Welcome once more to this month’s ‘DISPATCHES’ and the opening salvo to what I believe are the finest World War Two British ‘Tommies’ that K&C have ever designed and produced!
Now that may seem a wee bit over-enthusiastic, considering many of the other great WW2 British soldiers King & Country have offered you in the past, however when you see them in person I hope many of you will agree with my bold statement.
So, let’s get down to business straight away.
1. BEING RELEASED THIS AUGUST
A. ‘The Battle For Normandy’
As most of you know on D.DAY, 6 June 1944 more British and Canadians actually landed on that first day than Americans but the three Allied Armies had a major battle on their hands first of all to secure all 5 Landing Beaches and then fight their way inland and try to capture their initial objectives before the Germans could launch the inevitable counter-attacks.
On Sword Beach in the British sector one of the spearhead infantry units leading the assault was the 1st Battalion of The South Lancashire Regiment.
This particular battalion was an integral part of the famous British 3rd Infantry Division.
Back in June 1940, this division was among the last units of the B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force) to leave France from the beaches of Dunkirk and so it was very appropriate and fitting that they were among the first to land in France on another beach in another place four years later!
A CHOICE OF BASE SETTINGS
This exciting new collection of King & Country ‘Tommies’ also offers collectors a choice of 2 different base variants... (B) and (G).... that stands for ‘Beach’ and ‘Grass’.
The ‘Beach’ base has a natural ‘sand’ textured base, perfect for those collectors wanting to replicate the landings straight out of our upcoming Royal Navy Landing Craft.
By contrast the ‘Grass’ base is brown earthen in colour and topped with a layer of ‘grass’ to simulate those soldiers making their way inland to capture their objectives in the nearby fields, towns and villages of Normandy.
So, when you the collector, decide which soldiers to order look for the bracketed letters (B) and (G) after the code numbers to make sure you get what you want.
Please note: Some of the figures in this collection require NO base and can be used on both beach and inland scenes as well as in Landing Craft and on Armoured Vehicles.
DD337 (B) & (G) ‘Kneeling British Officer’
With his ‘Webley’ service revolver in hand this young subaltern takes a closer look at an enemy position before moving his men forward.
DD338 (B) & (G) ‘The Shouting Sergeant’
The ‘backbone’ of any infantry platoon is the senior Non Commissioned Officer... The Sergeant in this case.
Our NCO is shouting commands over the din of battle and is armed with the sturdy MK.Ⅱ Sten Gun.
If kept clean and well-maintained The Sten could be an excellent, close-quarter battle weapon capable of devastating fire. Its 9mm round was also the most commonly used pistol round by European militaries.
DD339 ‘Kneeling Rifleman’
This is one of the most useful figures with no base... He can be positioned anywhere a collector wants to put him... especially filling up a Landing Craft.
This kneeling figure holds the classic ‘Lee Enfield Rifle No. 4’. This British bolt-action rifle was the direct descendent of the earlier SMLE (Short Magazine Lee Enfield) MKⅢ which was introduced in 1907 and did sterling service throughout WW1 and into the middle of WW2.
The ‘No.4’ came into general use in 1943 and served British and Commonwealth Armies well into the late 1950’s.
The rifle fired a .303 round and could hold 2 x clips of 5 rounds each. Tough, sturdy and accurate this Lee Enfield was one of the finest and most reliable rifles of WW2.
DD340 ‘(‘B’ & ‘G’) Advancing Bren Gunner’
The ‘Bren Gun’ was the classic light machine gun of WW2.
Originally designed in Brno Czechoslovakia it was licensed and modified by the British Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield in the U.K. Hence the title ‘BREN’.
Originally introduced into service with the army in 1938, the ‘Bren’ continued to serve throughout WW2 and well beyond. It was even carried into battle during the Falklands War of 1982!
Our K&C advancing ‘Tommy’ moves forward clutching his Bren and looking for a suitable firing position to take up.
DD341 ‘(‘B’ & ‘G’) ‘Riflemen In Action Set’
A trio of 3 x Riflemen in different battle poses taking on the enemy wherever they find them... on the beach or in a field.
AVAILABLE: Early August
SPECIAL NOTE: The second batch of South Lancs reinforcements will be available in September... Look out for ‘em with a third batch in October / November.
B. ‘ON THE ROAD TO VICTORY...?’
The six months following the Japanese attack on the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor must rank as one of the most successful military campaigns in history.
This crippling blow to American power and prestige was rapidly followed by equally devastating assaults that left the Britain and its Far East Empire reeling... Hong Kong fell on Christmas Day 1941 then Malaya and Singapore soon followed in February 1942.
Just one month later the Dutch East Indies surrendered to the Japanese onslaught and finally, in May 1942, it was the turn of the Philippines.
What was amazing to many of the forces fighting the Japanese was the Imperial Japanese Army’s relative lack of modern transport compared to their adversaries.
Although Japan possessed and utilized some of the best fighter and bomber aircraft in the sky and its navy was well equipped with up-to-date warships of all kinds to do battle at sea, the Army seemed to be the ‘poor relation’!
At least as far as motorized wheeled transport was concerned...
JN066 ‘I.J.A. ISUZU 6-wheeled Truck’
Before WW2, the Japanese Army mainly utilized ordinary commercial vehicles to transport troops and supplies to and from battlefields and on exercise.
These often proved to be unreliable and insufficiently sturdy to handle the heavy demands of the military and eventually the decision was made to develop a specialized 6-wheeled vehicle specifically designed to meet the Army’s requirements.
After considering several options from different vehicle makers the Army top brass selected the ISUZU company to manufacture their design proposal.
The Type 94 had a diesel engine and a maximum speed of 60km/h. Usually unarmed and unarmoured it only required a single driver.
Unlike its many civilian predecessors it was mechanically strong and reliable in the field and very capable of travelling cross country. Fuel consumption was also very good and it had a ‘high clearance’ allowing it to transverse most of the rough jungle terrain where it usually served.
Our K&C ‘Type 94’ has a spare wheel attached on the driver’s side and is equally capable of hauling a load of supplies and / or a section of infantrymen. The driver figure is included.
JN074 ‘I.J.A. Dispatch Rider’
To accompany our ‘Type 94’ truck is this dismounted Army Dispatch Rider complete with standing motorcycle.
Pulling on his long, leather gauntlets he is about to mount his Italian designed, Japanese built machine.
Although the Japanese motorcycle industry thrived after WWⅡ during the 1920’s and ‘30’s the small companies manufacturing motorcycles in Japan tended to buy the licenses to build their bikes from large European makers... or ... simply copied them!
AVAILABLE: Type 94 Truck – Late August / Early Sept.
IJA Dispatch Rider – Mid August
C. THE ROYAL AIR FORCE... GROUNDED!
The ‘Battle of Britain’ is often described as the first military campaign fought entirely by air forces and it mostly took place in the skies above southern Britain during the summer and autumn of 1940. A major element in the British success was the other battle fought on the ground that allowed weary pilots to relax and rest while their Spitfires and Hurricanes were being rearmed, refueled and often repaired.
RAF088 ‘Fighter Pilots At Ease’
Enjoying a brief respite from operational flying these two young pilots are stretched out on the grass enjoying the glorious summer weather.
Both however are still wearing their ‘Mae West’ survival vests ready to leap into their aircraft and take to the skies once more.
RAF089 ‘RAF Ground Crew Set’
A group of 3 aircraft fitters working on an aircraft while keeping one eye on the sky in case German bombers attack their airfield.
RAF091 ‘RAF Ground Crew Cyclist’
Wartime airfields covered large areas and often the easiest way for both pilots and groundcrew to get around was to use bicycles... This chap has obviously got his from stores as it is painted in authentic RAF Blue.
AVAILABLE: Mid August
D. ‘SCOTLAND THE BRAVE’
Charging once more into battle are these North British Dragoons better known, of course, as the SCOTS GREYS.
This is the second group of these particular Scottish cavalrymen to supplement the first four recently issued last May.
These four troopers, including one ‘Trumpeter’, fit perfectly to complete, for the moment, this group of British Heavy Cavalry in action.
Plans are afoot to add, one or two more ‘North British Dragoons’ in 2022.
NA477 ‘Scots Grey Charging w/Sabre Down’
This trooper is about to engage one of the Emperor’s infantrymen or, perhaps, an unfortunate artillery gunner!
NA479 ‘Scots Grey Trumpeter’
An essential member of any cavalry troop or squadron especially in the heat of battle.
Orders were issued by the cavalry using trumpet and bugle calls. The Trumpeters themselves would do their level best to stay close to their officer who would shout the commands.
NA481 ‘Scots Grey Charging w/Sword to the Front’
Another classic charging pose as the Trooper urges his mount forward to come to battle with the enemy.
NA483 ‘Scots Grey Charging w/Sword’
The final figure of this Napoleonic release and one more dramatic mounted figure going into action at Waterloo.
AVAILABLE: Mid Late August
E. ‘THE RISE & FALL OF THE ROMANOVS’
Perhaps the Romanov Dynasty was always doomed to meet a disastrous and tragic end but in 1913 when Tsar NicholasⅡ and his family celebrate the Tercentenary of their rule over the vast lands of Imperial Russian and its Empire it would have seemed almost impossible.
The first five Royal figures K&C have already released portray the Tsar, the Tsarina, the frail Tsarevich and the two eldest Royal daughters in all their pomp and splendor.
These three newest figures are simpler yet still tell a fascinating story about the last of the Romanovs and the world they inhabited...
TR006 ‘Grigori Rasputin’
Grigori Rasputin (1869-1916) was a Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who befriended the Royal family of NicholasⅡ,the last emperor of Russia, and gained considerable influence in the latter years of Nicholas’ reign.
Rasputin was born to a peasant family in Siberia and from an early age was fascinated by religion and mysticism. Although never officially ordained as a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church he became a ‘wandering pilgrim’ who would sometimes preach and take part in leading some church rituals.
Eventually his travels led him to St. Petersburg, Imperial Russia’s capital, where he captivated some high church and social leaders.
Soon he came to the attention of the Royal Court circles and met the Tsar and the Tsarina in 1905.
A year later, Rasputin’s skill as a ‘healer’ helped the Imperial couple’s only son, Alexei recover from a severe attack of hemophilia.
This enabled Rasputin’s influence and power at Court to swiftly rise however although revered by some, others saw him as divisive and evil figure. His personal behavior was equally scandalous and caused much controversy, both public and private for the Tsar and his family.
Eventually, in December 1916 matters came to a head when a group of high-ranking nobles murdered Rasputin.
Legend has it that several years before, this self-proclaimed mystic predicted that should he die by violent means then the Russian Royal Dynasty would also suffer a similar fate.
How true that proved to be... This K&C ‘Rasputin’ is dressed in a priest’s plain, grey cassock and holds a gold Russian Orthodox cross to his chest.
TR007 ‘The Grand Duchesses’ Marie & Anastasia’
Previously, we portrayed the Tsar’s two eldest daughters Olga and Tatianna in their traditional dress uniforms of Honorary Colonels in two of their father’s Imperial Hussar and Lancer Regiments.
These two youngest daughters, the Grand Duchesses Marie and Anastasia are, by contrast, wearing the simple but then-fashionable sailor style uniform complete with broad brimmed straw hat and pale blue ribbon.
Tragically, they were to suffer the same cruel fate as the rest of their family in 1918.
AVAILABLE: Mid to Late August
2. BEING RETIRED THIS MONTH...
Not so many ‘retirals’ as last month but among the items are some real gems...
IDF005 ‘Para Rifleman Advancing’
One of K&C’s original Israeli Defence Force paratroopers going into action.
IDF017 ‘Israeli M38 Jeep w/106mm Recoilless Rifle’
This U.S. made, 1950’S vintage M38 Jeep saw plenty of active service during both the 1967 Six Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
The set includes a driver and vehicle commander figures as well as the vehicle mounted 106mm recoilless rifle and a 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun.
In addition there’s even a spare UZI!
LAH207 ‘Himmler & Heydrich... The Deadly Duo’
These grey-uniformed figures were two of the most evil men in history and certainly the most feared in the Third Reich. The reason they are in grey uniforms was that the SS put away their traditional black uniforms with the outbreak of war in September 1939.
LOA002 ‘Sherif Ali ibn el Karish’
In the movie ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ this man was played by the noted Egyptian actor Omar Sharif. The K&C figure was modeled on the character in the movie.
WH005 ‘Sd. Kfz. 251 Armoured Ambulance’
One of the more unusual German half tracks of WW2.
WH084 ‘Breaking The Barrier’
Three German soldiers grasp the Polish frontier barrier and attempt to break it... Although it might be easier simply to lift it... These three want to destroy it!
WH086 ‘Cutting Down the Polish Road Sign’
Another little piece of military vandalism... A German soldier takes an axe to cut down the Polish border sign.
XM017-01 ‘Christmas Tree w/Christmas Presents’
Now that’s the sight we all want to see on Christmas morning!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country Ltd.