Yet another variant of the Soldier models is the elusive key ringed Soldier- a model I have had a somewhat twisted relationship with over the years.
This particular model was readily available at a local retailer that I frequent on a regular basis, and seemingly nowhere else. Over the years I have purchased literally dozens of these models from Lee Valley Tools (www.leevalley.com) and sold or traded them to other SOSAK members over the years. I actually sent my last one as a gift to this site's programmer, Esteban in Argentina, who then gave it to his father.
No problem of course, as I can always get another one right? Wrong! On my next visit to Lee Valley Tools I bought three of them, but to my dismay when I opened the package, they were Pioneers, not Soldiers. To ninety nine percent of purchasers, this would not be a problem, as the Pioneer and Soldier models (especially Soldiers with keyrings!) are functionally identical, but to a collector, this was a bit of a disappointment- not that the Pioneer itself is a problem, but I was shooting for a collectible and got a regular line model.
I tried calling a number of different Lee Valley Tools locations across the country but couldn't track any more down- whether this was because they actually sold out or whether the employees I spoke to had no idea what I was talking about, I have no idea, but the bottom line is they seemed to be unavailable from that point on. Ironic, that me, the guy who had supplied these knives to many other members was no without one!
However, thanks to another SOSAK member, I was recently able to obtain another one- who says membership doesn't have privileges?
The only difference between this Soldier and a standard ALOX Soldier is the keyring. All the other Soldier features are intact, from the Swiss Military cross to the date stamp. Mine is marked 98 for those keeping track!
This is yet another great addition to my ALOX collection, which thanks to Scibeer and some really rare colored models, seems to be growing quite rapidly lately!