King & Country
1. THE OTSN SHOW
Well, what can I say? As always the Chicago Show is one of the major
highlights of the toy soldier calendar…and this year’s event was one of
I arrived early Thursday evening and already many rooms were open
and some dealers were doing a brisk business. I’m happy to report that King
& Country were well represented with at least 10 dealers setting up and
selling. It was also nice to see the new King & Country Authorised Dealer
banners on display outside several rooms.
Now, about the show itself - the variety of new products seems to
grow by the year and that is encouraging. What was also noticeable was the
decrease in new products and items from some of our major competitors.
There’re three big names I could mention but I think most of you know who
they are already.
An old favourite of mine was Jack Updike of Minimen with his figures
of the Old West - cowboys, gamblers, dancehall floozies and even a
chuckwagon. Great character and detail.
It was also noticeable the increased number and quality of Russian
figures available at Chicago - several new Russian dealers and lots of
fabulous figures - especially Medieval and Napoleonic.
Although lots of new K&C product was on show (and sale) with our
dealers I took the opportunity to take our 5 upcoming sets of Waffen SS sets
(including the all-new STUG IV) to preview dealers and selected collectors
in my room. This seemed to be appreciated and certainly whet a few
appetites for these releases.
On Sunday September 28 I was up bright and early to help move K&C
down into our usual position outside the main ballroom. At 9am a long line
of collectors snaked through the hotel and out the main door ready for the
show to open at 10.
When the floodgates opened the tide rolled in. Elsewhere the crowds
ebbed and flowed around the hundreds of tables displaying every possible
variation of toy soldier. All too soon 3:30 came round and dealers began to
pack up. Another great Chicago Show was over and we were almost dead on our
As usual though, I had a fantastic time - a ton of new ideas - a
wealth of invaluable intelligence on what our competitors were getting up to
and, most importantly a chance to discuss with dealers and collectors alike
their opinions, views and ideas on where they would like to see us go in the
There really is no better toy soldier show in the world than
soldiers. I absolutely love it and would not miss it for the world! I can’t
wait for September 2004. If, your business is toy soldiers then you really
should be there. See you in
2. THE NEW AFRIKA KORPS KOLLECTION
By now most if not all of you will have received supplies of our AFRIKA
KORPS reinforcements. The new infantry sets have been available for a few
weeks but the vehicles took a wee bit longer to reach us - sorry about the
delay. So just to recap…
a) AK23 DESERT PANZER IV
This new version was one of a handful supplied with an extra armoured shield
to protect the turret.
From a distance it vaguely resembled a TIGER with its unusual turret shape,
this caused considerable panic among allied troops and was an unexpected
bonus for its crews.
Our model, unlike the recent
gun…three crew members…and a superb, battle-worn paint finish.
b) AK24 SdKfz 222 ARMOURED CAR
Providing additional armoured support is our new 20mm armed Scout
Car. This comes complete with a half-body vehicle commander and 2 Panzer
Grenadiers advancing rifles in hand.
3. COMING SOON…
a) SANTA CLAUS 2003
A brand-new Santa vignette set (our 2nd) for our festive season fans. A
standing Santa along with a bumper sackful of Christmas goodies confronts
two wide-eyed, pyjama clad toddlers. This delightful grouping is sure to
please all those who collected last year’s first Santa Set.
AVAILABILITY: Late October 2003
b) HK113 Dai Pai Dong or Street-side Food Stall
This colourful new version of the traditional
to be a best-seller.
A standing cook ladles out the freshly made won-ton soup to two hungry
customers. His stall is laden with all kinds of tasty Chinese dishes and
even has his own advertising sign on the front.
The two customers eagerly crouch on a wooden bench that completes the set.
Fabulous detail…superb sculpting and painting.
c) HK114 Three barrels of Food
This supplementary set of three barrels contains one of fish…another of
vegetables…and the third of meat. Perfect additions to the “Dai Pai Dong”
4. ITEMS BEING RETIRED… Don’t miss out!
Many dealers have said how much they appreciate us only making limited
amounts of products which both add to the value and collectability but also
allow us to introduce a steady flow of new items which increase sales!
Providing of course we let them know in advance what’s being retired! So
DD25 and DD26, our fighting patrol and firefighting sets of US Paratroopers.
These 2 sets of
were best-sellers but now they’re ready for retirement. Grab them while you
b) ECG Edinburgh Castle Gate
Our venerable Scottish Castle Gate is also moving out - just a few left.
c) HK073A,B,C Three Chinese Shophouses
Three old favourites are being demolished…the Salted Fish Shophouse…Chung
Tai Grocery…the Herbal Medicine Shop. Plans are already afoot to replace
them in the coming year. Some still available.
d) “SANDS OF IWO JIMA” Being Upgraded
We’re upgrading this existing series in the first half of 2004. Nine old
sets are being retired they will be replaced with at least 5 brand-new
sculpted replacement sets.
IWJ01 "Hit The Beach"
IWJ02 "Fire Support"
IWJ03 "Calling Up Reinforcements"
IWJ04 "Take Cover"
IWJ06 "Raising the Flag"
IWJ10A Battlefield with Mountain Top
IWJ10B Battlefield with Mountain Summit
e) NORMANDY VILLAGE
NV10 The Garage
NV11 La Maison Vert
NV12 Hotel Balzac
NV13 Gare Central
NV14 Cafe/ Restaurant
NV17 The Water Fountain
NV18 Memorial A La Guerre
f) DEFENSE WORKS
SP04 Split Rail Fences (3pcs)
SP11 Afghan Cave (Bin Laden’s hideaway)
5. CREATIVE BRAINSTOROMING SESSION
This coming Friday 17 October we will have an all-day session to consider
our 2004-production schedule.
If you have any suggestions, ideas or thoughts on what you would like to see
K&C produce in 2004 let us know - we’d love to hear from you. Remember,
some of our very best products have come from dealers’ and collectors’
So, that’s the story so far…best wishes and great sales to you all.
Andy C Neilson
Co-founder and Creative Director