Aztec Eagle Knights, Ral Partha 42-303, circa 1986

The first figures that I got to paint came from a triad of companies – Ral Partha, Minifig, and Grenadier – back in the 1980’s. There were others too – but Ral Partha was my favorite company, as I was mainly into buying, painting (and casting) 25mm fantasy figures in those days. I left the hobby in the late 1980’s, and subsequently came out of my hobby time machine in early 2015 with the Nightmare Legion. To my surprise, I found that Ral Partha – and many others – were gone or subsumed into other entities. For example the Ral Partha lines now can be found at now Iron Wind Metals. Also, for many manufacturers, metal figures were being replaced by – dare I say it – PLASTIC. Oh, the horror.

Anyways, I discovered that there were still a good many metal options available and I have stayed mostly with metal figures. One of the lots that I bought on eBay around 2016 was a bunch of unopened and opened Ral Partha Aztec figure blisters. I sorted them and put them away. Then in 2019 Buck Surdu asked for collaboration on supplements for his new rules set called Feudal PatrolTM  . I jumped in, and now most of you know it resulted in my writing my supplement called Civilizations Collide in late 2019/early 2020. It’s free to download at that link (and you should!).

I then started painting figures and terrain for the period in April of 2020. Now, after two years, having painted and assembled 254 figures (109 Aztecs, 113 Conquistadores, 32 Tlaxcalans), 21 war canoes, 5 brigantines, a TON of terrain, and written 55+ blog posts (you can see the list of posts here), I felt I was ready to move on to my 34 Maya figures and finish up. After a whirlwind of preparation for gaming at HAVOC! 2022 and HUZZAH! 2022, I thought that I was prepared to move on to my 34 Maya figures…

Or was I…

I had painted or given away all of my original eBay lot score – all except 12 remaining Aztec Eagle Warriors. They were metal (of course) Ral Partha figures – so 25mm not 28mm, in two blisters (one opened and one not). The SKU designation for them is #42-303 “Aztec Eagle Knights”, circa 1986, sculpted by R. Kerr. From their storage location I heard them desperately cry out – “don’t leave us behind – it’s already been 36 years since we were cast! You need us to join your Aztecs!”. Funny, they cried out in English and not Nahuatl…

So, being somewhat of a completionist (insert sarcastic comment here), I decided to finish the LAST of my Aztecs. Besides, this would bring me to an even 300 figures of all types for the period (once the 34 remaining Maya were done) and that seemed to me to be an auspicious number to round out the project.

The 2 blister packs. One of the opened figures was partially painted and needed to be stripped.
Curiously, this was in the unopened blister pack – I had never seen this before – and I wonder – where is #13 now?

Historical Background

Aztec Eagle Warriors were, along with the Jaguar Warriors and the Shorn Ones, at the apex of the Aztec warrior classes. They would be armed with melee weapons, in particular the macuahuitl obsidian-edged club/sword, the tepoztopilli (obsidian-bladed thrusting spears)and the cuauhololli (round-headed club).  To be a member of any of these classes required that one had captured many quality enemies for sacrifice on the Altar of Huitzilopochtli. Indeed, while they battled almost incessantly, the status and rewards were great for them. Here is a good summary of the history of the Eagle Warriors.

Painting and Assembly Plan

I had previously assembled and painted 6 Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK (documented in this post). I numbered those EA01-EA06. These will be EA07-18. As I have 17 Jaguar Warriors that seems good. Similar to the previous Eagle Warrior project, I found that the#42-303 Ral Partha Eagle Knight tepoztopilli were way too soft and bendy. While the macuahuitl were small and bendable, I found that both five of those and three of the cuauhololli that would work.

I replaced four of the shafts of the tepoztopilli with leftover North Star shafts I had cut for my Conquistador pikemen. I drilled out the ends and used green stuff to bind them together. The other challenge were the limited poses. In each blister of 6 there are just TWO poses – one with a left arm forward and one with a right arm forward. (FYI these two are still available from Iron Wind Metals less any shields or weapons here). At least mine have weapons and shields!

The two poses.

As before, my plan was to reorient each of their arms into different poses, and to give each one a different weapon that was also oriented slightly differently. I would also give them a variety of colors for their suits (tlahuiztli), using red, light green, dark green, and light brown. Add to that I would use different shield patterns and different feather colors for authenticity and ease of tabletop play.

And yes, I had a painting plan matrix in writing!

Assembly, Modifications, and Painting

My first task was to redo the tepoztopilli (thrusting spears).

The stripped one and the rest now washed (I always wash metal before painting) and ready for pose adjustment and priming.

Using pliers, I carefully and slowly reoriented the arms as best as I could to turn 2 poses into 12 – or close enough to it. Then, I repaired any flattened spots by stippling with an Exacto knife point.

The Eagle Knights with their weapons affixed. I ended up using green stuff to affix the weapons to the ones armed with tepoztopilli (thrusting spears). I made three of them left-handed warriors. In the rear are my Tin Soldier UK Eagle Warriors – watching the new additions/recruits in progress. They look like a conga line, and I wanted more variety of poses with the Ral Partha ones.

Then it was on to priming and applying a dark wash.

A close up of the wash-over-prime effect.

Then I base coated the figures – using several contrast paints.

Then I dry brushed and washed each painted figure to achieve the color variations. Additionally, I painted (well, inked) the feathers on each helmet differently so no two are alike. Then I added gloss varnish to the feathers so that later when matted down the colors will “pop” a bit more. It also helps protect the inks I used here.

Then it was on to adding the initial flocking before returning to work on the shields.

Initial flocking before pigments added. After the two pigments set, I dry brush the bases with three colors.

The shields here are quite difficult to paint up with patterns. The surfaces are not smooth, and of course they are tiny. Below are the patterns I gave them under a gloss varnish – again to protect the colors.

The shields – painted and all glossy here.

Then it was time to mount them to the figures, add a matte varnish, and then add some grass.

Give us each a shield please!
It was hot out so I took these outside to speed the curing of the matte varnish.
All done and ready for play – and eye candy!

As promised…eye candy – note the color variations here and different poses.

Eye Candy

EA-07

EA-08

EA-09

EA-10

EA-11

EA-12

EA-13

EA-14

EA-15

EA-16

EA-17

EA-18

Group Shots

The four Eagle Knights armed with tepoztopilli.
Three were armed with cuauhololli.
The final 5 are armed with macuahuitl.
Here is a size comparison with a Tin Soldier UK Eagle Warrior. It will work ok on the tabletop!
All of the Ral Partha Eagle Knights together on my Things From the Basement Aztec Temple Sacrificial Altar!

I hope that you enjoyed this post and the photos – I tried playing around with my new iPhone and lighting – I’m not 100% sure I’ve got it down yet. I painted these in between a LOT of golf, so I’m happy that they are done. If you have any feedback, I’d love to read it in the comments section.

My Aztec figures now count up at 121:

I still can’t believe I painted all these…

As a second FYI, these Ral Partha figures are still available from IWM – here is the link. (Only again now they come without shields or weapons). I am sure that the lead content is no longer there too.

The Aztecs are DONE! On to the MAYA!

Miscellaneous details and references for those interested in that sort of thing:

For all of my previous posts on games, units, and other projects for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide” – please see this page.

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THESE EAGLE KNIGHT FIGURES:

  1. Kneadatite (green stuff)
  2. Shafts from North Star Military Figures 100mm wire spears (leftover from building Conquistador Pikemen)
  3. Gorilla Glue
  4. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  5. Gorilla Glue Gel
  6. Poster tack
  7. North Star Military Figures 100mm wire spears
  8. Vallejo Mecha Primer “White”
  9. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  10. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  11. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  12. Vallejo Mecha Color “Off-white”
  13. Vallejo Mecha Color “Black”
  14. Vallejo Game Color “Bronze Fleshtone”
  15. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
  16. Battlefront “Skin Shade”
  17. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  18. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Dark Angels Green”
  19. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Skeleton Horde”
  20. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Creed Camo”
  21. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Contrast Medium”
  22. Americana “Kelly Green”
  23. Vallejo Model Color “White”
  24. Americana “Apple Green”
  25. Vallejo Game Color “Bloody Red”
  26. Citadel “Carroburg Crimson” (wash)
  27. Secret Weapon Washes “Fallout” (wash)
  28. Secret Weapon Washes “Green” (wash/ink)
  29. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Iyandan Yellow”
  30. Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
  31. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aggaros Dunes”
  32. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  33. Vallejo Model Color “Burnt Umber”
  34. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
  35. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
  36. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Flesh Tearers Red”
  37. Vallejo Game Ink “Yellow”
  38. Citadel “Gehenna’s Gold”
  39. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  40. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  41. Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
  42. Citadel “Tallarn Sand”
  43. Citadel “Cryptek Armourshade Gloss” (shade)
  44. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown”
  45. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  46. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Terradon Turquoise”
  47. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Blue”
  48. Secret Weapon Washes “Just Red” (wash/ink)
  49. Vallejo Model Color “Black Green”
  50. Secret Weapon Washes “Yellow Snow” (wash/ink)
  51. Vallejo Game Ink “Green”
  52. Vallejo Game Ink “Red”
  53. Vallejo Game Ink “Blue”
  54. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aethermatic Blue”
  55. E6000 epoxy
  56. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  57. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  58. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  59. Army Painter “Brown Battleground” (flocking)
  60. Vallejo Model Color “English Uniform”
  61. Army Painter “Mid Brown” (shade)
  62. Citadel “Karak Stone”
  63. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  64. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

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Author: Mark Morin

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