Thursday, 20 March 2014

Female Imperial Guard...

This morning I was doing the rounds of the forums, on the Imperial Guard Message Board I came across a new thread from Brother Vinni's Studio. 'Female Jungle Fighters'. Awesome thinks I.

Opening the thread I was disappointed though... (NSFW)

First of all the sculpts are fantastic in my opinion, I've got nothing critical to say about them technically, the quality is quite easily comparable against many major producers. You can also see quite clearly just where the sculptor was aiming, Female Brigade, Jungle Fighters, Lasguns, advertising on dedicated Imperial Guard forum... oh yeah Female Catachans! But... shirtless? It's just needless, and does'nt fit in at all with Imperial Guard, in my mind, at all.

I appreciate there is a demographic who will love them, and as collectors pieces, yeah fair enough thats another matter. But as Imperial Guard proxies to me its just, well why? I'm certainly not a prude, but I just don't get it. Add vests and at least longer shorts and they'd be fantastic, but as is, I could'nt ever imagine using them. I think I'd be somewhat ashamed!

Games Workshop have done the odd model release over the years, a couple in Shaeffer's Last Chancers, Warrior Woman and Rocket Girl, there was also one of the metal Tanith First and Only, the female Commissar, and the Catachan Grenade Launcher. 

Am I missing any? 

However, until a few months ago that was more or less it (though I seem to remember the Starship Troopers game may have had some?).

Aside from Brother Vinni's offering there are two more which technically appear very promising and sit in different places on the spectrum in terms of what I'm going to say is acceptability. Controversial?

The first to appear were from the Raging Heroes - Toughest Girls of the Galaxy, a kickstarter campaign, though they are still yet to ship as I understand it. The campaign was a massive hit raking in nearly $700k from supporters. I did'nt buy in myself as I was'nt fond of the post-apoc artwork concepts. 

However, looking at the models now, I actually quite like at least some of them. They of course would'nt fit into my own current armies sure, but while they are certainly sexualised they feel much more acceptable, these sit squarely in the middle of the scale to me. 

They have a very post-apoc vibe going, somewhat Tank Girl or Mad Max in my mind. In fact, perhaps this distinctive look, rather then trying to fit in with an established Guard range is a strength that helps as well. Of course they are not simply Imperial Guard in this case, but would obviously make a nice army none the less.

The other new offering is from Victoria Miniatures. Without a doubt these are my favourites, why? Well the picture should give it away really.

They actually look like real soldiers! These are not sexualised at all, sitting firmly on the other end of the scale from where we started. You have female troops in combat fatiques, body armour (without the massive breast plates of the likes of the Sisters of Battle), and mostly helmets. These fit right in with the aesthetic of the Imperial Guard and are fantastic looking sculpts as you'd expect. I can't imagine anyone even blinking to these being put down on the table other then to acknowledge the fact that they are female and awesome sculpts. They fit in as part of a growing miniature range in their own right in terms of style, though that is of course inspired heavily by the original metal Cadians, crossed with the current plastic incarnation. I'd very happily add these to my own collection, they dont quite fit though, so I'll be waiting for a Dress Uniformed range from Vic!

So where do you sit in all of this? Am I over reacting to Brother Vinni's release or do you agree that they're just too much? Do you think the Toughest Girls in the Galaxy are fine, or perhaps are even they a bit much? Or do you prefer Victoria's offering - or think that they are just too plain with not enough curves?


Da Masta Cheef said...

My GF wanted a Female IG allied contingent to go with her Tau, but we had the same issue. All the available minis are bikini clad bombshells with guns for the most part. The Victoria minis may be a future purchase though. Currently she has enough of Hasselfree's female minis to make an Inquisition allied contingent to go with my armies (as they're not too fond of the Tau...).

Hasselfree's range is similar to and including this one:

Paul Bradley said...

I agree, i may have found these funny when i was 14, but im 40years old with a family... and although well sculpted they are pretty crass..

I know a few guys down our club who would find these hilarious.... but they are all in thier 30's and live at home with thier mums... say no more.

Colonel Scipio said...

I think that's a product of what is unfortunately a male-dominated hobby. I don't think it's any coincidence that the VL sculpts are from a female sculptor!

I agree that they're a little bit over the top, but I suppose they're pandering to a niche. I wouldn't be beyond including perhaps one squad as a combat team or HV squad - because they are so silly as to be cliched, and that's exactly what HV squads are supposed to be. But as a serious replacement for a whole army, I think you're right. A bit TOO silly and childish.

As you rightly say though, hats off for quality of sculpting.

Marshal Argos said...

I'll admit, I have a model like that (not one of Vinnies though) and she's almost painted. In the end she'll end up on the base of my titan, and then it's more of a gag than anything else. An entire army, or even more than 1-2 in an army is IMHO to much.

The mini's are top though, and I suppose for collectors they may be nice to have, but in normal games.. I can't see it.

Stephen Price said...

I also get so sick of the number of "Pin-Up" style (to be polite) models out there, in both the realms of smaller miniatures and 54mm+ scale models. I used to bring my mini's to model shows and most of these clubs had a "Best Female Figure" category. I'm sure you can all imagine what type of model won that prize. It's 2014, haven't we moved beyond the need for "cheesecake" models?

Zzzzzz said...

OK; Just to offer another perspective: It's a game with space goblins and beakies in it. About a monotheist society where human life is most or less worthless compared to a tin of sardines. It's vast and surely has room for anything that anyone can think of.

And perhaps; looking at this subject in terms of female iggies is taking too narrow a view; there are a lot of female sculpts out there from many manufacturers and we should include those in any debate about female sculpts (?)

And yes I agree with Col Gravis about the product lines he has picked out for comment. I will have some TGG units in my 'guard army - but then it is diverse enough to hide them in.

Yes the VL ones are (in this context, objectively)"the best". But what anyone chooses to include in their army is subjective - based on the own preferences.

We could debate the moral statement we are making by including a platoon of Br Vinni's catachan girls in our army. But then what about 'crons ? Or 'nids ? Or perhaps even BT, Sisters or DKK, anyone of which could be seen as worse...

Phil Millar said...

I do think the hobby would be better for having a more varied fanbase, yes there are women who play and paint but its not even close to equal and it should be.

I know these kind of images and models put off a lot of women and I think that we have a duty to make sure women feel comfortable in the hobby.

Admiral Drax said...

I'm afraid, Gravis, that I am utterly, utterly with you - 100% with everything you said...

...aand those Victoria minis are. just.

I've loved everything I've seen from VL before, but never been tempted to actually buy anything. These are the first minis that have instantlly made me think 'I want them'.

So smashingly good.

John Stiening said...

I went to the brother-vinni web site to see what else they produce, and lo and behold they produce aUkrainian slave girl model. I wonder if the name was changed during the Crimean conflict.

Goerge Warburton said...

I agree the brother Vinni models are well sculpted but I would not personally buy any.

That being said, I do have a small fantasy warband of half naked Valkyries and 1980s pulpy style female barbarians but I can justify it in a fantasy setting (somehow.......!).

The VL figures look amazing and if they were in metal I would have pre-ordered several sets already.

In resin, though I wanted models like these for a long time, I just can't bring myself to buy them.

The metal Hasslefree sci-fi females would be my choice, but it would nice if they had a bigger range!

Col. Ackland said...

For my own 2 cents. I love Vic’s Arcadians. I have been waiting for them since she first posted the test sculpts. When I saw them I ordered them became I want models like this in my collection and the hobby needs this.

This is the first time I have ever seen models of female troops for wargaming that are a realistic portrayal of female soldiers. “Finally! Models that I would be happy for my son to game with”. I'd say that young boy’s perception of female's gender roles and appearances are just as important as those of young girls. Now I can field a realistic army that doesn't reinforce gender roles but also isn't disrespectful to women. And the important thing that hasn’t been said is that this isn’t an army of females (it isn't just a Women's Liberation Army). Vic also has matching male troops so you can field a mixed gender army.

This will become my mixed gender, mixed race army. Not to be some sort of statement of equality. But simply because when I was in the (Australian) military it was, and is, an incredibly diverse group of mixed races of both genders that all shared one culture. I can relate to an army like that. I’d love to play an army like that against giant aliens and killer robots because it captures the essence of humanity and stands in stark contrast to the very non-human Space Marines. I’d even play that army against the indoctrinated, closed minded, Imperium of Man.

Admiral Drax said...

Gravis, I don't know if you ever saw my post in January wherein I showed the letter I wrote to Jervis Johnson about this very matter of representation in 40K...:

The Mad Robot said...

Gravis, interesting points on the female figures. I've never understood the desire for complete squads of female figures, especially this most recent increase in the demand. I like to think we can all find a "style" that suits us and leave it at that.

Of course bringing the NSFW versions to the FLGS for a few games...that does seem to enter a grey area.

Cool post!

Anonymous said...

Long time lurker, first time speaking up.
The Victoria minis will soon be on my bench, now that I've seen them.
Can I also offer you this link, for similar looking minis, from Chapter House minis?

Jake said...

I think it all comes down to sculptor and audience.

Vinny sculpts what he wants, and what he reckons will sell.

Vic sculpts what she wants, and if it'll sell all the better.

Raging Heroes, well, I'm just not sure. All I know is that they treat their customers and kickstarter backers like shit, and despite having a few cool models in there (all of which I'd have to do some GS to anyway), they just don't warrant my money.

I wouldn't buy Vinny's hussies, but I wouldn't object to someone laying them down on the table. He does have some other good work, just the female sculpts aren't to my taste - I suspect it's that I've mentally gotten past the age of 16.

Baconfat said...

Victoria's are the best looking female "not imperial guard" models out there.

Vinnie's could be fixed probably by nipple removal surgery.

Col.Gravis said...

Well that generated alot of responses!

Certainly there are quite a few other ranges out there which produce female figures which would be suitable for Imperial Guard. Some I wasn't aware of, some I was - Hasselfree especially, they make some fantastically characterful models. And some I just don't like to talk about - Chapterhouse, but thats another story! So thankyou to those of you who raised this.

I'm quite relieved in a way to find that I'm not alone in my opinions. Though don't take that as me being critical of those who disagree, its not my taste, but I understand there is a market for things like Vinni's miniatures, and again the quality of his sculpts is certainly not in question.

Mad Robot, I dont think the demand for females is a new thing, certainly I can think of calls for them going back many years, certainly to the release of the Catachan plastics. Its come to the fore because so many sculptors are finally heading the demand, hell I would myself if I felt I could do them well enough, but I'm not confident I could.

Admiral, will read your post later, can't access the images from work fustratingly!

Dai said...

*Dai is late to the party as usual*

No mate, am with you almost entirely.

The Vinni’s sculpts are silly really, almost juvenile. I’m down for some lovely sexualisation of the female form in miniature, but it should at the very least fit in with the setting they’re being advertised to fit within. Bear breasts on a scantily clad human female from a no-tech world freshly discovered by a Rogue Trader – Sure. Imperial Guard ladies supposedly “battle ready” (gun toting aside) with barely a stitch on their hides – there’s no commissar worth their salt that would allow that, let alone the practicality of it all.

Raging Heroes are amazing sculpts. I love almost all their designs, though they rarely fit the 40K aesthetic. I am in for some of their stuff through a mate, though mainly the little girl snipers (The Lu-lu’s) as they were just too cute an idea to pass up! :)

Victoria Lamb’s own offering though, that’s another story altogether. So practical and believably “Imperial Guard” I really had to hold back from purchasing both a set of these and the male counterparts to mix and match and have two awesome looking (Old school Cadian uniform was so much more characterful and lacking [moreso] in the current horrid Heroic scale image) mixed gender squads that so many of the novels describe, but had until now, never been able to actually field in one’s armies.

I’m sure Ms Lamb will produce more female guard options once these take off (And they will, I’m sure). I can only hope GW takes the hint and makes some of their own too.

Michael Moore said...

I've made a few female guardsmen from Wargames Factories female apocalypse survivor box. They fit right in with my GW IG army. the entire box is only $22 for 30 figures. Probably 6-8 of those will fit as is, more if you kit bash or aren't too picky. Oh, also the sculpts are mostly of "normal" women. Not playboy models with guns.

Admiral Drax said...

@ Michael Moore - you're right mate: those figures are smashing; they're really characterful! Even better, it appears they're currently on sale for JUST $16!