23 April 2012
Mike Blake puts the spotlight on Beau Geste, a toy figure manufacturer based in Argentina. ...
Beau Geste - colourful and unusual painted toy soldiers from Argentina!
The toy soldier hobby really is world-wide nowadays, with companies and collectors all around the globe. One of the more unexpected locations for a toy figure maker must be Argentina, but that is where Beau Geste are located.
Daniel and Ana Donzino and Cristián Fernández began importing, distributing and retailing military subject books and toy and model soldiers in the early 1980s, and made their own metal military miniatures in 1985.
After the tragic early death of Daniel, Ana determined to carry on with the company and now they produce some of the most beautifully painted figures around, covering some periods and subjects which others makers do not cover.
Their extensive range contains sets in ranges titled ‘French Foreign Legion', ‘The 20th Century’, ‘Napoleonic Wars’, 'Durbar' and 'Military Bands'. In the Napoleonic range there are sets of unique colourful and unusual Colonial Regiments of the period.
BG does a huge number of Delhi Durbar sets. What a spectacle they must make, displayed together just like the original parade!
The full catalogue is as follows:
• Alwar's Carriage • Alwar's Throne with Maharaja, servant, guards and musketeers • Jaipur horsemen • Native followers Orchha infantrymen
• Palanquin of the maharaja of Jaisalmer with guards, chamberlain and servants • Patiala elephant with Maharaja, servant and driver
• Servants with ornamental parasols Jaisalmer • Patiala akali • Kashmiri Giants with Gertrude Bell • Nawanagar state military band
• 15th Ludhiana Sikhs military band • Horns and drums courtship • Music band courtship • Kishangharh horsemen
• Narsinghgarh elephant • Cutch spear-bearers • The Maharaja of Rewa's Baby Elephant
• Cutch flag bearers • Cutch music courtship • Soldiers of the Maharaja of Sikkim
• Rewa retainers escort one of the dozen silver state litters (PICTURED TOP RIGHT)
• Elephant of the Maharaja of Sikkim • Escort Guards for the Maharaja of Sikkim • Ladakhi Devil Dancers Kashmir
• Ladakhi Monk Musicians, Kashmir • Bikaner Camel Riders • Sikh Warriors from Jhind • 6th Jat Light Infantry route lining regiment
• Royal Irish Rifles route lining regiment • Elephant of the Maharaja of Alwar • Spectators for the parade (two sets - 191A and 191B)
• Palanquin of Jhodpur with maharani • Travancore elephant • Kashmir elephant • Ladies Band of the Nizam of Hyderabad
• Troops of the Sultan of Makala, Sehr & Mukalla • Music Band from Makala, Sehr & Mukalla • Indore elephant • Kashmir infantry
• Kashmir military band • Akalis on ponies from Patiala • Akalis on ponies from Jhind • Silver horns band from Cutch • Jaipur elephant
• Gwalior horsemen in uniforms from Shiraji's times with parasols • Elephant band from Orchha, Retainers Review • Silver horns from Indore
• Indore elephant and silver horns • Patiala escort guards • Patiala elephant • Elephant of Gwalior • Elephant of the Rewa executioner
• Alwar escort guards • Alwar escort guards with State elephant • Kashmir escort guards • Kashmir elephant and escort guards
• Kashmir escort guards, group right • Kashmir elephant and escort guards • Elephant of Jhind, Elephant of Bundi
• Music from Alwar • Alwar Elephant, Escorts and Music • Music from Indore • Indore Elephant, Escorts and Music • Music from Kashmir
• Parasol and Emblem Carriers from Gwalior • Elephant of Gwalior • Escort Guards from Gwalior • Elephant of Kapurthala • Band from Patiala
• Patiala Group • Escort Guards from Travancore • Travancore Elephant • Music from Travancore • Gwalior Horsemen
Beau Geste’s latest Delhi Durbar set is No 328, 'Gwalior Horsemen, Delhi Durbar, 1903'. It is featured in the May issue of Collectors Gazette's Toy Figure Focus section.
PICTURED BELOW Military band, German Seamen, summer uniform, Imperial German Navy, WWI; Mounted troopers of the 'Savage Division', Russia, WWI; Alwar's Throne with Maharaja, servant, guards and musketeers (Delhi Durbar).
There are also some ranges that are being retired: ‘19th Century’, ‘18th Century’, ‘American War of Independence’ and ‘American Civil War’. These sets will not be added to. As they are sold, the series will cease to be produced. The sets contain some marvellous figures, well worth looking at before they disappear for ever!
The Four Feathers
Within its ranges BG also carry a series called The Four Feathers, which covers unusual Colonial subjects and is well worth checking out for ideas to ‘round-out’ displays of Colonial figures as it contains all kinds of ‘background’ pieces. For example, there are sets called ‘Streets of Cairo I & II’ that depict street sellers etc and Imperialists wandering by.
Other sets speak for themselves, like FF3 'Hunting Days at Rorke's Drift', FF12 'The Rickshaw', FF24 'Rug Seller', FF25 'Chess Players', FF26 'Palace Guard' and FF27 'Dancer and Musicians'.
PICTURED BELOW ‘Rug Seller’ (The Four Feathers); ‘Dancer & Musicians’ (The Four Feathers); ‘Streets of Cairo III’ (The Four Feathers); ‘The Chess Players’ (The Four Feathers).
Recently, Beau Geste began an association with toy figure maker South Lands’ range of 1/32 metal matt finish figures, with Beau Geste handling its line directly. The range has begun with a little known clash between Lakota (Sioux) and the US Army in 1854. Known as the ‘Grattan Massacre’, it took place near Fort Laramie, Nebraska Territory. Thirty US soldiers and a civilian fought with and were killed by the Lakota.
Because the Indians won and all the Whiteman involved were killed, the US army called it a ‘massacre’, (unlike the ‘Battle’ of Wounded Knee, where the outcome was reversed) but it is also more honestly called the ‘Battle of the Mormon Cow’.
The range provides an opportunity for Old West collectors to add the US army uniform was quite different at the time to that of the later classic Indian Fighting Army, with tall shakos having pale blue bases and frock coats. The Native American are all authentically clothed and armed, and would grace any collection of these ‘Mystic Warriors of the Plains’.
The range includes Sioux warriors including Red Cloud, and the US army troops involved, including Lt John Lawrence Grattan, the wretch at the root of the ill-fated clash. BG plans to extend to other subjects once it has finished this series.
Honour Bound is BG’s matte-finish WWII metal 1/30 scale series. There are a number of sets covering both sides of the conflict from Russian Snipers, German Panzergrenadiers; and GIs of course. There are even German and American Sherman Tank Riders. There are also non-action sets as well, like HB31 'German Food Line', and some Italian Folgore Parachute Brigade. Well worth checking out to add something different to a WWII collection.
PICTURED BELOW French foot dragoons, 16th regiment, in action, with officer and drummer, Jena & Auerstadt, 1806; 4th Madras Native infantry, Colonial India, 1800; Narsinghgarh elephant (Delhi Durbar).
Contact Beau Geste
In the UK, Martin Ainscough handles Beau Geste, stocking sets and figures from all its lines. Tel: 01245 472468.
Email: [email protected]