Freyja’s Wrath – Interview With Bad Squiddo

Bad Squiddo Games, not content to rest with its already heaving catalogue of practically attired female ass kickers, has launched a new Kickstarter – Freyja’s Wrath. Complete with Shieldmaidens, axe wielding warrior women, and Goddess Hel herself.

You want to know more about that? Of course you do. I had a chat with Annie, head mistress of Bad Squiddo, about her mission, motivation, and of course – her maidens. Enjoy.

As someone who’s only relatively recently become aware of what you’re doing, and for those in the dark, can you just explain what it is Bad Squiddo Games is all about?
Hi Sophie! We are all about female miniatures! Who are generally suitably dressed for whatever they are doing. Female minis in games are heavily tilted to the cheesecake angle, and we just offer something else to address the balance a bit more.

How and when did you first get into gaming and miniatures?
Very young, around 10 years old I was given a stack of old White Dwarf magazines by my mum, who figured I was “into that sort of stuff”. I instantly fell in love with the classic undead and that totally stuck.

Your new Kickstarter campaign, Freyja’s Wrath, features the incredible Lathgertha, as well as various other strains of amazing Viking women. Do you try and base everything on some semblance of true history?
On the whole… yes! I try and keep everything fairly believable because there are so many amazing women in history that you don’t need to make any up. However, how you choose to use the figures is another thing! So for example I’ve made it possible to play with an entire WW2 army of female Soviets – that never happened, but you can make it so! Every figure in that range though is based on truth, it’s just the mass that would be inaccurate. Same for the shieldmaidens, the evidence is pretty strongly pointing that they were a thing, and while an entire army of shieldmaidens can be pretty mythological, it just looks bloody cool.

You’ve mentioned creating something that you would have wanted for your 10 year old self. Is there any specific miniature or idea in Freyja’s Wrath (or any of the campaigns and kickstarters) that‘s based on something you actually yearned for as a kid in the hobby?
Everything! All of them! Which is what makes it so exciting, I make the stuff I love, and other people love them, which is the best! I would have lost my little mind over the Freyja on boar model, I was always way into the big models – Dieter Helsnicht on Manticore was my first minis love – and the minigoth in me would have gone wild for Hel – goddess of the underworld with her flayed corpses.

Is there any one specific incident or experience that pushed you to make female miniatures, or was it more of a general desire to have female miniatures be more readily available?
Yes! I’d already been working in the industry for a few years as “The Dice Bag Lady” (Stevie did a pretty cool write up on here way back when), until I suffered both my wrists buggering up. I had Salute booked and not much stock, so I wondered if I could make my rants into a business. The first time I really noticed the lack of non sexualised minis was when I started playing SAGA, and wanted some shieldmaidens.

One of those “Ooh quick Google”, and then a few hours later getting more and more pissed off. My main gaming army had been undead so I always had sexy vampire ladies which I was totally cool with as it fits the genre, but this was the first time I’d specifically tried to find standard fighter women in 28mm. Sexy gets boring real quick when it’s so saturated. The first mini I ever produced was a shieldmaiden, and it’s one the happiest moments of my life (I know right).

Presumably the majority must be overwhelmingly positive, but have you come up against any negative feedback for trying to make women more visible in the community?
It has been way more positive than I imagined. When I first announced the “Believable Female Minis” project there were a good amount of sneers from within and outside of the industry, but I guess my success has just shut em up! I still get the odd fellow shouting in my face or penis portrait in the inbox, but as a woman online, promoting feminism in a male dominated space, I expected a hell load more than I get, so I guess a bit of faith in humanity is restored! Quite a few people have accused me of hatin’ on boobs or women’s bodies, which is utter bollocks, so I am constantly hammering home that the main point of all of this is CHOICE. I’m not taking the boobs away folks, just giving more choice.

What was your creative process for Freyja’s Wrath? Do you work on one project from the bottom up, or do you have a laundry list of themes and women you’re wanting to create at any one time?
Heh, there is a bit of an endless list. I had a pretty solid plan for this one, but quite often I bounce ideas around with the sculptors. Sometimes something is so good I just want more. I’m trying to be more focused with the ranges but occasionally, like all gamers I guess I get a bit of butterfly or “ooh shiny” and do something else. Which is why it was great to force myself to just bam out a load of shieldmaidens for this, instead of a bit here, bit there. I mean when you see your PM looking like she’s hunting dalmatians for a coat, you HAVE to drop everything and get your sculptor on that right?

How much work goes into something like this? Do you oversee every part of the process for every model, or do you have trusted minions helping?
Soooo much. For the sculpting it depends on the sculptors. We usually chat at length over details, with massive files of descriptions and reference images, as well as my weird doodles. Some I need to be stricter with than others to make sure we’re on the same page, but other times I can give them a jist and let them get on with it. Sometimes they work better that way with more freedom.

With the casting and mould-making I work with some brilliant people who send back and forth photos of each stage as well as samples for approval. They are great at quality control but I always like to check each mini myself before packing as there’s always the odd deformed spear or something that has slipped through now and again, and that’s the bloody one that ends up in the hands of a blogger!

Although Bad Squiddo is just me full time, I call us “we”, as the people contracted out are so vast and input so much, so saying “me” feels like taking all that credit! There is a pretty mighty team that makes up us all and I do have a “never knowingly work with arseholes” motto too, so I’m pretty attached to my gang!

The female models that you source from other manufacturers – was that something you always wanted to do, or were you approached by like minds?
It happened before I was brave enough to take the leap to my own minis and has been there ever since. In fact my own range evolved from that. I was fed up with having to get one mini from here, one from there, and the postage being pretty much the same as the mini cost. So I figured maybe other people had the same problem and I could help get more non-dodgy ladies on the tabletop. It was also a great way of giving nods to people who were already making some awesome stuff. It was really slow at first with lots of praise but not really any sales, then it just suddenly went BOOM!

Do you feel a responsibility to female gamers, or is all the good work you’re doing just an excellent side effect of seeing a gap in a market you were a customer in?
Kind of! I’m always wary of “speaking for all women” so I disclaimer a lot that this is just representative of me! I’m guessing you’ve experienced it yourself – the feeling of somehow representing your gender. When I used to play a lot of tournaments, I felt like if I played bad, people would say that ALL WOMEN PLAY BAD, and that sort of thing. Rather than that I sucked before of the quantities of beer consumed. And lack of fucks given.

I really hope I have encouraged more women to the hobby, it is one of my mega goals. And without being up my own arse, I know I definitely have – well, because they email me! I have photo evidence and everything! And I hope that what I do just becomes a bit of a wider social change where people can do whatever damn hobby they want regardless!

It’s your interview, so you get the last word. And give us a song please!
Thanks for the time really, Corehammer is my favourite group of people – in AND outside of wargaming. Now go back my kickstarter thing! Or just check out my Bad Squiddo site!

Errr and I guess signing off with Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y just to shake it up a bit from all the vomit noise music around here!

One thought on “Freyja’s Wrath – Interview With Bad Squiddo

  1. I’ve bought a lot of decent stuff off Bad Squiddo over the years: terrain and odd bits and pieces as well as female models. Half my not-Escher Necromunda gang came from their stuff. Definitely worth a look.

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