An argument for Ancient Chinese female warrior models….

  • Mrs. GG just brought this individual to my attention...

    Not only was she a famous general but the article suggests evidence of 600 other female warriors of the time period.

    “While Fu Hao's achievements were notable and unique, other women in this period were also active in military roles; in a similar manner Fu Jing was also thought to have served in the military based on the presence of many weapons and military equipment in her tomb. Oracle bones also revealed records of at least six hundred women participating in the military during this era.[13]


    1. Peterson, Barbara Bennett (2016-09-16). Notable Women of China: Shang Dynasty to the Early Twentieth Century. Routledge. ISBN 9781317463726.

  • @Grumpy Gnome you definitely have my vote. I am not knowledgeable in chinese culture,  but I know that there were women fighters in japonese culture. 

  • @Grumpy Gnome you have my vote too. But to be fair I would vote for pretty much any hard plastic female sets. 

  • @William Redford my thoughts exactly.

  • Well I've seen two documentaries that support female combatants in ancient Chinese armies:


    I see possible similarities between Fu Hao and the modern day Major General Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi.

    Now she had a genuine military career to start.  But I'm relatively certain the Major General rank is directly linked to the Royal Concubine position.

    I believe the fragmentary bone oracle remains confirm Fu Hao held the rank of General.  Whether that was more of an honorific or if she was knee deep in the shit will probably always be conjecture.  

    Sidenote:  16 APPARENT human sacrifices in her tomb.  Hard times.

  • I think a female Chinese warrior kit would be fun.  And probably profitable.  

    The triumphant return of the Warhammer Old World is coming soon.

    Empire friendly kits like Landsknechts and Reiters will do very well.  I believe that the Warring States kits will do well as well as it seems likely that GW will cover Cathay this time around.



  • triumphant return

    We'll... see about that. My expectation is them stacking bad business decision upon worse business decision until it crumbles, and then telling us "Told you so, come play with round bases". Not gonna deny that there will be a market for alternative models though, at least temporarily.

    But the most important message is always: Don't wait or plan for TOW. You can already play 6th or 7th right now.

  • @Blutze 

    Huh?  Love them or hate them, GW is killing it these last few years.  

    You can play any edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle you want.... as long as you enjoy playing with yourself.  

    You'll have to wait for The Old World to ever get a game in at the shop/club.

  • @Grumpy Gnome

    While I like the idea having female Chinese warriors and know about Fu Hao who was awesome👍, like the female landsknechts and shield maidens, this isn’t really a good argument to do them as a history set (oracle bones or no😆). I think its smarter advocate for a more "free from specific  time period"  wushu warrior woman fantasy set  rather than one tied to the Shang dynasty and I will explain why: 

    First you are talking about the Shang Dynasty, essentally  early Bronze age China with a warlike  "blood for gods" worship setup remarkably similar to the Aztecs along with all the trappings of the chariot using bibilical armies and added stuff like convicts who where there basically to kill themselves infront of the enemy for psychology warfare reasons😅. Anything like “might have been 600 hundred female warriors” is not  really the place to start with for something like the Shang Dynasty and it would be very low on the list of “need it in plastic” for that era (like the company doing it would have to be laser focused on the Shang Dynasty and its exploits to actually think of doing them, and even then you would likely not see any warrior women minis for years except maybe a monopose chariot rider of Fu Hao herself).


    Second the Chinese we have out in plastic are from the 20th century Boxer rebellion (might be a call for female combatants for that one) and the next ones planned on are from the Warring States period which is just barely part of the first empire range time line wise (ie. much, much later than Shang Dynasty and they look it). Lets look at getting those eras covered decently first before barrel rolling into the Shang Dynasty.

     Not to mention I am hearing “this would be great for GW’s next fantasy game” from people instead of Asian history wargaming buffs saying “Yes! Because my Xia/Shang/Zhao/Warring States/Han/3 kingdoms/Tang/whatever dynastic army needs the legendary concubine/amazon squad!(or whatever🤣)”.  A good WA historical propotion Wushu fantasy set would cover both and do a better job overall by being fantasy and not pigeon holed into one era, particularly an era which was basically the "Chinese Bronze age that’s not well known in the Anglo Sphere" (I mean I only know about the Shang Dynasty and Fu Hao because I went to the  Bowers Museum alot which has a China wing, and it was either that or one of the traveling exhibits that mentions that era and Fu Hao specifically in a video😀, and my Mom and I read all the signs by the displays🤣).

    However, you do bring up 2 other points to mind, and because I was bumbling around a 3rd:

    First, while this is not really a good reason to make “female warriors for the Shang era” it should be pointed out there are tons of  legendary female individuals that where  generals and/or warriors in practically every era of Chinese history not just the Shang Dynasty (key word "individuals", not groups!😆): there was the Maiden Yue, Princess Pingyang the cofounder of the Tang Dynasty, etc. even the first Emperor Qin Shi Huang of the Qin dynasty had Huang Guigu who he sent out against the nomadic tribes. So again it’s a really good argument for a good fantasy set that can make female characters that “sort of fit in” with various historical Chinese armies instead of a uniform woman warrior set from era X.   

    Two, there is another Asian group that does seem to have a better record of actually having women warriors in numbers that might warrant a plastic history set treatment, the nomadic tribes next to China to the North in the Russia-Mongolia area. Of these the Xiongnu tribes that share the same time frame as the Warring States Chinese might be a good spot to actually do woman warriors and would add to this line,  though I would check the culture details on that.

    Three if the Han Dynasty was on the release schedule, I would say WA should do Vietnamese warrior women from the Trung Sister rebellion instead (might even be merit in doing them before their male Vietnamese warriors counterparts in such a case).


    If she was real, apparently Mulan was very likely not “Chinese” but a Xianbei girl (ie one of the nomadic horse rider steppe tribesmen, so yeah Disney got it wrong considering🤣).

  • @Blutze Or just play KOW now, it actually has historic Chinese lists already that can be fed into a fantasy game setting. Then of course there is also 9th Age, frostgrave,etc. fact is you can just take the old WFB lore (you know the good lore) and just use it with any of the arguably better genric rulesets out there.🤔



  • 9th age kinda put me off with the lore changes. 95%+ of the units are clearly supposed to fill the same role in the same roster as the 6th/7th edition units, but for some reason dark elves (including witches) have some kinda roman legion theme going. Thats not an issue by itself, but its a little odd when the intent is to essentially just keep playing Warhammer, and it makes it hard to actually know what is what when you're just starting to read into it.

    But yes, all of those are options. Absolutely no need to wait for GW to tell us what to do.


    You'll have to wait for The Old World to ever get a game in at the shop/club.


  • @Brian Van De Walker  On the flipside, a good argument in favor of shang warrior women is that:

    A) Nobody makes them

    B) They would be great for Hyborian Fantasy (and similar settings)

    C) People buy kits just to get access to female heads and torso all the time anyway (I know I do)

    D) The non armored clothing on the shang examples is so generic they could be from many places in East Asia (and beyond) and from many time periods.

  • @Brian Van De Walker To be fair I said “an argument...” not “the best argument...”

    Either way, getting more high quality female warriors models out there helps folks like Mrs. GG feel more included and encourages research on historical female warriors.

  • @Grumpy Gnome Definately

    I live and work in Taiwan, and have started doing an RPG summer camp using miniatures after dipping my toes in during the previous school year. Using Frostgrave kits is neat, but it would be so amazing to offer the kids some options that are a better reflection of themselves. Even more so for the girls, since there are at least some mongol and japanese plastic kits out there, but my class (of just 7 - cant have huge class for RPG's lol) was mostly girls (4/7).

    And that's to say nothing of my wife, who while she doesnt take much interest in minis, does occasionally paint some and would rather like some east asian women represented.

  • @H M

    Maybe, but again to all those arguments: a  Chinese wushu fantasy warrior woman set would accomplish all those same objectives you mentioned, do a better job at covering said objectives than Shang dynasty warrior women would, and makes more sense to do since no one is really doing the Shang dynasty or their enemies in plastic (I mean it would be like Warlord starting its Bolt-action WW2 historical plastic sets with just the US rear guard engineer  unites and disembarked sailors or something else you don’t normally think about like the Brazilin volunteer contingent).

    Likewise just like your point A, Chinese wushu fantasy warrior woman are not really being done by anyone in multipart plastic either  (when choosing between 2 female Chinese themed subjects that argument is actually a mute point over all with regards to 28mm plastic kits😆).

    To be honest they would work better for most RPGs too and offer a lot more play space for the scuplter costume wise (there are a lot of adavantages to doing stuff as fantasy😉).

    @Grumpy Gnome I am not opposed to there being historical women kits when it makes sense,  what I am opposed to is it being welly nelly and Shang Dynasty Warrior Women while  a very interesting discussion topic with many research merits,  is ultra welly nelly at this point in time for plastic 28mm (mostly because "Shang Dynasty anything" would be rather welly nelly at this point as it really needs to be planned out😆).

    That said, after thinking about it how about we take a look at diffrent part ancient China's history  that is on the table and still in the first empires timeframe for warroir women😉.

    I think WA doing a "Warrior Women of Warring States China" set  wouldn’t be welly- nelly (or at least as welly-nelly as Shang).

    Why? because that even makes a bit of sense given WA's upcoming warring states sets, and plastic set justifying groupings of  them are not totally  outside historical possibility (I know that there is at least one probably fictional major grouping of warrior women from that era but it could be hand waveable table top wise), and given it was a chaotic era a well done female warrior set might even be generally useful for players of that time.

    In fact I would say boxes of them with a 2-4 unarmored wandering warrior woman bodies to 1 armored lady general body ratio would probably do well even among the diehard button counting history gamers.



  • @Brian Van De Walker I totally understand and agree with a lot of your arguments. But I also just kind of thing that the Shang would be cooler lol - just from the bronze cruirass in the pictured example, there is a certain mystique of remote antiquity that is similar to when I see depcition of say the Mycenaean Dendra armor, or the panoply of the Sherden.

    However, I'm not really trying to argue or debate - it's just my own feeling, but I'd be fine with just about any of the kits you mentioned.

  • I... just want more plastic female options so cant really add much to this topic. But I would buy pretty much everything everyone has mentioned. :)

  • Just getting people to discuss which female warriors to make is progress...

  • @H M

    Nah.... Warring States is cooler overall and I will explain why.

    Fu Hao is kind of the main argument for the Shang in this topic, and given what I have heard and read elsewhere the "600 warrior women" on the Wikipedia article might actually be "the 100 plus different warrior queens/ lady generals" who had fought for several different Shang emperors over the course of that dynasty’s long history (great argument for a “Fu Hao” Chariot rider with different headswaps if the Shang Dynasty gets done in plastic, not really that good an argument for a female infantry sprue).

     Just on the warrior woman front, the Warring States era is the timeframe of  the semi-mythical Lady of Yue who is often credited as being the “real life” inspiration of the swordswoman architype of Chinese Wuxia fiction, and there are several other famous women fighters and generals in that period historically. Not to mention it has more fictional warrior woman than the Shang Dynasty in both literature and general pop culture (ever watched the Chinese action film “Hero”? that was Warring States, the companion comic book version is better, and yeah there was a warrior woman in both).

    The Shang as a whole are a cool topic, however they are not really cooler than the Warring States or any of the other dynasties particularly and the Warring States has much better documentation and media coverage in "English speaking land” which is WA’s main market. To be honest I am not even sure if the Shang Dynasty has any army lists.

    The Warring States or late Spring-Autumn period is just a flashier time period overall than the Shang Dynasty whose main media presence seen in the west is the high fantasy depiction of its fall in adaptions of the Chinese fantasy classic novel “the investiture of the gods”.

    @Grumpy Gnome Honestly the fact that WA already has Warring States on the schedule which is the real best argument to do “Chinese Warrior Women” as a history set instead of fantasy, they should just do them for the Warring States timeslot if they are not going to do them for fantasy (lord knows they have been brought up enough for fantasy🤣).

    Also I can think of a better historical Female warrior set subject, but they would much later and on a diffrent continent.

  • @Brian Van De Walker It's a question of opinion, obviously - but I'm lucky enough to have seen some Shang era bronze artifacts in person, and they are amazing. I'm aware of history -both real and mythic- of the era, at least in general - but the Shang era just has a draw for me that the later periods don't. (In fact, the appeal of the later periods is probably hurt -for me- by just how much they are used all over the place in terms of game advertisements in Taiwan. It gets to be a much, the oversaturation of design themes and things.)

  • @H M I have too, great artifacts intresting period, I also know the Shang would be a ridiculausly hard sell for 28mm plastics and the later periods of Chinese History are far from being over saturated  here in the US at least (in our case its all Vikings and WW2 practically).


  • Again, IDK. Like I wouldn't mind any of the periods that interest you getting made, but my *own* preferance is probably always going to be Shang for the reasons I've mentioned above.

    It's okay for us to like different things to different levels ;)

  • @H M The problem I see with the Shang is that in addtion to Chariots you would need to do the Yi as well to give them a proper opponent (though I think neither of them need Cavalry since the Chinese supposedly didn't have rideable horse breeds at time).   Lets see how Warring States China does first then go whole hog and ask for Shang (who knows maybe they will finally start doing Saga boards Far East Asia by then).

  • Hypotetically some plastic oriental female warriors could be inspired by "The Great Wall"'s ones, a strange movie but with some good ideas for scratchbuilding, also if it had a loss ratio that would've make pale the Somme! The problem with Far East's minis is that every area has its customs and dresses, f.e. look how different are Chinese's and Japan's armours and swords' types. Also a simple difference in dress and shoes is important, Chinese favoured boots or heavy shoes, others , such as Thais or Burmese and Viet were barefooted, so it's very difficult to make a generic boxed set of figures, when for European fantasy its easier.


  • @Alessio De Carolis yeah, but nobody was advocating a "one Female Asian Warrior set to rule them all" (which seems like a remarkably bad idea unless we really want to game "Last Airbender"🤣), unless your talking about my "Wushu Fantasy warrior women" which I intended to just work loosly with diffrent eras of Chinese (not Thais, Burmese, Viet, Japanese, Koreans,etc.😆 also I am pretty sure South East Asian Warriors had shoes, sandles and boots too 😆).

    The main reason I thought the "Wushu Fantasy warrior women" would work for most eras of Chinese  is the "cheap KungFu film effect" if you well, since that would work for characters or as special unites as opposed to mixing them into the main force unites. From what I have seen in most "period" Chinese films, comics, etc.  is that they typically dress Chinese warrior women in something  like this:

    And when its not that, its women in men's armor (which means a headswap from a set of above is all you need) and  when it not that its  something like this armor which accents the female form from one degree to another (princess armor if you well): 




  • @Brian Van De Walker The last imagine would be perfect as base for female chinese warriors, add only some alternate head swaps, and various poses.


  • Brian is correct that for historical Warring States female soldiers in armour, head swaps should be enough since (despite that boob armour statue at the start of the thread and movie armour) the lamellar is rigid enough to look similar on both male and female soldiers. 

    There is plenty of room for some less armoured models, though, especially on the mythic/fantasy side of things. Not to mention martial artists, though they probably don't fit with the Warring States armies.

  • I do not think that is “boob armor” on the statue in my original post. Merely that her armor style (is that a Chinese form of lamellar?) is loose/flexible enough to follow the shape of her body. 

  • @Grumpy Gnome trust me, mate. Unless those lames are made of silk or were shaped to sit like that, it's the sculptor's fantasy. Here's a different angle that really shows it:

    View of a statue of Fu Hao, ancient Chinese military general ...


    In any case, Fu Hoa died around 1200 BCE and well predates the Warring States period (475-221 BCE). But more importantly that statue outside the tomb site (which was discovered in 1976) is a modern tribute to her and should not be taken as any kind of authentic depiction. No armour was found in the tomb. 

  • Ah, no armor found in the tomb and it is a more modern sculpt? Damn. 

    I must admit I know more about European arms, armor and military history than I do other regions of the world.


  • @Mark Dewis

    Actually, while that statement is likely the case for lamier normally, silk is actually a possibility for what the armor plates (which themselves might be leather) would be attached to since silk was cheap enough for that in ancient China and silk armor does exist🤔, the real issue is that’s later Zhou dynasty armor design😉.

    That stated it is possible the real armor Fu Hao wore was tailored to her to accent or even exaggerate her "charms" since we are talking armor made for a female commander who was also the king's wife (meaning it was just as likely be there for flash as function, perhaps more so😆).

    All that aside, yes unarmored bodies would likely be more useful historically since real armor is expensive and the majority of women who were actively involved in combat situations would likely either be bandits, desperate villagers, or some other unarmored subject (such as martial arts students or lightly armed travelers). 

    @Alessio De Carolis Yes that last image would in a lot ways for fantasy gaming so would something like this:

  • @Brian Van De Walker Exactly, this one could pass for a martial arts student, where the other one as a sort of "elite" fantasy unit, perhaps a guard for the inner imperial palace? (Also if in reality there was an eunuch guard unit for this ).

  • @Alessio De Carolis Eunuch guards where likely the reality in China, but I do know that in Japan all the normal duties of eunuchs where carried out by women which likely  included the harem guard. In China there was that legendary story of Sun Tzu training a concubin elite guard for an emporer in the warring state as mentioned earler in this thread, while that probably didn't happen its possible that idea was based on some real factors at the time.  However inner palace guards in general  don't really  strike me as a good "do a plastic set" subject.

    Martial arts students on the other hand do.

  • @Brian Van De Walker Right, for I was speaking about the Forbidden City's guards, they were eunuchs, on the contrary I read about the females guards replacing the eunuchs in japan's "gyneceums", given how to most noble females were trained in weapons' use, such as the naginata, it's logical that the younger daughters of the dayimyo's entourage would've been tasked with the protection of palace's inner parts. Probabilly a STL multi part kit would be more apt to the subject.

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