In building a set of troops for the Spanish Conquest, I came across a couple of blisters of 25mm Ral Partha figures called “Aztec Arrow Knights”. These were in my lot of unpainted lead for the period, sculpted by R. Kerr, and dated from 1988. The blisters held 6 figures armed with huge feathered arrows – think javelins with fletching. As I thought that they were interesting potential elite troops with unique weapons, I decided to add one of the two blisters to my Aztec forces, keeping the other in reserve for future painting.
As I discussed previously, I had been doing research on the Aztecs. I looked for suitable color plates or guides to paint up this unit. To my surprise, there is a bit of mystery and possibly even controversy about Arrow Knights. History provides little evidence in the codices as to their existence – though there are clues here and there.
I suppose it’s not out of the question that an elite unit of Aztec warriors specializing in launching massively huge javelin-like arrows could have existed. Perhaps there was some confusion with the atlatl (ot-la-t) a spear-throwing device? Just because old Ral Partha made these does not mean that they did exist – but for the purposes of my games and my Aztec Army – they do now.
Of course, painting them would be up to me for choosing the colors. The only picture that I found was from a computer gaming site – and it did not match any of the plates. I did like the markings known as “hawk scratches”. I decided that I would give the unit a coloration similar to the cuahchic elites – that being a yellowish suit of tanned hide that would have been worn over their quilted-cotton armor ichcahuipilli (each-ca-we-pee-lee).
It was fun to break into this old blister from Ral Partha’s “1200 A.D.” line. The figures were all in the same pose, but I figured that I could orient their arrows in slightly different positions, use slightly different colors on each , and give different shields to each for aesthetics and ease of tabletop identification and playability. A familiar challenge was that the arrows were all lead – and vulnerable to bending and breaking. I also wanted them to have two big arrows – one to throw and one to use in melee.
The problem with doing this were twofold. First, I did not want to sculpt 6 little extra arrows – and second the little 25mm hands were too small to accommodate even the arrows provided. My solution was to use some steel wire pikes I had gotten from Iron Winds Metals during my Rooman War Party project. I cut the pikes to size and used super glue to affix them to the arrows. They would be the “second” arrow, albeit without fletching or another obsidian head. I think it worked – and you can be the judge.
Next, I’ll share some close up eye candy shots of each, a scale comparison, and some group shots.
Arrow Knight #1
Arrow Knight #2
Arrow Knight #3
Arrow Knight #4
Arrow Knight #5
Arrow Knight #6
I am also adding a new feature here. I want to be able to share related posts on the larger Aztec project with folks who have not seen all of the previous posts. Additionally, I need a way to help me keep track of my progress! Therefore, the list of links below will accomplish both for me.
Posts on Units for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest Supplement for Feudal Patrol – “Civilizations Collide”
- Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 (this post) – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
- Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
- Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors
Total figures to date for this project: 24 Aztecs
Thanks for looking and let me know what you think – I love the chance to learn your thoughts and to have a discussion!
Lastly, here are the paints and supplies I used on this project.
PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE AZTEC ARROW KNIGHTS:
- Gorilla Glue
- 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
- Steel wire lances from Iron Winds Metals
- Poster tack and plastic plates
- Vallejo “Surface Primer – White Primer”
- Vallejo “Flow Improver”
- Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
- Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
- Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
- Vallejo Game Air “Black”
- Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
- Vallejo Model Color “Light Flesh”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
- Vallejo Model Air “Moon Yellow”
- Vallejo Game Air “Escorpena Green”
- Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
- Vallejo Model Color “Dark Blue”
- Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
- Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
- Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gryph-Hound Orange”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
- Battlefront “Wool Brown”
- Secret Weapons Washes “Parchment” (wash)
- Secret Weapons Washes “Sunshine” (wash)
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Creed Camo”
- Citadel “Balor Brown”
- Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
- Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
- Army Painter “Soft Tone” (shade)
- Vallejo Model Air “Armour Brown”
- Citadel “Praxeti White” (dry)
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aethermatic Blue”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Flesh Tearers Red”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
- Vallejo Model Color “White”
- Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
- Elmer’s PVA Glue
- Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
- Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
- Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
- Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
- Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)
Thanks for looking – please let me know your thoughts and feedback!