Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988

In building a set of troops for the Spanish Conquest, I came across a couple of blisters of 25mm Ral Partha figures called “Aztec Arrow Knights”.  These were in my lot of unpainted lead for the period, sculpted by R. Kerr, and dated from 1988.  The blisters held 6 figures armed with huge feathered arrows – think javelins with fletching.  As I thought that they were interesting potential elite troops with unique weapons, I decided to add one of the two blisters to my Aztec forces, keeping the other in reserve for future painting.

1 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 in blister
The blister pack – waited 32 years to be opened.

As I discussed previously, I had been doing research on the Aztecs.  I looked for suitable color plates or guides to paint up this unit.  To my surprise, there is a bit of mystery and possibly even controversy about Arrow Knights.  History provides little evidence in the codices as to their existence – though there are clues here and there.

I suppose it’s not out of the question that an elite unit of Aztec warriors specializing in launching massively huge javelin-like arrows could have existed.  Perhaps there was some confusion with the atlatl (ot-la-t) a spear-throwing device?  Just because old Ral Partha made these does not mean that they did exist – but for the purposes of my games and my Aztec Army – they do now.

atlatl
Atlatl use.

Of course, painting them would be up to me for choosing the colors.  The only picture that I found was from a computer gaming site – and it did not match any of the plates.  I did like the markings known as “hawk scratches”.  I decided that I would give the unit a coloration similar to the cuahchic elites – that being a yellowish suit of tanned hide that would have been worn over their quilted-cotton armor ichcahuipilli (each-ca-we-pee-lee).

Aztec_Arrow_Warriors_old.JPG
From the internet – not likely historically correct but a start.

It was fun to break into this old blister from Ral Partha’s 1200 A.D.” line.  The figures were all in the same pose, but I figured that I could orient their arrows in slightly different positions, use slightly different colors on each , and give different shields to each for aesthetics and ease of tabletop identification and playability.  A familiar challenge was that the arrows were all lead – and vulnerable to bending and breaking.  I also wanted them to have two big arrows – one to throw and one to use in melee.

The problem with doing this were twofold.  First, I did not want to sculpt 6 little extra arrows – and second the little 25mm hands were too small to accommodate even the arrows provided.  My solution was to use some steel wire pikes I had gotten from Iron Winds Metals during my Rooman War Party project.  I cut the pikes to size and used super glue to affix them to the arrows.  They would be the “second” arrow, albeit without fletching or another obsidian head.  I think it worked – and you can be the judge.

4 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 shields and arrow sprues
One of the shield and weapon sprues with the “RAL PARTHA 1988” on it.
5 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 arrow fix
The arrows shown here reinforced by the steel wire.
6 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 mounted on washers
The Arrow Knights after affixing their “double arrows” to their hands and the figures themselves to the 1″ steel washers.  I would paint the shields separately.
7 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 mounted on washer, close up
Close up shot before painting.
10 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 tunic and hawk scratches May 4th
I used a series of yellow and tan inks, washes, and glazes over the hard-lined “hawk scratches” to get a good color that would darken appropriately but still show the markings.
11 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 tunic and hawk scratches May 4th close up
Close up shot mid-stage before darkening.
12 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 after shields added May 5th
After shields affixed and washes applied.
13 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 after shields added May 5th close up
Close up of  Arrow Knight prior to flocking.  I did like how the faces came out, and the uniforms as well.
14 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 after adding pigments to flocking May 6th close up
I flock the bases with Army Painter “Brown Battlefields”, then add pigments before varnishing.  After varnishing, I add static grass.  Here you see the pigments wet with Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner” which hardens up nicely.  Sometimes I drybrush the bases as well, but I opted this time not to and to instead use more pigments.
15 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 after adding pigments to flocking May 6th group
Dried and ready for varnishing in the spray booth.

Next, I’ll share some close up eye candy shots of each, a scale comparison, and some group shots.

Arrow Knight #1

Arrow Knight #2

Arrow Knight #3

Arrow Knight #4

Arrow Knight #5

Arrow Knight #6

Scale Comparison

17 scale comparison
Just for scale comparison – the Arrow Knight is on the left, a 28mm Wargames Foundry Novice Warrior is in the center, and a 25mm Tin Soldier UK Eagle Knight is on the right. I think they will work fine on the tabletop together.

Group Shots

18 group shot shield side
Good view of the six different shields together.

19 group shot shield front

I am also adding a new feature here.  I want to be able to share related posts on the larger Aztec project with folks who have not seen all of the previous posts.  Additionally, I need a way to help me keep track of my progress!  Therefore, the list of links below will accomplish both for me.

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

  1. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 (this post) – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  2. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  3. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

Total figures to date for this project:  24 Aztecs

20 army progress
Progress so far!

Thanks for looking and let me know what you think – I love the chance to learn your thoughts and to have a discussion!

Lastly, here are the paints and supplies I used on this project.

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE AZTEC ARROW KNIGHTS:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. Steel wire lances from Iron Winds Metals
  4. Poster tack and plastic plates
  5. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White Primer”
  6. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  7. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  8. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  9. Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
  10. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  11. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  12. Vallejo Model Color “Light Flesh”
  13. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Moon Yellow”
  15. Vallejo Game Air “Escorpena Green”
  16. Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
  17. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Blue”
  18. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  19. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  20. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
  21. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  22. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gryph-Hound Orange”
  23. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  24. Battlefront “Wool Brown”
  25. Secret Weapons Washes “Parchment” (wash)
  26. Secret Weapons Washes “Sunshine” (wash)
  27. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Creed Camo”
  28. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  29. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  30. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  31. Army Painter “Soft Tone” (shade)
  32. Vallejo Model Air “Armour Brown”
  33. Citadel “Praxeti White” (dry)
  34. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aethermatic Blue”
  35. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Flesh Tearers Red”
  36. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  37. Vallejo Model Color “White”
  38. Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
  39. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  40. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  41. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  42. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  43. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  44. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

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

 

Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK

As shown in my last post, I have started building forces of appropriate figures for tabletop wargames using the soon-to-be published Feudal Patrol™.  These are Aztecs and other troops from the era of the Spanish Conquest in the 16th Century.  This is a major project for which I eventually hope to have over 150 painted figures.  I have a ways to go, as this project brings that total to a mere 18.  Still, the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step…

I acquired a large lot of Aztec figures on eBay probably 4 or 5 years ago.  Most of them 25mm scale, and from Ral Partha dating from around 1988.  In the lot were also two baggies of 3 Aztec Eagle Warriors (#25 AZ4) – ostensibly 25mm as shown on the Tin Soldier UK website.    I was not familiar with Tin Soldier UK, but they have a pretty nice range of figures worth checking out.  Of course, 28mm is the scale that I am going for – and sometimes 25mm can work for 28mm.  While I was waiting for my order of new 28mm stuff to arrive (which I received this week), I decided to paint up some of the older figures and see if they could work with my 28mm figures visually.  To my eyes, the Tin Soldier UK Eagle Warriors looked close enough to 28mm to work.

1 Tin Soldier 25AZ in bags
The Tin Soldier UK baggies of Eagle Warriors.  Note the noodle-like tepoztopilli (obsidian-bladed thrusting spears) – more on that in a bit.

The Aztecs had two main elite unit types – the Jaguar Warriors,  and the Eagle Warriors (sometimes referred to as the Eagle Knights).  There were also the lesser-known Arrow Knights, which I will post about next time.  To be an Eagle Warrior, one had to have captured up to 20 enemy for sacrifice or equivalent deeds of valor (well, in the eyes of Aztec society anyways).  They were full-time professional warriors and along with the other elites were equivalent to nobility among the Aztecs.

Normally, Aztec Eagle Warriors would be armed with melee weapons, in particular the macuahuitl obsidian-edged club/sword.  All of these 6 had the same pose and were armed with tepoztopilli (obsidian-bladed thrusting spears).  They also had the weapons in a throwing versus a thrusting pose.  Therefore, I decided to go through the 25mm Ral Partha Aztecs that I had and see if I could get any macuahuitl or cuauhololli (round-headed club) as extra weapons.  The extra Ral Partha macuahuitl were way too small and bendable, but there were some cuauhololli that would work.  I ended up using two of the cuauhololli and four of the tepoztopilli as weapons for the six.  My plan was to orient each of  their weapons slightly differently and also to have different shield patterns and different colors for authenticity and ease of tabletop play.

Now, as for the spaghetti-like tepoztopilli, they needed a solution as they were made from lead and were as floppy and vulnerable to bending as most leaden miniature spears are unfortunately, especially those from the 1980’s and earlier.  The odd thing is that the model shown on the website indeed does have a macuahuitl instead of a tepoztopilli!  My guess is that they redid the mold at some point as these model thrusting spears were too weak for use in gaming.  In any case, I decided to try using a thin layer of Apoxie Sculpt on the shafts.  Apoxie sculpt is easy to use and can be made more workable when used with wet fingers – and it gets hard as a rock when it cures in 24 hours.  This process gave me much improved tepoztopilli, but still the underlying lead made them somewhat (though less) vulnerable to bend.

2 Tin Soldier 25AZ limp tepoztopilli
This bendy tepoztopilli will not do!
5 AZ4
From the Tin Soldier UK website – I definitely would have preferred this macuahuitl as a weapon for the models – but it is available now.
3 Tin Soldier 25AZ limp tepoztopilli Apoxie Sculpt
My set up for firming the tepoztopilli shafts – first I straightened them with a pair of needle-nosed pliers then rolled on wet Apoxie Sculpt.  Insert crass joke here…
5 Tin Soldier 25AZ Apoxie Sculpt limp tepoztopilli fix
New shafts reinforced with the Apoxie Sculpt after a 24 hour cure.

The models themselves were not too difficult to assemble.  I did need to clean up the mold lines and the hands needed to be drilled out carefully to hold the weapons.  I did pull out some of the molding rubber out of one model’s eyes, but overall I was happy with the quality of the castings.  I definitely liked that the shields were not separate.

I made a unit plan as there were many ways to do the unit – and I wanted to have something to refer to along the way.  In particular, one of my goals for this project was to give each Eagle Warrior a different shield design – and for that design to be historically correct.  Over at Steve’s Balagan, I found his blog to be a wonderful resource for Aztec and other shields.

6 Tin Soldier 25AZ the plan
Eagle Warriors primed and the painting plan – I did end up deviating a bit as I observed the colors of the models.

Most pictures that I have found on Eagle Warriors showed them in golden brown outfits – but some mention that there were possibly red, green, and blue ones as well.  I decided to make three in golden brown, and then make the others in red, green, and blue.  The accouterments and shields would also add to the differentiation on the tabletop.  Unlike the novices, the pics that I saw of Eagle Warriors all had orange loincloths, so that feature was common here.

7 Tin Soldier 25AZ April 29 progress
By April 29th, I had the basic colors down.  Citadel contrast paints were useful with these models, as their details for the most part were not really suited for dry brushing as opposed to shading.
8 Tin Soldier 25AZ April 30 progress
Progress by April 30 – still needed to paint the shields and weapons.
9 Tin Soldier 25AZ April 30 progress close up
Close up of April 30 progress.

My next big challenge was painting designs on the shields.  My handwriting is awful, and hand-drawing designs on shields has not been a strength for me – and these are tiny.  I decided to let the engineer in me break out.  I used an art template to trace a 9/32″ circle on a piece of paper, and then I cut that out.  It proved useful in helping me to lightly sketch the designs on the shields in pencil – as guides for painting.  I tried several designs that I saw on Steve’s Balagan blog.

10 Tin Soldier 25AZ May 1st shield template
Putting the template on the shield for marking up designs.

I wanted to get these done for the weekend, and my wife helped fuel my push with a home-made pizza (that tasted even better than it looked!).

11 Fuel to finish
Fuel for the finish!

Below are a couple of WIP shots after I finished painting the shields – for me, this was a result that I was surprised to see.

12 Tin Soldier 25AZ May 1st shields painted 1 to 3
Close up of Eagle Warriors 1, 2, and 3 showing shield details.
13 Tin Soldier 25AZ May 1st shields painted 4 to 6
Close up of Eagle Warriors 4, 5, and 6 showing shield details.

On May 1, I finished them with flocking and varnishing, ending with some static grass (all the materials I used are listed at the end for those interested).  This counts hopefully as my second entry into Ann’s Immaterium Painting Challenge “Paint the Crap you Already Own”.

14 Tin Soldier 25AZ May 2nd ready to go
The Aztec Eagle Warriors ready to come off their painting posts.

Here are some close up and group shots of the project:

Eagle Warrior 1, with tepoztopilli:

Eagle Warrior 2, with tepoztopilli:

Eagle Warrior 3, with tepoztopilli:

Eagle Warrior 4, with tepoztopilli:

Eagle Warrior 5, with cuauhololli:

Eagle Warrior 6, with cuauhololli:

Lastly, a couple of group shots:

22 group shot 1
Eagle Warriors attacking!
23 group shot 2
Close up shot – do you have a fave?

As for scale – here is a comparison between a 25mm Eagle Warrior and a 28mm novice warrior  – I think they will be OK.  Do you?

24 scale shot

What do you think?  Always wondering that – so let me know below in the comments section.  Now it’s back to painting more figures during the lockdown and beyond…

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE AZTEC EAGLE WARRIORS:

  1. Apoxie Sculpt (White)
  2. Gorilla Glue
  3. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  4. E6000 Epoxy
  5. Poster tack and plastic plates
  6. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White Primer”
  7. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  8. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  9. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
  11. Battlefront “Wool Brown”
  12. Battlefront “Dark Leather”
  13. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gryph-Hound Orange”
  14. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  15. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Skeleton Horde”
  16. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  17. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Creed Camo”
  18. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aethermatic Blue”
  19. Vallejo Model Color “Basic Skin Tone”
  20. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
  21. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Iyanden Yellow”
  22. Army Painter “Light Tone” (shade)
  23. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  24. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  25. Vallejo Model Air “Moon Yellow”
  26. Vallejo Model Air “Armour Brown”
  27. P3 “Sunshine Yellow” (ink)
  28. Vallejo Model Color “Red”
  29. Vallejo Model Color “Black Grey”
  30. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  31. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown”
  32. Vallejo Mecha Color “Brown”
  33. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Flesh Tearers Red”
  34. Vallejo Game Air “Escorpena Green”
  35. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Blue”
  36. Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
  37. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
  38. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  39. Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
  40. Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (shade)
  41. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  42. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  43. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  44. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  45. Americana “Desert Sand”
  46. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  47. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

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

Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx

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

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

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

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

1 books
Research, research.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 each blister had these
The blister contents  – there were many more shields than I needed – as I did not think slingers should have shields.
4 prepped amd mounted for painting
Mounted for priming and painting.  I used a plastic plate to mount the shields for separate painting and later attachment to the models.
6 after base flesh
Early base coat of the flesh with Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”.
5 slinger with contrast paint on leg
I decided that I would try to paint a lighter flesh base coat and then use Citadel Contrast paint (in this case Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”) on that.  Here, I have only done one leg to show the effect.
7 after adding contrast paints
The Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh” proved to be in need of thinning.  I painted these in order from left to right, and the ones on the far right came out way too dark and needed a redo.  By using Testors Universal Thinner with the Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”, I was able to get a better Aztec skin tone.
8 lightened slingers
The two slingers on the far left after the redo.
10 close up progress April 18
I tried to highlight and shade the flesh here such that from a distance the figures would look right.  I also gave each type of model a slightly different color theme on their accouterments for easier identification and better play on the tabletop.
11 start on shields
Moving on here to start painting the shields.  I had very little experience in panting tiny designs on tiny shields (as you will see).

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

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

17 after varnish
Finished models.

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

First, the slingers with cocked arms:

Next, the slingers loading their slings:

Next, the novice figures with shields and macuahuitl advancing.

Next, here are the two cuauhololli-armed novices.

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

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

And some group shots:

20 Blue themed warriors
The blue-themed novices
21 Red themed warriors
The red-themed novices.
22 Group shot
The twelve novices assembled.

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

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

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

1 after wash
After varnishing.
3 Done
In the desert.
5 Frinx Leader casualty card
Close up of the leader.
4 not a fair fight
How did this happen?

That’s it for now!

 

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

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

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

My Barrage 2019 Recap

The wonderful Barrage wargaming convention was held back on September 27-28 in Havre de Grace, Maryland.  It is run by the Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers (HAWKS), and I have attended the last few years and run a few games there as well as a GM.  This year marked the 25th Anniversary of the convention.

The trip was enjoyable – and even though it’s been over a month since the event – I wanted to share some of the pics and details of the event from my perspective.  It’s not an all-encompassing review – but hopefully it will give you a flavor of the event and some nice views of some worthwhile and visually interesting tabletop games.

29 My badges

1 Old Grads
Three only slightly aging West Pointers – Dave Wood (’84), me (’84), and Buck Surdu (’85).  Dave and Buck are in the HAWKS and going to the convention doubles as a mini-reunion for us.  Plus I get to see how much better in shape they are than I am.

I drove down from Massachusetts and arrived Thursday night (the night before the convention) to help the HAWKS set up.  As a bonus, we got to play a few turns of Eric Schlegel’s Antietam: The Cornfield game using the A Union So Tested rules set.  It was a fun start.

The convention started in earnest on Friday – and I got a chance to check out some amazing tabletops.  Bill Molyneaux had a brilliant Boxer Rebellion game that had incredible terrain.  I did not get to play this game, but would have loved to try it.

I walked around Friday’s game and took some pics of a few games I loved seeing (but did not get to play) before I got into playing a Feudal Patrol™ game.  Here you can see a Napoleonic game (run by Dave Wood), a Gundam game, and a really neat G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.  Sherlock Holmes themed game (run by Sam Fuson).   There was a Flames of War Tournament.  I have not played that game despite having (as regular readers know) a TON of FoW models.  The games looked a bit crowded figure-wise – and maybe that’s normal for that game.  Note the US TIE fighter (the gamer said he did not have a proper US plane so he painted this model)…not sure about that particular add personally.

I really wanted to try another game of Feudal Patrol™.  I had played one at HUZZAH! run by Duncan Adams earlier this year.  Feudal Patrol™ is a novel skirmish game (yet unpublished) and is similar to Combat Patrol™ – except it is for pike and shot periods and earlier.  I am hoping to write an Aztec supplement for it for Buck.

Chris Palmer ran a War of the Roses scenario involving securing an abandoned supply train of three wagons.   It was just the two of us, but as Buck came available, he joined in on Chris’ side.  I started off well, but in due course I got my ass handed to me by Buck and Chris!  Still, I was glad to try it and I feel confident that this will be another great system by Buck.

16 Feudal Patrol
Not the greatest sign up!  Too bad as it was fun.

17 Feudal Patrol

18 Feudal Patrol
My forces, with the enemy Yorkists across the table.  The abandoned wagon train (the objective) is in the center.
19 Feudal Patrol
The Lancastrians.
20 Feudal Patrol
Wagon train objective.
20a Feudal Patrol
Buck confers with Chris (off-camera) as the two forces cavalry converge.
20b Feudal Patrol
Chris moves his Yorkists up and takes two wagons.
20c Feudal Patrol
I moved a leader on top of the remaining wagon to seize it.  Unfortunately, the Yorkist crossbowmen ended that effort by turning him into a pin cushion, and pinning his subordinates in the process.

20d Feudal Patrol

After this game, I walked around and took some more shots of some cool tables.  There was a 54mm scale ACW game, and a 54mm medieval mayhem game.  Greg Priebe had a Poland 1940 Combat Patrol™  game for replete with an armored train.  Lastly, there was an Aliens-inspired scratch built table that was impressive.  These shots are below.

28 ACW2
Another ACW game, in larger scale.

The last game that I played on Friday was with Dave Wood and another player.  It recreated the scenario made famous by the events portrayed in the movie Black Hawk Down.  The rules were Force on Force, which had an interesting set of mechanics, but very complicated for a short game.  We actually ran the game twice, with Dave and I as the Americans.  All agreed that the scenario was impossible to win for the US.  Still, the GM Carl Olsen made the experience enjoyable.

26aa Blackhawk down

26 Blackhawk down
The tabletop for the scenario.
27 Blackhawk down
Even with air support, the mission was too difficult for the US.

That finished off Friday.  Saturday presented an opportunity to play the massive Combat Patrol™ Star Wars Battle of Hoth scenario (from The Empire Strikes Back) of the Battle of Hoth that Buck and Greg Priebe ran at Historicon.  It was pure eye-candy (as you’ll see below), and a blast to play.  We had a full table of 10-12 players.  The Combat Patrol™ Star Wars supplement was used – and was easily picked up by the players who were new.  Buck and Greg did an outstanding job of running this massive game.

I played with several other players on the Imperial side with the goal of destroying the Millennium Falcon before it could fly out of the cave it was hiding in with the other rebel ships.  We succeeded in eventually knocking out the shield generator with an AT-AT.  Subsequently the Millennium Falcon was destroyed when our forces could get a clear shot.  A strategic victory was had for the Empire!

32 Buck Surdu and Greg Priebe Battle of Hoth
Scenario designers and GM’s Buck Surdu and Greg Priebe
30 Battle of Hoth
A view from the attacking Imperial forces side – the rebels and their spacecraft were in the cave on the far side.  The shield generator is on the far right.  The rebel trenches and positions were beautiful.  All the models were so fun.
31 Battle of Hoth
Imperial set up before the game.
32 Battle of Hoth
Rebel spaceships getting positioned in cave.  The Millennium Falcon was not yet set up on the top corner.
33 Battle of Hoth Speeders
Imperial speeders storm anti-vehicle weapons positions.
34 Battle of Hoth Inf carriers
A bloody affair.
35 Battle of Hoth
The advance continues.
36 Battle of Hoth
A very unique set of walker positions.
37 Battle of Hoth Shield Generator blows
Bye bye shield generator!

After the victory, I had some time before I needed to set up and run my Normandy Breakout scenario for What a Tanker© that I have previously run a few times.  I took a few more shots of some interesting games.  One of these was a Dungeon Crawl run by a gentleman (sorry as I forgot his name) who makes his own miniatures out of small bits of wood and paints them really well – check them out below.

After this, it was on to setting up and running my Normandy Breakout game.  I have really gotten this game to be a great gaming experience – based on both my opinion and consistent feedback from the players.  This time, I had between 9 and 11 different players as some came and went.

The Germans made some very good decisions on terrain use and vehicle selection.  The Allies did not choose enough reconnaissance vehicles, and were less effective using terrain as a whole.  The Allies did not do a good job at crossing the table – with only a M10 Wolverine (by Dave Wood) and an M5 Stuart (by Buck Surdu) crossing the board.  To be fair, the dice abandoned the Allies at a few critical junctures.

The Germans chose expensive vehicles, such as the Panther D (Greg Priebe), Jadgpanther (Andrew) and Tiger II (run by a woman known as April or “Queen Tiger” in the game), but used them effectively to stop the Allies.   This put them in a points disadvantage, that they made up with their kills.  Don Hogge’s used his SdKfz 233 very well to delay and harass the Allies.  The Germans lost no vehicles, and the Allies lost a total of 5: a Dingo scout car, an M3A1 Stuart, an M10 Wolverine, and two 17-pounder Achilles.  The Allies vehicle choices hurt them (not enough tanks and reconnaissance versus tank destroyers). This had not happened in previous runs, and is a testament to the German players having a good plan.  The final score was 160-123 in favor of the Germans.  I will continue to run this game – it has never been the same twice.

00 Chris Palmer pic of my game
I GM the mid game action (photo by Chris Palmer)
41 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
Players on the Allied side get ready to play.
42 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
Here the Americans smashed an M3A1 Stuart through a hedgerow – where it discovered a Panther D.  It took the flank shot and managed to do some temporary and permanent damage.
43 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
The Panther then turned and knocked the Stuart out – the black smoke indicates that the crew lived and bailed out, but the tank was destroyed.
44 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
With a burning Dingo behind him, a Jagdpanther confronts the Achilles “Tabitha” (named after my granddaughter).  German artillery-delivered smoke dissipates in the top of this photo.
46 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
The poor Achilles “Tabitha” is no match for the Jagdpanther, and is brewed up on the next activation.
45 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
An American M10 Wolverine gets a rear shot on the Greg Priebe’s damaged Panther, but not enough damage is inflicted… 
47 Normandy Breakout What a Tanker
…and on the next activation, the Panther turned and knocked out the Wolverine.

After picking up, the last game I played in was a Roman Circus Chariot game with rules by DeWitt.  My chariot flipped and I lost – but it was fun!

And the flea market was outstanding!

Thanks to the HAWKS for a great weekend!

And thanks to you, dear reader, for looking – feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My HUZZAH! 2019 Recap

The 10th running of the HUZZAH! wargaming convention was held last month from May 17th-19th in Portland, Maine.  It was ably run by the Maine Historical Wargamers Association.  There were a lot of games, including some run by friends from both the Maryland -based H.A.W.K.’s (Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers) and the Historical Gaming Club of Uxbridge (Massachusetts).  Several members of the Mass Pikemen were also in attendance.  I missed the sign up to run a game, but I was nevertheless happy to make the trek to Maine, attend and play.

As I am catching up on my blogging, and as I did not get a chance to take many pictures of games that I was not involved in, this post will focus on the five games that I did participate in at the convention.  It will hopefully give a flavor of the games, and my experience – however slim compared with all the events that were run there.

Game 1  – “The Enchanted Valley; Rules – Blood & Swash/Thunder & Plunder

The first game was run by Eric Schlegel from the H.A.W.K.’s.  The scenario was “The Enchanted Valley” – a fantasy game in which you had a small squad, and you had to battle GM-run bad guys for treasure and points.  In my case, I had a squad of halflings (hobbits), and the figures were old Grenadier ones from the 1980’s.  I spent the game battling giant armed frogs and goblins, while other players were similarly battling other creatures.  The rules were Blood & Swash/Thunder & Plunder written by two friends of mine, Buck Surdu and Chris Palmer, and were the basis for their later set of rules – G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.   You can read about these and other rules here (just scroll down).

1 The Enchanted Valley

2 The Enchanted Valley
Eric and Vickie await the start of the game
3 The Enchanted Valley
My squad – these are Grenadier halflings from the boxed set Halflings – which was issued in 1980 by Grenadier.  You can read about them here.
4 The Enchanted Valley
My squad stats.
5 The Enchanted Valley
Nice view of the board and some of the players, including Bruce Carson on the left and another H.A.W.K. Duncan Adams on the right.
6 The Enchanted Valley
The frogs I battled.
7 The Enchanted Valley
My hobbit leader dispatched a goblin leader and a few giant ticks.

I fared OK, but did not come out on top.  I think that there were close to 8 or 9 players.   I think that Eric and Vickie ran the game well and it was quite fun.

Game 2  – “Mortwald Under Siege: Zero Hour”; Rules – Warhammer 40K

Many of you who follow this blog are avid 40K players and GW miniature painters.  The minis that you assemble, convert, and paint are truly a sight to see.  Additionally, the terrain is very eye-catching.  Of course, I missed that whole era/genre of wargaming when it launched and as it grew.  I wanted to give this 40K game a shot, and I will likely give the game another shot at some time in the future.  But before I go on, I want to say that the following is not an attack on anyone who loves 40K – it’s just my experience with it at the HUZZAH! convention.

It was the absolute worst gaming experience that I have ever had.  Sorry, but it was.

The terrain was gorgeous, and the figures were well-painted.  The game scenario, unfortunately, had no story or reason as to why anything was there in terms of terrain or figures.  There were two tables next to each other, and mine had several newbies and some experienced players.  A couple of the GM’s were subbing (and admirably trying I will say) for another GM who could not attend.   But hurting their efforts was the fact that there were hardly any cheat sheets or charts available, and those that were were microscopic in font size.  Much of the game was spent figuring out the stats of the different space marine factions by either looking at the rule books or some players using a GW app on their iPads or iPhones.

The players on my side with whom I played also had a similarly negative experience.  What I remember about the game was that a large number of Plague Marines moved in, and over us (whoever we were – the figs were blue and some kind of space marine) with seemingly no way of effectively stopping them.  I don’t remember many strategic of tactical gaming choices we made except to move and take up defensive positions and try to shoot.  Was it balanced or play tested?  Who knows.  My memory of the game includes spending a lot of time looking at other people consulting rule books and devices, interspersed with being overrun by gloppy plague marines.  Oh yeah, there was the conversations on my side with teammates asking WTF multiple times.  I was told by someone I trust that this game was not typical – and that perhaps Kill Team is better.  Again, I’ll keep an open mind, but for beginners this game was definitely was not!  I also want the GM’s to know that we did not hold the experience against them at all – at least I did not.  It’s not easy to be a GM.

8 40k

One of the two tables  – not the one I played on.

9 40k
Table 1
10 40k
Table 1
11 40k
Table 2 – we were defending this side.
12 40k
We came, we were confused about the rules, the scenario…then plague marines wiped us out.

Just to be clear again, I follow several blogs whose authors do a great job on GW stuff.  I mainly tried to play because I have been inspired by their projects.  If you want to see some of their excellent painting and conversions of GW stuff, check out any of the following sites:

These guys give me hope to try 40K again…sometime.  This game finished off Friday at HUZZAH! for me.

Game 3  – “Clash at Palmer’s Island, Chesapeake Bay 1637”; Rules – Feudal Patrol™ (as of yet unpublished)

Duncan Adams of the H.A.W.K.’s ran this scenario on Saturday morning.  It featured Marylanders (my side) contesting the “illegal” occupation of Palmer’s Island by Virginians and some Indian allies.  The rules used were Buck Surdu’s soon to be published Feudal Patrol™, a card-based system similar to Combat Patrol™, but for eras/genres with more swords and arrows and matchlocks than modern warfare.  As a huge fan of Combat Patrol™, I was really looking forward to trying the system.  Here, it was a skirmish action.

The game went very well, with the players grasping the game’s concepts very quickly.  Also, I liked the changes on the cards for melee and missile weapons.  Our team’s matchlocks (and troop maneuver) held the day with a major victory.

13 Feudal Patrol
Game set up.
14 Feudal Patrol
Maryland militia move in for the assault.
15 Feudal Patrol
Duncan Adams ably ran this fun game.
16 Feudal Patrol
Virginia had Indian allies – shown here attempting to flank our attack through the woods.  
17 Feudal Patrol
A relief column of Virginians (upper right) kills one Marylander (forefront).  The Virginians are then taken quickly under matchlock fire as they exit the woods.
18 Feudal Patrol
Marylanders take out the Virginian leader as he less than bravely hid in the brush.
19 Feudal Patrol
This became a bit of a scrum afterwards, with casualties mounting and the Marylanders prevailing.
20 Feudal Patrol
Close up of some of the figures and terrain.
21 Feudal Patrol
The Indians made a flanking charge from the woods, but were beaten back.

Game 4  – “Battle of Hannut” with 28 mm tanks; Rules – What a Tanker

I have been very much into playing What a Tanker© by Too Fat Lardies since I attended BARRAGE last year.  I was very psyched to try this scenario, The Battle of Hannut, which happened in Belgium in 1940.  Christopher Boynton ran the game and did an excellent job.  There were 10 or 12 players.  His tanks were 28mm (I prefer 15mm but 28mm are fine and fun).  His tanks and terrain were very well painted.  The terrain and set up were cool as well.  I played on the French side and took a SOMUA.

Interestingly, Christopher had a few changes he made for the game.   First, for activation, he used a card-based system.  Second, he had everyone roll all of their Command Dice at the same time at the beginning of the turn.  Lastly, he allowed you to turn in all your dice for one you wanted if your roll was bad.  The card system was interesting, but really not too different than rolling dice, except that “banking” a six from the previous turn got you an additional card for activation that could be better than what you would have gotten.  I’m not sure I like all players rolling all the Command Dice at the beginning – it allows you to see what your adversary can do before you take your turn.  You also get to choose which Command Dice you lose if you take damage.  The house rule on converting all your dice into one desired action was interesting, but I would not add that as it helps damaged tanks too much.  It was different, but consistent for all players.

My SOMUA moved up quickly and was the target for no less than four German Panzers.  My armor absorbed the hits, but eventually my tank was knocked out – with the crew surviving.  I respawned as a new SOMUA, and rammed a Panzerjager 1.  The game ended there.  We achieved a minor victory for the French.  Thanks to Christopher for running a superb and fun game.

22 WaT Battle of Hannut
The Battle of Hannut set up.
23 WaT Battle of Hannut
My SOMUA attracts a lot of German attention (upper right).
24 WaT Battle of Hannut
Eventually, my SOMUA was knocked out.
25 WaT Battle of Hannut
Late in the game, I got to ram a Panzerjager I with my second SOMUA, doing minor damage to the German.  Christopher Boynton used the flame markers as “ACQUIRED” markers.

Game 5  – “Test of Honour Returns to Hanghai”; Rules – Test of Honour

The last game for Saturday was “Test of Honor Returns to Hanghai” using Mike Paine’s wonderful and extensive Hanghai tabletop.  Ted Salonich and Ryan MacRae split GM responsibilities as Chris Rett was unable to attend.  They did a marvelous job running the Test of Honour rules by Grey for Now Games.

I also finally got to game with Mike Paine, a true legend in the New England gaming community.  We were teams of three, and Mike faced off with us.  We had a back and forth, but in the last couple of turns we were beaten back soundly.

Thanks again to Ted and Ryan for running a fun game.

26 Test of Honor
Ryan (standing on the left) getting set up, while Mike Paine and his team wait for the game to start on Mike’s table.
27 Test of Honor
Mike Paine’s board is so much fun.
28 Test of Honor
Final scrum on the island – we were soon pushed back.

Game 6  – “Returning to Hanghai”; Rules – Mike Paine’s home brew rules

On Sunday morning, I had the chance to finally try Mike Paine’s Hanghai game.  It is a 1920’s pulp game, and it is a big hit at a convention with both young and old.  It was pretty much the same table as what we played Saturday night, but there were ships and planes and many other cool things all scattered everywhere.  The amount of work that went into the table is staggering.  You have to see it to appreciate it.

I took a naval crew in a gunboat – and I had a submarine.  My leader was Captain Nemo.  The goal of the game was to grab treasures and key items.  I was playing next to Eric Schlegel, and I decided to try to eliminate the competition, which led to counter-fire, with Eric getting the better of the exchange.  I ended up with only a submarine and one sailor, so with a long drive back home, I surrendered my sub to Eric with Mike Paine’s blessing.

Truly an epic game to try!  Thanks to Mike Paine!

29 Hanghai
My crew and gunboat.
30 Hanghai
Eric Schlegel’s forces return fire on me.
31 Hanghai
Mike Paine – master of Hanghai game.
32 Hanghai
The game attracted a lot of players, young and old.  The amount of terrain is unbelievable.
33 Hanghai
View of the harbor.
34 Hanghai
My gunboat and Captain Nemo – before Eric shot them all.

This was my first HUZZAH! but hopefully not my last.  By my count there were 117 games over the three day weekend, so this is a very small sample.  Thanks to the folks of the Maine Historical Wargamers Association for running a classy convention!

If you have any thoughts or feedback, please let me know below.  Thanks for looking!