I’ve been doing some thinking. Some time in the future I want to start a new army and for a while now I’ve wanted to field a female chaos cult using either the Sisters of Battle or the Chaos Space Marine codex. The thing that’s holding me back is not rules, especially not now that the new Chaos Space Marine codex has dropped, but models. Now, I don’t have anywhere to play beyond home and the local Games Workshop store, so, if I want to play with this army I’ll have to use Games Workshop figures and this is where the problem lies.
Games Workshop does make female figures. For 40k there are Sisters of Battle (obviously), Eldar Howling Banshees and female Dark Eldar models (not including the awful Dark Eldar Prisoners). There are also a few female Inquisitors. Oh and I guess that there are female Tyranids (unless they have really odd biology). It’s similar for Fantasy. There a female elves (of various sorts), a few Bretonnian damsels, a couple of Vampire Counts models and one Warrior of Chaos. (Slaaneshi Daemonettes are hermaphroditic despite the name). The specialist games have a few female characters but they are far outnumbered by the male ones.
Probably, if I made an effort I could kitbash something. That’s the whole point of this project. If Sisters of Battle weren’t metal, they’d be the obvious choice. However, this is just background to the main point.
While I was looking for things that I could use for kitbashing, I noticed something. There are no female guardsmen and there are no female chaos cultists. Actually there is one female guardsman, but she’s a “collectors” piece. Fortunately.
Now, I know that Chaos Cultists are a new unit but you’d think that a group of Chaos Cultists might be somewhere that you could find the odd female. However the Dark Vengeance set has twenty guys, and not one female model. Maybe they’ll put out a regular cultists kit and maybe there’ll be a female figure, but I’m not holding my breath.
The thing is that there are female guardsmen in the fluff. The Ciaphas Cain and Gaunt’s Ghosts books both involve female guardsmen in quite prominent roles and Cadia (ignoring the ridiculousness of such a statement for a moment) has a recruitment rate equal to the birth rate which would suggest a strong female presence in their regiments (or that somebody didn’t think at all when they wrote that particular bit of background).
I guess that Games Workshop doesn’t think that they would sell enough female figures, or that they’d appeal to their core market. I don’t know what their actual views on this matter are and neither do I know what the actual opinion of gamers is. The point is, there is a part of Games Workshop which makes more niche figures and that is Forgeworld and I think that this would be the perfect place to put an all-female or mixed guard unit. Currently there isn’t anything and that is a pity.
On the other hand I’d rather see no female models than ones like these. I know guys like boobs. Boobs are fine- in the right place. If you are modelling Slaaneshi cultists or Dark Eldar then exposed breasts are probably thematic. However, there are times when I want to ping elastic bands at the chests of the sculptors who choose to make scantily clad female commissars or guardswomen to show them just how much it hurts to get hit by anything in that area.
To me good gaming models are a representation of a character. They do not have to look exactly as that character would look in real life and there is always a degree of suspension of disbelief when building an army. However, I am of the opinion that in order to be able to suspend disbelief over the big things, be it daemons from another dimension or giant genetically enhanced super soldiers, you have to be careful with the little things like dressing appropriately. When I see these models, I don’t see the sculpting, the work that has gone into them, I see the unbuttoned shirt and go “well that is stupid!”.
Anyway, I would really like to see Games Workshop do some more female figures, even if they are done under the Forgeworld name. However, can they have some chest armour or a decent shirt like the guys please?
n.b. I wouldn’t really ping elastic bands at those guys, it’s stupid.