#MARCHing for Votes for Women


My Suffragette Marchers and homecast Prince August police officers.

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.



Hobbycraft display box with glass removed, with small copy of an original suffrage poster.

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.

The figures arranged on a makeshift plinth (a painted fence post cap) with Suffragette anniversary brooch.

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.

Improvised plinth from a B and Q pine fence post cap.
Simple paper sashes painted in Suffragette colours of purple, white and green.

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.


11 thoughts on “#MARCHing for Votes for Women”

  1. Well done on the Femmebruary/Suffragette March project. Good imagination and conversion work leading to some very nice and significant vignettes, -Ross


  2. What a lovely idea! I wish I’d thought of it – I do a lot of displays at work and have been using miniatures (mostly paper ones) of late.

    April is National Poetry Month (in the US at any rate, don’t know about the UK). How about illustrating a Kipling poem next … or since I’ve been reading up on the Light Brigade, the Tennyson poem?


    1. In the UK there is National Poetry Day https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/about-npd/ in late September or October each year.
      That is a great idea mounting miniatures exhibitions in the library linked to months or books and authors. Lots of paper soldier resources on Pinterest, as well as print your own Junior General website, good for your gaming events.
      There are a few posts already on my blog for RLS A Child’s Garden of Verses and the toys therein. The Bronte Parsonage Museum has done some lovely book and paper art displays of the Bronte soldiers or Twelves.
      Hmm … Kipling and Tennyson are both good suggestions. In the next months I have some Peter Laing figures to paint and the Twelves book to read. But I will put my thinking and modelling cap on for a post for 4th October 2018 UK National Poetry Day!


  3. Glad you like it. A suitable end to MARCH and Womens History Month (just – on the 31st). More next year for FEMbraury and MARCH / WHM 2019.
    I have two interesting Bronte / gaming / fantasy-tical books by female authors coming up on my reading list, recommended by American gamer librarian Jennifer Burdoo – Pauline Clarke’s 1962 The Return of The Twelves and Catherine Valente’s The Glass Town Game. I will post reviews once I have read them.
    Jennifer’s suggestion of doing Kipling or Tennyson etc for National Poetry Month is a great idea but the event in April is for the USA so I will mark it in the UK in October on our National Poetry Day ( it doesn’t even get a week!) – somehow. Best wishes.


  4. That’s a lovely scene; the figures came out very well. I have also done the Mexican peasant conversion.
    Just thinking of the issues women faced then in Britain their limitations were moderate compared to the oppression of women today in much of the world, notably in Muslim countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, to name just a few.


  5. It was a fun set of figures to put together. I think Steve Weston’s Mexican peasant set is so useful for conversions. I think the 100th Anniversary of the 1918 Act giving Votes for Women was rightly to be celebrated or marked if only to flag up how far we still have to go. I did mention to some people b@ck in February that it was 100 years since working class men without property got the vote as well, rather overlooked. Enlisting, Conscriprtion and The Somme and Passchendaele bought them this right at a high cost of hundreds of thousands of casualties.
    But as you say, how far we still have to go for equality of race and gender here in the UK, America, and many other parts of the world. This should all have happened back after the American Civil War or after 1918/28. Sometimes as you say, it seems to me it is getting more oppressive for women in some parts of the world.
    So MARCH next year in Women’s History Month and FEMbruary 2019 for some more female friendly or celebratory figures and blog posts.


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