Well that’s July behind us and what a month it was for all of us here in Hong Kong... If you want to know more watch the TV or go on YouTube.
On the toy soldier front the hilight for me was my Annual ‘Oz Tour’ down under and the chance to preview in person our upcoming ‘Aussie Centurion Tank’ and K&C’s ‘Battle of Long Tan’ set #1. The response in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne from dealers and collectors alike was tremendous and very gratifying. More on that later...
The winter weather in ‘The Land of Oz’ was also great... pure blue skies, sunny, cool during the day... a bit nippy at night. I loved it! Here in Hong Kong at the same time it’s hot, sticky and humid so Australia was a very welcome contrast.
Now, however it’s back to work and nose to the proverbial grindstone!
Here is what’s coming up in August...
1. BEING RELEASED THIS MONTH...
A. “Return to Normandy”
Here are the final four more U.S. Army Rangers to add on to those released earlier in June and July to help collectors storm those beaches in Normandy one more time.
DD321 “Hitting The Beach” Set #1
This is the last 4-man set of Rangers in our 75th Anniversary commemoration of June 6, 1944.
Included in this set are three more Rangers in various ‘action’ poses moving forward under fire with their M1 ‘Garand’ rifles. A fourth crouching Ranger supports his three buddies with his B.A.R. (Browning Automatic Rifle). This squad support weapon served U.S. forces loyally from its earliest days at the end of WW1 all the way up to and including WW2 and Korea. Some BAR’s even saw service in the Vietnam conflict.
AVAILABLE: Early August
B. “Riding Across The Battlefield”
The Age of Napoleon was also the Age of the Horse at least on the battlefield... and Napoleon had more than his fair share of both... battlefields and horses. The Emperor was a great believer in seeing for himself what was happening on the many fields of battle he fought over during his long military career. One of the ways he did this was to mount his horse and together with some of his Generals and Aides-de- camp ride out to various parts of the battle where he could ascertain the situation and decide whether to reinforce or even withdraw certain forces as the progress of the battle dictated.
This was just one of the ways he could take advantage of the fluidity and chaos of battle and ensure his own forces flexibility and success...
NA439 Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France
The Great Man himself, and one of our most popular K&C figures... Here dressed in the familiar grey greatcoat under which he wears the simple green uniform of a Colonel of the Chasseurs a Cheval of the Imperial Guard.
This regiment most often served as the personal escort to the Emperor.
Here, Napoleon is mounted once more on his favourite horse “Marengo”
NA440 “Napoleon’s Mameluk Bodyguard Roustan”
Roustan Raza (1783-1845) was the Emperor’s personal bodyguard and valet. Born in Tbilisi, Georgia to Armenian parents the young Roustan was kidnapped at just 13 and sold as a slave in Cairo to the Sheik of Cairo who, in 1798, presented him to Napoleon as a body servant.
Roustan was to loyally serve the Emperor for the next 15 years and follow him through many of his most famous campaigns and battles. While in the earlier service of the Sheik in Cairo, Roustan had worn typical Mameluk costume, which he continued to do throughout his time with Napoleon.
Acting as both servant and bodyguard the Mameluk supervised the cooking
and serving of all the Emperor’s meals as well as cleaning and caring for his master’s weapons and uniforms.
Acting as bodyguard he slept near the Emperor and attended him night and day, both on and off the battlefield. Our K&C Roustan gallops along just behind the Emperor.
NA442 “General Lasalle” (1775-1809)
Antoine-Charles-Louis, Comte de Lasalle was one of Bonaparte’s favourite cavalry generals during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Often called the “Hussar General”, he first gained fame as a daring adventurer and skilled horseman and followed the Emperor to Egypt, then back to Europe with campaigns in Spain, Prussia and across the entire continent. Napoleon himself described Lasalle as one of his ‘lucky generals’!
On, July 5, 1809 however the ‘Hussar General’s ‘ luck ran out at the ‘Battle of Wagram’.
Leading a regiment of French cuirassiers in pursuit of enemy infantry he was first shot in the chest but continued to lead the charge.
As the enemy retreat turned into a rout one of the fleeing infantrymen turned and fired his musket at the leading French officer hitting him, more by accident than aimed intention.
General Lasalle reeled back in the saddle, shot between the eyes and dropped dead from his saddle.
On the battlefield Lasalle was easily recognizable by his short, highly decorated Hussar pelisse (jacket) and his adoption of the mameluk’s long, loose fitting red trousers... and his fore and aft bicorne.
NA444 General Gourgaud (1783-1852)
Gaspard, Baron Gourgaud, also known as simply, Gaspar Gourgaud was originally a talented artillery officer who shared the emperor’s interest and fascination with all kinds of ordnance and the means to exploit them to the full.
Although he followed Napoleon into exile on St. Helena after the latter’s defeat at Waterloo he soon tired of the petty squabbles and intrigues among the Emperor’s most trusted confidantes. He returned to France and, after Napoleon’s death in 1821 lobbied long and hard for the emperor’s remains to be returned to France which they eventually were in 1840.
General Gourgaud as portrayed by K&C is dressed in the uniform of a very senior General of Ordnance.
AVAILABLE: Mid August
C. Hong Kong Sisters
HK287 “The Soong Sisters”
Three delightful and colourful young girls that can help brighten up any of the “Streets of Old Hong Kong” scenes and backdrops.
AVAILABLE: Mid August
D. “The Knights of St. Lazarus”
One of the joys and delights of meeting and talking with King & Country’s dealers and collectors on a regular basis is getting to hear the suggestions and ideas that they come up with for new figures, new series and even entire ranges as well as alternative adaptations of existing ones. Here is one such example...
At last year’s Chicago Show I was surprised to bump into our Russian dealer, Dmitry who, with his wife and daughter, were visiting America and attending the show on the Sunday for the very first time.
Among the topics we discussed were our Medieval Knights, part of K&C’s ‘Crusaders & Saracens’ range of figures. Our Russian friend suggested we should take a closer look at one of the lesser known religious military orders known as “The Knights of St. Lazarus”.
On his iPhone he showed me some photos of illustrations, paintings and figures of this particular order with their distinctive green and white symbols and dress.
Later after more research I decided to produce K&C’s own version... And here they are...
MK180 “Lazarist Sergeant-At-Arms”
The Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, also known as the Leper Brothers or simply, Lazarists, was a Catholic military order founded by crusaders around 1119 at a leper hospital in Jerusalem, whose care became its original purpose, named after their patron saint, Lazarus.
Although they were centred on the care for the afflicted they also notably fought in major battles and campaigns throughout the Holy Land and also in the Defense of Acre in 1291.
While their general military appearance and weapons were the same as other religious order the Lazarists adopted ‘green’ as their colour of choice for symbolic emblems of crosses on shields, banners and surcoats to make them different from their Templar and Hospitaller brethren.
Our shouting Sergeant-At-Arms even has a green steel helmet in addition to the green crosses on his shield and surcoat.
MK188 “Crusader Axeman”
In among our Lazarists are two regular Crusader fighting knights...
This axeman is about to strike a powerful blow with his double-handed axe.
MK190 “Crusader Sergeant-At-Arms”
Charging forward, sword held high, this second Crusader is taking no prisoners!
MK196 “Fighting Knight of St. Lazarus”
Adopting a defensive stance this Lazarist warrior prepares to do battle.
MK197 “Lazarist Axeman”
Most double-handed, medieval axes could easily deliver a fatal blow through steel and brass helmets and chain mail.
Another Lazarist about to administer death from above!
MK198 “Lazarist Knight”
Shouting defiance as he enters the fray.
MK199 “Lazarist Commander”
Even over the din of battle orders and commands still have to be given.
MK-S04 “Lazarist Value Added Set”
Combine all 5 Lazarist fighting figures (MK180,196,197,198 and 199) and we will combine to giving you a very special, value added price!
AVAILABLE: Mid August
E. WORLD OF DICKENS
From the sun-bleached and bloody sands of the Holy Land during the Crusades to the busy, bustling Streets of Olde London during the mid Victorian era...
WoD064 “Oliver & Dodger”
When the young Oliver Twist arrived penniless, homeless and friendless on the streets of London he was fortunate to meet a cheerful and cocky young Cockney going by the nickname of “The Artful Dodger”.
Immortalized in Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’ and portrayed in films and television perhaps the best and most colourful representation of the pair was in the 1968 Carol Reed production of the musical film “Oliver”.
These two young rascals were played by Mark Lester (Oliver) and Jack Wild (Dodger) and that’s where K&C drew the inspiration for this little 2-figure set.
WoD065 “The Bookseller Shop”
Another version of a typical mid Victorian shop/house... A bookseller and stationary emporium on the ground floor... accommodation for the owners on the floors above.
AVAILABLE: Mid August
F. “Good Morning Vietnam!”
The continuing success and growing popularity of this dramatic and exciting contemporary war series seems to have found a special place in many collectors’ collections, not just in America and Australia, but all over the globe.
For authentic realism and outstanding sculpting and great value for money this range is hard to beat... And, we’ve only just begun!
VN056 “Winning Hearts and Minds”
‘Collateral damage’ is one of the scourges of modern war. Innocent civilians are all-too-often caught in the middle between opposing sides trying to kill each other.
Here, one of our Marines is carrying a young girl wounded in the crossfire to safety and a Navy corpsman who will treat her wounds, and if necessary, have her evacuated to a civilian hospital.
VN057 “Ammo Load For The Mule”
K&C’s little USMC M274 ‘Mule’ (VN017) has proved invaluable to Vietnam collectors as a way to transport the wounded out of harm’s way but it’s principal role was to ferry rations, supplies and ammunition to and from the Grunts in the field or on the frontline fighting the ‘bad guys’.
Well, here is the perfect add-on for the ‘Mule’... a load of fresh .30 cal. and .50 cal. ammo as well as extra cased rounds for the K&C ‘ONTOS’ and its 106mm guns.
VN058 “Viet Cong Prisoner”
Sitting dejected and forlorn this ‘Victor Charlie’ is lucky that the Marines captured him... If it had been the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) that caught him his fate would be a lot more uncertain...
VN059 “Stay back he’s dead!”
After one of his buddies took a hit this Marine has crawled forward to see what he can do. Alas the first Marine is already dead and the second guy shouts out to the other Marines not to come forward.
A poignant but cruel reality in a battlefield situation such as Hue in 1868.
VN060 “Fix Bayonets”
It rarely happened during the Vietnam War but just sometimes it pays to take no chances. This young Marine has attached his M7 bayonet to the lug of his M16 rifle barrel.
VN065 “The Aussie Centurion”
Quite simply, this is one of the finest military vehicles King & Country has ever produced.
During my recent trip down under the response to the preview model I displayed at the special events in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne was phenomenal. I have to admit that I too was impressed when I saw the first few preview samples roll off the production line. Here’s the backstory...
The Centurion was the primary British main battle tank of the post-Second World War period. First introduced in 1945, it is widely considered to be one of the most successful tank designs of the second half of the 20th Century.
The Centurion remained in production well into the 1960’s and took part in combat operations around the world until the 1980’s.
During its long service life more than 15 countries utilized it and it saw combat in Korea, the Middle East, Northern India and, of course, Vietnam.
IN AUSTRALIAN SERVICE
By the mid 1960’s almost 150 Centurions were serving with the Australian Army.
February 1968 saw the first deployment of Aussie Centurions to South Vietnam in support of Australia’s expanded military commitment there.
Over the next four years all three of Australia’s 1st Armoured Regiment’s squadrons would fight in Vietnam, providing close fire support for the Aussie Infantry.
The Centurion’s size, mobility and weaponry provided a powerful tool in both offensive and defensive operations.
ON ACTIVE DUTY
‘Vietnam’ Centurions were modified ‘in country’ to better suit the actual conditions of operating in a lush and tropical environment. The tank’s distinctive side skirt panels were removed to prevent local vegetation and mud building up between the tracks and the mudguards.
At the same time an externally-mounted fuel tank was added to the rear end of the Centurion providing an extra 100 Imperial-gallons of fuel.
This particular Centurion, call sign ‘32’ belonged to 2nd Lieut. ‘Mick’ Butler and helped defend ‘Firebase Balmoral’ against repeated North Vietnamese Army assaults between 26-28 May 1968.
Almost 60 different Centurions fought in Vietnam with 42 of them suffering varying degrees of battle damage... only 6 however were total ‘right-offs’... and just two crewmen were actually killed in battle.
An amazing safety record and a tribute to the tank’s sturdiness and reliability.
This King & Country ‘Centurion’ is dedicated to all Australians who fought and died in Vietnam and... a magnificent main battle tank.
AVAILABLE: Mid-Late August
2. BEING RETIRED THIS MONTH...
As one group comes in... Another group moves out... Grab’em while you can!
BBB001 The British Comet Tank
BBG087 Two Dead Winter Germans
FW202 Czar Nicholas II
FW203 Marching w/Rifle
FW204 Saluting Officer
FW205 Present Arms
FW206 Standing at Attention
FW208 WWI Imperial Russian Flagbearer
FW209 WWI Imperial Officer Marching
VN015 The USMC M50 A1 ONTOS
And that, as I like to say, is that for one more month. As in the words of a great ‘Stones’ song...
“You can’t always get what you want,
But we hope you got what you came for!”
All the best and... adios for now.
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country Ltd.