Last month (March) was the first month in several years that I had not painted any miniatures at all. This happened because I was busy early in the month looking for a job, and then the pandemic hit with all that that entailed. I decided that I would take the time to honor a commitment made to my good buddy Buck Surdu (who attended West Point with me).
Buck has published many games, and as readers of this blog know, I am very fond of his Combat Patrol – WWII Skirmish card based system. If you take a look at his website, you will see many different (and very well done) free supplements that have been written for other periods and conflicts – check them out here. One limitation of Combat Patrolis that it does not adapt well to the periods before firepower became predominant in warfare – such as before the 17th Century. Buck has developed a new set of card-based rules for these earlier skirmish battles called Feudal Patrol– and they should be published this year I believe.
So back to my commitment – I agreed to help Buck by researching and writing one of the free supplements for the upcoming Feudal Patrol. But which era?
When I returned to the hobby (back six years or so ago), I bought many miniatures that I found on eBay that were from the 1970’s to 1990’s. It was my way of catching up. One of the groupings I bought were Aztecs, so (without a fully developed concept – or an in-depth understanding of the history of the Conquest) I volunteered to write a supplement covering the Spanish Conquest of the Americas in the 16th Century – covering the Aztecs, the Maya, the Tlaxcalans, the Mixtecs/Zapotecs, the Inca, and of course the Conquistadores. The research (reading 4 books and other internet material) for this took me the better half of March, and writing the supplement (about 30 pages) took up the rest – so no painting in March for me. I have finished the draft and we’ll see where that goes – but so far it looks (to my biased eyes) pretty good.
The resources that I found were adequate I believe – as the authors are all subject matter experts. Besides, I just needed enough to design a gaming supplement – not pursue a doctorate. In any case, I now can start painting forces to use with the supplement and hopefully bring to club meetings and conventions.
I started with Aztec novice warriors. A major aspect of warfare in this period was the overriding need to take captives. The Aztecs would place the taking of captives at a higher premium than actually killing the enemy. Rank and prestige in the Aztec army (and Aztec society) were dependent on two things – the number and the quality of the enemy warriors one had captured. These captured were used for ritualized sacrifice or for making into slaves. The value of all captives was not equal – capturing a high-ranking member of a strong warrior tribe was better than a weaker one from a less-respected foe. Aztec troops were typically composed of a group of veteran warriors and an attached group of novices. The novices were usually (but not always) in a second rank, following the veterans. The veterans were supposed to be responsible for the novice’s training. In the game, I match up a group of novices to an equally-sized group of veterans (not elite units).
Novice warriors advance by capturing enemy warriors under the tutelage of the veterans. The first two blisters that I had were “Aztec Novice Warriors II” and came from Wargames Foundry. These are available in the US from Badger Games – here is a link to them.
The metal models cleaned up easily enough – but I discovered that there were a few lingering mold lines that I missed. Still, these would be a nice way to challenge my painting skills (and add to them) as I had not painted human flesh of any type in 28mm for several years – maybe these old 1970’s era Minifig neanderthals were the last similar types that I did. As these novices are mostly wearing only loincloths, it would be a lot of skin to paint.
The packs also came with many shields. Each blister pack of six contained 3 novices armed with slings, two armed with an obsidian-bladed wooden sword club called a macuahuitl (ma-kwa-wheat), and one with a a roundhead club called a cuauhololli (kwa-ho-lolly). One of the macuahuitl figures had a quilted cotton armor tunic called an ichcahuipilli (each-ca-we-pee-lee).
As a side note – part of the research into this era was the major challenge of pronunciation and spelling for Aztec terms!
I filed and cleaned the models, and mounted them on 1″ steel fender washers for painting. These were then mounted on specimen jars with poster tack for ease of painting.
By April 19th and 20th, I had gotten the models to where I could begin to choose which shields to use and affix. I did this with first Gorilla glue, and then with E6000 epoxy – allowing to harden overnight. At that point, I was able to use shading on the models and the shields – and flock the bases.
For flocking, I used Army Painter “Brown Battlefields”, followed by some pigments (see painting list below). I then airbrushed the models with varnish, and after that dried overnight, I applied random grass patches to the bases.
For better viewing, I will now share close up groupings of photos of each type of figure and some group shots as eye candy.
First, the slingers with cocked arms:
Next, the slingers loading their slings:
Next, the novice figures with shields and macuahuitl advancing.
Next, here are the two cuauhololli-armed novices.
The one type of figure with a macuahuitl , and a quilted cotton armor tunic called an ichcahuipilli.
The sixth type, a slinger with sling above his head:
And some group shots:
I hope that you enjoyed seeing these figures and my processes. I do believe that I can improve upon them and I hope to do so with subsequent projects for the Spanish Conquest – there will be several going forward. I did want these to count for the Ann’s April 2020 “Paint the Crap You Already Own!” Painting and Hobby Challenge over at Ann’s Immaterium blog.
Lastly, as an add-on bonus , I also redid seven Archive Power-Armored Archive Frinx infantry that I found on eBay a while back. I have a good number of Frinx and game with them often as shown in this blog – just search for “Frinx” on my blog and see what I mean!
I did not paint their original colors, but they were done well-enough with a dotted camouflage scheme, very different from my other brightly-painted Frinx. But as they were based such that I’d never get them off of the bases that they were on, I just touched up the worn-away paint, used some shading, varnished them, and improved the worn bases. I’ll use them as commando Frinx. For fun, here they are:
That’s it for now!
PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THE AZTECS:
- Gorilla Glue
- 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
- Poster tack and plastic plates
- Vallejo “Surface Primer – White Primer”
- Vallejo “Flow Improver”
- Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
- Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
- Vallejo Model Color “Red”
- Vallejo Model Color “Black Grey”
- Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
- Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
- Battlefront “Dark Leather”
- Battlefront “Wool Brown”
- Citadel “Dryad Bark”
- Tamiya “Copper (XF-6)”
- Tamiya “X20A Thinner”
- Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
- Deka Lack “Blau” (a survivor from 1987!)
- Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
- Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
- Citadel “Balor Brown”
- Elmer’s PVA Glue
- E6000 Epoxy
- Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
- Vallejo Model Air “Moon Yellow”
- Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (shade)
- Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
- Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
- Americana “Desert Sand”
- Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
- Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
- Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)
Thanks for looking – please let me know your thoughts and feedback!