Thursday, February 26, 2015

TSII #454: Base Assembly

Like so many other TSII saddles, this Parade set is having its share of pioneering tricks and features.  I thought I was reasonably through with complete new ideas, so it was a surprise when the pommel of this set evolved so much that it will have its own post!  Meanwhile, take a look at where "The Gold-Tipped" stands right now.
Above are the tapaderos, remarkable in having one type of silver for the outsides and another for the fronts.  It's not perfect -- those fronts don't bend well, and the offside one's tip is not centered -- but I'm content that they are the best I can make right now.  For one thing, they are tooled on their backs!!  This is indeed rare for me -- it's only happened twice before -- and it doesn't happen with the full scale solid silver 1950s ones.

Here are the fenders:
With the second skirt finished, I could thus lay out everything:
Finally, progress!
One of the things I've learned which I didn't know before (it's truly embarrassing how much I didn't know before!) was that the ring for the hip drops emerges from between the skirts.  This really helps in a model context!  more space for the snaphook!  But, sheesh, one hundred silver saddles hadn't taught me that yet...

The horn took some work.  It has been some time since I've used Galaxy lace.  It has to be hand-cut into long strips for silver braiding, and is notoriously difficult to work with.
I tried to completely silver-tape the neck.  It worked, except there is a triangle of uncovered leather right underneath the cap.  It is still there!  I may have to turn to paint for this particular hole-goof...
As I said, this pommel, or shoulder, was so complex that I took lots of pictures.  I'd never done anything quite like it before.  The silver ovals on the right are aluminum blanks for the pommel caps.
Even now, as usual!  the saddle is advanced from what these pictures show.  To wit, one pommel cap is completed -- shaped, engraved, pinned in place -- and the other one is not!!
Basically the new trick was to eliminate leather for the pommel altogether, except for the underneath and the gullet braiding (the front rim).  No one was going to see it...
This picture shows the pins underneath the front rim.
The wires underneath are structural elements.  In this picture you can see my attempt to patch over that little triangle-hole-goof under the horn cap.  Didn't work!! -- it later fell off.
This is the most recent picture of TSII #454.  Still to go: seat, hip drops, bridle...  Slowly, slowly, we are getting there...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Blanket Collection Part 3

First off let me congratulate Jennifer Buxton of Braymere's Blog for a truly awesome job judging the Winter Photo Challenge.  From my perspective, it was fun, fun, fun!  The best part, for me, was connecting names with blogs.  Many hobbyists out there don't put their names on...

Back to our regularly scheduled blanket review.  You will recall two previous chapters:  Three Strands at Once  (blankets are the third strand) and  My Blanket Collection.   I confess the interest I got in this subject was surprising... and gratifying.  Moving on to the third (and tentatively last) chapter in this most interesting corner of the model horse tack kingdom,  I bet you didn't know Peter Stone Company released blankets too!
This lovely example of a genuine Baker's Curvon Blanket was given to me by a dear friend (thanks Ann!).  Note the logo on the OFF side -- very rare in blankets.  This blanket was in the Stone 2001 catalog.  It's just about the only blanket Stone ever carried... and for only that one year!  But I am aware of one other blanket Stone carried:
These can be found today on eBay, in a bewildering variety of colors.
Of course this is the famous Sleazy Sleepwear for model horses.  I may have put on the neck part wrongly -- it should be underneath the body cover -- but this shows how the whole thing goes together on the horse.  There's no cinch or girth for the body cover, just tight, non-adjustable elastic bands for the hind legs.  The stretchy material is quite snug.  Contrary to what it looks like, the tail bag is not about to fall off!  The degree to which this set fit the ISH is astounding; clearly it was designed for this model.  Although I have seen Sleazy Sleepwear in every color of the rainbow and then some,"rainbow" was the only one I wanted.  I felt one example was enough.

Back to Breyer, here is a standard blanket I've had for many years:
This is Breyer model no. 3955, the Quilted Stable Blanket of 1995, which was carried until 1999.  Sadly it was not carried again in another color, as most of Breyer's Quilted Blankets were.  This was Breyer's first blanket to have a 'tail hood' or little double-thickness flap that stuck out over the dock.  At first I thought this addition was to pad the rear (shoulder padding in people's jackets was a clue) but recently I've come to believe it is indeed for the tail.  This feature is quite rare but can be found in the green Rambo blanket.
(Note that this horse, resincast Victrix, came with interchangable tails, and I simply didn't put one in for this shot.)
Speaking of Breyer blankets, here's the golden oldie, model number 3946:
Seriously customized!!  I put on that big white X; and I shortened the straps too.  Even shortened they still fit the Cleveland Bay!!  talk about adaptable!!  As mentioned before, these three blankets (model numbers 3945, 3946 and 3947, the Quilted Blankets with 4 shipping boots) are the longest-carried pieces of tack Breyer has ever made.  They're still being carried today!!  The magenta version was the first (1990-1993) and morphed into burgundy in 1995.  The red Quilted Blanket has lasted for 21 years, the blue for 20 years; the burgundy was discontinued in 2001, which if you add the magenta equals 19 years.  Wow.

One of the shortest-carried has to be this oddity:
A 1996 BreyerFest Tseminole Wind blanket!!  It has a tiny ink-stamped logo on the near hip, and a satiny sheen to the polyester-like fabric, with dark blue binding.  I must have picked it up at that BreyerFest, but I have no memory of how or where.  The logo words are "BreyerFest 96" with the pinto Sham, Tseminole Wind the Celebration Horse that year.  (The resincast Arab is "Sumara,"  Prosser x Bouras.)

Before we leave Breyer's blankets, one last example must be added:  The 2002 Holiday Special, which was only the second Christmas costume to come out.
I had seen this blanket repeatedly on eBay and MH$P, but until I researched it I hadn't realized it was one of the Christmas Holiday offerings.  It accompanied a whitegrey Missouri Fox Trotter.
There is a big brass buckle on black velcro at the chest, which opens.  The embroidered words are only on the off side.  And no, I'm not planning on leaving it on that horse.  For the shoot, I reached for a very loud-colored and glossy animal -- so that's why you have this Breyer blanket on a Stone.
 : )

For the closing section of my Blanket Collection posts I want to focus on what may be the largest, but least appreciated, source of model blankets ever:  Homemades, by Anonymous.
I am sure everyone's tack boxes fill up with these efforts.  As I said earlier, some homemades are always going to be better than Breyer's, for the same reason great tack is better than Breyer's tack.  I have admired Breyer's fly nets without buying one, but when I saw this I had to have it.  Its darted back and double color binding are very well done.
Here's a close up of the winning entry at the 2012 Intermediaire:
It's possible I was the one to put in the extra hooks and eyes, but the color choice, design and workmanship are original, c. 1980.  The eye and ear rings are from fusible (iron-on) material.  You can't see it well, but the inside linings of the leg bandages are matching beige felt.  Travel in style!

Here's a blanket I've had kicking around forever.  Who made it?  When did it arrive?  No one knows.
But it fits nearly everybody and can be repaired easily, if ever needed.

Finally, a case of non-anonymity.  Mary Lineman made this championship cooler:
It has two white ties across the throat and chest, as well as brow and tail loops.  Accompanying this recent gift was a letter with pictures.  They were so extraordinary I felt compelled to share.
Mary writes:  "As you can see, I too love blankets.  This is my collection from the 1980s that I kept in my bedroom.  I felt every model should have a stable blanket & a halter.  I made all the blankets myself. "
Amazing!!!  This is far more blankets than I've ever collected... or even seen in one place...!
That's Mary in the picture...  She goes on:  "Unfortunately, the blue material 'bled' onto some of the models, so I removed all the blankets:  stopped making them.  They may be in ...[the]... attic or have been thrown away.  I only have 2 left.  They are coolers. One was a championship cooler won by one of my favorite models... a CM Trakhener.  The other was a 'generic' cooler with my stable name 'Mountain Laurel Stables.'  I am sending it to you..."
Thank you, Mary.  It will be treasured.