Dear Fellow North West Frontier Fan,
Our first picture postings of this range have literally created a firestorm of emails , letters and calls asking for more details. The response has been so overwhemingly positive that (a) I can tell already that this will be a very successful range , (b) that I know for certain that many of you share my love of the adventure & action along the frontier , and (c) that I was correct to at last move this favorite project of mine off of the back-burner and into the spotlight.
Many have told me that this is their 'dream range"; one collector said he'd mortgage the house to buy it all; another said he was already cancelling his preorders with another manufacturer making some Victorian War sets so he could switch to ours; one told me that Gunga Din and the other movies I had mentioned 'hit a nerve"; several have sent me pose wish lists...etc.....overwhelming and so pleasing...you have no idea how your excitement translates into excitement for us. Thanks to all for taking the time to write. I've had so many letters that I felt I needed to post an update.
The 2 most common comments are (1) what sets are first and how can I preorder, and (2) thank you for doing the NW instead of doing the Sudan Campaigns. As to #1, please see our preliminary list below for the first 2 phases of figure sets. As to #2, read on.....
NW Frontier vs. Sudan ? :
Both wars/campaigns are tremendously exciting to me but action along the Khyber wins out hands down....Reasons why I wanted to Aghanistan more than the 1884/85 Gordon Relief Campaign:
-I like my Highlanders charging & attacking rather than being on the defensive in a square. Fighting in a square as at Abu Klea or Tamai are very exciting but really can't match Highlanders scrambling up mountainsides as at Dargai or capturing a hill fort or doing street fighting in an Afghan village or charging the gates while Gunga Din blows his bugle..... When given a choice between my British troops attacking or defending i always opt for the attack!! Don't get me wrong, we will have the ability to form a square with the best of them but our plan is to attack whenever possible
--The regiments were still carrying colours/flags into battle in the NW campaigns through 1881. No flags in the Gordon Relief actions. What can I say? I love including the colours in our sets . Sadly, the The loss of the 66th's flags at Maiwand was one of the main reasons that carrying colours into battle was finally discontinued. You are going to love our 66th Last Stand sets--and yes canine hero Bobbie will appear....
---- The enemy in the NW was more dangerous & deadly than in the Sudan which to my mind makes the conflict more interesting i'd rather have dangerous Afghans armed with rifles, cavalry and artillery over masses of largely defenseless Dervishes with spears & swords any day. The numbers of action induced casualties and the almost incessant action on the NW frontier evidence which is the more exciting of the 2 'wars" Mowing down folks with gatling guns seems less heroic to me than what went down in the NW
----More choices are available in the NW to the collector to recreate a seemingly endless choice of different events While the Sudan has 2 exciting set piece battles with the Relief column and of course the fall of Khartoum itself, these don't lend to the variety of action which one can recreate in afghanistan. The Afghan wars have major battles with huge armies (Maiwand reportedly had 20,000 plus Afghans in action), countless skirmishes, attacks on supply columns, raids on villages, sieges of forts, several famous last stands (the Guides at the Residency in Kabul & the 66th Berkshires at Maiwand). In the NW a collector can have fun going large or going small with the number of troops one puts onto the field as his budget and space allow.
--Personalities (both real and literary)abound for the NW but are limited in the 1885 Sudan campaign Churchill, Lord Roberts, Rudyard Kipling, Hector McDonald, Peachy Carnahan, Daniel Dravat, Cavanari, Hamilton, Findlater, Bobbie the dog, Doctor Watson, Athelstan King, Kurram Khan, Regimental Beastie Gunga Din, Russians, Spies, etc, etc....all have interesting tales attached to them.(as do many of the Afghans) In the Sudan one is largely limited to the 2 great adversaries Gordon and the Mahdi as exciting known character figures
---Allied Troops are more colorful and exciting in the NW than the 85 Gordon Relief Every collector I know would rather have Bengal lancers, Sikhs, the Guides(infantry & cavalry) and Gurkhas rather than Egyptian & Sudanese troops.(no insult intended to these fellows) Uniforms & variety in India simply can't be matched.The major event of the 85 expedition is the fall of Khartoum itself but no one it seems wants to collect an Egyptian Army even though it is commanded by a superstar like Gordon.
--Sadly the 85 Sudan War is a major loss for the Brits & collectors rarely like to recreate 'losses' unless they are of the 'last stand' variety; even the 'relief expedition' is a failure albeit a heroic failure with relatively small casualties compared to many of the NW campaigns . Khartoum was a major British loss and the relief column failed to achieve its goal; in the Afghan scenarios we at least win some of the time and we avenge losses quickly (not waiting 13 years like the Sudan)
--Highlander uniforms from the NW are more useful in a variety of locale and campaigns than the 85 relief uniforms. Khaki and scarlet work just about everywhere; the gray/blue from the first Sudan war aren't. I think collector will want troops that they can patrol the empire with.
--Lots of movie related connections for the NW but really only Khartoum and Four Feathers(in all of its wonderful variations) for the Sudan. ( I love the Korda 1939 Four Feathers and I treasure Olivier as the Mahdi in Khartoum---O My Beloved, I am the Chosen One--You Can Tell by The Mole on My Cheek and The Space Between My Teeth--)
--The terrain & possible settings for NW action are much more varied and exciting than the somewhat monotonous Sudan.--after all we do need a suspension bridge and a snake pit?
--The Second Sudan war is more exciting in many ways than the first & many of our NW figures can do double duty---I think we will do Churchill and the Charge of the Lancers at Omdurman at some time Enough said??? If you want the Sudan, you should look up John Jenkins figures which are always excellent. I'm sure his range will meet your needs!! Or track down some Trophy who really did the Sudan right...