About This Website

Welcome to my website about toy and model soldiers of the King’s African Rifles (KAR).

The Home page of this website is a short article about the history of the KAR and the toy and model soldiers that depict the regiment – and similar regiments from other countries.

You can click on the blue-links from the article on the Home page to visit further pages with more information and pictures.

Alternatively, you can visit the page of Posts in Date Order to see everything that I have written or click on the category-links if you want to see all of the posts with pictures of Old Toy Soldiers or Modern Models. There are pictures of over one hundred different toy and model soldiers throughout the website.

Most of the toy and model soldiers shown on these pages are from my own collection or have been part of my collection in the past. I mainly collect old toy soldiers made as children’s toys before the year 1980.  On the website I have tried to draw a distinction between old toy soldiers and model soldiers made for modern collectors.

I would like to hear from other people interested in the KAR whether in real life or toy soldiers, particularly if you can correct any errors I’ve made, add information or share pictures. Please leave your reply or comments on this page.

I operate this site more like a website than a blog – so I try to improve the information I have already published rather than add new posts, so there is little point in signing up to receive new posts by e-mail even though the system allows you to; better to re-visit the site occasionally.

Signed Askari 373

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32 thoughts on “About This Website

  1. HI, ENJOYED YOUR EFFORTS ON THE K.A.R. ALTHOUGH FROM THE UK I HAVE BEEN LIVING IN CAPE TOWN FOR SOME THIRTY YEARS. I AM A BRITAIN’S COLLECTOR AND OFTEN BUY SOLDIERS WHEN IN THE UK OR MORE RECENTLY ON EBAY. MY FATHERS ELDER BROTHER SERVED IN THE K.A.R. AND GOOD OLD IDI WAS HIS SERGEANT. MANY YEARS AGO I SAW A PIC ON THE COVER OF THE TIMES SUNDAY MAGAZINE OF MY UNCLE AND IDDI IN UNIFORM !

      • Hi, Nice to see some publicity to the KAR. Long overdue. I have question regarding the brass numbers. I have been led to believe the brass Farsi/Arabic? numerals (such as the brass No: 4 & 3) are a continuation of the older Turk occupation?.
        is this true?

      • Thank you for your comment, Andrew. The brass Arabic numbers that were used as hat badges by some of the KAR battalions were definitely adopted because of the strong Arabic/Muslim influence in East Africa. Many KAR Askari were themselves Muslims and much of the Swahili language of East Africa is Arabic in origin. The Arabic influence dates to the period of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire but, strictly in answer to your question, I think it was more a case of trading and raiding by Arabs along the East African Coast, because the Ottoman Empire did not really formally colonise East Africa itself – apart from parts of what is now the Coast of Somalia and the island of Zanzibar, which was under the ownership of the Sultan of Oman, essentially as a trading base for trade with East Africa (in goods, spices and slaves) until it was taken by the British.

  2. Greetings to you all the way from Zambia. My name is Jonathan Kruger. I came from Kitwe, Zambia. I look after last few remaining Zambian World War Two veterans on the Copperbelt. The Northern Rhodesia Kings African Rifles. I have done this work for a few years. I first found these old warriors begging at a bus station asking for a little food wearing their old British KAR uniforms and medals. My heart has gone out to them ever since. We try to help them in their old age in getting them food and clothing and repair their old homes. Most of them are too old to manage working. And they don’t get any pension. They are in extreme poverty in their old age. Some times they have had to sell their war medals just made ends meet to buy food. We have set up a website to try and get funds to look after these old Zambian warriors http://www.medalofkar.com I am busy recording their first hand account of their battles in North Africa and Burma and writing it down for a future history book for our Zambian people and schools to learn and know more about these noble soldiers from Zambia who fought for world wide freedom. I love your website and all the history you have recorded here about the Kings African Rifles. I look forward to hearing from you. God bless, Jonathan Kruger

  3. Hi
    I stumbled upon your site by accident and was surprised to see a picture of some KAR bandsmen in white jackets and green kilts,that I made and painted several years ago for a BMSS competition,from Dorset castings and I featured it on my own website http://www.beatingretreat.com. I sold this set of 24 figures quite a while ago. It would have been polite if you would have asked me if you could have used the picture and given me the credit for making and painting them.

    Regards beating retreat

  4. I have a set of eight bearded soldiers wearing turbans. I didn’t see any like them on your site. I’d love to know more about them. Thanks

    • I have sent you an email. If you would like to send me some pictures of your soldiers and their box if you have it, I will be happy to see if I can tell you anything about them.

  5. I have a A Senegalese Tirailleur Figure -“Minikins #14” that I have no info about. It is metallic, imported from Japan, and I believe from the 1940s or 1950s. Trying to find out about it.

    • Ooh nice, Minikin figures are very collectable, good quality toys almost model quality in some cases. I don’t have any in my collection but I would if I came across one. If it feels light and hollow, then your date may well be correct. Not sure about 1940s (metal toy soldier production ceased in this country during WWII and I imagine it would have in Japan as well) but 1950s is very plausible or even early 60s, although French North Africa was not what it once was by the 1960s. Good luck with finding more information.

    • The first thing to say is that they look like really nice figures. I am also confident that they represent the Kings African Rifles rather than any other regiment of the British or other colonial empires. They do look familiar, I’m wracking my brains to think of the maker. I’m not completely sure, but I keep coming back to thinking that they were probably made by a company called Crescent – who were a British manufacturer from the 1930s to the 1970s. To me, these look like the sort of Toys Crescent were producing in the 1950s – but I must say this is no more than an educated guess. They are very nice indeed.

  6. mailbox:///C:/Users/John/AppData/Roaming/Thunderbird/Profiles/rtet9f4u.default/Mail/mail.bigpond.com/Inbox?number=190259850&part=1.4&type=image/jpeg&filename=IMG_0261.JPG

    mailbox:///C:/Users/John/AppData/Roaming/Thunderbird/Profiles/rtet9f4u.default/Mail/mail.bigpond.com/Inbox?number=190259850&part=1.2&type=image/jpeg&filename=IMG_0262.JPG

  7. 2 unknown maker Askaris with like European officer, together with a Britains equivalent for comparison purposes. I’m thinking postwar and likely 1950s as you suggest. Well painted and a quality product; no brand or TM visible.

  8. They are denser and more solid than the Britains’ equivalent; I have had a look on the net and can’t find any like them from the usual suspects; they’re top standard in modelling and finish. I’m open to them being from a smaller maker. I’m pretty sure they’re UK.The game’s afoot, Watson! Maybe a visitor will tell us at some point.

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