Sui Chinese are obviously the army of choice/tournament tiger of the moment for DBMM Book 3, and, while I hate jumping on a bandwagon, I did have a bunch of random Chinese figures that I had accumulated over the years, but that had never made a coherent army. So I decided to see if I could bash together a Sui army out of them, to give me something vaguely competitive in Book 3 (to join my Early Byzantines and Nikephorian Byzantines, both of which are good armies in other people’s hands…)
The first complex thing about Sui is the variety of close order mounted – it has Kn(X), Kn(F), Cv(S) and Cv(O). And I like to be fair to my opponents and give them at least a vague chance of recognising which is which.
One of the many sets of vaguely Chinese figures are these, that I have been using as Tibetan cataphracts. I’m pretty sure they are Essex, but are not on their webstore any more. I am planning to use these as the Kn(X):
For the Cv(S), who are specifically called out in the list notes as being equipped in Turkish style, I had a bunch of old Essex Turkish heavy cavalry (I think they are actually in their Mongol range, but potaeto-potahto). So they will be the Sui Cv(S):
Some of them were on half-barded horses, but I didn’t use these to avoid any confusion with the Kn(X).
For the Kn(F), I took some of the cataphract riders, and put them on the Mongol cavalry horses:
The historicity of these guys is highly questionable, but they at least should be distinctively different to the Kn(F) or Cv(S) on the tabletop.
This meant that I then had three bases of Turkish/Mongol riders and three bases of fully barded horses. I’ll save them for a Mongol or Avar army, to mix in with the half-barded ones, and paint the barding to look like leather or horn.
Then for the Cv(O), I painted up some of a huge pile of unarmoured Mongol Cv(O) that I had had lying around for ages. So in this case completely the wrong figures, from the wrong period, but looking vaguely Chinese, and again, easily distinguished from the Cv(S) and Kn(F):
Then there is the compulsory LH(F), which I didn’t have anything suitable for (there are limits even to my shame). So for these I actually bought some more figures – Essex Sui light cavalry:
Rather pleased with these actually – a nice variety of three poses, and well sculpted and case figures. And not all firing sideways at 90% to the horse, which is a pose that used to bedevil Essex (and other manufacturers) and makes the figures impossible to put sensibly on a base, especially for heavy cavalry.
Then on to the infantry. For the archers, I already had a load of figures – enough to do the back ranks of 5 Bw(X/O) and 10 Ps(O). Never been able to find out whose they were, but they have the right headcloth for Sui Chinese, so the plan was to use them. They are monopose, and have an Essex-y feel to them, so assumed they were Essex figures, but they are not on their website any more (but they did revamp their Sui & T’ang range a few years ago.
I didn’t have the spearmen to make up the front rank of the Bw(X), so I ordered some T’ang spearmen from Essex to go with them. Why does using up the lead pile always involve buying more lead? Anyway, they arrived, and were very well sculpted figures with a gentle variety of pose (nothing extravagant, but holding their spears with slightly different grips). The problem was that they were a head shorter than the bowmen I had, and nothing was going to get them looking OK when mounted on the same base. So back to Essex, and ordered enough archers to do the archers as well:
And finally the baggage, again all from Essex, and their wonderfully characterful wheelbarrowmen: