Neglected and Forgotten figures? Parazuellian Women’s Revolutionary Army pipe and drum band

My entry for the March 2021 Neglected and Forgotten painting challenge by Ann Wycoff but a bit late for March 4th, International Marching Day #March4th

This interesting rusty old female figure (below) was amongst an unexpected gift of some spare battered metal band figures from Alan (Duchy of Tradgardland) Gruber. Thanks, Alan.

It gave me an idea, after watching the Morecambe and Wise comedy film The Magnificent Two, 1967. This is set in the fictional 1960s South American ImagiNation of Parazuellia (think Mexico with a dash of Castro’s Cuba).

I have written more about the film’s fictional uniforms here: https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/03/05/fembruary-bmc-plastic-army-women-as-the-revolutionary-womans-army-of-parazuellia/

So the Neglected and Forgotten figures?

At first she was going to be a Parazuellian Revolutionary female piper until promoted …

The female figure was marked by its maker ‘G B’ on the base, wearing what looked like 1980s British Army female uniform, possibly a band figure based on the double arm stubs.

Here are the other battered band figures along with some spare and useful heads from Alan Gruber, which were of no immediate use to his small scale infantry skirmish games. A real mixed bag …

A useful selection of heads including two useful Gurkha ones and a mixture of band figures. Many are still queueing along on the painting table.

There were several royal marine type drummers and buglers but also some headless drummers and two with pillbox hats with a feminine look.

Gurkha heads in place, new arms added with wire and masking tape … Airfix Multipose hats and Warbases MDF tuppenny bases

What emerged was a female Parazuellian Womens’ Revolutionary Army pipe and drum band, sporting their battle bowler British type Mark II helmets at a jaunty angle, as in the film screenshot below:

Isobel Black (L) and Margit Saad (R) wearing their steel helmets in he Magnificent Two

As you can see, the helmet roundels are a red star on a white circle with green surrounding line.

Green, white and red are of course the colours not only of the Parazuellian Revolutionary Army in the film but also Mexico in real life. The Revolutionary red is picked up in the scarves, the green in the khaki or olive drab costumes.

Here is that rusty female figure remade as a Parazuellian general:

This could be a General Carla type figure, leading the Women’s Revolutionary Army.

Three side drummers and a piper, all with the national colours of Revolutionary red, white and green

The side drums are in the national colours of red, white and green.
The piper’s pipe flag is in green and red to match the Revolutionary colours. Red stripes or tartan squares on the piper’s green cloak

Parazuellian female piper

I tried the figures without helmets but they lacked the charm of the ‘battle bowler’.

Two of the drummers already had quite female heads with small pill box hats.

Luckily I had four spare steel helmets from an old Airfix Multipose set of Eighth Army figures.

I used two suitable spare Gurkha heads from the head pile for the two headless drummers. After filing down these pillbox hats in order to fit the helmets, I added some bushy female hair with tissue paper and PVA.

In the same way a piper’s cape was added with tissue paper and PVA, to cover the join of these slightly outsize (man’s?) bagpiper arms.

The officer figure’s arm stubs (originally for playing a musical instrument?) were removed and after drilling through, wire and masking tape arms were added.

The figures were painted to match these BMC Plastic Army Women Parazuellian female troops

As I used dark earth skin tones on the new BMC Plastic Army Women to match or suggest the South American ImagiNation of Parazuellia, I used the same skin tones and shiny toy soldier face style including copper cheek dots. These work better on darker skin than the usual pink cheek dots.

A final coat of gloss acrylic spray varnish toned the mixture of matt and gloss acrylic together in a suitable shiny toy soldier style.

Musical accompaniment?

Music was absorbed into their layers of paint and varnish throughout their creation. Accompanying the painting was some jaunty untraditional pipe and drum music on YouTube, Indian pipe and drum bands – at one point I thought these figures had the look of Indian female troops.

A more South American / Mexican pipe and drum sound can be found with the San Patricios or St Patrick’s Battalion pipe and drums (Mexico City), apparently remembering the Scottish and Irish troops who defected from the USA to fight for Mexico in the US -Mexican War of 1847.

Earworm warning! They can be seen and heard here on a trip to Ireland:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EpTzNdVkTqI

in Mexico City
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qsdNnPHqGug

And St Patrick’s Day in Mexico with more pipers
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=foFyzdkr0os

So a unique set of band figures, made from Forgotten and Neglected figures and inspired by a parade (sadly without drums or pipes) in the closing minutes of The Magnificent Two film. Viva Torres!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 27/28 March 2021

6 thoughts on “Neglected and Forgotten figures? Parazuellian Women’s Revolutionary Army pipe and drum band”

  1. Delighted to see what you have done with these figures! I think they have turned out utterly splendidly. I was particularly interested to see what you would use them for and yours is such a creative solution with an excellent end point. It was also an enjoyable read over this morning’s coffee to follow the conversion process and read of the ideas behind the figures.

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  2. Thanks Alan both for your comment and the surplus band figures (which are the cowboys and Indians of the Redcoat toy soldier world? Nobody wants them?). I like to keep a few work in progress photos to remind myself how it was done, blog as an online journal, scrapbook or diary. It also helps other people see with what simple techniques you tackled the challenge.

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  3. I call this project a success! The tin hats definitely were the better option, I think. Very nicely painted and totally recognisable as the Parazuellian troops which inspired them.

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