Friday, June 30, 2023

BreyerFest offerings: Mala 2 bridle


The Timaru Star II Model Tack Shop is excited to announce we will be taking offers for the MalagueƱa 2 Braided Rawhide Curb Bridle.  This bridle was used to draw my next book, and I've put more soul into it than just about any other piece of tack!  There are 3 ways to contact me:  email me at sbytsii (at) verizon (dot) com, text me at 814-321-2980, or see me in person at BreyerFest (room 612).  A fourth way would be to private-message through FaceBook, either the Timaru Star II Model Tack business page or the personal Susan Bensema Young page.  Our deadline is two weeks from now, at 8:00 pm EDT, on Friday the 14th.  The winner need not be present.  Minor details like reserve and shipping  šŸ˜  will be found at the end of this post, as well as zoomed-in close-ups and a black-&-white shot.   Most sorry, technically this is not an auction.

The winner is C. Bonds, Friday night at the Clarion!  Thank you so much!!

Meanwhile, enjoy seeing this pioneering classic of braidwork on 9 different horses!  I'm trying to show very closely who it fits best.  During the photo session, some really amazing shots came out.  This always happens when I try to shoot tack:  You get pictures that show the tack best; and then you get the ones that show the horse best.  Let's begin with what for me is some really nice packaging:

Now for the best horse nick.  Ever since I got my Perlino LG, I've known that this color combination tack, rawhide with silver, black, white & turquoise, looks very good on Breyer's satin (and glossy) Perlinos.  Here is Uffington the Altynai.  

This bridle might not quite fit him perfectly -- the ears are a little large and the riendas (hand part of the reins) a little short -- but man, the nobility of that face!

This next shot is hands down the pick of the litter.  I did not know it was in him.  It reminds me of certain illustrations of El Blanco, the white stallion of the plains.  The Look of Eagles...

For some reason I am always struggling with lighting, and thus with the true color of this bridle.  Here's another look with the Matriarch wearing it, showing the entire bridle, and a more-true-to-life color.

Although the Mala 2 bridle was not made off a Matriarch, I find that it fits her almost perfectly.  If you're worried about it, the noseband is removable.

Here it is on a popular mold these days, the Emerson:

I did get his palomino to come out right!!  That's another horse color which goes very well with this tack combination.  A nice close up:

Again the bridle's ears might be a smidge too large, but the rest works.

Ahoy, brother:  The dark chestnut with flame mane brilliantly sets off the color.  This is a compelling example of how the red in his mane pops with the turquoise, and the greenish of the rawhide is entirely overshadowed.

Lest we forget, here's another Palomino and a very appropriate mold, Stone's Ideal Stock Horse.  There's just something about her sweet face...

I think the ISH is pretty close to a good fit.

However, the Dundee is, in my opinion, the perfect mold to fit this particular bridle.

Doll by Field of Dolls

Of course we cannot overlook the original.  This is MalagueƱa the horse, for whom the first MalagueƱa bridle was built back in 1995 -- the one Mala 2 is a copy of.  To put Mala 2 on Mala is messing up my photo file names, I can tell you.

Mala 2 on MalagueƱa
Again, a portrait shot shows how well this piece fits the Lady Phase.
Buckles from TWMHC

For a complete twist of the beams, here's the auction bridle on a resin I have for sale, Buckler's Raven painted by Laurie Jo Jensen.  This is the horse the Peruvian Jaquima was made for.  He will have his own post soon!

Now I'm getting down to smaller molds and models.  It is perfectly natural to think of this bridle going on the Firefly / Elbe mold by Morgen Kilbourn, since she's a lovely Western horse.  The Mala 2 does fit her, but it's a little over, and not really the best.  The ears are too large and the bit seems out of scale.  Both the romal and the throatlatch are too long.

Still it's an attractive bridle for her.  There's potential here.

Finally I am ready to let this piece go. Every step of making it was captured in exhaustive detail 3 ways to Sunday:  drawings, photos, words.  In the process it got named to differentiate it from my original 1995 bridle, MalagueƱa 1.   It will always be special to me.  It's impossible to know how many hours went into it because it's so entwined with creating the book itself, Advanced Braidwork for the Model Horse.  At this point I'd guess the book has about an 80% chance of being done by the end of the year... I seem to have bitten off a lot.

The reserve for this piece is $200.00.  If not present at BreyerFest, the highest offer will need to pay postage of $15 for UPS shipping to the lower-48.  International winners will be quoted postage on an individual basis.

Good luck, 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 23, 2023

Puzzles in 2023, Jan - June


Although it's been a while since we've posted about puzzles, they never stopped being part of my daily routine.  There is something deeply comforting and satisfying about that.  So far this year we've put together eleven, missing only a few nights (not counting when we were from home).  This is a far cry from 2020's record, in which eleven was merely the fourth quarter!  In the face of considerable distraction and just plain life, this pleasantly addictive family habit has (by now) produced a visual record of our interests as a couple.  I thought you might like to see what the first 6 months of 2023 has turned out.

The year began with a puzzle certainly attributable to the big game interest in the family:  me.  Not to mention a rare lover of cats (not to mention tigers: someday I'll share my tiger skin rug story!).  Photographed January 25, this is a very recent acquisition from the Bits & Pieces catalog.  The moment I saw it I wanted it.

Bits & Pieces 1K  Jungle Queen

It was as good as I hoped.  Next up, photo'd February 1st, was one that (surprisingly) Geo liked as much as I did.  I swear, he is getting more horse-tolerant than I could ever have anticipated!  Much credit must go to the painter, John Sloane.  Of many puzzle-painters in the Bits & Pieces catalog, I find some I dislike (too fuzzy, too unrealistic) -- and some I love (good detail, good textures).  Sloane gets his harness right, bless him, and his horse conformation isn't too bad either.

Bits & Pieces 1K  All Aboard

Photo'd February 8th is this classic, an image I've known since high school (i.e. ~ 45 years ago).  It was painted by Robert Bateman, an internationally famous wildlife artist.  However, the puzzle is recent;  it entered our collection approximately 8 years ago, almost certainly from Peight's.

Cobble Hill 1K  Coyote in Winter Sage

 Photographed Feb 10th, this big game puzzle by RealTree was a completely different experience from the Coyote.  (Note that the photo date does not mean a puzzle was finished exactly on that date -- only that it was finished before that date.)  RealTree thoughtfully provided a poster, something that puzzle makers are now starting to do.  But that did not make this one any easier.

RealTree 1K  Open Season

I remember it as distinctly difficult, taking much longer than 2 days.  It was hard but unfortunately not in a good way.  The photomontage process blended images strangely, and it repeated texture and color a lot.  While my interests undoubtedly inspired the purchase of this puzzle,... from Cabela's I think,... I won't be getting another one of the series.

Which is a pity, because I love deer.

RealTree 1K  Open Season  Close up

Next, photographed Feb 16th (a more realistic date -- a puzzle this size would normally take a week) is a lovely lake scene.  We are canoeists, so this was a natural.  This puzzle was purchased, again, from Peight's Store in Kish Valley, within the past 3 years.

Cobble Hill 1K  Nature's Mirror

Needing a change of pace, for the next 3 weeks I went back to the great Ravensburgers, and tackled a 15-er.  I'm not sure when or where this one came from;  it could have been in the original Danish stock (1995-6) or the ~ ten years afterwards.  Photographed March 8.  Clearly I was past the overexposure of this scene from my five-grander puzzle of 2021 -- see the Five Grander.  Clearly also, 1500-piece puzzles are in our comfort zone;  we start at 500 and go up from there.  One-granders (1000-pc) and 15-ers are the most common in the collection.

Ravensburger 1500  Sella Pass, the Dolomites

Confusing dates somewhat, this next puzzle was photographed the same day, March 8.  I remember it took very little time -- we blazed through it.  This little charmer has been in our collection for quite a long while, several decades.  It was probably picked up in a Hallmark Store somewhere, possibly in the 2000s.  Springbok is indeed a gold standard.  You have to know that my husband is a wargamer and has narrowly missed being a collector of tin soldiers.  Me, I am entranced at the sheer skill of the sculptor, Ron Hinote.  Yes, there's a horse, but it's the delightful historical detail of the soldiers that transfixes both of us.  We have worked this puzzle many times:  "High replay value."

Springbok  500  Military Miniatures

Next, consuming a little under 3 weeks  -- March 8th to March 24th -- came a pair of train puzzles.  These we can squarely blame on Geo.  I have come to like them, however, probably on the theory that a good puzzle is never bad.  

SunsOut  1K  Bayou Ramos

 Their colors are exquisite, and Bayou Ramos has birds.  Chasing the Daylight features a small light plane, which is what really ties it to Geo, who once was a pilot.

SunsOut  1K   Chasing the Daylight

Obviously the next puzzle, photographed March 24, can be put down to my own desires.  We had gotten it over the winter of 2020 - 2021 off eBay (yes! eBay has marvelous puzzles) and worked it in January of '21.  Again to my surprise, George liked it as much as I did.  This was largely due to its feel.  These old Gold Seal puzzles, made in the 40s and 50s, are delightfully thick and overbuilt.  If you can find one that has been well-preserved, you are in for a treat.   Not only are they strongly made, the picture often has historical value, as I think this one does.  It's not all that realistic (the neck-roping lasso is held merely in his hand) but the composition is thrilling.

Gold Seal  500  Palomino

Palomino was a warming-up treat for me, a little taste of quick success before I buried myself in an extremely large puzzle.  Somehow one can tell when the time is right to start a truly big one.  I knew I'd be involved on this next case for a long time.  As it turned out, the puzzle lasted from late March to June 22nd:  more than a quarter of the year.  One of those months saw no work on it at all, since we were gone -- May, --- the rest went into losing myself amoungst the amazing colors and textures of Friedrich Nerly the Elder's masterpiece painting of the Grand Canal of Venice.  Nerly (1807-1878) was born in Germany but eventually moved to Italy and Venice, becoming one of the finest artists of his time.   He painted this view several times, using different hours of the day and season.  This time (I'd worked this puzzle once before) I researched the artist, a first.  You can do that with Google these days.

Ravensburger  3K   Grand Canal by Nerly

This is one of the few times I've shot an unfinished puzzle.  Typically this happens with the 3- and 5-granders, the largest ones we possess.

Upon its finishing, a large puzzle sits for more than several days.  One can't bear to tear it down yet. 

Ravensburger  3K   Grand Canal

We finished another much smaller puzzle while this one was still sitting.  It was another wolf painting.  You'll get to see it when I take up puzzle blogging again.  Just think:  we've got all of 2021 and 2022 to cover!  Thirty-one and thirty-seven puzzles, respectively, less the giant 5-grander which I've already blogged about (link above, after picture 7).

This photo shows the sheer size of a Ravensburger 3-grander.  The collection has four 3Ks and two 5Ks.  I wish they made 4Ks, but I've never seen one.

Here's a link to the fourth quarter of 2020's puzzles, which includes at its end a list of the other 3 quarters:  Puzzles: The fourth ten of 2020.

You can spot a couple of Breyer Buffalo on the end shelves, which should give another idea of scale.  I love my buffalo.  I conga them.  We'll see if BreyerFest shows me another I can't resist!

Thursday, June 15, 2023

3 Mink Orders


One result of being gone more than a month has been my getting to open 3 Minkiewicz pin and magnet orders at once.   I swear it sometimes seems I buy her pins only to try to photograph them...!  This post will be one of many pictures: stickers, postcards, pins, magnets.  You'll just have to bear with me.  At the end I'm listing some stuff which I plan to offer for sale at BreyerFest (room 612).

I have all of the Mink Unicorn pins (below) known at this time.  This one, Chargon the Rainbow Obsidian Jeweled Unicorn, sold April 24, has surprised me the most.  I didn't think much of him when he was first published:  solid grey and chunky, my least favorite aspects.  The rainbow effect had been tried in only two pins previously* (Anuksamet and the Marwari) and never before on a border (background).  I didn't have any Jeweled Unicorn stickers.  So I was reserving my judgement on this drafty, little-headed guy.

*Earlier stated as only one, the Marwari.  Ed. regrets the error.

And then he arrived, and I tried to photograph him.

The above shot is when I realized something new had come into the world.  Wowie!! Snap, dazzle, amazeballs!!  How did she do that...  Without ever having wanted to collect the Jeweled Unicorns -- weren't Dancing Horses, Celestial Unicorns, Imperial Unicorns, odd horse shapes and occasional deer ENOUGH??! -- I was now well and truly hosed.

Let's go back to the first order I opened.  It was of two magnets.  When I started collecting pins seriously, my sticker collection went on hiatus.  However, magnets were being enjoyed all along -- they were more display-able than stickers for me -- and this particular offering was of my all-time supreme favorite Celestials.  I plumped.  I didn't realize until I opened them how large they were: 4" (four inches high or long).  This shot shows everything that was in the envelope.  The Unicorn portrait head sticker says "Believe!"  Like Mink, I have a weakness for glitter...

Naturally, I had to lay them out next to my existing stickers.  Ayerron, the Solar Stallion, had had his horn slightly mangled in transit.  But like a true Unicorn, misfortune only gave him more character;  and the horn straightened out with use.

"Size matters"

Here are the Mystashanis:

The second pin was the fourth WindCatcher, Baedonathon.  Don't feel sorry that I don't have Zephannon, the first of this series.  I honestly didn't want him.  I almost didn't want this one either, but something made me change my mind,... we know how that goes...  (Perhaps a solid month of birding had something to do with it... the detail on his wings is truly awesome!)

Time for a Gross Loot picture.  This is everything that arrived (missing only the above glitter Believe! Unicorn).  Remember every pin order contains cards and stickers, sometimes more than one!

A close up. The motto, 'phantasia in nos,' translates as "the fantasy in us."

Lest I ever think I had too many of those glitter-bordered little Cave Pony Pegacorns, I noticed I have them with two different variations of glitter (prism tape!), egad...

Here's something I've been at pains to display in my sticker scrapbook.  The reverse side of Mink's postcards are definitely worth collecting.  But you have to have two cards each, at least with the scrapbook I have now...

And their obverses.  Just when you think you've got them all, Mink puts out new ones!

Yes of course I've ordered Kalasin,... And of all the Nouveau heads, this one is my favorite... (yeah, what about that cream white... ahem)

We have arrived at the end of this post, and the desire to show off is greater than any restraint or politeness.

 Longtime readers may notice Dulmener is gone.  I decided he did not fit;  he was a different scale (too big!), too plain, and too, umm, 'chunky' is the word I used earlier.  I am not overwhelmingly fond of the Cave Ponies, let's leave it at that.  I have a few, though, which have passed through the gate of favoritism.

See the Marwari below, mentioned above, in the rightmost column, second from bottom.  My Dancing Horse collection is missing only two.  Maybe at BreyerFest,... I do have some trade bait...

Yes, these boards will be at BreyerFest, room 612.   Come and enjoy!

A lot of other stuff will be there too.  This list is doubtless incomplete:  needlework supplies to be given to a good home; wire and miniature (Cricut) hardware for sale; a Paasche airbrush for sale;  my 2 finished Resincasts, Raven and Joritt, for sale, as well as the Peruvian Jaquima; Gerhardt's blue Pegasus tile for sale (unfinished);  and a couple of paper Guide copies for sale, signed to family who no longer want them.  

Last but not least, I want to show off what's been done so far on the next book, Advanced Braidwork for the Model Horse.  The room will be open mostly in the mornings, and if not, you can always call me and ask -- odds are I'll let you in.