DECEMBER means CHRISTMAS and that is one of the most colourful times of the year and, in my opinion, the happiest too!
Believe me in these troubling times brought on by this pandemic we all need as much happiness as we can get.. and give.
And so I’m particularly happy to present these very special and colourful releases that I hope will bring a little happiness and enjoyment into more than a few collectors’ lives this Festive Season.
Let’s begin at the beginning...
1. BEING RELEASED IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS...
A. ‘TROOPING THE COLOUR’
This ceremony has been performed by army regiments of the British and Commonwealth nations since the mid 17th Century.
In olden times, on the battlefield, a regiment’s ‘colours’ or flags, were used as rallying points before the age of electronics and field radios.
Regiments back then would have their ensigns (junior officers) carry their ‘colours’ slowly through the assembled rank and file to enable the soldiers to recognize their own regimental flags during the battle.
Beginning in 1750, ‘Trooping The Colour’ has also in Britain, signified the Sovereign’s official birthday. Each year, ever since, a huge military ceremony is usually held on the second Saturday in June on Horse Guards Parade in London.
The Queen, ElizabethⅡ, travels down the Mall from Buckingham Palace in a royal procession accompanied by a large sovereign’s escort of her Household Cavalry.
After arriving at Horse Guards Parade her majesty inspects some of her soldiers from the Household Division... both foot guards and mounted horse guards.
In addition The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, a mounted ceremonial artillery battery, also take part in the event.
Each year one of the five foot guards regiments (The Grenadiers, The Coldstream, The Scots, The Welsh and The Irish Guards) is selected to troop its own regimental colour through the ranks of the assembled guards on parade.
Then the entire assembly of mounted and foot soldiers conduct a march past the Queen. Parading with its guns, the ‘King’s Troop’ takes precedence and leads the salute to the Queen, first at a walking pace and then at a trot.
Music for the event is provided by the massed military bands of the five foot guard regiments together with the ‘Corp of Drums’ and occasionally the ‘Pipes & Drums’ of either or both the Scots Guards and the Irish Guards.
The ‘Mounted Band’ of the Household Cavalry also take part.
Combined there are usually over 400 musicians on parade. Put all together it is possibly the most colourful and spectacular military parade in the world today.
CE050 “The Parade Commander”
In charge of the entire ceremony on Horse Guards Parade is the mounted ‘Parade Commander’. This senior officer, usually a full colonel, is selected from one of the five Guards Regiments on parade that day.
Our particular Parade Commander is a Colonel of The Coldstream Guards.
CE051 “His Royal Highness, Prince Charles”’
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, is the Queen’s eldest son and the heir to the throne who one day will become King upon his mother’s death. He is also ‘Honorary Colonel of The Welsh Guards’ and wears that regiment’s dress uniform.
CE052 ‘HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge’ is the grandson of HM Queen Elizabeth and the eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. In 2011 he was appointed Honorary Colonel of The Irish Guards and since that date has taken part in many ‘Trooping The Colour’ parades.
This new K&C mounted figure shows him saluting to the right.
CE055 “Her Majesty Queen ElizabethⅡ”
For many years the Queen rode on horseback in a specially-designed dress uniform to take part in ‘Trooping The Colour’. Her last ‘mounted Trooping’ was in 1986 and King & Country has portrayed the monarch at this time on her favourite horse ‘Burmese’, a gift to her from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1969.
Her Majesty is Colonel-In-Chief of all her Foot Guards regiments however on this particular occasion she is wearing her special dress uniform of The Grenadier Guards.
SPECIAL HISTORICAL NOTE: Obviously K&C has indulged in a little bit of ‘Historic License’ showing the Queen on horseback riding alongside her son, Prince Charles and her grandson, Prince William. That being said it’s great to see all three together at ‘Trooping The Colour’... even in miniature!
Since 1986 the Queen has taken part in this special ceremony riding in an open-topped Royal carriage and dressed in civilian clothes.
AVAILABLE: Early December (A really great Christmas gift!)
B. ‘THE LAST OF THE TSARS’
From one Royal Family that still exists to another who had a turbulent reign and, unfortunately, a terrible end!
Tsar NicholasⅡcame to the throne of Russia in 1894 and was alas destined to be its last Emperor after his abdication in 1917.
During his reign, Russia embarked on a great series of reforms that benefitted civil liberties, education, literacy and parliamentary representation. He also attempted to modernize Russian industry and the country’s outdated infrastructure.
His progress however was undermined by his own personal commitment to autocratic rule and the oppressive policies employed by his secret police to crush and punish any kind of dissent from any quarter.
Nicholas’ rule also coincided with a series of disastrous events and upheavals both in and out of Russia. Among these was the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 where Russia was soundly defeated and humiliated by the recently-emerged Japan.
One year later, in 1905 in St. Petersburg, a peaceful demonstration by thousands of workers and their families asking for small increases in their pay and better working and living conditions was met by deadly force with infantry soldiers opening fire and cavalry charging defenseless protestors. Hundreds of unarmed civilians; men, women and children were killed and injured by this official armed and violent response.
In addition Nicholas’ regime did little to prevent a series of Anti-Jewish pogroms that targeted this particular religious community and led thousands of Russian Jews to flee to the west for refuge, religious freedom and a better life.
THE ROMANOV TERCENTENARY 1613-1913
Amidst all of this doom, gloom and tragedy was one particular event that for a brief moment enthused the nation and Nicholas himself... The Tercentenary Celebrations (1613-1913) marked 300 years of the Romanov Dynasty ruling this massive and far flung empire.
This happy and momentous anniversary has inspired the first part of a 3-part release of Imperial Russian Royalty at their most splendid...
TR003 “Tsar NicholasⅡ& Tsarevich Alexei”
Both father and son are dressed in the ceremonial dress uniforms of two different Imperial Russian Guard regiments.
NicholasⅡ is dressed as the Colonel-In-Chief of his Regiment while his son, the Tsarevich Alexei is uniformed as a junior subaltern of his particular regiment.
Few could have predicted that both of them together with the rest of their Royal Family would be cruelly murdered by the Bolsheviks just five years later...
After this first release there will follow a figure of Nicholas’ wife, the Tsarina Alexandra and then his two eldest daughters, the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, both in military uniform.
The final release will be of the two youngest Royal daughters, the Grand Duchesses Maria and Anastasia, later in 2021.
BEING RELEASED: Nicholas & Alexei, Early December
C. “Lunga Vita All Imperatore!”
“Long Live The Emperor!” might well have been the cry of the soldiers of Napoleon’s own Italian Grenadiers of the Guards when the regiment was founded just after the Italian Republic was transformed into the ‘Kingdom of Italy’ in 1804 as
The Emperor Napoleon became Italy’s first monarch.
Previously Italy had been a client state of France with its capital in Milan. Now, this new Italian Kingdom ruled over most of northern Italy and its army was to be reorganized along strict French military guidelines which included regular line infantry, light infantry, dragoons and light horse... similar to Hussars.
The new formation soon acquired Chasseurs, elite mounted Gendarmes and Royal Grenadiers of The Guard.
Many of these new regiments wore a ‘green’ coat instead of French ‘blue’ ones however their general style and cut was copied directly from the French military fashion of the period.
Here are K&C’s own ‘Grenadiers of The Guard’... As they would have appeared performing ‘Drill & Musketry’ exercises during the Napoleonic era.
NA459 “Italian Grenadier Advancing”
Marching forward, musket and bayonet held at waist level as they advance on the enemy.
NA465 “Italian Grenadier Kneeling Firing”
Taking careful aim while making a smaller target for any enemy soldiers.
NA466 “Italian Grenadier Standing Firing”
The ‘classic’ shooting pose on the battlefield while taking part in massed ‘Volley Firing’ where entire companies would stand and fire at the enemy as one.
NA467 “Italian Grenadier Standing Ready”
The standing position immediately before being ordered to ‘present, aim and fire’ at the enemy.
NA468 “Italian Grenadier Marching to the Front”
This pose was adopted while marching into position on a battlefield with the musket loaded and ready to be fired.
AVAILABLE: Early December
D. ‘THE POWER & GLORY OF ROME’
As Rome expanded its influence and empire throughout the known world it desired to build all kinds of structures and monuments to celebrate its ever expanding power and victories over its enemies. Here is one such example...
SP117 “The Roman Triumphal Arch”
Our model arch is a brand-new design and sculpt based on an earlier Roman Arch produced in the mid 1990’s by K&C.
This upgraded model is more detailed and much better painted than the original one and considerably less heavy than its predecessor.
Both models were inspired by the design of the Arch of Constantine which can still be seen in Rome today.
The Constantine Arch itself is widely believed to have been much influenced by an earlier work from the time of the Emperor Hadrian (117-138AD).
However you wish to view its history our new ‘Triumphal Arch’ is a terrific way to show off and display your K&C collection of Roman soldiers and Praetorian guards and makes a classic Roman backdrop.
AVAILABLE: Early December
E. ‘ONTO THE GREAT PLAINS’
From the cobbled-stone streets of Ancient Rome to the grass-covered ‘Great Plains’ of North America in the years when huge herds of magnificent American Bison roamed far and wide and provided virtually everything the Indian Tribes that shared that land required.
Bison or Buffalo hunting was a vitally important activity fundamental to the everyday economy and society of the Plains Indians tribes who lived on the vast grasslands of the interior Plains of North America.
Prior to the near-extinction of the buffalo in the late 19th Century every year the tribes would follow the migrating herds of animals and hunt and kill only as many as they would need to feed and clothe themselves throughout the winter and into the next spring.
Hunting these great animals, especially from a horse, demanded great skill and bravery and accidents, sometimes fatal, could and did happen to both rider and horse...
TRW173 “The Hunter becomes The Hunted”
Here is one such example... A young warrior and his horse have misjudged their approach to an already wounded and enraged buffalo... The angry beast turns suddenly goring the horse’s belly and bringing it down on top of its rider... The buffalo is now about to trample both horse and Indian as they lie trapped and helpless on the ground... Unless someone can rescue them.
TRW174 “White Eagle”
Another mounted Indian prepares to dispatch the wounded buffalo with a well-aimed lance thrust deep into the animal’s body.
This same warrior can also be imagined fighting at the ‘Little Bighorn’ and about to dispatch one of Custer’s wounded soldiers too!
AVAILABLE: Early December
F. ‘GOOD MORNING VIETNAM... AGAIN!’
VIETNAM was the setting for one of the U.S. Special Forces’ most complex and controversial missions. Beginning in the late 1950’s small Special Forces detachments were deployed throughout the South and several neighbouring countries to undertake the defense of indigenous tribes in the most difficult areas and help them form self-defense units and fortify villages and hamlets against communist insurgents.
Among their other duties were to improve the general health and living conditions of the local people while still gathering intelligence and other information about the movements and locations of any enemy (Viet Cong) groups operating in or passing through those parts of the country.
As well as these more ‘passive’ tasks Special Forces teams also played a more aggressive role... laying ambushes... planting mines and booby traps along enemy trails... and capturing and interrogating enemy prisoners.
The men who volunteered for ‘Special Forces’ were also a very different breed of soldier... strong, independent, flexible in mind and body and capable of operating in the harshest of conditions and often the worst of situations.
These new figures represent a small team of SF about to go into action and are part of K&C’s tribute to some very exceptional and brave soldiers...
VN094 “The S.F. Radio Operator”
This solo Radio Operator is carrying his PRC-25 radio inside his rucksack and holding a CAR-15 Colt ‘Commando’ carbine in his left hand as he relays instructions on his handset.
He’s wearing a locally-made ‘Tiger-Stripe’ uniform and a similar pattern ‘Boonie’ hat.
VN095 “S.F. Three Man Patrol”
This trio of Special Forces soldiers are ‘armed and very dangerous’!
The ‘Team Leader’ moves cautiously forward carrying an M16A2 Assault Rifle, an updated and upgraded version of the standard U.S. Army M16A1, usually only distributed to Special Forces.
He is dressed, in the then new ERDL* Pattern camouflage which was only issued to elite reconnaissance and special operations units in early 1967.
*Engineer Research & Development Laboratories, a branch of the U.S. Army.
The kneeling ‘Grenadier’ is loading his M79 Grenade Launcher, backing this up is his personal weapon, a ‘Swedish K’, 9mm submachinegun.
Completing the ‘trio’ is the heavy firepower of the crouching M60 machine gunner festooned with belts of 7.62mm ammunition. He also carries the M1911 Colt Automatic Pistol alongside his ‘K bar’ fighting knife.
His backpack sits in front of him.
These last two S.F. troopers are also wearing the newly-introduced ‘ERDL Camo’ suits.
RELEASE DATE: Mid December
Well, my friends, as I like to say, that’s the story so far... On this toy soldier expedition you’ve visited London, Milan, St. Petersburg, The Great Plains, Ancient Rome and the highlands of South Vietnam.
Now, that’s quite a journey these days especially if you consider how difficult it is just to travel across your own country.
However, in the Wonderful World of Toy Soldiers, we’re allowed to travel... anywhere, anytime. Here’s hoping one of these exciting destinations suits you.
2. BEING RETIRED
This month, there’s quite a long list... so check it out and take your pick.
DD248 Sitting Tommy Gunner
DD250 Firing Tommy Gunner
DD251 Kneeling Bazooka Guy
FOB142 Old Peasant Woman
FW232 The Sturmtruppen Set (4 figure set)
JN017 Lieut Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, Imperial Japanese Navy
LAH210 Taking Power
LOJ026 The Listener
MK118 The Crouching Crusader
MK119 Sir John Trumpington
MK161 The Blue Knight w/Axe
MK162 Chevalier de Bleu w/Sword
MK164 Arthur & The Sword in the Stone
MK166 Brother in Arms
MK170 Crusader Archer (kneeling)
MK171 Crusader Halberdier
MK172 Crusader Archer” (standing ready)
MK175 The Templar (Sir Brian de Bois Guilbert)
NE001 Napoleon on Camel
NE016 Standing Napoleon
RA059 Marshal Georgy Zhukov
RA063 Kommissar Nikita Kruschev
TRW101 Two Moons
TRW134 The Apache Scout
TRW161 Sitting Bull
As I’ve said oft times before this has been a very challenging year for all of us so... Let’s be optimistic and hope for a happier and healthier 2021.
In the meantime all the very best and have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas!
From myself and all of our great team at King & Country.
All the best and Happy Collecting.
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country Ltd.