The super elite troops of the Aztec Empire were the cuachicqueh (kwa-cheek-kweh). These were their imperial shock troops, and held prestigious social status. To be able to join their ranks, a warrior would have had to have captured 6 or more enemy warriors, as well as demonstrated other acts of bravery.
A cuachic (kwa-cheek – the singular is cuachic, the plural is cuachicqueh – yes still more tough-to-pronounce Aztec words!) was a member of the ultimate Aztec warrior caste. They all had passed on the opportunity of becoming captains or officers in order to remain hardened elite front-line warriors. Their appearance was striking. They wore a distinctly yellow tlahuiztli (tu-lah-huz-ly) suit, had shaved heads with mohawks, and often had fierce yellow, red, and blue war facial paint. The Shorn Ones sported unique and colorful back banners to intimidate any foes. They were called “The Shorn Ones” due to their mostly-shaven haircuts. Cuachicqueh swore to never retreat in battle – and if any did – they would agreed to dispatched by their own comrades for this dishonor.
I was really looking forward to adding cuachicqueh to my Aztec forces for games of Feudal Patrol, using my supplement, Civilizations Collide. I have discussed the game on previous posts, as well as my supplement.
As a reminder Feudal Patrol – Buck Surdu’s rules and the decks of cards for “Skirmish Miniature Gaming in the Ancient, Medieval, and Fantasy Periods” is now available commercially. In the US, it can be bought from On Military Matters website here. It is also being sold in the US by Noble Knight Games website here. In the UK, it is being sold by Sally 4th on their website here. My supplement for the period is a free download on Sally 4th’s website here or the Feudal Patrol website here. Cuachicqueh can have a big impact in the game if used properly.
In my game, the cuachicqueh have special abilities – in addition to being total bad-asses on the battlefield. They can operate in smaller units. They can also act as berserkers. Tactically, their greatest advantage is that they can – through the use of obscene gestures and insults – provoke an enemy to charge them – even if that charge causes the targeted enemy to abandon a good and protected defensive position to its detriment. This ability has a good historical basis.
To understand this, imagine you’re a good Tlaxcalan bowman, safely ensconced behind a nice wall. Yet the cuachicqueh in front of you have just insulted and offended you and your people so gravely – that you rush out to ostensibly try to attack the miscreants. Your hasty assault only to serves the cuachicqueh – who now, as the Aztecs best, engage you in vicious melee – minus the protection you just abandoned. It’s not for nothing that cuachicqueh were the toughest of the Aztecs.
I bought some of these Aztecs in AZ06 “Cuachic Warriors – Body Suit and Back Banners” (from Badger Games here). The SKU came with eight 28mm metal figures complete with weapons, shields, and back banners. The figures were cast by Outpost Wargames Services in the UK. The figures were in really great shape and needed little cleanup. Initially I was a bit apprehensive about assembling and painting them due to the proximity of the back banners to the figures’ heads. I tried to use green stuff to achieve some degree of separation on the first two figures but abandoned that approach as I did not think that it added enough benefit structurally. I also worried that it would detract from the models’ aesthetics. In the end, good old Gorilla Glue worked just fine on the remaining ones and I just worked around the banners and heads intersections while painting. I decided to mount the back banners and the weapons before priming, and do the shields separately.
As a resource, I used the many books that I had with some nice plates showing the dress of the Shorn Ones. Clearly, they dressed similarly – and their shields were similar (but not identical). Trying to get the yellow tlahuiztli suits correctly colored was a challenge. Painting anything yellow, especially a dullish yellow, is always a painting challenge. I hope these will look good on the table. The back banners took some methodical planning and measuring (as you’ll see below) for painting as the stripes needed to look symmetrical.
I took some group WIP shots below (with comments) that will show this group’s progress, and then I will share some eye candy of the finished figures. I’ll conclude with a summary of where the overall project is so far, plus links to the previous posts (in case you just joined me here), and the paints I used if that sort of thing is interesting to you (if not that’s why it’s why it’s at the end!).
The eight are numbered for my cataloging system as ACC1 to ACC8. Now, let’s move to:
Click on any of the images for a larger view!
ACC1 – armed with a macuahuitl (obsidian-edged club/broadsword) and a non-fretted shield. He has war paint, and his back banner has the bluish background with red and yellow stripes. The back banner feather ball here is reddish.
ACC2 – armed with a tepoztopilli (obsidian-edged thrusting spear) and a fretted shield. He has no war paint, and his back banner has the brownish background with blue, yellow, green and red stripes. The back banner feather ball here is light blue.
ACC3 – armed with a macuahuitl and a fretted shield. He has war paint, and his back banner has the bluish background with red and white stripes. The back banner feather ball here is reddish.
ACC4 – armed with a tepoztopilli (obsidian-edged thrusting spear) and a fretted shield. He has war paint, and his back banner has the brownish background with blue, yellow, green and red stripes. The back banner feather ball here is slightly orange in color.
ACC5 – armed with a macuahuitl and a fretted shield. He has no war paint, and his back banner has the brownish background with blue, yellow, green and red stripes. The back banner feather ball here is dark blue.
ACC6 – armed with a macuahuitl and a non-fretted shield. He has war paint, and his back banner has the bluish background with white and red stripes. The back banner feather ball here is orange.
ACC7 – armed with a macuahuitl and a fretted shield. He has war paint, and his back banner has the bluish background with white and red stripes. The back banner feather ball here is dark blue.
ACC8 – armed with a macuahuitl and a fretted shield. He has war paint, and his back banner has the bluish background with yellow and red stripes. The back banner feather ball here is reddish.
I hope that you enjoyed looking at this post and these figures. This is my penultimate (love that word) Aztec post – the last will be one with Montezuma, some Aztec captains and some warrior priests. Six more Aztecs, and then it’s on to the Spanish Conquistadores!
I’d love to know if you have a favorite – and any thoughts or questions and suggestions that you may have on the work here are always appreciated.
Miscellaneous details and references for those interested in that sort of thing:
Posts on games, units, and other projects for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest supplement for Feudal Patrol – “Civilizations Collide”
- Aztec Shock Troops – Cuachic Warriors aka The Shorn Ones (this post) – 8 Aztec cuachicqueh warriors
- Tloxtoxl and the Priests of the Great Temple, Wargames Foundry AZ021 – 2 warrior priests, 1 priestess, 1 priest, 1 leader, and 1 signaler
- Civilizations Collide – The Wars of the Aztecs, the Inca, the Maya, and the Conquistadores is now available as a FREE Download for Feudal Patrol – plus a Feudal Patrol review!
- 18 Aztec Novice Warriors for Feudal Patrol Walk into a Bar – 18 Novice Warriors
- Aztec Warrior Priests (painted as Tlaxcalans), Ral Partha 42-302, circa 1988 (this post) – 6 figures – 6 Tlaxcalan Warrior Priests
- Tlaxcalan Novices, Elite Warriors, and Command Group – 18 figures – 8 Novice Tlaxcalan Warriors, 8 Elite Tlaxcalan Warriors, 1 Tlaxcalan Captain, 1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower
- Tlaxcalan Archers – 8 Veteran Tlaxcalan Archers
- Aztec Game for Feudal Patrol across thousands of miles – via Zoom!
- Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer – 1 Aztec General, 1 Aztec Drummer
- A June and July Jaguar Warrior Frenzy (plus some Aztec Veterans and a Warrior Priest to Boot) – 3 Aztec Veteran Warriors, 17 Jaguar Warriors, 1 Aztec Warrior Priest
- Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
- Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 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: 135 figures: 103 Aztecs, 32 Tlaxcalans
PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THESE AZTEC FIGURES:
- Gorilla Glue
- 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
- Poster tack
- Vallejo “Surface Primer – White Primer”
- Vallejo “Flow Improver”
- Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
- Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
- Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
- Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
- Army Painter “Tanned Flesh”
- Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
- Vallejo Game Air “Black”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gore-Grunta Fur”
- Vallejo Game Color “Bronze Fleshtone”
- Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Darkoath Flesh”
- Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Contrast Medium”
- Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
- Secret Weapon Washes “Yellow Snow” (ink/wash)
- Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Iyanden Yellow”
- Secret Weapon Washes “Sunshine” (ink/wash)
- Citadel “Nuln Oil GLOSS” (wash)
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Snakebite Leather”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
- Battlefront “Wool Brown”
- Vallejo Game Ink “Yellow”
- Vallejo Game Ink “Blue”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Ultramarines Blue”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gryph-Hound Orange”
- Citadel “Troll Slayer Orange”
- Vallejo Game Ink “Green”
- Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
- Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
- Citadel Air “Balor Brown”
- E6000 Epoxy
- Battlefront “Chocolate Brown”
- Americana “Kelly Green”
- Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (shade)
- Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
- Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
- Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
- Elmer’s PVA Glue
- Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
- Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
- Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
- Citadel “Steel Legion Drab”
- Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
- Citadel “Karak Stone”
- Americana “Desert Sand”
- Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
- Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)