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"Two Hans? 28mm Warring States vs. so-called Han Chinese??" Topic


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2,788 hits since 30 May 2013
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Come In Nighthawk30 May 2013 6:22 a.m. PST

Teased by the recent article in Ancient Warfare, I asked in another thread for some advice about Han Empire figures for a hypothetical Clash between Imperial Rome and Han China?? I got some useful suggestions and I am taking a look! However, what I am seeing on those websites where vendors bother to picture their wares leads me to ask a couple questions of the experts here 'bouts who game Asian warfare ca. 200BC (or BCE if you prefer) to ca. 200AD (or CE).

What would be smart if gaming the "Early" or "Western Han" (206BC 9AD), through the dynasty of Wang Mang, to the "Later" or and "Eastern Han" (25220AD)? Use figures from vendors labelled as "Warring States" period for the "Western Han" for the period roughly 200BC 50BC? Use figures labelled as for the "Han Chinese" for the "Eastern Han," i.e., for the period roughly 50AD 200AD? And finally, in the interregnum, use a cautious mix of the two sets of figures for the period just before, during, and just after Wang Mang (i.e., about 50 years before and after the Dynasty of Wang Mang?)?

For example, I was looking at the Curteys "Warring States" period and "Han Chinese" figures last night on-line, and was comparing them to the illustrations in the two relevant Osprey MAA series volumes (MAA-218 & 284). I am impressed with them; Note to VENDORS -- nicely painted examples of your wares on-line on your website can sell figures!! Something struck me as I was looking at the illustrations Curteys provides of the figures. A few lines of text in the two Osprey books strongly suggest that "Warring States" period arms, armor, and dress, persisted at LEAST into the "Early" or "Western Han" (at least from 206BC to ca. early 1st Cent. BC). In fact, in Imperial Chinese Armies: (I) 200BC 589AD (MAA 284), Chris Peers stated flatly of all Han armies, in a single line under the heading "Weapons" (pg. 16), that:

Weapons and armour were similar to those used by the Ch'in (see MAA 218, Ancient Chinese Armies). [Han] Infantry were often protected with leather or iron lamellar armour. They wore caps or iron helmets, and were equipped with spears or halberds, swords, and bows or crossbows.

Chris Peers' illustrator, Michael Perry, shows "Western Han" looking quite a bit like the "Chi'n" warriors illustrated by Angus McBride in Ancient Chinese Armies (MAA-218), allowing for two things. First, the differences in artistic style of the two illustrators. Second, that the Han apparently did alter the "style" or "shape" of their cuirass. From what I can see, principally the difference was that the earlier lamellar armor used by the Ch'in ("First Empire," ending the "Warring States") extended from below the waist, up the torso, to the top of the shoulder -- even if only a front defense was worn and not a back defense (a 1/2 cuirass, if you will). The Han "economized"(?) by having a lamellar defense for front and back, BUT, which extended only from the waist to above the level of the heart on the chest and back, and was simply secured over the shoulders by cords… Ch'in cuirasses also don't always seem to have protected the wearer's sides, whereas Han cuirasses did… Contrast plates "G" and "H" in MAA-218, with plates "A," "B," and "C" in MAA-284.

So, thoughts?? Go ahead and mix-n-match Curtsey (or other Vendor's) "Warring States" and "Han" lines as seems most appropriate to me to do whichever period w/in the era of the Han Empire I am targeting? beer

One more thought!? Did peasant dress alter substantially over time? Could I use about any Chinese peasant figures from any-when between ca. 700-500BC to 1600AD as peasants (refugees, booty, "objective markers") for my Han army? huh? Thanks!!

sumerandakkad Inactive Member30 May 2013 8:35 a.m. PST

That is a good assessment of how it looks.
I would say yes to the warring state and Han figures and yes to the peasants also.

TGerritsen30 May 2013 10:17 a.m. PST

I'm really sorry to say this, but this thread calls out for the question-

Which Han shot first?

Lion in the Stars30 May 2013 10:45 a.m. PST

One more thought!? Did peasant dress alter substantially over time? Could I use about any Chinese peasant figures from any-when between ca. 700-500BC to 1600AD as peasants (refugees, booty, "objective markers") for my Han army?

I'm not sure peasant dress has changed from 700BC until about 1950AD…

Come In Nighthawk30 May 2013 11:07 a.m. PST

I'm not sure peasant dress has changed from 700BC until about 1950AD…
Not sure when the que became the normal-normal way men wore their hair, but, as to clothing, I was just "safe-siding" it… beer

Ancestral Hamster Inactive Member30 May 2013 11:45 a.m. PST

Not sure when the que became the normal-normal way men wore their hair, but, as to clothing, I was just "safe-siding" it… beer
It was an edict issued in 1645 CE by the Qing Dynasty (the Manchus). So you've a lot of leeway!

Come In Nighthawk30 May 2013 12:37 p.m. PST

Could I use about any Chinese peasant figures from any-when between ca. 700-500BC to 1600AD as peasants (refugees, booty, "objective markers") for my Han army?

Not sure when the que became the normal-normal way men wore their hair, but, as to clothing, I was just "safe-siding" it…

Sooooooooooo, as to cutting off my "safe-siding" at 1600AD!!

It was an edict issued in 1645 CE by the Qing Dynasty (the Manchus). So you've a lot of leeway!

How lucky with a guess can you get… beer Why can't I guess the lottery that well???? money

Ancestral Hamster Inactive Member30 May 2013 6:18 p.m. PST

How lucky with a guess can you get… Why can't I guess the lottery that well????
Probably because that's a big thing, and most people only have luck for the little things in life!

Now if you'd like to game the fighting between the rebels, Ming Loyalists, and the conquering Manchu, you'll need two different types of peasants. The ones with the older hairstyles, and the subjects of the Manchus, who had adopted the queue on pain of death.

(It was a loyalty test by the Manchus. If the new subjects did not cut their hair in this new fashion, they were decapitated. Anyone who did had accepted the new regime and were considered okay.)

Pedrobear Inactive Member30 May 2013 6:22 p.m. PST

It takes two Hans to clap, but in this case I am not sure the division between Early and Late Han represent any break in culture or military fashion.

To me, the difference between Chin and Han is chariots and cavalry.

Chinese peasant dress is typically depicted in Chinese (read Hong Kong and Taiwanese) period dramas as a loose-fitting bathrobe-type top ending above the knees, and before the Qin decree hair was typically worn as a top knot on the centre of the head (and not to one side as on some terracotta warriors).

picture

"High" or "court" fashion may change with the arrival of a new ruling class, but peasant dress I think remained largely the same.

Come In Nighthawk30 May 2013 7:17 p.m. PST

I'm wondering if I could use some of Curtey's other Chinese lines for auxiliary or other roles in my Han armies?

E.G., 1) use the "earlier" Shang/Zhou EC01, 03, 05, 07, and 17, "Warriors with hand weapons & shields," "Archers," "Warriors with spears & shields" x2, and the "Shaman," as southern frontier "barbarian" auxiliaries to the Han? Or as enemies…

2) The Shang/Zhou EC11, "Command," seem a little too "early," but, perhaps the argument can be made that Tribal leaders and "officers" might use "archaic" equipment?

3) Use the later Sung SU04, Unarmoured infantry command, standing -- except maybe the officer in the later style helmet -- as the command for the various Han (and "Warring States") "Peasant Levy" figures?

4) Use the Sung SU16, 16a, and 17 "Tribal" infantry for western (or other southern?) frontier "barbarian" auxiliaries to the Han? Or as enemies…

5) I feel that SU31, the Sung "Peasants," have already discussed above. Could use SU33, "Rabble with improvised weapons," both as "revolting peasants" but also as armed farmers? They seem mostly to be carrying farm implements??

6) Use SU32, the Sung "Scribe and Assistant," as my Han "Strategist?"

7) Finally, use SU34, the Sung "Oxen," as part of my Han quartermaster corps??

beer

Pedrobear Inactive Member30 May 2013 11:09 p.m. PST

Shang/Chou are too… proto-Chinese. The figures look more like Samnites than Chinese! (Incidentally, may I say that the whole range portrays a negative racial steroetype: Chinese do not look like that!)

SU 16, 16a and 17 look more Khmer than Chinese to me too…

SU 04 look good for the peasants, and I suppose if you paint the clothing uniform they can do for unarmoured troops too. The halberd on the guy on the left is anachronistic though, as is the helmet of the guy on the right. Also, the Chinese used drums to transmit orders – I am not sure if they used trumpets…

SU 31 with the buttoned tunics is also not quite right. SU 33 with the bathrobe is more the look.

SU 32 the hat of the official is distinctly Sung, and paper supposedly only came into use around 100AD – prior to that the Chinese wrote on strips of bamboo strung together.

I can't comment on the authenticity of the oxen though. :)

Come In Nighthawk31 May 2013 12:41 p.m. PST

@ Pedrobear Thanks for your comments, they are helping inform my choices.

Part of my problem, however, is that being on the "wrong side of the pond" from most historical figure companies, I am kind'a stuck with trying to settle on one (1) line that gives me the most "bang for the buck!" I don't feel like subsidizing HM Post or Parcel Farce with fragmented orders to multiple UK vendors. OG25s-USA carries a small line advertized as Han Chinese -- but their main website has no fotoz at all of the figures, and while their "old" website is still up, the fotoz are really poor, low-rez…

So, that said, if I follow you, using the Curteys figures has some… problems? Okay, and some possible solutions?

Shang/Chou are too… proto-Chinese. The figures look more like Samnites than Chinese!

Hmm, well okay, but those figures in EC01, 03, 05, 07, 11 & 17 look like they are based directly on Angus McBride's illustrations in Chris Peers' Ancient Chinese Armies (MAA-218); Plates A1, A3 & A4, the Charioteers and the 'dead guy' in B, the Shaman and the southern warriors in C, and plausibly E1 & E2. Am I wrong?

(Incidentally, may I say that the whole range portrays a negative racial stereotype: Chinese do not look like that!)

Sure; say-away! Not much we can do about it though, unless we all boycott Curteys and they disestablish that line?? So therefore, what vendor's figures might you suggest I use instead? Just curious! money

SU 16, 16a and 17 look more Khmer than Chinese to me…
Kool. Does it matter if the "Barbarians" are Khmer rather than Chinese?? Did the Han Chinese never fight the Khmer? And honestly, the "tribals" look more like an illustration of "Fu-kien" (sp?) Chinese southerners from one of Peers' later volumes on Imperial China in the same series from Osprey…

…the Chinese used drums to transmit orders I am not sure if they used trumpets…
Not much I can do there either, unless I start subsidizing Parcel Force by fragmenting my order looking for command stands from another source that uses drums…

SU 31 with the buttoned tunics is also not quite right. SU 33 with the bathrobe is more the look.
Well, if I have time --- and the skill --- I will file the buttons off and then try to slash diagonally across the chest to suggest the "wrap-around bathrobe type" tunic, and then figure out a way to add a belt…

SU 32 the hat of the official is distinctly Sung…
Well, I might-could file off the top of the hat, then drill two holes and plug in a pair of tabs to suggest the kind of hat as worn by the Han officers?

…paper supposedly only came into use around 100AD prior to that the Chinese wrote on strips of bamboo strung together.
Well, I have it in mind that this "What If" would feature the "Living God" Trajan (in good health!!), having punched/punished the Parhtians and created a new province of "Roman Mesopotamia" as a spring-board, has now led an army east into the "rump" of Parthia. The Han, wondering what has happened "out west" on the Road of Silk, has sent an army of their own westwards into the "rump" of Parthia to find out… As that would happen after Trajan's Parthian Campaign, its a decade or more after the introduction of paper?? Then TOO, my Han army has only the most forward-looking strategist in its command suite!!! evil grin

Pedrobear Inactive Member31 May 2013 6:26 p.m. PST

CIN,

Living in "Rest of the World", I totally get what you say about postage! Over here we routinely club together to make purchases to save on postage.

Now I am not saying that the Shang/Chou figures are inaccurate, but that they come from a culture that is "pre" what is commonly recognised as "Chinese" it's a little like the difference between Mycenean and classical Greek, I guess. Shang/Chou figures next to Warring States and later will look like Mycenean Greeks next to Hoplite Greek.

Peasant figures are usually safe, although the sticks-and-leather shield that looks Zulu is too early.

The "Khmer" looking figures can probably stand in for the people of Yunnan province, which was a separate kingdom once but absorbed into the Han Empire.

Anywya, here's a clip of a series on the Han Empire aroind 120 BC. It's produced by China (I think) and should be less fantastic than Hollywood stuff. Hope it gives you an idea of what the Han look like.

YouTube link

Pedrobear Inactive Member31 May 2013 6:42 p.m. PST

Wow, check this out!

YouTube link

Come In Nighthawk31 May 2013 8:50 p.m. PST

Shang/Chou figures next to Warring States and later will look like Mycenean Greeks next to Hoplite Greek.

Peasant figures are usually safe, although the sticks-and-leather shield that looks Zulu is too early.

Okay, I follow… So, anyone know if the Curtseys EC01, 03, 05, 07 figures come with separate shields??????? money evil grin

Come In Nighthawk03 Jun 2013 7:36 a.m. PST

So…………….

Looking further afield for plausible "Barbarian" foes for the Han?? wink

Could I use Curteys' "Tibetan Nomads?" huh?

Pedrobear Inactive Member03 Jun 2013 6:29 p.m. PST

Hmm. The Nomads do look generic enough.

Come In Nighthawk03 Jun 2013 9:07 p.m. PST

The Nomads do look generic enough.
I'd imagine I need to replace the "Tibetan Lance" with something more generic as a spear?? huh? Do I also need to replace the shields?? grin

Come In Nighthawk13 Jun 2013 4:08 p.m. PST

A further thought… Since the Curteys "Tribal infantry" and associated archers are listed under the Song/Sung sub-range? That places them in the 10th to 13th Century (960AD to 1279AD). huh? Can they be used for any period before the Song Dynasty? Especially -- the "Western" (Early) and/or "Eastern" (Later) Han Dynasties???

beer

Pedrobear Inactive Member13 Jun 2013 6:06 p.m. PST

Yes, I thik SU 16, 16a and 17 look pretty generic enough for tribal infantry or even peasant rebels.

In communist period art the peasant rebel armies are usually shown to be bare-chested or with one bare shoulder.

picture

picture

Come In Nighthawk22 Jul 2013 7:26 a.m. PST

Everyone ("everyone??") gaming the early Chinese Dynasties (empires & kingdoms) seem to focus all but solely on the northern frontier and threats (i.e. Horse Nomads). Sigh…

Huzzahh, then, that it seems that the Curteys [Southern] "Tribal infantry" and associated archers CAN be used w/out much trouble for any-when before their intended period of the Song Dynasty (10th to 13th Century; 960AD to 1279AD) -- e.g. use as early as the "Western" (Early) and/or "Eastern" (Later) Han Dynasties. [Hat-tip to Pedrobear!]

However…

1) …with only three code numbers, SU 16, 16a and 17 (Tribal infantry w/ javelins & large shields, or w/ "bucklers," and archers), any "army" would quickly start looking pretty boring with just the same three figures (slight variants admitted) used ad nauseum on the games table… BUT… but what figures to use for their command stands?!! Eh?? Nothing special is offered by Curteys (even for the Song Dynasty they are marketed under)…

2) Thanks (again) to PedroBear for suggesting that the Curteys' "Tibetan Nomads" (TB-09, Spear-men; TB-10, Archers) are generic enough to be used as South-western Hill Tribes (including "settled" and "nomad" clans?) in the Han Dynasty period (i.e., if I have read him aright?). Wondering however, what to use for THEIR commanders?? Maybe TB-11, "Tibetan Foot Command?"

3) I am imagining (hopefully not HALLUCINATING!) that the Curteys "Nepalese Bowmen" of the same Tibetan line (TB14) could be used to give any "South-western Hill Tribe" contingent of any such "Southern Tribal Infantry Army" a further little "flavor?" Maybe…?

4) However, has anyone taken the bold step of giving their [Southern] "Tribal infantry Army" any "allies" of an even MORE "Barbarian" flavor??

5) How about using Bob Murch's Pulp Fiction "Savage Seas" line of figures' "Melanesian Island Warriors" packs PSS-11 and PSS-12 (the spear-men), and PSS-14 (bow-men) as "line" foot?? Given their somewhat "problematic" grass skirts (in my eye), I'd use the "Melanesian Island Warriors 3" (PSS-13) as these units' command stand figures. Thoughts???

6) Any other suggestions??

Come In Nighthawk13 Aug 2018 3:13 p.m. PST

Never got any additional thoughts from anyone?? Might still ask if folks here have any new (or more) thoughts??

Thanks in advance! grin

Skeptic20 Aug 2018 2:52 p.m. PST

Have you considered Newline's tribal infantry? Foundry's Vietnamese may provide another option.

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