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Ninth winter gathering for W. Britain faithful
The latest news from the global toy soldier hobby January 2014
The Rifle Officers Club in Mayfair provided a historic new setting for the ninth W. Britain Collectors Club annual gathering in early December 2013.
Situated close to Bond Street station, the venue has the authentic feel of a British regimental club. In the main hall area in which the gathering took place, club members fell under the stern gaze of past rifle unit commanders framed within paintings on the walls and there were numerous wood-mounted battle honours and flags to commemorate past conflicts.
The hall layout also featured a number of excellent Britains diorama pieces representing the trench battles of the Great War, the epic confrontation at Rorke's Drift in 1879 and some Napoleonic War encounters involving French Empress Dragoons and the sharp shooters of the 95th Rifles.
After a warm welcome from Major Tristram Carter, an officer of the Territorial Army unit of the rifle regiments, members enjoyed a light buffet and a chance to mingle and speak with members of the W. Britain team, including General Manager and Creative Director, Ken Osen.
Also on hand to share some fascinating facts about the British fighting men of the Napoleonic Wars were re-enactors Dave Gower (95th Rifles) and Craig Appleton (44th Regiment of Foot). I strongly recommend that any toy soldier collector who attends events where re-enactors are present takes some time to speak with them about the history, equipment and battle honours of the regiments they represent. They are absolute goldmines of accurate historical information. I spent about 10 minutes chatting to Dave about the contents of a 95th Rifleman's knapsack and was completely gob-smacked at how well equipped and self-sufficient the individual soldier was.
Later, Ken Osen took the stage to thank members for their continued loyalty to the Britains brand and to share some of his philosophy on making historically accurate military miniatures. W. Britain brand manager for Europe, Malcolm Watson, then offered some insights into what's coming down the production pipeline and introduced Alan Ball and Graham Scollick for two short 'meet your maker' sessions with the company's sculptors. Both men acknowledged their gratitude at being able to do something they genuinely love for a living.
An unexpected treat for a good number of members on the night was a visit to a regimental museum situated in another section of the building, where more fascinating facts about the country's historic rifles regiments was shared.
An enjoyable night for all involved and a big thumbs up for the new venue.
News item by George Phillips
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