NEW RELEASES FROM KING & COUNTRY!
DECEMBER means CHRISTMAS and that is one of the most colourful times of the year and, in my opinion, the happiest too!
Believe me in these troubling times brought on by this pandemic we all need as much happiness as we can get.. and give.
And so I’m particularly happy to present these very special and colourful releases that I hope will bring a little happiness and enjoyment into more than a few collectors’ lives this Festive Season.
Let’s begin at the beginning…
BEING RELEASED IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS…
1. "TROOPING THE COLOUR"
This ceremony has been performed by army regiments of the British and Commonwealth nations since the mid 17th Century.
In olden times, on the battlefield, a regiment’s ‘colours’ or flags, were used as rallying points before the age of electronics and field radios.
Regiments back then would have their ensigns (junior officers) carry their ‘colours’ slowly through the assembled rank and file to enable the soldiers to recognize their own regimental flags during the battle.
Beginning in 1750, ‘Trooping The Colour’ has also in Britain, signified the Sovereign’s official birthday. Each year, ever since, a huge military ceremony is usually held on the second Saturday in June on Horse Guards Parade in London.
The Queen, ElizabethⅡ, travels down the Mall from Buckingham Palace in a royal procession accompanied by a large sovereign’s escort of her Household Cavalry.
After arriving at Horse Guards Parade her majesty inspects some of her soldiers from the Household Division… both foot guards and mounted horse guards.
In addition The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, a mounted ceremonial artillery battery, also take part in the event.
Each year one of the five foot guards regiments (The Grenadiers, The Coldstream, The Scots, The Welsh and The Irish Guards) is selected to troop its own regimental colour through the ranks of the assembled guards on parade.
Then the entire assembly of mounted and foot soldiers conduct a march past the Queen. Parading with its guns, the ‘King’s Troop’ takes precedence and leads the salute to the Queen, first at a walking pace and then at a trot.
Music for the event is provided by the massed military bands of the five foot guard regiments together with the ‘Corp of Drums’ and occasionally the ‘Pipes & Drums’ of either or both the Scots Guards and the Irish Guards.
The ‘Mounted Band’ of the Household Cavalry also take part.
Combined there are usually over 400 musicians on parade. Put all together it is possibly the most colourful and spectacular military parade in the world today.
CE050 "The Parade Commander"
In charge of the entire ceremony on Horse Guards Parade is the mounted ‘Parade Commander’. This senior officer, usually a full colonel, is selected from one of the five Guards Regiments on parade that day.
Our particular Parade Commander is a Colonel of The Coldstream Guards.
CE051 "His Royal Highness, Prince Charles"
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, is the Queen’s eldest son and the heir to the throne who one day will become King upon his mother’s death. He is also ‘Honorary Colonel of The Welsh Guards’ and wears that regiment’s dress uniform.
CE052 "HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge"
‘HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge’ is the grandson of HM Queen Elizabeth and the eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. In 2011 he was appointed Honorary Colonel of The Irish Guards and since that date has taken part in many ‘Trooping The Colour’ parades.
This new K&C mounted figure shows him saluting to the right.
CE055 "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II"
For many years the Queen rode on horseback in a specially-designed dress uniform to take part in ‘Trooping The Colour’. Her last ‘mounted Trooping’ was in 1986 and King & Country has portrayed the monarch at this time on her favourite horse ‘Burmese’, a gift to her from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1969.
Her Majesty is Colonel-In-Chief of all her Foot Guards regiments however on this particular occasion she is wearing her special dress uniform of The Grenadier Guards.
SPECIAL HISTORICAL NOTE: Obviously K&C has indulged in a little bit of ‘Historic License’ showing the Queen on horseback riding alongside her son, Prince Charles and her grandson, Prince William. That being said it’s great to see all three together at ‘Trooping The Colour’… even in miniature!
Since 1986 the Queen has taken part in this special ceremony riding in an open-topped Royal carriage and dressed in civilian clothes.
AVAILABILITY: NOW! (A really great Christmas gift!)
2. "THE LAST OF THE TSARS"
From one Royal Family that still exists to another who had a turbulent reign and, unfortunately, a terrible end!
Tsar NicholasⅡcame to the throne of Russia in 1894 and was alas destined to be its last Emperor after his abdication in 1917.
During his reign, Russia embarked on a great series of reforms that benefitted civil liberties, education, literacy and parliamentary representation. He also attempted to modernize Russian industry and the country’s outdated infrastructure.
His progress however was undermined by his own personal commitment to autocratic rule and the oppressive policies employed by his secret police to crush and punish any kind of dissent from any quarter.
Nicholas’ rule also coincided with a series of disastrous events and upheavals both in and out of Russia. Among these was the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 where Russia was soundly defeated and humiliated by the recently-emerged Japan.
One year later, in 1905 in St. Petersburg, a peaceful demonstration by thousands of workers and their families asking for small increases in their pay and better working and living conditions was met by deadly force with infantry soldiers opening fire and cavalry charging defenseless protestors. Hundreds of unarmed civilians; men, women and children were killed and injured by this official armed and violent response.
In addition Nicholas’ regime did little to prevent a series of Anti-Jewish pogroms that targeted this particular religious community and led thousands of Russian Jews to flee to the west for refuge, religious freedom and a better life.
THE ROMANOV TERCENTENARY 1613-1913
Amidst all of this doom, gloom and tragedy was one particular event that for a brief moment enthused the nation and Nicholas himself… The Tercentenary Celebrations (1613-1913) marked 300 years of the Romanov Dynasty ruling this massive and far flung empire.
This happy and momentous anniversary has inspired the first part of a 3-part release of Imperial Russian Royalty at their most splendid…
TR003 "Tsar Nicholas II & Tsarevich Alexei"
Both father and son are dressed the ceremonial dress uniforms of two different Imperial Russian Guard regiments.
NicholasⅡ is dressed as the Colonel-In-Chief of his Regiment while his son, the Tsarevich Alexei is uniformed as a junior subaltern of his particular regiment.
Few could have predicted that both of them together with the rest of their Royal Family would be cruelly murdered by the Bolsheviks just five years later...
After this first release there will follow a figure of Nicholas’ wife, the Tsarina Alexandra and then his two eldest daughters, the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, both in military uniform.
The final release will be of the two youngest Royal daughters, the Grand Duchesses Maria and Anastasia, later in 2021.
3. "Lunga Vita All Imperatore!"
“Long Live The Emperor!” might well have been the cry of the soldiers of Napoleon’s own Italian Grenadiers of the Guards when the regiment was founded just after the Italian Republic was transformed into the ‘Kingdom of Italy’ in 1804 as
The Emperor Napoleon became Italy’s first monarch.
Previously Italy had been a client state of France with its capital in Milan. Now, this new Italian Kingdom ruled over most of northern Italy and its army was to be reorganized along strict French military guidelines which included regular line infantry, light infantry, dragoons and light horse… similar to Hussars.
The new formation soon acquired Chasseurs, elite mounted Gendarmes and Royal Grenadiers of The Guard.
Many of these new regiments wore a ‘green’ coat instead of French ‘blue’ ones however their general style and cut was copied directly from the French military fashion of the period.
Here are K&C’s own ‘Grenadiers of The Guard’… As they would have appeared performing ‘Drill & Musketry’ exercises during the Napoleonic era.
NA459 "Italian Grenadier Advancing"
Marching forward, musket and bayonet held at waist level as they advance on the enemy.
NA465 "Italian Grenadier Kneeling Firing"
Taking careful aim while making a smaller target for any enemy soldiers.
NA466 "Italian Grenadier Standing Firing"
The ‘classic’ shooting pose on the battlefield while taking part in massed ‘Volley Firing’ where entire companies would stand and fire at the enemy as one.
NA467 "Italian Grenadier Standing Ready"
The standing position immediately before being ordered to ‘present, aim and fire’ at the enemy.
NA468 "Italian Grenadier Marching to the Front"
This pose was adopted while marching into position on a battlefield with the musket loaded and ready to be fired.
4. "THE POWER & GLORY OF ROME"
As Rome expanded its influence and empire throughout the known world it desired to build all kinds of structures and monuments to celebrate its ever expanding power and victories over its enemies. Here is one such example…
SP117 "The Roman Triumphal Arch"
Our model arch is a brand-new design and sculpt based on an earlier Roman Arch produced in the mid 1990’s by K&C.
This upgraded model is more detailed and much better painted than the original one and considerably less heavy than its predecessor.
Both models were inspired by the design of the Arch of Constantine which can still be seen in Rome today.
The Constantine Arch itself is widely believed to have been much influenced by an earlier work from the time of the Emperor Hadrian (117-138AD).
However you wish to view its history our new ‘Triumphal Arch’ is a terrific way to show off and display your K&C collection of Roman soldiers and Praetorian guards and makes a classic Roman backdrop.
5. "ONTO THE GREAT PLAINS"
From the cobbled-stone streets of Ancient Rome to the grass-covered ‘Great Plains’ of North America in the years when huge herds of magnificent American Bison roamed far and wide and provided virtually everything the Indian Tribes that shared that land required.
Bison or Buffalo hunting was a vitally important activity fundamental to the everyday economy and society of the Plains Indians tribes who lived on the vast grasslands of the interior Plains of North America.
Prior to the near-extinction of the buffalo in the late 19th Century every year the tribes would follow the migrating herds of animals and hunt and kill only as many as they would need to feed and clothe themselves throughout the winter and into the next spring.
Hunting these great animals, especially from a horse, demanded great skill and bravery and accidents, sometimes fatal, could and did happen to both rider and horse…
TRW173 "'The Hunter Becomes The Hunted"
Here is one such example... A young warrior and his horse have misjudged their approach to an already wounded and enraged buffalo... The angry beast turns suddenly goring the horse's belly and bringing it down on top of its rider... The buffalo is now about to trample both horse and Indian as they lie trapped and helpless on the ground... Unless someone can rescue them.
TRW174 "White Eagle"
Another mounted Indian prepares to dispatch the wounded buffalo with a well-aimed lance thrust deep into the animal’s body.
This same warrior can also be imagined fighting at the ‘Little Bighorn’ and about to dispatch one of Custer’s wounded soldiers too!
6. "GOOD MORNING VIETNAM... AGAIN!"
VIETNAM was the setting for one of the U.S. Special Forces’ most complex and controversial missions. Beginning in the late 1950’s small Special Forces detachments were deployed throughout the South and several neighbouring countries to undertake the defense of indigenous tribes in the most difficult areas and help them form self-defense units and fortify villages and hamlets against communist insurgents.
Among their other duties were to improve the general health and living conditions of the local people while still gathering intelligence and other information about the movements and locations of any enemy (Viet Cong) groups operating in or passing through those parts of the country.
As well as these more ‘passive’ tasks Special Forces teams also played a more aggressive role… laying ambushes… planting mines and booby traps along enemy trails… and capturing and interrogating enemy prisoners.
The men who volunteered for ‘Special Forces’ were also a very different breed of soldier… strong, independent, flexible in mind and body and capable of operating in the harshest of conditions and often the worst of situations.
These new figures represent a small team of SF about to go into action and are part of K&C’s tribute to some very exceptional and brave soldiers…
VN094 "The S.F. Radio Operator"
This solo Radio Operator is carrying his PRC-25 radio inside his rucksack and holding a CAR-15 Colt ‘Commando’ carbine in his left hand as he relays instructions on his handset.
He’s wearing a locally-made ‘Tiger-Stripe’ uniform and similar pattern ‘Boonie’ hat.
VN095 "S.F. Three Man Patrol"
This trio of Special Forces soldiers are ‘armed and very dangerous’!
The ‘Team Leader’ moves cautiously forward carrying an M16A2 Assault Rifle, an updated and upgraded version of the standard U.S. Army M16A1, usually only distributed to Special Forces.
He is dressed, in the then new ERDL* Pattern camouflage which was only issued to elite reconnaissance and special operations units in early 1967.
*Engineer Research & Development Laboratories, a branch of the U.S. Army.
The kneeling ‘Grenadier’ is loading his M79 Grenade Launcher, backing this up is his personal weapon, a ‘Swedish K’, 9mm submachinegun.
Completing the ‘trio’ is the heavy firepower of the crouching M60 machine gunner festooned with belts of 7.62mm ammunition. He also carries the M1911 Colt Automatic Pistol alongside his ‘K bar’ fighting knife.
His backpack sits in front of him.
These last two S.F. troopers are also wearing the newly-introduced ‘ERDL Camo’ suits.
Well, my friends, as I like to say, that’s the story so far… On this toy soldier expedition you’ve visited London, Milan, St. Petersburg, The Great Plains, Ancient Rome and the highlands of South Vietnam.
Now, that’s quite a journey these days especially if you consider how difficult it is just to travel across your own country.
However, in the Wonderful World of Toy Soldiers, we’re allowed to travel… anywhere, anytime. Here’s hoping one of these exciting destinations suits you.
7. "BEING RETIRED"
This month, there’s quite a long list… so check it out and take your pick.
A kneeling airborne Medic tends to the arm wound of this paratrooper who refuses to put down or lay aside his trusty M1 “Garand” rifle.
DD248 "Sitting Tommy Gunner"
This GI is taking a few minutes to sit down and relax before preparing for the next battle.
DD250 "Firing Tommy Gunner"
Even if some guys get a little chance to relax others have be ready and on the lookout for the enemy.
DD251 "Kneeling Bazooka Guy"
The paratroopers’ very own portable little anti-tank weapon. It also worked equally well on enemy bunkers and pill boxes.
FOB142 "Old Peasant Woman"
Life in Soviet Russia was tough at the best of times... How much harder was it in wartime...?
FW232 "The Sturmtruppen Set (4 figure set)"
Three heavily-armed stormtroopers with an assortment of weapons gather around their officer... Perfect for a pre battle WW1 scene near the frontline trenches OR perhaps a street scenario in revolutionary postwar Munich in the turmoil that follow the 1918 Armistice.
JN017 "Lieut Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, Imperial Japanese Navy"
Possibly Japan’s most successful Naval aviator. He claimed 87 enemy victories ... Some sources even claim over 100!
Early in 1942 he was flying over New Guinea before being moved to Rabaul and operating against the Americans who had just landed on Guadalcanal. In his first encounter he shot down two U.S. Navy “Wildcats” ...more were to follow. By November 1942 his score stood at 40.
After a training tour back in Japan he returned to active service in mid 1943 and by 1944 was flying in the Philippines.
Sadly for him, he was shot down and killed while flying as a passenger in a transport aircraft over Mindoro Island on 26 October, 1944.
LAH210 "Taking Power"
A seemingly humble ex-corporal silently shakes hands with an old general. The General maybe old but he is not senile ... he detests and despises the little Austrian corporal ... For the moment though the former corporal will play his part and gracefully accept the Chancellorship ... but only for the moment.
See what happened next!
LOJ026 "The Listener"
A bearded Pharisee listening to John's preaching.
MK118 "The Crouching Crusader"
MK119 "Sir John Trumpington"
MK161 "The Blue Knight w/ Axe"
MK162 "Chevalier de Bleu w/ Sword"
MK164 "Arthur & The Sword in the Stone"
There are many legends surrounding the events that led Arthur to become King and to eventually establish his castle at Camelot and to form his ‘Knights of the Round Table’.
One of the greatest is Arthur drawing the sword from an unyielding stone thus proving his suitability to become King. In some tales he is still a young boy... In others a Knight’s squire... In another version he is the Knight himself!
Here, Arthur stands four-square behind the sword in the stone, his hands resting on its hilt... He is about to draw the sword out and be acclaimed... King!
MK166 "Brother in Arms"
Among the priests who journeyed to ‘The Holy Land’ there were some who in their previous lives, before taking their vows, had been fighting men themselves ... even some Knights.
This ‘Brother’, from a humble religious order may have taken his vows some time before but he has forgotten none of his military training and skills... Sword in one hand, hand-made cross in the other he is ready to do battle.
MK170 "Crusader Archer (kneeling)"
This English bowman kneels down to let fly an arrow at his Saracen opponents... A large ‘Cross of St. George’ on his surcoat.
MK171 "Crusader Halberdier"
A fighting Man-at-Arms wields his mighty and cruel-looking halberd towards the opposition.
MK172 "Crusader Archer” (standing ready)"
Facing the enemy this English bowman is about to open fire.
‘Ivanhoe’ was a novel written by Sir Walter Scott and told the story of one of the few remaining Saxon noble families at a time when medieval England was dominated by Norman nobility, descendants of William the Conqueror.
It follows the adventures of Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, who has been disowned by his father for his allegiance to the Norman King Richard the Lionheart.
After the failure of the Third Crusade many of the Knights (including Ivanhoe) who had followed Richard to the Holy Land returned home. There they found a land under the cruel hand of the King’s brother, Prince John.
The novel tells the story of Ivanhoe’s return and his struggle to regain his father’s trust, help a Jewish merchant and his daughter and win the hand of his true love, the Lady Rowena.
Along the way there are battles, jousts and duels that Ivanhoe undertakes and wins before he reunites with his father, defeats his enemies and gains the lovely Rowena.
The tale has inspired movies, television series and more books and even helped shape the modern notion of Robin Hood and his merry band of outlaws...
Our Ivanhoe stand four-square holding his helmet in one hand and his jousting lance in the other.
MK175 "The Templar (Sir Brian de Bois Guilbert)"
A friend of Prince John and a leader of the Knights Templar. In both Scott’s novel and the movies based on it de Bois Guilbert is Ivanhoe’s sworn enemy. He is also in love with Rebecca the daughter of the Jewish merchant, Isaac of York.
NE001 "Napoleon on Camel"
Inspired by the famous painting by renowned Orientalist" painter Jean-Leon Gerome this mounted Bonaparte shields his eyes from the blazing sun as he gazes upon the ruined wonders of an ancient civilization."
NE016 "Standing Napoleon"
Another fine study of the young General Bonaparte based on a pose in the original painting by noted French artist Jean-Leon GEROME.
RA059 "Marshal Georgy Zhukov"
Stalin’s finest General who came up through the ranks the hard way to reach supreme command and lead the Soviet Forces to victory in Berlin, May 1945.
RA063 "Kommissar Nikita Kruschev"
The senior political officer in and during the Battle of Stalingrad from late 1942 to early 1943. He went on to become Premier of the USSR from 1957-1964.
TRW101 "Two Moons"
A white-faced Lakota Sioux charges past some more of the beleaguered “Bluecoats” fighting for their lives against the thousands of attacking Indians.
TRW134 "The Apache Scout"
This kneeling pointing Chiricahua warrior points in the direction where the enemy is hiding... Now, is he pointing at some of the hated ‘Long Knives’ or some fellow Apaches...? You get to decide.
TRW161 "Sitting Bull"
‘Sitting Bull’ was a Lakota Sioux leader who led his people during their many years of armed resistance to United States government policies and the increasing encroachment of American settlers onto Indian lands.
Before the Battle of the Little Bighorn he had a vision where he saw many U.S. Cavalry soldiers falling upside down from the sky into the Indian camp. This vision was taken by many of his followers to predict a major Indian victory over the white soldiers.
And so, on June 25, 1876 it came to pass on the banks of the Little Bighorn when General George Armstrong Custer and more than 250 men of his 7th Cavalry met their end attacking Sitting Bull’s camp and his combined force of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors.
As l’ve said oft times before this has been a very challenging year for all of us so… Let’s be optimistic and hope for a happier and healthier 2021.
In the meantime all the very best and have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas!
From myself and all of our great team at King & Country.
Best wishes and... Happy Collecting!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country