Sunday 29 July 2012

Beau Geste Digest

It's been quite quiet on the BGD front lately, and certainly quite a long time since I last posted anything about the company and its products. Well, here is a summary of a newsletter that landed in my inbox the other day, direct from Ana Donzino at BG

I'm finally back with the new stuff, and so proud of them. We are now settled in our new studio by the ocean and producing again with renewed strength and enthusiasm. The long expected German Camel Corps sets are ready, and looking so much better in person! I can't get my new camera to take as good pictures as the old one did. I've made my best with these

Set 333 - Camel Corps, German Schutztruppe, Tropical Uniform, South West Africa, WWI

Set 334 - Camel Corps Sergeant and Trumpeter

Set 335 - Camel Corps Band, German Schutztruppe, Tropical Uniform, South West Africa, WWI

All eight figures pictured above are also being produced wearing their winter uniform

Set 338 - Camel Corps Band wearing their winter uniform

The colony of German South West Africa (modern Namibia) was founded in 1883 by Adolf Lüderitz and was recognized as a German Protectorate in 1884. Its mostly arid farming land had attracted 13,000 German settlers by 1910, the recent discovery of diamonds adding to the potential of the colony. The history of German South West Africa was marred by three major rebellions and the harsh way in which they were crushed.
After Germany's defeat in the First World War, the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 stripped Germany of all her colonies and overseas possessions. German South West Africa was awarded to the Dominion of South Africa

When war broke out in the Summer of 1914 the colonies were left to their own devices to defend themselves with no real hope of reinforcements from Germany due to the blockade enforced by the Entente navies. One by one, each of the colonies surrendered to vastly superior Entente forces; Togo, New Guinea, Tsingtao and Samoa in 1914, German South West Africa in 1915 and Cameroon in 1916. It was only the Schutztruppe of German East Africa that were still fighting at the time of the Armistice in November 1918

The larger German colonies (German South West Africa, German East Africa and Cameroon) had their own regular colonial troops known as "Schutztruppe". A colony was referred to in German as a "Schutzgebeit" (or literally a Protectorate), so the soldiers stationed there were referred to as "Schutztruppe" (literally meaning Protection-troop). The Schutztruppe were the backbone of defense and counter-rebellion forces of the three main African colonies. In German East Africa and Cameroon the Schutztruppe consisted of German Officers and NCOs with African other ranks. The Schutztruppe of German South West Africa consisted exclusively of German officers and other ranks

Unlike the Schutztruppe of German East Africa and Cameroon, which relied on large numbers of Africans for the rank and file, the Schutztruppe of German South West Africa consisted entirely of German troops, employed as elite mounted infantry. All the officers and NCOs, and most of the other ranks, had previous experience in the regular German army and had usually volunteered for overseas service. During the Herero Rebellion the Schutztruppe were vastly expanded under General Lothar von Trotha by the addition of almost 15,000 new troops from Germany

More information about German colonial forces can be found by taking a look at the following website,

 The 1914 peacetime strength of the South West African Schutztruppe was approximately 90 German Officers with 1,800 German other ranks formed into 9 mounted infantry companies ("Feldkompagnien"), the 7th of which was camel mounted, and 3 artillery batteries 

In addition to the announcement of the release of these rather handsome looking German Camel Corps figure sets, Ana also makes mention of the fact that from now on BG figures will be available in the UK exclusively from Barry [pictured below] at Piers Christian

Two photos of the PC stand taken at the last London Toy Soldier Show

Until next time, happy hunting!

Thursday 26 July 2012

Walking in Wales Weekender: Update

On 14th July me and a group of work friends, and one or two of their mates and partners, went for a walk in Wales! I wanted to use the opportunity to raise a little bit of money for Help For Heroes [see text box opposite]

We initially intended to walk The Glyders, ascending via an area known as The Devil's Kitchen. I'd never done anything like this before so I was expecting it to be a bit more of a challenge than a walk in the park with the kids or a stroll down to the local hostelry with the lads!

The chap running the excursion carried out a risk assessment of the proposed route a couple of weeks before and decided that The Devil's Kitchen would be too demanding for some of the people going on the trip, and that if the weather turned a little inclement then navigating our way through it might also prove a little difficult

We finally settled on walking up Snowdon instead, an alternative that would be roughly equivalent in terms of distance travelled and the amount of time it would take us to complete it, but that would involve less scrambling over boulders and be far easier to navigate our way through, even if it did happen to pour down with rain and/or become a little misty

We set off for Wales, from Birmingham, at 6.15am and stopped off for breakfast in Llangollen, just over an hour away from our start off point. The weather, in the end, was very kind to us. It was a bright day, but not too hot. As we walked the rain restricted itself to a few light showers and for much of the walk we didn't actually need the waterproofs that we had all packed, just in case the heavens did decide to open up on us

We ascended along well marked paths and for much of the time people were able to move at their own pace. The more confident, and fitter, members of the group often strode on ahead leaving me and one or two others to bring up the rear! Every now and again we would stop for a rest, regroup and take on food and/or drink. I took plenty of water - a 3 litre bladder carried in a rucksack - as well as a box of sandwiches, a couple of energy bars and a pack of Kendal Mint Cake, which I absolutely love!

It was a very enjoyable experience, and when I reached the summit I really did feel like I'd achieved something. I wasn't able to move as quickly as some of the others but it wasn't as exhausting or as painful as I initially thought it might be and the only place I really 'felt it' was in my hamstrings. Coming down was far worse than going up! For the last twenty minutes of the descent, quite possibly longer, my knees were quite stiff and I really did feel every step, but it was well worth it

The sense of accomplishment was reward enough but in addition to that we all had a fantastic night out in Llangollen, where we were staying, and I managed to raise £200 for H4H, not a massive amount but every little helps and I am now planning to do something similar next year, in a different part of the country

If you're reading this and you happen to be someone who contributed to my fundraising then thank you, again, for your support. Here are a few more piccies we brought back from the trip

The Trig point at the summit

As you can see, it was a bit cloudy at times

The main man, or trip organiser, in red

There really are some lovely views to be had in this part of Wales.....

.....and one or two nice public houses, too, in Llangollen. Like this one, where we were sat for quite some time admiring the beautiful sky on the banks of the river

The party that made it to the summit. Yes, I'm the one in army fatigues. As an airsofter first and foremost it's the only suitable 'outdoor' clothing I possess. Rest assured, I was the butt of many a joke all day but the gear stood up to the test!

As did I! Yours truly at the summit. An unforgettable experience

Until next time!

Monday 23 July 2012

Figarti: Recent Releases

Feast your eyes on these relatively new releases from Figarti, all available in the UK from Grey Goose Collectibles, and if you take a look at their website you will be able to see a few more images together with all the necessary pricing details. Yummy!

From the desert sands of North Africa.....

Sd.Kfz. 6 w/76.2 mm (DAK-003)
Price £210.00

DAK Tiger I (DAK-005)
Price £220.00 the Steppes of the former Soviet Union

Red Cavalry Galloping (EFR-020)
Price £70.00

Take that, you Fascist pigs! (EFR-013)
Price £62.50

Captured Fritz (EFR-016)
Price £62.50

Under Fire (EFR-018)
Price £65.00

Red Cavalry Firing (EFR-014)
Price £70.00

Happy hunting!

TGM Update

The latest update from TGM:
Dear All
As we start to ship our latest releases out to customers I thought it might be an opportune moment to share a picture of one of our new figures for August. A German Stormtrooper armed with a Bergmann machine gun preparing to go into action
For this latest release of Germans we have muted the helmet colour scheme to give a more realistic finish as we felt the finish on GW001 could be improved. Not only that, we have added more dirt to the hands and boots to give an overall more grubby look to our poor foot-sloggers
Collectors should also be aware that we will be retiring the following sets at the end of this month, as we are virtually out of stock here on these items:
SS039 Puma armoured car, both winter and Normandy versions
SS025 Command Half Track, both winter and Normandy versions
SS026 Desert Kettenkrad
NAPS002 RHA Rocket Team, both versions
NAP003 - 006 Imperial Guard, both versions 
ATW003B 82nd Pathfinders
ATW004 101st AB and 82nd Pathfinders 
Your dealers may have these items in stock so no need to panic but, as they say, forewarned is forearmed!
Kind Regards
Vicki Lucas
Marketing Manager
Happy hunting!

Sunday 22 July 2012

JJD: August Releases

The latest releases from JJD

More pictures and information available from the JJDUK website

The intriguing figure pictured below is part of John's marvellous Knights of the Skies range and depicts a German mechanic with a number of accessories necessary for his work. It would certainly add a bit of variety to any WW1 aircraft diorama display

The two figures pictured below are the latest additions to one of John's new ranges, the Seven years War focusing on the Battle of Leuthen, one of Frederick the Great's feats of military genius

The figures, like all the others planned for the series, are based on the famous Carl Rochling painting of the Prussian Guard storming the churchyard at Leuthen

At the Battle of Leuthen, fought on 5 December 1757, Frederick the Great's Prussian army used maneouver and terrain to decisively defeat a much larger Austrian army under Charles of Lorraine, thus ensuring Prussian control of Silesia during the Seven Years' War

Of all of his battles, none shows Frederick's military abilities more than the Battle of Leuthen. His leadership before, and throughout, the battle show his capabilities as a military commander. The Battle of Leuthen can truly be considered to be Frederick's masterpiece

The range will be released over the course of 2012 and should include figures to create an incredible set piece diorama faithfully mirroring the painting. There is talk of a Church, or gate, and lots of advancing Grenadiers, including the dynamic officer pictured. Based upon the success of this range, John will consider the expansion of this Seven Years War collection to include Prussian and maybe Austrian firing lines and marching poses

The other releases in the series so far are pictured below

Happy hunting!

Photorealistic Dioramas

I was casually surfing the web the other day, as you do, when I came across some interesting diorama accessories from Build-a-Rama. Retailing under the heading of Photoreal Dioramics the company has produced a number of road surfaces and building facades that can be used as scenic backdrops and bases for 54-60mm figures and vehicles

Here are a few images to whet your appetite

The complete product range has been developed using original artwork created by Mark Vuncannon. Each graphical diorama piece has been created to reflect the most accurate photo-realistic scaled environment. These Hi Resolution renderings have been mounted on museum quality mat board and on high density black polystyrene foam board, freeing us up from the usual restrictions relating to size and weight. This unique material offers great flexibility for the handcrafted process as well as offering a durable lightweight display alternative

Here are a few more pictures

Some of the pieces are also being offered with a winterised finish

All of the buildings and bases I currently have in my collection are in 3D and made out of resin, wood or polystone, with the exception of the rubber cobblestone mats from JGM. They're all very nice, but also rather heavy. I also have some painted posters produced by JGM which serve as scenic backdrops for my shelf displays. I've yet to see them in the flesh but these PRD accessories look pretty good in the photos and certainly make for an interesting alternative to some of the more traditional solutions

If anyone out there has any direct experience of what they are actually like perhaps you could post a comment on the blog and let us know

More pictures and information available from Sierra Toy Soldier or Treefrog Treasures

Happy hunting!