Hot off the design board, we are proud and excited to introduce our latest military release - Australian and New Zealand Army Nurses - WWI.
We have created this set to recognise the role that women played in WWI - a role which is often overlooked in the world of toy soldiers, but is gradually becoming better recognised in the historical record especially with the production of TV programmes such as the popular Australian series "Anzac Girls". While there are plenty of military sets for which a number of manufacturers have created their own versions, we wondered why there was such a gap for nursing sets and wanted to bring our own beautiful and historically accurate figures into the Imperial family.
With his characteristic eye for detail David has carefully sculpted four figures - two Australian and two New Zealand: can you tell which is which?
One of the biggest challenges was getting the uniforms correct. We spent a lot of time at the Waiouru Army Museum in researching this set! And while there are some great reference books, the photographs are mostly black and white, there was a great deal of variation in the uniforms over time, and there was historically less focus on capturing an accurate record of the nursing uniforms than there was on making sure the men's uniform details were recorded. Over time the nursing services were also given military rank, which was reflected in the way the uniform evolved.
We have also created a special label for this set (below) which is on the outside of the box. As with previous Imperial special labels (Rorke's Drift, The Thin Red Line, Heirloom sets), the set also comes with a spare label sticker for use as you wish. The label is designed in a commemorative leadlight style which incorporates design features of the era (cameos, depiction of flags) and elements of the nursing experience, while the side panels create a record of service by listing the theatres of war in which the nurses served. It is inspired by the remarkable Christchurch Nurses' Memorial Chapel, which was built in the 1920s and is thought to be the only purpose-built, hospital chapel commemorating nurses who died in the Great War, in the world.
Got an Imperial collector in your life and not sure what they'd like to add to their collection? Or perhaps your spouse could use a hint as to what you'd love to see under the tree this year! We now have Imperial gift cards available - you choose the amount / currency and we can either send it to you via email, send it to the recipient via email (on a date you specify), or send a physical voucher that can be redeemed in our online store. Our vouchers don't have expiry dates.
We suspect we might get a few orders for these on Christmas Eve.
We have now officially closed off international orders for Christmas, but please drop us an email if there's something you're interested in and we'll see what we can do. As of last week we did have a number of sets in stock but a collector has just purchased nearly all of them!
For domestic orders we will need to close off Christmas orders at the end of October. Who has our WWI nurses on their wishlist for Christmas?
You may also have seen in the news that there are ongoing issues with international shipping - USPS has made the decision to no longer ship to New Zealand. We no longer use NZ Post / USPS to provide our international courier services so our deliveries shouldn't be too affected by this but if you are in the US and wishing to return an item, we suggest using DHL.
As you will be aware New Zealand went into a nationwide Covid lockdown during August. We now have a metric to measure the relative stringency of global lockdowns - the Oxford index. Parts of New Zealand are still in "Alert Level 3", which is ranked 90-100 on the Oxford index, meaning the highest restrictions currently in place anywhere in the world. During August we were at "Alert Level 4", which ranks even higher - essentially shutting down the country. While we are very grateful for the proactive and timely public health response it did have the effect that even as a small business we could not operate, as our painter, Lisa was unable to get to the paint studio.
This obviously had a significant impact on our workflow and as a result, we are still catching up on some orders. If you have placed an order with us in the last few months, rest assured we are working on it! Please do get in touch if you have any concerns.