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)

Montezuma and Chieftains – Wargames Foundry #AZ011 for Feudal Patrol

There were at least two men named Montezuma in Aztec history. The most famous were Montezuma I and Montezuma II. Montezuma I (1398-1469) became the Aztec emperor in 1440. This happened after both the assassination of his brother Chimalpopoca and the subsequent death of his half-uncle Itzcoatl (both had succeeded Montezuma I’s father, Huitzilihuitl, the first Aztec emperor). He had been a general in the Aztec army, and was elected “Great Speaker” which meant he spoke for Tenochtitlan and other tribes under Aztec control. Under his rule the Empire of the Aztecs of the Triple Alliance was established and its power in Mesoamerica was consolidated.

Montezuma II (1466-1520) was the great-grandson of Montezuma I. He is more widely known as he was the Aztec emperor that made contact with – and later was made prisoner by – Cortes and the Conquistadores. His, and the Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire, is a complex story that fills many a book – and is too great to recount here. Montezuma II saw the expansion of the Aztec Empire to its greatest heights, and also saw it fall. His final humiliating act was to be forced by his Spanish captors to appear on a balcony to entreat his people to back off their siege of the Conquistadores. He was then killed by his own enraged Aztecs while speaking to them by a thrown or slung rock.

Both of these men named Montezuma certainly sacrificed thousands upon thousands of victims on the altars of their god Huitzilopochtli. There are also multiple spellings for Montezuma – but I will use this one!

“Emperor Montezuma and Chieftains”

In my supplement for games of Feudal Patrol™, Civilizations Collide, Montezuma (either one) can be deployed as an overall commander or as a hero. In this role, he can stiffen his own troops resolve – as his presence on the battlefield reminds all of his minions that the price of failure or retreat is a trip to the sacrificial altar. I have discussed the game on previous posts, as well as my supplement. See the links at the end of this post to learn more. You can download Civilizations Collide for free on Sally 4th’s website here or the Feudal Patrol™ website here.

Wargames Foundry makes AZ011 “Emperor Montezuma and Chieftains”, and I acquired a blister from Badger Games. All are 28mm, and metal. The figures are of Montezuma (not defined as to which one), four battle chieftains/leaders, and a warrior priest. I did not take many WIP shots of all the figures – but this time I’ll handle each one in turn and share a bit about each one, starting with Montezuma.

Click on any of the images for a larger view!

Montezuma

This figure really challenged me, but the sculpt was quite nice, and my favorite of the lot. I really wanted his cloak and feather work to pop. I ended up using a lot of inks on all of these figures here – and I used a gloss varnish over them to protect the work. This proved to be a good call (similar to what I did with the Shorn Ones).

Below, you will see final shots of the completed Montezuma figure. I used a yellow ink (Vallejo Game Ink) to achieve the color on off-white on the cloak border. I’m pretty happy with the shading on the cloak. This was the most freehand detail that I’ve attempted on a cloak. I was inspired by cloaks that I have seen done by The Imperfect Modeler on his blog – an example of his artistry can be seen here – check him out.

Aztec Chieftain/Captain (ACP1)

I designated this figure as ACP1. These chieftains (ACP1-4) will be leaders of warbands or higher, but will serve under the generals. The first one looked almost like a Shorn One except for the haircut. I did not really like the face on the sculpt, but overall I think it’s ok. His crown was odd compared to other Aztec stuff I’ve seen, so I made it yellow. He’s armed with a tepoztopilli (an obsidian-edged thrusting spear) and has a nice big shield that both were part of the figure. His tlahuiztli (suit) is supposed to be feathered.

AZTEC CHIEFTAIN/CAPTAIN (ACP2)

This figure had an almost Roman-like look – except the tall feather headdress gives it away. That, and it has a feathered tlahuiztli that I painted blue also. This miniature had a drum for signaling mounted on the rack on his back. This drum would motivate me to use it as an example and make a drum for the ACP3 figure as you’ll see later (which had nothing on its back rack). He is armed with a macuahuitl (obsidian-edged club/broadsword), and his shield was a Wargames Foundry one that I repainted and gave a more fancy look with the two-colored circle and frets.

AZTEC CHIEFTAIN/CAPTAIN (ACP3)

This figure made me think a bit and as previously mentioned caused me to put a little more work into it. It had a back rack, but nothing to put on it – and the painting example on the websites did not either. Why would it have a rack without anything to carry?

Therefore, I decided that a small signaling drum would be appropriate to sculpt and add. I used some styrene bits, paper clip wire, and green stuff to make a drum. View the gallery below left to right and top to bottom.

Here is the completed ACP3 below. I think the drum worked out well enough for the tabletop. It has a macuahuitl behind the shield. The figure’s shield frets were a bit uneven, so I did not give them any additional painting details. I wanted the shield to be eye-catching – thought the white rim here is a bit more bright in the photo than in real life.

AZTEC CHIEFTAIN/CAPTAIN (ACP4)

I looked at this figure and frankly thought the helmet and headdress to be a bit odd for an Aztec warrior. Still, if it’s in the blister, I paint it! I did also give it an updated small shield. This figure is also armed with a macuahuitl.

AZTEC warrior priest (Awp4)

This is the one warrior priest in the blister. It actually looks inspired by the image in John Pohl’s 1991 Osprey Book Aztec, Mixtec, and Zapotec Armies – Men-at-Arms. That image shows a Zapotec (as opposed to an Aztec) warrior priest wearing the flayed skin of a defeated enemy. Now, Aztecs did also flay their enemies (in addition to sacrifices and other horrors). Diaz (a contemporary of Cortes and the author of the 16th century book The History of the Conquest of New Spain) described finding the flayed (and yet still-bearded) faces of fallen Conquistadores hanging in captured Aztec villages and cities. My guess is that it is likely that an Aztec warrior priest could have worn a flayed enemy skin to intimidate his enemies on the battlefield. In any case, this is the fourth warrior priest I have painted.

The figure’s flayed suit was somewhat negatively affected (less realistic) by the position in which the flayed feet were sculpted in my opinion. The flayed hands hang loosely over the warrior priest’s hands, and look appropriate (for flayed hands). However, the skinned feet stick out here oddly as you’ll see below. I am sure they would have flopped loosely – as indeed the ones do in Pohl’s book. The back banner was pretty large and came in two pieces. I needed to use green stuff to reinforce part of it but I thought it fun to assemble.

Lastly, I did not know what color a flayed skin would have. I’m assuming it would be like a tanned animal skin, but that would not negate any necrotic colors (or smells I’m sure). Luckily, I’ve not seen (or smelled) anyone who has been flayed!

So, I decided to use a couple of paints – Citadel “Contrast Paint – Plaguebearer Flesh” highlighted and dry brushed with a layer paint – Citadel “Flayed One Flesh”. Not sure if this worked – you can let me know! His suit is a bit on the zombie green side. The figure is tall, and also armed with a macuahuitl. The shield design is adapted from Steve’s Balagan.

GRoup shot

Emperor Montezuma and Chieftains completed!

This group of Aztecs completes (for now) the ones that I need for the games I have planned. I have painted 109 Aztecs since April, and 32 Tlaxcalans. I have 81 Conquistadores to do next.

On my last blogpost, I got a request from fellow army builder and blogger Alex. He has a blog worth checking out called Leadbaloony – It’s a Lead Thing ~ (sorry no balloons). His painting is exquisite. Alex wanted a picture of my entire Aztec army – so I will try to comply below!

Here you go Alex, 109 Aztec Warriors!
Side view – not including my Tlaxcalans – which would be 32 more figures.
Opposite angle

To paraphrase Chief Brodie in Jaws, I’m gonna need a bigger boat box!

I’ll have to break these into two boxes for sure, especially to travel to conventions and game days at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club post-COVID 19.

Thanks for looking at these and following this journey. I hope to get going on the Conquistadores and some Things from the Basement terrain (from the Lost Archipelago collection) I just ordered from Badger Games.

I hope you stay with me as I round the corner on his project! These will be in games, some even virtually. As always, let me know your thoughts and ideas about these figures. Stay safe!

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

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

  1. Montezuma and Chieftains – Wargames Foundry #AZ011 for Feudal Patrol (this post) – 6 Aztec figures (Montezuma, 4 Chieftains, 1 Warrior Priest)
  2. Aztec Shock Troops – Cuachic Warriors aka The Shorn Ones – 8 Aztec cuachicqueh warriors
  3. Tloxtoxl and the Priests of the Great Temple, Wargames Foundry AZ021 – 2 warrior priests, 1 priestess, 1 priest, 1 leader, and 1 signaler
  4. Civilizations Collide – The Wars of the Aztecs, the Inca, the Maya, and the Conquistadores is now available as a FREE Download for Feudal Patrol™ – plus a Feudal Patrol™ review!
  5. 18 Aztec Novice Warriors for Feudal Patrol Walk into a Bar – 18 Novice Warriors
  6. Aztec Warrior Priests (painted as Tlaxcalans), Ral Partha 42-302, circa 1988 (this post) – 6 figures – 6 Tlaxcalan Warrior Priests
  7. Tlaxcalan Novices, Elite Warriors, and Command Group – 18 figures – 8 Novice Tlaxcalan Warriors, 8 Elite Tlaxcalan Warriors, 1 Tlaxcalan Captain, 1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower
  8. Tlaxcalan Archers – 8 Veteran Tlaxcalan Archers
  9. Aztec Game for Feudal Patrol across thousands of miles – via Zoom!
  10. Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer – 1 Aztec General, 1 Aztec Drummer
  11. A June and July Jaguar Warrior Frenzy (plus some Aztec Veterans and a Warrior Priest to Boot) – 3 Aztec Veteran Warriors, 17 Jaguar Warriors, 1 Aztec Warrior Priest
  12. Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
  13. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  14. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  15. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

Total figures to date for this project: 141 figures:  109 Aztecs, 32 Tlaxcalans, 0 Spanish Conquistadores

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

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. Poster tack
  4. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White Primer”
  5. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  6. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  7. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  8. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  9. Army Painter “Tanned Flesh”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
  11. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  12. Vallejo Game Color “Bronze Fleshtone”
  13. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  14. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
  15. Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
  16. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Darkoath Flesh”
  17. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Contrast Medium”
  18. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  19. Green stuff (kneadatite)
  20. Styrene tube
  21. Styrene card
  22. Plastruct Bondene Styrene and Plastic Solvent/Cement
  23. Paper clips
  24. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  25. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  26. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown”
  27. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Ultramarines Blue”
  28. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Plaguebearer Flesh”
  29. Citadel “Auric Armour Gold”
  30. Vallejo Game Ink “Blue”
  31. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
  32. Citadel “Nuln Oil GLOSS” (wash)
  33. Vallejo Game Ink “Yellow”
  34. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Terradon Turquoise”
  35. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  36. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  37. Citadel Air “Balor Brown”
  38. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gore-Grunta Fur”
  39. Vallejo Game Ink “Green”
  40. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
  41. Citadel “Drakenhof Nightshade” (shade)
  42. Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
  43. Army Painter “Red Tone”
  44. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Snakebite Leather”
  45. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Cygor Brown”
  46. Vallejo Game Ink “Red”
  47. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  48. Citadel “Flayed One Flesh”
  49. Battlefront “Wool Brown”
  50. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Iyanden Yellow”
  51. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
  52. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  53. E6000 Epoxy
  54. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  55. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  56. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  57. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  58. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  59. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  60. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  61. Americana “Desert Sand”
  62. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  63. Army Painter “Meadow Flowers” (flocking)
  64. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)