Minifigures are one of my favourite things about Lego – and series 12 is on the way (possibly even out in your country by the time you read this). So to celebrate this upcoming release, every day this week, we’ll be looking at a different minifigure from the series that have come before. This is by no means a comprehensive overview – nor even necessarily a look at my favourites – but it’s an example of some of the unusual figures the line has produced since it debuted back in 2010. So for day 4, we look at one from series 7 -- the Aztec Warrior!
“No, you can’t have our gold! Go find your own!”
A mighty soldier of the sun, the Aztec Warrior is one of the fierce Eagle Knights of the legendary Aztec Empire. Protected by his feathered shield and beaked helmet, he battles for the glory of his empire from sunrise to sunset, never stopping for food or rest as long as there are enemies to capture and the sun shines bright in the sky.
And there certainly are plenty of enemies! For some reason, people are always trying to steal the empire’s gold. Sure, it’s pretty and you can make it into some nice, shiny weapons and armor, but the Aztec Warrior doesn’t really get what the big deal is with the stuff. Sometimes he wishes the invaders would only come at night so some other warriors could deal with them instead!
History isn’t interesting, you say? Well, you’re obviously not familiar with the Aztecs. Human sacrifice, cannibalism and brutal warfare, all culminating with a mighty empire brought low by superior arms, and disease. It must have been a dreadful time to live, but it has made for some of the most engaging historical reading in the years that have followed.
Along with Ancient Egypt, I was fairly obsessed with the Aztecs as a kid. Recently I even travelled to Melbourne to see an exhibit on them – only to find out it’s now coming to Sydney (and I would suggest you go check it out while it’s on, should you be in the area). But I never even dared imagine that we’d get anything remotely Aztec-related in Lego form, so it was with great excitement that I awaited the release of Series 7.
This guy looks is an Eagle Warrior – but he's clearly been moonlighting in El Dorado as a guard. His mask is gold, his shield is gold – even his spear is gold! It can’t have been very practical in warfare, given gold’s relativeness softness, but by golly does it look cool.
On his body, he’s printed with a Mesoamerican-style necklace, complete with idol-esque, glowering face on it, buff pecs and a red, green and gold patterned loincloth. Beneath the mask, he’s got a fairly neutral expression with green warpaint layered over the top. Well, I say neutral, but “stoic” is probably a better description. After all, Eagle Warriors were some of the elites in the Aztec army – it wasn’t the regular grunts who were wearing this getup.On that note, this doesn't look like a particularly accurate take on it, but rather a mix-up of various Aztec, Incan and Mayan features -- still pretty cool to look at though. Real Eagle Warriors wore a much more elaborate costume. They were also usually armed with wooden clubs that had sharp obsidian blades lodged into its edges. As you might imagine, they could do some serious damage -- the Conquistador from series 8 had best watch himself!
Series 7 had a pretty good line-up, but it seems to have been massively overproduced. It hung around on shelves (particularly in Coles and Woolworths) for far too long, which made the comparative scarcity of series 8 and 9 all the more annoying. It was also the last one I collected in full, before I got out of the game for a little while.
Silly as it sounds, I think these factors have coloured my perception of the Aztec Warrior. He is a great figure, but he has never quite resonated with me as strongly as, say, the Classic Alien. Still, I hold out hope that we’ll see a fully-fledged Aztec line in future, perhaps in the vein of Pharaoh’s Quest – perhaps then he’ll find his proper spot in the collection. Till then he remains an entertaing curiosity.