NEW RELEASES FROM KING & COUNTRY!
Welcome to this month’s DISPATCHES and by the time you read this edition many of you will, I hope have received your/ our brand-new, special edition ‘Winter Tigers’!
Since I last wrote I’ve been up to China twice to visit one of our main factories and to meet up with our leading sculptor. Finally, I believe we’re beginning to get back to a level of normality and a more regular release schedule.
Talking of which, let’s take a closer look at what’s on offer this month…
BEING RELEASED IN MAY…
1. "Guarding The Sovereign & Their Jewels"
The Yeomen of The Guard form the personal bodyguard of the British sovereign and have been in continuous existence since their formation by King Henry Ⅵ in 1485.
Originally, they were responsible for the King’s (or sometimes Queen’s) safety on journeys at home or abroad and on the battlefield. In addition, they guarded his palaces, patrolled their precincts and perimeters as well as guarding all entrances and exits. They even, in times gone by, tasted the sovereign’s own food!
Today’s Yeomen of the Guard still wear uniforms that harken back to their formation during the reign of the Tudors and carry weapons that are distinctly similar to the same historical period.
For everyday duties the Yeoman’s uniform is black with red detailing. For the great ceremonies of state the more classic and much more colourful ceremonial uniform is red with golden yellow and black design details.
Among the most important state events where the ceremonial uniforms can be worn and seen are:
- The State Opening of Parliament
- Receptions for Foreign Heads of State
- All Royal Weddings, Funerals and other Celebrations.
STRENGTH, NUMBERS & RECRUITMENT
Originally, The Guard numbered just 50 and were all male. Presently, that number has grown to become 79 and also includes a few women.
To be selected for the Guard, an applicant must be at least 50 years of age and have served in a branch of the British Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force and / or Royal Marines) for 20 years or more.
They should also have reached the minimum rank of Sergeant to be even considered and must have been awarded the Good Conduct and Long Service medal.
Retirement is mandatory at 70 for all members of the Guard.
Visitors to London wishing to see the Yeomen of The Guard going about their duties can best view them on duty at the Tower of London where the Crown Jewels are stored and protected.
CE090 "“Yeoman of The Guard w/Partisan” (Marching)"
Wearing his State Ceremonial uniform this man steps out with his ‘Partisan’, which is a kind of decorated halberd dating back to medieval times. In addition, like the other three, he also carries a short sword on the left side of his waist belt.
CE091 "“Yeoman of The Guard, Messenger Sergeant Major”"
One of several, very senior Non Commissioned Officers who can be easily recognized by the four, broad golden yellow chevrons on his right arm.
In addition, this man carries a long, black baton to emphasize his rank and position in the hierarchy.
CE092 "Yeoman of The Guard w/Long Axe"
Just a few of the Yeomen are ever seen with this long and wicked-looking axe of the kind that was once used to execute the sovereign’s enemies.
CE095 "“Yeoman of The Guard w Partisan” (Standing At Attention)"
This Yeoman is attention holding his ‘Partisan’ (halberd) by his side.
Special Uniform Note:
All four Yeoman carry the late Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ ‘Royal Cypher’ EⅡR on the front bodice of their uniform alongwith the four floral symbols of Great Britain; the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the leek of Wales and the shamrock representing Northern Ireland.
2. "Denmark’s Royal Life Guards"
Anyone lucky enough to visit Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen will usually visit the Amalienborg Palace right in the heart of that beautiful city.
It is both a home to the Danish Royal Family and a museum of the Danish monarchy.
One of the unforgettable sights of such a visit is to see the “Changing of The Guard” which takes place on most days throughout the year.
Each noon the ‘new’ guard leave their barracks at nearby Rosenborg Castle and march through Copenhagen’s streets to Amalienborg where they replace the ‘old’ guard which has been on duty for the previous 24 hours.
What makes this changeover ceremony so colourful is that these Danish Royal Life Guards have two dress uniforms… Their ceremonial ‘Red’ tunics are only worn on grand State occasions while their parade ‘Blue’ tunics are much more commonly seen on daily guard duty outside the palace.
Other notable aspects of the Guard’s unique appearance are their tall, black bearskins which date back to 1805 and their short infantry sabers carried by all ranks which came from similar weapons captured from the Prussians during their First Schleswig War of 1848 – 1851.
In addition to their ceremonial duties all of these soldiers belong to a modern mechanized infantry unit that saw action in more recent years in Afghanistan.
MRDG006 "Royal Life Guards Standard Bearer"
This marching Non Commissioned Officer carries the Regimental Banner with the Danish Queen’s cypher in the centre.
MRDG007 "Royal Life Guards Sergeant"
Another marching NCO holding the short infantry sabre in his right hand.
MRDG008 "Royal Life Guards Fifer"
In addition to a regular regimental band the Life Guards also have a ‘Fife & Drum’ Corps. Previously K&C released a drummer now we’re adding the Fifer.
Normally a ‘Fife & Drum’ Corps comprises 16-20 musicians… Eight Side Drummers plus 8-12 Fifers.
3. "ROME AT WAR"
In recent years K&C has seen a growing interest in Ancient Rome among our collectors, especially in Asia.
Now, I can’t pretend to know the reason for this but when I have spoken to some of these collectors they have said they just love the colours of the uniforms and how good the figures look when presented in large formations.
So, who am I to argue otherwise!
ROM060 "Kneeling Roman Legionary"
Classic figure in a classic defensive pose. Crouching behind his shield with his ‘Pilum’ firmly anchored by his foot and angled at 45° to receive the enemy’s attack.
ROM061 "Standing Roman Legionary Throwing Pilum’"
A brand-new version of an old favourite. Using his shield to protect his kneeling comrade this Legionary prepares to throw his Pilum at the approaching enemy.
ROM064 "Rome At War"
Three of each of the previous 2 figures grouped together for added protection in a fighting formation.
This 6 figure set comes in its own specially-designed box with a full-colour cover.
4. "ROMAN VIGNETTES"
Two little ‘vignette’ sets showing different aspects of life for the ordinary Roman Legionary on campaign.
ROM062 "Roman Soldiers At Ease"
A pair of Legionaries in a more relaxed pose discussing the events of the day or perhaps…grumbling about their Centurion or some other senior officer.
The idea for this pair of figures came from one of my reference books that featured several great illustrations about the camp life of ordinary Roman soldiers while on campaign.
Here we see a very irate Centurion ‘making a very firm point’ with his wooden staff on the chest of a luckless Legionary who has obviously upset him.
5. "GOOD MORNING VIETNAM!"
During the Vietnam conflict nearly all Military Police duties and operations came under the direct control of the 18th Military Police Brigade headquartered at Vung Tau, southeast of Saigon and situated at the tip of a small peninsula.
Members of the Brigade deployed to Vung Tau in September 1966 and soon established major sub groups at Nha Trang and Long Binh.
Smaller units were then stationed throughout every tactical zone ranging from Da Nang in the north to Soc Trang in the south.
In all of these and hundreds of other smaller locations MPs performed a wide and expanding range of missions including handling and processing prisoners-of-war, security of vessels and port facilities as well as vital installations and VIP protection.
At the same time, with the rapid expansion of U.S Ground Forces in South Vietnam, maintenance of discipline and law and order in the military were very high on the Brigade’s priorities list… both on and around U.S. bases and also on the streets and highways of South Vietnam.
Even at the height of American involvement in Vietnam with over 500,000 U.S. troops deployed ‘in-country’ the Brigade strength was just 6,000 strong.
Our three new releases provide some welcome additions to this dynamic series…
VN175 "U.S.M.P. ‘On-Duty’"
This particular Military Policeman is a member of the 716th Military Police Battalion who provided security and law enforcement in the Saigon/Cholon/Tan Son Nhut metropolitan area.
Included in their responsibilities were the U.S. Embassy in the centre of Saigon and the massive Military Assistance Command Vietnam headquarters next to Tan Son Nhut Air Base.
K&C’s smartly-dressed MP is wearing his fully-buttoned-up ‘Flak Jacket’, polished helmet and carrying his M16 rifle and, of course, his Colt 1911 .45 Automatic Pistol on his right hip.
This figure works perfectly with our earlier-released M151 “Mutt”
U.S. Military Police version (VN142).
VN176 "South Vietnamese National Police “The White Mice”"
A familiar sight on many South Vietnamese city, town and occasionally village streets were these members of the National Police.
Clad in white cotton shirts and light grey trousers many of these policemen joined the police to avoid military conscription while enriching themselves at the same time with all kinds of corruption and intimidation.
It was often said by many South Vietnamese that the ‘White Mice’ committed many more crimes than they actually ever solved!
It’s also an unfortunate truth that these policemen were seen to be ‘walking targets’ for the Viet Cong. And so, even if you made a lot of money… you might not live long enough to spend it!
6. "ON TRACK FOR WAR!"
One of the great success stories of the Falklands War was the great contribution made by a miniscule number of light tracked vehicles operating in a cold, wet, windswept landscape many thousand of miles away from their home base and backup support.
What I am referring to are the two troops of Scorpion and Scimitar Light Reconnaissance Vehicles send down to the South Atlantic with the British Task Force to help recapture the Falklands.
What is astonishing is the fact that the authorities back in the U.K. decided that only 4 Scimitars, 4 Scorpions and just 1 Samson armoured recovery vehicle would be enough to achieve their desired result!
However, somehow they did help achieve a spectacular land victory in just over 23 days.
Belatedly, following on from the successful launch of our first Falklands range figures in 2022, here is K&C’s tribute to one of that very small band of armoured reconnaissance ‘bunker busters’…
The FV101 ‘Scorpion’ Light Tank.
TF006 "Falklands War Scorpion"
The FV101 ‘Scorpion’ is a British armoured reconnaissance vehicle, sometimes referred to as a ‘light tank’.
It was designed to meet the British Army’s requirement for a light Combat Vehicle that could be air-portable and operate in both extremes of hot and cold weather.
Another requirement was that it be able to move across difficult terrain that had low ground pressure, similar to that of a soldier on foot. This would prove extremely fortunate in the wet, boggy conditions found on the Falkland Islands.
The first regular British Army unit to be equipped with ‘Scorpions’ and its stablemate, the ‘Scimitar’, was The Blues and Royals, the famous household cavalry regiment.
Two troops from ‘B’ Squadron of that same regiment were sent south to the Falklands. One troop was equipped with just 4 Scorpions while the other received 4 Scimitars.
THE K&C ‘SCORPION’
Our King & Country ‘Scorpion’ is hand-painted in the two-colour (Olive drab and black) camouflage typical of most British Army vehicles of the 1980s.
This great-looking model includes a 3/4 figure tank commander and a head ‘n’ shoulders tank driver sitting in the hull.
Together, they definitely add a powerful punch to any Falklands War Collection.
7. "BACK TO THE BOCAGE"
In a scene that must have been replicated many times during the Normandy Campaign a small group of German infantryman make their way stealthily through the Norman countryside to take up a new ‘ambush’ position while they await the next Allied advance…
Six more 12th SS ‘Hitlerjugerd’ boys in three 2-figure action sets provide some useful reinforcements for any late war battlefield display or diorama.
WS382 "Advancing Under Fire"
As bullets fly overhead these two young infantrymen move forward toward a new position.
WS383 "Covering Fire"
As one more infantryman dashes forward his comrade kneels down to provide a little fire support.
WS384 "Open Fire!"
As only one rifleman opens up on the enemy these two SS troopers add their combined firepower to help keep the opposition’s heads down while their comrades move ahead.
SPECIAL UNIFORM NOTE:
These 6 new variations provide alternative combinations of the ‘mixed-rig’ look of the 12th SS troopers at this time of the war.
A special thankyou to those collectors and dealers who suggested this idea.
8. "BEING RETIRED…"
DD285-2 "US Paratroopers Covering Fire (101st Airborne)"
As above ... but with the colourful “Screamin Eagle” patch of the 101st.
DD286-2 "US Paratroopers Crouching Tommy Gunner (101st)"
As above ... but again with the “Pukin’ Chickens” shoulder patch.
DD288-2 "US Paratroopers Moving Forward ... Cautiously! (101st)"
As before but with the 101 patch.
IC042 "Imperial Match Lock Gun Team B"
This set portrays the large and unwieldy early fire arms of the Ching Dynasty... in action!
IF011 "Il Duce Saluting"
There have been quite a few requests for a standing figure of the Italian Dictator… and here he is!
LAH226 "Leni Riefenstahl film-maker Set"
A casually-dressed Riefenstahl leans over her cameramen during the filming of one of her epic documentaries. In addition to her civilian crew she could and did make full use of additional film crew from Nazi groups such as the SA (Sturmabteilung), Hitler’s brownshirts.
LAH229 "Standing Cameraman & Tripod"
Another of Riefenstahl’s many cameramen... This time behind the viewfinder of a tripod-mounted Arriflex... at the time one of the most advanced cine cameras in the world.
LAH256 "The NSKK Motorcyclist"
The NSKK (German: Nationalsozialistische Kraftfahrkorps) was the paramilitary National Socialist Motor Corps that existed from 1931 to 1945.
The NSKK served as a training organization for young people wanting to learn how to operate and maintain high performance motorcycles and automobiles. The NSKK was also used to transport Nazi Party members and officials all over Germany before 1939.
With the outbreak of war in September 1939 most of its members were mobilized into the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS as drivers, mechanics, instructors and dispatch riders.
Our prewar NSKK rider is dressed in their distinctive grey uniform and wearing their own special style and design of ‘crash’ helmet.
RTA061 "Cazadores Loading Rifle"
RTA062 "Cazadores Standing Firing"
RTA063 "Cazadores w/ Ramrod"
RTA064 "Cazadores Officer w/ Pistol"
TRW158 "Dog Wolf"
A kneeling dismounted Cheyenne warrior, ‘Dog Wolf’ takes careful aim with his captured U.S. Cavalry carbine.
Not too many, but some great figures anyway.
And that, my friends, is the story so far. Later this month K&C will be in Japan to make some business contacts, meet some of our collectors and visit an amazing hobby show!
More on that later…
Best wishes and... Happy Collecting!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country