DISPATCHES

February 2022

 

Hi Guys and Welcome to February!

By the time most of you read this I hope I will be in San Antonio for the official opening of ‘KING & COUNTRY TEXAS’, our great new toy soldier store that can be found in the beautiful Alamo Heights neighborhood just 5 minutes from downtown S.A.

 

So, because I’ll be in Texas it’s perhaps appropriate that I begin this modest little collection of February releases with additions that have kind of a ‘Texas’ flavour...

 

1.                  BEING RELEASED THIS MONTH...

A.                 ‘Before The Cowboy... There Was The Vaquero’

The Spanish word ‘Vaquero’ or the Portuguese ‘Vaqueiro’ is literally translated as a ‘horse-mounted livestock herder’ whose roots go all the way back to the Iberian Peninsula and then some time later to the one-time Spanish colony of Mexico.

The Vaquero with his skills and practical knowledge of handling and herding cattle was to become the foundation for the North American cowboy.

His origins began with the ‘hacienda system’ of ranching in medieval Spain where several regions possessed a dry climate with sparse grass which meant large herds of cattle required huge areas of land for grazing.

Because of the need to cover these great distances it was essential that the ‘herders’ would need to move around on horseback and able to work with others to gather and protect herds as well as move them from one location to another.

When the Spanish came to the Americas and found similar conditions in Mexico and later Texas it was only natural that they imported their cattle and brought over many vaqueros to look after them.

Many of these vaqueros intermarried with the local natives and developed unique additional skills and knowledge that was passed down from father to son, generation to generation.

As the vaqueros moved northward other English-speaking immigrants moved westward, mixing Anglo and Spanish traditions and teaching each other new ways and more efficient methods of handling cattle and living and working in the saddle.

By the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the great Cattle Drives many experienced ‘vaqueros’ found their services in high demand with the top trail bosses putting together teams of cowboys to drive the huge herds of Texas ‘Longhorns’ all the way up to the railheads in Kansas and beyond.

 

CD015 ‘Mounted Mexican Vaquero’

Turning in the saddle to survey the herd this proud vaquero is dressed in typical ‘Mexican’ style with the short, embroidered jacket and the close-fitting and studded trousers (copied from Napoleonic Cavalry overalls).

On his head he wears a large sombrero and around his neck a colourful red bandanna.

Behind him, on his black & white ‘Pinto’, rests a folded native blanket and around his waist a gunbelt and a holstered a .44 Navy Colt pistol.

 

CD016 ‘Mexican Vaquero w/Winchester’

This standing Vaquero holds a rope in one hand and a ‘Winchester’ repeating rifle in the other. This particular vaquero may even be a ‘Tejano’... A Texas – born cowboy / vaquero of Mexican parentage. He’s wearing a store-bought work shirt and locally-made leather ‘chaps’, with of course the large ‘bandanna’ and the very practical sombrero.

 

CD017 ‘Standing Vaquero’

This dismounted vaquero again has the short ‘Mexican’ – style jacket topped by a long ‘poncho’ and the ever present sombrero.

AVAILABLE: Mid February

 

B.                  ‘Valley of Tears’

For some time now collectors of K&C’s ‘Israeli Defence Force’ range of figures and vehicles have been asking for some serious armoured opposition to go up against our IDF ‘Centurions’ and ‘Super Shermans’.

Well, here they are... in a pair of Syrian Army T55s that attempted to recapture the Golan Heights in the desperate, dark days of October 1973.

As most collectors know the October Arab-Israeli War of 1973 erupted on the 6 October 1973 when Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a surprise two-front assault on Israel in the occupied Sinai Peninsula in the south and the Israeli-held Golan Heights in the north.

For the sake of this release we are focusing on the battles that took place on the Golan Heights where 5 Syrian Armoured divisions with more than 1500 tanks, mostly the modern Soviet-built T55As, assaulted two Israeli understrength armoured brigades with just 180 tanks and a few thousand infantry and artillery as support.

Let battle commence...

 

IDF036-1 ‘Syrian Army T-55A ‘Main Battle Tank

The T-55 was a relatively simple and robust tank that did not require a high level of training or education in its tank crews.

Many thousands of these vehicles were exported by the Soviets and found their way into the armour inventories of many ‘third-world countries’ including Syria.

Once in Syrian hands, the original Soviet-applied olive drab paint scheme was over-sprayed with patches of sand and grey camouflage paint before, in some cases, having Arabic slogans and tank numbers painted on the turret.

 

IDF036-1 is numbered ‘435’ in Arab numerals along with the hand-painted exhortation, “Death To Israel”.

The model itself also includes a Syrian Army tank commander figure.

 

IDF036-2 ‘Syrian Army T-55A’ Main Battle Tank

The second version of this model, this time with the hull number ‘482’ and the classic Arabic cry ‘Allahu akbar’ meaning “God Is Great!”.

 

IDF037 “Syrian Tank Casualties”

This set of two dead Syrian tankers echoes the unfortunate fate of many of the crews of the T-55s that raced across the Golan Heights in their hundreds but ground to a halt as the beleaguered handful of Israeli tanks fought ferociously to hold onto the Heights themselves and protect all of Northern Israel from a Syrian onslaught.

AVAILABLE: Early February

 

C.                  ‘Same Area... Different Time’

Almost two thousand years before in the same biblical land other stories were being told...

 

LOJ051 ‘Jesus & The Blindman’

Wherever Jesus went during his travels people followed him who were damaged in both mind and body often they would beg him to heal or help them and many times he did.

Among those he healed was a blind man to whom he asked, “Do you believe I can make you see again?” The man answered simply, “Yes Lord”.

Then Jesus reached out his hands and touched the man’s eyes saying, “What you believe can happen if you will just keep on believing”

Suddenly, the man began to see light and colour... then blurs became real objects and finally he saw Jesus’ face smiling down at him.

“Where there was darkness, now there was light!”

 

LOJ052 ‘The Sceptical Onlooker’

Although Jesus performed many miracles in his life there were still some among the community who would doubt his power and message.

Here is one such ‘doubting Thomas’... probably a local Pharisee.

 

LOJ053 ‘The Return of The Prodigal Son’

One of Jesus’ most memorable stories is that of the ‘Prodigal Son’ who took his inheritance, left his family, travelled far away, squandered all his money and then fell into poverty and dire straits.

Eventually, the son struggled home and begged his father’s forgiveness which the father gracefully gave before ordering a feast to be prepared to welcome his son’s return.

When the father’s eldest son heard of his younger brother’s return and warm welcome he became angry however his parent responded by saying, “But you are also my son and everything I have belongs to you. Do you not see? This brother of yours was dead and is now alive. He was lost but now has been rescued!” The great power of forgiveness.

AVAILABLE: Mid February

 

D.                 “The Fight For The Holy Land”

Just over a thousand years after the birth of Christ, during the second half of the 11th Century, three very different cultures began to move directly towards a violent confrontation whose echoes still resound in the world today.

Then, as in modern times, Jerusalem, the city of prophets and the birthplace of these three major religions was the centre of a mighty struggle that was to continue for more than two centuries... ‘The Crusades’

Back in 2006, King & Country began to introduce some of its most colourful and dramatic figures yet depicting the epic battles between the Crusading armies of Western Christendom and their rapidly expanding foes in the Muslim World.

In the years since 2006 K&C has released a broad range of fighting figures, both mounted and on foot, that illustrate the different styles of warfare conducted during ‘The Crusades’ and the various types of soldiers utilized to fight those battles. Among the most important and valued were the archers of both armies.

This latest release adds five more Saracen Archers to the two already released in distinctive action poses... as well as two of their victims!

 

MK223 ‘Standing Saracen Archer’

Utilizing the short, Arab bow, this archer has just ‘Let fly’ his arrow at the enemy.

 

MK224 ‘Advancing Saracen Archer’

Slightly crouching as he moves forward this figure has already ‘strung’ his arrow and is ready to fire.

 

MK225 ‘Saracen Archer About To Fire’

Standing and observing the enemy as he picks out his target.

 

MK226 ‘Kneeling Saracen Archer’

This archer has already ‘let loose’ at the enemy.

 

MK227 ‘Wounded Man-At-Arms’

One of the victims of a Saracen arrow pleads for help.

 

MK228 ‘Dead Crusader Knight’

Struck by two arrows that have pierced his chain mail protection this particular knight will never rise again!

 

MK230 ‘Saracen Archer Reaching For Another Arrow’

As he reached back into his quiver for another arrow this position suggests he has been taking part in high angle, ‘plunging fire’ on the enemy Crusaders.

AVAILABLE: Early February

 

E.                  “Finally, Onto Vietnam!”

Now, what would a monthly DISPATCHES be without a little detour to the war-torn country of South Vietnam in the late 1960’s...

 

VN135 ‘M60 Fire Team’

The M60 Machine Gun is one of the iconic small arms of the Vietnam War. Known affectionately or otherwise as “The Pig”, America’s 7.62mm machine gun provided infantry squads with a powerful ‘base-of-fire’ weapon at a time when every foot soldier in the U.S. Armed Forces was being re-equipped with the controversial 5.56mm caliber M16 Automatic Rifle.

Developed in the late 1940s and into the 1950s the M60 was America’s first real General Purpose Machine Gun. Its design owes a substantial debt to Nazi Germany’s WW2 belt-fed MG42 machine gun and the revolutionary FG42 Assault Rifle.

Adopted in 1957, the M60 has been in constant use in a variety of different combat roles for more than 50 years... and is still in production.

Here is our US Marine 2-man ‘fire team’, both in the prone position and laying down fire on an enemy position.

 

VN146 ‘Lying Prone Rifleman’

One additional ‘Grunt’ to help support the ‘Fire Team’ above

AVAILABLE: Early February

 

And that my friends is February for you... Not too many figures but more than a few interesting ones that I hope find their way into your favourite collection.

But, before we go... Here is what is being retired this month...

 

2.                  BEING RETIRED IN FEBRUARY...

 

AE039              Cleopatra and Her Handmaidens

AE040              Court Official

DD236             Tank Back-Pack Set

DD287-2          US Paratroopers Blast Injury (101st)

HK175G           Sampan Set II (Gloss)

HK175M          Sampan Set II (Matt)

HK227              Chinese New Year Blossoms

LW065             Major Hermann Graf

RH021             The Duel

RnB016           Throwing Spear

RnB023           The Sitting Centurion

RnB029           The Fighting Boadicea

ROM013          The Marching Legionary w/ Marius Mule

ROM014          Fighting w/ Sword (Running Forward)

ROM015          Fighting w/ Sword (Advancing)

TRW160          “Fallen Buffalo”

 

Finally, before I finish... It’s Chinese New Year here in Hong Kong and this year 2022 is the ‘Year of the Tiger’. May all of us at K&C wish all of you peace, health and happiness in the coming year!

 

Great Sales!

 

Andy C. Neilson

Co-founder & Creative Director

King & Country Ltd.