Battling Bronte Sisters (and Branwell) conversions from Bad Squiddo Little Wolves figures WIP

My Battling Bronte Sisters (and Branwell!) are almost done, painted and based. Photographing them close up always throws up a few area to finish.

When they are not role playing their heroic parts in their juvenilia ImagiNations of Glass Town, Angria, Gaaldine and Gondal, they are all of course battling with the Dark Forces of Yarkshire folklore.

Such tales were told to them at an impressionable young age by their Haworth born servant Tabby Ackroyd.

This is part of my ongoing Bronte ImagiNations gaming project

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine/

These green skinned creatures are boggarts, wild creatures of the Dark Moors and marshes …

boggarts who might have started life as Prince August 25mm homecast Cavemen.

Before you ask, mountain backdrop by Peco, Croft cottage by Lilliput Lane.

How I converted these figures

What started out as two packs of Bad Squiddo ‘Little Wolves’ (youngsters or child sized figures in Annie Norman’s 28mm Amazon Range) have been subtly converted to capture some of the make-believe of children at play.

I thought that they could be painted both as dressed as children role playing games and as heroic figures tackling Dark folkloric forces of Yarkshire.

Distinguishing the sisters is usually done by hair colour, especially in films.

I referred to the famous Bronte portrait by Branwell (centre, who later painted himself out) as well as the recent BBC drama To Walk Invisible for my colour palette.

Reddish hair – Anne – painted in grey with red sash

Brown hair – Emily – painted with longer skirt and green tunic, red belt

Black hair – Charlotte – painted with blue dress and red sash

Clothes – I kept the colour scheme quite dark coloured, sober and practical for parsons’ daughters in wet damp Tropical Yorkshire, even through early Victorians were often more colourful than our image of sober Late Victorians.

The BBC TV drama To Walk Invisible opens with a section of the Bronte children adventuring inside their minds or in their play world, discovering the wooden box of soldiers coming to life, the wooden soldiers that first inspired their play: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/brontes-waterloo-soldiers/

Conversions

Swords were filed down to look more wooden and childlike.

Home made sashes from the dressing up box were attached by PVA glue and tissue paper, to give that dashing military air.

Charlotte (left) and Ann (right) with their PVA and tissue paper sashes. Only late in painting these two figures did I notice that they have a subtle belt section hanging down.

The added sashes or in Branwell and Emily’s case an existing belt sash were painted carmine red to add a dash of martial colour.

This was inspired by the red military sashes and uniform designs in Isabel Greenberg’s Bronte ImagiNations graphic novel Glass Town.

Image: Isabel Greenberg’s Glass Town. She uses the same hair colour system.

All paints were Matt Revell Aquacolor Acrylics, starting with a Matt black undercoat.

Faces – in keeping with the overall drab Matt colours of their clothes, boots or clogs etc, I avoided my usual bright gloss colours and toy soldier faces with pink cheek dots etc. Instead I chose a subtle mouth or lip colour ( a trace of carmine red) and a darker flesh using Revell Afrikabraun (or desert brown) instead of flesh.

To add that grungy, muddy feel of children out on the moors or getting mucky playing around the Parsonage, I used a brown shade or wash of Citadel Agrax Earthshade on flesh, faces and folds.

The Branwell ‘problem’

The two packs I bought from Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo were all female.

As I failed to find any suitable 28mm boy figures, I set about converting one of the girl figures into a red haired brother Branwell boy figure.

Filing down an excess of plaited hair, I covered the rest of the luscious plaited locks with an old hooded travelling cape (it were wet, dark and cold up on those moors) made of tissue paper and PVA.

Charlotte (left) with red sash and Branwell (right), showing a flash of red belt.

I considered adding breeches or trousers with tissue paper and PVA but thought that Branwell as a boy was the only one in Victorian times who could get away with bare legs and ankles. The parson’s three surviving daughters probably could not.

Branwell’s poems show a familiarity with the classical and heroic epic, so I painted him bare legged, just wearing his ankle boots. His trouser legs are probably rolled up and he is wearing an old smock to look like a classical hero with tunic and cape. All make-believe or possibly real, playing around with that dual use notion.

Branwell (left) and Charlotte (right). Branwell’s cloak hood needs defining by shadow.

Basing

Basing is onto 1 penny MDF bases from Warbases, with PVA used to fix a rough mix of grassy flock and fine Cornish beach sand to suggest the moors. Appropriate enough as the Bronte children’s mother was born and grew up in Penzance, not far from the source beach in Cornwall.

Hopefully gritty and northern enough? Until I can go up on the moor and gather some proper Yarkshire grit and dirt.

Battling the Bronte Sisters

These figures are great for duelling games using simple ‘parry and lunge’ (Gerard de Gre) dice or card rules from Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/duelling-in-the-sandpit-lunge-cut-and-stop-thrust/

Allocate as many life, health or wound points as you wish to each character – Bronte sister, Boggart, Gytrash or Shuck the Black Dog etc. – and play.

Winner gets health points back or victory life points awarded, you decide.

Kaptain Kobold simplified these Gerard de Gre rules for me into dice throws, speedy enough to resolve melee.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/more-duelling-inspiration-mexicans/

Such games proved short and brutal, mostly involving fast melee, using the Kaptain Kobold modification or d6 dice version of Gerard De Gre’s Lunge Cut and Stop Thrust rules for melee or duelling.

1&2 Hit on Attacker (attacker loses one point)

3 – Both Hit (lose one point each)

4 – Both  Miss

5&6 Hit on Defender (defender loses one point)

Some of Tabby’s Gritty Northern Yarkshire folklore to be going in with

Boggarts, boggles and others

https://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/visiting/see-and-do/land-of-myths-and-legends

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Yorkshire_folklore

https://www.foyles.co.uk/blog-folklore-of-the-yorkshire-moors

https://www.sykescottages.co.uk/blog/6-yorkshire-folktales-to-discover/

Lots more to be discovered …

How they arrived in the quirky packaging of Bad Squiddo

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/10/28/battling-little-bronte-wolves-arrive-from-bad-squiddo-and-we-raised-the-money-to-save-the-bronte-manuscripts-too/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 21 November 2021

B.P.S.

Interesting History Extra article from a few years back by Emma Butcher https://www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/the-brontes-at-war-how-charlotte-and-branwell-brought-waterloo-into-their-drawing-room/

Battling Little Bronte Wolves arrive from Bad Squiddo! And we raised the money to save the Bronte manuscripts too …

My battling little Bronte Wolves have arrived, and are already slugging it out in the role playing games of their “Tropical Yarkshire” ImagiNations of Glass Town, Angria, Gondal and Gaaldine.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/10/26/little-wolves-bronte-sisters-vignette-or-potential-gaming-figures-from-bad-squiddo-games/

I haven’t even painted them yet and they are already hard at it … Charlotte, Emily, Ann and Branwell – knock it off!

Any parcel from Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo is always a joy … and a mystery. What strange little quirky extras will it contain?

Previously I’ve had tiny metal guinea pig figures, a herbal fruit tea bag …

and today, a cool Sk8ter Pig Angel sticker.

As I’m a little too old and too easily breakable for falling off a skateboard now, I shall bestow it on my Spla-Fiti Skater Graffiti gangs game as a huge piece of street art on the side of a building.

Great fast return of post and excellent quirky customer service from Bad Squiddo, as good as that of Peter Laing in the 1980s? I’m reminded of this, as I catalogue and blog my collection of these my first 15mm metal figures ahead of their Fiftieth anniversary in October 1972 / 2022

The other great news today …

Just days ago it wasn’t looking good with over £12K to raise …

A few days ago it was struggling past half way with under a week to go to raise the £25K from the public by the end of October.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/10/26/gamers-readers-help-save-the-brontes-imaginations-manuscripts-for-the-nation-and-the-bronte-parsonage-donate-to-save-the-honresfield-library-collection/

We smashed it with three days to go!

Thanks to those blog readers who passed on the Just Giving link or donated from your war chests!

A fitting tribute to these first female Role Playing Gamers, historical or fantasy ImagiNations gamers!

Missed giving? You can still donate. More money is always welcome at the Bronte Parsonage Museum / Friends of the National Libraries to secure, conserve and display such Bronte manuscripts …

Now off to paint those Little Bronte Wolves, if they can stop squabbling and scrapping long enough … I know just how their father Patrick Bronte felt. “Martha, control these children!”

More on this blog page of my Bronte inspired ImagiNations gaming here:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 28 October 2021

Little Wolves – Bronte Sisters vignette or potential gaming figures from Bad Squiddo games?

On their way in the post, I have on order two packs of 28mm “Little Wolves” (Amazons range) from Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo Games.

These will represent each of the three Bronte sisters in combat “role playing” in their fictional ImagiNations of Gondal, GlassTown, Angria and Gaaldine.

Unpainted castings, sculpted by Alan Marsh

This will provide me the three sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne – and one spare (a friend?)

This should give me a focus for #FEMBruary 2022 – Each February, miniature or figure painters and gamers choose to paint or model believable female miniatures as part of a challenge by fantasy gamer and modeller Imperial Rebel Ork.

I will look around for a suitable brother Branwell 28mm figure, once I have ‘met’ his sisters. To me, he is usually portrayed on screen as Naughty Norman Price of Ponty Pandy, straight out of Fireman Sam.

Naughty Norman Price of Pontypandy or Branwell Bronte of Haworth, resting on a drystone wall ? Image source: https://firemansam.fandom.com/wiki/Norman_Price

Being a figure converter and tinkerer, an improvised tissue paper sash or two might feature to flesh out the girls’ ImagiNations uniforms, inspired by Isabel Greenberg’s Glass Town.

Isabel Greenberg’s superb Glass Town graphic novel shows the Bronte sisters and brother in their ImagiNations uniforms.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/01/24/the-bronte-sisters-and-brothers-imaginations-isabel-greenbergs-glass-town-and-annie-norman-bad-squiddo-female-figures/

Not just a diorama piece?

I can use the three duelling sisters (and brother and friend) with the ‘parry and lunge’ duelling rules from Donald Featherstone’s Skirmish Wargaming:

2017 duelling and Bronte entry on my sister blog, Pound Store Plastic Warriors

These simple duelling game rules can be found at:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/duelling-in-the-sandpit-lunge-cut-and-stop-thrust/

I can easily see these fighting sisters being up and at ’em, duelling against other fantasy or historical figures in roughly 28mm scale – zombies, skeletons, regency dandies and assorted Bronte ImagiNations bad guys in Pride Prejudice and Zombies style – as this slides into gothic, RPG or fantasy gaming…

Bad Squiddo Figures

I have previously enjoyed painting Bad Squiddo figures of Land Girls for my ‘boycraft’ entry for my local flower and veg show, crafts section in 2019.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/huzzah-for-boycraft-flower-show-craft-success/

Blog Post Script

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/10/26/gamers-readers-help-save-the-brontes-imaginations-manuscripts-for-the-nation-and-the-bronte-parsonage-donate-to-save-the-honresfield-library-collection/

There are just five days left to raise the rest of the £25K needed to save some precious Bronte Manuscripts through Just Giving

https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/honresfield-library

Battling Aggie and the Bald Headed End of the Broom!

Beware the Bald Headed End of the Broom!

A simple scrap kitchen towel for a headscarf transforms one of Steve Weston’s 54mm plastic Mexican peasants into a spirited serving girl, scolding Goodwife or feisty fender-off of invaders from medieval to Tudor times through to the English and American Civil Wars and the Wild West onwards.

This is another figure for my slowly developing 54mm figure and pound store conversions towards a raggle-taggle Arma-Dad’s Army militia muster and civilians to fend off the Spanish Fury of Armada invaders of the southwest coast in the 1590s.

And the title?

Crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog – read the more fully illustrated blog post here:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/04/26/the-bald-headed-end-of-the-broom-battling-aggie-defeats-the-spanish-fury/

Blog post by Mark Man of TIN, 25/26 April 2021

Wo-Manning the OP and Garden Wargames

Crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog 14th March 2021:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/03/14/wo-manning-the-op-bmc-plastic-army-women-take-over-the-three-man-pound-store-plastic-soldiers-patrol-post/

FEMBruary female figure painting challenge, 54mm BMC Plastic Army Women figures and Morecambe And Wise’s The Magnificent Two

54mm BMC Plastic Army Women figures as the Women’s Revolutionary Army of Parazuellia

My final entry for the FEMBruary female figure painting challenge are these fine new plastic 54mm BMC Plastic Army Women figures. They reminded me of the Revolutionary female figures in a favourite Morecambe and Wise film from childhood, The Magnificent Two (1967).

Isobel Black in The Magnificent Two

Read more from these two posts from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/03/05/the-magnificent-two-1967-imaginations-uniforms-the-womens-revolutionary-army-of-parazuellia/
Gloss shiny toy soldier paint and varnish finish for these figures

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/03/05/fembruary-bmc-plastic-army-women-as-the-revolutionary-womans-army-of-parazuellia/

Blog cross-posted by Mark Man of TIN, 5 March 2021

No Mixed Bathing (FEMbruary 2021)

Crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog – a wash and brush up for the new 54mm BMC Plastic Army Women figures, prior to the FEMbruary believable female figure painting challenge (started by Alex at Lead Balloony)

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/02/01/no-mixed-bathing-fembruary-2021/

As FEMbruary back up, I also have some lovely Bad Squiddo WW2 Pigeoneers.

Not too late to join in … grab a female figures and join in!

Crossposted by Mark Man of TIN, 1 February 2021

The Bronte Sisters and Brother’s ImagiNations – Isabel Greenberg’s Glass Town and Annie Norman Bad Squiddo female figures

Annie Norman’s Votes for Famous Women! Baggy’s Cave – Facebook group 24 January 2021

Annie Norman at her Bad Squiddo official Facebook Group Baggy’s Cave is running an interesting poll about which historical female figures that gamers, mini painters and collectors would like to pledge towards or see produced in future by Bad Squiddo.

I thought of the Bronte Sisters (and brother Branwell) who were pioneering Role Playing Gamers in the 1830s through their juvenile fictions or ImagiNations of Glass Town, Gondal and Angria, inspired by a gift of some wooden toy soldiers.

These have been a great stimulus for my gaming to continuing or exploring these sketched out but sketchy Bronte ImagiNations

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine/

The fragments that have survived of these ImagiNations as we have mentioned before in Bronte posts are somewhat confusing but I found that Isabel Greenberg’s charming graphic novel version Glass Town straightens or smoothed many of these story and character fragments out.

I loved Isabel Greenberg’s drawings of these four Brontes in the same Regency / early Victorian costumes as their ImagiNations characters. You can see an example of such pages of Isabel’s work here on the interesting US based Solrad comics website:

Red-haired Branwell and his sisters https://solrad.co/preview-glass-town-isabel-greenberg

Great uniforms https://solrad.co/preview-glass-town-isabel-greenberg

Annie Norman’s Bad Squiddo figures are usually 28mm. I think that Bronte figures would be excellent figures – and even better if there was a set in ImagiNations uniforms and a shadow set as they were in real life portraits, always useful as Early Victorian Civilians.

Dual Use figures – saves costs, extends their play value and their potential market of buyers, as well as the Haworth Yorkshire tourism, the Bronte Fan and literary market worldwide.

With this flag these are classic Airfix ACW confederate infantry

Adding Bronte ImagiNations command or character personality figures means that with some simple dual flagging, a Napoleonic or Colonial 19th Century unit instantly becomes an ImagiNations one.

The Bronte sisters and Branwell grew up in an age of conflict in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, during a young Queen Victoria’s expanding Empire and Charlotte living up to the Crimean War. Their tragic deaths at a relatively young age meant they were all dead ten years before the American Civil War.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/21/man-of-tin-blogvent-calendar-day-21-angria-rebooted/

You can see this dual flagging in use here, saving time, storage, figures and painting costs:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/adamstown-or-angria-vintage-airfix-acw-repaired/

Arise Angria! Just add my Bronte ImagiNations flag design of a rising sun on red background

The same dual flagging works at 15mm with the addition of an Angrian flag bearer to my Peter Laing mixed ACW and ECW unit figures seen here seeing off Ashantee Warriors and rogue Highlanders in the ‘Tropical Yorkshire’ forest of the Brontes’ fevered Imaginations:

Bronte ImagiNations, Peter Laing figures, Featherstone’s Close Wars rules, Heroscape hexes … happy man!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/a-skirmish-in-angria-close-little-wars-rules/

After a mad few minutes “Bronte Fan Bombing” the comments section of Baggy’s Cave on Facebook a little, I wondered what if Annie Norman and the Bad Squiddo Facebook folk don’t choose the Brontes as special figures?

I might have to scratch around in 20mm Airfix for Waggon Train women, both bare headed or in bonnets, and the Robin Hood / Sherwood Forest sets (Maid Marian on horseback!) to find suitable Bronte Sisters figures in uniform. I would have to do the same for my few Peter Laing 15mm civilian females.

And for 54mm, we start off with plucky Kate McGuffin, ‘daughter of the Fort’, in the Gondal Forests of Gondal and Pacific coasts of North Generica (America) … https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/28/a-romantic-walk-in-the-forest-interrupted-the-skirmish/

Not forgetting Celia Rees’ great young adult novel called Glass Town Wars,

if you want to add djinn, faeries, fantasy and Ancients to the Regency Napoleon Bronte ImagiNations – oh and the odd helicopter gunship ….

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/31/glass-town-wars-by-celia-rees-a-gaming-modern-take-on-the-bronte-imaginations/

Nor forgetting the Bronte Sisters Power Up dolls (spoof advert of action figures that sadly never made it into production) https://youtu.be/-NKXNThJ610

Who could resist? Vote for the Brontes!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 24 January 2021

Snowball Fight at Camp Benjamin – new BMC Plastic Army Women arrive!

The new BMC Plastic Army Women have arrived from America – the first Kickstarter I have ever backed. A snowball fight breaks out at Camp Benjamin on the parade and assault course amongst the new female recruits, watched by their officers on the rope bridge …

Crossposted with other snowball fight links and rules (including by Alan Gruber) posted by Mark Man of TIN on his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 26/27 December 2020

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/12/27/snowball-fight-at-camp-benjamin-bmc-plastic-army-women-arrive/

I’m going to make you into a Princess! Cosmetic surgery and facelifts for toy soldiers

There you were waiting for a bus or train that never comes and the next thing you know someone has rudely cut your head off and turned you into a terrifying Mixtec South American warrior queen …

More gruesome than the Sunday papers! Read all about it in our step by step guide with pictures at my sister blog: https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/11/29/im-going-to-make-you-into-a-princess-cosmetic-surgery-for-plastic-soldiers/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 29 November 2020