NEW RELEASES FROM KING & COUNTRY!
Hi Guys and welcome to this month’s ‘DISPATCHES’ and our monthly ‘Look-see’ at what King & Country will be releasing over the next 30 days…
As I write these words I am still in San Antonio Texas and working alongside our hard-working, general manager Amber in the brand-new ‘KING & COUNTRY TEXAS’ store.
Back in late January I flew out to the U.S. to see the new store and attend the ‘Official Opening’ of the venue in its great new location at 5945 Broadway, San Antonio.
Originally, my intention was to stay for just 3 weeks but because of flight bans and travel restrictions that has ended up to more than 9 weeks of exile in San Antonio.
Now, don’t get me wrong if anyone has to be ‘exiled’ anywhere I can heartily suggest that Texas in general and San Antonio in particular is the place to be… The people are friendly, the weather has been fantastic and the food delicious. PLUS as a history enthusiast Texas and San Antonio have a wealth of historic attractions, sites and amazing museums.
I’ve had a great time and also the opportunity to meet many of our local collectors and make a host of new friends…
My enforced absence from Hong Kong also gave myself and K&C’s cofounder Laura McAllister Johnson the opportunity to fly up to Los Angeles and attend Hobby Bunker’s ‘WESTCOASTER’ toy soldier show. A great time was had by everyone who attended and I even got to meet and talk with a real, live movie director, John Landis, who attended the show and importantly for us, is a dedicated K&C Collector!
Meanwhile, back in Texas it has been great assisting Amber in the store and getting to know more about what collectors like…. don’t like… and, of course, what they would like to see in the future.
So, to that effect, allow me to invite all of you to pay a visit to ‘KING & COUNTRY TEXAS’ and see for yourself the very best of our many different series in a terrific setting and a great town.
At this point in time I will be leaving for Hong Kong on April 4th, but would like to thank everyone here for a fantastic time.
However, putting all that to one side for a moment, here is what you may have come looking for…
1. "To The Sands of Ancient Egypt"
First of all, a note of thanks for all those K&C Collectors who have enthusiastically embraced ‘The Discovery of TUTANKHAMUN’ figures and set that have so far been released. Now, to add to these pieces are a small collection of Egyptian workmen who helped excavate the burial site of the ill-fated boy pharaoh and carried some of his treasures into the harsh, light-of-day in the modern age.
At the same time we have also included a fictional addition to the series which would certainly come as a surprise to all of those diligently digging…
AE091 "Carrying the Queen"
A young worker carefully carries an almost perfect rendition of an Ancient Egyptian female ruler to the surface.
Although the statue has lain in the sands of Egypt for many hundreds of years it still retains its original colour and fine finish.
AE093 "Carrying Anubis Set"
Two more Egyptian labourers carry a heavier burden in the shape of ‘Anubis’, the ancient ‘God of The Dead’ sometimes represented as a jackal or, occasionally, a man with the head of a jackal.
AE094 "The Mummy's Revenge"
No horror movie from Hollywood U.S.A. to Hammer Films in the UK is ever complete without an Egyptian ‘Mummy’!
For decades whenever Ancient Egypt was evoked on the screen, one of these long-dead, wrapped-up monsters would appear and come alive again and go out looking for likely victims… female if possible!
2. "On Duty but Dismounted"
TWO small additions to our ‘Ceremonial Series’ in the shape of a pair of dismounted Life Guards troopers.
CE076 "Standing Life Guards Trooper"
Visitors to London almost always go, at least once, to see ‘The Changing of The Guard’ at Buckingham Palace where the ceremony is usually performed by one of the five regiments of Foot Guards in their scarlet tunics and tall black bearskins.
Lesser known, but just as colorful, is the Guard Changes on Horse Guards Parade at Whitehall in central London performed by soldiers of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment on a daily basis.
From 10:00am until 4:00pm this duty is carried out by mounted troopers of either the Life Guards or Blues & Royals squadrons of the HCMR.
At 4:00pm the mounted troopers are replaced by dismounted troopers who remain on post until 8:00pm each day.
Our K&C trooper stands at attention in his full ceremonial uniform, with his sabre gently resting on his right shoulder.
CE077 "Standing Life Guards Trumpeter"
Accompanying the dismounted guard is always a Trumpeter… Up until the outbreak of WWII all trumpeters wore the same uniform as their dismounted fellow troopers complete with the heavy metal cuirass. In modern times the cuirass has been removed for Trumpeters who now wear the simple dress red tunic.
3. "RALLY ROUND THE FLAG BOYS!"
Here are five additional figures to add to our American Civil War collection of the 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regt.
CW124 "Lying Prone Firing"
This private adopts the most comfortable position to open fire on the enemy
CW125 "Lying Ready"
Also in a similar position to the previous figure but raising his head to get a clearer picture of the opposing forces.
CW136 "Casualties of War"
Three different soldiers of the 83rd who have fallen to Confederate bullets.
4. "ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE"
A single addition, but a useful one, for our latest release of Scots Greys. PLUS no less than 8 of 18 of Napoleon’s ‘Dragons a Pied’, the ‘Foot Dragoons’.
In early 1805, as Napoleon gathered his forces together at Boulogne for a projected invasion of Britain he decided to dismount several regiments of Dragoons in order to more easily transport them across the English channel. He supposed that these troops would fight on foot after their initial landing until such time as they could capture or requisition sufficient horses to be remounted.
After the French defeat at Trafalgar in October 1805 the invasion was cancelled however these ‘Foot Dragoons’ did not have their mounts returned. Instead they were dispatched to fight on foot in campaigns across Europe and into Austria and Russia.
They did however retain their tall brass helmets complete with black horsehair plumes and the traditional, green tunics of French Light Cavalry and Infantry as well as their long dragoon muskets.
To suit their new fighting role they wore long, black canvas leggings and the regular French Army infantry backpack.
NA485 "Mounted Foot Dragoons Officer"
Sabre in right hand and reining in his horse with his left this officer leads his men into battle.
NA487 "Foot Dragoon Loading Musket"
This Dragoon reaches back into his cartridge pouch for a fresh round.
NA488 "Foot Dragoon Standing Firing"
Another Dragoon ‘draws a bead’ on the enemy.
NA489 "Foot Dragoon Kneeling Firing"
NA490 "Kneeling Dragoon Helping A Comrade"
In the midst of battle one ‘Foot Dragoon’ reaches over to a fallen friend to see if he is still alive.
NA491 "Foot Dragoon Charging Forward"
Taking the fight to the enemy.
NA492 "Foot Dragoon Biting A Cartridge"
Once a paper cartridge was taken out of the pouch the soldier had to bite the top off before carefully pouring most of the gun powder down inside the barrel and then inserting the steel ball.
A small amount of powder was retained for the firing pan of the musket while the empty paper cartridge was pushed down the barrel with the ramrod in order to keep the ball in place before firing.
During the Napoleonic Wars a properly trained group of regular infantry soldiers was able to load and fire four rounds a minute. Some expert rifle regiments could even load and fire five aimed rounds in a minute.
Foot Dragoons would fall into the former group as regards ‘rate of fire’.
NA484 "Scots Grey Casualty"
A dead Scots Grey trooper and his horse lie fallen on the field of Waterloo.
5. "HAVE GUNS WILL TRAVEL"
Although many people think of the Vietnam War as the ‘Helicopter War’ most transportation around that war-torn country of men, material, food, fuel and ammunition was by truck… and lots of them.
Almost as soon as American Forces began taking over the major role of combating the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army the enemy began to ambush the U.S. convoys carrying their much needed supplies and reinforcements between the major bases and depots to far flung out posts all over the country.
Although U.S. Army and Marine Corps units provided armoured cars and sometimes even tanks to protect these convoys it was simply not enough to deter enemy attacks.
Fortunately, it was the transportation units themselves that came up with one of the best innovative solutions… Gun Trucks!
Each ‘Gun Truck’ was a standard U.S. Army 2 1/2 ton cargo truck armed with a variety of machine guns and protected by additional sheets of steel and armour plate.
Simultaneously, convoys were reduced from, on average, 200 vehicles to just 100, making them easier to control and protect. To ‘ride shotgun’ on these small 100 vehicle convoys a force of 10 ‘Gun Trucks’ would ensure one ‘protector’ for every group of ten trucks.
Some of these Gun Trucks mounted the WWII era ‘Quadmount .50 calibre’ machine guns.
During the Vietnam War an estimated 300-400 vehicles were converted into ‘Gun Trucks’ and King & Country is proud to present two of them…
VN108-1 "M35A1 Gun Truck (Suzie Q)"
The M35 2 1/2 ton cargo truck was the mainstay of all the U.S. Forces transport throughout the Vietnam War and well into the 1980s.
Our King & Country model has the Quad-mounted .50 cal. Machine guns complete with a gunner manning the turret.
Upfront sits the driver alongside a pintle-mounted M60 machine gun and his personal M16 rifle.
This crew has also painted a rather attractive Vietnamese ‘pin-up’ called “Suzie Q” on the armor shield as well as the legend ‘Have Guns Will Travel’ (a reference to a then popular TV cowboy show back in the ‘States) on the Quad mount.
VN108-2 "M35A1 Gun Truck (The War Wagon)"
The second of our Gun Trucks is the aptly-named “The War Wagon”.
Many of the nicknames painted on these ‘Gun Trucks’ were inspired by rock songs, TV shows and even movies of the 1960s. ‘The War Wagon’ is a case in point… It came from a 1967 ‘Western’ starring John Wayne and Kirk Douglas and was popular with the troops at that time.
As our first vehicle the driver and gunner are included along with their weapons.
Both trucks are welcome add-ons to our very popular ‘Vietnam’ series so grab ‘em while you can!
6. "BEING RETIRED…"
As always, some come in… others go out.
BBA081 "Winter GI's in Action"
As one GI peers through his binos...another takes careful aim...the third member of the section kneels ready beside them.
JN019 "Air Mechanic Crew Chief, Imperial Japanese Army"
Although many of the land-based aircraft actually belonged to the Imperial Japanese Navy ground crew to service them were also drawn from the Army Air Force as well as the Navy.
This Army NCO is carrying both his toolbox and an aircraft repair guide.
JN020 "Ground Crew Set #1, Imperial Japanese Army"
As one senior mechanic cleans the oil off his hands the other takes a closer look to inspect the work.
JN021 "Ground Crew Set #2, Imperial Japanese Army"
A kneeling armourer festooned with belts of machine gun bullets is joined by another hard at work on a repair.”
LOJ024 "The Boot Maker"
Sitting on his work stool this craftsman could be found operating in many Roman garrisons.
MK163 "The Swordsmith"
Producing top quality ‘weapons of war’ for the Knights and Nobility was always the work of a skilled metal-work craftsman.
This new figure is hard-at-work at his anvil crafting a strong and sturdy blade while two other examples of his work ‘cool off’ in a nearby pail of water.
This figure works well in a Crusader Camp... Nottingham Castle... or even deep in Sherwood Forest!
USMC031 "Marine Crawling Into Position"
When the bullets are flying you should get as close to the ‘deck’ as possible. This Marine, M1 at the ready, edges his way forward.
VN103 "Female Viet Cong w/M16"
Not all ‘Victor Charlies’ wore black pajamas! A Vietnamese woman moves carefully forward carrying her captured M16.
VN105 "Pretty But Dangerous"
Although most women who served with the Viet Cong were in support and nursing roles a fair number volunteered for combat duty and became expert marksmen and fought on the frontlines alongside the men.
This volunteer carries her AK47 and is looking for trouble!
VN122 "Miss Papillon"
This particular ‘Bar Girl’ was again inspired by the classic ‘Full Metal Jacket’ movie and when meeting ‘Joker’ and ‘Rafterman’ for the first time uttered the immortal words, “Me so horny... me love you long time.” In the movie the actress who played the part was called ‘Papillon Soo Soo’.
And that is April for you… Not too many items but something I hope for most collectors.
On the cheerful note, many thanks once more to everyone who made this visit to the ‘States so enjoyable and memorable.
Best wishes and... Happy Collecting!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country