Christmas may have come and gone but there are still goodies on the shelves for the militaria enthusiast
Eschew the traditional stylings of Christmas sartorial efforts and show your love for the classic heavy bomber of WWII instead. This is a T-shirt, available in sizes from S-XXL, featuring a detailed design and both technical and historical facts about the Avro Lancaster MkX KB889, based at IWM Duxford.
French Light Cavalry sword
The next time an interminable Pirates of the Caribbean film is on the TV you can liven up proceedings by joining in with this light cavalry sword, produced around 1890. The sword resembles both the 1822 and 1845 model French cavalry swords, being ornate with a three bar, brass hilt and a long, slender, double fullered blade. However, the blade and hilt are lighter and thinner. Where the knuckle guard joins the pommel has flower and leaf decoration, as does the inside back of the dish guard. With a 90cm blade, designed for thrusting, you can terrorise your relatives when they come round for dinner.
Bored with photos of your kids on your desk, want something more interesting on the wall of your dining room than that photo of a rainbow your other half took five years ago? Well now’s your chance, with a framed blueprint schematic of a German PzKpfw V tank, otherwise known as the Panther. Available in blue or white, each print is A4 in size and framed, ready to showcase your love of heavy metal.
18th Century Belgian Duelling Set
Not everyone can afford actual antique pistols, so here’s the next best thing. They would also make a nice present for younger family members to get them into the spirit of collecting. It’s a pair of 18th century-styled Belgian duelling pistols in a display box. Each pistol measures approximately 11.75in long, features a highly engraved, gold finished butt plate, and a barrel with engravings down its length with a stunning gold finish.
Hawker Hurricane GNA
King & Country produces a wide range of high quality metal figures and accessories for all your war diorama needs. If you were thinking about creating an RAF setting then you need aeroplanes to go with it, so what better than a Hurricane that was piloted by Flight Lieutenant James Nicolson who won the Victoria Cross. The 1/30 scale model is beautifully detailed and comes with a figure of Nicolson himself, plus a certificate about his achievement.
Okay, so it’s been out for a year, but there are content updates all the time and this is the game to play if you want to experience the bedlam of battlefield action, without any of the associated risk. This latest version is firmly rooted in WWII with scenarios from Narvik in Norway to western France, the middle east and the wreckage of Rotterdam. Recent updates include invading Iwo Jima in the Pacific. Besides the story mode, most fun comes with online games of up to 32 people duking it out over enormous maps, supported by tanks, trucks and artillery bombardments. Available on PC and console formats.
No-one wants to play a life-sapping eight hour game of Monopoly while listening to Her Majesty on BBC 1 complain about Corgi vet fees. So, turn off the TV and unpack this two player game, for ages 8 and upwards, that comes with 16 different maps and uses plastic soldiers and armour with cards to replay various battles from WWII. There are expansions available that cover new conflicts and with a typical game time of 30-60 minutes you can crush the opposition in time for another Wallace & Grommit re-run.
ASG (SLV40) MP40 AEG
As we’re not allowed to run around the countryside brandishing a live-firing MP40 if you want to be part of the Wehrmacht, if only at weekends, then you need this. It’s the AEG Airsoft MP40 with both semi and full auto firing mode. The exterior is made from metal and plastic and can take 50 rounds. Note that you’ll need to be a member of a Living History or military vehicle group to show the powers that be it will be used for re-enacting and not your local Post Office. This and other goodies, from Soldier of Fortune.
Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat
Escape the inane chatter of your mother-in-law by retreating to the dining room table and setting about constructing this 1:24 scale model of the US Navy’s finest fighter. It has over 600 parts, can be built with the wings open or folded, the cockpit is full of detail and can have the canopy open or closed, there’s a fully detailed radial engine and gun bays, the flaps are adjustable and it comes with a choice of four decal schemes. With a skill rating of 4 and suitability for ages eight and upwards, expect to invest at least six hours on building it.
The First World War
A double book set of superbly produced Folio special editions covering 1914-1916 and 1917-1919. This is your complete guide to WWI, from the trenches of the Western Front, to the deserts of Mesopotamia and the steamy jungle of East Africa. The books run to 768 pages in total, with blocked slipcases and 40 pages of black and white plates. If you want one WWI bookset for your shelf, this is a splendid choice.