Tag Archives: Fembruary

Fembruary 2021 Round-Up

Whew – I don’t think I’ve painted so many different things in such a short space of time in my life! There have been times when I’ve painted a lot more models (69 miniatures in October 2018 being the highest monthly output since I started keeping a record although that was mostly a case of batch-painting Night Goblins so perhaps not quite as impressive as it first appears). This month I “only” managed 21 models, but they covered as wide a range of subjects as I could find – united by a single common theme, all of them were women. Yes we’re talking once again about the Fembruary challenge run by Alex of LeadBalloony.

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For those unfamiliar with the challenge Fembruary is “a time of year for us to collectively challenge the male domination of our collections, and commit to painting some female miniatures”. The description adds “it’s a simple affair, just paint & post one or more female miniatures from your piles-of-shame, in the name of fair representation within the hobby” and notes “given that this is intended as an encouragement to think about inclusion in the hobby then it makes sense if your entries are kick-ass ladies”.

This year I was feeling both particularly enthusiastic about clearing my backlog and at the same time thinking a lot about the situation facing women both in my own country and abroad. Currently the government here is looking to bring in legislation which could severely limit our ability to even discuss issues affecting women, whilst taking away the sex-segregated services they need. It goes without saying that a lot of women, both in my circle of family and friends and the wider public, are frankly terrified. I don’t really want to get into the specifics of the debate, partly because this is a blog about miniatures and not really the right forum for the discussion and partly because there are activists out there who think that the appropriate response to someone saying “women are people too” is to make death threats and I don’t need that shit. 

I try to walk a fine line with this blog. On the one hand I try to make my posts thought provoking when I can, and to dig a little deeper than simply saying “here’s a thing wot I painted”. On the other hand I’m very conscious of the fact that the world can be difficult, distressing and depressing at times and our hobbies are intended to be a release from all that. Then there’s the fact that,  although the blogosphere is considerably more civilised than, for example, Facepuke or Twitter, many people fear any kind of online social or political discussion in case it erupts into an orgy of spittle-flecked outrage. At the end of the day people come here to look at pictures of miniatures, and although it’s my party and I’ll say what I want to, equally I don’t want to be a bore or start a fight.

It’s also a long and complex matter to try to dissect but we find ourselves in the odd position where, when I participate in Fembruary 2022, I may have to describe the kind of miniatures I’m painting without using the word “woman”, in case by doing so I cause someone offence – which under new laws could see me sent to prison. I know that sounds ludicrous to most readers but misogynist activists are already jeering themselves hoarse and claiming that they’ll exploit the new legislation to silence anyone who disagrees with them.

It should go without saying that, no matter what cause someone claims to be standing for, if a women says she feels unsafe and someone responds by threatening her with sexual assault and murder then the aggressor should not be hailed as brave. Such behaviour will always be abhorrent, regardless of how they try to dress it up. Regardless of what happens with this particular instance of state-sponsored misogyny watching events unfold has really emphasised to me the viciousness with which women in particular are attacked for speaking up.  

Ours is a hobby which traditionally has been primarily male. The cliché of the out-of-shape, unwashed, nerdy (and of course  single!) male gamer is a persistent one – despite the fact that my readers are to a man handsome, hygienic and erudite sexual stallions. We have worked hard to invite women into our hobby and the increased number of women – both in terms of miniatures on our tabletops and human beings painting and playing with those miniatures – is something well worth celebrating. Of course there are areas in which things could and should improve, and of course there will always be those for whom nothing is ever good enough. We just need to keep trying, keep discussing, and keep working towards something that works fairly well for everyone in the room who isn’t a total arsehole – and that’s basically the best that any society can hope for.

Anyway, in an effort to stop myself grinding my teeth right out of my head, I’ve found myself leaning heavily on my “go to” for calming my nerves and maintaining my mental health; painting miniatures. As a result what started out as simply an exercise in gathering together all the unfinished female models on my desk and trying to get a few completed turned into something of a marathon charge into the “pile of shame”. Let’s take a look at everything I managed to complete (don’t knacker your eyes peering at it, click on it for a decent sized picture!).

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Not bad eh! I’m sure there will be plenty of hobbyists out there who could paint a lot more in a month, and to a much higher standard to boot, but this isn’t a race and I’m rather proud of my output. Along the way I added models to various ongoing projects and started a few new ones. We have three daughters of House Escher…

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…three Blood Bowl playing elves…

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… two explorers delving into the Blackstone Fortress…

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…the Imperial Guard commissar Severina Raine from the Black Library novel Honourbound

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…a Stormcast Eternal…

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…two dryads…

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…two Chaos Sorceresses…

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…a Genestealer Cult Magus…

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…an agent of Tzeentch…

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… an old goblin witch…

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…one of the grand ladies of the Adeptus Mechanicus…

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…and a warband made up of the Daughters of Khaine.

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Things might be a bit quiet here for the next little while, and certainly quieter than they’ve been recently. This is the time of year when my work goes into overdrive and this year is scheduled to be particularly hectic.  I’ll still be painting miniatures when time allows though and I’ll try not to vanish from the world of blogging altogether, especially as I have a lot of projects up my sleeve that I’d like to be tackling soon.

Finally I’d like to give a shout out to Alex of LeadBalloony who organises this challenge every year. If you’re not already familiar with his work I highly recommend you go and check it out right away, and of course keep an eye out for the Fembruary round up, which he should be posting in the next few days, for a look at all the other talented people who’ve taken part.


Goblin Witch

You don’t often see female greenskins so when I found this goblin witch from Knightmare Miniatures lurking in the unpainted pile I knew I had to include in my Fembruary painting marathon.

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The range of female miniatures available to me for this challenge has impressed me a great deal over the last few weeks. When I first participated in Fembruary back in 2018 I really didn’t have very many and it’s pleasing to see how much that’s changed in recent years. Partly of course that’s my doing – by a natural process of accumulation I now own more models than I did three years ago so I had more to pick from. However I’m also seeing an increase in the number of female miniatures on the market, and in an increasing diversity of roles. Where once I would have struggled to find much beyond sorceresses and the chainmail-bikini brigade now there are even goblin women. Long may it continue!


God Of Murder – Part 4

We’re into the last week of Fembruary now so it’s time to put the finishing touches on my Daughters of Khaine Warcry warband. Just like the two Witch Elves I showed earlier in the month these two come from the Morgwaeth’s Blade-coven set. Of course this also means that I only need to paint up Morgwaeth herself to complete another Warhammer Underworld’s warband so at some point I’ll do that too. For now though let’s concentrate on the final Warcry recruits.

First of all here’s a savage Sister of Slaughter, the berserker she-elves so savage that even the Witch Elves must look at them from time to time and think “Steady on”.

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Alongside her we have a second snake-bodied Melusai, this time in the form of a Blood Stalker. I must confess that I was struggling a bit with this one but, very fittingly for Fembruary, my fiancée gave me some very helpful pointers and stopped me from making a hash of things. The benefits of having a professional artist in the house!

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Finally here’s a shot of the whole warband gathered together.

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Although the warband is finished for now I’ve got various other Daughters of Khaine models I’d like to add so at some point I’ll come back to this project and add a few more recruits. We’re also almost at the end of Fembruary and for me work and other “real life” commitments are starting to get particularly busy. That said there are a few more models I’d like to complete that are within stretching distance of getting finished so we’ll see what, if anything, I can manage over the next few days.


The Ladykillers – Part 16

It wouldn’t be Fembruary without some Eschers, especially as my Necromunda gangs have been a little neglected of late. Since they were released last summer I’ve not got around to painting any of the new Escher models and this month was the perfect excuse to give one of them a try. 

I did toy with the idea of painting a Death Maiden for my gang but I’ve not managed to get around to her yet. Maybe I’ll find a moment before the end of the month. I did however tackle one of the Wyld Runners, the rebellious youth of the house who grow up roaming far into the underhive and outland wastes. I wanted to strike a balance between the bright outlandish colours of the Eschers and a darker scheme suitable for a ranger, hunting alone in the darkness of the ruined cities. Honestly I’m not entirely sure I got the balance quite right but I certainly gave myself some food for thought for when I get around to painting her sisters.

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With so many different models from all kinds of projects crossing my painting desk at the moment you might be forgiven for thinking that I’ve forgotten all about the acolytes of Tzeentch that I was working on back in January (and indeed I’ve put that project almost entirely on the backburner until Fembruary is over). However almost entirely is not the same as entirely so tomorrow we’ll take a look at a lady who’s dedicated herself to the god of change…


The Cult of the Abyssal Gaze – Part 9

It’s been far too long since I’ve added anything to my Genestealer Cults collection. Time was I envisioned it growing rapidly from a Necromunda gang into a fully fledged Warhammer 40k army. Nowadays though I envision it growing slowly, perhaps even glacially, from a Necromunda gang into a Warhammer 40k army. At the moment I have a bunch of part-painted xeno’s hybrids that I’d like to get finished but only one of them is a lady (as far as I can tell!) and so only one of them counts for Fembruary. The rest will have to wait until another month. I’m sure they can handle it – they’ve been waiting for attention for long enough as it is.

For now I’ve just painted up this Magus, although I must admit that working on her has reinvigorated my love of the Cult, and helped me work out how to paint their orange robes without needing three weeks and about 100 carefully applied layers to do it. I’ll see what I feel like doing after Fembruary (apart from wrapping up the Tzeentchian Warcry warbands that I cruelly abandoned at the end of January) but I’m feeling the temptation to add some more recruits to the misguided servants of the Tyranids right now.

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A Magus is a powerful psyker and the spiritual leader of the cult, interpreting the will of their terrible alien overlord for the hybrid masses. With her done I now have two of them, ready to take command of my nascent insurrection (if you’re curious to get a better look at the other one, who I painted back in 2018 you can find him here).

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Like the Adeptus Mechanicus the Genestealer Cults are one of those factions that I love the look of and always really enjoy painting, but when I’m not working on one I feel, quite irrationally, that painting them is going to be a chore and so I end up avoiding it. Does anyone else suffer from this problem or am I alone in my madness?


God Of Murder – Part 3

Time for another update to the ranks of the Daughters of Khaine. This time I wanted to give the warband some air superiority in the form of two airborne predators – the Khinerai. These daemonically tainted, winged elves are the spiritual successors of the old Dark Elf Harpies of the WHFB era, which for my money were amongst the very worst models Games Workshop ever produced. Shall we take a moment to look back at the ugly models of yesteryear?

Ugly Harpies

Ghastly weren’t they? Between the lumpen sculpts and the hairy chests there wasn’t much to love about these and I spent a sizeable chunk of my youth hoping that someday GW would get around to replacing them. Thankfully that day came at last with the arrival of the Daughters of Khaine army book and the accompanying Khinerai Harpies. These come in two varieties, the Heartrenders and the Lifetakers, so naturally I painted one of each.

The Heartrender swoops over the battlefield impaling her prey on cruel javelins…

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…whilst the Lifetaker plunges out of the sky to hack her victims apart in close combat.

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I can’t honestly pretend that I enjoyed painting these that much. The way they attach to the base via the tail alone means they tend to spring around, a little shiver passing through the model every time the brush touches it. Taking a firm grip of the miniature itself rather than just holding it by the base is vital but tends to lead to me planting my great big thumbs in the middle of something I’d just painted, or smearing and smudging paint everywhere. My bad habit of using the side of my hand as a pallet worked against me here as well. They’re also packed with details, which usually I’d enjoy but in this case only made things trickier, especially when working in the awkward spaces created by the splayed wings and arms. My impression is of a set of miniatures designed by someone so excited by the possibilities created by working in lightweight modern plastic that they forgot about what it would actually be like to paint them. In the end I’m happy enough with the results but mostly just pleased to call the damn things done.

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We’re now halfway through Fembruary and I’m still having a lot of fun powering through my backlog of unfinished female miniatures. To be honest I’ve no idea how much longer I can keep up painting at this rate but I’ve got a lot more models that deserve to be painted so I’ll see what else I can manage over the coming fortnight.


Ride The Lightning – Part 1

Yeah, to be honest I didn’t think I’d ever paint a Stormcast Eternal either but like Space Marines they seem to sprout organically in any collection of Games Workshop miniatures whether you want them to or not. I should add I don’t have anything against them, and there’s one or two like this lady that I actually quite like. She’s been sitting on the desk at least a year now after I started experimenting with colour schemes and then ran out of enthusiasm before I really got anywhere. Mind you, whoever it was at Games Workshop that decided she should be cast in gold plastic – surely the trickiest colour to get a decent basecoat over – deserves at least some of the blame there. Of course Fembruary once again proved to be the perfect moment to get her finished.

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I’ve got a few other Stormcasts kicking around so now I’ve settled on a colour scheme sooner or later I’ll paint them up as well.


Severina Raine

One of my favourite female characters from Black Library fiction (and in fact, one of my favourite characters from Black Library fiction full stop) is Commissar Severina Raine. I bought the miniature of her at the same time as the novel Honourbound in which she stars but whereas I devoured the book in about 24 hours, the model took a little while to arrive. By the time it did I was busy with other things so although I started painting her there was never quite enough enthusiasm there to get her finished. Much like Yolanda Skorn who I showed last week I planned to get her painted in Fembruary 2020 but although I made a lot of progress she never quite made it to the finish line, and then ended up shoved to the back of the desk. However when I picked her out of the box of part-painted models in which she’d been residing for the last few months I realised she only needed another half-hour or so to see her completed. Thus inspired I decided there was no way I was going to let Fembruary 2021 pass without getting her painted at last.

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The model is absolutely packed with cool little details lifted from the book, right down to the heirloom watch hanging from her belt. It’s been a couple of years since Honourbound and its accompanying short stories were released – it’s past time we got a sequel to continue the story of Raine and the Eleventh Antari Rifles.


Poxy Lady

Back in January of 2018 when I reviewed the newly released wave of models for the Nurgle Maggotkin I bemoaned the lack of originality of the Lord of Blights and listed a few alternatives that I thought they could have produced, rather than just rehashing the concept of the well-loved Nurgle Lord. I concluded by suggesting that;

“We could even have had a woman. Of course Nurgle isn’t all that interested in high heels and boob-armour but this is an age of equal opportunities and girls can worship an unglamorous god of disease and putrefaction just as well as boys.”

Well it seems that for once I was ahead of my time rather than wildly off target. A sorceress of Nurgle did indeed appear some time later, the hideous Fecula Flyblown, and Fembruary is the perfect time to paint her myself. 

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The keen-eyed will have noticed that the cat which usually accompanies them model is missing but fear not, it’s not wandered far. I just felt it was too cool to be left as a base decoration so I moved it to a base of its own and when time allows I’ll get it painted up as well. 


God Of Murder – Part 2

Time to get properly started on my coven of Daughters of Khaine for Fembruary. When I first thought of putting the warband together (quite some time ago now) my plan was to base it around the Melusai and Khinerai and leave the old fashioned Witch Elves out of it. I like these bloody-handed killers well enough but the miniatures never quite interested me enough to consider buying them. However that was before Morgwaeth’s Blade-coven was released for Warhammer Underworlds.

I really like the models in the set, so if I was ever going to paint a Witch Elf then these were the ones for me.

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Whilst the first one was built straight out of the box this second one was tweaked slightly to give her a shield instead of a second dagger. No real reason for this beyond allowing us to use a variety of equipment in games of Warcry.

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It can be easy to see the Witch Elves as falling into the “hormonal teenage fantasy” class of female miniatures, given that they spent their entire costume budget on boots and underwear. The savagery of their expressions gives the lie to that however, at least on these particular miniatures, and the end result looks – to my eye at least – more cruel  than sexy.

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Finally I’d like to give a shout out to that well-known blogger and podcaster, all round top bloke and friend of this blog, the Imperial Rebel Ork. Despite his many virtues he persists in the belief that all elves are foppish, pretentious wimps, a patently ridiculous argument which he laid out in Episode 47 of his podcast. Hopefully these ladies will be sufficient to show him the error of his ways – if not the rest of the warband are on their way!