NEW RELEASES FROM KING & COUNTRY!
Welcome to this May Edition of ‘DISPATCHES’ and the first I have been able to actually write in Hong Kong itself for several months.
As many of you know I spent almost 10 weeks in San Antonio, Texas after initially going over to the States for just 3 weeks for the ‘Official Opening’ of KING & COUNTRY TEXAS.
Now while I was still enjoying all the freedom and fresh air of Texas, China and Hong Kong were undergoing massive lockdowns and travel restrictions that have created all kinds of supply, transportation and production problems until today.
What this means is that K&C’s own output, as well as other companies, has been much reduced and takes far, far longer to develop and produce than previously.
So, apologies in advance, this ‘DISPATCHES’ will seem a good deal ‘slimmer’ than normal. Anyway, that being said, let’s take a closer look at what we have managed to release this particular month… Now, read on…
BEING RELEASED THIS MONTH
1. "A Little Feminine Company..."
When most people think of a typical wild west town they usually picture a livery stable, a general store or a clutch of various wooden shop fronts and, of course a saloon complete with swinging doors. At the beginning of the great westward migration these were not actually towns, much more like small, rough and ready communities of mostly men and relatively few women.
Back in those Victorian era days, respectable women did not go into saloons and also very much upheld the morals and behavior of the age.
Other women however (and a few, shrewd men) saw the ‘need’ and the ‘opportunities’ for certain establishments to be built and soon once a saloon was opened, the rest of the wild west town would follow.
In the towns that sprang up along the main routes of the huge cattle drives between the end of the American Civil War and the late 1880s all kinds of saloons and ‘houses of ill-repute’ opened up to provide feminine company for those cowboys with a few bucks in their pockets and the urge to spend it.
Among the ‘Soiled Doves of The Old West’ who worked in these establishments were women from many different backgrounds and various ethnic origins. Texas in particular had a wealth of ‘Saloon Senoritas’ with a Hispanic heritage and here we present two such ladies for your perusal…
With her alluring figure, flashing dark eyes and cascade of tumbling hair Isabella would catch the attention of any red-blooded, ‘cowpoke’ riding into town with a pocket full of cash and a thirsty desire for a long cool beer and the charms of a very pretty woman.
This more fulsome-bodied senorita is a little older than her friend, Isabella, but even more capable of handling any cowboy that might step over the line and forget his manners... or his cash!
AVAILABILITY: Early May
2. "An Ancient Roman Temptress"
In the annals of Ancient Roman decadence there was no shortage of individuals, both famous and infamous who reveled in the luxury, extravagance and corruption of its orgies and sensual excesses.
One of the best known and most notorious was Valeria Messalina…
This high-born woman was the cousin of two emperors, Nero and Caligula and the great-grandniece of the Emperor Augustus.
A powerful and ambitious woman she become the third wife of the Roman emperor Claudius.
Little is known of her early life prior to her marriage to Claudius in AD38. She would go on to bear two children by the ruler, a daughter Claudia Octavia and a son Britannicus.
When her cousin, Caligula was murdered in AD41 by his Praetorian Guard her husband Claudius was proclaimed the new emperor and Messalina became empress.
After this accession to power, Messalina rapidly gained a reputation as ruthless, predatory and sexually insatiable!
Over the centuries she has been notably featured in many ancient histories as well as more modern novels, films and television series.
Our K&C version of the empress portrays her at the height (or perhaps depth) of her seductive powers during her husband’s reign.
AVAILABILITY: Mid May
3. "Rallying Round The Flag!"
This month introduces four more ‘recruits’ to our dramatic American Civil War range of 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment soldiers.
CW132 "Crouching Advancing"
This volunteer cautiously edges forward, rifle and bayonet ‘at the ready’.
CW133 "The Walking Wounded"
A corporal assists a wounded comrade to the nearest aid post.
CW138 "Kneeling Infantryman Firing Rifle"
AVAILABILITY: Early May
4. "LES DRAGONS A PIED"
Three 2-man sets of French Foot Dragoons to reinforce our first release in April of these colourful dismounted fighting figures.
NA495 "Foot Dragoons Reloading Set"
Two individual figures rapidly reloading before opening fire once more on the enemy.
NA496 "Casualties of War"
A pair of dead Foot Dragoons, their muskets on one side plus a fallen dragoon helmet.
NA497 "Kneeling Foot Dragoons Set"
Two Foot Dragoons preparing to go into battle.
AVAILABILITY: Mid May
5. "TAKING ON THE HUEYS!"
Requiring a heavy machine gun, similar to the .50 calibre M2 Browning, the Soviets began work on this project as early as 1929 and provided the first working samples by 1931 using a 30-round drum magazine. Actual experience and a number of innovations resulted in a much improved, belt-fed adaption that led to the introduction of the DShK 1938 which saw plenty of action throughout Red Army service in WW2 and for many years and wars afterwards.
One country that utilized thousands of these DShK ‘38s was North Vietnam, especially in the ‘Anti Aircraft’ role. Batteries of these heavy machine guns were situated throughout the North protecting all kinds of strategic targets from the attacks of American fighters and bombers.
In addition, other DShK ‘38s were sent down south to help protect, North Vietnamese Army regulars and local Viet Cong guerrillas against aerial assault by South Vietnamese and U.S. Army helicopter gunships which had, until then, been dominating the battlefield.
Here is the first of K&C’s DShK ’38 machine gun sets…
VN133 "NVA DShK ’38 Anti Aircraft Team"
A kneeling North Vietnamese Army gunner and a crouching gun commander observe enemy helicopters approaching their position.
Soon, the order will be given to open fire.
Special Note: A second DShK set will be released this coming June depicting a young female ‘VIET CONG’ gunner manning her gun in the horizontal ground defence role.
6. "Panzer Grenadiers On Patrol"
Four more 2-man sets of K&C Panzer Grenadiers all wearing the M1944 uniform and carrying an assortment of weaponry as they prepare to take on the enemy.
By the autumn of 1944 the general appearance of most German soldiers had changed dramatically since the early victorious years of the ‘Blitzkriegs’ of 1939-1941.
Practical battlefield experience, raw material shortages and other wartime economies had brought forward the introduction of an all-new, much simpler, less fussy and far less expensive uniform closely modeled on the British Army’s own ‘battledress’.
At the same time other changes included short canvas gaiters together with M44 lace-up ankle boots and modified field equipment.
These eight new Panzer Grenadiers also carry an assortment of weapons including the excellent, battle-proven, K98 rifle, the superb MG42 machine gun, the newer anti tank ‘Panzerfaust’ and the MP44 assault rifle.
On the Grenadiers’ steel helmets are both the standard, late-war camouflage cover and the simple but effective ‘chicken wire’ net.
WH103 "The Scouts"
This pair of Panzer Grenadiers would normally be moving in advance of the patrol seeking out the enemy.
WH104 "The Squad Leader Set"
The Squad Leader backed up by a ‘Panzerfaust’ carrying rifleman.
WH105 "The MG42 Gun Team"
This 2-man set portrays the gunner carrying his MG42 on his shoulder while his ‘number two’ brings up the additional ammunition.
WH106 "Extra Escort"
Two supporting Panzer Grenadiers both carrying the classic K98 rifles.
7. "BEING RETIRED IN MAY..."
I based this Marine’s pose on a photo I have of big John Wayne in the classic ‘Corps’ movie, “The Sands of Iwo Jima”. What better name to give him than ‘Stryker’!
USMC041 "USMC 75mm Pack Howitzer & Crew"
Originally designed in the 1920’s to meet a demand for a howitzer that could be moved across difficult terrain, the gun and carriage could be broken down and moved by pack animals.
In the U.S.M.C. from 1943 onwards, divisional artillery always included three 75mm battalions with 12 guns each.
Our new Pack Howitzer comes complete with three Marines manning it.
VN006 "Looking Back"
A lying prone Marine looks behind him to see if there’s more ammunition coming up!
VN008 "Decoy Marine"
Using one of the ‘oldest tricks in the book’ this Marine balances his helmet on top of his rifle to attract an enemy sniper to reveal his position.
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.
JN015 "Japanese Infantryman"
The first of an upcoming series of regular Japanese Army infantry...marching with his Arisaka rifle on the shoulder. Based on an actual photograph this soldier is extremely casual in his dress...even by Japanese standards!
JN033 "Kneeling Rifleman W/ Grenade"
Crouching down on one knee this infantryman holds his rifle in one hand and a Grenade in the other.
JN037 "Crouching Soldier"
With rifle and bayonet this infantryman moves cautiously forward.
JN038 "Fight to the Death"
A vicious hand-to-hand combat between a Japanese soldier and his British / Australian / Canadian opponent.
And that, as I usually say, is that for another month. Alas not as many items as we originally planned but a few more than it looked like we were going to have!
Challenging times indeed!
But, we’re still here and we’re still fighting. All the very best and as ever…
Best wishes and... Happy Collecting!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country