Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Taiping Rebellion "T'uan-lien" Part 1

I really find the Taiping Rebellion an interesting period of history.  This war occurred after the Opium Wars.  England went to war with China to ensure that the Chinese stayed addicted to Opium.  The Chinese government realized that England was doing that and tried to resist.  It ended very badly and caused unrest amongst the local peoples.  In 1846 a man by the name of Hung Hsiu-ch'uan claimed to be the younger son of Jesus.  He started writing and speaking about his visions and God's plan for China.  In 1850 his followers started fighting with the Imperial forces.  By the time to war ended 1866 it was estimated that 20-40 million people had died.  If this is true the Taiping Rebellion was second most bloodiest war being beaten by WW2.

I find this period interesting due to the unique weaponry and tactics involved.  There are masses of unruly Chinese mobs clashing wielding old rusty swords and spears.  There are black powder weapons that were antiques to the critical Western eyes of the time.  The British sponsored a mercenary company called the Ever Victorious Army.  It was led by an American until his death and then a Englishman by the name of Gordon.  This unit was trained in the Western way of fighting.  It did not always live up to it's name but the unit was generally successful.  The Imperialists and the Taiping forces gave no quarter to the enemy.  There is a lot of colorful uniforms and the Chinese love flags.  It allows for some great modelling opportunities.  Since this is a period that is not gamed very often I will have many opportunities to convert existing models.  And I have already started this.

Here is my first attempt at Taiping Infantry.  These are my T'uan-Lien soldiers.  They are common farmer militia.  My osprey book says that the soldiers wore coolie hats in the summer.  These are Vietnamese style coolie hats.  That detail will be really hard to pick out at 6mm.  I want to use Japanese Ashigaru for C'hin Dynasty troops.  They look very similar to the terracotta men that were from that period.  6mm is a great scale for conversions because some details can be covered or obscured.  That means more creativity for me!!!
I used GhQ's Viet Cong individual infantry.  I trimmed away the ak47's and the m16's (What?  Yeah, some of the guys had m16s) and the grenades from the soldier's belts.  It was a little tricky to do some of soldier's arms.  I believe that as I keep doing this I will find more creative ways to make the guys hold the spears.
For the spears I clipped a straight pin down to spear size and glued it onto the model.  I wanted to add some Ji style halberds but it was to hard to do with super glue.  That will have to wait until I get a sauder gun.  This unit has three flags.  One will be a dragon banner, another will be the leader's banner and a third one is there to round out the flags.  I just primed the models.  I look forward to painting them!

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