Qin Up Chinese

One of the projects followers of my recent updates will recognise is the Chinese ancients I’ve been working on. I’ve now completed one of the armies in this project, the Qin. This serves as my October update as my hobby supplies were all packed away for most of the month due to selling the house. I managed to tackle the last of this army in the past week now the house is sold and I’ve been able to unpack some of my supplies. Hopefully there’ll be plenty of painting again in the month to come, but things will be busy preparing for the move.

At this point I’ve gone for a reasonably minimalist approach with each unit being a 40mm frontage base. Long term I may expand these into larger frontages, but I’m reasonably happy with how the smaller bases have come out, and this way I can produce a wider range of armies. I have lists planned for the Warring States period, as well as the Early Imperial, so plenty of potential for variety.

The Qin were once just a small state on the fringes of Chinese society, thought of as little better than the barbarians they bordered. Through a series of sweeping social and military reforms known as Legalism, the state developed a centralised, meritocratic system of social order from the bottom to the top which propelled this uncultured upstart into becoming one of the most powerful states in the region, and eventually becoming the state that unified China into a single, centralised Empire. The name China comes from the Qin, as in English it sounds like “Chin”.

This army list gives me a variety of configurations to choose from to play out different periods from their rise to power, through to their rapid downfall after the death of the first Emperor.

I fear the light is against me these days, and the photos are taken with a camera phone just, so forgive the quality. One of these days I’ll get a proper camera (or better phone) and take a bit more care over the photos. Probably. The figures are all 10mm from Newline miniatures.

The full army
What the enemy sees
Close up of some infantry. The Qin were well known for their mixed arms approach to war and prolific use of crossbows. The standard infantry unit here is a group of halberdiers with the distinctive dagger-axe polearm known as a ji supported by crossbowmen.
The small bases with the red flags are the commanders. The Qin were able to operate in small independent units compared to many of their contemporaries, so the army has a number of infantry commanders available to allow for greater tactical flexibility.
A side view of the infantry. There are six of the mixed arms units, plus two separate units of crossbowmen and a unit of swordsmen acting as a Royal or Imperial guard.
Close up of the guard infantry. The lonely fellow to the side is a “hero” marker. This army is mostly painted for effect rather than details, but I couldn’t resist adding the Qin symbol to their shields.
The flags also feature the Qin symbol. I wanted this army to have quite a uniform look given the centralised martial nature of the state, with a bold red and black theme throughout.
The general in his chariot.
The two half hex bases act as cavalry commanders that can be attached to units as appropriate.
Cavalry and infantry commanders shown attached here in the line of battle.
The colourful chaps are Wu Hu barbarian horse archers who would often work as mercenaries in early periods. In time the Chinese learnt to develop their own horse archers, who can be seen next to them. The heavy chariots were kings of the battlefield for centuries, but in time massed infantry and mobile cavalry led to their demise.
By the late Warring States period, cavalry had largely superseded the chariot as the primary means of shock attack.
Mounted archers would harass the enemy while the solid infantry would hold them and the heavy cavalry deliver the killer blow.
The players view.

This has been quite a fun army to put together. They’re primarily built around some To the Strongest! army lists I put together, but I’m sure they’ll see action with other rulesets too. I’m actually considering trying them out with my feudal Japanese rules that followers of my blog will know I’ve been working on. While separated by over a millennia and a half, the mixed arms warfare might fit well as suitable proxies.

The next army in this project I’m working on are the main rivals of the Qin, the Chu. This large, cultured state will field a more diverse army than the Qin and is well underway with much of the core infantry units completed.

Thanks for reading,


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