Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 16 – Death to the Invader! sing those female warriors

Left over from last #FEMbruary, which was a month of beleivable female miniature painting posts, are these female soldiers in Gilbert and Sullivan’s light comic operetta Princess Ida.


“Princess Ida, or Castle Adamant” opened on 5 January 1884 at the Savoy Theatre and ran for 246 performances. It is the only three act Gilbert and Sullivan Opera and the only one with dialogue in blank verse. This is because Gilbert based his libretto on his earlier play The Princess which, in turn, he described as “a perversion” of Tennyson’s poem of the same name.

It was produced between Iolanthe and The Mikado when its creators were at the height of their powers. The score is Sullivan at his best, and some people consider that Gilbert’s libretto contains some of his fun

Prince Hilarion had been married in babyhood to Princess Ida, daughter of King Gama. The Princess, however, has set up a college for women from which all men are barred. Hilarion and his friends infiltrate the castle and ultimately the men, led by Hilarion’s father, King Hildebrand, stage a full-scale invasion. Ida is abandoned by her women and finally surrenders to Hilarion. (GS Archive web source)

Source / copyright: G S Archive website for the lyrics and vintage photographs.

2018 is the hundredth anniversary of the first women gaining the vote in Britain and 2018 is also the year that the military in Britain opened to women the last few gender restricted jobs on frontline duties including special forces roles.

The original stage costumes from 1926 below, looked at close up, are quite gloriously Flash Gordon.

Women soldiers in the 1926 production of Princess Ida (GSArchive website)

What a joke in 1884 to some Victorian men, that women would ever attend university, get a degree or serve in the military, all on equal grounds.

There are plenty of modern versions on YouTube to track down and enjoy of this stirring song, popular for obvious reasons with female university students!

Manchester University G&S Society MUGS

A wide range of female soldier stage costumes are improvised at low cost for this number in different YouTube videos. Some Imagi-Nations and uniforms ideas  there then.

Southampton University version 2003

Blog Post Script B.P.S.

Following up Ross MacFarlane’s Battle Game of The Month reprint of an article about French Wargames during WW2, in the same series is an interesting article by Jon Peterson about the First Female Gamers (who weren’t called Bronte)

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN as Advent Calendar Day 16, 16th December 2018

5 thoughts on “Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 16 – Death to the Invader! sing those female warriors”

  1. What an interesting post ,once again. I really like the 1926 costumes- Noggin the Nog meets Wagnerian chic. Any suggestions for 54mm figures to convert to steam punk figures male and female?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Noggin the Nog, that’s it! I wondered where I had seen these sub-Wagnerian maidens before!

      Typically all the 54mm steampunk figs are pricey character figures in good quality metal or resin such as

      Plenty more of uniforms ideas looking at 28mm sites for ideas

      Sources of 54mm figs? Any Victorian or colonial 54mm, esp with top hats, pith helmets, goggles, including Victorian / Wild West and pirate figures, so any early 20th Century WW1 figures with gas masks or aviation equipment are suitable. And that’s just the women … if you add corsets, bonnets, bustles, buckles, big dresses, biker boots, parasols … and pistols.

      Pinterest is a good source of images for clothes, weaspins, the colour palette.

      The scraps box is perfect for Steampunk figure conversions.

      Painting 19c / Victorian uniforms on modern figures with most metal weapons as “brass with knobs on” etc works for me. Why shouldn’t the Victorian have invented steam flame throwers, machine guns, steam robots, flying airships etc ? I did this cheap Steampunk at
      More figures planned once I get to my Close Little Star Wars Steampunk Space Marine Flash Gordon thing in 54mm soon.

      Good intro to the topic and character types is the Steampunk Bible, by Jeff VanDerMeer, beautifully illustrated book (its follow up Steampunk Users Manual by Jeff is currently £5 plus P&p at the Works) The first one available cheap and easily secondhand, some interesting essays in early sci-fi authors like Verne and Wells.


  2. Another FEMbruary classic! Yes, it would be interesting to convert some figures with this in mind. With my 1/72 plastics hat on, RedBox do a box of Mounted Amazons which includes a nice standing figure with a shield which looks an awful lot like Britannia, the closest I could think to the Wagnerian ladies pictured.


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