Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988

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.

1 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 in blister
The blister pack – waited 32 years to be opened.

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.

atlatl
Atlatl use.

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).

Aztec_Arrow_Warriors_old.JPG
From the internet – not likely historically correct but a start.

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.


4 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 shields and arrow sprues
One of the shield and weapon sprues with the “RAL PARTHA 1988” on it.

5 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 arrow fix
The arrows shown here reinforced by the steel wire.

6 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 mounted on washers
The Arrow Knights after affixing their “double arrows” to their hands and the figures themselves to the 1″ steel washers.  I would paint the shields separately.

7 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 mounted on washer, close up
Close up shot before painting.


10 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 tunic and hawk scratches May 4th
I used a series of yellow and tan inks, washes, and glazes over the hard-lined “hawk scratches” to get a good color that would darken appropriately but still show the markings.

11 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 tunic and hawk scratches May 4th close up
Close up shot mid-stage before darkening.

12 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 after shields added May 5th
After shields affixed and washes applied.

13 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 after shields added May 5th close up
Close up of  Arrow Knight prior to flocking.  I did like how the faces came out, and the uniforms as well.

14 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 after adding pigments to flocking May 6th close up
I flock the bases with Army Painter “Brown Battlefields”, then add pigments before varnishing.  After varnishing, I add static grass.  Here you see the pigments wet with Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner” which hardens up nicely.  Sometimes I drybrush the bases as well, but I opted this time not to and to instead use more pigments.

15 Ral Partha Arrow Knights 42-305 after adding pigments to flocking May 6th group
Dried and ready for varnishing in the spray booth.

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


Scale Comparison

17 scale comparison
Just for scale comparison – the Arrow Knight is on the left, a 28mm Wargames Foundry Novice Warrior is in the center, and a 25mm Tin Soldier UK Eagle Knight is on the right. I think they will work fine on the tabletop together.

Group Shots

18 group shot shield side
Good view of the six different shields together.

19 group shot shield front

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”

  1. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 (this post) – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  2. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  3. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

Total figures to date for this project:  24 Aztecs

20 army progress
Progress so far!

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:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. Steel wire lances from Iron Winds Metals
  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. Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
  10. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  11. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  12. Vallejo Model Color “Light Flesh”
  13. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Moon Yellow”
  15. Vallejo Game Air “Escorpena Green”
  16. Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
  17. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Blue”
  18. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  19. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  20. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
  21. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  22. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gryph-Hound Orange”
  23. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  24. Battlefront “Wool Brown”
  25. Secret Weapons Washes “Parchment” (wash)
  26. Secret Weapons Washes “Sunshine” (wash)
  27. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Creed Camo”
  28. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  29. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  30. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  31. Army Painter “Soft Tone” (shade)
  32. Vallejo Model Air “Armour Brown”
  33. Citadel “Praxeti White” (dry)
  34. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aethermatic Blue”
  35. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Flesh Tearers Red”
  36. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  37. Vallejo Model Color “White”
  38. Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
  39. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  40. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  41. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  42. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  43. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  44. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

Thanks for looking – please let me know your thoughts and feedback!

 

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Author: Mark Morin

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