February 2021


Welcome to this month’s edition of ‘DISPATCHES’ complete with a few surprises and a couple of new editions of some old favourites.

Along the way we’ll go from the skies over Europe in the middle of WW2 to Horse Guards Parade in the middle of London and then onto the streets of Ancient Rome and the parade ground at Parris Island in South Carolina in the 1960’s

Not unexpectedly, we’ll also end up in South Vietnam both in the countryside and on the streets of Saigon and Da Nang.

So, wherever we go we hope you’ll come along with us on this overseas trip and find something that fits into one or two of your King & Country collections…

BEING RELEASED THIS FEBRUARY

1. "COMING IN ON A WING AND A PRAYER!"

‘DON’ GENTILE (1920-1951), also known as ‘The Ace of Aces’ and the first WW2 U.S. Army Air Force pilot to surpass Eddie Rickenbacker’s WW1 record of 26 downed aircraft.

Born as the son of Italian immigrants Donald Gentile learned to fly before America entered the war in December 1941 and attempted to join the Army Air Force. Because at that time the U.S. military required two years of college for its pilots, which Don did not have, he was rejected. He then enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and shipped out to the U.K. in late 1941.

During 1942, Don Gentile flew Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VB’s with 133 Squadron, one of the trio of famous ‘Eagle Squadrons’. His first kills were a Ju 88 and an Fw190 in August 1942 during the Dieppe Raid.

By the following month, all of the ‘Eagle Squadrons’ were transferred to the newly-formed American 8th Air Force and became the 4th Fighter Group.

Over the following months Don continued to add to his tally of ‘kills’ which were soon over a dozen enemy aircraft. At this time, he was flying a North American P51B ‘Mustang’ nicknamed “Shangri La”.

Not long afterwards, Capt. Don Gentile crashed “Shangri La” while lowflying over an English airfield to impress a group of visiting press reporters and photographers.

He was immediately ‘grounded’ by his squadron commander and sent back to the U.S. on a warbond tour.

By the end of the war his total number of victories was 20 aerial ‘kills’ and 3 ‘damaged’ plus 6 ‘ground kills’ and his 2 ‘Eagle Squadron’ victories.

Following hostilities, Don stayed in the Air Force and went on to become a test pilot. In January 1951, while flying a jet-powered, T-33 ‘Shooting Star’ he was killed in a crash, he was just 31.

3730_300

AF043_group

Capt. Don Gentile’s P51B Mustang ‘Shangri La’

AF043 "Capt. Don Gentile’s P51B Mustang ‘Shangri La’"

This classic razor-back ‘Mustang’ is painted in ‘Shangri La’s’ exact colour scheme and markings and boasts 21 ‘kill’ markings on a white scroll beneath the cockpit.

A standing figure of Capt. Don Gentile is also included with the aircraft and all of it comes packed in a specially-labelled black box.

AVAILABILITY: NOW!

2. "ON PARADE"

Here are no less than 5 great additions to K&C’s ‘CEREMONIAL’ range of parade figures in dress uniforms.

CE064, 065_group_2

CE058, 069_group

‘Stand Easy’ Black Watch Soldier

CE058 "‘Stand Easy’ Black Watch Soldier"

This was the more relaxed version of ‘Stand-At-Ease’ for a soldier on Guard Duty.

Coldstream Guardsman ‘Present Arms’

CE064 "Coldstream Guardsman ‘Present Arms’"

The classic parade position while saluting an officer.

Coldstream Guard Bugler

CE065 "Coldstream Guard Bugler "

In the days before radios orders to parade were often transmitted by various ‘bugle calls’.

Each company and platoon would have a number of buglers attached, all of them came under the command of the Non Commissioned Officer in charge of the Regiment’s Fife & Drum Corps. All buglers could also be drummers.

‘Standing’ Black Watch Lance Corporal

CE069 "‘Standing’ Black Watch Lance Corporal"

The Lance Corporal was the lowest ranking N.C.O. and usually a soldier with at least 5 years service.

CE053_group

Life Guards "Farrier"

CE053 "Life Guards "Farrier""

In the armies of earlier times each cavalry regiment had a ‘master farrier’ who was charged with looking after the horses and assisting the regiment’s veterinary surgeon.

In the Household Cavalry these farriers are a survival of the past and are easily distinguished from other ranks because they carry a ceremonial highly polished axe.

This tool was not issued as a weapon but was to be used to put wounded horses out of their pain and to remove the hooves of any animal killed in order that their identity number, which was branded onto the hooves, could be recorded.

On a uniform side note, this farrier is the only member of the Life Guards regiment that wears a navy blue tunic in place of the traditional scarlet one.

AVAILABILITY: NOW!

3. "Flags & Banners"

Centuries before the colour and splendor of our ‘CEREMONIAL’ figures, knights and men-at-arms had their own displays of colour on the battlefield.

Here are two alternative versions of two of our most popular medieval warriors…

MK208, 209_group

The Teutonic Flagbearer

MK208 "The Teutonic Flagbearer"

This strikingly bold German knight holds aloft a large square banner with his personal coat-of-arms echoing the designs covering his battle horse.

The Frankish Standard Bearer

MK209 "The Frankish Standard Bearer"

A ‘Man-at-Arms’ carrying the small personal standard of a senior officer.

AVAILABILITY: NOW!

4. "ON THE STREETS OF ANCIENT ROME"

Four more figures illustrating the might and power of Imperial Rome.

ROM047, 048_group

‘At Attention’ Roman Legionary w/Pilum

ROM047 " ‘At Attention’ Roman Legionary w/Pilum"

Standing smartly ‘at attention’ this soldier of the XX Legion carries both his traditional Roman ‘Pilum’ (long throwing spear) and his ‘Gladius’ (short sword).

'At Attention’ Roman Legionary w/Gladius Sword

ROM048 "'At Attention’ Roman Legionary w/Gladius Sword"

Again, a Legionary of the XX Legion.

ROM049, 050_group

‘Advancing’ Praetorian Guard

ROM049 " ‘Advancing’ Praetorian Guard"

A marching soldier of the Emperor’s ‘Praetorian Guard’ with his ‘Pilum’ held forward.

‘Standing-At-Attention’ Praetorian Guard

ROM050 "‘Standing-At-Attention’ Praetorian Guard"

Armed with shield, sword and pilum this Guardsman stands firmly on guard.

AVAILABILITY: NOW!

5. "Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann"

USMC Drill Instructors inspire both fear and awe in equal amounts when recruits enter boot camps in San Diego and Parris Island.

Perhaps no one did a better job of portraying that kind of character as R. Lee Ermey, the ‘Gunny’ in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Full Metal Jacket’.

As K&C collectors already know I love that movie and l love the late R. Lee Ermey’s part in the flic.

Here is our small tribute to a great Marine an outstanding Drill Instructor and… all Marine Corps Drill Instructors everywhere!

The Drill Instructor

USMC057 "The Drill Instructor"

Our D.I. is wearing his Service ‘B’ (for Bravo) base uniform consisting of green trousers with gloss black parade belt, khaki long-sleeve shirt, khaki tie with clasp, black shoes and, of course, the iconic ‘Campaign Hat’ and his medal ribbons.

AVAILABILITY: NOW!

6. "Streets of Old Hong Kong"

This particular series is one of our longest-running ranges and particularly popular in the Far East and also with expatriate Chinese communities around the world.

HK296 297 Group

The Chinese ‘Ironing Lady’ (Gloss)

HK297G "The Chinese ‘Ironing Lady’ (Gloss)"

This little figure was suggested to by one of our ‘SOOHK’ collectors who sent me an old photograph of a lady performing just this task... I liked it and here is the result...

The Chinese ‘Ironing Lady’ (Matt)

HK297M "The Chinese ‘Ironing Lady’ (Matt)"

This little figure was suggested to by one of our ‘SOOHK’ collectors who sent me an old photograph of a lady performing just this task... I liked it and here is the result...

AVAILABILITY: NOW!

7. "THE OTHER SIDE OF VIETNAM"

As collectors know the vast majority of our ‘VIETNAM’ collection has been focused on the military side of the conflict that beset that nation for 30 years.

However that’s just one important part of a very big picture. Just as important were the millions of ordinary South Vietnamese civilians caught in the middle of this war and trying to survive in the midst of the bombs and bullets… both in the countryside and in the towns and cities… and from both sides!

Although K&C is not the only toy soldier company to design and produce ‘Vietnam war’ figures… We are the only one to provide collectors with a broad and expanding range of civilian Vietnamese going about their everyday lives in a war-torn country…

VN112, 113, 114, 119, 122, 124

VN Peasant Girl w/Bananas

VN112 "VN Peasant Girl w/Bananas"

Here, a young woman makes her way to the local market carrying a basketfull of bananas.

VN Bar Girl

VN113 "VN Bar Girl"

Just one of the many thousands of other young women who fled their rural villages to flock to the big towns and cities seeking money and safety... This was one way to make a living.

The Water Buffalo Boy

VN114 "The Water Buffalo Boy"

Meanwhile, back in the countryside it was common for relatively young children to be helping their families by looking after the family livestock. This young boy rides his buffalo towards some nearby grazing.

The Village Chief

VN119 "The Village Chief"

One of the most dangerous jobs to have in any rural community was to be ‘The Village Chief’. Usually appointed by the local Government officials these older and much respected leaders were one of the principal targets of Viet Cong assassination squads. K&C’s ‘Village Chief’ is wearing traditional Vietnamese garb and leaning on a stick.

Miss Papillon

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’.

A Pair of Water Buffaloes

VN124 "A Pair of Water Buffaloes"

Two more Water Buffaloes to go perfectly with VN114 The Water Buffalo Boy and build up his herd... One animal grazes while the other just lies down and watches the world go by.

AVAILABILITY: NOW!

8. "TAKE A SEAT!"

K&C initially made these classic wooden chairs to accompany King Arthur & His Knights of the Round Table.

Since then we’ve had more than a few requests to make available some more for other historical eras, not just Medieval. Several collectors wanted them for their ‘Ancient Egypt’, ‘Ancient Rome’ and even Napoleonic series…

Your wish is our command.

MK-S01_group

‘Ancient Seats’ (Set of 4)

SP118 "‘Ancient Seats’ (Set of 4)"

‘Value Added Seats’ (Set of 12)

SP-S01 "‘Value Added Seats’ (Set of 12)"

AVAILABILITY: NOW!

9. "BEING RETIRED"

And that my friends is that… But before we go here are the retirements…

Black Watch Sergeant (marching)

CE036 "Black Watch Sergeant (marching)"

Second-in-command of an infantry platoon and the officer’s right hand man. On parade he wears three golden yellow stripes on his right tunic arm and a red cloth sergeant’s sash over his right shoulder.

Pre 1933 SS Man Marching w/ Rifle

LAH164 "Pre 1933 SS Man Marching w/ Rifle"

Pre 1933 SS Honour Guard w/ Rifle

LAH165 "Pre 1933 SS Honour Guard w/ Rifle"

Before 1933 and the adoption of the Hugo Boss-designed black uniform the SS were similar in style to SA… substituting black for brown kepis and trousers.

Hussar Walking w/Horse

NA301 "Hussar Walking w/Horse"

Mounted Hussar Petting his Mount

NA303 "Mounted Hussar Petting his Mount"

Hussar Mounting-Up

NA304 "Hussar Mounting-Up"

The Artist & The Hussar

NA305 "The Artist & The Hussar"

A seated civilian artist makes a sketch of a standing Hussar.

Rest & Recuperation

NA306 "Rest & Recuperation"

As one 7th Hussar relates how he was wounded his fellow Hussar quietly enjoys his pipe.

Standing Horse

NA307 "Standing Horse"

The Eating Horse

NA308 "The Eating Horse"

A standing horse belonging to a 7th Hussar enjoys his mid- day meal.

The Conversation

NA309 "The Conversation"

Two seated Hussars discussing the events of the day... This set includes the chair and table.

The Letter

NA310 "The Letter"

An older officer enjoys his pipe as he reads a letter.

“The Card Players” Set

NA311 "“The Card Players” Set"

Two seated Hussars play their cards close to their chest as they wager some of their pay...The bench is also included in this set.

Rest & Refreshment

NA313 "Rest & Refreshment"

Seated at a table with a plate of cheese before them this pair of 7th Hussars slake their thirst with some local wine.

Guard Duty

NA314 "Guard Duty "

This standing Hussar, carbine held in the crook of the arm, and dressed in “Campaign Dress” on guard and on duty.

Mounted Hussar

NA315 "Mounted Hussar"

Turning in the saddle this 7th Hussar is about to go on picket duty.

The New Desert Shop House

SP067 "The New Desert Shop House"

A larger and much more detailed version of the now retired “Desert Village Shop House”.

Finally, in a few days from now we will be celebrating the Lunar New Year, in this The Year of The Ox’… So, let’s all hope for a happier, healthier year in 2021.

In the meantime


Best wishes and... Happy Collecting!

Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country