John Jenkins Sneak Peak from the Chicago Show 2017!

VOUGHT F4U CORSAIR


On display in the Treefrog Treasures room, under the guidance of Tom Dubel, was the prototype of the iconic second world war carrier fighter, the Vought F4U Corsair.

The Vought F4U Corsair is an American fighter aircraft that saw service primarily in World War 2 and the Korean War.

The Corsair was designed as a carrier based aircraft. Initially its difficulty in landing on carriers, rendered it unsuitable for Navy use until the Royal Navy overcame the landing issues.

After the carrier landing issues had been tackled, it quickly became the most capable carrier based fighter bomber of the Second World War.

The jjDesigns Corsair, can be displayed with wings down, and sitting on two of the jjD BH aircraft carrier decks.

The Undercarriage for the Corsair is interchangeable, and the model can be displayed on any of the jjD Flight Stands.

The wings can also be plugged into the raised position.

This with a single jjD Aircraft carrier base, allows for those with limited space to display their Corsair on a standard shelf unit.

The first Corsair will be available in 2018.

There will be another iconic US carrier plane released early next year, before the Corsair.

LITTLE JULIE II


Captive-taking by Native Americans was surprisingly common in Colonial times. It was also common for captives to choose their Native communities over their Colonial families.

This puzzled the European Americans.They came to America believing that conversion would be easy once Natives saw the superiority of the Europeans’ religion, clothing, agriculture, dwellings, and every comfort known so far to man.

Yet there were very few Indians who converted to English culture, while large numbers of English chose to become Indian. Even Benjamin Franklin pondered, “When an Indian child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our customs, yet if he goes to see his relations and makes one Indian ramble with them, there is no persuading him ever to return. [But] when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and lived a while among them, tho’ ransomed by their friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a short time they become disgusted with our manner of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first good opportunity of escaping again into the woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them.”

Amongst the many who were captured was Mary Jemison.

Mary Jemison was born on the ship that brought her Irish parents, brothers and sisters to America in 1743. A few years later her family moved from Philadelphia to a homestead on the Pennsylvania frontier. The family toiled on the edge of civilization transforming the wilderness to cultivated soil. Each new day brought with it the fear of attack by wild beast or hostile indian.

Those fears became a reality on the morning of a spring day in 1758. The British colonies were engulfed in a war against the French. On that spring morning in 1758 a small raiding party made up of French and Indians swooped down on the frontier settlement capturing a number of British colonists including Mary Jemison and most of her family. From that day until her death 78 years later, she was never to leave the Indian culture. Her story of her capture and life amongst the Seneca was first published in 1824.

THE CONQUEST OF AMERICA


A new series from jjDesigns, was previewed at the Sierra Toy Soldier room, at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show 2017.

The Aztec Empire flourished between c. 1345 and 1521 and, at its greatest extent, covered most of northern Mesoamerica. Aztec warriors were able to dominate their neighbouring states and permit rulers such as Motecuhzoma II to impose Aztec ideals and religion across Mexico. Highly accomplished in agriculture and trade, the last of the great Mesoamerican civilizations was also noted for its art and architecture which ranks amongst the finest ever produced on the continent.

The empire continued to expand from 1430 and the Aztec military – bolstered by conscription of all adult males, men supplied from allied and conquered states, and such elite groups as the Eagle and Jaguar warriors – swept aside their rivals. Aztec warriors wore padded cotton armour, carried a wooden or reed shield covered in hide, and wielded weapons such as a super sharp obsidian sword-club (macuahuitl), a spear or dart thrower (atlatl), and bow and arrows. Elite warriors also wore spectacular feathered and animal skin costumes and headdresses to signify their rank. Battles were concentrated in or around major cities and when these fell the victors claimed the whole surrounding territory. Regular tributes were extracted and captives were taken back to Tenochtitlan for ritual sacrifice. In this way the Aztec empire came to cover most of northern Mexico, an area of some 135,000 square kilometres.

The first of the Aztec figures will be available in December.

Please note the first of the Conquistadores will be previewed at the December London Toy Soldier show.


DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK


Another new jjDesigns series for 2018, will move the eighteenth century work towards the American Revolution with the “Drums Along The Mohawk” series. Will be available early 2018.

Primarily based on the book of Walter D. Edmonds who wrote about the area of upstate New York, and detailed the lives of pioneer farmers along the Mohawk River during the American Revolution.

Edmonds also wrote “The Matchlock Gun,” which was about a 10-year-old boy defending his home against Indians in colonial New York, and won the Newbery Medal for Children’s Literature in 1942. He also wrote about four women captives of Indians in 1778 in his 1947 book “In the Hands of the Senecas,” Edmonds’ books are considered the richest body of fiction about the time and region since the works of James Fenimore Cooper.

The series will also attempt to cover probably the most significant battle of the American Revolution.

The two Battles of Saratoga were a turning point in the American Revolution. On September 19th, British General John Burgoyne achieved a small, but costly victory over American forces led by Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold. Though his troop strength had been weakened, Burgoyne again attacked the Americans at Bemis Heights on October 7th, but this time was defeated and forced to retreat. He surrendered ten days later, and the American victory convinced the French government to formally recognize the colonist’s cause and enter the war as their ally.

THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN


Turkish figures for the Gallipoli series. This included a two man machine gun team, an officer, as well as a Turkish sniper. The first of these sets should be available in the next few months.

Billy Sing was an elite sniper from Australia and his “duel” with his opposite number from Turkey called Abdul the Terrible, became the basis of Ion Idriess book “Lurking Death; The Stories of Snipers in Gallipoli, Sinai and Palestine”.

“Abdul the Sniper was the pride of the Turkish Army. They named his rifle ‘The Mother of Death’. Because, so declared the Ottoman Guard, ‘her breech gives birth to bullets which destroy the lives of men’,” Idriess wrote. One of the Turkish snipers victims was Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, “the man with the donkey”. A party of “counter-snipers” led by Lieutenant Thomas Grace, Wellington Battalion NZEF, were briefed to take on the Turkish marksmen. Each sharpshooter had an observer or spotter with a telescope.

An equally terrible Australian sniper emerged who day by day killed man after man. The Australian sniper was trooper Billy Sing from Queensland of the 5th Light Horse. Abdul the Terrible was ordered to locate and kill him.
Idriess says he was one day acting as a spotter for Sing. He writes: “How many enemy this particular sniper shot will never be known but in three months his tally was one hundred and fifty.”
Adbul the Terrible would apparently examine any man who was shot through the head to try to establish the trajectory of the bullet and the likely location of the sniper from whom it was fired. His calculations led him to believe the shots were coming from one spot nearly on top of a trench across on Chatham’s Post.At night Abdul began to dig his cunning fox hole into which he would climb before dawn to lay there all day, staring across at Chatham’s Post.

As Idriess tells it, Abdul ignored other tempting targets but for a long time could not locate Sing, until one evening he reported to the officer in charge. “I have found him. I will kill him tomorrow.”
The next day, according to the account, another Anzac climbed into Sing’s hideout or “possy” but instinct apparently told Abdul this wasn’t the real man he was after and he, accordingly, withheld his fire.
Then Sing got into the possy and his observer suddenly alerted him not to open the loophole. Sing looked through the telescope. “Thus the Australian sniper stared into Abdul the Terrible’s eyes,” according to the text.

What happened next can only be left to Idriess

“The sniper, with his finger, slid back the loophole cover hardly an inch, then cautiously poked his rifle muzzle through…
“Careful,” murmured the observer. “He’s got the eyes of an eagle and – he’s staring straight here.” “It’s me or him,” grunted Sing.

“But had Abdul fired, even had his bullet come through that tiny slit, it wouldn’t have hit the sniper, for the born sniper knows the crouch that means the fractional difference between life and death. Only when the sniper actually had his eye aligned with his rifle sights then –

“That was what Abdul was waiting for. His big eyes staring, his rifle-muzzle slowly rising up… But Abdul did not know that the Australian sniper had seen him.

“Gently the peephole widened, then stopped close around the rifle. Abdul waited with finger on trigger, just awaiting that loophole to open the least fraction more. And – a bullet took him between the eyes.”

The Australian War Memorial states that the Turkish army immediately retaliated, aiming its heavy artillery at Billy’s hiding position and completely destroying it. Fortunately for the Australian sniper and his spotter, they had already evacuated to their unit trenches.

Great War


The Great War “Biker Girl”, will be available in October.

The importance of motorbikes during the Great War is all too often overlooked. Motorbikes were used for mounted infantry, scouts, dispatch and courier duties, ammunition carriers, medical supply carriers and casualty evacuation. The versatility of these machines clearly helped them play a hugely significant role in the logistics of the war, far more than the automobile.

The use that they were most commonly used for was that of the messenger. Because of the unreliability of communications technology during the war years, the motorbike’s virtue of speed meant that orders, reports and maps could be transferred between units quickly.
It was not only the men who got to ride around on motorbikes. The Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) made extensive use of motorbikes. The initial aim of the WRAF was to provide female mechanics so that men could be free to serve in the armed forces. Thanks to the high number of women volunteers, many also filled driver positions as well.

ARMIES AND ENEMIES OF ANCIENT ROME – SPARTACUS


Spartacus was a Thracian gladiator. Little is known about his life before he became one of the slave leaders in the Third Servile War, which was the slave uprising war against the Roman Republic.

Spartacus may have served in the Roman army, and it is generally believed he deserted, and led bandit raids. It is known he was captured and sold into slavery.
In 73 BC he escaped from a gladiatorial training school at Capua along with about 70 other gladiators. Taking refuge on Mount Vesuvius, along with other runaway slaves who the gladiators trained in rudimentary combat skills.
Spartacus it is believed became one of several leaders of the Gladiators’ revolt, along with two Gauls, Crixus and Oenamus.

Initially Rome did not regard the slave army as a serious force and did not send first line troops against it. Spartacus’ army outmaneuvered and defeated the first four forces it confronted, which led to more slaves joining the rebellion, and at its peak the army was believed to have been 90,000-120,000 strong.

Spartacus advocated crossing the Alps to put distance between the army and Rome and find freedom. One of the leaders, Crixus wanted to attack Rome itself where large numbers of slaves would also join them. This led to Crixus and 30,000 men leaving the main army to raid the countryside, who were eventually defeated and killed.

Spartacus won 3 more engagements and then for unknown reasons turned south instead of crossing the Alps, which threw Rome into a panic. A new Roman force under a competent commander named Marcus Crassus was sent to deal with the rebellious slave army, and after a long period of pursuit and a few engagements, the slave army was defeated near the headwaters of the Siler River in southern Italy.

Spartacus was killed, but his body was never found. The Romans crucified 6,000 rebellious slaves as a warning to others.

The story of Spartacus has served as inspiration for books, movies and tv series. He has often been made into a symbol for oppressed people rebelling to overturn their society, although he actually never attempted to overthrow Roman society, but just tried to lead his army to safety and freedom.

The Spartacus figure and more enemies of Rome will be available in 2018.

ROMAN FORT AND SIEGE DEFENCES


The first three prototype pieces of the Roman/Barbarian fort.

The Battle of Alesia or Siege of Alesia was a military engagement in the Gallic Wars that took place in September, 52 BC, around the Gallic oppidum (fortified settlement) of Alesia, a major centre of the Mandubii tribe. It was fought by the army of Julius Caesar against a confederation of Gallic tribes united under the leadership of Vercingetorix of the Arverni. It was the last major engagement between Gauls and Romans, and is considered one of Caesar’s greatest military achievements and a classic example of siege warfare and investment. The battle of Alesia marked the end of Gallic independence in France and Belgium.

In AD 60, the ICENI of East Anglia who were led by the legendary Boudica, rebelled against Roman rule, and were defeated in a battle fought it is believed somewhere in the midlands.
As a result of the rebellion the Romans built a series of fortifications in the area, which included Fort Lunt, near Coventry.

The Fort Lunt was built around AD60 to act as a supply depot and headquarters for the Roman Army during the final campaign against Boudica.
The Gateway has been inspired by the reconstructed Roman Gateway at Fort Lunt.

Alesia was an oppidum (fortified settlement) on a lofty hill, with two rivers on two different sides. Due to such strong defensive features, Caesar decided on a siege to force surrender by starvation. Considering that about 80,000 men were garrisoned in Alesia, together with the local civilian population, this would not have taken long.

To guarantee a perfect blockade, Caesar ordered the construction of an encircling set of fortifications, a circumvallation, around Alesia. It was eleven Roman miles long (16 km, each mile equivalent to around 1,000 left-foot steps, meaning one stepped with their right, then left) and had 24 redoubts (towers). While work was in progress, the Gauls carried out cavalry sallies to disrupt the construction. Caesar placed the legions in front of the camp in case of a sally by the infantry and got his Germanic allies to pursue the Gallic cavalry

Straight sections and corner sections will be available to produce a complete fort, or a suitable circumvallation defensive perimeter.

The jjDesigns Roman Fort will provide the perfect backdrop to either a Boudica Rebellion, or a Siege of Alesia display.

The Roman fort will be available early in 2018.

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