Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer

An army needs a leader!  My Aztecs troops will be used in skirmish warfare games of Feudal Patrol™ (check out these two links on the game here and here).

Feudal Patrol™ will launch very soon (very exciting!).

In the game, the basic unit is an Element of 5 figures, including a front-line leader. Up to four Elements will constitute a Warband, and up to four Warbands will make up a Battle Group. Similarly, up to four Battle Groups will constitute an Army. Most games will never be composed of an Army as the system is designed for skirmish level war gaming. Still, it could be used for big battles effectively.

At the highest level of course was the “huey tlatoani” or “Great Speaker” – the emperor of the Aztecs. Under him as the head of the War Council and the supreme field commander was the Cihuacoatl, also called the Snake Woman”. This was not a woman – but always a man – despite the name. Cihuacoatl was also a goddess of fertility and childbirth in Aztec mythology. Yes, it’s a bit confusing, and I’ll leave that right there.

As I previously posted, Badger Games was kind enough to offer me an Outpost Wargames Services baggie of OWS AZG001 – General as Snake Woman priestess w/drummer. It consisted of an Aztec/Mexica General replete with back ornament and a standard of Quetzalteopamitl (serpent of precious feathers). Back in the day, both were adorned with lots of gold and quetzal feathers. A wonderful image is found on plate A of Pohl’s Aztec, Mixtec, and Zapotec Armies. It was a nice chance to work on two figures at a time instead of 21!

Golden-headed quetzal (By Flickr user chdwckvnstrsslhm . Photo uploaded to commons by user ltshears – Flickr here, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1833937)

The model was fairly straightforward, though I needed to make a rig of clothespins, poster tack, and specimen bottles (seen below) to paint the back ornament and the banner. Mold lines were easy to deal with on these, and the details were nice.

Here you can see the set-up I used to paint the set. The old clothes pins worked well as shown.

The challenges here necessitated using slightly larger washers as bases – and 1.25″ washers along with some smaller ones and some plastic card were needed (a list of materials is at the end of this post for those who are interested). As far as painting, care had to be taken with the components so as to not damage them during the build as well as to protect their paint jobs. A little varnish along the way helped here. The other major challenge was on the generals face painting. The details (such as the white markings on the lower blackened part of the face) here were the smallest I have ever attempted on 28mm figures.

The figures complete and ready for some eye-candy shots.
Frontal shot
Back shot – you can see the back ornament mounting here.
Right side – I really enjoyed painting the drum for some reason!
Left side shot. The shield design is from the Osprey plate, which in turn had its basis in the Codices. The back ornament and the banner helped with command and control of troops, as did the drum of course.

I hope that you found this interesting. I am moving on to working on other troops – and A GAME (remotely run) next week with players in 3 US states and the UK – more to follow soon!

Until next time – take care and stay safe all!

Miscellaneous details and references for those interested:

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

  1. Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer (this post) – 1 Aztec General and 1 drummer
  2. 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
  3. Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
  4. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  5. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  6. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

Total figures to date for this project:  71 Aztecs

16 All aztecs so far
71 Aztecs so far!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THE AZTEC SNAKEWOMAN AND DRUMMER:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1.25″ Everbilt ABJ Fender Washers
  3. ½” stainless steel fender washers
  4. #8 Everbilt Fender Washers
  5. Plastic card
  6. E6000 Epoxy
  7. Poster tack, plastic plates, and clothes pins
  8. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White Primer”
  9. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  10. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  11. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  12. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
  13. Vallejo Model Color “Mahogany”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
  15. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  16. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  17. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  18. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  19. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  20. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Contrast Medium”
  21. Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
  22. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  23. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  24. Vallejo Model Air Color “Gold”
  25. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  26. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  27. Vallejo Model Air Color “Silver”
  28. Vallejo Model Color “Basic Skin Tone”
  29. Vallejo Model Color “Light Flesh”
  30. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
  31. Battlefront “Wool Brown”
  32. Citadel “Auric Armour Gold”
  33. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
  34. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Darkoath Flesh”
  35. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  36. Citadel “Praxeti White”
  37. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  38. Battlefront “Panther Yellow”
  39. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  40. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown”
  41. Army Painter “Red Tone” (shade)
  42. Americana “Desert Sand”
  43. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  44. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  45. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  46. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  47. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  48. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

Thanks for looking – I am entering this project into Azazel’s extended July/August community painting challenge in the “hero” category. Please feel free to comment below – always appreciated.

A June and July Jaguar Warrior Frenzy (plus some Aztec Veterans and a Warrior Priest to Boot)

When one looks at the historical images of various Aztec warriors of the 16th Century, some of the most striking ones are those of the Jaguar Warriors.  The Jaguar Warriors were true elite warriors, similar to the Eagle Warriors in having high and noble status in Aztec culture.  They wore elaborately decorated suits (tlahuitli)  that affected a jaguar-like look, replete with head-encompassing hardwood helmets (cuacalalatli) carved to be jaguar-like in appearance.  Their spotted gaudy suits were worn over quilted cotton armor vests called ichcahuipilli, which provided a degree of additional protection to the Jaguar Warrior.

The Jaguar Warriors’ actual designation was cuauhocelotl.  This was an elite warrior classification level that one earned by capturing at least four enemy warriors for use as sacrificial victims on the altar or as slaves.  Aztec warfare valued capturing an enemy warrior over killing one outright in battle.  Attaining Jaguar Warrior status had its privileges, such as being able to drink pulque (a fermented drink made from agave), and to have and keep concubines.

In battle, they were armed with atlatl (spear throwers), macuahuitl (obsidian-edged wooden clubs or broadswords), or tepoztopilli (obsidian-edged thrusting spears).  As Jaguar Warriors are iconic in Aztec warfare, I knew I needed to have some for my Aztec forces for the upcoming launch of Buck Surdu’s Feudal Patrol™ game, especially for the supplement that I wrote for the Spanish Conquest I called Civilizations Collide.  With all of their colorful suits and shields, so I was excited to paint some up and add to my troops that I have previously described in this blog.

From Badger Games, I had purchased a couple of 28mm scale metal Wargames Foundry blisters: AZ012 “Heroes of Tenochtitlan” and AZ015 “Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors”.  In AZ012 there were 6 figures – 3 Aztec veterans, 2 Jaguar Warriors, and a Warrior Priest.  I would need at least 5 for the basic unit in Feudal Patrol™ (that being a Warband), so I thought that AZ015 would round that out as that blister pack was supposed have six Jaguar Warriors.  Surprise – after opening it I found that there were seven!  Bad news, however –  the AZ015 blister pack had only 3 weapons, those being all atlatls in hands that needed to be mounted to arms – and only two of the 7 included figures were so designed.  The other 5 figures were thus without weapons.

I contacted Badger Games and they were fantastically accomodating.  They agreed to send me a pack of 8 Outpost Wargames Services Jaguar Warriors (AZ5), as well as another pack that I’ll describe in a future post.  These AZ5 Jaguar Warriors come in various poses.  Of note Badger also removed the AZ015 SKU from their website and contacted Wargames Foundry to advise them that every pack of AZ015 that they had had been similarly packed incorrectly.  That’s exceptional follow through on their part and I appreciated that.

The downside was was that I had to wait another week+ to get going again on the project.  When the OWS pack arrived, I was happy to see that there were two weapons (8 macuahuitl and 8 tepoztopilli) available for each of the 8 AZ5 Jaguar Warriors.  This meant that I had plenty of extra weapons to arm the AZ015 Jaguar Warriors!  All I needed to do was convert two AZ015 figures to hold an atlatl by cutting off their hands and replace with one of the three atlatls that came with the pack.

1 AZ015 somewhat in error
The Wargames Foundry AZ015 “Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors” improperly packed blister as received.  As a side note, Chimalpopoca was an Aztec emperor in the 15th Century.

Now I had not 8, but 21 figures for this project, which was definitely not my goal at the start!  Still, with this many figures, and permutations of shield design, weaponry, and colors, I needed a plan.  So I made one – as shown below.  Also, the WF and OWS sculpts were different of course, and I wanted a variety of Jaguar Warrior tlahuitli and cuacalalatli both for ease of play and to be historically accurate.  The best resources were this were the plates in my Osprey books and two Steven’s Balagan blog posts (THANK YOU STEVEN FOR SHARING!).  Both are phenomenal and invaluable (especially for shield design examples) – here they are:

Books:

  • Pohl, John M. D. (1991). Aztec, Mixtec, and Zapotec Armies – Men-at-Arms.London: Osprey Publishing.
  • Pohl, John M. D. (2001). Aztec Warrior, AD 1325-1521. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
  • Pohl, John M. D. (2005). Aztecs & Conquistadores. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
  • Sheppard, Si. (2018). Tenochtitlan: 1519-21.Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
  • Wise, Terence (1980). The Conquistadores – Men-at-Arms.London: Osprey Publishing.

Steven’s Balagan posts:

As far as my painting plan, I should mention that I have a numbering system for all of my figures for Civilizations Collide.   This system will allow me to have a points-based menu (like a “take-out menu”) for the gamers.  At the beginning of a game, they will be able to use the menu choose how to spend their available scenario points by choosing specific troops for their side by checking them off on a menu that I will provide.  I have an Excel spreadsheet with the figure values and designations that I will use to make the menu.  Also, I will print out a disc to glue under each figure’s base with that information as well.  This, I hope, will make the gaming experience better and very easy.

The pictures below show my initial organizational plan for arming the figures – I did have another corresponding Excel plan (not shown) where I planned the base colors and the specific shield designs for each of the figures.

2 AZ012 Heroes of Tenochtitlan (Wargames Foundry) plan
The WF “Heroes of Tenochtitlan” AZ012 blister figures initial plan.  The “AV25” for example means that it was an “Aztec Veteran #25”.  JA1 means “Jaguar Warrior #1”, and so on.  I later changed the Warrior Priest designation to AWP1.

3 AZ015 Chimalpopoca's Jaguar Warriors (Wargames Foundry) plan
The AZ015 WF “Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors” blister showing OWS weapons, the conversion of JA9 and JA9, and all the shields to paint from both WF blisters.

4 AZ25 Jaguar Warriors (Outpost Wargames Services) plan
The OWS AZ5 pack of 8 and their shields.  I found both these and the WF sculpts to be fun to paint.  As this post goes on, you can be the judge of their different styles.

After I completed the plan, I mounted the figures in my usual way.  I labeled the bottom of the washers under the figures with the figure number and I similarly labeled each of the specimen jars.  I also organized the shields as shown below – plus I also had painted shields from previous projects available.  I decided to first do their flesh and weapons, and then move on to do each figure in order and separately.  This way I would gain experience (and hopefully improve) with painting the patterns on the tlahuitli and cuacalalatli, especially the jaguar-specific aspects.  This approach did help me maintain focus on the figures.  I ended up with fewer WIP pics, but this was a big varied project.  Hell, most of these figures had not one – but two sets of eyes.  It took about a month-and-a-half!  Of course, the July 4th holiday weekend did keep me out of the painting mode – as did some golf.

I did change my approach to the flesh painting a bit.  Trying to get that right on dark flesh was a challenge.  The list of paints I used was extensive given the breadth of the figures needs, but for flesh I mainly moved more to using Citadel “Darkoath Flesh” over a Vallejo “Sunny Skin base” with Vallejo Model Color “Medium Skin Tone” as highlights.  I also experimented with Vallejo Model Color “Mahogany”.

Below are some examples of mostly completed and unvarnished figures which were awaiting shields, flocking, and of course varnishing.

12 Jaguar Warriors painted

OWS Jaguar Warrior figures JA12 and JA13.  The figures are the same pose, but I armed JA12 with a macuahuitl and JA13 with a tepoztopilli.  Note that I also gave them both different painting schemes.

Painting of the figures was followed by my working on the shields.  Using my plan I was able to finish them all after a few days and they are shown below with a ruler for scale.

13 Shields

I then mounted the shields, flocked the bases, varnished them, and applied static grass.

14 All flocked and varnished
All ready to get off the painting mounts.

Now comes the fun part – sharing the final products.  Each of the figures is shown below – and I gave each blister a different photo background.

“Heroes of Tenochtitlan” (AZ012) Blister Pack (Wargames Foundry)

Aztec Veteran Warrior AV25

AV25 Aztec Veteran Warrior
The first of three Aztec Veteran Warriors in the blister.  I experimented with darker skin tones on this figure.  The background photos are of a young Mexican cornfield.

Aztec Veteran Warrior AV26

AV26 Aztec Veteran Warrior
This Aztec Veteran Warrior was a more interesting sculpt for me than the previous one.

Aztec Veteran Warrior AV27

AV27 Aztec Veteran Warrior
This was the only figure of all of these that had an already-affixed shield.

Jaguar Warrior JA1

JA1
I looked to create a true jaguar coloring with this figure, though he came off a bit dark. in these photos.

Jaguar Warrior JA2

JA2
The blue and spot patterns were from an Osprey plate.  The shield was one of the more difficult freehands to do.  The blue color is purposefully dark as were the Osprey images.

Warrior Priest AWP1

AWP1
I enjoyed painting this guy and his shield.  Again, the details came from an Osprey plate.  The white-dotted tlahuitli and shield were supposed to be emblematic of the stars in the night sky.  Warrior Priests have special rules in my supplement and in general help keep an attached unit in the fight longer (better morale).  I have more of these to do – eventually…

All of the “Heroes of Tenochtitlan” Blister

10 Heroes of Tenochtitlan

“Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors” Blister Pack (Wargames Foundry)

Jaguar Warrior JA3

JA3
Some shields were simple wicker-covered designs like this one has.  The background for this blister is a Sonoran Desert shot.  The rosettes (jaguar spot patterns) were a challenge on all of these figures.

Jaguar Warrior JA4

JA4
I tried a lighter base on the tlahuitli here.

Jaguar Warrior JA5

JA5
Another Osprey plate-inspired base color.  I love his facial expression.

Jaguar Warrior JA6

JA6
Painting a complex design on a wicker-type shield is definitely harder!  The OWS tepoztopilli’s definitely worked well with the WF figures.

Jaguar Warrior JA7

JA7
Another blue-themed WF figure with a simple shield and OWS tepoztopilli.

Jaguar Warrior JA8

JA8
One of the conversions with an atlatl.

Jaguar Warrior JA9

JA9
Another conversion with an atlatl.

“Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors” assembled

22 Chimalpopoca's Jaguar Warriors assembled

“Jaguar Warriors” Pack (Outpost Wargames Services)

Jaguar Warrior JA10

JA10
A lighter pattern with the OWS shield.  These shields were smooth and easier to design and paint patterns.  The sculpts have their own distinct character – less fine detail than the WF ones, but no less visually impressive to me.  However, I did really find the OWS sculpts to have easier tlahuitli to paint as they were far more amenable to dry brushing and shading.  The background photo for all of these is an Aztec temple.

Jaguar Warrior JA11

JA11
One of the fun aspects here was being able to use so much yellow on most of these.  Yellow is a tough color to use (I find) on minis, and it’s a common color for the Aztecs shields and tlahuitli.  JA10 and JA11 are the same sculpt – I just added different weapons and used dissimilar paint and shield schemes.

Jaguar Warrior JA12

JA12
This sculpt seemed to be almost more dog-like with its cuacalalatli (hardwood helmet).

Jaguar Warrior JA13

JA13
JA12 and JA13 are the same sculpt, with different colors, weapons, and shields.

Jaguar Warrior JA14

JA14
I liked his charging into action pose!  I wonder if the tails cased problems in melee for those who had them?

Jaguar Warrior JA15

JA15
Another red-themed warrior.

Jaguar Warrior JA16

JA16
Just two pics here as he’s one of the few with his shield facing front.  Got the shield design from multiple places.

Jaguar Warrior JA17

JA17
More like a snow jaguar – but an available pattern.  Checkerboard shields are fun!

“Jaguar Warriors” Blister Pack assembled

24 All OWS Jaguar Warriors

And next here you have all 21 gathered:

25 Project Aztecs

Hopefully you enjoyed the pics and this post – and if you have feedback, a favorite among these, or a least favorite – positive feedback or devastating criticism – I’m up for all of the above.

With many conventions cancelled, and even gaming club get-togethers not happening, it may be a while before these Aztecs get into a fight.  I guess that just leaves more time to complete them – and eventually some Conquistadores and Tlaxcalans as foes.

This project hopefully counts as an entry for me for Azazel’s  illustrious “The Jewel of July 2020: Community Painting Challenge” under the “Heroes” category – just that there’s 21 of them!  By the way, it’s been mercifully extended until the end of August if you want in – check it out at the link.

I’m also reading this book as more research:

27 Book

Until next time – take care and stay safe all!

Miscellaneous details and references for those interested:

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

  1. A June and July Jaguar Warrior Frenzy (plus some Aztec Veterans and a Warrior Priest to Boot) (this post) – 3 Aztec Veteran Warriors, 17 Jaguar Warriors, 1 Aztec Warrior Priest
  2. Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
  3. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  4. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  5. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

Total figures to date for this project:  69 Aztecs

26 all Aztecs through this project

 

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THESE AZTEC VETERANS, JAGUAR WARRIORS, AND THE WARRIOR PRIEST:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. E6000 Epoxy
  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. Battlefront “Wool Brown”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
  11. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
  12. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  13. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  14. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  15. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
  16. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Contrast Medium”
  17. Vallejo Model Color “Medium Skin Tone”
  18. Vallejo Model Color “Light Flesh”
  19. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Darkoath Flesh”
  20. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  21. Vallejo Model Color “Mahogany”
  22. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
  23. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Skeleton Hordes”
  24. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  25. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  26. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  27. Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
  28. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown”
  29. Vallejo Game Air “Escorpena Green”
  30. P3 “Cygnar Blue Highlight”
  31. Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
  32. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Terradon Turquoise”
  33. Army Painter “Red Tone” (wash)
  34. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
  35. Citadel “Carroburg Crimson” (shade)
  36. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  37. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Snakebite Leather”
  38. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  39. P3 “Sunshine” (ink)
  40. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
  41. Vallejo Model Color “White”
  42. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Nazdreg Yellow”
  43. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Ultramarines Blue”
  44. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Black Templar”
  45. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  46. Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (shade)
  47. Citadel “Yriel Yellow”
  48. Citadel “Drakenhof Nightshade” (shade)
  49. Citadel “Biel-Tan Green” (shade)
  50. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Flesh Tearers Red”
  51. Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
  52. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  53. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Iyanden Yellow”
  54. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aggaros Dunes”
  55. Vallejo Model Color “Light Orange”
  56. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aethermatic Blue”
  57. P3 “Sulfuric Yellow”
  58. Citadel “Ceramite White”
  59. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  60. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  61. Citadel “Bloodletter” (glaze)
  62. Vallejo Mecha Color “SZ Red”
  63. Vallejo Mecha Color “Purple”
  64. Vallejo Model Air “Cockpit Emerald Green “Faded” ”
  65. Vallejo Mecha Color “Fluorescent Green”
  66. Americana “Desert Sand”
  67. Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
  68. Vallejo Model Air “Satin Varnish”
  69. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  70. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  71. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  72. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  73. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  74. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

Thanks for looking!!