Welcome to the Summer edition of Sierra Toy Soldier News, written on a hot and steamy day here in the Bay Area. The temperature is all over the place sometimes it goes into the 70’s next zooms up to over 100 degrees. The whole of the west coast is affected, usually we can rely on the coastal fog to roll in and blanket the Bay Area and act as a super air conditioner, but not this time.
Because of the lack of rain all along the West Coast, the fire season started early and came with a vengeance. We have 400% more wildfires than last year, and it is not even the peak months of August and September yet. If you know a fire fighter or first responder, give them a hug, they will need it.
There is an update on the Chicago Show. The news is good on that front, as it is still on and looks like it will be at full capacity, a stark contrast to last years virtual show. If you have never been to this event, try to come, as it is truly a lot of fun and a totally unique experience. The dates are Thursday September 23 September to September 26. Please contact us for the details.
The bad news is that normally at the show we host a customer appreciation dinner with our friends at Treefrog Treasures and Troops of Time, however, this year it will not be taking place due to COVID restrictions. But fear not as we are working out the details on a joint event, which we hope to finalize soon. Watch for any announcements in the future.
We have some great new announcements from Britain's, King & Country, Thomas Gunn and John Jenkins.
John has re-started his future release updates, for the latest information on John Jenkins Future Releases, please visit.
John Jenkins Future Releases.
Check out our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more pictures.
You can keep up to date with us by visiting our Facebook Page.
Sierra Toy Soldier
Hope you enjoy our newsletter.
Cyber July Sale
We continue to add more items each month to our sale items. Check out our Thomas Gunn, First Legion and King & Country Sale items.
King & Country Mega Sale
First Legion Big Sale
Thomas Gunn Grand Sale
We will have lots of items on sale between 25 - 45% off throughout the month, please look at the special pricing being offered. We will be adding daily to our list of items on sale. So please check back often and you may find a pleasant surprise.
We are open Monday - Saturday 10.00 - 5.00pm.
Just a reminder for those of you living in Northern California, or perhaps just
visiting, that our Showroom dedicated to toy soldiers is now open 6 days a
week. 1350 Dell Avenue, Ste #5, Campbell, California 95008. (408) 395 3000
To set up a Virtual Video Call to see any of our latest releases or displays. Contact us via Email or Phone.
Virtual Video Call Email
Occasionally we get a rare opportunity to acquire individual items and complete collections for collectors that are thinning out their collection or from other dealers. These pieces are items that we do not normally stock. All are in mint condition or and in their original boxes, unless specified in the description. Please note these may have been on display.
So these are ideal pages to view if you are looking for that missing piece in your collection or just looking to find some very unique pieces that are not normally available.
This month we feature sets from
Jenkins and King & Country. All effectively brand new and unopened.
Sierra Toy Soldier Britain's Exclusive
Clash of Empires
These releases have not been previously
announced in any catalog.
Clash of Empires
American Civil War
These releases have not been previously
announced in any catalog.
American Civil War
Dirty Shirt Blue
This release have not been previously
announced in any catalog.
Dirty Shirt Blue
Releases and a number of restocks of figures that
have been unavailable for a number of years. Get them while you can.
These releases have not been previously
announced in any catalog.
Admiral Lord Nelson
Restock, this figure has been unavailable for years.
Jack Tars & Leathernecks Collection
FULL METAL JACKET
As most of you already know, Stanley Kubrick’s ‘FULL METAL JACKET’ is my all-time favourite ‘VIETNAM’ movie and has been the inspiration for a whole bunch of K&C figures notably ‘Animal Mother’ VN093 and even ‘Miss Papillon’ VN122 to name but two!
What still amazes me is that Kubrick ‘shot’ the entire movie (at least the battle scenes) in a disused, former gas works on the outskirts of London!
There, he created part of the US Marine base at Da Nang... a street scene in Da Nang town... and, of course, the battle-scarred buildings and urban wreckage of Hue, the former imperial capital city.
Kubrick also created a unique group of characters to tell their stories in the movie... ‘Joker’... ‘Gomer Pyle’... ‘Cowboy’... ‘Rafterman’... the aforementioned ‘Animal Mother’... and the cool, black dude, ‘Eightball’ as well as the classic, unforgettable ‘Gunnery Sergeant Hartman’.
A question I often get asked is how do we translate a figure based on a movie to a sculptor who then has to sculpt a small 1:30 scale master in clay...?
Well, in my case, I create a file of whatever photos I can source from books, posters, magazines and of course, the internet.
From that visual information I will then sketch a series of drawings with the pose I require as well as visual information about certain accessories, weapons and military equipment that the figure should carry or use in action.
I will also supply the sculptor with as many actual photos of the character or the stuff he is using. As you would expect K&C’s reference library is pretty large as any collector who has ever visited the Hong Kong H.Q. can testify to however in recent years the internet and Google have been an amazing bonus and Godsend in providing even more background and important details.
Additional Note: A figure of ‘Rafterman’, ‘Joker’s buddy will follow later.
VN120 Full Metal Eightball -
‘Eightball’ is a black member of the ‘Lusthog Squad’ who combat correspondent
‘Joker’ joins to get a close up view of the fighting in Hue during the TET
Offensive of 1968. As the squad moves into the city ‘Eightball’ is sent ahead to
‘scout-out’ an area and gets ambushed by a lone female Viet Cong sniper. The
squad medic rushes forward to help the wounded ‘Eightball’ and is also shot by
the sniper who puts a second bullet into the black Marine. At this point, the
squad leader, ‘Cowboy’ hesitates to risk anymore casualties and wants to
withdraw when ‘Animal Mother’ leaps to his feet and charges forward firing his
M60 from the hip in a bid to rescue ‘Eightball’. The rest of the squad follow
him. ‘Animal Mother’s’ brave, foolhardy assault on the enemy sniper allows the
rest of the squad to advance to a better forward position. VN120 K&C’s
‘Eightball’ struggles to get off the ground after being shot by the V.C. sniper,
his M16 in front of him.
- VN121 Full Metal Joker -
Throughout the entire movie we never get to hear ‘Joker’s’ real name. It was
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in boot camp at Parris Island who ‘christened’ actor
Mathew Modine’s young Marine recruit ‘Joker’ after Modine interrupts Hartman’s
introductory speech with an impression of John Wayne. From ‘Joker’s’ demeanor
you would expect that him to be a college student type and would have got
himself some kind of student deferment however here he is in Vietnam, for ‘Stars
‘n’ Stripes’, the U.S. forces newspaper, and finally in the ‘real war’ as
opposed to being ‘in the rear with the gear’. Being a ‘REMF’ (Real Echelon M...
F...) he has come to the ‘real war’ armed to the teeth with extra grenades (both
fragmentation and smoke), a bandolier of additional ammo, a .45 cal. pistol, his
knife and of course, an M16 rifle, he’s also brought along his camera to get a
few ‘action’ shots... Soon, he’ll get all the ‘action’ he wants and then some!
- VN123 Old Vietnamese Woman -
One thing many American GI’s noted as they patrolled the countryside and went
through villages was how often they seemed to be populated only by young
children and old people. Among the many reasons for this were the facts that the
young men had frequently been drafted into the ARVN forces (Army of the Republic
of Viet Nam) or had fled and been forced into the Viet Cong. Some young women
had also been recruited into the Viet Cong or had moved to the larger towns and
cities seeking work. That meant many of the remaining children being left behind
in the care of elderly grandparents or other relatives. K&C’s ‘Old Vietnamese
Woman’ leans on her stick and contemplates the world around her. Over the
decades she has seen the French Colonizers... the Japanese Occupiers... and now,
these big, bold Americans. Most of them have come and gone. Will these Americans
come and go too...? Who knows, all she wants is for the war to stop...and peace
Vietnam - Tet 68
FIVE ‘Second Editions’ of five very popular Crusader Knights and Men-at-Arms.
HEAD ‘EM UP... MOVE
For some of our older collectors and dealers, including myself, those words will bring back memories of a terrific TV show called ‘RAWHIDE’ which ran from1959- 1965 and helped launch the career of Clint Eastwood. Set in the years after the Civil War it told stories of the many challenges faced by drovers on the great cattle drives from Texas northwards to the railheads in Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming.
As a kid I loved ‘RAWHIDE’, it was my favourite TV ‘Western’ and helped fuel my interest in the Old West and that particular part of its colourful and exciting history.
Now journey forward quite a few years to when King & Country took over the ‘Kings X’ store in San Antonio, Texas and our confounder Laura McAllister Johnson moved to the ‘Lone Star State’ to live and work.
On my frequent visits to Texas over the years both Laura and myself explored different aspects of Texan history and the people and events that shaped it.
As many of you know K&C has long delved deep into that history with series and, ranges that have included ‘The Alamo’ and ‘The Rough Riders’ and even individual fictional ‘Western’ and ‘Texas’ figures such as Ranger Captains Woodrow Call and ‘Gus’ McCrae from Larry McMutry’s classic “Lonesome Dove” book and TV series.
So, K&C is no stranger to the ‘Old West’ or as we’ve called it ‘The Real West’ and over all these years we’ve managed to explore different aspects but not, until now, have we looked into the huge, and important subject of ‘The Cattle Drives’ that developed in the years after the Civil War.
Texas, at that time, had millions of ‘Longhorn’ cattle both domestically reared and in the wild that could help feed a rapidly expanding country that had a taste for beef.
These cattle had been raised in Texas from the time of the first Spanish settlers and were a mix of animals from Spain together with Mexican breeds and even some cattle of British origin brought west by Anglo-American colonists.
The result was the ‘Texas Longhorn’, a tough, sturdy animal, used to dry, hot surroundings with long, extended horns up to 8 feet in width!
The peak era of the Texas Cattle Drives was just about 20 years from 1866 until the mid 1880’s. During that time a great number of herds of between 2-3000 head of cattle would be driven northwards to the markets and railroad-loading facilities by a crew of usually 12 men led by a ‘Trail Boss’.
Many of the Texans who became ‘cowboys’ were former Confederate Cavalrymen well used to a hard life on horseback and also handy with a rifle and a six-shooter. Some others on the ‘crew’ would be Mexican or Tejano and a few more might be black former slaves who knew a thing or two about handling cattle and horses.
Cattle drives usually began in the Spring after round up when grass was plentiful and the herd could be delivered to its destination up north before the cold, winter weather set in.
On the drive the Trail Boss was the ultimate authority and could earn anywhere from US$100-US$125 a month. The average cowboy, by comparison earned 30-40 dollars each month while a good cook might get US$50-US$60.
In each crew there were usually about 10 ‘drovers’ or ‘wranglers’ who would take up their posts along the outside and rear of the herd as it moved along. Most herds would cover between 10 to 15 miles a day, depending on what delays or weather conditions were encountered.
A drive from Texas up north to Kansas might take anywhere from 25-100 days.
Along the way the herd and its cowboys could come up against Indians and / or rustlers as well as a host of natural hazards including flood-swollen rivers, extreme drought, lightning strikes and even sudden stampedes caused by thirsty animals crazed at the smell of water.
These first few figures paint just a small portion of a much larger portrait of a unique part of Texan and American history that deserves to be seen... in miniature.
CD001 Trail Boss - A
commanding figure who led by example and was a natural-born leader. Chances are
he had been an officer in the Confederate Cavalry during the war and was looking
to one day owning his own ranch and driving his own cattle to market instead of
doing it for someone else.
- CD002 Jake the Swing Rider -
A ‘Swing Rider’ was a cowboy who rode closely along each side of the herd, about
a third of the way back from the ‘Point Rider’ who led the cattle. Among Jake’s
duties are to keep the herd together and be constantly on the lookout for any
animals that might try to stray or break away. ‘Swing Riders’ also backed up the
‘Point Man’ when the herd would turn. If the ‘Point Man’ had to leave his
position, a ‘Swing Rider’ would ride in his place until he returned.
- CD003 Wes the Flank Rider -
‘Flank Riders’ also rode on each side the herd but near the rear... about two
thirds of the way back behind the ‘Swing Riders’. Their role was to back up the
‘Swing Riders’ and keep the cattle bunched together preventing the tail of the
herd from fanning out.
- CD004 Texas Longhorns x 2 -
Two animals one primarily brown the other a mottled and speckled mix of white,
black and brown.
- CD005 Texas Longhorns x 2 -
Two more beasts, the far away one is mixed black and white, the near animal is a
brown and white mix.
- CD006 Texas Longhorns x 2 -
Two Black and white mixes, the farther away Longhorn has some additional black
- CD007 Texas Longhorns x 2 -
One mostly brown animal with the other a mix of brown and white.
- CD008 Texas Longhorns x 2 -
Two mostly white Longhorns with brown patches and speckles.
- CD009 Texas Longhorns x 2 -
One mostly black animal with some white areas... The other a mix of black and
The Real West
This brand-new figure of a victorious Sioux warrior has claimed two ‘prizes’
from his defeated enemies... a black cavalryman’s hat and... a cavalry bugle. He
does not know how to make a sound out of it but it will make a worthy trophy in
his tepee and remind him of the great day when the Lakota Sioux and their
Cheyenne brothers together defeated the hated ‘Longknives’ under the command of
Lieut. Col. George Armstrong Custer.
Battle of Little big Horn
Almost as soon as France surrendered in June 1940 a resistance movement soon began against the occupying Germans.
At first small in numbers, ill-equipped and disorganized it suffered badly against the combined forces of Vichy France’s own collaborators and the German Gestapo. Slowly but surely the resistance grew gaining experience and expertise that by June 1944 would provide valuable intelligence on the German occupiers, military strength and dispositions. They would also undertake guerrilla warfare operations that included sabotage, assassinations and ambushes that hampered and delayed German attempts at pushing the Allies back after the Normandy landings of June 6.
The Resistance itself came in all shapes and sizes and all kinds of different political beliefs. It welcomed everyone with one simple aim... Free France from the Germans and their Vichy collaborators!
DD346 FF1 Gendarme - After
the Fall of France in 1940 most French policemen became a tool of collaboration
between Marshal Petain’s Vichy regime and the Germans. Until the end of 1942 the
French Gendarmerie were used to suppress, capture and imprison Communists and
Foreigners and basically do most of the Germans’ ‘dirty work’. By mid 1943
however many policemen were seeing the ‘way the wind was blowing’ and began to
change sides and perhaps belatedly recognize their own patriotic feelings. Some
began to join the resistance and even take part in clandestine operations
against the hated ‘Boche’. Following the Normandy Invasion and the liberation of
towns and village it was now time to put on the F.F.I. (French Forces of the
Interior) armband, grab your rifle and go out and round up some German
- DD347 Captured German Officers x 3
- How the mighty have fallen... This trio of German Officers are now at the
mercy of their French captors and looking distinctly worried. Fortunately for
them they are regular Wehrmacht and, generally speaking, conducted themselves
properly in occupied France. After all, France provided a relatively safe haven
compared to the Eastern Front. Had these three been Waffen SS or Gestapo their
fate would have been decided immediately and… very differently.
- DD348 FFI Young Resistance Girl
- This striking figure of a young girl carrying her Schmeisser MP40 machine
pistol is based on a famous photograph taken of another young girl during the
liberation of Paris in August 1944.
D-DAY '44 - French
HOME SWEET HOME
design for this kind of farm dwelling goes all the way back to the early 17th
Century and can be found in many countries in north western Europe including
Britain, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. One of the great advantages of a
design like this is its historical adaptability... It can be used in eras
ranging from The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) up through the Seven Years War
(1756-1763) to the tumultuous turmoil of the Age of Napoleon (1803-1815)
followed by the Franco Prussian War of 1870 and the double cataclysms of both
World Wars in the 20th Century. This handsome little structure can be the
perfect backdrop for figures and all kinds of fighting vehicles in all types of
historic situations. You tell the story we provide the setting...
SP122 European Farmhouse - This model’s dimensions are:
Length: 232mm (9 1/4”)
Depth: 82mm (3 1/4”)
Height: 273mm (10 3/4”)
Diorama from King & Country
Glory of Rome
Glory of Rome
Some new Zulus for you collectors of the series, this time with rifles! The
Zulus were not natural marksmen and often with no training, would just pick up a
rifle and start firing it. These Zulus are all firing over the sights hoping
their bullets will find a mark!
Indochina is the name for 3 country's that initially came under French rule in the 1800's, namely Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Although the French brought architecture, railways and roads they also ruled the region with an iron fist, any insurrection being harshly subdued, as has been the way of all empire builders since the beginning of time.
French hegemony was interrupted during WW2 by the Japanese who annexed the country once France had been defeated by Germany. After the Japanese defeat in 1945, the French were keen to reestablish their control over Indochina and carry on with the rule of French law as if nothing had changed during the interim. Unfortunately for the French, the seeds of independence had been fermented by the Viet Minh, a Communist group of revolutionaries led by Ho Chi Minh. Although initially not very successful, the rise of China as a Communist power in 1949 led to a large increase in weapons for the Viet Minh. With more and more heavy weapons being supplied to them, the Viet Minh grew in confidence and were able to take on the French in set piece battles and by using guerilla warfare tactics to subdue any smalltime opposition be it civil or military. The Viet Minh had grown to such a size that they were deploying fully fledged combat division formations in the field by this stage of the war.
The Viet Minh were as brutal if not more so than the French, any civilian who showed any disobedience to their cause would be swiftly dispatched by machete, firing squad or sometimes buried alive. Thousands of innocent people died under their regime even before it became the official governing body of the country. On the battlefield the Viet Minh leadership showed little regard for their soldiers welfare and favoured mass wave attacks by infantry against French positions, with a horrendous loss of life that has still not been made official to this day. They were more successful in ambushing French convoys and vast swathes of the country were no go areas for the authorities, as the Communists tightened their grip.
After 8 years it was acknowledged that this was now a fully fledged war, the French decided on a set piece battle that would destroy the Viet Minh once and for all, luring them to a place called Dien Bien Phu (DBP). The operation was codenamed Operation Castor.
Parachuting men and equipment into DBP in November 1953 the French set up a heavily defensible position surrounded by mountains. As there was an airfield there, artillery and tanks were also transported via this method into the camp.
The French rightly assumed assumed the Viet Minh would come en masse to expel the French, they wrongly assumed the Viet Minh would not be able to bring heavy artillery to bear onto the forward facing slopes overlooking the camp. By a mammoth effort using thousands of Viet Minh soldiers and civilians they succeeded in bringing artillery fire to bear onto the French positions by March 1954 . Within two months and after a daily artillery barrage and a seemingly unending appetite for sending infantry in suicidal assaults against heavily fortified positions, the Viet Minh succeeded in overrunning DBP.
The 11,000 French army survivors were marched off into captivity where over 70% of the French died during a 3 month period of captivity, the Vietnamese/Thai/Cambodian allies of the French who were interned at the same time suffered over 90% death rate in the camps, basically they were starved to death. Interestingly Dien Bien Phu has often be called the last stand of the SS, the ranks of the legion being filled at that time with many Germans from Hitler's 3rd Reich.
The war ended shortly after DBP with the French agreeing to leave Indochina and an interim government being set up to run the South along capitalist lines, the North being run under a Communist regime, with the intention of unifying the country once open and fair elections could take place. Of course this never happened and the country was then set on a course for the second Vietnam war, this time featuring America and her Allies coming to the aid of the South Vietnamese. The rest as we know is history.
New July Releases - Expected to arrive in about 10 days
Roman Army of the Late Republic
By the first decades of the 1st century, the COHORT had replaced the maniple as the standard tactical unit of the legions.
The three lines of the manipular legion were combined to form the cohort, which generally numbered about 480 to 500 men. Maniples and centuries continued to be used as military and administrative subdivisions for the cohort.
There were six centuries in a cohort, which were now all 80-men strong.
Each Centuria was commanded by a Centurion, and also included an Optio, a Signifer and a Cornicen
The Centurions also appointed the bravest men as standard bearers, or Signifers.
A signifer was a standard bearer of the Roman legions. He carried a signum (standard) for a cohort or century. Each century had a signifer so there were 59 in a legion. Within each cohort, the first century's signifer would be the senior one.
The signum that he carried was the military emblem of that unit. It had a number of phalarae (disks or medallions) along with a number of other elements mounted on a pole. The pole could be topped with a leaf-shaped spear head or later a manus (open human hand) image denoting the oath of loyalty taken by the soldiers. It sometimes included a representation of a wreath, probably denoting an honour or award.
The task of carrying the signum in battle was dangerous, as the soldier had to stand in the first rank and could carry only a small buckler. It was that banner that the men from each individual century would rally around. A soldier could also gain the position of discentes signiferorum, or standard bearer in training. If the signifer was lost in battle, the whole unit was dishonored.
In addition to carrying the signum, the signifer also assumed responsibility for the financial administration of the unit and functioned as the legionaries' banker. He was paid twice the basic wage.
An Optio was an officer appointed by the centurion, and was stationed at the rear of the centuria to keep the troops in order. Their duties would include enforcing the orders of the centurion, taking over the centurion's command in battle should the need arise, supervising his subordinates, and a variety of administration duties. Optio pay was double the standard legionary pay and they were the most likely men to replace the centurion if the position became vacant.
A Centurion at this time can be distinguished from other Legionaries by several methods. He usually wore greaves, and the crest of his helmet was usually turned so it ran transversely across the helmet. His sword was worn on the left and his dagger on the right which is the opposite of a Legionaire.
Each Centuria would also contain a hornblower or Cornicines. A cornicen (plural cornicines) was a junior officer in the Roman Army. The cornicen's job was to signal salutes to officers and sound orders to the legions. The cornicines played the cornu (making him an aeneator). Cornicines always marched at the head of the centuries, with the signifer. The cornicines were also used as assistants to a centurion (like an optio). The cornicen was a duplicary or a soldier who got double the basic pay of the legionary.
The legion was now composed of ten cohorts rather than thirty maniples, and numbered an average of about 5,000 men.
Roman Army of the Late Republic
Roman cavalry became an integral part of the legion in this period.
As the stirrup had not yet been developed, riding was an acquired skill, and the Roman saddle was designed to keep the cavalryman mounted firmly on the horse. At this time cavalry were auxiliary troops used mainly for scouting, skirmishing and to combat enemy cavalry.
Roman Army of the Mid-Republic
In European battles since 1500, the Spanish armies adopted to fight in coordinated units of equal numbers of gunners/crossbow, pikemen and swordsmen.
First the Spanish gunners and crossbowmen shot massed volleys into the enemy pike phalanx, whilst the Spanish pikemen supplied a “hedgehog” defence. The gaps resulting from the concentrated fire, was then exploited by the heavily armoured swordsmen who dashed forward in packs to hack at the helpless pikemen, whose pikes were basically useless in such close quarter combat.
The combination was unbeatable, and would serve the Spaniards equally as well against the echelons of Aztec troops.
The primary weapons of the Conquistadors included swords, crossbows, matchlocks and to a lesser extent pike. The crossbow was important, as it was easy to manufacture and more reliable than the matchlocks especially in the humid tropics of Mexico and central America.
The Pike was extremely important to the Spanish armies. Even though the Aztecs possessed no cavalry, the Aztec armies tended to fight in large dense formations of light infantry and the primary danger for the Conquistador was being surprised and over run before they could bring their superior combinations of weapons to bear on their Aztec opponents. Pikes were therefore used to keep the massed ranks of the enemy at a distance, whilst the guns and crossbows inflicted their terrible damage. Swordsmen could then deal with any enemy that broke through.
Anglo Saxon/ Danish Shieldwall
Age of Arthur - Anglo Saxon/ Danish Shieldwall
Age of Arthur - Vikings
Age of Arthur - Norman Knights
American Rev - 12th Massachusetts Regiment
12th Massachusetts Regiment
Whiskey, Scalps and Beaver Pelts
American Civil War - 11th Regiment New York
The 1st Virginia Cavalry Regiment was often illustrated in the newspapers during the early days of the war. Especially during the First Manassas when Stuart, with companies H and B under R. Welby Carter and John Blair Hoge, made a dashing charge upon the 11th New York Zouaves. Artists on both sides were inspired by the episode, and reporters dubbed the companies the “Black Horse Cavalry”.
The troopers performed well during this engagement, and it was in no time, especially under the inspiring leadership of Stuart and Fitzhugh Lee, that they grew into one of the crack mounted outfits of the Confederate service.
11th Regiment New York
American Civil War - 1st Virginia Cavalry Regiment
1st Virginia Cavalry Regiment
Very best regards from Mike & Myszka Hall and the Sierra Toy Soldier team -
Aidan, Alex, and Cody.
This newsletter is the copyright of Sierra Toy Soldier Company