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)
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.
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.
Today’s figure combines the women’s right to vote Centenary on 6 February 2018 and the wider focus on women’s role in the war as part of WW100 and the First World War Centenary Partnership.
At the outbreak of war in 1914, Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), one of the leading voices for women’s suffrage, had firmly decided to embrace the war effort.
She halted their increasingly militant and destructive campaign for women’s suffrage for the duration of the war. This move divided her family and the suffragette movement.
Emmeline Pankhurst redirected her efforts to push for an increased role for women in support of the war, particularly in industrial jobs, so that women could directly help the war effort.
The “shell scandal” of lack of artillery shells and munitions for the British troops in 1915 saw a need to put more workers into the munitions factories to replace those male workers left for military service.
On March 17 1915 the Board of Trade set up the Women’s War Service Register to pair willing women with jobs in war industries. Some parts of the British government was not overly enthusiastic about the plan. By the end of 1915, only 8500 of the 42000 registered women had been matched to jobs.
On July 17 1915, Emmeline Pankhurst and the WSPU organized the Women’s Right to Serve march in London, in support of the hiring of women in the munitions industry, demanding the same pay as men.
This “Right To Serve” would doubly contribute to the war effort, both by producing munitions and freeing up men to serve on the front.
The Women’s Right to Serve march received direct support from Lloyd George’s Ministry of Munitions. Despite these efforts, hiring of women into jobs vacated by men via the government Register set up for the purpose remained lacklustre throughout the rest of 1915.
There is an interesting photograph on this Alexander Palace blog showing Emmeline Pankhurst with MariaBochkariev.
“Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst, who had arrived in Russia in June 1917, showed her appreciation of the wonderful sacrifice made by the women of the the Battalion of Death by becoming an ardent champion of Maria Bochkarieva. The latter, in turn, appreciated Mrs. Pankhurst’s sympathy, and a warm friendship sprang up between these two leaders of women.”
Mrs Pankhurst and the Battalion of Death – There’s a FEMbruary double for you that I didn’t expect.
Time is running out with only a week left of FEMBruary, I’m not sure if my third FEMbruary challenge, converting a Mexican peasant woman figure into a Suffragette will be complete in a week. If only I could find an extension of the FEMbruary painting challenge into March somehow?
Maybe I could finish my suffragette over the next week or two. Aha! There’s always #MARCH, the MARCHing figure, MARCHing parade or MARCHing band painting challenge that I just thought of. Sweet Procrastination!
It is according to the blog of CupcakesandMachetes, also Women’s History Month in March, and so has already linked to blogger Imperial Rebel Ork, who was my accidental introduction to FEMbruary via the Suburban Militarism blog.
Women’s History Month is always held in March so that it coincides with the celebration of InternationalWomen’sDay on March8. In 2018, Women’s History Month will run from March 1 to March 31 and is marked in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first March 8 IWD gathering supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom’s Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women equality. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organisation specific. Make IWD your day! – everyday! https://www.internationalwomensday.com
My Fourth FEMBruary challenge: The lovely Land Army women from Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo Games have been on the painting table this weekend.
Some quick “pewtering” (a quick coat of paint and then wiped off before dry) brought out how much detail these figures have. It also usefully fills in some dark and shadowy places before the colour coat.
Rather then try and fail to emulate the superb matt realist painting on the packaging by Andrew Taylor, I thought I would use Gloss Acrylic (as I don’t have or normally use Matt paint anyway). I wanted a more gloss Toy Soldier style look which is a bit more difficult at 28mm, rather than at 54mm toy soldier size. Still some tidying up to do on the Land Girl figures including smoothing out the gloss / flesh Acrylic mix, which is a bit lumpy still.
I was trying to second guess what figures from Bad Squiddo Games that Marvin at Suburban Militarism would choose, having incidentally introduced me to FEMbruary. I chose Land Girls, he chose Catherine The Great
High kicking! Work has begun on FEMbruary No. 2 the Donald Featherstone suggested Airfix footballer to Wild West saloon girl conversion. First out comes the PVA and tissue paper to add some feminine attributes, hair and then flowing big flouncy showgirl dress.
At this early stage, the big hair still looks like a 70s footballer Kevin Keegan, albeit in a dress. Some more work required here! Once the frills, chokers, flounces and real tiny feathers are added, hopefully ‘she’ will look more like a 1880s saloon girl.
Pound Store Plastic Warriors FEMbruary challenge.
The Pound Store Plastic Warriors challenge to convert these Poundland 32-36mm plastic soldier figures into tribal African style Amazon female warriors is underway. These should be colourful, more red and yellow and bling, than the white robed male desert warriors that I have worked on recently.
To be fair, we started late, not on FEMbruary the First. There are still nine days left of the FEMbruary challenge 2018 and there are plenty of topics and figures left for FEMbruary 2019. There is always MOREFEMber too!
What might you do you for FEMbruary this year or 2019?
Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, FEMBruary 18th 2018.
Beautifully packed and presented, my Bad Squiddo Games order was like receiving an artisan taster box of chocolates through the post.
As part of my FEMbruary challenge of exploring the female figures in my collection, I have been listening to the amazing Annie Norman of Bad Squiddo Games on the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast talk about her believable female gaming miniatures and her recent WW2 range.
“The number one aim for Bad Squiddo Games is to create and supply the miniatures that would have made the hobby far far better for my 10 year old self. To welcome more young girls and women into wargaming and miniature painting, as well as providing diverse options to the entire gaming community. And yeah – cool toys!” Bad Squiddo website
I currently don’t game in 28mm scale, so this beautiful little vignette or diorama of a Land Girl or Land Army Picnic caught my eye. It has now been added to my expanding FEMbruary challenge of photographing my collection and painting and converting more female figures.
Despite running a one woman business creating new figures and involved in Kickstarter projects, this order was speedily returned. I haven’t ordered direct from many metal figure manufacturers since Peter Laing’s friendly and personal mail order and speedy return of 15mm figures back in the 1980s but Annie at Bad Squiddo Games matches this well.
Annie Norman’s presentation of her figures and range is colourful and eye catching, her range of figures widely incorporates from Vikings to WW2 and on to fantasy and even fighting fluffy beasties (coming soon).
Up close the Land Girl figures commissioned by Annie Norman from sculptor Alan Marsh are crisply sculpted and “believable” women in 28mm scale.
I am not sure yet how I am going to paint these – Matt or Gloss? Enamel or Acrylic? Toy Soldier style or more realistic, like Andrew Taylor’s painted examples of these figures.
Nicely animated, these Land Girls certainly looked like they needed a rest and a cuppa, lying back against a handy hay bale from my old farm collection.
They really do look like they are chatting and soaking up the sun, over tea out of enamel or NAAFI pint mugs and sandwiches out of wax paper wrapping.
To help you relax with a cuppa yourself during the painting process, Annie has included a handy tea bag. I received Blackcurrant and Blueberry. Marvin at Suburban Militarism received Darjeeling. A colourful and flavoursome marketing touch.
I have for other past projects read several Land Girl memoirs and histories. I have also been fortunate to meet some Land Girl re-enactors along with a few sparkly and sprightly elderly “Land Girls”. So I look forward to painting these figures which are Annie Norman’s way of celebrating her Land Army Nan and the other elderly Land Army ladies she knew growing up in Wales.
Having focussed on Queens in the last FEMbruary post, I thought I would focus on slightly more ordinary or achievable female jobs.
FEMBruary is a challenge set up by Leadballoony to focus more on the female figures in our collection as an attempt to be more inclusive as a hobby, along with all the things Annie Norman is trying to do with her believable female Miniatures stocked at Bad Squiddo Games. More on Bad Squiddo below and in my next blog post.
Here for #FEMbruary are a few more female figures from my toy soldier collection, a collection of old and new metal figures with a range of paint styles to guide my brush on my FEMbruary painting challenges.
The WRVS Women’s Royal Voluntary Service was one of those stalwart wartime women’s organisations which received recent and well deserved publicity in Housewife 49, the Mass Observation WWII wartime diaries of Nella Last in Barrow in Furness. This was turned into a TV drama, written and performed by the much missed Victoria Wood. If you have not read the diaries or seen Housewife 49, they are well worth tracking down as a book or DVD for an interesting view of (extra)ordinary women and their families on the Home Front.
and has an interesting wartime history and archives collection on its website.
I have one of two Land Army girls, including this Britain’s figure. Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo Games has featured some new Home Front women in 28mm including some fine Land Army Girls in three collections: working in the fields, armed with shotguns (bunnies and parachutists beware) and at picnic. More on Bad Squiddo in another post http://badsquiddogames.com/shop#!/WW2
Salvation Army bands were once a popular figure for Britain’s and other manufacturers, still highly collectable.
For more modern civilians there are always those sets of plastic civilians for model railways sold online unpainted. This young woman has a 1940s / 1950s look.
Still need to do some work “putting her face on” before she goes out with a serious case of panda eyes.
Another distinctive and smart young woman in uniform was the Nippy.
A Nippy was a waitress who worked in the J. Lyons & Co tea shops and cafés in London. Because the waitresses nipped (moved quickly) around the tea shops, the term “Nippy” came into use. Nippies wore a distinctive maid-like uniform with a matching hat, the clean uniform being part of their wholesome image. Nippies appeared (and still appear) in all manner of advertising and the Nippy soon became a national icon until the last Lyons Corner Houses shut in the Seventies .
Another recurring female figure in hollowcast metal and plastic ranges, apart from the odd squaw or a farm worker, was the army or civilian nurse. I have picked up a range of nurses (mostly in job lots) which could fill a whole future blogpost.
However the most famous nurse of them all is also featured in the recent Corgi Forward March range. Here is the other figure link to The Crimean War, which was mentioned in our last blog post about Queen Victoria and the first VCs. The Crimea is a curious, mismanaged and inglorious conflict that has always fascinated me. There was a Peter Laing 15mm Crimean War range that I wish I had bought but no nurses were featured.
Until the New National Gove Curriculum threatened to remove her and other historic figures, Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War had long been a part of the old National Curriculum primary history syllabus in Britain, along with Mary Seacole and Queen Victoria. I know some weary Primary school teachers who were pleased at the prospect of never having to teach Florence Nightingale again after years and years. However she was retained, as you can see below.
I wish we had done the Crimean War at school.
Florence Nightingale, Edith Cavell and Mary Seacole along with Suffragettes and Queen Victoria are still suggested primary school content for British five to seven year olds:
“the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements, some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell.”
The Corgi Forward March Miniatures limited edition range featured several other women and some handy mini biographies of each figure. They have a simple and attractive ‘hand painted’ paint finish.
Part of a limited edition distribution worldwide.
Few figures exist of Mary Seacole, the Jamaican Nurse and Sutleress who also served in the Crimea, although I have tracked down one recent 28mm limited edition which will feature on a future blog post.
Looks like FEMbruary might carry on past the 28th February this year at this rate.
So there you are, a range of believable female miniatures and female job roles from Nippy to nurse, flower seller to Florence Nightingale, from Sally Army Lasses and Land Army Girls to Suffragettes.
Cakes and tea supplied by the WRVS and the Lyons Corner House Nippy.
More to follow …
Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN during FEMbruary 2018
Blog Post Script B.P.S.
I was saddened to hear that the sculptor of many of the Asset Miniatures figures Alan Caton died late 2015. Asset Miniatures figures like these WWII female figures above are still available secondhand online.
This is based on a #FEMbruary challenge by Leadballoony which ImperialRebelOrk passed on, in his own words: “I would like to propose that we add Fembruary to the list – a time of year for us to collectively challenge the male domination of our collections, and commit to painting some female miniatures for a change…”