Squad: March! + Gender-Ambiguous Model Painting Challenge 2019

Ok, we’ll go with the second one first, because a lot of you are probably thinking something along the lines of “What the actual fuck?” I’ll explain:

Since my father’s been in hospital a lot recently, and we’ve had to be constantly calling the place and visiting him daily when he’s in there and now rather frequently that he’s out, I (rather unsurprisingly) haven’t been able to concentrate fully on things like painting models or actively blogging. So over the last few weeks I’ve been working a lot more on simpler things, like terrain (Feb challenge, at least) rather than more intricate models for the most part, that would fit into things like Fembruary, Squaduary, or Alex’ AoS Tale-of-Gamers thingy. (Though I’m getting close on some of those, finally!)

So one of the things I’ve been working on have been the Werewolves from Shadows of Brimstone. While working on them, I considered submitting them for the Fembruary challenge, since they’re gender-ambiguous if you actually look at these models (no bulging pecs, nor any wolf-cleavage) Of course, “female werewolves” in this hobby typically look like the female Wolfen from Confrontation, since a lot of people need those visual markers (wolf boobies!) and everything else they just assume to be male. Since my similar submission of some Plaguebearers last year wasn’t exactly considered fully kosher, I put the idea aside.

Then, a little over a week ago, I was painting more of the werewolves, and also noticed that I was also working on some other simple figures – some beavers, some droids and some mummies. I then realised that these models all share one similarity. They’re all effectively gender-ambiguous or genderless. After all, women were also mummified back in the day, so I don’t think the lack of boobs or long flowing hair on these emaciated undead figures means much. The werewolves? Well, there’s no visible “coin purse” located on the back end of them. Beavers? They’re small furry critters. Droids? Well… robots.

I mean, theoretically, these could all be submitted for “Fembruary” (well, perhaps not the droids). Though that might be taking that point a bit too far. But then I got to thinking….

We’ve had dual-mode months so far for January and February. Why not add in March as well? My planned challenge was for squads – Squad: March!, as we had last year. Why not throw in a second option as well for these models? What with all of the backlash about female models lately – why not do a little something that makes people question their perceptions that almost all of their models are male?

So – aside from Squads, this month is also for models that have an unknown gender, an ambiguous gender, an asexual gender, models that are androgynous, or those with no gender.

Pictured: Low-hanging fruit.

But.. “What kind of model qualifies for this?”, I hear almost no-one ask. I’m glad that you asked!
Well, to start with, forget any ideas about it only being about Daemonettes and champions of Slaanesh, because while they do qualify, they’re also the low-hanging fruit of this exercise.

Just look at the models that you might have in your collection, take out the ones that are obviously male, and then take a look at the ones that people just usually assume are male. Heavily-armoured and especially the closed-helmeted models, both fantasy and sci-fi, but particularly the sci-fi ones. Could there be a dude OR a chick in there? Then that works.

Let’s turn for a moment towards animals. Now some (like lions) will have obvious physical markers, and some models might have a sculpted scrotum. Others (especially horses, but also cats and dogs and such) could be either. Take this to the next tier, and all manner of fantasy creatures, mounts and monsters could be either.

Now I’m going to go Warhammer for a minute and look at some specifics there:
Daemons – aside from Slaanesh – is that Plaguebearer a boy or a girl? What about that Pink Horror? Of course, some are distinctly “male” in their daemonic physiology – such as various Bloodthisters and Bloodletters and Lords of Change through the years, but then the point here is to think about the Fleshhounds and the Beasts and the Juggernauts. You might consider some could be male or female, and others might be completely genderless.

Hot Dude or Sexy Babe under those robes? Your guess is as good as mine! (but probably neither hot or sexy!)

The Adeptus Mechanicus as pretty much an entire faction – Priests & Magi of all tiers, Skitarii, Sicarians, Securarii, Secutors – not to mention the actual battle-servitors or robots!

Of course, the recent Star Wars film “Solo” introduced the concept of droids with “Female” personalities. Of course, that same film had Lando banging his female droid, so I’m happy to entertain the former (while /facepalming at the terrible execution), but also look at things like Astromech droids as genderless and consider units like Imperial War Droids to be solely concerned with their important and rewarding jobs of killing and oppressing than being droid-bros down at the droid-gym. (droid-fistbump!) Hell, the recent-er films have shown Stormtroopers of both genders under that armour, and they look identical with their lids on. (By the way, if you can’t handle girls in your Star Wars and think I’m part of some new Millennial PC agenda, feel free to fuck off elsewhere! #SWfansince77 )

For “Squads”, we’re not all playing Warhammer of whatever type here – so I’m happy for a “Squad” to be made of three or more models of a similar type – and yes – that also includes tank and vehicle platoons of three or more. And if you look at the models in most of the photos above – most of them fit neatly into both categories…

That’s pretty much it. If you might be interested, you’ve got a little under a week for thinking about it before the challenge starts – though if you’re keen there’s also no reason you can’t be working on your models. Because it’s only about completing models in March! 😉

Oh, and I’ll throw some more examples below so you can see just how broad a challenge option it is – if you just think about it.

64 thoughts on “Squad: March! + Gender-Ambiguous Model Painting Challenge 2019

    • Well here’s the thing – while I personally choose to ignore that bit of fluff (I’ve hated it since I first saw it) – I leave it up to the individual and how they view their own models.
      I do tend to lean on models that have clear gender signals being the one or other – so that line of Bloodletters with male bodybuilder pecs are clearly “male” daemons, while the originals fit well with “genderless”. So I’d say look at the model and how you view each one!
      With RT-era Orks and WHFB3 Orcs, I’d say that while some of them display male body types, a lot (more) of them are more ambiguous once they’re looked at through this lens (I’ve got a few on the desk, and that’s how they look to me).
      But ultimately – it’s your own call!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always liked the notion of Orks being fungoid. It makes them otherworldly. And maybe more importantly – I always wanted to make a badass savage Road Warrior styled Ork Warboss called Humungus Da Inta Galactik Fungus.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’d probably be perfectly fine with it all if it were applied to a 40k-or-warhammer-unique race and not “orks/orcs”, which for me feel better – even with GW’s “football ‘ooligans” flavour – as based on Orcs as a fantasy race with a society and both genders. More D&D really even than Tolkien.
        Having said that, if fungus works for other people, that’s fine and people can like anything they want to. Because in my heart, I know they’re WRONG! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Splendid, I was hoping for a squad theme as I started a neglegted squad of marines but won’t be able to finish them before the month is over. I don’t think I have (m)any genderless models though.. Skaven? As I hear, they’re multiplying like.. rats, so there must be some females in the mix. Machine spirits of SM Dreadnoughts?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Skaven? Well, yeah! Look at a (RL) rat – aside from nursing females, you can’t see a difference at a glance. Some of the Rat Ogres are more distinct, but a lot of the regular clanrats/skavenslaves/stormvermin/plague monks etc could be either! Machine spirits would be genderless, while the marines inside would be male. Unless the MS has taken on personality aspects of those interred inside over the millennia.
      As with Alex – your call – see what you think about it!


  2. I think I’m in the for the squad challenge, especially since I’ve failed to finish the neglected models I had planned for this month! I think you could maybe have fitted another one of those carnivorous plants into this month’s challenge, if it wasn’t for the fact that they’re actually real!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. First of all, I kinda feel bad now for giving you trouble about those female Plague Bearers back in the day — in all fairness, however, it seemed like a bit of a cheap excuse back then 😉

    But seriously, this is an interesting idea, and one that only becomes more interesting the longer I think about it. The Traitor Guards”men” from Blackstone Fortress come to mind instantly, as they are some I’d say are fairly clearly male, some are fairly clearly female, and with some, it could really go both ways — incidentally, a fantastic example of GW finally getting that particular aspect right, at long last 😉

    On a different note, two questions about your models above:

    1.) Where are those skeletons from?

    2.) Is that ghosty thing halfway down the page the ghost from one of the Dark World board games? It looks so much like it, yet it’s missing the face for some reason…?!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Honestly, it was the same thought process behind this month rather than an attempt at a “cheat” – basically it came about from Ann’s posts where she kept referring to her Daemons and whatnot as “she”. Then percolated in the back of my head until I looked at what was on my desk in view of Fembruary – so the dual action of Ann + Alex is what inspired the challenge.
      I haven’t looked closely at the Traitor Guard in BSF yet, but that’s something cool to hear. Now we’re all just waiting on properly redone Imperial Guard! (Along with Berserkers, Aspect Warriors…)

      The Skeletons are from Reaper Bones. They look okay in the photo, but they suffer from pretty bad bendy-itis, like all Bones models.

      The Ghost is indeed from Dark World. I always hated the face, however as it looked too goofy – so it got removed and disposed off decades ago.

      Liked by 3 people

    • What’s really interesting to me is that I can’t point to any specific features that make some of the BSF Renegades seem male or female, but the impression is definitely there, pretty strongly for a few of them.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Good point, Alexis! Incidentally, it’s the same with the Negavolt Cultists included in the same boxed sets: While not immediately obvious, it seems one of the sculpts is subtly female, while the other one is subtly male, yet you wouldn’t really see it when just glancing at the models.

        Liked by 3 people

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    • Well, being pure machines without *any* form of AI/intelligence/sentience, they’re not quite in the “ambiguous” category, but they’re very much “squads” (or units!) so they certainly qualify there!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. There is this old miniature, a close cousin to that old school plaguebearer-looking daemon that I dug out of the game store bits box and painted some time ago, that I think would qualify for this challenge. Heck, those three old, metal plague marines would certainly qualify in the sense that they look like monstrous, assexual humanoids in weird armor. I think of them as masculine, mainly because of my exposure to GW lore.

    So, I will try and work that close cousin miniature in for the painting challenge this month. Been working hard on poxwalkers lately too, though I have to say most of them give me more of a masculine vibe.

    Good point you made about the plaguebearers. When I was painting mine I sort of assigned them gender or made them genderless or started making up my own fanciful genders for each of them depending on my mood and how the miniature spoke to me when I was painting it.

    Liked by 1 person

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