The Auld Forty Twa
The Black Watch’s origins go all the way back to 1725, ten years after the first failed Jacobite rebellion of 1715. King George I (‘German Geordie’) authorized the formation of six “watch” companies to patrol the wild Highlands of Scotland.
These troops were to be employed in disarming rebel Highlanders, preventing sheep stealing and cattle rustling and bring Highland fugitives to justice.
Because the “watch” themselves were fellow Highlanders, many belonging to the Clan Campbell, they wore the dark plaid of the Campbells and thus gained the nickname “The Black Watch”.
Eventually the “Watch” gained regimental size and status and were included in the British Army’s regular list as the “42nd Regiment of Foot”... ‘the auld forty twa’ in old broad Scots, (a Scottish version of English).
In 1881 they were amalgamated with the 73rd Perthshire Regt., to form the 1st and 2nd Battalions The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). From that day on they saw action in virtually every corner of the world with the expanding British Empire.
During the years before the First World War broke out they fought in Egypt, the Sudan, India and South Africa.
The outbreak of war in August 1914 saw an expansion of the regiment from its original two regular battalions to an additional seven territorial and war service battalions which again saw action around the globe but especially on the Western Front.
After the end of the war the 1st returned to India while the 2nd remained in Scotland before moving to Palestine to try and keep the Jews and Arabs from each other’s throats... at least for a little while until the Second World War erupted in September 1939.
K&C's LATEST BLACK WATCH
The Black Watch has appeared in the King & Country inventory several times since the company began in 1984.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s we produced a series of ‘Parade’ figures that included marching Highlanders, Colour Parties and a number of different ‘Pipes & Drums’ sets.
In more recent times we have had ‘Napoleonic’ Black Watch fighting the Emperor’s armies at Waterloo as well as taking part in WW2.
The ceremonial uniforms worn by these ‘parading figures’ are those that were in use from 1908, when the MKⅢ Lee Enfield rifle was introduced, up until 1939 when WW2 began.
The figures you see here are just the ‘Advance Guard’ of The Black Watch on parade... Many more are to follow. Additional Black Watch soldiers and a special Pipes & Drums set will be available in the coming months... Watch out for them!
CE029 Mounted Black Watch Officer - In an infantry regiment of this period only a few of the battalion officers would be mounted; The Colonel, his Second-in-Command and the Regimental Adjutant... All others marched on foot alongside their men.
It should be noted that kilt-wearing was not a good choice while horse riding... therefore tartan trews, in the Regimental tartan, was adopted.
- CE030 The Colonels Bugler - This marching soldier was also attached to the Regimental Band and Pipes & Drums as a Drummer / Bugler. However when accompanying the Commanding Officer only a bugle was required.
- CE036 Black Watch Sergeant (marching) - Second-in-command of an infantry platoon and the officer’s right hand man. On parade he wears three golden yellow stripes on his right tunic arm and a red cloth sergeant’s sash over his right shoulder.
- CE037 Black Watch Private (marching) - Similar in basic uniform to CE036 but no stripes and no sash. Marching with Lee Enfield rifle and fixed bayonet on the left shoulder.
- CE060 Black Watch Escort Set (value
added set) - Sergeant and three Privates combined at a slightly better price!
When Nicholas Romanov became Tsar of All The Russias in 1894 he inherited a
vast but trouble Empire. It stretched from European Russia all the way across the Ural Mountains and into the plains and forests of Siberia and finally on to the Pacific coast port city of Vladivostok.
Its population in the early part of the 20th Century numbered over 175 million
and included many different ethnicities... Russians, Tartars, Cossacks, Mongols and Chechens were just a few of the major groups.
Two of the most important symbols that held this huge country together were the Monarchy, in the shape of the Tsar and the Army which brought together all the different races and religions to serve and follow the Tsar through war and peace.
Following the defeat of its forces in the Russo Japanese War of 1905 Russia belatedly began modernising and rearming its soldiers. Some Russian military traditions however still remained... especially in its uniforms.
Although ‘khaki’ had been adopted for many everyday duties throughout the year the more conservative elements in the military hierarchy (and Nicholas himself) enjoyed seeing his troops parade in their summer white tunics and caps… and even on maneuvers.
This second version of our earlier Imperial Russian Infantry are wearing the strikingly white traditional Russian Summer tunics and caps.
Weapons and uniforms are typical of the period 1900-1914.
FW233 Tsar Nicholas II - Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov (1968-1918) was the last Emperor of All Russia and ruled from 1894 until his forced abdication in March 1917 and murder in 1918.
An autocratic ruler he was in favour of limited modernization of his country but resisted virtually all political change which in the end was to prove fatal for himself and his family.
Here however we see him in happier times, reviewing his troops and presenting a religious icon before them.
Like his men he wears a simple white summer tunic and cap.
- FW234 Marching w/Rifle & Bayonet - Striding forth in typical Russian style this soldier holds his rifle firmly to the front.
- FW235 Standing Officer Saluting - Armed with both a sabre and a pistol this officer springs smartly to attention and delivers a snappy salute.
- FW236 Presenting Arms - Another soldier salutes a superior in ‘classic’ military fashion.
- FW237 Standing-at-Attention - Head up, chest out with rifle and fixed bayonet held firmly by the side.
- FW238 Honouring The Icon - Kneeling before the Tsar, cap in hand, this soldier is actually paying homage to the religious icon the Tsar is holding. Most of the Russian Imperial Army belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church and icons (religious paintings of the Holy Family and saints) were frequently displayed to the troops during parades and before going into battle.
- FW239 Senior Subaltern w/The Tsars
Personal Standard - Special regiments were awarded with the Tsar’s own personal flag as shown here.
This was to always be carried on parade by the senior subaltern (junior officer) of the Regiment.
- FW240 Marching Officer w/Sword - ‘Eyes Right’ sabre drawn and held to the right this parade commander, usually a Major, salutes the Tsar as he marches past.
Imperial Russian Army
Sand, Bugs and Jungle
Our Pacific War Marines are always a popular release and one of K&C’s most extensive and dynamic series of recent years... Here are 3 great ‘Add-ons’.
USMC054 Kneeling Marine w/Bazooka - Another ‘classic’ post and a very useful one to attack those Japanese bunkers or any increasingly rare Jap Tank that puts in an appearance on the battlefield.
- USMC055 Pacific Hand-to-Hand Combat Set
A - Although only wielding an entrenching tool this ‘leatherneck’ is about to leave a lasting impression on this unfortunate Japanese soldier! (2-man set)
- USMC056 Pacific Hand-to-Hand Combat Set
B - Another unlucky Japanese soldier is about get the ‘point’ of this vicious little disagreement.
Battle of TARAWA
The Battle of Long Tan Continues
Another vitally useful 4-man set to add-on to K&C’s first ‘Long Tan’ set released back in October 2019.
This 2nd Set shows another 4 man infantry group fighting desperately to rescue a wounded mate while still returning fire on the ambushers.
The Battle of Long Tan is justly remembered as a fine example of Aussie fighting spirit and grim determination to hold on against much superior numbers in bloody awful conditions.
The set itself comes in its own labeled box and is a worthy companion set to Long Tan #1.
Vietnam - Tet'68
John Ford Cavalry Reinforcements
Four more mounted cavalrymen to increase your ‘John Ford Cavalry’ troop
TRW169 Trooper Turning in the Saddle - Another fine mounted figure half-turning in the saddle. This figure also has the ‘moveable-head’ feature.
- TRW170 Trooper Leaning Forward - One more recruit to the mounted ranks of ‘John Ford’s Cavalry’. With fixed head position.
- TRW171 Mounted Cavalry Officer - A new officer to lead the men on patrol. With the ‘moveable-head’ feature.
- TRW172 First Sergeant - A very experienced troop sergeant probably Irish, because that’s how director John Ford liked to portray his senior non-commissioned officers in his movies. Also with the ‘moveable-head’ feature.
John Ford's Cavalry
Just Around The Corner and up some dark stairway and into an Opium Den...
An alternative version to one of ‘Streets of Old Hong Kong’s’ most controversial releases...
K&C got quite a bit of notoriety both here in Hong Kong and overseas when we first introduced ‘The Opium Smokers’ set.
As we all know history has no shortage of darker moments and the subject of ‘OPIUM’ has been an integral part of the Hong Kong story.
This city’s foundations were built on the Opium Trade when British traders introduced Opium, grown and refined in India and then shipped to China in exchange for silver bullion.
After a few years it became a major problem for China itself and the Emperor tried to ban it and stop its import.
The British traders meanwhile were most upset by this attempted ban on their highly lucrative business and coerced the British Government to take their side. This was to lead to the ‘First Opium War’ in which the victorious British were ceded a small, barren island off the coast of Southern China called... Hong Kong.
From the 1880’s, the importation of Opium into China declined as Chinese – grown opium, much cheaper than the imported kind, began to take over the market.
At the same time, mounting pressure from the Church and the British Government forced Hong Kong to close most of its legally-operated opium dens and to cease exporting any to China.
Finally, it was not until 1943, while Hong Kong was still occupied by the Japanese, that the British Government completely banned the selling and smoking of Opium in the Colony.
These two revised sets portray an earlier time when there was a much-more relaxed and nuanced official attitude to Opium Dens, their proprietors and customers...
HK298M The Opium Smokers (Matt) - Two recumbent Chinese gentlemen enjoying a pipe of Opium each while they dream away their problems.
- HK299M The Opium Merchant & Maid (Matt) - An elderly ‘Opium Seller’ and his Maid who operate the ‘Den’ itself.
- HK298G The Opium Smokers (Gloss)
- HK299G The Opium Merchant & Maid
Beginner Gift Sets
Three new sets this month.
Beginner Gift Sets