NEW RELEASES FROM KING & COUNTRY!
Hi Guys, welcome to this month’s ‘DISPATCHES’. As you will soon see there is a strong ‘Ceremonial’ element in our toy soldier releases this time around as well as a return to the very earliest days of King & Country.
So, as I like to say, let’s get this show on the road…
BEING RELEASED IN JULY…
1. "The Auld Forty Twa"
The Black Watch’s origins go all the way back to 1725, ten years after the first failed Jacobite rebellion of 1715. King George I (‘German Geordie’) authorized the formation of six “watch” companies to patrol the wild Highlands of Scotland.
These troops were to be employed in disarming rebel Highlanders, preventing sheep stealing and cattle rustling and bring Highland fugitives to justice.
Because the “watch” themselves were fellow Highlanders, many belonging to the Clan Campbell, they wore the dark plaid of the Campbells and thus gained the nickname “The Black Watch”.
Eventually the “Watch” gained regimental size and status and were included in the British Army’s regular list as the “42nd Regiment of Foot”… ‘the auld forty twa’ in old broad Scots, (a Scottish version of English).
In 1881 they were amalgamated with the 73rd Perthshire Regt., to form the 1st and 2nd Battalions The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). From that day on they saw action in virtually every corner of the world with the expanding British Empire.
During the years before the First World War broke out they fought in Egypt, the Sudan, India and South Africa.
The outbreak of war in August 1914 saw an expansion of the regiment from its original two regular battalions to an additional seven territorial and war service battalions which again saw action around the globe but especially on the Western Front.
After the end of the war the 1st returned to India while the 2nd remained in Scotland before moving to Palestine to try and keep the Jews and Arabs from each other’s throats… at least for a little while until the Second World War erupted in September 1939.
K&C’s LATEST BLACK WATCH
The Black Watch has appeared in the King & Country inventory several times since the company began in 1984.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s we produced a series of ‘Parade’ figures that included marching Highlanders, Colour Parties and a number of different ‘Pipes & Drums’ sets.
In more recent times we have had ‘Napoleonic’ Black Watch fighting the Emperor’s armies at Waterloo as well as taking part in WW2.
Now, we are going back to the more colourful days when the ‘Watch’ and other Scottish Regiments of the Line wore bright red scarlet tunics, feather bonnets and swinging kilts and sporrans.
The ceremonial uniforms worn by these ‘parading figures’ are those that were in use from 1908, when the MKⅢ Lee Enfield rifle was introduced, up until 1939 when WW2 began.
The figures you see here are just the ‘Advance Guard’ of The Black Watch on parade… Many more are to follow.
CE029 "Mounted Black Watch Officer"
In an infantry regiment of this period only a few of the battalion officers would be mounted; The Colonel, his Second-in-Command and the Regimental Adjutant... All others marched on foot alongside their men.
It should be noted that kilt-wearing was not a good choice while horse riding... therefore tartan trews, in the Regimental tartan, was adopted.
CE030 "The Colonel’s Bugler"
This marching soldier was also attached to the Regimental Band and Pipes & Drums as a Drummer / Bugler. However when accompanying the Commanding Officer only a bugle was required.
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.
CE037 "Black Watch Private (marching)"
Similar in basic uniform to CE036 but no stripes and no sash. Marching with Lee Enfield rifle and fixed bayonet on the left shoulder.
CE060 "Black Watch Escort Set (value added set)"
Sergeant and three Privates combined at a slightly better price!
PLEASE NOTE: Additional Black Watch soldiers and a special Pipes & Drums set will be available in the coming months… Watch out for them!
2. "Tsar Power!"
When Nicholas Romanov became Tsar of All The Russias in 1894 he inherited a
vast but trouble Empire. It stretched from European Russia all the way across the Ural Mountains and into the plains and forests of Siberia and finally on to the Pacific coast port city of Vladivostok.
Its population in the early part of the 20th Century numbered over 175 million
and included many different ethnicities… Russians, Tartars, Cossacks, Mongols and Chechens were just a few of the major groups.
Two of the most important symbols that held this huge country together were the Monarchy, in the shape of the Tsar and the Army which brought together all the different races and religions to serve and follow the Tsar through war and peace.
Following the defeat of its forces in the Russo Japanese War of 1905 Russia belatedly began modernising and rearming its soldiers. Some Russian military traditions however still remained… especially in its uniforms.
Although ‘khaki’ had been adopted for many everyday duties throughout the year the more conservative elements in the military hierarchy (and Nicholas himself) enjoyed seeing his troops parade in their summer white tunics and caps… and even on maneuvers.
This second version of our earlier Imperial Russian Infantry are wearing the strikingly white traditional Russian Summer tunics and caps.
Weapons and uniforms are typical of the period 1900-1914.
FW233 "Tsar Nicholas II"
Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov (1868-1918) was the last Emperor of All Russia and ruled from 1894 until his forced abdication in March 1917 and murder in 1918.
An autocratic ruler he was in favour of limited modernization of his country but resisted virtually all political change which in the end was to prove fatal for himself and his family.
Here however we see him in happier times, reviewing his troops and presenting a religious icon before them.
Like his men he wears a simple white summer tunic and cap.
FW234 "Marching w/Rifle & Bayonet"
Striding forth in typical Russian style this soldier holds his rifle firmly to the front.
FW235 "Standing Officer Saluting"
Armed with both a sabre and a pistol this officer springs smartly to attention and delivers a snappy salute.
FW236 "Presenting Arms"
Another soldier salutes a superior in ‘classic’ military fashion.
Head up, chest out with rifle and fixed bayonet held firmly by the side.
FW238 "Honouring The Icon"
Kneeling before the Tsar, cap in hand, this soldier is actually paying homage to the religious icon the Tsar is holding. Most of the Russian Imperial Army belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church and icons (religious paintings of the Holy Family and saints) were frequently displayed to the troops during parades and before going into battle.
FW239 "Senior Subaltern w/The Tsar’s Personal Standard"
Special regiments were awarded with the Tsar’s own personal flag as shown here.
This was to always be carried on parade by the senior subaltern (junior officer) of the Regiment.
FW240 "Marching Officer w/Sword"
‘Eyes Right’ sabre drawn and held to the right this parade commander, usually a Major, salutes the Tsar as he marches past.
3. "Sand, Bugs and Jungle"
Our Pacific War Marines are always a popular release and one of K&C’s most extensive and dynamic series of recent years… Here are 3 great ‘Add-ons’.
USMC054 "Kneeling Marine w/Bazooka"
Another ‘classic’ post and a very useful one to attack those Japanese bunkers or any increasingly rare Jap Tank that puts in an appearance on the battlefield.
USMC055 "“Pacific Hand-to-Hand Combat” Set ‘A’"
Although only wielding an entrenching tool this ‘leatherneck’ is about to leave a lasting impression on this unfortunate Japanese soldier! (2-man set)
USMC056 "“Pacific Hand-to-Hand Combat” Set ‘B’"
Another unlucky Japanese soldier is about get the ‘point’ of this vicious little disagreement. (2-man set)
4. "The Battle of Long Tan Continues"
On this battlefield journey it’s not so very far from the ‘Pacific Island Hopping
Campaign’ to the battle erupting in the middle of a rubber plantation in South Vietnam…
VN082 "The Battle of Long Tan Set #2"
Another vitally useful 4-man set to add-on to K&C’s first ‘Long Tan’ set released back in October 2019.
This 2nd Set shows another 4 man infantry group fighting desperately to rescue a wounded mate while still returning fire on the ambushers.
The Battle of Long Tan is justly remembered as a fine example of Aussie fighting spirit and grim determination to hold on against much superior numbers in bloody awful conditions.
The set itself comes in its own labeled box and is a worthy companion set to Long Tan #1.
5. "John Ford Cavalry Reinforcements"
Four more mounted cavalrymen to increase your ‘John Ford Cavalry’ troop collection.
TRW169 "Trooper Turning in the Saddle"
Another fine mounted figure half-turning in the saddle. This figure also has the ‘moveable-head’ feature.
TRW170 "Trooper Leaning Forward"
One more recruit to the mounted ranks of ‘John Ford’s Cavalry’. With fixed head position.
TRW171 "Mounted Cavalry Officer"
A new officer to lead the men on patrol. With the ‘moveable-head’ feature.
TRW172 "First Sergeant"
A very experienced troop sergeant probably Irish, because that’s how director John Ford liked to portray his senior non-commissioned officers in his movies. Also with the ‘moveable-head’ feature.
6. "Just Around The Corner and up some dark stairway and into an Opium Den..."
An alternative version to one of ‘Streets of Old Hong Kong’s’ most controversial releases…
K&C got quite a bit of notoriety both here in Hong Kong and overseas when we first introduced ‘The Opium Smokers’ set.
As we all know history has no shortage of darker moments and the subject of ‘OPIUM’ has been an integral part of the Hong Kong story.
This city’s foundations were built on the Opium Trade when British traders introduced Opium, grown and refined in India and then shipped to China in exchange for silver bullion.
After a few years it became a major problem for China itself and the Emperor tried to ban it and stop its import.
The British traders meanwhile were most upset by this attempted ban on their highly lucrative business and coerced the British Government to take their side. This was to lead to the ‘First Opium War’ in which the victorious British were ceded a small, barren island off the coast of Southern China called… Hong Kong.
From the 1880’s, the importation of Opium into China declined as Chinese – grown opium, much cheaper than the imported kind, began to take over the market.
At the same time, mounting pressure from the Church and the British Government forced Hong Kong to close most of its legally-operated opium dens and to cease exporting any to China.
Finally, it was not until 1943, while Hong Kong was still occupied by the Japanese, that the British Government completely banned the selling and smoking of Opium in the Colony.
These two revised sets portray an earlier time when there was a much-more relaxed and nuanced official attitude to Opium Dens, their proprietors and customers…
HK298M "The Opium Smokers (Matt)"
Two recumbent Chinese gentlemen enjoying a pipe of Opium each while they dream away their problems.
HK298G "The Opium Smokers (Gloss)"
Two recumbent Chinese gentlemen enjoying a pipe of Opium each while they dream away their problems.
HK299M "The Opium Merchant & Maid (Matt)"
An elderly ‘Opium Seller’ and his Maid who operate the ‘Den’ itself.
HK299G "The Opium Merchant & Maid (Gloss)"
An elderly ‘Opium Seller’ and his Maid who operate the ‘Den’ itself.
7. "BEING RETIRED THIS MONTH..."
A large and varied collection of retirals this month which covers a broad range of different series and historical periods.
Take a closer look and see if there is something for you.
MG033(P) "Lieut.Jack Grayburn V.C."
John “Jack” Grayburn was a 26 years old platoon commander with 2 Para during the Battle of Arnhem. His citation of his posthumous Victoria Cross reads, “For supreme courage leadership and devotion to duty. Lieut. Grayburn led an assault to capture the southern end of the Arnhem bridge. Although attacking with great determination he and his men were forced to withdraw under heavy enemy fire. Jack Grayburn was wounded in the process. Throughout the next day and night him and his men occupied one of the approaches to the northern side of the bridge and repulsed several attacks on their position by enemy infantry, mortars and self-propelled guns. On the 19th and 20th September he took command of the remainder of his company and other elements and fought off more German attacks. He even organized offensive fighting patrols to harass and ambush the surrounding in their locations. During this period he was wounded a second time but still refused to be evacuated. Finally as a German tank approached his position he organized the safe withdrawal of his remaining men to a new defensive position. Later that same day, 20 September, 1944, he was killed. This is our small tribute to a great soldier…..
MG034(P) "Major Frederick Gough M.C."
When Lieut. Colonel John Frost of 2 Para was seriously wounded at the Arnhem bridge on 20 September 1944 he handed over command of his battalion to “Freddie” Gough, the unit’s senior major. Major Gough was taken prisoner with the rost of 2 Para when their position was overrun but managed later to escape German captivity in April 1945 and join up with American forces in Bavaria. After the war he became a successful Member of Parliament and lived to see himself portrayed in the movie epic of the Arnhem battle, “A Bridge Too Far”.
MG039(P) "Crouching Bren Gunner"
Holding what was probably the best Light Machine Gun of WW2 in his hands this “red beret” can fit into any Arnhem display or diorama and look great!
MG051(P) "Lance Sergeant Bill Fulton"
Bill was the first British Soldier to actually step foot on the Arnhem Bridge on the evening of 17 September 1944. Advancing forward with a small section he captured several Germans before being wounded himself by return fire. After being evacuated to Brigade HQ he was finally captured several days later and spent the remainder of the war in Stalag XI B in Germany.
The “Pathfinder” BillFulton peers cautiously round a corner armed with his MK.V Sten Gun with bayonet attached.
MG054(P) "Sapper Tom Carpenter"
9th Airborne Field Company Royal Engineers.
Tom flew by glider to Arnhem where his section joined Col. Frost’s men at the bridge on the evening of 17 September. After much fierce fighting he was seriously wounded on 20 September and captured on the 21st. Our figure shows him in action with his trusty Lee Enfield rifle.
Tom sadly passed away earlier this year.
RAF055 "The Cricket Club"
This handsome green and white cricket pavilion makes the perfect “dispersal hut” for our displaced RAF pilots. It’s located in Walmington-On-Sea quite near where our Fields of Battle “Home Guard” soldiers live!
A group of young pilots enjoy a well-earned (and brief) respite from the mighty aerial battles being fought over their heads…
TRW022 "Captain Myles Keogh"
An Irish soldier-of-fortune who somehow ended up in the 7th Cavalry. Tough, experienced and reliable Keogh is seen wearing a Civil War kepi and the black embroidered Patrol" jacket. With one hand he keeps Custer's personal guidon upright... with the other he takes careful aim."
TRW024 "Swinging the Carbine"
With no ammunition left this corporal has no choice but to use his carbine as a club.
TRW028 "Standing Loading Carbine"
Another trooper extracts a round from his cartridge belt while watching the enemy.
TRW044(P) "Little Wolf"
This well armed Cheyenne warrior carries both bow and arrows….and a captured U.S. Army carbine.
TRW045(P) "Running Deer"
Appropriately this well-armed Sioux warrior is wearing a deerskin complete with deer’s head and antlers to frighten the rapidly retreating “Longknives”.
TRW050 "Falling Trooper & Horse"
Both horse and rider have been fatally wounded.
TRW051 ""Friends To The End""
As one kneeling trooper tries to fire his carbine…left handed, his wounded buddy struggles to aim his revolver.
TRW053 "Fight to the Death"
A great little two-figure "action" set portraying the life and death struggle between one of Custer's corporals and a Cheyenne Dog Soldier.
TRW055(P) ""Running Bull""
A relative of the great Sioux leader “Sitting Bull” carries his “coup stick” as he prepares to “count coup” on his bluecoat enemies.
TRW056(P) "“Hawk Man” (casualty)"
This Hunkpapa Sioux warrior is shot off his horse by…
TRW062 ""To the Death""
One of Custer's officers is about to be overwhelmed by a Sioux warrior... knives drawn!
TRW067 "Fatal Shot"
One more U.S. Cavalry casualty...reins in his horse as an Indian bullet strikes home!
TRW074(P) "Black Hawk"
This Northern Cheyenne was well-known for his accuracy with a bow and arrow and was reputed to have killed Tom Custer, the General’s younger brother.
TRW075 "Dead Trooper...Dead Horse"
Both rider and mount have met their fatal end on the banks of the Little Big Horn...
TRW077 "The Rescue "
A wounded trooper finds a temporary refuge as his buddy attempts to pull him up to safety...
TRW079 "Crawling for Help"
A forlorn trooper tries to crawl into cover his right leg pierced by an Indian arrow.
A dismounted trooper pleads in vain as a Cheyenne “Dog Soldier” is about to deliver the fatal blow.
TRW082(P) "The Plains Warrior"
Holding onto the mane of his pony and using his horse’s body as a shield this brave warrior takes aim with his captured Cavalry carbine.
TRW090 ""Geronimo", The Apaches"
A mounted figure of probably the greatest Apache Warchief “Geronimo was a “Mescalero/Chiricahua” born in 1829. He was a superb leader in raiding and revenge attacks on both Mexican and American interlopers… In truth, he harboured more hatred for Mexicans who had killed many of his extended family during this time.
Our new figure shows him carrying a “Winchester” carbine and a holstered pistol.
TRW098 "The Pike Bishop Gang"
In the climactic scene of the movie Pike Bishop (Willian Holden) leads three of his gang, “Dutch’ Engstrom, (Ernest Borgnine) and two brothers, Lyle and Tector Gorch (Warren Oates and Ben Johnson) to bring back another member of their gang who has been held and tortured by a rebel Mexican General.
This leads to the final ‘shoot-out’ which is one of the bloodiest in film history. But before that there is the long tension-filled sequence where the gang make their way, guns in hand, towards the General’s headquarters.
This is the image we’ve chosen to portray ... Now you’ve seen the figures ... Go watch the movie again or see it for the first time.
TRW100 "Eagle's Wing"
Galloping past a group of the hated “Long knives” this Northern Cheyenne dog soldier turns in the saddle to fire his Winchester at one of the enemy.
TRW102 "Two Old Texas Ranger Captains"
Although these two grizzled veterans of Texas law enforcement saw more than their fair share of “Indian Fighting” neither, fortunately for them, was at the Little Bighorn on that fateful day in 1976.
Instead, they decided to gather a herd of cattle and, with a few good men, drive them north out of Texas and up to Montana to start a cattle ranch.
Larry Mc Murtry, the great Texan writer wrote a similar tale and called it “Lonesome Dove” which became a Pulitzer-prize winning novel and a great television series starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall as the two retired Texas Rangers.
This is our small tribute to the Texas Rangers and ... San Antonio where some of the action takes place.
TRW104 ""Taking Aim", The Apaches"
TRW105 ""Kneeling Firing", The Apaches"
TRW106 "Kneeling Firing"
Another version of a trooper making every bullet count.
Cochise was a leader of Chiricahua Apaches. Born in 1804 he was a key war chief during the Apache Wars which began in 1861. Along with his father-in-law, ‘Mangas Coloradas’, he waged a long and often brutal guerrilla campaign against much larger U.S. Army forces all over the Southwest United States.
Several movies have been made of his exploits including “Broken Arrow” and “The Battle at Apache Pass”.
Our mounted K&C figure has Cochise on one of his war ponies taking careful aim with his Winchester repeating rifle.
TRW110 "Crouching Apache Warrior"
Carrying a captured Winchester repeating rifle and wearing a U.S. Cavalry corporal’s jacket this warrior is about to spring an ambush.
He could, of course, also be an Apache Scout for the Cavalry ... You make the decision.
TRW143 "Crouching Apache"
Moving stealthily forward this warrior silently approaches the enemy.
WoD035 "Carol Singers Set #2"
To accompany Mum and Dad in the festivities their two children also join in to sing Christmas Carols.
And that’s the story so far my friends… Enjoy the business, enjoy the hobby and… in these strange times… Stay Sane, Stay Safe!
Best wishes and... Happy Collecting!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country