I have completed these Suffragettes as my final challenge as part of #MARCH 2018, being my excuse to photograph a few of my MARCHing toy soldier and MARCHing Band figures each year. It coincides with Cupcakes and Machetes’ blog challenge for March as part of Women’s History Month (and stuff left over from FEMbruary).
6th Febraury 2018 was the Centenary anniversary of British women first being granted the vote after years of protest and campaigning, finally awarded for women’s work during WW1.
I had been working on a small Suffragette vignette or boxed diorama for my local spring show art and craft section but failed to complete it in time. I couldn’t get the glossy toy soldier look quite right.
Instead I added several more 54mm female figures that I had unpainted in my collection, painted as suffragettes. I started work on such random figures as a bride (Tradition of London), two Salvation Army girls from Dorset Soldiers, a plastic Mexican peasant woman wielding a broom from Steve Weston figures and last but not least, my unsatisfactory conversion of an Airfix footballer into a Western saloon girl.
I put the finished figures on a makeshift plinth (a painted fence post cap from B&Q) with a Suffragette anniversary enamel brooch.
Individual suffragette figures have been converted from existing figures.
Simple figure conversions turned surplus 54mm female figures into Suffragettes.
This Mexican peasant woman brandishing a broom from Steve Weston figures converts smoothly into a protesting Suffragette waving a placard. A large Edwardian style hat was added using a circle of stiff card with hole punched out in the middle to sit over the original bun hairstyle. Layers of white kitchen roll paper were added with PVA to simulate the floaty flouncy layers of the large hats of Edwardian ladies.
The suffragette is holding a metal ‘prison arrow’ on a pole, symbolic of any suffragette who had been imprisoned as shown in this 1910 short film:
A quick look at suffrage march photos show that this Mexican figure needed a hat as few women would go out without a hat on a formal occasion such as in a parade, demonstration or MARCH in the early Twentieth century, especially if you were out to prove that your Suffrage movement and arguments were reasonable and respectable. Bare heads in public and long hair were for girls or much younger women.
One reason for getting on and finishing these MARCHing figures is the unfinished FEMbruary conversion of an Airfix Footballer into a Western saloon girl, as suggested by Donald Featherstone in his Wildwest chapter of Skirmish Wargaming.
The unfinished conversion using paint, PVA glue and tissue paper still looked heavily masculine, especially with the longer hair, even more like Kevin Keegan in a dress. I repainted her in white with additional layers of frontal skirts to be more respectable and less revealing. A white head covering over the long dark hair softened the masculine features slightly.
Whilst wanting to keep the figures and paint scheme simple and glossy toy soldier like, I found the solid white clothes a little dull to look at. Knowing that light pale blue brings out white colours, dolly blue being added to white washing in the past, a slight wash of pale light blue brought out a little shade and shadow.
So that is MARCH, Women’s History Month, the final bit of FEMBruary done for this year and another toy soldier conversion or painting challenge completed.
I have really enjoyed working on some different figures for a change.
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN as my final MARCH 2018 blogpost, 31 March 2018.