February 2021

Welcome to our February 2021 Newsletter

We brought three new Napoleonic sets into production in January. These sets are fine examples of Imperial’s work and beautifully showcase both David Cowe’s sculpting mastery and Lisa Cowe’s expert brushwork. While several of these sets were sold in 2020, we discovered that we needed to re-make the moulds so that we could cast the sets at production level quantities.

Two infantry sets depict the Russian Pavlovski Grenadiers from 1806 (before the Russians allied themselves to France in 1807-1812). Set 151 shows an officer and five men, and set 151a is an add-on set of six men marching. The figures are splendid in their green and white uniforms and are particularly notable for the double-headed eagle crest on their mitre cap, which David says held particular appeal for him to model.

The third set (152) is a set of three Scots Greys cavalry. While we have previously depicted the Scots Greys in our Crimean range, this addition to the Napoleonic range echoes an important moment in the battle of Waterloo.

We hope you enjoy these, the first military sets we’ve released for many years. We have more new sets planned and look forward to sharing them with you via newsletters in the coming months.

See the new sets

We have heard from a number of you who have enjoyed trips to Greytown to visit the tiny but iconic Imperial shop on McMaster Street. While the shop itself has been closed for nearly a year now, those of you who are able to visit can still stop by to see the shop window, which has a new display showcasing much of our current range.

All of the sets on display can be ordered from our website.

Collecting Imperial figures may historically have involved a bit of detective work to discover and identify the full range of sets that Imperial has produced in the past. We have had a number of requests for a complete list of sets, so we have created an archive section on our website which lists each of the sets produced by Imperial.

Over time we hope to add photos to assist collectors, or those who have inherited or purchased collections, to identify their figures.

In January we announced that new owners Mark Yeoman and Bridget Ross will take the company into the future, while keeping both David and Lisa Cowe engaged in the business – David as sculptor, focussed on sculpting new figures for future sets, and Lisa as principal artist. All Imperial products continue to be manufactured in New Zealand, continuing Imperial’s tradition of fine hand-crafted figures.

As we write this, a shipment of brand new moulding and casting machinery has just arrived at our workshop from Italy! It is being installed this week and we can’t wait to get it up and running. More on this in the next newsletter.

We have been looking for ways to reduce our environmental footprint, starting with packaging. While your Imperial product will continue to be packaged in its beautiful traditional boxing, it will now be protected in its shipping carton by an environmentally friendly plant-based packaging filler called “Popstarch”.

This filler looks the same and has almost the same properties as the “packaging peanuts” you will previously have seen, with one important exception: it is fully biodegradable! You can either compost it, or wash it down your sink, as it dissolves in water. It also complies with international import regulations for countries that prohibit importing packaging that has to be sent to landfill.

Raw materials are also on our sustainability agenda. While Imperial products have traditionally been cast in lead, we are currently considering switching to a non-lead based metal provided it is able to retain the detail and robustness of the current product. We have identified an alloy that meets these criteria and will be testing it over the coming weeks.

Finally, David and Lisa wish to thank everyone for the kind words and messages that they have received since the change in ownership was announced. They look forward to working alongside Mark and Bridget in continuing to make beautiful figures for your enjoyment.