Hong was a Hakka and so not from China's Han majority and his message proved very attractive to the then marginalised Hakka population. Hong's central message included overthrowing the Chinese State and replacing it with the Tai Ping Heavenly Kingdom, gender equality, killing landlords and the sharing of property. His followers armed and organised themselves and proved to be fearsome and disciplined soldiers who waged a truly massive war on Manchu China for about 14 years.
The Tai Ping were also able to recruit the Miao another minority population as allies. The Miao, recognised as hard fighters, were equipped with long jezzail like matchlocks and spears and swords.
Despite a persistent effort to ally with the colonial powers and to secure modern arms Tai Ping armies had to mainly rely on traditional Chinese weaponry. Some Europeans fought for them.
If you would like a Tai Ping force almost all of the figures above are from Irregular Miniatures.