Welcome to yet another diverse and I hope, interesting collection of figures and fighting vehicles that stretch all the way from the sands of Ancient Egypt to the jungles of South East Asia with one or two historical diversions along the way.
So, without further ado, let’s begin our journey into the past with the ‘Land of the Nile’...
1. BEING RELEASED THIS MAY
Whenever most people think of Egypt one particular image usually springs to mind... The Pyramids!
Over 5,000 years ago Egypt became a united nation and for 3,000 of those years it was ruled over by its own kings. During that time there were three distinct periods... the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms. Now, see where we’re beginning our story... It was in the ‘Old Kingdom’ that the Egyptians began building huge stone tombs for their rulers called ‘pyramids’.
To these Ancient Egyptians, the three most important things in their lives were their King... the Next World and the River Nile.
Egypt is a very arid country where it rarely rains. The Nile’s water provides life for plants, animals and people.
The royal pyramids, which housed the bodies and possessions of dead rulers were all built on the west bank of the Nile.
To construct these mighty monuments armies of labourers hauled huge blocks of stone to the chosen sites. Once there skilled craftsmen and stonemasons shaped and placed these massive blocks according to the designs and plans of the architects and surveyors.
Painters, metalworkers, carpenters and sculptors then added their skills and handiwork to complete the gigantic structures.
This is the initial theme of these welcome additions to one of King & Country’s most original series of figures.
A. ON THE BANKS OF THE NILE...
AE064 “The Stone Sled Team”
Although animals were also used to help drag huge blocks of stone to and around the pyramid’s building site most of the ‘heavy-hauling’ was undertaken by manual labour.
Here a team of six labourers haul a wooden sled on which a large block of stone has been tied down to.
If on level ground or sand, wooden logs could be placed under the sled to ease the passage of the load. On ramps however, built at an angle leading up to the various levels of the pyramid, brute strength was still the best, if hardest, method used. Six figures... one wooden sled... and one very large block of stone!
AE067 “The Mud Mixers”
Two labourers toil away mixing ‘Mud Bricks’. These were a compound of Nile mud, clay, sand mixed in with straw and even a little animal dung! This was all mixed together with water to form a malleable mass which was than pressed into wooden molds to make the individual ‘bricks’.
As one labourer pours in some sand the other stirs up the mixture.
2-figures and the mixing trough.
AE069 “The Overseer”
Watching over and instructing the various labouring tasks would be an ‘overseer’ or ‘foreman’ such as this figure. While many of the workers under his control were either slaves or foreign-born labourers most of the ‘Overseers’ were Egyptian although some had ‘risen from the laboring ranks’.
AE070 “The Stonemasons”
Skilled stonemasons could be Egyptian but might also be talented slaves or foreign workers.
Because of their skills and talents they received better provisions and much improved living quarters compared to the largely unskilled heavy labourers. A 3-figure set.
AE073 “The Nubian Water Carrier”
Working under the blazing Egyptian sun from early morning until last light demanded copious amounts of water for ALL the workers constructing the Pyramid.
Teams of girls and young women, many of Nubian origin, brought fresh water to the workers throughout the working day.
After work had ceased they were kept in their own separate camp compounds to ensure their own safety as well as the likelihood that they might ‘tire-out’ the workforce with extra curricular evening activities!
AE075 “Scaffolding Platforms”
All over the building site you would see large and small wooden scaffolding complete with platforms where the expert craftsmen... sculptors, painters and other decorators would work away high above the heavy labourers.
AE077 “Standing Guard”
Although most ‘overseers’ and ‘foremen’ carried protective weaponry a strong force of the King’s soldiers would also be on hand to provide a kind of ‘military police’ presence on the work site.
These professional soldiers would also protect the prized possessions which would be gathered at the Pyramid site ready to be interred along with the dead king when the project was finally completed.
AVAILABLE: Mid May
SPECIAL NOTE: This is just the beginning... there are already many more ‘Building The Pyramid’ releases scheduled for release in the coming months and into 2020!
B. “... Next stop Berlin!”
From the banks of The Nile to the streets of Berlin in the late 1930’s in one long jump...
LAH252 “Miss Eva Braun”
Eva Anna Paula Braun (1912-1945) was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and, for less than 40 hours in May 1945, his wife!
Eva first met Hitler in 1929 in Munich where she was working as a photographer’s assistant and part-time model. She began a relationship with Hitler a few years later and, by 1936, was an established, if secret, part of his private household at his mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps.
She was a key figure in his inner circle but completely unknown to the German general public.
Towards the end of WW2 she moved to Berlin and swore undying loyalty to Hitler and met her suicidal end shortly after marrying Hitler in the bomb-battered remains of the Reich Chancellery as the Red Army closed ‘in for the kill’ in the Reich capital.
This is the second K&C version of this particular ‘Eva’ figure... dressed perhaps for an earlier, happier occasion.
LAH253 “Adolf and Blondi”
It was often said that Hitler loved animals more than people... perhaps there is more than a shade of truth in that.
During the First World War, “Corporal Hitler’s” best friend and most loyal companion was a stray mongrel he adopted while serving in the trenches on the Western Front.
‘Blondi’ was Hitler’s German Shepherd given as a gift to the Fuhrer by his Chief of the Nazi Party Chancellery, Martin Bormann in 1941.
The dog stayed loyally by Hitler’s side for the remainder of the war and eventually moved into the Berlin Fuhrerbunker located under the garden of the Reich Chancellery in January 1945.
Hitler was extremely fond of ‘Blondi’ and she featured in many press photographs showing the Fuhrer as a dedicated and kind ‘animal lover’.
The dog also met the same fate as her master when, in order to test the special cyanide capsules all top Nazis carried, Hitler ordered his doctor to test the potency of a capsule on his pet dog. This was done and ‘Blondi’ died as a result.
Our ‘Adolf & Blondi’ set shows dog and master in other times... enjoying a walk in the Bavarian Alps near his mountain retreat.
LAH254 “Obergruppenfuhrer ‘Sepp’ Dietrich”
Josef ‘Sepp’ Dietrich (1892-1966) joined Nazi Party in 1928 and was originally Hitler’s driver and personal bodyguard. He won rapid promotion in the SS especially after his participation in ‘The Night of the Long Knives’ in 1934.
He played a key role in the formation of the “Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler”, the premier armed bodyguard regiment of the Schutz Staffel and was its first and most famous commander. Dietrich oversaw its expansion from a single battalion to an entire regiment and finally into the most elite division-sized unit of the Waffen SS.
The K&C figure shows him in the black, prewar SS parade uniform which went into permanent storage after the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939.
LAH255 “LAHSS Officer at Attention”
This standing at attention, sword drawn, SS officer is wearing the white, parade dress accoutrements that clearly identify him as belonging to the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler regiment.
LAH-S02 “Leibstandarte On Parade #1”
This special 5-figure parade set features five Leibstandarte ‘rank and file’ standing strictly to attention and ‘presenting arms’ for inspection or providing a guard of honour for a visiting dignitary.
LAH-S03 “Leibstandarte On Parade #2”
This 10-figure set comes in a special presentation box and includes one LAH officer in command of nine LAH ‘presenting arms’
Special Note: Both of the above releases are ‘Value Added’ packages that allow collectors to purchase multiples of these parade figures at very affordable prices!
AVAILABLE: Mid May
C. ‘BARBARIANS AT THE GATES!’
Although the Roman Army was highly successful in keeping its enemies at arms length occasionally a raiding party of Celts, Britons or rebellious Gauls would break through the military cordon to ravage and raid towns and villages just inside the Empire’s long and extended borders...
RnB035 “Captor & Captive”
Here, a forlorn and dejected young and attractive female captive is led away by a mounted barbarian chieftain. What fate awaits her remains unknown however this was a scene that was not unknown during the Empire’s long and often brutal reign...
AVAILABLE: Mid May
D. ‘FROM ROME TO COPENHAGEN’
Here’s one more of those little “diversions” I hinted at in the beginning of this month’s ‘DISPATCHES’... perhaps one of the more unusual. Here’s the background...
Both my wife Liza and myself love the country of Denmark, its people and its wonderful capital, Copenhagen. Last summer we spent our annual vacation in Copenhagen and as usual among our favourite places to visit was the Amalienborg Palace, the ceremonial home of the Danish Royal Family. This classical palace can be found in the heart of Copenhagen complete with its own large square and a monumental equestrian statue of Amalienborg’s founder, King Frederick Ⅴ.
Everyday and night Amalienborg is guarded by Denmark’s own Royal Life Guards. As some of you may know several years ago K&C produced our own version of these guardsmen in their special ceremonial ‘scarlet’ tunics and bearskin caps (similar to Britain’s own Royal Foot Guard Regiments).
On most occasions however when the Guard parades at Amelienborg they wear a different parade tunic... the Navy Blue double-breasted one... That’s usually what most visitors see when the ‘Changing of the Guard’ ceremony takes place each day the monarch is in residence.
Earlier this year my wife opened her own small events space here in Hong Kong called ‘La Maison Rose’ that promotes and retails a very select range of hand-made products that includes Denmark’s famous ‘Royal Copenhagen’ ceramics. Liza also wanted some special figures that reflects our affection for and interest in Denmark.
And so, on behalf of Liza’s company, ’La Maison Rose’, K&C has produced some additional Royal Life Guards in their very unique Navy Blue parade uniforms. Although most of these special figures will be sold through ‘La Maison Rose’ a limited number are available from King & Country for interested collectors and dealers worldwide.
MRDG001 “Standing Guard”
A very familiar sight around Amelienborg Palace in both summer and winter.
MRDG003 “Royal Life Guards Colour Party”
Two blue-coated Guardsmen flank a senior NCO (non commissioned officer) holding the Danish Queen’s Regimental Standard.
AVAILABLE: Early May
E. “GOOD MORNING VIETNAM!”
It’s a long journey and a world away from the colourful and historic streets and palaces of Copenhagen to the jungles of Vietnam in the 1960’s... but we’ll go there anyway.
VN061 “The Aussie M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier”
As Australia’s involvement in South Vietnam deepened the Army decided it must have a modern armoured personnel carrier that could more easily navigate through dense South East Asian jungles, paddy fields, rivers and creeks.
After exhaustive tests and trials in Australia’s own tropical rain forests the Army selected the American-made M113.
In March 1965 the first M113 A1’s arrived in Australia and by June of that same year some of these Aussie 113’s were deployed to South Vietnam.
Our K&C model is typical of these Australian APC’s that saw action at that time and in the following years. ’22 Bravo’ mounts a .50 caliber Browning machine gun on top of the commander’s hatch behind which sits the vehicle commander himself. A second figure appears just popping out of the open hatch of the driver’s position.
As you can see in our pictures the vehicle can also accommodate additional Australia infantrymen riding into battle.
VN062 “M113 Passengers Set”
Three sitting Aussie ‘Grunts’ from the Royal Australian Regiment in various seated poses... All armed with the L1A1 Self Loading Rifle... the standard infantry rifle of the Vietnam period.
VN063 “Standing Armoured Corps Officer”
A ‘stand-alone’, hands on hips, Aussie vehicle commander. This figure is especially designed for collectors who may want one additional M113 (or even more) to make up a troop of APC’s in action. Works equally well on this vehicle and on the upcoming Centurion tanks.
VN066 “Sitting Vehicle Commander with Binos”
A very useful seated commander, complete with ‘bone-dome’ scanning the surrounding countryside for any sight of ‘Victor Charlie’!
AVAILABLE: Mid-Late May
F. “Michael Wittmann’s First Battlefield Tiger”
Michael Wittmann (1914-1944) is, without doubt, the most famous tank commander of the Second World War. Since the war Wittmann has become almost a ‘cult figure’ thanks to his battlefield achievements as a ‘Panzer Ace’ particularly his actions at Villers Bocage in Normandy during June 1944. It was there that, single-handedly his Tiger tank and crew destroyed 14 British tanks, 2 anti tank guns and no less than 15 assorted personnel carriers in less than a quarter of an hour! A singular accomplishment for any armoured warrior of any army at any time!
His exploits commanding the formidable PanzerkampfwagenⅥ, better known as the ‘Tiger’ have ensured his fame all over the world ever since. Wittmann’s ‘Tiger’ adventures did not begin (and end) on the lush, green fields of Normandy in 1944 they go back to April 1943 in Russia.
It was there that Wittmann was given command of his first ‘Tiger’ tank, turret number ‘411’... Just a few weeks later SS-Untersturmfuhrer Wittmann’s unit was expanded and renumbered their tanks accordingly.
WS352 “Michael Wittmann’s First Battlefield Tiger”
Michael Wittmann’s own ‘Tiger’ was now given the new number ‘1331’... ‘13’ being the new, enlarged company, ‘3’ for the platoon and the final ‘1’ for the position of platoon commander.
It was in this particular vehicle that the young untersturmfuhrer would go into action with during the biggest and fiercest tank battle of the Second World... KURSK.
This K&C model represents Michael Wittmann’s first Battlefield Tiger as it appeared on the opening day of the Kursk Offensive, 5th of July 1943.
On that day, despite driving over a Russian mine and one of his crew being injured Wittmann’s ‘Tiger’ destroyed eight T34’s and no less than seven of the much-feared Soviet anti tank guns.
As you can see there are 2 figures in the open hatches of the turret... Untersturmfuhrer Wittmann in the commander’s position and his gunner, Bobby Woll, enjoying a brief breath of fresh air... as he scans the surrounding area for fresh targets!
By the time the Kursk Offensive ended on July 17th the 29 year old Panzer ace and his crew were totally exhausted. They had however destroyed some 30 Soviet tanks and 28 anti tank guns!
This latest King & Country Tiger comes in a specially designed full-colour box with extra strong black foam insert.... All the better to protect the model and figures inside!
AVAILABLE: Mid to Late May
G. ‘EXTRA WEAPONS’
Finally, we move back to Roman times with a useful little accessory set for all Roman Army enthusiasts...
SP109 “Roman Shields & Spears Set”
Three separate Legionary shields, decorated with the symbols of K&C’s chosen Legion, the XX Valeria Victrix (the Twentieth Victorious Valeria Legion) together with three ‘Pilums’, the classic Roman Army Throwing Spear.
Very useful ‘extras’ for Roman Forts, encampments and... battlefields!
AVAILABLE: Mid May
2. BEING RETIRED...
As per usual as our latest releases are launched some of our older items are being retired, As you can see, there is a ‘bumper bundle’ this month and some really excellent pieces. Grab ‘em while you can!
AK092 Sd. Kfz. 222 Armoured Car (North Africa-Desert)
AK114 Afrika Korps Motorcycle
BBG092 Prone MG42 Gunner
BBG115 Hauptmann Stossel
LAH172 Deputy Leader Rudolf Hess
LAH200 Count Galeazzo Ciano
RA056 Steady, aim… Fire!
RA064 Raising the Red Flag
WS231 WH Demag Passenger
WS286 Pointing Officer
WS287 Kneeling Loading
WS288 Kneeling Grenadier
WS289 Kneeling w/Rifle
And that my friends is the story so far, all the very best and, as ever, happy collecting!
Andy C. Neilson
Co-founder & Creative Director
King & Country Ltd.