Ancient History Does Exist in Asia!

The Koreans ready to take the field again – figures from Alain Touller, painting from yours truly

There have been a lot of tweets recently, wargame based, dealing with ancient history and ancient wargaming. Most (if not all) have been Eurocentric. I can understand this as the largest market for wargame figures and for the consumption of Ancient History, have been Europeans – be they in Europe, the UK, the US and Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

The wargame figures and related publications cover Europe, and the Middle East across to India (think Alexander the Great).  Even Central and South America gets a look in with Aztec, Maya and Inca, although I suspect that is mainly because Aztec and Inca were conquered at the time by European freebooters.

The coverage of Asian warfare and Ancient History, with a few exceptions, is lagging far behind that of Europe and the Near East. The Japanese, Mongol, Korean and Chinese armies were the first of the Far East armies to start to be covered, in part because there was enough accessible information in English to provide information to the figure manufacturer and wargamer. The effect of cinema must also bear some responsibility here as well along with the achievements of some of those Asian nations.

The Khmer – undercoated and maiden guard painted – Irregular Miniatures

Other areas have lagged behind. Burmese, Thai and Khmer armies have been researched and modelled at least in 15mm scale (in part, perhaps because of the Khmer maiden guard). Cham and recently Sumatran and Javanese.

Sitting here in the Philippines for the past 6 years I have slowly been acquiring some information about the pre-Jesuit Philippines. This has not been easy to acquire. One reason given has been the lack of written history, and/or the inability to write it down. The Laguna Copperplate Inscription (Filipino: Inskripsyon sa Binatbat na Tanso ng Laguna) from about 1200 years ago  certainly belies the ability to write things down here.

15mm Burmese and Khmer. Prepped, based and undercoated. Now just waiting for the application of the brush. I must get around to finishing these!

In December 2014 I hunted through the National Bookstore for some information. Alas, I am still searching for a good reference work, preferably in English, my Tagalog is not up to anything that complicated yet, covering the pre-Jesuit Philippines. There were, it seems quite a few kingdoms, sultanates etc. across the archipelago in the past, with influences from India, China, Arab, Malay and of course, local.

A rich history I am sure, and one with much trading, political skullduggery, feats of arms and such but so little written about it. A history that likely touched the Indonesian Archipelago as well.

Any references gladly accepted – and lets remember that Ancient History is worldwide!


In my preferred wargame scale of 6mm, as far as I am aware, Baccus 6mm, and Heroics and Ros only model Samurai. Rapier Miniatures make Mongols and Irregular at least cover more areas, namely, Samurai, Chinese, Mongol, Tibetan, Burmese, and Khmer. Koreans, Sumatrans, Javanese are in short supply.

One thought on “Ancient History Does Exist in Asia!

  1. John@justneedsvarnish 2 November 2020 / 3:50 am

    Enjoyed this post! 🙂 Reminds me that it’s way too long since I dug out my 25mm Ming Chinese and Japanese armies of the 1590s, which I finished about 25 years ago and stashed safely away! I think if I could I’d have some earlier period Chinese armies, but I’ll just have to be content to read more about them!

    Liked by 1 person

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