NEW RELEASES FROM KING & COUNTRY!
WELCOME to this month’s ‘DISPATCHES’ as we prepare to pack up all our displays, figures, fighting vehicles and even a very large aircraft for the ‘CHICAGO SHOW’.
September would not be September without this very important toy soldier show and a very special event. King & Country has now been taking part for more than 30 years!
This month’s ‘DISPATCHES’ are also being issued on a very special date… 3 September 2019… The 80th Anniversary of 3 September 1939 when Great Britain declared war on Nazi Germany. It’s worth remembering that Britain and her Empire, now the Commonwealth, were the only countries that stood against Hitler from virtually the first day of the war until the last. Perhaps that is just one of the many reasons that the Second World War and all its participants have played such a vital and inspiring part of the King & Country story and the many thousands of figures, vehicles, aircraft and other models that we have designed and produced over the years.
So perhaps it is only fitting that this month’s ‘DISPATCHES’ features a very strong emphasis on the men and machines of WW2 in Europe and in the Pacific… Now, read on…
BEING RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER…
1. "Operation Market Garden"
One of the longest-running and most popular WW2 ranges produced by King & Country is”ARNHEM’44”… It’s also the series that revolutionized the hobby and converted many toy soldier collectors from traditional, high-gloss figures in 54mm scale to the all-matt painted, larger 60mm soldier.
I can also truthfully declare that it was the first K&C series that attracted a wealth of overseas collectors and was a major turning point in the direction of the company and its fortunes.
That was back in 1995… Today, we’re launching the first of our 75th Anniversary releases that focus on the opening stages of this ill-fated but heroic military operation.
MG076 "Planning Market Garden"
‘Operation Market Garden’ was the brainchild of Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery. Its objective was to create a 64 mile (103km) corridor through Nazi-occupied Holland and into northern Germany. This would involve the capture of 9 key bridges over various canals and rivers by 3 Allied airborne divisions (2xAmericans and 1xBritish). At the same time, British land forces would move along this captured corridor and into the Third Reich itself.
If successful, Montgomery believed, the war might be over by Christmas 1944. Orders were issued, plans were drawn up and the principal senior officers gathered to work out the precise details and duties of everyone involved.
This unique 4-man set brings together four of the senior officers tasked with the British objective... the Dutch town of Arnhem located on the banks of the River Rhine. Gathered around the large map board showing the objectives of all three airborne divisions and the DZ’s and LZ’s around Arnhem itself.
Lieut. Gen. ‘Boy’ Browning, commander of the 1 Airborne Corps and deputy commander of the 1st Allied Airborne Army during Operation Market Garden. During the planning of the operation he memorably said, “I think we might be going a bridge too far!”
A former Guards officer and a little bit of a military ‘dandy’ Browning designed his own special uniform and created the British paras famous red beret and winged Pegasus badge.
Lieut. Gen. Brian Horrocks, commander of the British XXX Corps tasked with leading the ground assault of the ‘Market Garden’ operation.
Maj. Gen. Roy Urquhart, General Officer Commanding the British 1st Airborne Division at Arnhem. Urquhart’s division fought for nine days unsupported against the 2nd SS Panzer Corps in the ill-fated attempt to capture the famous bridge over the Rhine and lost three quarters of its strength (killed, wounded and captured) during the battle.
Maj. Gen. Stanislaw Sosabowski, commanded the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade during the Arnhem battle... Even at the planning stage Sosabowski expressed serious concerns about the poorly conceived glider landing zones and parachute dropping areas believing, correctly, that they were too distant from their objectives.
All four of these ‘Market Garden’ senior officers with their map board come together in this special 75th Anniversary Set to tell an important part of the Arnhem ’44 story.
MG077 "On The Road To Arnhem"
Three British paratroopers making their way from the ‘Drop-Zone’ towards Arnhem. So far… so good… Little do they know what lies ahead.
Special Preview: Here are some photos of additional K&C sets that are being issued over the coming months to mark the 75th Anniversary of this heroic but ill-fated battle.
2. "Operation Wacht am Rhein (Operation Watch on the Rhine)"
The Wehrmacht’s code name for the last great German offensive in the West that erupted on the unsuspecting Allies in mid December 1944… just a few months after their Arnhem Victory.
It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region which includes parts of Belgium, northern France and Luxembourg during the depths of a European winter.
The German intention was to split the Allied Lines, encircle and destroy four Allied armies and capture the great Belgian port of Antwerp.
Hitler hoped that this would force the Western Allies to negotiate a separate peace treaty and allow him to concentrate all his forces on the Eastern Front.
‘The Battle of The Bulge’ is also another of K&C’s most popular and widely collected WW2 ranges of figures and fighting vehicles…
BBG121 "Advancing Thru’ The Snow"
Four great-coated Panzer Grenadiers move cautiously forward towards the unsuspecting American front lines... In a few minutes a mighty German artillery barrage will open up and then these men and their comrades will fall upon the shaken and surprised ‘Amerikaners’!
BBG122 "The Panzerschreck Team"
A small 2-man set of Panzer Grenadiers carrying the German equivalent of the ‘Bazooka’.
BBG123 "Winter Attack!"
Three Panzer Grenadiers rush forward in the assault... Although the snow is deep they have the advantage of surprise!
Special Note: To support these nine Panzer Grenadiers in their attack a special winter edition of the Jagdpanzer IV* self propelled assault gun is also in the works… For release shortly.
AVAILABILITY: NOW! (Jagdpanzer IV will be released in December)
3. "The War In The Pacific"
From the freezing cold of a European Winter to the hot and humid heat of the Pacific in 1944 and ’45 we bring you a long-awaited and much-requested fighting vehicle to provide much needed armoured support for K&C’s U.S. Marines battling their way island by island all the way to Tokyo…
USMC053 "The U.S.M.C. Pacific Sherman"
The M4 Sherman with its powerful 75mm main gun and strong armour was more than a match for any Japanese tanks of WW2 as well as their anti tank artillery.
Mid 1944 saw the replacement of most of the Marine Corps tanks battalion’s earlier M3 Stuarts with the more powerful, heavier armoured M4 Shermans.
Although easily ‘out-gunning’ the enemy armour a new threat erupted when Japanese suicide teams, wrapping themselves with explosives, threw themselves onto American tanks.
Marine Corps ‘tankers’ improvised a whole range of field modified methods to keep the enemy at bay.
One common practice in the Pacific was to attach thick timber planks on each side of the tank to ward off the enemy attaching adhesive or magnetic mines and explosives.
They also provided additional protection against Japanese anti tank guns.
This great new K&C Sherman has also been camouflaged in shades of olive drab... rust-coloured brown and desert sand – it’s typical of U.S.M.C. combat operations of this late war period.
Our model also comes complete with the rare sighting of a USMC tank commander appearing just above the rim of his turret hatch to get a better look at the enemy.
Together with a high quality full-colour presentation box this K&C Pacific Sherman is a welcome reinforcement for all our fighting Marine riflemen battling their way up from the beach... into the jungle... and all the way to Tokyo!
4. "Attack On Ouistreham"
Ouistreham is a small port town on the coast of Normandy and, on June 6, 1944, the objective of 177 French commandos led by Capitaine de Frigate Philippe Kieffer.
The commandos task was to ‘knock-out’ a German strongpoint located in and on top of a pre war French casino.
This brave and bold story was replicated in the 1962 War epic, “The Longest Day” which showed the attack on the Casino.
Now K&C proudly introduce 10 all-action, fighting Free French commandos led by a special ‘solo’ figure of Kieffer himself.
Two individual commandos and Two 4-man assault sets will be available… in two releases.
DD330 "Capitaine de Fregate Philippe Kieffer"
Philippe Kieffer (1899-1962) was a French naval officer, a political personality and a true hero of the Free French Forces.
Following the Fall of France in June 1940 he was one of the first regular French officers to leave for London to join Gen. De Gaulle’s Free French.
In Britain he formed the first unit of French commandos known as the 1er Bataillon de Fusiliers Marins Commandos and took part in several important ‘raids’ on occupied Europe before leading his men into battle on D.Day.
Our K&C representation shows him leading his men and carrying a Thompson submachine gun.
DD331 "Free French Commandos Set #1"
Four ‘Fusilier Marins’ go into the assault ... Two firing their Sten guns while a third takes careful aim with his Lee Enfield .303 rifle. A fourth, lying prone commando provides covering fire with his Bren light machine gun.
DD333 "Free French Commandos Grenadier"
Holding his Sten gun in one hand, a running ‘Fusilier Marin’ rushes forward clutching a grenade in the other.
SPECIAL NOTE: The remaining 4-man set of Free French Commandos will be released in November.
5. "A Descendant of The Sun Goddess..."
The Emperor Hirohito (1901-1989) reigned as emperor of Japan from 1926 until 1989. He was the head of state during Japan’s expansionist assault on China and its entry into WW2 on 7 December 1941.
After Japan’s defeat in August 1945 he was not prosecuted for war crimes however his close involvement with wartime decisions and actions remains to this day controversial.
During the post-war period, he became the symbol of the new state now emerging and the peace and prosperity it promoted and enjoyed
Here however we see him during WW2…
JN058 "The Emperor Hirohito"
On December 8 (December 7 in Pearl Harbor) 1941, Japanese forces struck simultaneous attacks on Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore, The Philippines and elsewhere in the Pacific.
In Tokyo, the Emperor took a keen interest in military progress and was involved in helping to plan several military operations. In order to boost both military and civilian morale he also chose to wear the everyday uniform of a Japanese general complete, of course, with the traditional ‘Samurai Sword’... And that’s how we have portrayed him.
6. "... And Finally to the Little Bighorn!"
Last but not least we leave WW2 alone for just a little while as we move onto another battlefield… at another time.
The Battle of the Little Bighorn or, if you prefer, ‘Custer’s Last Stand’ was the last major engagement between the combined forces of the Lakota Sioux, the Northern Cheyenne and the Arapaho against the United States Army.
For the Indians it was also to be their last great victory against the ‘Long Knives’ for which they would suffer greatly!
However on June 25-26, 1876, along and above the banks of the Little Bighorn River in Montana Territory a last great victory was won.
Here are three of the victorious American Indian warriors…
TRW155 "Black Cloud"
This Northern Cheyenne warrior, armed with a lance and shield helped defend the tribal lodges east of the main village on the Little Big Horn in the early stage of the battle.
TRW156 "Brave Bear"
A Southern Cheyenne dog soldier who has the distinction of being the warrior who actually killed Custer!
TRW157 "Breech Cloth"
A Lakota Sioux killed fighting on ‘Reno Hill’. Here we see him being shot off his horse on June 25, 1976.
7. "BEING RETIRED THIS MONTH..."
AL099 "Standing Horse #1"
AL100 "Standing Horse #2"
FOB077 "Standing Home Guard Major"
Second-in-Command of the Home Guard Battalion our volunteers belong to
FOB082 "The Captain"
Home Guard Officers came from all walks of life…butchers, bakers…even bank managers…but all eager and willing to defend their country against Adolf and his Nazi hordes!
FOB083 "The Sergeant"
As we all know the backbone of any military unit are the NCO’s (non commissioned officers) and the Home Guard was no exception. However not all sergeants have to be nasty and ‘orrible….Some can be really quite nice and awfully pleasant.
FOB084 "The Scrounger"
In any military there are always the soldier who knows all the angles and is very good at cutting corners…and never getting caught out!
FOB085 "The Mummy’s Boy"
For some the military comes as a great shock to the system…For others it’s a huge adventure…For a few it’s a chance to play with a real gun!
FOB088 "The Old Soldier"
The Home Guard attracted army veterans from the First World War and the Boer War…Even some how had served with the great Lord Kitchener in the Sudan!
FOB113 "Walking Ready Poilu"
During the battle for France in May and June 1940 the greatest burden and casualties fell on the French infantry.
Here this “Poilu” warily advances (or perhaps retreats) rifle at the ready. His uniform and equipment has barely changed since 1918!
FOB123 "Rear guard Trio"
While some blokes get the opportunity to retreat others have to stay back and hold up the advancing Germans.
These three “Tommies” prepare for battle.
IC039 "General & Map"
One of Qian Long’s foremost generals indicates on a specially-drawn map the disposition of the enemy’s armies.
LOA009 "Major Garland"
Contrary to both movie and myth the Arab armies were supplied with more British Military Advisors than just T.E. Lawrence. Garland, for practical reasons, has adopted traditional Bedouin head dress.
LOA010 "Arab Loading Rifle"
This fierce some looking warrior is chambering another round into his rifle.
MK116 "The Veteran"
A mace-wielding mounted Knight prepares to do battle.
NA375 "The Emperor & His Aide de Camps"
Napoleon himself stands before his map table (plus 2 x maps). By his side, two of his many Aide de Camps (ADC’s) awaiting orders.
Well, that’s the story so far for one more month. Hope you find something to like in this little September collection.
In the meantime… Look out for upcoming display photos of what’s on show in Chicago from the 18th of September onwards. Plus as usual…
Best wishes and... Happy Collecting!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country