Hong Kong 26, February 2017. Outside it’s a cool, relatively clear winter’s day but in a few days’ time I will be heading off to Australia where it’s late summer to meet with dealers and collectors in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne.
But, as usual, before all of that ... there is all of this ...
1. ARRIVING THIS MONTH ...
A. “Aayo Gurkhali!” (The Gurkha Battlecry)
FOR MORE THAN 200 years, The Gurkhas, the fighting men from the hills of Nepal, have been loyal and brave soldiers of the British Army.
Originally recruited by the British East India Company in 1815 they were first incorporated into the Indian Army in 1857 after The Great Mutiny.
By the outbreak of WW2 in September 1939, 10 regiments had been formed, each of 2 x battalions. Following the evacuation of Dunkirk and the Fall of France in June 1940 another 15 x battalions were raised and, by the end of the war a total of 43 were in action.
After India gained its independence in 1947 the original 10 Gurkha Regiments were divided between India and Great Britain with the former retaining 6 and the latter 4.
MALAYA 1941 / 42
During the Japanese attack on Malaya and Singapore in 1941 and into 1942, several Gurkha battalions fought stubbornly and bravely in that ill-fated campaign ... and suffered accordingly.
After the defeat in Malaya and the fall of Singapore many Indian troops were coopted into the pro Japanese ‘Indian National Army’ ... Not one Gurkha however joined them ... all remained loyal to their own regiments and the British Crown.
GURKHAS IN ACTION
King & Country’s newest battlefield figures show a Gurkha patrol taking on the Japanese somewhere on the Malayan peninsula.
6 x Individual fighting Gurkhas, led by their British officer are available as is one 2-man set where a Gurkha rifleman is about to decapitate a Japanese soldier using his famous “Kukri” knife!
These new additions to the series depicting the war in South East Asia provide even more variety and excitement to an area seldom covered in the world of toy soldiers and military miniatures.
FOB144 “British / Gurkha Officer firing Tommy Gun”
Up until today the majority of Officers in Gurkha Regiments have always been British. Among the most famous officers who served as a Gurkha was Field Marshal Sir William ‘Bill” Slim, who commanded the British 14th Army in Burma during the later part of WW2.
Our officer takes careful aim with his Thompson submachine gun.
FOB145 “Gurkha Standing firing Rifle”
Marksmanship is highly-prized in Gurkha Regiments and Gurkhas have always been among the very best ‘shots’ in the British Army.
FOB146 “Gurkha Attacking with Kukri”
Having unsheathed his famous fighting knife this Gurkha has to ‘draw blood’ from his enemy ... usually fatally!
FOB147 “Gurkha Kneeling firing Rifle”
This Gurkha adopts the second-most popular firing position.
FOB148 “Gurkha Lying Prone firing Rifle”
The number-one most popular shooting position.
FOB149 “Gurkha firing Bren Gun”
Although not the easiest position to fire the Bren from ... Firing from the hip, in an emergency, still results in enemy casualties!
FOB150 “Gurkha Killing Japanese”
On a man-for-man basis the little Gurkha is more than a match for any ‘Son of Nippon’. Although the Japanese like using their bayonets they were not-so-fond of being on the receiving end of a Gurkha armed with a Kukri.
AVAILABLE : Early March
B. NOTTINGHAM’s TOP BRASS
From the lush green jungle of Malaya in 1941 to the lush green fields and forests around Nottingham during the cruel reign of Prince John and his evil henchmen ...
RH029 “The High Sheriff of Nottingham”
One of Robin Hood’s most implacable foes and a dangerous man to have as
In movies he has been best portrayed by the late Alan Rickman in “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves” and also Aussie actor, Peter Finch in “The Story of Robin Hood & His Merrie Men”. And now, here’s our interpretation ... suave, sophisticated and ... decidedly dangerous!
RH030 “The Bishop of Nottingham”
Next to the Sheriff, the second most powerful man in Nottingham and the surrounding shire. Also perhaps, the richest and best fed.
Here, our portly and prosperous churchman gives up a small portion of his wealth as Robin & His Merrie Men invite him to be a ‘guest’ at one of their forest feasts.
AVAILABLE : Early March
C. NORMANDY & NORTHWEST EUROPE
After the D.DAY invasion as Allied troops fought their way off the beaches and into the Norman countryside it was more essential than ever to have good reconnaissance ahead of your advancing forces to help seek out the enemy, their strength and their position.
Specialized recon and scouting units used their own kinds of vehicles to help perform this vital task.
One of the best vehicles used in this role was the Daimler Armoured Car ...
DD304 “The Daimler MK. II Armoured Car”
This was one of the most successful British military designs of WW2. Conceived in parallel development to the Daimler “Dingo”Scout Car this heavier armoured car mounted a 2 pdr. Quick Firing cannon alongside a coaxial Besa 7.92 machine gun in the turret.
Occasionally a Bren Gun might also be added atop the turret for anti- aircraft defense.
After the success of our “Desert” version K&C decided to produce a second one for Northwest Europe. Produced in typical British olive drab this new version is in the markings of 44 Brigade belonging to XXX Corps which fought all the way from Normandy through France, into Holland and finally all the way up to Northern Germany by war’s end.
Our K& C model comes with an NCO vehicle commander belonging to the famous 11TH Hussars.
AVAILABLE: Early March
D. “KIWIS & TURKS”
As many collectors know our K& C series based on the exploits of the Australian Light Horse has been very popular not just in Australia ... but all over the world. Fighting alongside the Australians in Palestine, Gallipoli, Egypt and the Western Front were their Antipodean ‘cousins’... The New Zealanders.
Although then as now New Zealand is a relatively small country (in terms of population) it has provided many thousands of fine fighting men in both world wars and other conflicts.
In 1914 it offered its best volunteers to help support the “Mother Country” in its war against Germany. Among those soldiers were the men of their own “Mounted Rifle Regiments” who performed in the same military role as Australia’s Light Horse units.
After arriving in Egypt in 1915 they helped form the very first joint ANZAC * mounted division.
*Australian New Zealand Army Corps
Over the years since we introduced our Light Horse figures we have been requested to design and release some of their Kiwi cousins ... and this is them.
AL072 “Dismounted Rifleman”
In appearance the uniform of the NZ Mounted Rifles volunteers was not dissimilar to the Australian Light Horse. Both wore a slouch hat although the ‘Kiwi’ trooper does not have an emu feather in his hat band but instead has the Khaki pugree (hatband) with a forest green stripe in the centre.
In addition the New Zealanders wore cloth puttees instead of the Aussies leather leggings.
Our figure is also in ‘shirtsleeve’ order wearing the army blue / grey collarless shirt together with braces and belt holding up his khaki trousers. Across his chest he wears the mounted troops ammunition bandoleer. His rifle is the standard SMLE (Short Magazine Lee Enfield) .303 rifle.
AL073 “Kiwi Flagbearer”
This mounted rifleman carries the National Flag.
AL074 “Mounted Kiwi Charging w/Rifle”
Galloping forward into the charge this soldier has already fixed his bayonet to his rifle.
AL075 “Mounted Kiwi Charging w/Rifle#2”
A second “Galloper,” rifle and bayonet pointing towards the enemy.
*AL086 “Mounted Officer w /Pistol”
Service revolver thrust forward this officer leads his men in the charge.
*To be released in April. All other New Zealand Mounted Rifles figures available in Mid March.
Both the Australians and the New Zealanders had a healthy respect for the fighting qualities of their Turkish opponents who they fought on numerous occasions throughout the Middle Eastern campaign ... Here are some new Turkish reinforcements ...
AL080 “Turkish Officer w/ Pistol & Binos”
Looking out for the advancing ANZACS this officer stands ready with his German Naval Luger by his side.
AL081 “Turkish NCO Aiming Rifle”
Wearing a colourful red fez this Turkish non-commissioned officer takes careful aim.
AL082 “Kneeling Firing Johnny Turk”
A kneeling Turkish Soldier with rifle and bayonet fixed.
AL083 “Turkish Machine Gunner”
Sitting behind his Maxim machine gun this soldier opens fire on the
AL084 “Turkish Soldier Kneeling Reloading”
This kneeling ‘Johnny Turk’ is working the bolt of his rifle ... extracting an empty cartridge ... chambering a fresh round.
AL085 “Turkish Soldier Standing Firing”
You can never have too many soldiers in your “firing line”
AVAILABLE: Mid March
E. “DEUTSCHLAND 1933”
On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler formally became Chancellor of Germany. Who could or would have predicted the next 12 years ... ?
Here, two old soldiers meet for the last time ... One, Generalfeldmarschall Paul von Hindenburg hands over the reins of power to a lowly former corporal ... Adolf Hitler ... soon to be Führer of all Germany!
LAH210 “Taking Power”
A seemingly humble ex-corporal silently shakes hands with an old general. The General maybe old but he is not senile ... he detests and despises the little Austrian corporal ... For the moment though the former corporal will play his part and gracefully accept the Chancellorship ... but only for the moment.
See what happened next!
LAH212 “Like Father ... Like Son”
Dressed in their brown shirt uniforms this father and his small son “Sieg Heil” the new Chancellor ... and Fuhrer.
AVAILABLE: Mid March
F. “BEHIND THE FRONTLINES”
From the moment “Operation Barbarossa” began it was clear that it would be a war and a campaign fought with ever-increasing barbarity on both sides.
The campaign was driven by the Nazis ideological desire to conquer the Western
Soviet Union, drive out the existing population and repopulate it with ethnic
Germans. Any remaining locals would be used as ‘slave labour’ and totally
Whether you were fighting the invading Germans or trying to live under the occupiers your life was totally at the mercy of these members of the master race ...
WS330 “Do you know this man?”
Behind the lines a member of SD (Sicherheitsdienst / Security Service) unit questions a Russian peasant about a portrait of Lenin that has been found during a routine search of the man’s cottage.
WS331 “The Threat!”
Another SD officer points his pistol menacingly at the unfortunate peasant ...
AVAILABLE: Mid March
G. “REVENGE IS SWEET” ...
By January 1945 Russian troops had crossed the River Oder and were just 100 miles from the centre of Berlin!
After years of brutal warfare between both sides in Russia itself it was now time for the Soviets to inflict their own brand of death and destruction upon the Reich itself.
RA075 “The Josef Stalin Tank”
The JS-2 was a Soviet designed and built heavy tank with thick armour to counter the deadly effectiveness of the legendary 88mm gun.
The JS-2’s own 122mm gun was also powerful enough to knock out both the Tiger and Panther tanks of the Germans. It was also a ‘breakthrough’ tank capable of firing a high explosive shell that could easily penetrate and knock-out entrenchments and concrete and steel enforced bunkers.
The JS-2 first went into service in April 1944 and was used as the armoured spearhead of the Red Army’s final assault on Berlin itself.
Our K&C model is well and truly battletried and tested and maybe even a little bit battle-weary but it still carries that huge 122mm main gun and comes complete with 2 x crew figures.
A solitary, unarmed German soldier is roughly handled by his Red Army captor ... He should consider himself lucky he is only being manhandled because he is Wehrmacht ... If he was Waffen SS ... He would be shot out of hand!
AVAILABLE: Late March
2. BEING RETIRED
No retirements for this month…
Well, that’s us for another month ... Looking forward to The Land of Oz and meeting up with a whole big bunch of K&C collectors down under ...
In the meantime ... All the best to one and all!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country Hong Kong