In the Civilizations Collide supplement (described on my last post) that I wrote for Feudal Patrol™, priests and shamans can be bought for points and deployed along with units. In the game, a warrior priest can both boost the fighting morale of your own troops as well as erode the morale of your defeated non-Spanish enemies. Plus, they can fight as heroes as well.
For my Aztec forces, I needed to paint up some more warrior priests. I already had one figure that I have painted from Wargames Foundry Heroes of Tenochtitlan (seen here). I also have six warrior priests for the Tlaxcalans (seen here), so this disparity needed to be fixed.
Originally to meet this figure deficit I purchased the Wargames Foundry blister pack AZ021 “Tloxtoxl and the Priests of the Great Temple” from Badger Games as I believed that this would get me six Warrior Priests. There is nothing historic about the name, but it sounds very Aztec! However, the pack was a bit different than I had expected. As you will see, two are definitely good as warrior priests, two are priests/priestesses who probably hung around the temple, and two are a command pair. No worries, as I can use all of these one way or another. The figures are metal, 28mm in size, and sculpted by Josef Ochmann. This group was in very good shape and was easy to prep for painting.
I did not take very many shots this go around – but my painting approach was similar to my previous posts which are catalogued below if you are new to this project. So without further ado…
First, the two warrior priests – I think these will be fine on the tabletop battlefield, though underarmed a bit:
AWP2 – this figure is armed only with an obsidian dagger, and no shield or armor.
AWP3 – this figure reminded me of IRO’s stuff! He is armed only with an obsidian dagger, and no shield or armor, but is slick with blood after a captive live sacrifice. The dark war paint on his face and body and the skull on his hip were painted according to an Osprey image I had. I tried not to overdo the blood, but I think he would be pretty bloody.
The next group includes a priestess and a priest that do not look overly worthy of battle, but I can always put them in if needed or use them in some other way. Besides, they could be an objective possibly. I thought I’d paint them anyways – and give them flowers on their bases.
AP1 – this Priestess is admiring some turquoise jewelry or some such thing. I would have her armed with only an obsidian dagger, and of course no shield or armor. I tried to give the dress a pattern, but this was not squarely in my wheelhouse. Maybe that’s why I gave her a tuft of flowers as compensation?
AP2 – this Priest was not my favorite, though I did like experimenting with his headdress and his garb patterns. He is also armed with only an obsidian dagger, and of course no shield or armor. He also was missing some fingers. Maybe that’s why I also gave him flowers!
The next two really are a command group pair, and I will use them together as a higher commander of a warband or better.
AZC1 – this leader is dressed as an Eagle Warrior. I painted 6 Eagle Warriors early in the project that you can see here. I really liked this figure. I will treat his weapon as a tepoztopilli, and give him credit for his shield, some cotton armor and his helmet. He of course will need his assistant with the conch shell and drum to send battle signals out.
AZC2 – the leader’s signaler with a conch shell as a horn and a drum. I really liked this figure, though getting the shell right was a conundrum. I am only giving him a hand axe and but he gets cotton armor but no shield. So, he’s a bit vulnerable.
Here’s a group shot:
Thanks for looking – and please let me know your thoughts and feedback in the comments section. Do have a favorite? I do hope you enjoyed this!
Ral Partha had a historical line of 25mm figures that were cast and sold back in the 1980’s. One of them was the “1200 A.D” line, which included Aztec figures, and one of their blister packs was “Aztec Warrior Priests”. It had 6 figures with two poses. Also supplied were 3 different weapons, and shields for each figure.
On my previous post on Tlaxcalans, I mentioned that I needed to have some warrior priests for their army. Unfortunately, I could not find a suitable 28mm version for the Tlaxcalans. I do have some Wargames Foundry Aztec Warrior Priests in the painting queue but they were not going to be right as Tlaxcalans in my view.
I did have (among several other blisters from that era) a single blister pack of 6 figures of Ral Partha 42-302. Now these were Aztecs, not Tlaxcalans, and 25mm size, not 28mm. Generally 28mm figures are 1:61-1:68 range, and 25mm figures are 1:68-1:71 range in scale. So from a gaming distance, I think that they will work. I have already incorporated other 25mm figures such as the historical Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier and the ahistorical Ral Partha Arrow Warriors into my Aztec forces for the upcoming launch of Buck Surdu’s Feudal PatrolTMskirmish tabletop war game. (as a side note – my Civilizations Collide supplement will cover this period, and will be a free download from the website).
Getting back to filling the Tlaxcalan ranks with some Warrior Priests – I chose to paint the 42-302 figures up in Tlaxcalan colors and war paint. It allowed me to make use of the figures – which have been waiting 32 years to be painted anyways – and to not add any more to my unpainted stuff. Sometimes you just have to find a way to liberate the unpainted hordes! When they get deployed in my supplement, Warrior Priests are add-on troops that get individually attached to units. They have the ability to help keep a unit they are attached to from breaking morale, and also can cause a defeated non-Spanish enemy to be more likely to want to flee the battlefield.
The six figures were more than enough to round out my Tlaxcalans. It’s always a challenge to go smaller than usual in painting, and these figures were no exception. One initial issue was the height, which I “leveled” by adding a 3/4″ x 1/8″ small washer on the 1″ washer base. This was to make the height disparity less noticeable. I also gave the somewhat pliable weapons a light coat of Gorilla Glue to stiffen them up a bit
A second challenge was capturing the delicate details on the figures. Here, I decided to steal an idea I have seen on Chris Palmer’s blog on the H.A.W.K.’s combined blog site – that is to prime figures white and use a dark wash over that to help with details. I think it helped – see the examples of WIP below.
Here is a second example:
The Tlaxcalans favored red loincloths and headbands – so those were easy to add. The war paint design mix that I used was similar to my previous group – a red-striped over white design or a black mask (or none at all). As for shield, I perused Steven’s Balagan and my Osprey books for inspiration (while modifying the colors a bit).
Three of the models had a lovely little (ok, tiny) engraved skull at their waists on a bone necklace. I was unaware of this engraved skull aspect of Mesoamerican “art”. You can see a modern interpretive example from Amazon here and shown below:
I tried out my new Army Painter drybrush (the smallest one) and was very happy how well it performed, especially on the skulls. The bristles are round and it is just the right stiffness. Here is the link and the photo below if you are interested:
Back to painting the models, my goal was to get a nice blending on the flesh before varnishing the figures. They do end up shiny from the Army Painter Flesh Wash, but with matte varnish the shine goes completely away.
Once I added the extra washer, you could see that the elevation on the base could pose a flocking issue – such that it would look “rounded” under the flocking. To deal with this, I glued some very small pieces of modeling talus on the washers to more or less camouflage the underlying round shapes. I would leave some of that exposed as well once flocked.
So let’s see the finished models! As usual, I gave each a number for future reference and creation of gaming aids:
TWP1 – armed with a tepoztopilli (obsidian-edged thrusting spear), and no war paint. Interestingly this pose of the two types in the blister was a lefty!
TWP2 – armed with a cuauhololli (round-headed club), with no war paint.
TWP3 – armed with a macuahuitl (obsidian-edged club/sword), again no war paint.
TWP4 – armed with a tepoztopilli (obsidian-edged thrusting spear), and the red-stripes-over-white war paint. This pose of the two types in the blister was right-handed!
TWP5 – armed with a cuauhololli (round-headed club), wearing the black mask war paint.
TWP6 – armed with a macuahuitl (obsidian-edged club/sword), and the red-stripes-over-white war paint.
I think that they can safely share the same gaming tabletop!
This project also allowed me to help with one of my favorite websites, the Lost Minis Wiki, which is a fantastic resource for OOP stuff, especially from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Here is the entry photo for this blister.
So, my Tlaxcalan forces are done – I have now 32 figures for their army. When added to the 71 Aztecs that I have done, that brings me to over 100!
Thanks for taking a look – below you’ll find my updated details list for the overall project and this particular one (paints, etc. used).
Miscellaneous details and references for those interested:
Posts on games, units, and other projects for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Mounted for painting
Early painting of flesh
More early flesh painting
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.
WF Aztec Warrior Priest with a macuahuitl
WF Jaguar Warrior JA4 with OWS tepoztopilli
WF Jaguar Warrior JA5 with atlatl
WF Jaguar Warrior JA8 with atlatl – this was a conversion
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.
I then mounted the shields, flocked the bases, varnished them, and applied static grass.
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)
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.