Realm of Chaos: Age of Sigmar Khorne Bloodreaver #2 + my #Fembruary 2018 Round-Up

This model is a kitbash using parts from the Shieldwolf Sheildmaiden boxed set, along with selected parts from some of the Khorne Bloodreavers kits. The story behind this kitbash is pretty simple – I wanted to create a female model that could be used as a Champion of Khorne for our games of Gorechosen. After all, there’s no reason that women can’t also be blood-crazed psychopaths, right? It pisses me off that so many people still just default all female worshippers of Chaos to Slaanesh. Because women just = sex, right? Fuck off with that shit! Since this model was started months and months ago, and then sat there neglected, she’s also another Neglected Model February success story. Go me!

It was a bit of a pain in the arse to put together now that I think of it, and I needed to cut down a Space Marine shoulder pad in order to cover the right mess of a join underneath while trying to maintain reasonable proportions. Of course, she has huge arms and rather slight legs, so while I’ve tried to draw some attention away from this with the shackles and cape, we can just use the “skipped leg day” trope there for a bit of a laugh. I mean, it’s Khorne, amirite? I originally planned to overpaint the brass of her helm and pauldron with clear red (not BFTBG) to give them a nice lacquered look, but I left them as-was after the last varnish. I can always go back to the model and redo them, but I’m not so sure. Same applies to applying some fresh blood to the axe – worth doing if the armour is left brass, but not if it’s a lighter wet-look red.

The whole Fembruary thing of Alex’ has got me thinking though – about representation of female models in our hobby, most specifically GW’s portrayal of them over the years, since I’m most engaged with GW’s IP. Now, don’t SJW me here, because SJWs and MRAs can both fuck off and die in the same car fire as far as I’m concerned. I just believe in equality, regardless of <whatever>.

Now, before I keep going, I’m well aware of manufacturers like Stonehaven (I’ve got a bunch of their dwarves – both female and male) and obviously, Bad Squiddo (along with Hasslefree and so on and so forth). But I’m going to talk about the Big Dog here, Roman Reigns Games Workshop.

Speaking from my own personal opinion, I don’t think Games Workshop/Citadel’s portrayal of female in miniature form is actually the worst, and while it’s far from perfect, it’s a lot better than others. Both Corvus Belli and Reaper seem to be a lot further down cheesecake town than Citadel’s own output. But still, the main issue they have from my own perspective is that most of GW’s female models tend to fall into one of two tropes – either Joan of Arc or The Bangles.

Models that are Joan of Arc are the single (or few) female model amongst an army of men. There are lots of examples – current-situation Celestine is like that. Nominally a Soriritas, as far as available models, it’s just her and the Gemini twins readily available, so she’s a Joan. Any number of other female magic users across other armies, particularly elven armies and Brettonia deleted forces also fit this trope. 40k lore also drops this from time to time, with the odd random female Inquisitor or Lt. Mira from the Space Marine videogame. Shadowsun from the Tau empires seems to be the only female Tau with a model. Likewise, Helga Longplaits, who I just posted up is another strong example of that. She’s cool and everything, but she’s also one of …I dunno? Five? Less? Female Dwarf models that Citadel has put out over decades compared to the hundreds of male dwarf sculpts. I mean, I can’t think of any other female dwarf models off the top of my head besides the joke figure of Dwarf Cheerleader for Blood Bowl back in 2nd or 3rd edition. I’m sure there’s been another joke female dwarf like a bar wench or some such, but I can’t think of any other female dwarf warrior types. There might be a couple, but I can’t think of any.

And sure, WHFB is rooted in both historical gaming and Tolkien, and neither of those were exactly overflowing with female warriors, but then this is fantasy, and current year argument is actually a good argument for a bit more representation. What kind? I’ll get to that a bit later.

Khorne Bloodreavers. One Male, one Female, both badass.

The other trope that GW’s female models fall into I’ll call The Bangles. (I chose The Bangles because they were more than “a girl group”, being actual musicians and songwriters rather than a manufactured group put together via auditions and management.) This is the “All-female” unit, that can be anything from the metal-bikini-clad Witch Elves to the armoured Sisters of Silence or Sisters of Battle, to Sisters of the Thorn, to… well, you get the idea. Escher, anyone? And yes, I know that these units have existed historically, and even exist today.

An entirely female #Fembruary

So what’s my beef? Well, I’d just like to see GW do better. It doesn’t mean all-female armies, nor all-female units or more female heroes in male armies. I’d actually just like to see more mixed units – which for some reason very rarely seems to be a thing. 40k’s Elves, the various Eldar (Aeldari) forces are actually better than most armies here across the board. Their varied units such as Guardians, Wyches, Hellions, Kabalites, Scourges, feature both male and female torsos and heads – though being elves, a number of the bare heads can be seen as androgynous enough via their sharp, fine details to work for males or females.

…and with the month’s Plaguebearers. Some of which are undoubtedly female and others male, but I’m not looking underneath to figure out which ones are which!

So where are these mixed units in non-elf armies? The closest thing I can find are the Plaguebearers, which I posted and wrote about at the start of the month, along with an interesting discussion in the comments of that post about the background as it relates to them. It doesn’t mean I want the mono-gender units (of either type) removed, or that everything needs to be integrated. I’m okay with Loyalist Astartes still all being male in the lore (unless you want to kitbash some females, in which case, go right ahead) but I could certainly see the Heretic Legions incorporating female recruits. More obviously, I’d like to see female models become a normal thing in baseline troop units, across both 40k and AoS. There are, what? Two female Stormcast models with one being a special character and the other being a Shadespire model (despite female Stormcast apparently being pretty common in the lore, and the argument of “they all wear the same armour” kind of fell apart when they released Stormcast with very different proportions.

I’m also totally fine with Witch Elves and their bikini armour. You won’t see me out there with a placard telling GW to cover them up. They’re currently still rolling out the Daughters of Khaine sub-faction made up of all that was vaguely Witch-elfy from the WHFB range with some shiny new toys, but from what I’ve seen of them, I’ll probably buy the whole bloody range. (See what I did there?)

But really – how about some Imperial Guard Infantry? Tau Fire Warriors? Chaos Cultists? It would just take some heads for some of the lines, because as the new Star Wars films have proved – armour doesn’t need to incorporate huge boob-plates (and yes, I will DIY my own instead of waiting, I have a couple of batches of the aforementioned Statuesque heads waiting for when I get back around to the IG). I’m okay with Orks and Orcs just being themselves, and Necrons don’t need boob-plate.

And of course, some mixed gangs for Necromunda. Just like the “Grendel” gang I used back when the original game was released.

In 1995.