ManoTINcas or ManoTINtacs? 54mm South American Tribal Warriors

En masse the terrifying ManoTINca tribal warriors
I keep misreading this title as the Mixtapes which sounds like an 80s band.

Along with the furious Spaniards / Conquistadors shown in my recent blog post, Alan Gruber of the Duchy of Tradgardland blog had kindly gifted me some opponents and forest fighters in the form of these 54mm Chintoys Mixtecs and Zapotecs from a unfinished project of his.

Alan thought they would enjoy protecting my Bold Frontiers tree forests.

Reaserching these South American warriors led me to a useful second hand old Osprey Men at Arms 239 book on Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec armies – still in print.

As you can see from comparing the cover illustration by Angus McBride, some of the Chintoys figures are sculpted fairly faithfully close in appearance to the Osprey illustrations. Chintoys also make separate boxes of eight figures of Aztec and Mayan warriors (available online).

The central figure a Zapotec priest is wearing the flayed skin of an enemy!

Figures converted to my version of Triple Alliance Jaguar Warriors
Stylised toy soldier faces adapted with copper cheek dots to highlight their darker skin tones

The original Jagaur and Eagle styled warriors both have great animal head dress – here are my Gull Warriors, stylish and stylised figures that look like carvings or Codex drawings.

My Gull Warriors …

Rather than be too specific to a historic period of the slightly confusing Mixtec and Zapotec enemies and allies of the Aztecs, I thought I would adapt the paint scheme slightly to form a new tribal opponents of the Spanish Conquistadors, the not so well known allied South and Central American tribes of the ManoTINcas and the ManoTINtacs led by their Priests and their Empress Queen Thatzyerlottal.

Some of these figures are ordinary warriors but too many of them for gaming are priests, officers and nobles, so I have tried through conversion to create a mixed skirmish force of more ordinary warriors.

I have created a more uniform tribal look by restricting myself to simple red stripes on the white maxtlatl loin cloth worn by most of the Warriors.

Feather banners removed on two figures and banner plumes transplanted to their heads

Alan had sent me several bags of these eight Mixtec figures so I had several of some of the Officer poses with spears and their battle flags strapped to their backs.

With a small skirmish force, I did not want too many officers and priests, so I cut down some of these feather banners to make more fighting men. I kept the feather crests and attached these by drilling, pinning and gluing this to the top of the head.

Many of the warriors are wearing the simple tlahuiztli padded cloth armour

Many of the warriors are armed with the widely used South American Macahuitl wooden sword or club with obsidian volcanic glass blades:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macuahuitl

Variations existed of this bladed weapon in the form of a obsidian bladed spear, the tepoztopilli.

Bowmen or Archers used arrows tipped with copper or obsidian volcanic glass.

I think these are finely animated figures of hunters with arrows.

Some of the kneeling red clad figures with atlatl spear throwers shown on the Osprey cover were so stylishly modelled in such a stylised way that I thought they might become statues in a jungle temple. These were undercoated in stone grey paint.

This stylised statue look is not so surprising. Much of what we know of Aztec / Inca / Mayan life is from post Spanish conquest Codex drawings and carvings at their city sites.

What might have been … Stone Warriors …

However, being short of troops, I briefly considered if they could be stone warrior statues that might come to life when the Spaniards raided their temple. They remind me heavily of the Inca type figures in Tintin Prisoners of The Sun and Rascar Capac in Tintin The Seven Crystal Balls https://tintin.fandom.com/wiki/Rascar_Capac

Eventually on the same “too many chiefs, not enough Indians” logic, these stone warriors were reanimated with gloss paint treatment as live warriors – the original figures are Zapotec warlords with arrow thrower.

I have used bright Revell Aquacolor gloss acrylics, to try and match the more colourful aspects of feather crests and shields, as they are shown in the Osprey Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec book and the Osprey Men at Arms 101 The Conquistadores volume , also with Angus McBride illustrations which also colourfully covers Aztecs, Mayans and Incas.

I wanted to keep my gloss paint, gloss varnish shiny toy soldier look for these unusual figures, including the stylised toy soldier face with a copper cheek dot in place of pink to match the darker skin tones (Revell Aquacolor Acrylic Mud Brown Gloss).

If Britain’s had made Mixtecs and Zapotecs, Aztecs, Incas and Mayans, I hope they would have come out of the factory looking this shiny and colourful.

The most striking figure in the Osprey Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec Armies book is the Mixtec Oracular priest – sadly they didn’t make the Mixtec queen, so a duplicate priest figure had some cosmetic surgery. Literally a face lift!

I shall feature on a separate blog post how this spare Mixtec priest figure was changed into a Mixtec queen. I still need to work on ‘her’ overlarge left hand.

As mentioned, I have not painted these figures exactly as they are shown in the Osprey books. I have kept the shields simple with uniform yellow and purple round edge patterns.

As well as the colour plates in the Osprey books, I was also guided by the bold colours in one of my childhood library books (pictured below). I like the strong colours such as the bright green quetzal feather plume headdresses.

My first encounter with these exotic warriors was in Warriors and Weapons of Ancient Times by Nils Saxdorph. The short lived Peter Laing 15mm range of Aztec, Inca and Maya warriors came out a little too late for me in the 1980s to invest in this unknown period. Whilst they might all have been on the National Curriculum primary school world history from the early 1990s onwards, reduced to just the Mayans since 2014, we didn’t cover these ancient cultures when I was at school in the 1970s and 80s.

At some point soon these Meso-American Stone Age warriors with obsidian tipped blades will encounter these fierce Spanish Conquistadors with their crossbows, arquebus, war dogs and cavalry …

These Chintoys Spanish Conquistadors will also double up as opponents for my Elizabethan Spanish Armada era English / Cornish ‘Home Guard’ Muster coastwatch rabble (made up of converted Pound Store knights) and Trained Band (made up of old ECW plastics).

I like it when figures ranges overlap and have a dual use, it reduces the cost, time, painting and storage needed for skirmish games. It keeps it more in the spirit of my ‘Pound Store Plastic Warriors’ blog.

The Armada seamen will be converted and painted up from China made cheap seaside pirates, so whilst Chintoys are not cheap Pound Store figures, many of the other plastic figures will be Pound Store or cheap seaside plastic toy figures.

Wearing my Imagi-Nations hat (you can imagine yourself what this might look like) these fierce warriors can stand in for Central and South Generican tribal warriors in my Bronte juvenilia inspired renaming of the world. Meso-Generican then …

I hope you have enjoyed seeing these fascinating colourful figures as much as I enjoyed painting and converting them. Thanks again to Alan Gruber for sending them my way.

So there you go, that’s the Mixtapes …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on this his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog 27 November 2020.

Author: 26soldiersoftin

Hello I'm Mark Mr MIN, Man of TIN. Based in S.W. Britain, I'm a lifelong collector of "tiny men" and old toy soldiers, whether tin, lead or childhood vintage 1960s and 1970s plastic figures. I randomly collect all scales and periods and "imagi-nations" as well as lead civilians, farm and zoo animals. I enjoy the paint possibilities of cheap poundstore plastic figures as much as the patina of vintage metal figures. Befuddled by the maths of complex boardgames and wargames, I prefer the small scale skirmish simplicity of very early Donald Featherstone rules. To relax, I usually play solo games, often using hex boards. Gaming takes second place to making or convert my own gaming figures from polymer clay (Fimo), home-cast metal figures of many scales or plastic paint conversions. I also collect and game with vintage Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, wishing like many others that I had bought more in the 1980s ...

12 thoughts on “ManoTINcas or ManoTINtacs? 54mm South American Tribal Warriors”

  1. These have come up splendidly! I am interested in the conversions made and am most intrigued by the queen conversion. I enjoyed reading your commentary about the decisions made with these figures. Your blog post title reminded me of Tic Tac mints from my youth and those plastic containers filled to the brim with them. It will be good to see these fellows in action. These obsidian blades are sharp but shatter on metal armour!

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    1. Thank you for putting these my way, I think they will serve well in several scenarios and ImagiNations.
      Don’t underestimate The “obsidian chainsaw” – not so good against armour and swift swords but it was a formidable weapon when the Spanish abandoned their rusty armour and switched to local padded quilt cloth armour in the humid tropics. However the shock and awe of cannon, cavalry, dogs and even the slow crossbows and slow arquebus (these latter two flawed and soon unserviceable in humid tropics) did much to speed the Spanish Conquest. Unintentional biological warfare (smallpox etc) helped too as did exploiting tribal rivalries. Story if Colonialism repeated all over the world. Brave small number Spaniards to stand against a charging horde of these South American Stone Age warriors, the Spaniards backed up by Allied rival tribes. Capture and sacrifice was worse than death in battle.
      Ah. The Tictacs – obviously another tribe whose colours are white, light green and pale orange.

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  2. Indian tribal paintings possess an inimitable sensitivity, as tribal folks possess a passionate awareness, massively varying from the urbanised population. India presents before the world perhaps as sunny a field as any solitary country in the world pregnant with a perfect specimen of all the minute varieties of Oriental life; of Oriental scenery, Oriental nations and Oriental manners, and it is open to the globe to explore these peculiarities to the last degree while enjoying perfectly European security. And tribal paintings cater to such Orientalism, inexhaustible charisma of the “others”; a perfect expression of their life redrawing their passion and mystery.
    Tribal painting is the mirror of the energy of the respective art of various tribal groups. It is a living and changing art form, which changes with time, necessity, environment, memories, global influences and experiences of these people.
    https://www.indianetzone.com/51/indian_tribal_paintings.htm

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