Rafael Cebrian asked me in a recent exchange whether I had received the figures I ordered from him. I did not remember receiving them in the mail—and it had been quite some time. In my hand was also a small orange form from the post office informing me that I still had a package to pick up. I had no idea there was a package at the post office for me to pick up. It had been there since March 23rd. First thing this morning, I went to the post office, and guess what had been waiting there for weeks? Rafa’s package.

I eagerly opened the package. I didn’t wait till I got to the car. I don’t know why I thought his figures were more like 120mm range. They are more like a 54-70mm range. They are delicate, beautiful figures. I cannot wait to try my hand at painting one. Of course, our friend, Juan Francisco Estevez, has set the standard very high, and at the same time provided a beautiful exemplar for the rest of us.

I brought Rafa’s figures to a huge local hobby shop, Pegasus Hobbies, to show some of my friends. One of them asked how much a figure like these would cost, and guessed 25-30 dollars a piece. He was shocked to learn how reasonably priced they are.

Which leads me to another point, an opinion: I don’t think sculptors and engravers get the credit they deserve. For example, I entered a 3D figure of a Highlander Clansman in a painting competition last year (2012) and won first place and best of show in figures, but I don’t think it was painted better than some of the other figures entered. I have a friend, John Brubaker. His work, for years, has been, in my opinion, excellent. Of course, judging can be subjective at times, but I think what gave my figure an edge over John’s was not the paint job, but the figure itself.

I am not suggesting that there should not be painting competitions or shows. I am not suggesting that painters should not be recognized for their amazing skills. Perish the thought! I am trying to be a painter. I am suggesting, perhaps, that more attention be given to the sculptors and engravers who give us something worth painting. If you agree, perhaps you can give some suggestion on how this oversight can be remedied. If you disagree, please help inform me of the ways engravers and sculptors are recognized for their work. I may be wrong because I am misinformed or under-informed. I would be glad to be corrected.

And, finally, I wrote to Gary Dombrowski informing him that his name had come up in some of the recent works on semi-rounds or reliefs. I, recently, saw Penny Meyer’s work on Gary’s bust of Abraham Lincoln. (Photos do not do justice to the sculpt or to Penny’s painting.)

Gary is also a member of a group known as APG (Artist Preservation Group). I asked him a question about the purpose of the Group. He responded to my question and to his influence on others doing relief work:

FZimpression 008close upAs you know there are several miniature shows/ exhibitions held around the world annually. The APG ( Artist Preservation Group ) show/ exhibition is the only one of it kind where proceeds from the organization’s auctions held there are used to aid in the purchase of properties of historical importance as well as the restoration and or preservation of historical artifacts. While a number of the APG fundraising projects have focused on the American Civil war, other projects were for Artifacts of the American Revolution (or American war of  Independence ) and most recently to Historic Jamestowne.

As for doing reliefs it’s an alternative to not having the proper tools and knowledge to produce a traditional flat. Reliefs are one sided and are typically much larger than most flats, though there are editors of large flats as well. I would expect reliefs to be worthy of no more or less respect than flats or fully round figures. Like busts it’s just another sub-category, if you will, that has been added to the hobby.


(The photo above is of Gary dressed in a fire Zouave uniform for the 150th Anniversary of 1st Bull run (or 1st Manassas if you’re a rebel.)

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