It sounds like the first four female poses might be available in the US by “Christmas 2020”.
Hopefully they will be available in the U.K. without too heavy international shipping costs.
The Good Guys and The Bad Guys?
Fascinating to watch the American News Channel interviews with Jeff Imel of BMC in his workshop and the young American girl who wrote to him about “why no Plastic Army Women?”, as she shows at home off her collection of plastic figures including the “bad guys” led by a skeleton and the “good guys”.
Thinking of Mitchell and Webb in their famous “Are We The Baddies?” WW2 sketch, this is what many of our historical and fantasy games so often boil down to – the good guys versus the bad guys (if you take sides, that is).
This is some part of the spirit of simple gaming that I aim to recover in my hobby. I’m sure H.G. Wells would approve of these ground-level plastic Little Wars, which he described as “a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books”. Plastic Army Women would of course add an extra dimension to this Wellsian Floor Games mix.
Back to the figure designs:
It is fascinating to see the female figures evolving through the concept drawing into the early sculpt stage, shown here in these BMC copyright drawings (screenshots from the BMC website and email newsletters).
After showcasing the revised female officer figure, Jeff Imel says in his latest email:
“I discussed the next figure, possible other poses, and worked out some details and timelines. The next figure will be standing and firing a rifle. This is a pose that I’m always told there aren’t enough of in sets and is always in demand when setting up a living room battlefield. This next figure will likely be a little less of an hourglass figure than the prototype. We’re going to try to have some different body types, faces and hair in the set instead of all the figures being identical characters. Speaking of weapons, I’m leaning towards an M14 for the rifles. I’m not aiming for 100% historical accuracy with this set, but I think the M14 will look good, and matches the uniform period well. The next figure will likely be prone firing a rifle, and I’m thinking of adding a scope and bipod to the M14 make her more of a sniper.”
I like the level he is approaching this as the best poses for the “living room battlefield” unlike some of the weird and useless poses from Airfix, Timpo and other plastic Army Men manufacturers.
Jeff says on his newsletter / email:
“Please continue to let me know your thoughts. I am behind on answering messages and comments, but I’ve read, and appreciate, all of them. I’ve heard all the requests for pre-orders and suggestions for specialty poses like radio operator and medic loud and clear (over). I’m considering a crowdfunding campaign in November as a way to take pre-orders and expand the figure selection.”
Sign up for the newsletter via the BMC website to keep informed of what is happening with this interesting BMC Plastic Army Women project. It adds more figures to the “believable female Miniatures” debates over #FEMbruary, Annie at Bad Squiddo’s quest for believable female gaming miniatures.
All screenshot images copyrighted from the BMC website.
Not exactly Pound Store Plastic Fantasy Warriors but a job lot picked up cheaply on EBay.
These figures are not to my knowledge usually sold in the UK so often have hefty shipping. There are multiple copies of each figure, which will allow flexible painting.
There are several female or androgynous figures in this set that might or might not qualify as Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog contribution for #FEMbruary.
I look at these play sets part with the eyes of the child I once was and part with the slightly more adult eyes of the gamer and figure converter.
The calves are small enough to be cows in a smaller railway or gaming scale.
The piglets are pleasingly stocky and wild boar like (lunch for Obelix and Asterix).
The rabbits (?!?) are just plain bizarre. The chickens and ducks repainted are good for farm vignettes.
The wobbly fencing would make good corrugated iron panels at smaller scales.
What I find most fascinating are the cloned farm figures which are in that indeterminate 40 to almost 50mm sizing. They are in slightly soft plastic, rather than hard and brittle.
I think the figures will repaint well enough for civilian figures, as will the outhouse repainted to a small distressed farm outhouse. It is a clone of Britain’s Plastic small farm buildings that I still have.
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 2 September 2018
The Mini Farm set is manufactured by www.keycraft.eu, an interesting low cost plastic toy trade retailer with lots of business retail insights on their website. The Sceince of Impulse Buys? Note: Trade only.
Dahomey is now known as Benin and these were the “only female soldiers in the world who then routinely served as combat troops.”
As Mike Dash writes “Dahomey’s female troops were not the only martial women of their time. There were at least a few contemporary examples of successful warrior queens, the best-known of whom was probably Nzinga of Matamba, one of the most important figures in 17th-century Angola—a ruler who fought the Portuguese, quaffed the blood of sacrificial victims, and kept a harem of 60 male concubines, whom she dressed in women’s clothes.”
With so many different types of female Warrior, a Generic female warrior troop is probably the best response to the FEMbruary challenge using Pound Store Plastic figures.
But what about the Siam Warrior Women?
“Nor were female guards unknown; in the mid-19th century, King Mongkut of Siam (the same monarch memorably portrayed in quite a different light by Yul Brynner in The King and I) employed a bodyguard of 400 women.”
“But Mongkut’s guards performed a ceremonial function, and the king could never bear to send them off to war.”
Dahomey Amazons in Action
Mike Dash made the distinction between these ceremonial female troops and the Dahomey warriors.
“What made Dahomey’s women warriors unique was that they fought, and frequently died, for king and country. Even the most conservative estimates suggest that, in the course of just four major campaigns in the latter half of the 19th century, they lost at least 6,000 dead, and perhaps as many as 15,000. In their very last battles, against French troops equipped with vastly superior weaponry, about 1,500 women took the field, and only about 50 remained fit for active duty by the end.”
Who had heard of this one, The First Franco-Dahomean War“, certainly a new one to me, “which ensued in 1890, resulted in two major battles, one of which took place in heavy rain at dawn outside Cotonou, on the Bight of Benin”, quoted from Mike Dash’s article. This pitted French colonial troops against male and female Dahomey troops.
From the Daily True Delta newspaper, New Orleans, USA, March 15, 1857
These details seem to tally with John Thomson’s photograph (below).
The photograph came from torn out part of a magazine page in my scrapbook of a tiny picture by John Thomson, Victorian pioneer photographer. (Stephen White wrote the featured book on Thomson). Exotic, fantastic and ceremonial uniforms. Part of the Victorian and ongoing fascaination with the exotic and the Orient.
Famously Mongkut the King of Siam offered elephants to the US President for use as heavy transport in the American civil War, featured in The King and I film
The idea of these women duelling in front of the other splendidly dressed women soldiers clearly caught the attention of the American journalist for the Daily True Delta newspaper in 1857. This would fit with the Gerard De Gre / Bartitsu duelling rules that I featured last year.
Some of these ideas can be brought into creating a fictional women’s troop made from Pound Store Plastic Warrior Conversions. They would serve well for Bronte inspired Imagi-Nation troops in the Pacific or African realms that the Bronte family created as part of their Gondal, Angria and GlassTown sagas.
So as part of my FEMbruary challenge on Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, I will be attempting to turn this Poundland penny dreadful Plastic Warrior into a Generic Amazon warrior within the next few weeks? Tissue paper, PVA, Scalpel at the ready.
Ross Macfarlane of The Battle Game of the Month blog wondered what my Pound Store version of my #FEMbruary challenge might be?
Interesting ideas – not sure what #FEMbruary Pound Store figure conversion I might attempt yet.
Looking back through this blog there are a fair number of female plastic figures ranging from pirates to space princesses, pioneer women and native Americans, zoo staff and visitors, to police officers.