NEW RELEASES FROM KING & COUNTRY!
Welcome to this month’s DISPATCHES and a select little group of figures that includes some suggested by a K&C collector who is also a senior officer in one of Britain’s most famous cavalry regiments!
And so, without further ado let’s see what’s in store this month…
BEING RELEASED IN JUNE…
1. "Memories of Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ"
When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ passed away in September last year the outpouring of love and grief stretched out from Britain and travelled around the world and touched many people in many places.
Here people in Hong Kong, which had until 1997, been a British Crown Colony, displayed their own mark of respect to a much-loved monarch in their own unique way.
For ten days, from the news of the Queen’s death until the day of her state funeral, many thousands, of ordinary Hong Kong citizens of all ages and from all walks of life and backgrounds made their way up to The British Consulate to lay flowers, place photographs and light candles celebrating the Queen’s long life and reign.
The British Consulate is located right next to Pacific Place where our own King & Country store is situated. So I and other members of our staff also went up to see the amazing display as well as place our own floral tribute.
That was the time when the idea came to me to design and produce additional figures of Her Late Majesty at different stages of her long and eventful life.
Already we have released the Queen and her favourite Corgi dogs which have proved very popular with collectors here and around the world.
Now, we have two more unique little representations…
CE089 "The Young Queen Elizabeth II"
More than 70 years ago, on June 7, 1951, the then Princess Elizabeth stood in for her ailing father King GeorgeⅥ to take the salute at ‘Trooping The Colour’ for the very first time.
Just one year later, after the death of her father and now Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ, the young monarch once again attended this colourful and spectacular military ceremony and would go on to take part in many more ‘Troopings’ over the following seven decades.
As was the custom the Queen herself, from 1952 until 1986, would ride one of her favourite horses and be wearing a specially-designed, dress uniform of one of her 5 regiments of Foot Guards.
Depending on which one of her Guards regimental colour was being ‘trooped’ her majesty would wear that particular unit’s dress uniform.
This new standing figure of the younger Queen portrays her in the uniform of The Grenadier Guards, the senior regiment of the Foot Guards and founded in 1656.
Originally formed as a Royalist regiment to protect King CharlesⅡ they enjoy a long and glorious history of loyalty, service and bravery in defence of country and monarch in countless wars and conflicts.
Famous for their flawless drill and combat readiness the Grenadiers continue to this day to be deployed in frontline operations across the globe, most recently in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Their motto is ‘Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense’ which translates as ‘Shame On Him Who Thinks Evil Of it’
TR013 "Queen Elizabeth II in State Attire"
On great formal occasions, such as welcoming and entertaining visiting foreign dignitaries and other countries ‘Heads of State’ Her Late Majesty would often host an important dinner or luncheon for the relevant guest to greet them to Great Britain.
She would also attend the annual State Opening of Parliament where she would address a joint assembly of Parliament that would include all members of the lower House of Commons as well as the upper chamber, the House of Lords.
For all of these more formal ‘State’ occasions the late Queen would wear a long, simple but classic evening gown decorated with a blue ‘Riband’ sash representing the Order of The Garter.
Sitting near the top of the ‘Riband’ are a pair of ‘Royal Family Orders’ which are special medallions only awarded to female members of the British royal family.
Lower down is the large ‘Star’ of the Garter Order. Her majesty also wears the George Ⅳ ‘diadem’, considerably smaller and less cumbersome than the awesome Imperial State Crown which is usually only worn at coronations.
2. "The Blues And Royals"
The Monarch’s Household Cavalry is one of the British Army’s most high-profile regiments. It actually consists of two separate regiments – the ‘Life Guards’ and the ‘Blues And Royals’, with a sabre squadron from each serving as a mounted regiment on ‘public duties’ in London.
Base at Knightsbridge Barracks in the heart of London this combined Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment spends much of its time in the public eye as it performs its ceremonial duties in and around the nation’s capitol.
King & Country has, until now, only focused on the Life Guards sabre squadron, easily recognised by their scarlet red tunics and white horse hair plumes adorning their silver Victorian-style cavalry helmets.
The Blues And Royals contingent of the HCMR in contrast to their Life Guards comrades wear navy blue tunics together with red horse plumes on their helmets.
With the increasing popularity of K&C’s ‘Ceremonial’ range has come a growing demand for the other half of the HCMR… The Blues And Royals.
Among the requests for this colourful regiment’s ‘other half’ was a plea from a
long-time K&C collector who is also a senior-serving officer in the Blue And Royals!
As he said, “How can you only portray in miniature one half of very fine regiment Our military collector also suggested that K&C produce a mounted figure of the Princess Royal, Princess Anne who holds among other titles, Colonel of The Blues And Royals. He very kindly sent me a whole draft of terrific reference photos of the Princess on parade with her regiment. And so, as I write this, we have already begun designing the figure which will be released, I hope, later this year.
But first, here is the initial release of K&C’s own ‘Blues And Royals’…
CE099 "Mounted Blues And Royals Standard Bearer"
A junior officer with the rank of ‘Cornet’ usually carries the King’s Standard on parade. In addition all regimental ranks wear a small ‘Waterloo Eagle’ on their left upper shoulder as part of their dress uniform traditions.
CE100 "Mounted Blues And Royals Trumpeter"
Riding a white mount by tradition, trumpeters had to be easily seen on the battlefields of old. This tradition continues to the modern day although only for ceremonial and other Public Duties.
CE101 "Standing Blues And Royals Trooper"
Each day, while on ‘Public Duties’ in London or Windsor the Blues And Royals carry out a ‘dismounted parade’ precisely at 4:00pm each day where the ‘old guard’ is replaced by the ‘new guard’. This little ceremony takes place in the courtyard of Horse Guards in London.
Our trooper stands firmly at attention, his cavalry sabre in his right hand.
CE102 "Dismounted Blues And Royals Trumpeter"
Before the First World War, regimental trumpeters still wore the heavy steel cuirass the same as other dismounted Household Cavalry.
The polished steel cuirass for trumpeters was discarded shortly after the end of hostilities in 1918. Today all trumpeters whether mounted or dismounted simply wear their dress blue tunics.
CE103 "Mounted Blues And Royals Corporal of Horse"
In the British Cavalry, a Corporal of Horse is the equivalent of a sergeant in any other branch of the British Army.
Sergeants and other NCO’s (Non Commissioned Officers’) are the backbone of the British Army and a major factor in any unit’s success.
This ‘Corporal of Horse’ is no exception.
CE104 "Mounted Blues And Royals Trooper"
Sabre in right hand and loosely holding his horses’ reigns in his left, this magnificent trooper looks great on any parade ground!
3. "The Bulldog Breed"
Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) can, by general acclaim, to have been Britain greatest Prime Minister and one of the most important political figures of the 20th Century.
In addition to being an inspiring wartime leader he was also a great statesman, soldier, accomplished painter and a superb writer.
Of mixed British and American parentage he was a man destined for greatness although bedevilled by misfortune and, occasionally, calamity throughout his long and very memorable life.
He was for most of his political career a ‘maverick’ who rose to great heights of power and importance in government before often falling from grace. Throughout most of the 1930s he was a man crying in the wilderness while still attempting to warn his country and then the entire world of the deadly dangers of Nazism and Adolf Hitler.
Finally, in May 1940, on the very day Hitler launched his ‘blitzkrieg’ on Western Europe, Winston S. Churchill at last entered the door of 10 Downing Street to become Britain’s greatest-ever wartime Prime Minister.
For the next 5 long, bloody years Churchill was to lead this small island nation from all kinds of defeats and disasters in 1940, ’41 and ’42 to hard-won victories in North Africa, Sicily and into Italy before finally, with America at her side, back into Europe at Normandy in June 1944.
At the same time Britain and its Empire were fighting in Burma and the Southwest Pacific while still, with American’s huge support, helping to supply Russia in its war against the Nazis.
For a man already well into his 6th decade Churchill’s power and stamina were incredible. He truly embodied the British characteristics of determination and strength in the face of setbacks and reversals. He inspired the British people to believe that the ultimate victory alongside their American and Russian allies could and would be achieved.
He personified the ‘Bulldog Breed’ and described the British people themselves as being like the small British Bulldog… tough, brave and determined despite all odds.
Churchill also liked to say that he was more fortunate to be able to provide the bulldog’s bark and, occasionally, the bite too!
DD371 "Winston S. Churchill"
This figure and pose were suggested by a famous photograph of the great man taken sometime during the ‘Darkest Hour’ of 1940 following the defeat of France, the evacuation at Dunkirk and as the Spitfires and Hurricanes of the Royal Air Force were battling the might of Hitler’s Luftwaffe for the skies over Southern Britain.
Winston Churchill, cradling a Thompson Submachine Gun, the fabled ‘Chicago Piano’, looks confident and happy as he puffs on one of his famous cigars and ready to take on all-comers.
Down by his side is an equally defiant and pugnacious little British Bulldog… Both are ready for battle come what may!
4. "Animal Farm"
While going through our catalogue we also decided to upgrade these farm animal figures that were originally, released in different sets for the ‘Life of Jesus’ series.
This time around we did some additional research and discovered more information about exactly what sort of colours and markings were typical of farm animals in the Middle East at the time of Jesus.
And so, we’ve divided them into two very useful sets.
LoJ055 "The Sheep & Goats Set"
A collection of 8 assorted Sheep and Goats which are ideal for a Christmas ‘Nativity’ scene or any particular scenario somewhere in the Middle East during the centuries after the Life of Jesus.
Two cows and a donkey to help populate K&C’s upcoming new Desert Village Stable Building due for release later this year.
5. "Hitlerjugend Reinforcements"
The last twelve months have seen a fair number of late-war ‘Hitlerjugend’ 12th SS Division soldiers released by K&C.
Here are 4 more useful additions to boost the numbers of those young German fanatics fighting in the bocage and hedgerows of Normandy during the summer of 1944.
WS377 "The Drinking Soldier"
Taking a momentary break from battle one of the young HJ soldiers drinks some local wine during a momentary hull in the fighting.
WS378 "SS Squad Leader"
While one of his men enjoys a drink the squad leader remains ever-vigilant… MP40 machine pistol in one hand his other holds the classic German ‘Potato-Masher’ stick grenade.
WS379 "SS Untersturmfuhrer"
An ‘SS Untersturmfuhrer’ was the rough Waffen SS equivalent of a Wehrmact (Army) Leutnant (Lieutenant).
Many Waffen SS officers came up through the ranks and had already seen a fair degree of active service before being selected to go for officer training.
Throughout Germany there were a number of specialized Waffen SS training facilities where suitable candidates underwent all kinds of tests and training before being commissioned to the officer ranks. The most famous of these SS Training Establishments was at Bad Tolz in Bavaria.
Our latest young officer stands confidently ready for action anywhere… anytime.
WS380 "The Crouching Scout"
Cautiously moving forward and carrying his brand-new Sturmgewehr ’44 this SS trooper is holding one of the world’s first and most effective Assault Rifles.
Although most of the initial production was sent to units fighting on the Eastern Front a number were sent westwards to be tested in France and the Low Countries.
By the end of the war in Europe some 425,000 Stg. ‘44s had been produced and distributed.
Post 1945 the Sturmgewehr ’44 remained in use with the East German People’s Army until the early 1960s when it was finally replaced by the ubiquitous AK47.
6. "BEING RETIRED"
And that my friends is the story so far… But before I go let’s take a look at what is being retired…
VN018 "COMBAT CASUALTY SET"
A seriously wounded Marine lies unconscious as a Navy Corpsman does his best to keep him alive and shelter his body from enemy fire... an M16 lies by their side.
One hand stretched back to tell his buddies to halt this Marine is watching and waiting.
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!
VN059 "Stay back he's dead!"
After one of his buddies took a hit this Marine has crawled forward to see what he can do. Alas the first Marine is already dead and the second guy shouts out to the other Marines not to come forward.
A poignant but cruel reality in a battlefield situation such as Hue in 1968.
VN060 "Fix bayonets!"
It rarely happened during the Vietnam War but just sometimes it pays to take no chances. This young Marine has attached his M7 bayonet to the lug of his M16 rifle barrel.
On that cheerful note best wishes to one and all and, as ever!
Best wishes and... Happy Collecting!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country