I game with a pretty laid back group and I'm glad of that. There's been at least one occasion when an old rule we assumed to still exist turned out not to but it was too good to drop so we all came to a gentlemen's agreement to let it stand (for the sake of clarity, the rule was the one allowing Bretonnian Damels to sit in the middle of a lance formation and use the unit's line of sight for casting).
So having discovered Mathias Eliasson's Warhammer Armies Project I'm relatively confident I could make use of one of his fan-made army lists with the minimum fuss. He's so far written Army Books for Albion, Amazons, Araby, a Bretonnia update and expansion, Cathay, Chaos Dwarfs, the Cult of Ulric, Dogs of War, Estalia, Halflings, Hobgoblins, the Kingdoms of Ind, Kislev, Nippon, the Norse and the Pirates of Sartosa. All available for free as PDFs at the link above.
And I am amazed by the production values on these things, they more than match the official publications. I haven't read all of them but I went straight to the Cathay book. There was a time when the original Ogre Kingdoms book came out and it had so many references to the Chaos Dwarfs and Cathay that we all assumed there was going to be a push east and we'd see new armies springing up to represent places and peoples missing from the game since second edition.
It never happened and I've always wanted the option of a Cathay army or an Araby army like the one in Warmaster (because elephant cavalry!).
Anyway, I checked out the Cathay book and it seems pretty well-balanced. Just about every unit has obvious strengths balanced by significant actual weaknesses. Elite units have low armour, horde units have low weapon skill and so on. Pretty standard but I've seen some horrendously unbalanced fan lists in my day.
I want to build a Gong. You can have a Gong in this army and its useful. It acts as a sort of super-musician to the units around it.
It would be a ton of conversion work but, to be honest, I think the bodies of most units could be easily made using various elf kits since a lot of those models use Asian influences. Low armour units could easily be represented by strapping the right weapons to High Elves Archers, high armour units by High Elves Spearmen and Wood Elves Eternal Guard.
I just have to somehow source or create appropriate some Han-style heads and work out a kitbash for Cathayan longswords since all existing human greatswords are very chunkily German.
I'm trying to concentrate on the Lizardmen and the Orks but this is damned attractive and it'd consciously be a very slow build. Damn it, I'm convincing myself. Oh well.