Almost finished my FEMbruary female figure painting challenges for 2019.
The new figures for my 2019 FEMbruary painting challenge are Annie Norman’s excellent WW2 Land Girls series – this year I chose the Land Girls at Work set, sculpted by Alan Marsh. https://badsquiddogames.com/shop#!/WW2
A tractor is newly available in 28mm for this Land Girl range.
To match last year’s effort, I kept with my usual shiny toy soldier style of painting, right down to the pink cheek dots and glossy acrylic paint. This extends to shiny green bases rather than flock. A restricted gloss palette but a cheerful one!
I like the cartoonish element that comes out with this paint style, it is not quite Jane, slightly more Peter Firmin Noggin the Nog / Ivor the Engine for some reason.
Each figure looks like she has a real character. You can name them with suitable 1940s names in your own time.
Grouped together, I wonder what they are chatting about or thinking?
I am thinking possibly of putting these figures in for my local Spring Flower Show in a couple of weeks time under the rarely competed for adult craft section (with very few male entries). There is a local connection – many Land Girls were trained and worked in my Southwest UK area on the hundreds of small market gardens that were once around.
To get an idea how this might work, I bought a couple of wooden fence post caps as simple bases and painted them sap green (the dark green colour of land girl jumpers). A few more coats may be required to deepen the colour.
The addition of a hay stook (once the Mexican woman’s broom from Steve Weston’s Mexican Peasants) and a plastic tree from a recent fantasy figures True Legends set add something to the scene.
I have moved the figures round on the bases several times to get the right arrangement. Still not sure, especially as some of the Land Girl figures could easily intermix between the two rest and work sets.
I have a couple of 54mm Britain’s type Land Girls for repair that gave me ideas for the shiny gloss colour palette.
When Alex at Leadballoony set this year’s challenge,
I still have the Bad Squiddo 28mm Russian Women of WW2 Command set to put the finishing touches to. I found these less interesting to paint, well sculpted as they are, as shades of khaki green just aren’t my thing really at the moment. I shall feature them again when finished in the next week or two.
As I don’t have any 28mm WW2 figures to game with, I will base these Bad Squiddo figures up individually but they will, for the time being, work as great little diorama vignettes.
Once more, like 2018, fantasy gaming blogger Leadballoony has set the FEMbruary 2019 challenge to paint some more believable female miniatures than the usual unbelievable chainmail bikini female fantasy (or male fantasy?) figures.
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.