UPDATED: Building a 28mm Aztec Army (well, kind of) | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
The Webmistress is painting up 28mm Aztecs for a fantasy game, and we're chronicling it here for you. Let us know what you think, and what more you'd like to know about the figures we used. Feel free to offer us options for the last 1/3rd of her army also...
Building a 28mm Aztec Army (kind of)
Jan 30, 2007
by Don MacVittie

28mm Aztec (Mis)Adventures
The Webmistress paints up her Aztecs for a fantasy game.


In our RPG world of Nordalia, there is an adventuring party deep in the jungles of a strange southern continent trying to stop an invasion of desert peoples from the northern continent.

There is some benefit in styling peoples of a fantasy world after peoples in the real world - there are similar geographies and it helps people keep the imagery in their minds. Granted you cannot always do this, but sometimes it helps.

So in Nordalia, the desert peoples (the Doornians, named for their primary deity) are styled after historical middle eastern peoples, and the tribes of the jungles (Larkanians, named for their continent) are styled after the Aztecs. In both cases there are distinguishing differences, but you can already picture the peoples, right? That's the point.

Since the adventuring party is starting a war to throw the northerners out, we have been casting about for a simple set of fantasy rules to satisfy our need for the occasional mass-combat without delving into the complexities of WarHammer or Warband style games. We tried De Bellis Antiquitatis, but there is no place for the heroes to impact the battle in DBA.

As you know if you read this article, we have found a set of rules that is fast, fun, and simple. We'll be adding a lot of rules to it for situations like seiges, but overall it will suit our needs.

This article isn't about choosing a set of rules though, it is about building one of the armies. All of the above was to introduce the Larkanian army to you.

Initially, I ordered Aztecs from Eureka for a Christmas present, and The Webmistress started painting them up. when I ordered the Assyrians to stand in as Doornians from Wargames Foundry (another article starting up on that), I also ordered some more Aztecs for her. The two sets go well together, and she is painting away. Her current total number of figures is forty, and we would like to get them to 65 or 70 to make the size games we are thinking of.

The entire group ordered from Eureka, primed and ready for painting

First Installment: The Webmistress' Thoughts

The Webmistress supports me on Wargames @ Nordalia, but really isn't overly interested in writing for us, so I am documenting her progress and throwing my words around her verbal statements. Thus you get the filter .

The first batch of miniatures with one pass of painting

The Eureka figures are great, but when I was researching, some had complained that they were flat. The novices indeed are a bit flat through the middle, but overall they're not so bad in finished form. The Webmistress' largest single complaint thus far has been over the wobbly nature of these figures. When you have a head-dress that weighs as much as the miniature, or one that weighs less but sticks up an inch or two, the base of the miniature really should be large enough to accomodate it.

We do not generally base miniatures before painting them, but some of these, and some of the Doornians, we were forced to in order to keep them from falling and chipping or smearing fresh paint.

The Webmistress is very pleased with the level of detail on the Eureka miniatures, and as you can see here, has even added some of her own.

Leopard Skinned Warrior and Alligator skinned warrior

Of course, the moment she was nearly done with the Eureka miniatures, the Foundry Miniatures arrived at our door. I can't sing their praises enough - 125 bucks gets you an entire army and free shipping, and we added stuff to the order... And it was still here in a week. From the U.K. to Wisconsin, USA.

All of the painted and partially miniatures in this picture are the Eurekas, three of the unpainted figures (the three in the back) are also Eureka. The remaining white-primed figures are the new Foundry miniatures

Since our colors were getting older, and there are certain bright colors associated with these figures both in and out of Nordalia, I picked up The Sorcerers' Pack of Game Colors from Valejo. This set of paints is a good starting point if you're going to paint up Aztecs - turquoise, gold, bright red, all the colors you would want except for dark skin tones (The Webmistress snagged a bottle of my Model Color USA Tan Earth for these since even our Reaper Tanned Flesh was too light for her purposes) and while a little steep at $40 USD for 16 paints, the set is Valejo.

We'll continue to update you as they move through the process. The Webmistress wants to go over them one more time before the wash and finish go on, and there's still the Foundry miniatures to look at as she finishes them.

I can't wait to see what she does with the excellent Eureka leaders

That's all for now... More later.

Update - the first finished batch

Well, Lori got through painting up a batch of her Larkanians, so I dutifully washed and based them - there's a rule in our house that no matter who paints it, I wash, matte finish, and base it. That's just the way it's always been.

Since all sorts of sites online talk about their based figures, but few actually tell you how they go about it, I thought we would list it out for you.

For our basing, we use some form of plastic card or base. For the Doornians, I chose FoW medium bases because I needed that much space for each one, and we had a ton of them laying around. For Lori's Larkanians, we chose to cut our own bases from plastic card. So we popped off to the local model railroading shop and picked up some Raboesch Super Sheets, which are simply 7.6" by 12.6" cards of polystyrene. We use 0.04" thickness, but find a thickness that suits your tastes.

For basing material to build up from the plastic card to the feet of the miniatures, we use spackling. It is cheap, easy to work with, looks good, and if you need it textured, a little bit of model railroad ballast will give it a rocky/sandy look.

Our current favorite basing material

We cover this basing with paint of the desired hue, not normally as a final coat, but as a base in case the flocking flakes off. For the Larkanians, we chose to use the paint without ballast because it is the color we were after. For basing colors, we have a whole suitcase of Adikolor paints that we don't use for much else.
A Doornian (Assyrian figure) based but unpainted.

For most projects, once the paint is dried, we coat the base in white glue, and then flock. We use Woodland Scenics flocking, but there are a lot of good options out there.

Finally, if you want your figures to look very good, some form of terrain-specific eye-candy. We use logs, palm fronds, partial walls, whatever we can dream up.

So we popped off to our Friendly Local Gaming Store (FLGS), and picked up the Games Workshop (GW) Jungle Plants package. Sure, at $40.00 USD the set is expensive, but there is a lot of really nice foliage in the box, and since GW tends to oversize everything, we cut it down for 25/28mm, and really cut it up for 15mm, making it last a very long time. The box we bought for Lori's Larkanians we expect to be enough for that army, a 15mm Japanese army, and a 15mm US Marines army.

Putting it together
Okay, we're all together, the steps are defined, so here's what we did.

First, we cut 30x30mm bases from the plastic card. It's a good size for this army, leaving room to decorate but making decent sized units when placed side-by-side.

Next, we glued the figures to the bases. This is not our normal method, we prefer to put down the spackling and then push the figure into it, but some of these figures are rather wobbly due to the high head dresses they wear, and we didn't want them tipping into the plaster and making a mess.

Once the glue was dried, we broke out the spackling and built up the base to the level of the figure's feet. Then we set them to the side for the night.

The next evening, we painted the bases up in the color of our choice, cut up bits of the GW jungle foliage, and glued them down to the base.And that was that.

While it takes a couple of days and a little work, we felt the figures came out well.

We'll post another update when the army is completed, but she's off to a good start.For your viewing enjoyment, here are a few pictures of the figures thus far completed.

All of her finished figures

A Larkanian Warrior peers through the foliage

A Larkanian leader awaits the results of battle

A Warrior blows a conch horn (Summoning a retreat due to onrushing Doornians?)

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