NEW RELEASES FROM KING & COUNTRY!
WELCOME to this month’s DISPATCHES and the release of some long-awaited figures and a terrific fighting vehicle never produced by any other toy soldier maker… except for King & Country that is! So, without further ado, let’s jump in…
BEING RELEASED IN FEBRUARY
1. "VIETNAM FIRE SUPPORT!"
When American troops first deployed in force to South Vietnam in 1965 they were supported by a number of brand-new airfield and ground installations that required a low altitude defense system.
The anti aircraft system then in operation with U.S. Forces worldwide was provided by HAWK missile batteries… These however proved inadequate in Vietnam and an alternative had to be found and so the U.S. Army began recalling the older M42 ‘Duster’ anti aircraft guns back into service and organizing them into Air Defense Artillery battalions (ADA).
Beginning in the Fall of 1966 three battalions of ‘Dusters’ were operational in Vietnam each consisting of a headquarters battery and four ‘Duster’ batteries, each augmented by one Quad .50 battery and an artillery searchlight battery.
Despite a few early ‘air kills’, a major air threat from North Vietnam never materialized and ADA crews found themselves increasingly involved in ground support missions. Most often those involved point security... convoy escort and / or perimeter defense.
Probably the ‘Duster’s’ finest hour came at the time of the TET Offensive in 1968 when M42’s and their twin 40mm guns made short work of massed VC and NVA infantry attacks and helped knock out enemy bunker and defence positions.
U.S. Army and Marine units came to place a high value on the mobile close artillery support the M42 ‘Duster’ provided time and time again.
Perhaps the Grunts’ own graffiti scrawled on one M42 said it all… “Have Guns Will Travel!”
VN033 "The M42 DUSTER"
During the Korean War (1950-53) the U.S. Army decided it needed a mobile anti aircraft gun that could utilize the existing chassis of the M41 Tank.
Since 40mm guns were seen as the most effective twin gun mounting, similar to those on most U.S. Navy ships of that era, they were ‘married’ to a M41 chassis and designated the M42.
The first M42’s entered service in late 1953 with production halted in 1960 after some 3,700 vehicles had been produced.
These in turn began to be replaced by the HAWK Surface to Air Missile units in the early 1960’s. By 1963 most ‘Dusters’ had been transferred to National Guard units... Until Vietnam!
Our King & Country model, made up of over 95 separate parts, is typical of the U.S. Army “Dusters” of the late 1960’s period during the Vietnam War.
Two seated Gunners man the twin 40mm ‘Bofors ’ guns and the vehicle also comes with double radio antennas and a side-mounted M60 machine gun. Painted in standard U.S. Army Olive Drab this particular M42 is nicknamed ‘Double Trouble’ and stands ready for action... anytime, anywhere.
VN042 "Duster Add-On Crew"
Two essential add-ons to complete your M42 in action... A kneeling NCO rifleman observes the battle as his buddy prepares to load a ‘clip’ of 40mm shells into one of the guns.
VN046 "Crouching Marine Firing M72 LAW"
The M72 LAW (Light Anti Tank Weapon) was a portable, one-shot, 66mm unguided anti tank weapon first adopted by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps in 1963.
Although originally intended for anti armoured vehicle use U.S. ground forces frequently used it against enemy bunker and fixed defence positions especially in urban areas.
Our Marine crouches as he aims the weapon at his target... One shot, one hit!
VN049 "Dead or Alive...?"
M16 pointing directly at the enemy this Marine is taking no chances as he approaches a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) casualty.
2. "SAME MARINES... DIFFERENT WAR"
Two small, individual releases of a pair of USMC reinforcements for the Pacific Theatre of WW2…
USMC051 "Softly, Softly"
Like his Vietnam counterpart VN049, this WW2 “Leatherneck” cautiously edges forward towards some Japanese dead or perhaps he is moving carefully through a possible minefield... you make the decision.
USMC052 "Pacific War Dog"
During WW2 the Marine Corps trained a small number of ‘War Dogs’ for service in the Pacific. They were first used on Bougainville and Peleliu but saw most active duty on Guam where 60 war dogs and their handlers went ashore and twenty were killed or believed ‘missing-in-action.’
Some other war dogs served as ‘messenger dogs’ while more were used as ‘sentries’ or on the ‘point’ of patrols where their superior animal senses often negated any surprise attack or ambush by the Japanese.
Not surprisingly Marine ‘war dogs’ were expert at ‘flushing-out’ hidden enemies and, alas, suffered heavy losses especially on Iwo Jima.
‘War Dogs’ were mostly recruited from civilian owners and screened to eliminate high-strung or vicious animals. Mongrels often proved the best adapted to their military duties followed by German Shepherds. Dobermans however turned out to be ‘too nervous’.
Our kneeling Marine handler, complete with Winchester Shotgun and holstered M1911 Colt Automatic gets ready for the next operation together with his brown & black cross breed called ‘Sailor’.
3. "ROME AT WAR"
ROM031 "Pilum Thrower"
As this Roman soldier runs forward he protects his body with his shield as he launches his Pilum at the enemy...
4. "THE REAL WEST"
Not so long ago several of our ‘Real West’ collectors suggested to us that we should produce different colour variations of a few of ‘Custer’s Last Stand’ figures.
And so, after carefully considering their suggestions we selected a few figures on either side that might be perfect candidates for an ‘alternative’ version…
TRW148 "Single-handed First Aid"
Gripping the cloth in his teeth this wounded trooper attempts to bandage his bleeding wrist while still holding his ‘Army’ Colt in one hand.
TRW149 "Dismounted & Trapped!"
With his horse shot from under him and collapsed on top of his left leg this trooper is already doomed. Defiantly, he raises himself to aim his pistol at attacking Indians.
TRW151 "Dazed & Bleeding"
Another forlorn trooper has been struck in the head by an Indian warrior’s club or tomahawk... Partially blinded by his wound he attempts to crawl to safety...
TRW154 "Medicine Crow"
Although most of the hostile Indians Custer faced at the Little Big Horn were Sioux and Cheyenne a number of other tribes were also present... Among them a young warrior chief called ‘Medicine Crow’ seen here letting loose an arrow at the beleaguered ‘Long Knives’.
TRW158 "Dog Wolf"
A kneeling dismounted Cheyenne warrior, ‘Dog Wolf’ takes careful aim with his captured U.S. Cavalry carbine.
5. "TOMMY ATKINS ESQ. IN ACTION"
‘Tommy Atkins’ (often just Tommy) has been slang for a common soldier in the British Army for over two centuries. The origins of the name go as far back as the Napoleonic Wars. One common belief is that the name was chosen by the Duke of Wellington himself after having been inspired by the bravery of one of his private soldiers during the Peninsula War. After one particular battle the Duke came upon a certain severely wounded soldier and asked after his condition. The terribly injured soldier simply replied, “I’m all right sir… All in a day’s work” and died shortly afterwards.
Sometime later the Duke was asked what generic British name should be used on all army forms… He remembered the brave but gravely wounded soldier from his Peninsula days and also his name… ‘Tommy Atkins’.
Here are some welcome British Army infantry of the Napoleonic era that would be proud to bear the name Tommy Atkins.
NA417 "Colonel of the Regiment"
This mounted senior officer bellows out his orders in the heat of battle.
NA418 "Infantry Captain"
As bullet, shot and shell erupt about him this officer remains cool, calm and collected... sword in hand.
The epitome of the British ‘stiff upper lip’.
NA419 "Infantryman with Pike Staff"
This private soldier has momentarily put aside his ‘Brown Bess’ Musket to pick up a long pike staff from a dead sergeant... All the better to reach out and stab any attacking French cavalryman.
NA420 "Drummer Boy "
Every Line Company in British infantry regiments had its own ‘Drummer Boy’, some as young as 11 or 12 but usually about 15 years of age. Many of these young lads were orphans of the regiment and had grown up within it when their parents were still alive.
NA421 "Reaching For A Cartridge"
This standing infantryman stands ready to repel the enemy as he reaches back into his ammunition pouch for a fresh cartridge.
NA422 "Kneeling Cocking His Musket"
Weapon fully loaded this kneeling ‘Red Coat’ pulls back the hammer of his musket.
NA423 "Kneeling Ready"
Weapon loaded, bayonet fixed and awaiting further orders.
NA424 "Lying Prone Firing"
Lying on the ground in front of the ranks of his kneeling and standing comrades this ‘Tommy Atkins’ takes careful aim.
NA425 "Hors de Combat"
Out of action due to injury or damage this crawling soldier tries to seek cover in the midst of the action.
NA-S07 "Blood, Bullets & Cold Steel"
A combined ‘Extra Value Added Set’ that brings all of these great figures together and offers them to dealers and collectors at a GREAT PRICE!
6. "ON THE RETIREMENT LIST"
As per usual a few interesting “Bits ‘n’ Bobs” that are being retired to make room for all the ‘newbies’… Check them out and grab’em while you can…
AE048 "The Anubis Set"
Two Nubian slaves carry a likeness of the canine god to a nearby riverside temple.
AE049 "The Papyrus Boat Set"
A standing boatman guides his craft along the river together with a female passenger.
AE050 "The Fishermen"
As one man guides the papyrus boat the other spears fish for the basket and the local market.
MK109 "Fighting Saladin"
The Saracen general believed in “Leading from the front”…Here with scimitar held aloft he charges into battle.
MK115 "Saracen Flagbearer"
Accompanying Saladin was his personal standard bearer with a richly decorated triangular religious banner complete with a verse from the Koran.
MK126 "The Kneeling Spearman "
Crouched behind his large shield this crusader Man-at-arms prepares for the enemy...
MK127 "Standing Firing Crossbow"
A Germanic Man-at-arms fires into the enemy horde.
MK128 "Bending and Loading Crossbow "
As he keeps a watchful eye on the enemy another German Man-at-Arms prepares his next ‘shot’.
MK130 "Loading Crossbow"
Another Crusader Crossbowman prepares to shoot again.
WS330 "Do you know this man?"
Behind the lines a member of SD (Sicherheitsdienst / Security Service) unit questions a Russian peasant about a portrait of Lenin that has been found during a routine search of the man’s cottage.
And that’s the story so far… All the best and Happy Collecting to every one everywhere and… by the way…
“KUNG HEI FAT CHOY!”
“Happy Chinese New Year” in this ‘The Year of the Pig’.
Best wishes and... Happy Collecting!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country