View Full Version : The Grand Army of the Celestial Dragon

17-11-2007, 22:03

This thread is meant for all information about the army I want to make in the near future. This is not some stuff of a '******* NiNJa KaTAnA' fan, but somebody who has a deep desire *my preciousss* to do somthing origional, to make a truly different army with a good theme, and which is playable.
But some help would be really appreciated, as I don't know that much of the lands in the East, and I need help with the choice of models, which I don't know all.

Here a summary of what I have at the moment:

Rules: I will use the Warhammer Armies: Empire as my armybook. Maybe not very origional, but it should work, as it is playtested and it is legal, which is nice if you want to use on a tourney!

Models: well, I'm still thinking of this. I have some ideas, some solid and some more 'liquid' (it is something, but it changes with the minute..)
As I want to have it GT legal (if it's legal at a GT, it should be at about every battle, no?) I'll only use models and component of the Warhammer Fantasy (and Mordheim) range. This still gives plenty of choice.
Here a list of models I'm thinking of, complete with the rules they'll follow (eg the 'Count as' part):

General ?
Wizard Lord Empire Wizard, with other head ans staff
Arch Lector of the Celestial Dragon
Templar Grand Master Bret horse, ...
Captain as General
Wizard as Wizard Lord
Warrior Monk mostly Flagellant parts (bare head, muscled, no armour on model)
Master Engineer Kislev Bear Tamer (Mordheim)
Core Units:
Spearmen Bretonnian M@A (DE spearblades?)
Halberdiers Bretonnian M@A
Swordsmen Bretonnian M@A (spear -> sword = ?DE spearblades?)
Handgunners ?Kislev Bowmen (Mordheim)? Are the current State Troops possible?
Crossbowmen As handgunners with crossbows
Free Company All kind of stuff, like: Kislev Youngbloods (Mordheim), some farmer-like models (any ideas)
Knightly Order Bret horses, riders: 40k IG Rough Rider legs..?
Special Units:
Greatswords ?
Pistoliers Kislev Horse Archers, converted with guns.
Outriders Kislev Horse Archers, State Troops crossbows with DE repeater crossbow loading system
Great Cannon with Dwarf Flame Cannon barrel?
Rare Units:
Flagellants Flagellant, all kind of bare wild monks?!
Helblaster ?
Helstorm Helstorm (with different crew and converted machine, but the idea doesn't change much)

So, what are your thoughts on this? Any ideas on the models, either those I do know or, preferably, those I don't know? Any comments on this crazy idea? Any medication possible? Respond, and act like I'm normal! :angel:

Thommy H
17-11-2007, 22:57
Okay, I like that you're doing something different, but you're missing a step here - you're telling us the army list entry you're using, and you're telling us which models you'll use, but you're not giving us the background in between. Why will you be using Kislev bowmen as handgunners? What will they represent for a Cathayan army?

Start with the background, then we'll give you advice on models afterwards.

18-11-2007, 09:24
Good point there, I'll try to explain it..:
In order to keep things simple, I want to make the army quite similar to a historical version of the Chinese army. Of course I'll add plenty of Fantasy elements to it, but the overal idea is historical. That's why I think the Empire army list is the best: they have a big amount of different weapons, including blackpowder weapons, they can use all lores of magic, are 'just human' and there should be more reasons, but I hope you get the point. Except from the look of the soldiers, the look of their weapons and their culture the army would be quite similar. The models are chosen by the way they fit the view I have, of how the army should look like.

With the Warrior Priest becoming a monk (Tibetan style) it's quite clear why he uses Flagellant parts (only clothes, quite muscled, bare head)

If I'll ever use a Master Engineer I'll use the Kislev Tamer because the Kislevites look quite Oriental, with their moustache style and hairdress. However, I'll only be able to use those without the fur caps.
The Tamer can be armed in a big variety of ways (with his right hand pointing and a missing left hand).

The Kislev horse archers would become pistoliers/outriders because of their Oriental looks, and because they're very lightly armoured (about nothing..)
When I thought of a quick-shooting Oriental device, Repeater crossbows immediately came up, but as the DE x-bows look very Dark Elfy I thought a reloading part glued on Empire crossbows would look good. They could also be seen as mercenaries, or simply one of the many cultures who live in Cathay. (Big country often means many different people)

The State Troops would be represented by Bret M@A because I, for some reason, think they fit that role great. A long time ago I joined a painting contest and had to paint a M@A model. I painted him with red clothes, and a red shield with a Chinese sign on it (it meant Tiger, I think..). On his hat I painted a yin/yang sign. So even back then I thought it would look great. I'm not sure how to arm them with swords, maybe I'll make my own of plasticard.

The handgunners/crossbowmen would probably use the Empire handgunner models, as the clothes are 'quite good' (I'll green stuff the pants so they're a bit wider), I only have to get some different heads, not sure which, maybe more Bret M@A heads. They shouldn't be very armoured. I first wanted to use Kislevites because of their Oriental looks, but because those are hard to get your hands on, have almost no different poses, sometimes have quite too much fur and they simply are Kislev, not Cathay, I won't use those anymore.

The Knightly Order would probably use Bret horses because they aren't that over-armoured, but aren't Elven either. They can be painted as if they had some kind of leather armour. I don't know how to do the riders, not yet.

Free company should be just what they are: a bunch of different guys with all kinds of weapons. I would like to have some blokes that look like those rice-farmers..

The cannon with a Dwarf-flame cannon barrel is because the Cathayan artillery is heavily decorated, and a dragon should be included, of course!

Hope this explains it a bit, if there are any specific questions: please ask!
As you see this project is only just beginning, so forgive me for my lack of information. I have read the Wikipedia page on Military Ancient China ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_China ) and I found out I would mix some different periods, for a bigger versatility. I also partially read this fan made WFRP page, to get some ideas on how others see Cathay: http://www.warhammer.net/archives/view.php?id=125&target=wfrp

Any comments and criticism are highly appreciated, and more ideas even more!

Thommy H
18-11-2007, 10:09
I don't know how to do the riders, not yet.

A google image search for "Chinese cavalry" brings up this:


I'd say, off the top of my head, that Kislev Winged Lancers might fit the bill there. Maybe stick them on unbarded horses and just make their armour look heavier to account for the better armour save?

18-11-2007, 11:09
To the idea I say: meh heard it before. Although it doesn't mean I think it is bad, it more depends how well you convert and paint everything....I've seen a cathayian army before and it wasn't pretty by a long shot. The ideas what you've had uptil now seem good. It is a hard job, but where there is a will there is a way ;).

18-11-2007, 11:16
Thanks, that's a pretty good idea!
I think I'll use the Gryphon legion (almost similar to Winged lancers, but with better helmets), and give them either capes or real backbanners (as these LotR mini's have: http://fr.games-workshop.com/lotr/site/extras/preview/img/khand.jpg)

Galatan: don't be afraid, I'm more into the hobby than the gaming aspect of Warhammer, so I'll use all spare time I have for such a project.
I really like painting, and I'm not bad at it. Only a bit slow, so this stuff will take a while. However, when you really have a purpose: who minds about time and money?

18-11-2007, 11:26
ogres are right next to Cathay, so you could include lots of them as well.
dont forget the Cathayan Longsword. it gives +1 WS and +1 I, all for 8pts a Bruiser (this could be toned down to about 4pts, which is about average for a normal weapon on a hero.)
i think its a great idea though. for the helblaster, you could carve some chinese symbols out of green stuff and stick them on the barrels

18-11-2007, 11:31
The Knightly Order would probably use Bret horses because they aren't that over-armoured, but aren't Elven either

actually, barded elven horses probably look the most Chinese, armor made out of interlinking scales, the wings motif
Cavalry from the Song dynasty.

You might want to use some elven parts, as they wear lots of lamellar (scales attached to other scales) armor, which the Chinese used heavily.

The Kislev horse archers would become pistoliers/outriders because of their Oriental looks, and because they're very lightly armoured (about nothing..)
you can still use armored outriders with guns, and they'll still fit a Chinese army.

here's a wizard sort of fellow. Straight double edged swords are associated with scholars, and in fiction magic users.

is there any particular time period you want to go for?

Since you have guns... Ming would be the most historic with variety. Scale armor like the pics above, brigandine and chain armor were all used.

The Kislev list in particular fits Cathay. Kislev is the furthest east ally of the Empire anyways, yeah?

18-11-2007, 13:49
Yeah, I'll probably use some Ogre allies later on, as this would fit location and theme.

A good point on the steeds, the Chinese used to decorate much of armour and such, and thus their barding too. If I see that pic that really looks like Elven barding, yes...

The Outriders should be armoured in some way, yes, but real heavy armour.. no, the Cathayan would use mostly leather armour as mounted units... IIRC the heavy cavalry of Imperial China had less armour than light infantry...

Ming dynasty like is required for blackpowder, but I'll use other periods too. If I'll ever field an Arch Lector on War Altar, it would be made from a chariot, altough Chinese only field chariots around the Ancient Shang/Zhou times..
The 'State Troops' will be painted as if they have leather armour, only the Full Plate armour (Greatswords, for example) will be the real lamellar metal armour, being as strong as the 'mountain scale' armour Imperial China had, most other heavy armour would be ceremonial.

What about: Outriders - Kislev Gryphon Legion with repeater crossbows
Pistoliers - Kislev hore archers with a handgun
Knightly Order - Silver Helms with different heads

18-11-2007, 14:13
I'd like to suggest that high elves fit the bill better then empire for the celestial dragon kingdom/ cathay image.

Thommy H
18-11-2007, 14:58
Pretty hard to justify M5 for human models though. Plus there's no guns in a High Elf army.

18-11-2007, 18:18
Pretty hard to justify M5 for human models though.
secret shaolin ninja training!!

Plus there's no guns in a High Elf army.
If you wanted to do a heavy Fantasy Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel style army it could work. Curse of the Golden Flower, those infantrymen do crazy stuff that outshines the Lord of the Rings elves (no oiliphants to single handedly take down though...)

Empire is good for realism, due to variety of units.

ah, the empire has more than one mounted gun toting cavalry unit? I was thinking they only had that heavy armored one

here's some Ming musketeers
illustration from a military manual I believe.

Want an example for Greatswords?
two handed swordsmen. He's wearing armor, just has a covering over it.
notice he's got a crossbow too. Doesn't Kislev use greatsword+bow wielding guys?

I imagine some difficulty would be finding units with melee and ranged weapons, that seems to be something done often in Chinese warfare. Most cavalry I see, they're carrying bows alongside their halberds.

*my images, do they show up? The host says it may not be viewable by public (Flickr free subscription)

18-11-2007, 18:59
The images are visible, yes.
Thanks for them, and for the ideas. Kislev Kossars have bows and axes, so those rules can be used.
The Greatsword idea is very nice, the only problem is to find GW models which could represent such troops. Eltharion on foot would be great, but a whole regiment...
It seems the gunners are very lightly armoured, and wear almost dress-like clothes. What about High Elven archer models? With home-made wicker hats, or something similar.

I had some ideas for Free Company guys: what about a guy with chopsticks (I've seen a Kung Fu weapons documantairy a while back, that guy threw chopsticks through a piece of wood...), a guy with nunchaku's, one with a fan...

18-11-2007, 21:42
you could try glade riders for the lightly armoured cavalry

18-11-2007, 22:12
I had some ideas for Free Company guys: what about a guy with chopsticks (I've seen a Kung Fu weapons documantairy a while back, that guy threw chopsticks through a piece of wood...), a guy with nunchaku's, one with a fan...

Hahah, just make the cast of Kung Fu Hustle. But maybe kung fu masters wouldn't bee in free company. Since it's still WarhammerFANTASY, we don't have to worry tooooo much about historics.
I could see free companies made up of all the tough guys from a village, a wealthy merchant's household guard, a martial arts school maybe.
If you can, reading Romance of the Three Kingdoms would give you a nice background to immerse yourself into. The heroes Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhangfei basically start off as leaders of a free company, wind up fighting alongside state troops lead by Cao Cao.

yeah, finding models is gonna be hard.

the highelf lord sprue has good lamellar armor and robes
It seems that lord even has a dragon design on his torso

It's going to be hard to get 100% accuracy without heavy conversion, but thats a good start.

It seems the gunners are very lightly armoured, and wear almost dress-like clothes. What about High Elven archer models? With home-made wicker hats, or something similar.
the empire foot troops sprue would be a good base, greenstuffing robes or looser pants is... ok it's still sorta hard, but that's the 'easiest of greenstuffing (even if greenstuffing is hard...)'.
I also think the high elf archer and spearman sprues aren't sculpted that great, and the empire foot troop sprues have excellent sculpting.

here's a nice article showing off different poses, configurations. About customizing empire infantry

also, there's not as much info on Chinese military, images as there is say on european or Japanese. Because of that, the info we do have we may over emphasize it, or take it as the only way.

hmmm, some notes on simple, distinctly Chinese lookin' things...
the waist sash. Add a waist sash to models and they'll look 10x more Chinese, no matter what it is, hahah.
this is a good image of that iconic design. Shoulder guards too.
though you don't always need a sash.

You seen the Brettonian Cathay conversion?
though... I don't think they really look too Chinese. About as Chinese as say...Mortal Kombat. It conveys a feeling yeah, but not really historic.

Just make something that you'd have fun converting, have fun playing.

19-11-2007, 14:11
It seems the gunners are very lightly armoured, and wear almost dress-like clothes. What about High Elven archer models? With home-made wicker hats, or something similar.

Also all the more reason to use elf rules... just count the bows as guns. :D

But bretonnian peasants are your friends for this, they even have the hats.

19-11-2007, 15:54
How could I miss those Bret/Cathayans? Some are quite nice looking, good to see I'm not the only idiot around... :p

Anyway, thanks a lot for the info and pics. I really appreciate it.. you know, I actually know very little on this subject, but I'm willing to learn.. (stupid dutch schools where you only learn on european history... stupid telly where there are only nice Oriental documantairies once in a year.. which I tend to miss then...)

I'll try to use as much of the Empire State Handgunners as possible, as I don't really want to buy about 3 boxes for only 1 small regiment of models.
The new High Elf General kit looks good indeed, the weapon options are nice too. I think I'll use HE mini's for Greatswords too, when I want to field them. If the Swordmasters had better poses those would become them probably, but these are truly boring..

The Armylist I made a while ago, looks like this:
1000 pts.
Warrior Priest, great weapon, some kind of defensive thing (talisman(armour))
*Flagellant parts
lvl 2 Wizard, scroll (could be fire, heavens or metal.. depending on enemy)
*Empire Wizard parts.. with straight sword!
Core units:
25 Swordsmen with musician, standard
*Bretonnian Man-at-Arms, with either plasticard swords or DE spear
-Detachment: 10 Free Company (peasants)
20 Spearmen with musician, standard
*Bretonnian M@A
-Detachment: 10 Handgunners
*Empire State Handgunners, GS robes
Special units:
5 Pistoliers, musician
*Kislev Horse Archers with handgun
5 Outriders, musician
*Kislev Gryphon Legion with repeater crossbow
Rare units:
Helstorm Rocket Battery
*Not really different.. Empire emblems filed of, some dragons or similar stuff.
About 1000 pts

So these are the units I want to have first... when I'm writing this down I realise this is going to cost quite some money...

Oh, and what about the backbanner idea on Standard bearers? Do you know whether that's really samurai (I think they used it), or that my Cathayans could have 'em too?

19-11-2007, 18:55
Good idea friend! I want to see some pictures as soon as you do something :D

19-11-2007, 20:22
look into the eldar weapon sprues maybe. Though the hilts are fancy or have power sword bits, the blades match Chinese types well.

Oh, and what about the backbanner idea on Standard bearers? Do you know whether that's really samurai (I think they used it), or that my Cathayans could have 'em too?
Samurai used it. Chinese may have used it at some point. The thing is there's been a ton more research on Japanese military history than Chinese, at least in the western world. I'd say that there are many similarities between japanese armies and chinese, like there are similarities between English and Italian from the same era. I figure WHF empire takes inspiration in armor style and clothing from more than one country in Europe yeah? Japan and China share a great deal of culture and history too. Even things we consider Japanese have origins in China, or are an aspect of China that dissaspeared in the mainland but lived on overseas (say with painting, Japanese scroll mountings are in the Tang style, but in China the Tang style had fallen out of popularity as centuries went on. So though we can tell Japanese and Chinese scroll backings apart, its not to say they are totally unrelated)

these are Beijing Opera performers. Back banners are used in costume. Do they have a basis in real life though? Maybe, maybe not. At leat in opera it's used to represent the armies of a general, so when two generals with back banners battle on stage, it is their armies clashing (I think...)

Chinese banners, as far as I know are triangular in shape, usually having borders. It's usually a character or phrase written on it. Though the common man may be illiterate, he would still be able to recognize certain characters. Think of it as... not really heraldry but a way to identify differnet units.
Like... this quote from Art of War: 風林火山
Feng Lin Hua Shan, Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain
Swift as Wind, Silent as Forest, Ferocious as Fire, Immovable as Mountain

Empire fields a unit of knights with great weapons, or some kind of two handed weapon, right? I think they're White Wolf? If you want to use those rules, then cavalry with pudao or halberds would fit the bill very well.

here's some video clips, movie trailers that could be helpful for you to think of a style, think of how your commanders will fancy up their armor. View how Chinese depict their fictional histories

Three Kingdoms: Ressurection of the Dragon- more realistic

Curse of the Golden Flower- very fantastic. Though this may convince you to play High Elves instead, hahah.

this part has ninja dudes... very not-historic, but just so damn cool you should see it anyways, hahah.

from Seven Swords- This is adopted from a kung fu novel so it's got exotic weapons, but still realistic enough for WHF. This might convince you to go dark elves instead, heheh
opening battle- Here's an example of what Free Company (hapless villagers being slaughtered) would look like. Notice the bandanas the men wear, that is a distinct Chinese look. if you don't want to use the 'rice hats' bandanas work great.
and YEAH, some of the badguys wear back banners, hahah.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms TV drama- This is an excellent excellent source. Anachoristic for the Han, but you see heroic generals, elite cavalry, foot soldiers. Lots of variety, and the most distinctly 'Chinese'

here's some excellent websites to look through

the most thorough image collection of Chinese swords on the internet. Good descriptions
A bunch of images I've posted here is from there.

19-11-2007, 20:28
That weapon is like a Najigata, that is a spear with a blade head (but looks like a scimitar)

19-11-2007, 20:28
you could look in the Lord of the ring miniature range, specially the haradrim or the others from the far orient.

19-11-2007, 21:55
Lol, let's wear armour painted with 'shining gold'!

Those dark elves are really.. dark... evil... and cool...

Those ninja's are funny.. really. :)

However, the first movie really makes me wanna do the Troops from Bret M@A. As if they're made for it: the helmets, the weapons...

The backbanners don't seem to be that idiot either: I wanted to go with relative small ones, compared to some huge ones I see over there. Maybe all Gryphon Legion mini's get one instead of their feathers... and the standard bearer gets a huge one...

Good to see I've got such a wide choice of mini's to choose from, as many different armours and weapons were used.
I would like to keep it mostly WHFB, as I'll not be able to use other 40k bits probably, nor does any of my friends play 40k. LotR mini's (I guess you mean the Easterling/Khand mini's) are quite nice for some bits, but their scale is different, and LotR bits on WHFB mini's will exclude you from winning 'best army' awards on GT's, something I'll have a chance on at least after this is finished! :D (Did I just say you can actually finish an army.. well, my mistake... :p )

27-11-2007, 00:43


suprised I forgot about this. 'The Warlords'. Seems to take place in the Qing dynasty. Equipment is the sort you'd see used in 1500's or so, so contemporary to the WHF setting

A realistic, 'gritty' brutal style.

even has handgunners and cannons.

you can find a ton of pictures here http://www.monkeypeaches.com/thewarlords.html

Dwarf Runelord 45
19-12-2007, 03:32
Cool idea! It would be fun to play against.

05-01-2008, 14:59
I'm bringing this up again to let you know I'm still working on it.
However, I'm very busy with other things too, so I'm not very active with Cathay.
I saw the movie 'The House of the Flying Daggers' a few days back, and that really inspired me. I know I'll have to buy some HE Archers, as robed killing machines are cool. :p

Another THANKS to kikkoman, for more nice movies and pics..! Really appreciated. A mix of Bret and HE, it seems to be.

I made two Free Company guys from, well, free company parts. One has a Bretonnian M@A Halberd, the other two knives, altough I think he'll get cooler stuff. A week or 2 back there was a documentary on the telly, about the 10 deadliest Kung-fu weapons. That is some good inspiration for Free Company guys, as many Kung-fu weapons are designed to look like normal things, or to look so exotic they aren't recognizable as weapons, as normal people weren't allowed to have weapons.

And the last in this post: anybody has good ideas for Cathayan looking heads? Only Kislev seems to look good for bare heads, and M@A for soldiers. Please?
I'll show some pics when I have painted mini's, hope that won't take too long.