I’m writing this month’s “DISPATCHES” a few days in advance before Helen, K&C’s Managing Director and yours truly head off to the ‘States and San Antonio for the 10th Annual Texas Toy Soldier Show.
Of course by the time you actually read this the show will already be over and we’ll be getting ready to fly back to Hong Kong ... but that’s another story ... So, what do we have in store for you this month ..?
1. AVAILABLE IN JUNE ...
A) DAY OF DAYS, June 6, 1944
U.S. Army Paratroopers have been a staple of K&C for many years ... and this year is no exception. Our last release showed the men preparing to “load-up” their C47’s before flying across the Channel and heading for their DZ’s in Normandy.
This time, the men have successfully landed but are desperately fighting on against repeated German counter-attacks all across the Norman countryside, towns and villages ...
DD285-1 “US Paratroopers Covering Fire” (82nd Airborne)
A great little 2-paratrooper set showing a radioman firing his M1 Carbine while his buddy, armed with a ‘Tommy Gun’ leans forward in support.
DD285-2 “US Paratroopers Covering Fire” (101st Airborne)
As above ... but with the colourful “Screamin Eagle” patch of the 101st.
DD286-1 “US Paratrooper Crouching Tommy Gunner” (82nd)
Kneeling down on his “hunkers” this Airborne trooper is ready for action.
DD286-2 “US Paratrooper Crouching Tommy Gunner” (101st)
As above ... but again with the “Pukin’ Chickens” shoulder patch.
DD287-1 “US Paratroopers Blast Injury” (82nd)
One more 2-man set ... A mortar shell has exploded nearby and as this badly-wounded paratrooper struggles to get to his feet another trooper rushes over to help.
DD287-2 “US Paratroopers Blast Injury” (101st)
As before but with the 101st patch on the left shoulder.
DD288-1 “US Paratroopers Moving Forward ... Cautiously!” (82nd)
Two Riflemen stealthily make their way forward ... one also carries a grenade. The enemy must be close by ...
DD288-2 ‘US Paratroopers Moving Forward ... Cautiously!” (101st)
As before but with the 101 patch.
AVAILABLE : Early June ... Hopefully in time for the D.Day Anniversary.
B) SOME SERIOUSLY HEAVY OPPOSITION!
It was in the fields and hedgerows of Normandy in June 1944 that many Allied troops first encountered German armour ... Tigers, Panthers, Panzers of all sizes and descriptions appeared in those Normandy battles together with an amazing range of Self-Propelled Artillery and Tank Destroyers.
Here is a particular one that, I believe, no other company has produced ...yet!
WH047 “JagdPanzer Pz.Kpfw. IV L/70”
That’s quite a mouthful ... but no less deadly for it! This was a “Tank Destroyer” based on the highly successful Panzer IV chassis and built in three main variants.
As one of the casemate-style turretless Jagdpanzer tank destroyers it was developed contrary to the express wishes of General Heinz Guderian, Germany’s most famous armoured leader.
He believed that the already existing Sturmgeschutz III and IV models were more than adequate for the Army’s needs and this new development simply diverted valuable resources away from Panzer IV tank production!
Hitler and Speer over-ruled Guderian and the Jagdpanzer IV was put into production. The first production vehicles saw action in Normandy and later during the Battle of the Bulge. Many were also used on the Russian Front.
After the war small numbers of surviving L70’s served with the Romanian Army and even a few (6) fought with the Syrian Army against the Israelis during the “6-DAY WAR” OF 1967!
The K & C model comes complete with detachable “metal mesh” protective side skirts and a vehicle commander in the open top turret hatch.
Camouflage is in the muted 3-colour scheme adopted by many German vehicles from the mid war onwards.
AVAILABLE : Early June
C) THE IMPERIAL JAPANESE NAVY ... ON LAND !
By the first half of 1942 the Japanese military juggernaut had smashed its way to victory throughout South East Asia ... Hong Kong had fallen first ... then Malaya and Singapore ... The Philippines followed as did the Dutch East Indies. Across the Pacific in the island chains that connected their recent conquests the Japanese now began to build up their defenses knowing full well that the Allies, particularly the Americans, would sooner or later strike back.
The Imperial Japanese Navy rapidly began construction of dozens of airfields on these distant islands as a first line of defence against any kind of attack from either land, sea or air.
Among the aircraft selected to be deployed from these land bases was their highly successful Mitsubishi A6M “ZERO” carrier-borne fighter.
JN016 “The Land-Based ZERO”
This is K&C’s 4th version of Japan’s best known fighter aircraft ... and the most popular.
The green and black colour scheme is typical of the island –based A6M’s. As you can see the weathered and “battle-weary” ZERO has been exposed to the worst elements of the hot and humid climate of the South Pacific.
However, the Zero was still, in the right hands, a formidable foe and packed a powerful punch. But it’s days were numbered soon bigger, better and more powerful opponents would take to the skies over the Pacific and this time the outcome would be very different ...
Note: Just 250 of this “The Land-Based ZERO” are being released.
JN017 “Lieut Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, Imperial Japanese Navy”
Possibly Japan’s most successful Naval aviator. He claimed 87 enemy victories ... Some sources even claim over 100!
Early in 1942 he was flying over New Guinea before being moved to Rabaul and operating against the Americans who had just landed on Guadalcanal. In his first encounter he shot down two U.S. Navy “Wildcats” ...more were to follow. By November 1942 his score stood at 40.
After a training tour back in Japan he returned to active service in mid 1943 and by 1944 was flying in the Philippines.
Sadly for him, he was shot down and killed while flying as a passenger in a transport aircraft over Mindoro Island on 26 October, 1944.
JN018 “Lieut J.G. Tetsuzo Iwamoto, Imperial Japanese Navy”
Another of the Imperial Navy’s Leading Air Aces. Iwamoto first flew in combat in China in 1938 and was credited there with 14 victories.
Subsequently, he flew A6M Zeroes from the IJN Carrier “ Zuikaku” beginning in December 1941 until May 1942, taking part in “The Battle of the Coral Sea”.
In mid 1943 Iwamoto was sent to fly from Rabaul, New Britain where he remained until recall to help defend the Japanese home islands in mid 1944.
By the end of the war he was credited with 94 “Kills” ... His own personal diary accounted for just over 200.
Our figure shows him checking his watch while holding a flight map and getting ready to climb aboard his “Zero”.
JN019 “Air Mechanic Crew Chief, Imperial Japanese Army”
Although many of the land-based aircraft actually belonged to the Imperial Japanese Navy ground crew to service them were also drawn from the Army Air Force as well as the Navy.
This Army NCO is carrying both his toolbox and an aircraft repair guide.
JN020 “Ground Crew Set #1, Imperial Japanese Army”
As one senior mechanic cleans the oil off his hands the other takes a closer look to inspect the work.
JN021 “Ground Crew Set #2, Imperial Japanese Army”
A kneeling armourer festooned with belts of machine gun bullets is joined by another hard at work on a repair.”
JN022 “Airfield Guard Officer, Imperial Japanese Army”
This smartly-dressed young officer is armed with a “Nambu” pistol and the traditional “Samurai” Sword.
JN023 “Airfield Guard, Imperial Japanese Army”
Two Japanese infantrymen in casual poses but standing guard and helping to keep the airfield and the aircraft secure.
JN024 “Petty Officer Toshio Ota, Imperial Japanese Navy”
Ota flew alongside two other Imperial Japanese Navy air aces Saburo Sakai and Hiroyoshi Nishizawa with the Tainan Air Group. His first confirmed “kill” was a P40 “Warhawk” over New Guinea in April 1942. Over the next 6 months Ota downed an additional 33 American aircraft before being killed in a dogfight over Guadalcanal with U.S. Marine Corps “Wildcats” on October 21, 1942.
AVAILABLE : Mid June
D) “THE PACT OF STEEL”
In May 1939, almost six months before the Second World War broke out Germany and Italy, the foremost Axis Partners, signed a pact that would seal their mutual destinies in the next few years.
Although it eventually led to the death of millions and the devastation of both their countries on the day in May 39 when it was signed all parties concerned were ‘beaming with pleasure’..... None more so, than the two principal signatories ....
LAH199 “Hitler and Mussolini... Together “
Over the years K&C has produced quite a number of automobiles associated with Hitler. Most recently we produced the Mercedes Benz 770 ... Now we’re introducing another of the vehicles in the Fuhrer’s very public fleet ... The Mercedes 540.
Here, you see Hitler and Mussolini together in the 540 after having signed “ The Pact of Steel” earlier in the day. Both look very pleased with themselves ... as well they might ... for the moment .
This set also includes a seated SS driver and has the two flags on the front of the 540. Those of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
LAH200 “Count Galeazzo Ciano”
As Italy’s dashing and stylish Foreign Minister Count Ciano was also IL Duce’s son-in-law. He along with the German Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop were two of the other principal signatories to the pact.
Although related to Mussolini by marriage that did not prevent him being executed for treason in 1944 after Mussolini’s fall from power.
Our figure shows him in happier times.
AVAILABLE : Mid June
E) AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERRENT...
From the rise and fall of dictators in Europe in the 20th Century we move back in time to the quiet greenwood of not-so-merry England during the dastardly reign of Prince John and his evil henchmen ... Guy of Gisbourne and the Sherrif of Nottingham and ... a brave and fearless outlaw called “Robin Hood”.
RH007 “Maid Marian”
Marian was the betrothed of the legendary outlaw of Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood. In reality she may have been a conglomeration of several females in Robin’s life. However, for both television and film audiences she has been “all rolled into one” and come out as the Lady Marian Fitzwalter, a beautiful woman of good family who just happened to fall in love with a dashing young archer who lives in the middle of a forest.
In film she was most memorably portrayed by a very young and very pretty Olivia de Havilland.
RH008 “Alan –A-Dale”
According to legend, Alan-A-Dale was a wandering minstrel who wandered into Robin’s band of “Merrie Men”... and joined them!
In more modern times he was played by the very popular “Elton Hayes” in the Walt Disney film, “The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men” made back in 1952.
Our K&C figure is closely modelled on the Elton Hayes interpretation of “Alan-A-Dale.”
AVAILABLE : Mid June
F) “MAKE YOUR OWN STATUES”
Last month we released some very useful stone plinths to help you build up dioramas and displays ...
Well, if you’ve got the plinths you obviously need some bronze statues to sit on top of them. Here are the first 3 ... Another 6 will be released in the following months.
SP089 “Mounted Napoleon”
A great looking equestrian statue of Napoleon Bonaparte.
SP091 “Marshal Stalin”
“Uncle Joe” in classic thoughtful pose ... Is he thinking, “Now, how many enemies can I liquidate today ...?
SP092 “Australian Light Horse Bugler”
An exciting and dramatic pose ... perfect for a mini war memorial!
PLUS SOME SPECIAL “COMBO” SETS ...
These combination sets are also available and together come at a more economical price ...
SP089-GR “Mounted Napoloen(BRONZE) w/Large Equestrian Statue Plinth (Greystone)”
SP089-SA “Mounted Napoloen(BRONZE) w/Large Equestrian Statue Plinth
SP091-GR “Marshal Stalin (BRONZE) w/Square Statue Plinth (Greystone)”
SP091-SA “Marshal Stalin (BRONZE) w/Square Statue Plinth (Sandstone)”
SP092-GR “Australian Lighthorse Bugler (BRONZE) w/Large Equestrian Statue Plinth (Greystone)”
SP092-GR “Australian Lighthorse Bugler (BRONZE) w/Large Equestrian Statue Plinth (Sandstone)”
AVAILABLE : Mid June
G) “GUARDING THE PONTIFF”
Anyone who has ever visited Rome must also see St.Peter’s Square and the Vatican. If you have done so then you have probably encountered one of the oldest and most colourful military units in the world .... The Pontifical Swiss Guard.
Founded in 1506 these Swiss soldiers have provided security for the Pope himself and for the precincts of Vatican City for more than 500 years.
Their ceremonial uniform, as seen in our new figures, harks back to renaissance times. It was, at one time, suggested that the great painter and sculptor Michaelangelo designed them.
Our four figures form a colourful little group that can be collected in multiples to form a beautiful display that is certainly a change from all the “blood, mud and grime” of some of our other series.
CE017 “Swiss Guardsman at Attention”
Dressed in his best number-one ceremonial uniform this Guardsman holds the long halberd, a 2-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use in the 14th and 15th Centuries.
He also wears the metal, front and back breastplate armour as well as the Spanish-style “Morion” helmet with the red crested ostrich feathers. By his side, like all other guardsmen, a sword.
CE018 “Swiss Guardsman Standing-at-Ease”
Similarly dressed and armed as the first figure he adopts a slightly more relaxed pose.
CE019 “Swiss Guard Corporal Saluting”
Again somewhat similar to the two previous Guardsmen but no breastplate only the sword and helmet for protection.
CE020 “Swiss Guard Musician / Trumpeter”
In addition to their guard duties the Swiss Guard also have their own band of musicians who perform together or, in this particular case, solo.
The small banner on the trumpet bears the coat-of-arms of the Pope.
AVAILABLE : Mid-Late June
H) “HORIZON BLEU POILU”
A little something extra for collectors of our WW1 French Army.
FW 224B “The Pointing Poilu”
AVAILABLE : Mid-Late June
2. BEING RETIRED ...
Not very many this month ... but if any of them appeal to you and your customers grab ‘em while you can ‘’’
AL045 Standing Horse #1
AL046 Standing Horse #2
AL047 Galloping Horse #1
AL048 Galloping Horse #2
RAF053 Wing Commander J.E. Johnnie Johnson
WS265 We’ll Soon Have Your Back At The Front!
WS266 The Chest Wound
And that is that, as I am fond of saying. Here’s wishing you and your collectors all the very best. Enjoy!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director