Timaru Star II Peruvian Paso Sets Page 1

Click here to view Peruvian Paso Sets Page 2.  Page 2 displays P4 and P5, our fourth and fifth saddle sets, due to the greater number of pictures and more text for improved pieces.  This display may expand further!  Page 1 recounts the adventures of making our first 3 sets -- and it is a good place to start, especially if you are not familiar with the Peruvian Paso and his gear.

      The Timaru Star II first made a Peruvian Paso set in the fall of 2000.  That alone would deserve a whole page -- it took more than 80 hours.  As of summer 2005, two more complete sets of this extraordinary horse gear have been made; all three are documented here, with close-ups.  The Peruvian Paso fabulous saddle-bridle-and-halter sets are congruencies of braidwork, silverwork and leather carving... what more could a tackmaker like me ask for!!  As in all our model tack, the fastenings work just like full scale.  The emphasis, as always, is on striking a balance between researched authenticity and my own ideas of model tack's beauty and strength, considering what is possible at this miniature scale.

She is stepping into the light!  The word that comes to mind to describe the athletic yet graceful Peruvian Paso horse is "poetic".  It is true that this model is somewhat stylized; however, of all the Peruvian models out there, this is my favorite.  I also admire Raven, Suavemente, of course Inolvidable (inn ol-vee Dahb, lay), and even the BHR Peruvian.  There were so few good model Peruvians only a short time ago; now we have riches.  I have never really wanted, in all my horsey life, to settle on one favorite breed; but perhaps I might be allowed to fondly cherish one breed a little more than others, at least for a short while.  Especially when that breed serves so admirably as a model for those parts of miniature tack which ARE my favorites: braidwork, silverwork and leather tooling combined.

Here at right is Prosser's "Estrella del Sol" resincast limited edition, painted by the sculpting artist, owned by SBY, wearing TSII Peruvian Paso set No. 3, now owned by E. Bouras.  The rest of this page presents thumbnails (click for close ups) of the three Peruvian Paso sets that have been built so far here at the TSII.  The first, No.1, was completed in November 2000, at 83.1 hours... over a month of intense, concentrated work.  The second to be completed, but the third to be started (hence the numbering) was No.3 in May 2003: 99.7 hours, spread over 4 months.  (The above set.)  The third, No.2, was finished in July of 2003 at a whopping 103.2 hours... accumulated over 6 months---it was begun in February, alongside No.3.  So much for experience shortening the hours--!!  Not so on these seriously difficult pieces!!  TSII Peruvian Paso Set No.2 was auctioned on eBay in August of 2003, and currently holds the record for highest price fetched by our tack.  A HUGE thanks to Colette Robertson for her winning bid of $1925.00!!
    Fifty percent of the profits of this sale were donated to the North American Model Horse Showers Association.

      Below, I'd like to show off two scans, which aren't exactly the best shots, but depict rather well overall the extra-ordinary detail of Peruvian Paso set. No.2.  To the sorrow of PhotoWorks (still my favorite image processor), my little ol' scanner has wrought such a change in my photography habits.  [Note from the future: we no longer use a scanner once we got the digital, 2005.]  For one thing, it's a lot faster!  For another, it puts the horse at a disadvantage--although we must always have him, since these pieces are, in the end, in tribute to his beauty.  But on the scanner bed, the only thing to see is the tack itself...! which is how I see it!  The penny gives scale like nothing else.  The tip of the puente (point) is made of genuine rawhide; the sinew romal above it has actually been braided into the rawhide--- the braid started there.  Although it looks like a confusion of knots, actually most of the braiding is just two buttons, a large and a small.  The buttons occur in repeating groups about a single silver bead.  Seeing the pieces of the headgear like this, you can appreciate a little how it all goes together.  The tapa ojos (eye covers) go on first; they are beneath everything.  The bridle goes on next.  Although correctly the gamarilla (metal nose plate) is used only for training, I am so delighted to have something to act as a noseband on these closed-mouth model horses that I enthusiastically include it!!  The reins are attached to the bits by swivels, as is the leadrope to the halter (jacima).  The halter fits over everything else; and the loop-and-button on its crown fits over, and encompasses, everything on the poll.  Yes, this tack takes the longest to put on... but how much I have learned of another continent's manner of handling the horse.
      The second of the 2 scanned shots is somewhat marred by reflections from protective plastic.  (Although I know something of Photoshop, this one is too tall an order, for now.)  But it's a good birds-eye view.  It demonstrates that the corona, the leather 'saddle blanket', is in fact a separate piece.  It is not attached to the saddle in any way, but rides underneath it.  The corona is actually rather slippery and difficult to fit in place for models...!  It was made separately and is signed separately.  All our saddles, including the Peruvian Paso ones, are signed, dated and numbered.  In this case, 'SBY 03' and 'No. 2' appear on the under saddle flap, while 'SBY 03' appears on the corona.

      I have to mention the braided-sinew strings which appear tied to a ring on the pommel on each of these saddles.  There is such a string on the real thing and I am depicting what I see.  It is my belief these strings are used the way saddle strings are on a Western saddle; what's more, that they should tie up the end of the leadrope, as it emerges from under the saddle flap, (where it is stored during riding).  However, in models, such a tie job would be absolutely impossible.  So I let the strings hang, as decoration--as they are-- and hope that the hobbyist can tuck the leadrope end completely under the flap.  A good saddle-flap-shaper is a soft shoelace... just don't let the horse buck.  :)

Close Ups for No. 2

Timaru Star II Peruvian Paso set No.2, now owned by C. Robertson.  This set was begun in February of 2003 (before No.3) and was intended to explore the idea of rawhide braidwork as decoration.  I was inspired by a real-life saddle seen on Raintree's website.  It is quite within character for a Peruvian or, indeed, any Spanish-derived horse breed of the southern latitudes, to ornament himself with braidwork.  Although not seen on the original saddle, rosettes on the skirts and tapacola added to the appeal and spread out the impact of the contrasting braid, amoung other things.
Close up of the headgear of No.2, made for this model, Breyer's Inolvidable (Unforgettable).  The bit is a Rio Rondo-- they are the most correct I've found.  Over fifty hours of work are in the headgear alone; each button tied on with a needle, tightened with a needle, ends fixed, then trimmed.  Then it is dyed with a custom dye; then coated with two different materials for sealing--- drying in between each.  On this set I used smooth crimp beads for the silver ferrules.  If you remember that the rider has to be able to lower the tapa ojos from the saddle, you will never get mixed up and place them above the browband.
I particularly love this picture.  There is something glowing about Sanko as he gaits away-- his color, the swing of the foreleg (called termino), the long loose mane and tail.  This pose seems to conceal his faults and celebrate his strengths...!  This must have been what Linda had in mind.  The retrancas, or breechings, are just long enough: correct is "three inches above the hocks".  The stirrups are hung, by rings and straps, so as to be always with the opening to the rear.  At first I thought the Rio Rondo-cast stirrups would scratch the horse... but then I learned they are exactly curved to the body.

Close Ups for No. 3

The headgear for No. 3 was made of a new kind of sinew for me at the time, Leather Factory's No.30 Fine.  This stuff was thicker and of a more tawny, almost redder color.  I did not have to split it down off the spool---big relief!---and naturally it made a thicker rope, so it was perfect for the larger horse.  It was on this set that I finally figured out how to do those little leather wear-flaps, such a distinct feature of the Peruvian gear.  Very delicate!  You can see one at the top of the throatlatch fastener: even the tiny silver keeper-ferrule will slide up and down, along the braided loop around the pin-head.  The headgear on a Peruvian easily beats the saddle when it comes to hours worked---I think of them as a kind of super-FB RB.  The bit on this one is a Sue Rowe creation.
With this saddle I feel I strengthened and perfected the technique of the encased core.  Note the curve of the seat and of the cantle.  New tooling patterns were made---each of the 3 Peruvians has its own pattern, and is hand-carved, NOT stamped (except for the borders).  This set's silver corner plates were made of strengthened silver tape, which was then tied down with Mylar tinsel, and held down with the tiny spots.  It was on this saddle I dared to use the Galaxy lace for a binding---and it worked.  Amoung many other firsts, the color on this saddle came out very pleasingly... it went naturally with the sinew of the bridle.  I guess I like red.
This is the best way to view No. 3's seat and its carving, the pommel and cantle binding.  As before, and also on TSII #422, I found that prepared braided Galaxy silver lacing makes a better binding.  The mylar tinsel, which is so effective in other places (like parade), is too thin, and too much of the gold side shows, to work well here, where heavy strength is needed.  Such braidwork is quite difficult... this is some of the slowest work I can muster.  The odd whitish cast to Chipsy's offside rump is a reflection of some flower pots.

Close Ups for No. 1

Outside of McClellans and 1 Arab costume, I'd never made a saddle with a tree.  A Portuguese Bullfighting saddle I made in 1997 was helpful, but even so, a notebookful of Peruvian reference was not enough.  Eighty-plus hours of experimentation went into it, including a fabulous idea for a leather-encased metal core to give the saddle weight and strength.  This piece of tack has given rise to the greatest compliment a modeller can recieve: Peruvian Paso people have taken it for the real thing.  ;)
A close-up of Buckler's 'Raven' wearing my first full Peruvian Paso set.  At the time, in 2000, I had no other Peruvian model, so 'Raven' was on the spot!  Doing this tack aroused a deep admiration for the Peruvian method of handling a horse.  There are four places where the headgear adjusts.  The tapa ojos have to be tied in a figure-8 knot by hand---that is the strap hanging down with the metal tip.  The gamarilla, or nose plate, is used to raise and position the bit in the horse's mouth.  Fancy ones are chased and hinged.  I couldn't manage a hinge.
The saddle viewed on an angle from the front.  In real life, such sterling-silver filigree is expensive, rare and almost too flashy.  (Almost a command to us, eh?!)  In model, the effect is achieved with silver tape applied to leather, then cut out.  This shot also shows my earliest binding effort.  Again, I turned to silver tape.  It successfully depicts the solid-metal real-life binding; however, I worry about the adhesive.
Bird's eye view of the elaborate seat stitching of Set No.1.  That seat was one of those all-too-common cases where the tackmaker tries too hard.  Yes, those lines are actual thread stitches, atop a painted background... painted after the stitching was done... evidence of a changed mind.  While I can do this sort of exacting work, it is very typical of a pioneering or experimental piece in that it was later dropped.  Set No.1 retains its own charm: one of a kind.
Click here to go to Timaru Star II Peruvian Paso Sets Page 2, which details P4 and P5, made in 2005.