As a rule, the world of miniatures opens to newcomers in sudden circumstances: an unusual gift, an article in a magazine, a visit to an antique store. But if you are imbued with this feeling of the beauty that real weapon has, and the desire to possess it – you can’t forget about it… At the same time, a beginner collector often stays alone with a market, and it is difficult to orientate without having the system knowledge. In this article, we will make a short review of the book that every fan of miniature guns should have on a shelf.
Antonio Rincón Granados is a modern miniaturist who lives in Bogota, Columbia (South America). Now the member of the Miniature Arms Society, he has written and published a book “Great Arms in Miniature”. If you are looking for the best miniature guns for sale – you surely have to read it, because it illustrates some of the most prominent works in this sphere. Perhaps you will not be able to buy these products, but first, you will get a comprehensive view of all the directions of this occupation, and secondly – there will be standards before your eyes, you will see the models, which you can keep in your mind, making purchases.
This is an amazing book about the work that he has done in the forty-two years that he has devoted to making miniature arms. The entire book is written in two columns, Spanish and English. Photographs, all in color, are used lavishly with almost every other page having one or more on it and they are all devoted to pieces that Antonio has made. The book has over two hundred illustrates – that is the number of his works! He writes the book in the third person format, so he never writes “I”, it is always “Antonio Rincon”.
The book is divided into six sections; the first tells the story of the author, how he got started, about his mentors, how his interest grew, the places where he has exhibited. In this part some members of American Miniature Arms Society are mentioned, including Kennith Whitchard and Brad Maxwell who are customers of Antonio’s work – he sells guns to them. Of course, he does a little self-promotion by including quotes from various sources.
The second section is labeled “Iron Weapons” in which he talks about hand held weapons such as lances, axes, halberds, partisans, mancatchers, maces and flails. The book does not give any indication that these pieces were the first ones Antonio made and then worked up to more serious, more complex and more beautiful pieces later on. The book, however, does have photographs of at least one of each of these models and detailed close ups of most of them. Probably, you will be impressed by the spring loaded mancatcher that would fasted around an enemy’s arm or neck and render him hors de combat.
On the right: a flintlock rifle with battle-axe and pick. It is 7.48 inches long. The stock, which holds the barrel, is made of tiger tale maple, a precious wood from Bosnia. The side-plate is enhanced with open work in silver. Its accessories consist of a gunpowder flask in silver and a ramrod of ebony, finished in ivory.
On the left: a flintlock carbine with a rosette on the stock. The length of the carbine is 13.78 inches. The octagonal barrel, with matt blue finish, is inlayed with 176 gold stars, each with a diameter of less than one millimeter. The stock of ebony is also decorated in gold and silver. The case was manufactured in mahogany.
Click on the picture to see it in large size.
The third division shows miniature reproductions of siege weapons; catapults, ballistas, trebuchets and assault towers, these usually were heavy duty machines and were very large engines which were used to knock down the walls of a castle or the walls surrounding a city.
The fourth section of the book talks about cannons of the early types, these shown where a bombard, an Italian bombard, a bombard with palisade, a culverin, a German field piece, an 18th century field piece, and an English field cannon, ending with a naval cannon of the 1950th.
After these weapons come firearms, starting with matchlocks, wheel locks, flintlocks, dueling pistols, luxury weapons and percussion guns. In between these items Antonio gives fascinating little vignettes, such as a history of dueling, going back to its beginning in Roman times, or before and its decline and end in the 1800’s. One of the little tidbits he relates is the story of the duel between «M. de Grandpre and M. Le Pique, suitors to Mademoiselle Tirevin, of the Imperial Opera. Both were in love with the lady and decided to dispute their love from the heights. To carry out their eccentric plan, they had two balloons made. Each one with his respective second boarded his balloon and when they reached a height of 800 feet and a distance of 65 yards, the order to fire was given. Each had agreed to only fire at the balloons, not at each other. Le Pique missed and Grandpre hit the target. The loser’s balloon fell to the ground killing its two occupants. Grandpre triumphantly reached the ground to find that the object of his infatuation, Mademoiselle Tirevin, had completely disappeared». In spite of this ridiculous duel, during the 17th century in one period of ten years in France, 80000 men were killed in duels.
Antonio also talks about his love affair with the work of master gun smiths, such as John and Joseph Manton, Samuel Nock, Nicolas Boutet, Wogdon and others.
The last part of the book deals with ornamentation and this is the sphere where Rincon can leave the rest of miniature makers in his dust. The outside of his guns is fantastic. Castings of the faces of ancient gods, stars, gravings, full figure metal work, anything you can think of in gold, silver, brass or what have you, are all grist for Antonio’s fertile imagination.
In order not to be unfounded – we will give a photo and a detailed description of one set of miniature guns made by this master.
“Manufactured in 1/3 scale in honour of my friend Ralph Koebbeman. This magnificently cased five piece garniture of firearms by the premier French armourer of a 19th century, Nicholas-Noel Boutet, comprises two pairs of pistols and one fusil, with the assembly of tools and accouterments. It also bears five extraordinary paper labels noting presentations of other Boutet arms by Premier Consul Bonaparte in 1803.
The most striking of all the wonderful gold inlays in this garniture is the large panel depicting a sphinx. The intense interest in designs and motifs from the classical periods of Greece, Rome and Egypt had never abated from Pre-Revolutionary France and during the consulate period and first Empire. “Egypto-Mania” designs flourished after Baron Dominique Vivant Denon published his drawings made during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign”.
Agree: a man who has created this miracle by hands can be chosen to be your guide in the world of miniature guns. Edited in 2005, his book is available for sale in the USA. To order it, contact Alice McGinnis, 2109 Spring Street, Cross Plaines, WI 53528, tel. (608) 798-2860
Perhaps the only “but” that can be inserted into the story about Rincon is the fact that he doesn’t make many miniature guns for sale. They can be seen at exhibitions, but if you want to buy at least one of his works – you need to contact the master directly. And if he agrees to make something for you, you will have to wait your turn for several years, probably.
Want to buy a miniature gun today?
Then we offer you our own variant. We don’t compete with Rincon because we don’t copy flintlock mechanisms which he usually makes. Our prototype is a percussion mechanism of the classical Derringer. In our model, it is reproduced on the scale of 1:6, completely saving its basic features and functionality. Materials: gold and mammoth bone. Complete with the gun there are 10 rounds with steel bullets, which can penetrate even a metal target. The caliber of this pistol is only 1 millimeter! To date, this model is the smallest working Derringer in the world. Combining beauty and functionality, it will be an excellent exhibit in any collection. Learn more about it and place an order here.
Resources: Miniature Arms Journal, 2005-2008