Saturday, 11 October 2014

Return to the Taiping

So, a year or so back I wrote a set of rules to fight battles in 1860's China, - the Era of the Taiping Rebellion. The rules worked fine, it was just I didn't have any Taiping figures.

Until now.

Earlier this year Ian Kay of Irregular Miniatures released a small but perfectly adequate range of Taiping Rebels and their Maio allies. Despite having fore-sworn metal miniatures these couldn't be passed up.

I spoke to Ian about doing these a year or so back, together with French troops for the 1860 invasion of China. He already does suitable British and Imperial Chinese (although he could do with a Mongol cavalry man). I'd like to think he listened, although he only acknowledged the influence of "OB", well known from TMP when I asked him.

Thanks OB! His painted figures are over on the Irregular website, and mighty fine they look too. I picked up a load of the unpainted ones from Ian at Derby (thanks to my big brother, - a belated birthday present).

Here are some pictures of my first attempt at an infantry unit.

My basic Chinese units have two pike/spear and two firearms bases. I'll do the units in pairs, so I can have all spear and all firearm units if I want.

The nearest spear man is actually a standard bearer. Taiping flags will follow as soon as I've done the research and drawn the pictures.

A group of shot with a foot officer. The officer is supposed to have a flower decorated silk cowl. One of the musketeers has a "victory helmet". I'm not too sure on the colours for this, but it matches the written descriptions.

Another block of spears. I think the bamboo spears have come up quite nicely.

The figures are very pleasing, - the details pretty clear and I like the poses and animation in them. They suffer from some of the usual Irregular problems, - weak ankles, for example and the occasional loss of definition, but they're still good to paint and I think they look the part. They're not overly big and muscular, and do look distinctly oriental. Definite thumbs up to Ian at Irregular for taking on a rare period and providing some good figures for it.

Next up some cavalry.

BTW - I've also posted a link to my "Taiping Era" rules up top right. They cover both Taipings v Imps, Imps v Europeans and European trained troops v Taipings .Let me know if the download doesn't work, - my document storage system has changed since I last posted a link to it.


  1. Nice coincidence - I'm moving into colonial warfare now, with varying degrees of success. Having persuaded Ian at Irregular to do some more of the Sikh Wars range, I've had those painted and organised for over a year now, and playing games using an adaptation of Rank & File. I'm well into the 2nd Afghan War - just about half the Afghans left to paint.

    Your post about the Taiping era came just as I am re-reading `Flashman and the Dragon' and, inevitably, thinking `I wonder...?' Well, I'm not going to plunge in with both feet, but I reckon I can use my Sikh Wars figures to give your rules a go sometime over the next few weeks. I'll let you know how it goes.

    1. Butler: It would be good to get some feedback. Obviously we did have Sikhs out there in 1860, and I have a couple of battalions in my collection.

      You can try the rules with any figures on any base sizes. The latter because the rules use squares, the former because what you do in your own home with consenting adults is entirely your own affair.

      If you want to read a bit more before you take the plunge I heartily recommend "Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom", and you can find Wolesley's memoir for free on line for the Kindle.