallejo Game Color “Bronze Fleshtone”
  59. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  60. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  61. Army Painter “Red Tone” (shade)
  62. Citadel “XV-88”
  63. Army Painter “Green Tone” (shade)
  64. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade GLOSS” (shade)
  65. Citadel “Drakenhof Nightshade” (wash)
  66. Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (wash)
  67. Vallejo Game Ink “Green”
  68. P3 “Red” (ink)
  69. Vallejo Game Ink “Yellow”
  70. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  71. Battlefront “Flat Earth”
  72. Vallejo “Satin Varnish”
  73. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  74. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  75. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  76. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  77. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  78. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  79. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  80. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)
  81. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures 12mm “Jungle Tufts”

Aztec Serpent Statues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before the inks added.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for checking these out.

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

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

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THESE AZTEC SERPENT STATUE FIGURES:

  1. LITKO 60mm bases
  2. Vallejo Surface Primer “German Green Brown”
  3. #4 x 3/4″ screws
  4. Goril