Aztec Temple High Throne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All my terrain so far.

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

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THIS MODEL

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

Aztec Game for Feudal Patrol across thousands of miles – via Zoom!

Last Saturday morning I had the chance to GM and play…(wait for it)…a real tabletop wargame!!!  We were able to play a game of Feudal Patrol™ via Zoom.  This game is a member of the Combat Patrol™ WWII family of games, and will be available soon from On Military Matters in the US and Sally 4th in the UK.  The players were all alone at home and included myself (in Massachusetts), Buck Surdu (in Florida), Dave Wood (in Maryland), Greg Priebe (also in Maryland), and Chris Abbey (in the UK).  Buck hosted the Zoom meeting, and I ran the game with some of my Aztec figures in my cellar that followers of this blog have seen completed such as my last one here.

The scenario is called “Raid to Satisfy Huitzilopochtli”.  Huitzilopochtli was a major deity in the Aztec religion, and was particularly noted as a god of war and sacrifice.  The scenario uses the supplement I wrote for Feudal Patrol™ called Civilizations Collide.  It takes 60 points of attackers against 26 points of defense.  However, this being an Aztec attack on another Mexica town, the focus is on capturing incapacitated warriors and dragging them back for sacrifice on the altar of Huitzilopochtli.   Of course, the defenders would be trying to take captives to satisfy their particular deity as well. My rules focus on this, and other aspects of Mesoamerican warfare – to try to create an authentic feel – and a different wargaming experience.  Even the difficult-to-pronounce names of the weapons (macuahuitl, tepoztopilli, cuauhololli, atlatl, sling (well not that one)) add to the feel. I aimed to create a scenario that is similar to a “Flower War” – where both sides deployed for a ritualized pre-arranged showdown. 

The attackers would split their forces equally between Zones #1 and #2, which would also be where they would need to drag their captives.

The defenders would get more victory points for the same achievements – such as taking captives or incapacitating an enemy figure.  One interesting aspect of the Aztec supplement rules is that as you take out an enemy you must take troops away from the battle to drag the incapacitated figure back to a prearranged spot for your side.  Which means that as you achieve success on the battlefield, you lose troops for “captive duty” as it were.

The score sheet and possible points available for success for each side.

 Dave, Buck and I were on the attack – and Buck and Chris defended.   At first, the defenders were a bit concerned with the seemingly overwhelming odds facing them. But they had the advantage of choosing to deploy after the attackers, as well as the chance to use the defensive terrain around the fields.

Logistically, I had two cameras logged in for the game – one from my iPad and one from my iPhone.  I had acquired a nice inexpensive tripod from Xenvo via Amazon called a “Lobsterpod” that worked really well.  I moved the figures based on the gamers commands and the game moved along fairly well on the Zoom platform, though not as fast as if the players were all in the same room.  Of course, the option to actually see my figures in all their “glory” was compromised (I’m pretty proud of them) – but hey – they are on my previous blog posts for all my readers to see so no problem, right? I only used Aztec figures, but later I will be able to augment the defenders with Tlaxcalans (when I get them painted). I planned here and for the future to allow the gamers to pick their figures beforehand from a menu of available ones, and organize their forces prior to a game.

I set up the tabletop as shown below – some of my 15mm Normandy hedgerows served well as protection around the fields. The walled section of the village is pretty basic here as it does not come into the game except as a collection point for captives.

This view is from the defenders’ side. The defenders’ walled village is in the middle on the right and served as the point for their captives to be collected for sacrifice/slavery.

The attackers tried to flank the enemy on both sides of the board while simultaneously making a frontal assaults to tie the defenders down at the wall. The attackers got a bit unlucky (to say the least) as a veteran/novice “twinned” unit (Dave) moved slowly (even at a sprint). Buck took a unit of Jaguar Warriors straight at Chris’ Arrow Warriors (yes I know they may not have been historical – think of them as elite atlatl troops with limited ammunition), and got mauled – losing two Jaguars Warriors to the defenders as potential sacrifices. On the other flank, I faced off against Greg, and despite his having a terrible early morale result that dispersed his troops, he was able to inflict good damage on my greater numbers. In the end, the defenders were able to do enough damage and take enough prisoners on the attackers for a pretty convincing victory. All agreed that the scenario was well-balanced, and all seemed to have a good time.

Buck took some screen shots that I will share below (click on them for a better view) – and he also wrote a blog post on the battle that you can read here.

At this point, the defenders have triumphed by great play.

I used color-coded and numbered magnets to try to keep the forces straight, and it worked. But magnets in melee do attract…so next time I will use poster tack and small hole punched card of different colors. A gaming challenge is to make sure that the Aztecs and other forces are identifiable for the player, either in remote mode or live. The card solution should be an easy fix.

Here are some shots that I took after the game:

Lastly, here are the gamers:

Great fun group!

My thanks to all who participated. It was a nice test of my scenario and the special rules I wrote for Civilizations Collide, which will be a free download from the game’s website when it goes live in September. I must say it was a gratifying experience, and one that I hope to repeat.

I intend to buy Zoom if there is enough interest and host some more games – at least until we are clear of the COVID-19 virus. I could see my running more Feudal Patrol™ games, and even What a Tanker games. If you would be up to a remote game, let me know in the comments section – maybe we can make it happen!

Check out the links for Feudal Patrol™ – its a great and easy card-based system that is really a great step forward.