Work in Progress

Building a Tlaxcalan army for DBA

Posted by Kaiphranos on 05 Jan 2022, 00:46

One of my planned projects for this year is a Tlaxcalan army for DBA, as opponents for my existing Mayaand Aztec armies, and I thought folks here might be interested to see how it comes together.

It all starts with the classic Revell Aztec set, which I used extensively for the Aztec army. However, the figures I had included quite a few of the two archer poses, which I did not end up using. In a fortunate coincidence, I noticed that the DBA army list for the Tlaxcalans calls for large numbers of bow units. After counting out the figures I had, I realized I was a little short, so I looked around for some plausible substitutes among my collection and have come up with some that I think will do the trick. Here I have everyone counted out and mustered into approximately the units that will be required:

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I also did some digging around for visual sources, and was pleased to find mention of a work known as the "Lienzo de Tlaxcala." The Tlaxcalans ended up more-or-less allied with the Spanish when they arrived, and after the Conquest, this document was put together to depict the Tlaxcalans and their new friends getting together to beat up all their neighbors. It is laid out almost like a comic strip, with most of the panels showing the Spanish and their allies fighting various native peoples (whose origins are helpfully labeled:)

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(images courtesy of Manuel de Yáñez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

As you can see, there is quite a bit of material to work with here as far as costume, weaponry, and shield designs. (The colors I am still a little unsure about.) My next step will be to do some conversions, hopefully ending up with some figures who are a bit closer match to the warriors depicted in the Lienzo!
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Kaiphranos  United States of America
 
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Posted by Peter on 05 Jan 2022, 13:06

Iallways knew that Robin with the Hood is a good man. I see he joined these troops to. Nice mix of figures and brands and I'm looking forward to the progress of this project. I'm curious how Robin will look at the end! ;-) :thumbup:
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Peter  Belgium

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Posted by Kaiphranos on 05 Jan 2022, 23:43

Well, who better to call upon when you need a few good archers? ;-)

Speaking of which, let's have a look at some of those conversions. When I can, I like to have each figure on a stand be of a different pose, and my army list means I need to make five stands that will have three bowmen each. Now, I have a few archers from the Caesar set who can provide some variety alongside the Revell figures, but not enough for five stands. So I turned to my old friend Airfix Robin Hood:

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Top row: the Caesar archer and two as-yet unmodified Revell archers.

Second row: Robin Hood himself, with his hat trimmed back a bit to be a headband (still with the original feather!) He will be mostly a paint conversion - I will paint his jerkin to be a quilted one like the Caesar archer, or the archer from the first Lienzo panel, and just paint his arms and legs in flesh tones. Second and third figures are Revell archers with some trimming. This may be heresy, but I don't like the plastic bow strings - also, it lets me carve out some awkward plastic from how the figures are cast. I know some people are hardcore enough to add bow strings with thread, but I am not! :-) I have also done my best to shave down the shield designs, as I want to paint my own. And I have cut back the feather crest on the kneeling archer, since it doesn't look quite right for the Tlaxcalans. For some I may trim it completely, but I have left this guy a couple of feathers.

Third row: Three variations on a converted Robin Hood archer. The first one just has a head swap from a Revell figure, and I have carved down his tunic a bit. The second and third have head swaps as well as leg swaps - their lower bodies are taken from one of the Revell slinger poses. All of them (and Robin Hood) have simple curved bows made from brass wire, and added quivers made from green stuff (or maybe shopping bags full of broccoli to snack on!)
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Kaiphranos  United States of America
 
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Posted by Kekso on 06 Jan 2022, 11:46

I've always envied guys who are brave enough to convert 1/72 or smaller figures.
In a fact, I very rarely do it even in larger scales.
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Posted by Peter on 06 Jan 2022, 16:30

Nice to see those conversions! Keep them coming! I'm watching! :beer:
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Posted by Ben90 on 06 Jan 2022, 22:59

Very interesting project! I will follow it :-)
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Posted by Kaiphranos on 07 Jan 2022, 20:01

Another few conversions, all starting with various Caesar Aztecs (originals on the left):

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First up, we bring a wounded warrior back to life! I first encountered this figure when I was building my Aztec army and wasn't quite sure what to do with him - for one thing, he appears to have just been shot or stabbed, so the pose is a bit of an awkward one. For the second, he doesn't look much like a typical Aztec! The latter mystery was solved when I started looking around for sources on the Tlaxcalans - it looks like he was copied from an Osprey plate that actually depicts a Tlaxcalan warrior. (I guess he was included in the Aztec set to be a victim.) Well, now he is back in action and looking to get even! I gave him a bit of plastic card as a shield, carved his maquahuitl away from his foot, and flipped his hand around so that he can brandish his weapon in a suitably menacing manner.

Next, we have a pose with a couple of issues. Although both the Revell and Caesar sets contain a man in an alligator costume, I have never seen a historical source for these. I decided to trim the feet and tail from the alligator, and I will paint it to hopefully look like a quilted or padded tunic. I also replaced his head with a spare from the Maya set - it's not perfect, but I hope it will be a better match for the feathered headband type of headdress that seems to be a recurring feature in the Lienzo images. Finally, I gave him a shield and replaced his hatchet with a bit of brass wire - I plan to add paper or cardboard later to make this look like a maquahuitl.

The third fellow got much the same treatment as the second. While the Lienzo does show a couple of warriors in full jaguar or coyote attire, most of the warriors seem to be in full suits but without headpieces. This guy also got a head transplant from a Maya, as well as a brass rod for a future maquahuitl.
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Kaiphranos  United States of America
 
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Posted by Fire at Will on 07 Jan 2022, 21:34

Thanks I've acquires a box of Caesar Aztecs to boost my Aztec army, and you've given me some good ideas and I may well now boost my small number of Tlaxcalans.
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Posted by Peter on 07 Jan 2022, 23:05

We have some real cruel people here on the forum! Headswaps, arms cut off and replaced, Impaling (where is Fred, I miss him! :( ) and so on. :shock: And you know what? I like them! :mrgreen:

Great conversions again! :thumbup:
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Posted by Kekso on 08 Jan 2022, 08:24

Yes, nice conversions indeed,
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Posted by Ochoin on 08 Jan 2022, 09:02

I'm very much looking forward to seeing these painted.
For me, it doesn't get much more exotic than all this meso-American stuff.


Keep up the good work.

donald
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Ochoin  Scotland
 
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Posted by Santi Pérez on 12 Jan 2022, 20:51

Kaiphranos, you do a smart use of figures from different periods that match well with the desired Tlaxcalans, such Atlantic Egyptians or Airfix Robin Hood's happy men. I love your wonderful conversions. Well done! :love:

Santi.
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Santi Pérez  Spain
 
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Posted by Kaiphranos on 13 Jan 2022, 01:03

Thanks everyone for the kind words and encouragement! There will be more conversions coming down the pipe at some point, but today I have the first few figures painted up:

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These three will make up one of the five stands of "fast" bowmen I will need. The figure in the center is one of the Robin Hood recruits; I'm pleased with how his quilted tunic came out. I also had some fun painting the wickerwork patterns onto the shields. Next step will be to get them based up!
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Kaiphranos  United States of America
 
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Posted by Peter on 13 Jan 2022, 10:04

Great painted figures! :thumbup:
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Posted by PhilC on 13 Jan 2022, 22:26

What an interesting project! I was considering converting some of my old Aztecs into Tlaxcaltec opponents, and now I have an example to follow. Your conversions are great, and yes, the guy with the crocodile mask doesn't appear in the documentation, unless I've missed something.
Your first archers above look very good, as expected from you :yeah:
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Posted by Kaiphranos on 13 Jan 2022, 23:28

It's funny you should mention the crocodile, as I was just thinking I might have to issue a retraction of my previous statement, as I have found what may be a source depicting it in one of the panels of the Lienzo:

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However, it seems that rather than a crocodile, it is supposed to be a more elaborate version of the coyote headgear that shows up in a few other places. And the wearing of the crocodile skin still seems to be entirely fanciful - the suits were padded cloth decorated with feathers to resemble animals, not usually actual animal hide. So maybe it is only a partial retraction. ;-) And the good news is, maybe I can justify using one of those headdresses in a conversion somewhere...
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Posted by Chariobaude on 14 Jan 2022, 17:33

very nice work on your conversion, it is just impossible to imagine the English peasant behind the Mesoamerican archer!!
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Posted by Kaiphranos on 16 Jan 2022, 03:20

Well, I said there would be more conversions to come, and here are some more, all starting with figures from the Caesar Aztec set:

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The first figures in each column are more or less untouched (the coyote warrior in the second row has a shield added, but it may be a little hard to see.) The conversions are mostly head transplants; in the top row one donor was a Maya and the other was a Revell Aztec. In the second and third row we have a bit of musical chairs (musical heads?) going on - the center figure in the second row has the head from the figure on the right, who has a "crocodile" head from the center figure in the bottom row (who has a head from a Maya slinger). Another Revell head caps off the set.

Next we have the most elaborate one I've done so far:

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Many of the Lienzo images feature a Tlaxcalan warrior with a heron pāmitl banner and I knew that I would have to take a stab at creating one of these. I used green stuff for the heron's body and brass rods for the supports, but the wings are actually a bonus piece taken from the Orion Winged Hussars set!

In order to make sure everyone in the unit fits on the intended base, I like to arrange them beforehand:

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Finally, here we have another unit of warriors all painted up, including some of the first round of conversions:

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From working on these guys, I learned some useful lessons about the best way to add the maquahuitl swords - the ones I added are brass wire at the core, sandwiched between two layers of thin cardstock with notches cut in them. Initially I thought I would be able to glue the cardstock onto the wire after adding it to the figure, but it turns out better to put together the maquahuitl first, then add it to the figure.
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Kaiphranos  United States of America
 
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Posted by huib on 16 Jan 2022, 17:04

Great work on the conversions and painting. Very nice!
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Posted by Chariobaude on 17 Jan 2022, 10:29

fantastic army, and great conversions ! Now i want to see those guys in action !
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