NEW RELEASES FROM KING & COUNTRY!
Having just returned from Australia after my 14 day ‘OzTour’ I would like to thank all those very special Aussie dealers, collectors and friends who made the visit so enjoyable, so interesting… and so inspiring!
As I’ve said oft times before it’s not just a case of me only talking about K&C but a great opportunity for me to discuss all aspects of the hobby in general and King & Country in particular… past, present and future.
Emails and the internet are very useful tools with which to interact with our collectors and dealers but the opportunity to actually sit down and meet up face-to-face and often on a one-to-one basis is invaluable to myself and K&C.
This last visit began in Brisbane and then went on to Sydney followed by Adelaide and finally ended up in Melbourne.
In each city I spent whole days and sometimes quite a few very late nights discussing new ideas and fresh approaches to this great hobby of ours as well as analyzing and looking into a raft of exciting new ideas and suggestions for both existing K&C series and some new, very original future ranges.
While in Australia after each long and enjoyable day I would go over my notes from all the meetings. I would also look through some of the many books and magazines that I had bought or been given by both dealers and collectors to see what visual references might be useful in the future development.
After all that I would try and get some ‘shut-eye’ while already looking forward to the next day and the next ‘meet ‘n’ greet’.
For many years Australia has been one of my all-time favourite destinations… The people are funny, friendly and full of good humour. The land itself is simply spectacular with echoes of Texas and California but still uniquely Aussie.
Its great cities, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne are a dynamic blend of the old and new mixing the best of traditional British mid 19th century colonial architecture with the ultra modern 21st century international buildings that reach far into the vast Australian sky.
As you can tell I’m a big fan of this very big country and the people from all sorts of backgrounds and ethnicities that live in it. I can’t wait to go back!
Meanwhile back at the ranch… here’s a little ‘heads-up’ on our August releases…
1. "Things that go bump in the night…"
DRACULA was originally a novel by Irish author, Bram Stoker, published in 1897. It tells the tale of a Transylvanian nobleman, Count Dracula who is a vampire with a fondness for the blood of young virgins.
The story of Dracula has been the basis for numerous films and plays with Bram Stoker himself writing the first stage adaptation which was presented in London a few months after his novel was published.
The first film to feature Count Dracula was a Hungarian silent film ‘The Death of Dracula’ released in 1921. More international fame came to the vampiric count with the 1931 Hollywood version of ‘Dracula’ starring Bela Lugosi which prompted several more sequels during the 1930s and ‘40s.
In 1958 the British movie company ‘Hammer Films’ added to the Dracula Legacy with their own interpretation starring Christopher Lee which built upon the earlier Hollywood movies and their visual style but with the bold addition of full colour and gallons of fresh, fake and very red blood!
Lee’s portrayal was overtly sexual and paid prominent attention to his vampire fangs, the delicious necks of his female victims and their heaving bosoms atop their low-cut nightgowns and dresses.
Christopher Lee continued throughout the 1960s and ‘70s to occasionally portray the count and his appearance and costume has been part of the inspiration for this new K&C Horror Stories figure alongwith a nod or two in the direction of the great Bela Lugosi who brought the count to the silver screen decades before.
HS001 "Count Dracula"
About to do what Dracula does best and make an impression on a helpless but very attractive female victim.
On the other hand he might just be leaving for a night at the opera. If so however, he really should wipe the fresh blood off his wickedly long fangs!
2. "Death On The Nile"
While researching more ideas for K&C’s mini ‘Ancient Egyptian’ series that updates the range to the discovery of the boy King Tutankhamun’s burial site in 1922 I remembered the 1978 British murder mystery film “Death On The Nile”.
Based on Agatha Christie’s 1937 novel of the same name the film features the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot played by Peter Ustinov plus an all-star supporting cast of Maggie Smith, Bette Davis and David Niven among others.
Although the original book and film takes place in 1937 it featured many famous Ancient Egyptian sites with the actors and actresses wearing very similar styles and fashions to those characters K&C has already presented in ‘The Discovery of Tutankhamun’ mini range.
Many still photographs from the 1978 movie were used as style references for these three new figures.
AE104 "Mrs. Ariadne Oliver"
Ariadne Oliver is a fictional character who often assists Hercule Poirot in his cases through her knowledge of the criminal mind. She frequently claims to use ‘female intuition’ with decidedly mixed results…
Although Ariadne Oliver is usually referred to as ‘Mrs.’ nothing is known about any husband.
Agatha Christie herself said that the character of Ariadne Oliver does bear a strong resemblance to her own character and she wishes that she could also have had some of Ariadne’s independent spirit and sense of adventure.
Our K&C ‘Ariadne’ reflects a degree of that ‘independence’ and ‘strength of character’.
AE107 "Miss Bowers"
In the 1978 film, Dame Maggie Smith played the tall, chain -smoking and rather masculine figure of ‘Miss Bowers’.
Here she is wearing a rather heavy, for Egypt, tweed tartan skirt together with a matching grey jacket and waistcoat and a pair of very sensible brown and white walking shoes.
AE108 "Colonel Niven"
Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s best-known ‘sidekick’ was a retired British Army officer, Captain Hastings who was, more or less, a direct descendant of Sherlock Holmes’ Dr. Watson.
For Poirot, Hastings was a lifelong friend, confidant and chronicler and features in at least 8 of the Poirot novels.
In the 1978 film, for some reason, there was a name change and the ‘Hastings’ character was promoted to a full ‘Colonel’ and given the new name of ‘Race’.
As such he was portrayed by the legendary British actor, David Niven.
David Niven (1910-1983) was a British actor, soldier and author who joined the British Army as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Highland Light Infantry in 1929 and then resigned his commission in 1933 before ending up in Hollywood in 1935 after many adventures.
By the late 1930s he had costarred with Errol Flynn in such epics as ‘The Charge of The Light-Brigade’ and ‘Dawn Patrol’.
The day after Britain declared on Germany in 1939 he rejoined the British Army eventually rising to Lieutenant Colonel. During the war in addition to his military duties he also took part in various liaison roles with the American forces as well as starring in two wartime films ‘The First of The Few’ (1942) about the development of the Spitfire and ‘The Way Ahead’ (1944) the story of a young Army Lieutenant and his platoon from basic training into battle.
After the war Niven returned to Hollywood starring in a wide variety of movies. Among his best were... ‘Around The World In 80 Days’… ‘The Guns of Navarone’… ’55 Days At Peking’… and ‘The Pink Panther’ series.
In addition to all of that he became a well-respected and best-selling writer with his chronicles of his very eventful life and the golden age of Hollywood. ‘The Moon’s A Balloon’ and ‘Bring On The Empty Horses’.
As a tribute to this fine actor, brave soldier and a terrific writer K&C has altered the character’s name in the 1978 film from ‘Colonel Rice’ to ‘Colonel Niven’. Always debonair… frequently entertaining… and forever the true, blue British officer and gentleman.
3. "The Winter Warriors"
A short time ago K&C introduced our latest ‘Battle of The Bulge’ GIs to add on to the 2022 release.
As we did this we realized that the German side of this epic winter battle required a few, much-needed reinforcements to provide some extra firepower for the attacking Wehrmacht and Waffen SS units advancing towards the American lines. And here they are…
BBG125 "MG34 Machine Gun Team Set"
Led by a junior NCO (non-commissioned officer) clutching his MP40 ‘Schmeisser’ machine pistol one Waffen SS machine gunner shoulders his MG34 and carries an additional ammunition box of belt-fed ammo for the gun. Backing him up is another SS panzer grenadier armed with the Gewehr ’43 rifle.
All three Waffen SS soldiers are wearing a combination ‘mixed rig’ of field grey and camouflage jackets and trousers. Note also their warm, woolen gloves, headscarves and snow-frosted appearance.
BBG126 "The Squad Leader"
A solo figure walking along a track almost nonchalantly smoking a cigarette while carrying his machine pistol in one hand. Usually this role would make him a sergeant or the Waffen SS equivalent.
BBG127 "MG42 Gun Team Set"
This 2-man set of Panzer Grenadiers provides additional fire support with the superb Machinegewehr 42 better known as the MG42.
Entering production in 1942 it was to supplement and eventually replace the earlier MG34. The gun itself was noted for its very high rate of fire and battlefield reliability. It was also considerably cheaper to produce than the older MG34 and easier to manufacture.
While our gunner carries the weapon on its holding strap his ‘number two’ shoulders a ‘Panzerfaust’ rocket and extra ammo.
This ‘number two’ also has his rifle slung across his back as he moves forward.
BBG128 "The Combat Photographer"
All of the warring nations that fought in WW2 had their own combat journalists and photographers. Germany was no exception… Each individual branch of the fighting services had their dedicated journalists who would follow and record the exploits of the various units, divisions and armies.
Many of these journalists were also skilled photographers and captured many important images that illustrated the war and also the victors and the vanquished.
Here, this kneeling reporter from the Waffen SS weekly “Das Schwarze Korps” (The Black Corps) captures a number of his comrades making their way alongside a snow-camouflaged ‘Sturmgeschutz Ⅳ Lang’ towards the American lines.
BBG-S02 "The Winter Warriors Value Added Set"
Here is a great ‘Special Offer’… If you purchase all-seven of these winter warriors together with this terrific looking ‘Winter Jagdpanzer IV’ Self Propelled Gun you can save US$84 (Separate Total: US$683… Combination Total: US$599)
Just 60 of these Special Combination Set are available. If you want one grab it now!
4. "Come And Get It!"
We previewed this tasty little 2-man set last month with our ‘Battle of The Bulge’ GIs and here it is available now…
BBA104 "'Chow Time'"
As any serving or veteran soldier will tell you a good hot meal will warm you up as well as cheer you up in the most difficult of circumstances.
The ‘Battle of The Bulge’ was a prime example… Here a waiting-in-line GI leans forward to get a helping of hot beef stew and vegetables. The kneeling ‘Chef’ makes sure everyone gets a fair share of this hot chow before they once more return to their foxholes and dugouts in the frozen fields and forests of the Belgian Ardennes in December 1944.
Note also the big metal pot and the neat little field cooker. And if it may not be the finest ‘cordon-bleu’ cooking in the world… it sure as hell beats a handful of snow and a cold can of ‘C’ rations!
5. "Viva IL Duce!"
‘Duce’ is an Italian title, derived from the Latin word “Dux” or ‘Leader’. The Fascist Leader, Benito Mussolini was identified by his followers as ‘IL Duce’ (The Leader of their movement) since it was formed in 1919. By 1925 the name had become a reference to the dictatorial position Mussolini held in Italy as the supreme leader of the entire country.
One of the more curious aspects of IL Duce’s rule was his love of different uniforms.
This ‘2nd Generation’ depiction of the great leader shows him in a handsome pearl grey version of his favourite uniform complete with black shirt and tie and black gloss riding boots.
IF045 "'Il Duce'"
Standing firmly to attention the Fascist Leader, raises his right arm in the classic ‘Roman Salute’.
6. "Guns & Ammo"
Every army depends on regular supplies of weapons and ammunition and during the Vietnam War all kinds of large and medium sized wooden boxes and crates were used to transport all types of weapons and munitions between supply bases in the rear to firebases and outposts at the front.
Here are a couple of very useful battlefield accessories in two colour variations.
VN161 "Wooden Ammunition & Weapons Crates (Natural Wood Colour)"
The first release is in ‘Natural Wood Colour’ and will look great on any firebase or stacked on board one of our new M35A2 Trucks.
VN185 "Wooden Ammunition & Weapons Crates (Olive Drab Colour)"
This second variation is in Olive Drab finish and can also be used in a wide variety of military situations, locations and all modes of transport.
7. "BEING RETIRED THIS MONTH"
RTA094 "The Davy Crockett Set"
Out of ammunition, the famous Frontiersman swings the butt of his rifle and knocks down two of the enemy infantry...their discarded muskets are included.
RTA095 "The Duellists"
The Alamo’s commander, Colonel William C. Travis died on the perimeter wall of the little mission...Some say he was shot others that he fought with his sabre against a Mexican Officer before being bayonetted himself.
RTA096 ""The Riflemen""
Two of the defenders making every shot count in the doomed battle...
And that, as I like to say, is that for another 30 days or so. Here’s hoping you find something you like in this little package of goodies.
If not, well let’s see what comes up in September. In the meantime…
All the very best and… Happy Collecting!
Best wishes and... Happy Collecting!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country