Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Birmingham Toy Soldier Show: 2012

German Landsknecht flag bearer from First Legion
On Sunday I took myself along to the 22nd holding of Birmingham's Central Model and Toy Soldiers Fayre, to give it its proper title, aka The Birmingham Toy Soldier Show

I wasn't there all day so I'm unable to judge just how well attended it was overall, but when I got there, when it opened its doors to the public, it didn't seem quite as busy as it has in the past

Liebstandarte SS ceremonial band by K&C [they do this soooo well!]
Nevertheless, there were plenty of traders there, including most if not all of the 'usual suspects', including K&C UK, Grey Goose Collectibles, TM Terrain, Little Legion and Maison Militaire to name but a few, selling vintage and new figures and vehicles from all the major metal and plastic manufacturers; HAT, Armies in Plastic, Victrix, Airfix, Timpo, Figarti, Thomas Gunn, Collectors Showcase, First Legion, Black Hawk, Conte Collectibles, King and Country and seemingly bucket loads of Britains!  Plenty to keep the big kid in all of us more than happily entertained!

Recently released ceremonial archway

Close up of some of the adoring onlookers, also released fairly recently

K&C's new and improved range of distressed French buildings, complete with numerous German invaders
This year I was 'on a mission' and owing to other family oriented commitments I was unable to spend the whole day there. My main reason for going was to collect a recently released Figarti tank that I'd asked Clive of GGC to bring along to the show for me, a vehicle I featured in a recently posted Figarti review, and it's a little beauty! As soon as I find time to get it out of its rather handsome box I will take a couple of photos and put them on here as part of my next 'Latest Additions' post. For now, I will keep you in suspense

A fraction of the armour and 'warbirds' available on the Figarti retailer's stand. Thanks for the tank, Clive!

Whilst there I came across a stand I don't remember seeing at the show before, Tiger Hobbies Limited, and what drew my eye was the rather impressive arrangement of 1/72nd scale die-cast military vehicles piled high on their table, along with the arguably even more impressive 1/24th scale Tiger II tank, complete with crew, sitting above it

I had quite a good chat with the owner as I perused the selection of 20mm tanks and other armoured and soft skin vehicles on show, mostly from Hobby Master and Panzerstahl and a few from Blitz 72, a small, but growing, range of 'budget' die-cast and plastic vehicles aimed primarily at the wargamer who might want to buy several versions of the same vehicle without having to re-mortgage the house!

One word sums this up; nice!

The Tiger II, made from a combination of die-cast and plastic parts, was priced at £50. The detailing and the paint job are both very impressive for the money. The turret rotates, the gun elevates, all the hatches open to accommodate a full complement of crew figures should you want to buy them, and each of the wheel has its own independent suspension! The model comes with a plastic commander. The figures in the photos are metal and available at an additional cost. Vehicle and figures are both manufactured by VS-Tanks

If you like the sound of that, you'll be even more impressed when I tell you that for £50 more you can have a fully RC [radio controlled] version with the kind of 'functionality' that would typically cost you a whole lot more! Check out their website by clicking on the highlighted link above and see what you think. Happy browsing!

I leave you with a couple of snaps [poorer in quality than I would have liked] showing some of the lovely First Legion figures on the Maison Militaire stand. Happy hunting

Next year's show will take place on Sunday 13th October, earlier than usual, at the same venue; The Clarendon Suite, 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham. See you there!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

King and Country: Dispatches

As ever, all the figures previewed in last month's post are now available for sale and dispatch including all the winter Germans, the early production Tiger 1, the 222 armoured car, the Coldstream Guards and the little vignette celebrating the wedding of William and Kate. So, what's in store for November? Read on and find out!

Let's start off with some soldiers from 'down under' in the shape of half a dozen more light horsemen, this time having been forced to dismount and fight on foot, as per the role of the light dragoon! I particularly like the figure of the trooper attempting to comfort his fatally wounded companion


AL039 “The Charger”
We’ve had many requests to produce another “bayonets forward” trooper on a galloping horse and here he is

AL040 “Goodbye Old Girl”
Inspired by an original WWI painting by Fortunino Matania… this forlorn trooper kneels by his fallen horse comforting the dying beast

AL041 “Officer w/ Pistol”

AL042 “Standing Firing”

AL043 “Standing Loading”
AL044 “Lying Firing”

Next up, some WW2 Americans ready to do battle at 'The Bulge', that famous winter conflict that always inspires a few new releases from K&C at this time of year, and why not!


BBA054 “The M4A3E8 Easy-Eight SHERMAN”
This is actually the first “real” Easy Eight K&C has ever produced… Many moons ago… around 1999 we manufactured aHybridthat utilized a proper “Easy Eight” turret complete with 76mm gun but we “married” it to the body of an Israeli “Isherman”.
Now, this time it’s the “real-deal”… It’s big, bold and brassy and it’s one helluva tank… And it’s “snow-camouflaged” as well



BBA061 “Kneeling Loading Rifle”
BBA062 “Standing Firing Rifle”

BBA063 “Advancing BAR Gunner”

          BBA064 “Advancing Radio Man”

From France during the Second World War we travel to Egypt during the time of one of France's most famous sons, namely one Napoleon Bonaparte. K&C have produced some marvellous camel riders for their Napoleon in Egypt range


This popular and colourful series just gets bigger and better… Here’s the latest…

NE018 “Standing Guides Officer”
Faced with a desperate shortage of cavalry in Egypt, Napoleon ordered the formation of a regiment mounted on camels!
Instead of using regular cavalry he chose infantrymen from his many demi-brigades to make up the strength of his new unit.
These soldiers enjoyed the same privileges and pay as Dragoons and were uniformed in, as Napoleon described it, “The Oriental Style” with huge off-white cloaks and baggy, loose fitting pantaloons.
Here are our first selection…

NE028 “Camel Cavalier w/Musket”
Musket held aloft and scanning the horizon

NE029 “Camel Cavalier with Baggy red pantaloons”

NE030 “Camel Cavalier w/Rifle Across”
NE031 “The Leader”

NE032 “The Bugler”

Finally, but by no means least, a few more additions to the revamped Classic Germans range, complete with a winter camouflaged [whitewashed] Tiger 1!


Dressed in dust-covered field-grey these Wehrmacht “soldaten”are a useful “add-on” to our first four field-grey “classics” issued in October

WS211 “Unteroffizier w/ Schmeisser”
WS212 “Kneeling Ready”
WS213 “Kneeling w/ Ammo Box”
WS214 “Wait!”
WS215 “Just Looking” 

WS220 “The Winter Tiger1”
The second of our new, early-production models of this iconic German tank. This second version has been given a thin coat of whitewash to help camouflage it… Already however the original “fieldgrau” is showing through
        The vehicle comes with a new Tank Commander figure
So what's being retired this month? Here is the list, and there are four items on it that I want in my collection. How about you? Until next time, happy hunting!

AK041 “Marching AK Officer”
AK042 “Marching AK Sergeant”
AK043 “Marching AK Corporal”
AK048 “Marching AK Rifleman”
AK054 “AK Newsreel Crew”
AK055 “New Machine Gun Crew”
AK056 “Rifle Section”
AK057 “Attack Group”
FOB057 “Wehrmacht marching officer”
FOB058 “Wehrmacht marching rifleman”
FOB059 “Wehrmacht Bugler”
LOJ005A “Standing Camel”
LOJ005B “Grazing Camel”
LOJ005C “Sitting Camel”
MG015 “Advance to Contact”
MG018 “Manning the PIAT”
MG019 “Anti-tank Gun Set”
MG021 “Lying Firing Sten Gun”
RTA011A “Standing Mexican (No Moustache)”
RTA011B “Standing Mexican (with Moustache)”
RTA013 “Wounded Mexican”
RTA021 “Joseph Kerr, LA - Firing Pistols”
RTA024 “John Forsyth, NY - w/Musket Bayonet”
WS163 “Talking Tankers”
WS164 “Kneeling HJ Officer”
WS172 “Hitlerjugend, Casualty Evacuation”
WS174 “Walking Wounded”
        WS175 “Summer Raupenschlepper”

First Legion: New Releases and Upcoming Goodies!

A number of figures sets already previewed are now on sale and ready for dispatch, notable amongst them being US Airborne, Vietnam, ACW Confederate and AWI Continental infantry figures

Now on to the new releases, starting with a special Napoleonic series depicting the demise of Marshal Lannes. The series comprises three sets, the stricken Lannes attended by Napoleon and the army surgeon Larrey, the onlooking Baron de Marbot, and a grenadier of the 7th Line Infantry Regiment

Next up is a brand new vehicle capable of pulling the beautiful German artillery piece the company created a while back. This one is sure to delight many a collector. Imagine just how magnificent this will look with the aforementioned gun slung on the back of it!

First Legion is pleased to present the latest vehicle for our Battle of Stalingrad figure range, the iconic SdKfz 7 8 Ton Prime Mover of the 14th Panzer Division! This incredibly detailed vehicle is has been a long time coming as we had always meant to produce it to tow our 150mm Howitzer

When we created that gun in 2011, we purposely designed it so that the gun trails opened and closed and we provided the complete limber setup to go with it because we knew down the road we would provide this superb towing vehicle. So limber up and get those guns on the move!

This extremely detailed and accurate model has a wide variety of configuration options making it perfect for displays either on the move or stationary and it comes with a wonderfully painted driver figure as well as options for both a retracted roof or fully closed roof display

When displayed stationary, sets GERSTAL030 and 31 are wonderful complements to it as they can be loading up the rear compartments which fully open and close on both sides of the model. Further, we have created a new Vehicle Stowage set GERSTAL048 that has been designed to fit perfectly into the rear metal racks of this model (though it can of course be used with other vehicles as well, particularly the Opel Blitz). Finally, sets GERSTAL033 and GERSTAL044 Seated Passengers fit perfectly in the back as shown 

As if that weren't enough, FL have just announced the imminent release of yet another new series of figures [and this one has most certainly got me salivating] and another vehicle. Take a gander at these little beauties

We are very pleased to present a few previews of some upcoming additions to our WWII figure range. It has long been speculated what some "camo" WWII Germans might look like done in our unique figure making style and we are pleased to finally answer that question with this preview of our new Waffen SS figures. We certainly hope they prove worth the wait and live up to expectations! [I'm sure they will - ed]

A close up of the machine gun team

My keyboard is soaking wet, so I'm going to take a break while I clean it up! Happy hunting!

Beau Geste Digest

Back with more delights from the Americas, this time in the shape of some 'sons of India' who fought as part of the British Army during the First World War and a few more additions to their flagship Delhi Durbar range

First up is a group of soldiers from the Indian Cyclist Corp together with one of the photos which inspired the set

In the war a number of duties befell cyclists incuding:

Courier work - sometimes cycling down communications trenches. This was particularly important when the security of the trench telephone system was found to have been compromised by German Moritz receiving stations

Security patrols - for example the canal system in both Britain and France could have been very vulnerable to sabotage and was patrolled by cyclists

In the early days of the war cyclists (British, Belgium and German) were employed as scouts - for example contact with the Russians before Tannenberg was first made by German cycling units. In Belgium British and German cycling units actually engaged each other. One of the Anglo Belgian armoured trains actually carried Belgian cycling troops on board to scout away from the railway line

The Italians had cycling troops used as a mobile reserve to plug holes in the line in the case of an Austrian break through

There were four kinds of cyclist units in the British Army of World War I.
1.  The cyclist battalions of the Territorial Force, which were infantry units.
2.  Yeomanry regiments of the Territorial Force that had exchanged their horses for bicycles.
3.  The divisional cyclist companies of infantry divisions
4.  The corps cyclist battalions of army corps

Next up is a group of splendid looking camel riders which I'm sure many collectors would simply love to add to their DDDs! [Delhi Durbar Displays]

Alwar camel riders

Alwar camel riders band

Alwar camel riders band, part 2!

The final pictures show two new elephants and attendant escort guards, musicians and standard bearers looking resplendent, as ever, in their multicoloured garb

The elephant of Faridkot

Faridkot State, with its capital at Faridkot, was a Princely state in Punjab region, it was one of the Cis-Sutlej states.
The state was established in 1763, ruled by a Jatt Sikh Brar dynasty and was an offspring of Kotkapura. Faridkot was occupied by Ranjit Singh of the Sikh Empire in 1803 but had to be returned to the former rulers in 1807 on the behest of the British. The Faridkot Elephant was part of the Main Procession. It went on the left column in 23rd place, beside the Limri Elephant, after the Maler Kotla Elephant, who went alone, and before the Manipur one

Escort Guards

Music Group

The Faridkot group in its entirety

Elephant and standard bearers from Kotah

These sets, together with everything else produced by Beau Geste, is available from Piers Christian, the sole distributor of BG merchandise in the United Kingdom. Happy hunting!