Although I had gotten very comfortable playing the Imperial Service exclusively, with Javier G. Urena’s badass Tiger Soldier sculpt on the horizon, I felt the time was right to give vanilla a go. It was the plan to make a state army unit after all, before I was seduced by link teams. Still, I find it hard to make lists without restrictions, so the sectorial life suited me. Luckily Carlos Llaugher had previously shared a tidbit that Tiger Soldiers would be available to the planned White Banner army, along with another favourite of mine, the Hac Tao. So for my first serious vanilla list, I chose to limit myself to units I felt had reasonable chance of appearing in the White Banner army. The evidence I was aware of is as follows.
Guǐláng: Unit logo, fluff, mentioned by Carlos.
Daofei: Unit logo, mentioned by Carlos.
Tiger Soldier: Mentioned by Carlos
Hac Tao: Mentioned by Carlos, dossier has sectorial army logo on it.
Shaolin Monks: Box has sectorial army logo on it.
On top of that I figured there’d be a reasonable chance of Zhanshis and a near certain chance of the various remotes. Luckily I already had most of that at a playable standard, but there was a glaring Guǐláng shaped hole, so that’s where I went first. I’ve always loved the look of the Guilang sniper, but never picked him up before I became fixated on Imperial Service.
I’m glad I finally did. Single piece models are such a pleasure to paint. This guy probably set a speed painting record for me. 80 percent of the model is covered in his coat, which I painted a simple pattern of GW Fortress Grey that was then rinsed with watered down Shadow Grey before being drybrushed with Skull white.
One strike against the studio paint job is there is very little orange to tie him to the rest of the troops, except for the anti-personnel mines on his backpack (nice detail by the way), which got the usual method. I was very tempted to paint his wrist bracers orange but decided not to for the time being. As a single piece model, repaints will be a piece of cake after all.
On to the name.
As the unit description suggests, the term Guǐláng is made up of the character for ghost and the character for wolf, 鬼/guǐ and 狼/láng respectively.
To pronounce 鬼/guǐ, take the English word “way” but add the sound of a hard ‘G’ before the ‘w’, all as one syllable. Whilst ghost is a very common translation, “鬼” can be used to describe all manner of spectres, phantoms, monsters and demons. For instance, the classic Asian insult “foreign devil” uses 鬼 for the devil part. Like wise the term for vampire is (blood-drinking) 鬼.
To pronounce 狼/láng, the sound is somewhere between “lung” (the organ) the “Lang” in “Langley, Virginia, home of the CIA”. This character means wolf. Being native to China, wolves were lucky enough to get their own character, much like the leopard.
In addition to 鬼狼/guǐláng, the logo also incorporates the characters 前卫/Qiánwèi, meaning skirmisher or vanguard. 前/Qián is an important character meaning prior, before, ahead of etc., in this case referring to the position of the soldier relative to the army. The ‘Q’ in “qián” makes a ‘ch’ sound. 卫/Wèi is the same wèi as in wèibīng.