NEW RELEASES FROM KING & COUNTRY!
Welcome once more to this month’s ‘DISPATCHES’… Not too many releases but some welcome additions and reinforcements to a couple of our most recent ranges of ‘Soldiers in Action’ in two widely different ‘Theatres of War’ on both sides of the global conflict that was WW2.
Also being released this month is one of the most important leaders and personalities of the Vietnam War… and one of its most controversial!
Finally, there are several special ‘Yuletide’ offerings just in time for the Christmas Season.
So, without further ado let’s get this show on the road…
BEING RELEASED IN NOVEMBER
1. "Kokoda Diggers Fight Back"
King & Country’s initial release of figures illustrating this hard-fought campaign in the steep, mountainous jungle of Papua New Guinea focused on Australian soldiers moving along the infamous ‘Kokoda Trail’ in the middle of 1942.
At this time Japan’s newly-won empire extended in depth across vast tracts of China, the Pacific and South East Asia.
After crippling the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, capturing Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies the Japanese were now poised to strike at Australia itself.
The island of New Guinea was the perfect staging post for their next major offensive and it was here that the Australians decided that the enemy would be halted and then thrown back… The fight was on… Here are the first of our five fighting ’Diggers’…
KT005 "Vickers Machine Gunner"
The Vickers Machine Gun or ‘Vickers Gun’ was the name given to the British, water-cooled, .303 heavy machine gun used by British and Empire armies in two World Wars and countless other conflicts from its introduction in 1912 until its retirement in 1968… more the 56 years on ‘active service’, a record virtually unmatched by any other British infantry weapon.
This gun had a reputation for great solidity and reliability and was based on the highly successful Maxim machine gun of the late 19th Century.
These sterling qualities endeared the Vickers to every Australian soldier who ever fired it. Our ‘Digger’ sits perched on a sandbag behind his gun complete with ammunition boxes and ready to open fire on the enemy.
KT006 "The Kokoda Bren Gunner"
While the Vickers Guns were supplied at Company and Battalion level all infantry platoons would have a Bren Gun for each one of its three rifle sections.
The Bren was a Light Machine Gun that fired the same .303 round as its heavier Vickers counterpart and although fitted with a bipod could also be mounted on a tripod in the ‘fixed-firing mode’ or even on all kinds of military vehicles.
Our K&C lying prone ‘Digger’ is firing his Bren in the most commonly used shooting position.
KT009 "The Kokoda Rifle Section"
A three-man section, all of them armed with the classic Lee-Enfield Rifle, commonly known as the .303 SMLE (Short Magazine Lee Enfield).
This bolt action, magazine-fed rifle served the British and Commonwealth Forces from 1903 up until 1957 in several different variants.
The best known of all the Lee Enfield rifles was the SMLE Mk.Ⅲ introduced in 1907 and fitted with the18” long 1907 Pattern Sword Bayonet.
Although superceded in the British Army by the introduction of the Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk. 1 rifle Australia chose to retain their vintage SMLE Mk.Ⅲ’s until well after the Korean War.
Here K&C’s three ‘Diggers’ have adopted various shooting poses as they prepare to take on the advancing Japanese.
2. "THE MAN WHO LOST VIETNAM…?"
When it comes to blaming what or who ‘lost’ Vietnam it’s often convenient to lay a great deal of the blame on the broad shoulders of just one man… William C. Westmoreland.
That, would be both wrong and unfair…
VN157 "General William C. Westmoreland"
As commander of all U.S. ground troops in South Vietnam from 1964 until 1968 he pursued a war of attrition against first, the Viet Cong and then, increasingly, the NVA (North Vietnamese Army), attempting to drain them of manpower and supplies. He made extensive use of the massive American superiority in artillery and air power, both in tactical confrontations and in relentless strategic bombing which allied to a major troop buildup saw U.S Force numbers expand from approx. 25,000 in 1964 to almost 540,000 in 1968!
‘The Westmoreland Strategy’ was ultimately unsuccessful both politically and militarily because while the VC and the NVA, under their leadership, were more than willing to accept higher casualties the American public and their increasingly embattled Government were not.
General William C. Westmoreland himself had, until Vietnam a very successful military career with many awards and promotions along the way.
Physically, tall and striking he was an imposing figure on the battlefield, in the MACV Headquarters (Military Assistance Command Vietnam) or at the Pentagon in Washington.
Up until the TET Offensive of early 1968 he had the confidence and support of President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Cabinet in Washington.
It was the sudden surprise of the TET Offensive which ultimately shattered Johnson’s confidence in Westmoreland. Although the Americans and their South Vietnamese allies decimated the communist opposition they lost the support of the great American public back home… Thanks in part to the U.S. mainstream media.
This special ‘General Westmoreland’ figure portrays this top-ranking U.S. Army officer on one of his many visits to his troops in the field. His army jungle fatigues are perfectly starched and pressed… his 4 star rank appearing prominently on his baseball cap and on both shirt collars… his black jump boots perfectly shined and polished…. The very picture of a modern major general… even in the jungles of Vietnam!
AVAILABILITY: Mid November
3. "FIGHTING IN NORMANDY"
Here is the second batch of 12th SS “Hitlerjugend” Panzer Division youngsters ready and willing to go into battle somewhere in Normandy in the summer of 1944 just days and weeks after the 6 June Allied Invasion.
As earlier 12th SS figures these new additions are also in ‘mixed rig’ uniform combinations of camouflage jackets or trousers with traditional German field grey tunics and / or trousers.
WS366 "HJSS Firing MP44"
This NCO (non commissioned officer) kneels down to take careful aim with his MP44 Assault Rifle.
WS369 "HJSS Kneeling w/MP40"
Although kneeling this young soldier looks as if he is about to jump up and move to a new location.
WS370 "HJSS Kneeling Firing Rifle"
As virtually all younger members of the 12th SS had passed through the ranks of the Hitler Youth many of them were already ‘expert shots’ as marksmanship was
highly-prized and awarded within the entire HJ movement.
WS371 "HJSS Kneeling Signaller"
Crouching down beside his field telephone this signaller receives the latest battlefield information… or perhaps instructions from a superior.
WS372 "HJSS MG42 Gun Team"
This 2-man team lies prone behind their deadly MG42 machine gun about to open fire on some advancing ‘Tommies’.
WS373 "HJSS Advancing firing Rifle"
Cautiously moving forward ready to open fire with his Gewehr 43 rifle.
AVAILABILITY: Mid November
4. "HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS!"
Christmas comes but once a year and, as usual, we like to ‘bring in the new’ as well as revisit a couple of old friends…
XM022-01 "Santa & The Polar Bear Express"
Christmas 2021 we introduced one of Santa’s favourite polar bears to keep the old gentleman company on those arduous Christmas Eve trips around the world delivering presents.
This year 2022, sees another of Santa’s Polar Bears offering his services to help Santa with his deliveries under the banner of ‘The Polar Bear Express’.
Santa definitely looks happier with the additional help and support!
XM022-02 "Santa’s Little Helper"
Now, that’s not the only extra help Santa is getting this year…
This delightful young lady is most definitely all-dressed-up and ready to go to the party!
Plus she’s got a cute little ‘North Pole’ signpost and some gifts of her own to deliver…
Plus two Extra Special Little Gift Sets.
SGS-XM003 "Santa’s Workshop Cottage"
Includes the little ‘North Pole’ sign.
SGS-XM004 "Christmas Carol Singing Celebration"
Two colourful Victorian children under the Christmas Street Lantern… a little Snowman and another of those ‘North Pole’ signs.
Only a very limited number of these ‘Special Gift Sets’ are available. Order Now to avoid disappointment!
AVAILABILITY: Mid November
5. "BEING RETIRED"
As I wrote earlier not too many items this month but some really good ones… Now, before I go here is what is being retired…
RnB001 "Those Who Are About To Die"
A kneeling captured Gallic Warrior awaits his fate as a Roman Legionary stands over him with sword drawn and looks down on him pitilessly... Depending on the whim of the nearest Centurion this rebellious Gaul maybe sentenced to a life as a Galley slave ... Or death in the arena... Or even a swift exit right here and now!
RnB003 "The Farewell"
When the Roman Legion took over an area of conquered land they built forts and garrisoned them with troops, who in some cases, might stay there for years.
Often in such circumstances and depending on the local conditions they might find ‘wives’ among a few of the native population.
Here, one such soldier prepares to go on duty as his wife and child look on.
RnB004 "Guarding the Prisoner"
Less amicable relations with the local population can be seen in this 2-man set... A recently-captured prisoner, hands tied behind his back, is made to kneel by his Roman captor.
RnB005 "The Mounted Scout"
This particular Barbarian warrior shields his eyes as he looks toward a distant Roman patrol marching through his tribal lands.
RnB008 "Short Back & Sides"
A different prisoner... a different Roman soldier. As the captured warrior is made to lie prostrate under him the Roman Legionary appears to be waiting for instructions from a superior as to the prisoner’s fate.
In general, warrior prisoners of Rome could expect either ‘a life as a galley-slave’... ‘a brutal and bloody future in the Arena’... or perhaps ‘a relatively swift end’. None of the options pleasant!
RnB013 "No Mercy"
A Roman Legionary pleads for his life to be spared as a tattooed Briton stands over him dagger in hand...
RnB014 "Mounted Chieftain w/The Draco Standard"
The ‘Draco Standard’ was originally developed by the mounted nomads of the Steppes. It may have originally been used to determine the wind-direction for horse-archers.
Roman cavalry units adopted the ‘Draco’ for their own use and here we see one that has fallen into enemy hands and is proudly displayed as a battle trophy by this mounted chief.
RnB015 "Carnyx Horn Player"
The ‘Carnyx’ was an ancient Celtic war trumpet used between 300 BC and 200 AD. The instrument and its player accompanied warriors into battle.
The mournful sound of this ancient horn was said to both inspire its followers as well as strike fear into its enemies. It was considered a great honour among the warriors to be chosen to both play and carry the richly decorated tribal Carnyx into battle.
RnB017 "Advancing Warrior"
RnB019 "Scourging The Prisoner"
Prior to execution it was normal Roman procedure to flog the prisoner... The usual instrument was a short whip with several single or braided leather thongs of various lengths. Into these thongs would be tied small iron balls and sharp pieces of bone at irregular intervals.
For scourging, the prisoner was stripped of most of his clothing (women were never scourged) and tied to a large wooden or stone post.
Two Roman soldiers would be on either side of the victim and would take it in turn to flog him. Extreme pain and blood loss would soon follow and it was not uncommon for the prisoner to even die of shock at the post. Should the prisoner survive his ordeal the soldiers would often taunt their victim adding extreme insult to injury!
RnB020 "The Centurion & His Prisoner"
This Centurion, sword in hand, is taking no chances with this captured Celtic warrior. Although trussed up in a heavy wooden stock some prisoners are capable of anything even when ‘locked-up’ in this manner.
RnB021 "Life or Death...?"
The fate of captured rank and file rebels was usually decided in the immediate aftermath of a battle... If slaves were required either to be worked to death in the Roman quarries or as ‘gallery-slaves’ they lived (for a time). Similarly, they might to spared to be trained as gladiators to fight in the arenas that had sprung up across the empire and in Rome itself.
If, alas, they were unsuitable for any of these destinations or were declared “surplus to requirements” a quick sword thrust was usually the end result!
RnB022 "Kneel & Obey"
A kneeling Gallic prisoner is told to pay attention and watch the fate of other Roman captives as they are being punished.
RnB025 ""A Head for a Head!" #2"
A Roman soldier returns the compliment.
RnB026 "Optio w/ Sword & Helmet "
A useful figure to have in any camp or fort scene... This ‘Optio’ observes what is going on around him.
RnB027 "Shouting Centurion"
This Legion officer is certainly mad at someone... whether it’s an unfortunate Legionnaire or some Barbarian enemy we will leave that decision up to you.
RnB034 "The Galloping Gaul"
Spear held aloft and ready to be thrown at the hated Roman invaders this mounted Gaul is not impressed by the might of Rome.
RnB035 "Captor & Captive"
Here, a forlorn and dejected young and attractive female captive is led away by a mounted barbarian chieftain. What fate awaits her remains unknown however this was a scene that was not unknown during the Empire’s long and often brutal reign...
RnB036 "Gallic War Chief"
This local Chieftain urges his men forward... “You have nothing to fear except death itself!” Brave fighting words indeed.
RnB037 "Charging Gaul"
Totally unafraid this Gaul charges towards the enemy.
RnB039 "Shouting Celt"
Sword in one hand, shield in the other, this red-haired Celt screams defiance at the enemy.
RnB040 "Death to the Romans"
Another Barbarian warrior who, for a brief moment, is content to scream defiantly at the Romans before closing for battle.
SP028 "Oasis Well"
Water is the most precious commodity in the dry arid heat of the Middle Eastern desert lands and here's one solution...our K&C Desert Oasis Well". A simple stone structure, unchanged for centuries, provides liquid refreshment for weary travellers and rampaging armies."
On that cheerful note I’ll bid you all a fond farewell for the moment.
Best wishes and... Happy Collecting!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country