I will be running 4 Feudal Patrol™ games at the HMGS Fall In® gaming convention next week in Lancaster, PA. In 2022, I have been running Aztec/Mesoamerica/Spanish Conquest themed games at multiple gaming conventions – and they all have been well-received. I am really looking forward to running these games at Fall In® in the H.A.W.K.’s room – and I hope to see some of you there.
So, you ask, what are you running Mark, and when? Well, I aim to please – so let me answer that!
Friday, November 4th from 9 AM to 1 PM, Paradise Room
I will be running my “Raid to Satisfy Huitzilopochtli”. It’s a pre-Spanish Conquest fight between the Aztecs and their neighbors the Tlaxcalans. The Aztecs attempt to conduct a raid of a Tlaxcalan village to gain captives for slavery and blood sacrifice, and the Tlaxcalans will fight back!
Friday, November 4th from 7 PM to 11 PM, Paradise Room
Later that day, I will be teaming up with Greg Priebe of the H.A.W.K.’s to run a “what if” scenario. Let’s say a Viking raiding party got lost and while trying to get to Greenland and wound up in Tenochtitlan. Never to pass up the opportunity for looting and pillaging, they decide to make the best of it, but the Aztecs have other plans. I think this will be a LOT of fun. Greg wrote the rules for the Feudal Patrol™Vikings supplement – and we will use my Aztec supplement rules as well (Civilizations Collide). featuring a 1200’s Viking raid on the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan!
Saturday, November 5th from 2 PM to 6 PM, Paradise Room
Saturday, November 5th from 7 PM to 11 PM, Paradise Room
On Saturday, I will be running a Feudal Patrol™ naval game – this time the epic Battle of Lake Texcoco.
TWICE! Once in the afternoon and once in the evening. After I ran this at HUZZAH! in Maine – I knew it was a hit.
The history is this – back in the summer of 1521 Cortes had a problem. To seize control of the Aztec island capital of Tenochtitlan, he realized that he needed to control the surrounding waters of Lake Texcoco (where Mexico City is now – the lake is long-gone). This meant building a fleet. Cortes had his troops build small brigantines in sections. These prefabricated pieces were then carried by his Tlaxcalan allies to the shore of Lake Texcoco, where they were assembled, and made ready for combat on the lake. While simultaneously he sent land-based conquistadores to attack Tenochtitlan’s causeways, Cortes launched his brigantines to attack Tenochtitlan.
In his way were hundreds of Aztecs canoes waiting to swarm over the Spanish. This is the basis of this game.
So, you will have two chances to jump in on this game!
To my regular readers – YES I have been neglecting this blog – more a case of a lot hitting my schedule (mostly golf) – and I will be catching up with some of the miniatures that I have painted up and some games that I have run going forward. In the meantime, I am looking forward to reconnecting with you al soon – and I appreciate those who kindly checked in on me to see if I had assumed room temperature yet.
I was originally enticed into the hobby by way of 25mm metal figures from Ral Partha, Grenadier, and Minifigs back in the 1980’s. Some of you of course are remarking to yourselves at this point that you have no idea of those days!
Well, no internet existed such that one could go out and find whatever one wanted with a click. You either ordered from a catalog or got lucky at a hobby store with whatever existed in the shop (insert bad joke here).
Some of the figures were pretty simplistic, others were (and are still) marvels of art. Most readers of this blog will recognize that until recently, I have been very much involved with painting and building figures and terrain for my Civilizations Collide project (Aztecs, Conquistadores, etc. for Feudal Patrol. So, you ask, Mark, what the f**k you doing with old school Vikings?
Well, this is related to my recent trip to Historicon (which I wrote about here). Several of the scenarios that I am developing for the Spanish Conquest require Aztec (and Tlaxcalan) war canoes, which were involved in many of the battles, both along the causeways out of Tenochtitlan and in naval combat with Spanish brigantines on Lake Texcoco. At Historicon, I searched high and low in the vendors area and in the flea market for reasonably priced war canoes. All I found were a Blood and Plunder model for $20 (not reasonable) from a vendor’s booth and a single $3 scratch-built balsa-wood version from the flea market.
I got both as options for considering how to design and scratch-build my own. As I estimate that I need 4-6 war canoes for each of the 4 brigantines that I have in queue. That’s 16-24 canoes – and I am not going to pay $20 per canoe! Shortly after the convention, Greg Priebe (who was with me at Historicon) suggested that he could 3D print canoes for me! I was elated, and I asked him what I could offer in trade. Greg kindly said don’t worry about it. But, I thought that’s unfair, and I could paint some figures for him as a fair exchange.
Greg is the author of the Vikings Feudal Patrol supplement (which you can download for free here), so I offered him Vikings. He agreed, and when I got home I went into my unpainted stash to see what I had available.
My supply of unpainted lead includes many figures from the ’80’s. I got a lot of them when I returned to the hobby but have not painted a lot of the 25mm ancient stuff. We conferred, and Greg agreed that he would like ones from three blister’s of 25mm figures and a single 28mm berserker. They all work for skirmish games.
One was a six-figure blister of Ral Partha Imports “Viking Berserkers with Axes” (#DA45) – circa 1982. The second was a six-figure Minifigs “Viking Command” blister pack probably from around 1980-1982. The third was a six-figure pack of Ral Partha “Saxon Huscarle” (#1117) from their “1200 A.D.” line – circa 1982. The last was a single figure from RAFM, “Berserker” from their “Adventurers” line circa 1989. This adds up to 19 figures, and Greg is making me 20 or so canoes. So, the following will describe how I proceeded to paint all of these up.
Ral Partha Imports “Viking Berserkers with Axes“
These were likely made by Citadel and marketed by Ral Partha – a common commercial practice back then. The bases had “1982” and DA45 on them. As my process was modified batch-painting, I’ll include some of the steps I took on all of the models here and spare you a repeat later. There were three poses among the six figures, which was a lot back then (most packs of six had just one pose). But, I needed on all of these to make them different enough for easy identification and for fun on the tabletop.
The figures had substantial mold lines, which was common back then. That issue was easily remedied. Their axe shafts were also a bit bendy (common as well) – and I gave them all a light coat of Gorilla Glue – to stiffen up the shafts (insert bad joke here).
I then mounted all the figures on 1″ steel washers, and put them on poster tack on specimen containers for ease of painting. I primed them all white with my airbrush and after they dried, I washed with “Heavy Body Black” from Secret Weapon Washes (all of the paints that I used will be listed at the end of this post for those interested).
I numbered the six figures by the three poses (1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, and 3B) so that I could plan differences in painting. At least these had no shields…for the rest that did I needed a plan as well. Yes, I used Excel!
On all of these, in terms of painting, I aimed for a good tabletop standard. While I do not think these are badly painted at all, I have done better work – but these reminded me of how much easier painting modern figures is now, especially 28mm. Another challenge was effectively painting blonde hair. I don’t think I’ve done that in 40 years. Anyways, I toned down yellow (very Sailor Moon) with “Snakebite Leather” contrast paint and Seraphim Sepia” wash and worked ok. The ginger hair was easier. I also added differently colored tufts to the bases for ease of identification as well.
Now, let’s see the models from this blister all completed.
Minifigs Viking Command
I remember painting a number of fantasy Minifig miniatures back in the day. They had square bases and the details were rather plain. These were the same as those. My guess is dating from the early ’80’s or possibly even the late ’70’s.
Unfortunately, these had a severe coating of oxide or something black and crusty on them. I don’t think it was lead rot, but I did clean them up with baking soda just in case. Their spears and banner shafts were even more bendy than the others – which was very much a common issue for this manufacturer back then. I added a second stiffening coat of Gorilla Glue to these bendy shafts, and then proceeded as discussed previously.
There were three poses here. Two with a horn, two with spears and axes, and two with either a banner or a long-shafted axe. For the last group, I gave one an axe and one a banner. They all had shields (unattached) so I did need to get some references for free-hand painting them.
Each of the three poses had a different number on the bases. Pose 1 (with horn) was DA97, pose two (with axe and spear) had only partially DA4-something, and the last one was DA42. I’m assuming DA stood for “Dark Ages”.
I tried to give different looks to these as well – again, a painting plan in Excel helped. As for the shields – they were fun the most enjoyable to paint – and different than the Aztec shields to be sure. I chose 6 designs that I thought would work with the colors. Instead of thinner, I used Vallejo Flow Improver with the black on a Newton & Windsor 0000 brush – and that worked (thanks to The Imperfect Modeler for that suggestion).
After I painted the shields, I gave them a brush of satin varnish. Once they dried, I mounted them to the figures.
Then after drying time, they were off to varnishing and flocking (similar to the previous group). Below are the finished models.
Ral Partha Saxon Huscarle
While housecarles in English is proper, the blister said “Huscarle”, so…
The sculpts were pretty nice – especially the chain mail. However, these were in all the same pose (as was common back when these were launched in 1982). Therefore, differentiation was more needed.
I followed the same process as discussed above with priming and the initial wash application. Another nice thing about these was that the shields were already attached – that and the eyes would not need special attention.
For shields, I looked up some images for Saxon ones and chose six.
The final six look as follows:
The last figure was a single one – and he looks to be 28mm hero-scale. That makes him a bit off of the others, but maybe he’s like the Mountain from GoT?
Anyways, he looks pretty Viking-like, and Greg wanted him, so he’s in!
This figure was so much easier to paint as it had virtually no mold lines and was well-sculpted. I only wish his axe was reasonably-sized.
That’s the last of the 19. Here’s a group shot of them finished.
I originally wanted to paint them all up as part of Roger’s (over at Rantings Under the Wargame Table) “Mo’vember Challenge”, but between surgery in November, Historicon, Thanksgiving, and my garage +build, it did not happen. Still, check out Roger’s cool roundup – I did get in Cortes…
As you may imagine, making all these figures different took a hell of a lot of paint! The list is at the end, but here’s a shot:
I hope that this was enjoyable – and a change of pace was nice for me. Not sure what’s next, probably brigantines, but I do want to post a belated garage+ update by the end of this weekend. Thanks for looking and sharing any thoughts.
PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THESE VIKING FIGURES:
I am a lover of history, and of course love the dramatized series Vikings on the History Channel. It takes some dramatic license of course, but is fun.
Lately, the History Channel has added Real Vikings as an add-on show. It’s pretty good as you get to get some interesting facts and stories about the Vikings while seeing some of the European sites that they lived in and raided.
I’ve always been curious about my relationship to the Vikings and other races in history genetically. I am ¼ Irish, ¼ Finnish, 3/16 French Canadian (the French origins of Morin seem to be more from Normandy), 1/16 Micmac tribe, 1/8 Swedish, and 1/8 Italian (near Naples). Clearly the Irish side would have Celtic ancestry, but there were a lot of Vikings in Ireland – and I believe every major city in Ireland, or most of them, started out as Viking settlements during their raiding period. The Normans certainly were of Viking ancestry, and Swedes were pretty much as well (along with Norwegians and Danes). So I am pretty sure that Viking DNA is in me from the Irish, the French, and the Swedes, but what of the Finns?
The article below by Kristian Ola (Wilpuri) on the website All Empires is very interesting. She does a very nice job in English (I believe she is a Finn). Basically, she discusses the Finnic and Ugric tribes that lived in the Finnish peninsula during the Viking Age and how they interacted based upon the archeologic record. I have a better appreciation now of how the Finns (and their ancestors) really got stuck between the Swedes and Russians going back to the days of the Vikings. Curiously, during the Cold War, the Finns did not explore much of their history of that time so as not to alienate the USSR. In any case, I thought this was a good read.