In this chapter we introduce you to four renowned masters of the firearms miniatures makers' guild. Their names are Robin Armstrong and David S. Bradbury from Great Britain and their U.S. colleagues Daniel E. Osterman and Larry H. Smith.
From left: Robin Armstrong's Tower Sea Service flintlock pistol in 1:3 scale and Daniel E. Osterman's Remington Vest Pocket Pistol .22 in 1:2 scale
The five (!) miniature pistols of the four masters are highlights of the Hunzinger Collection.
3.1.1 Little is known about Briton Robin Armstrong's private life. What could be discovered is that he started his career as a craftsman of miniature firearms only after his retirement from the Military services. That was the time when he also became amember of the Miniature Arms Society in the U.S.A. As a master of this trade Armstrong set a real high bar for other miniature artists. He lived in Dereham, county Norfolk, which is in the east of England.
He sadly died a few years ago. R.I.P. Robin Armstrong, you will be missed.
1:3 scale seems to have been his preferred size used in the making of his guns because that was the scale of the miniature firearms we could inspect. As is typical of most British miniature makers since the 1990s they are of the non-firing kind with their barrels plugged.
Armstrong's military pistols and muskets are fitted with fully functional and period correct flintlocks or caplocks as were their originals from the 18th and 19th century.
18.104.22.168 Tower Sea Service Flintlock Pistol: The original of this British pattern Sea Service pistol was assembled at the Tower Armory of London. It was a hunk of a handgun sporting the proven robust, flat, India-pattern flintlock, .56" caliber and her smoothbore barrel measured 12".
Tower Sea Service flintlock pistol on the original Robing Armstrong tan leather covered hinged top casing with push button latch displayed on the Union Jack
The interior bottom lined in a dark green velour, the interior top lined in a lighter green silk with the master's name and crest marked in gold. Note two pence coin for size comparison
This martial pistol was fitted with a full-length walnut stock and brass furniture. The 7.5"-long belt hook was affixed on the left side with a pin over the sideplate and the rear lock screw. This accessory is not seen on similar-appearing Land Service pistols.1) It allowed Jack Tar - an English term used to refer to seamen of the Merchant or Royal Navy, particularly during the period of the British Empire - to secure the pistol to his belt, crossbelt or sash before and after he had fired the single shot.2)
In the literature this pistol is often referred to as a Long Sea Service Pistol.
Close-ups of steel lock etched with period proof marks, some double line border engraving of the lockplate, TOWER at the rear, GR under crown on right side stands for George Rex
Robin Armstrong's miniature Tower Sea Service Flintlock Pistol features a barrel of the correct length and smooth bore. Like the originals from yesteryear her major parts are made of steel namely barrel, lock assembly, belt hook and screws are finished "in the white" whereas butt cap, trigger guard, sideplate, ramrod thimbles and tip are brass.
The stock is straight oil finished American walnut, the ramrod hickory.
Close-up of left side of the pistol, etched proof marks on barrel and long belt hook
Close-up of affixation of belt hook and etched proof marks on barrel and belt hook
Close-up of hickory ramrod and brass thimbles and tip
Close-up of brass butt plate
THE PATRIOT is a year 2000 American Revolutionary War film starring Mel Gibson as Benjamin Martin, a former soldier who tries to protect his family from becoming involved in the American colonists' effort for independence, but is drawn into the fight after a tragic encounter with British forces. The film was directed by Roland Emmerich, the cast included Jason Isaacs as British Colonel William Tavington and Heath Ledger as Gabriel Edward Martin, Benjamin Martin's eldest son.
In addition to British Sea Service pistols also various other flintlock pistols are used by numerous characters including Benjamin Martin and Colonel Tavington. As stated elsewhere, Benjamin Martin's pistol was on loan from a collector, who happened to share the same initials as Mel Gibson's character. Tavington's pistol was built from a kit.3)
3.1.4 Larry H Smith is a United States miniature gun artist from Parrish, Florida. Like Armstrong his background is with the Military. At the early age of 12 years already he fabricated his first Colt Paterson miniature. But it was only after his service with the U.S. Marines that Smith got into the manufacturing of miniature firearms seriously10).
Two cased Larry H. Smith deringer miniatures of the Hunzinger Collection with ivory grips and accessories (from left): Frank Wesson swivel barrel 2-shot vs. Southerner 1-shot derringer; note a few U.S. coins for size comparison. Larry Smith lives in Florida, hence the miniatures are displayed on Florida State flag
An interesting episode we like to share was his 1976 shooting test when he evaluated the accuracy of his miniature pistols using small shot pellets as bullets. The unexpected findings: at a distance of five (5) meters most all of his models delivered groups below 25 millimeters!11)
The miniatures guns of his making we could research were all of 1:3 scale. The two pocket pistol miniatures in the Hunzinger Collection are of the so called "deringer" variety.
22.214.171.124 Frank Wesson Superposed 2-Shot Deringer: The 2.5" length of the barrel assembly combined with the hollow and "empty" center hole, i.e. without the sliding spear point dagger patented and produced later make this Larry Smith miniature double barrel pistol an early pattern medium frame variant of the famous Frank Wesson 2-shot deringer.
Originals of Larry H. Smith's Frank Wesson miniature deringers were made at his factory in Worcester, Mass., hence the display of the cased miniature with accessories on the Massachusetts State flag
Back then the 2-shot deringer could be had in .22, .32 and .41 rimfire caliber from Frank Wesson's shop in Worcester, MASS., U.S.A.
It should be noted that Frank Wesson (1828 – 1899) was one of the most important gun designers in the 19th century. In 1871 he was co-founder of what was later named the Harrington-Richardson factory.12)
Smith's Frank Wesson Deringer taken from the left: Note S/N 125 stamped into the left side of the frame right behind the barrels, marking on the left side of the top barrel reads FRANK WESSON WORCESTER.MASS.PT.DEC 15/68; bottom of mahogany case is stamped L.H. SMITH 125 in three lines
During the late 1860s and 1870s the Frank Wesson deringer is was a popular pocket pistol not only with the man of the world. Features are a blued 2.5" barrel group, ring hammer, screws and spur trigger, yellow brass frame, one pin sight on each of the superposed barrels and escutcheons to secure the grip screw, with bird's head butt. Regular grip panels were wood but ivory or mother of pearl grips could be had at special order.13)
Right side view of the Smith Frank Wesson deringer
Larry Smith replicated the features of the original Frank Wesson Superposed Deringerin 1:3 scale. The fully fluted octagon swivel double barrels are not plugged and their bores are rifled.
The miniature's top of one barrel is stamped with the maker's mark L.H.SMITH, the left side of that same barrel is marked FRANK WESSON WORCESTER MASS.PT.DEC.15/68. The serial number 125 is found stamped into the left side of the frame just behind the barrels.
The little shooter comes in the original mahogany case, its interior in English fit and is lined in a dark red felt. The bottom of the wooden case is marked
Accessories included in the case are a brass and ivory handle steel combination cleaning and ejector rod marked F.DICK and ESSLINGEN, and eight (8) dummy center fire cartridges.
Close-up of barrel markings are L.H.SMITH on top and FRANK WESSON WORCESTER.MASS.PT.DEC 15/68 on the left side of the top barrel
To load and unload the miniature pistol you have to turn the barrel assembly like you would on the real thing
The markings discovered on the combination cleaning and ejector tool, part of the accessories of the Larry Smith Frank Wesson miniature derringer, aroused my curiosity. They read F.DICK and what seems to be German ESSLINGEN. My research led to unanticipated findings: F. DICK on the one side of the rod stands for Friedrich Dick. The history of the original Friedrich Dick aka Friedr. Dick company goes back to 1778.
Back then the company was founded by one Johann Friedrich Dick (1754 – 1817) as a file cutting workshop in the Southern German town of Esslingen (sic). In 2018 the successor company by the name of Friedr. Dick GmbH & Co. KG proudly celebrated their 240th anniversary. To this date the company is still family owned and a successful global player specialized in the fields of manufacturing knives, sharpening steels and ancillary items for chefs and butchers.
After the end of the Civil War into the 1870s and 1880s the Friedr. Dick company must have been the supplier of the maker of the original Frank Wesson deringers with the rods required to complete the afore mentioned cleaning and ejector combination tool.
Larry H. Smith faithfully miniaturized the original markings on the combination tool of his Frank Wesson Superposed Deringer.
The rod of the combination cleaning and ejector tool is stamped with (arrow) -> F.DICK on one side but ESSLINGEN on the other
126.96.36.199 The design of these Southerner named pocket pistols goes back to Charles H. Ballard, best known for his military and sporting rifles. It was patented on April 9, 1865. Some 6,500 Southerners were first produced between 1867 and 1869 by the Merrimack Arms & Manufacturing Co. of Newburyport, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
A total of ca. 16,500 originals of Larry H. Smith's SOUTHERNER miniature deringer were made between 1867 and 1873 in Newburyport, Mass, hence the cased miniature with accessories is displayed on the Massachusetts State flag
When Brown Manufacturing Co., also of Newburyport, took over Merrimack the Southerner’s design remained the same, but the barrel stamping was changed to reflect the new ownership. Brown Manufacturing produced another estimated 10,000 pistols up until 1873.14)
Smith's SOUTHERNER positioned on opened mahogany case, note loading/unloading rod and bullet compartment with loose balls and separate cases
The Southerner is a little turn-barrel single shot pocket pistol. This palm-sized one-shooter was a popular choice for both law-abiding citizens and those who lived in the shady side of society.The rakish name SOUTHERNER, emblazoned on the top of the barrel, gave it special significance to those hailing from Dixie, despite the pistols' manufacturing in the North.
Bottom of mahogany case is stamped 16 without the L.H.SMITH maker's mark
Standard Southerners measured 5 inches overall and had 2.5" blued iron barrels, spur triggers, walnut or rosewood grips and either iron or brass frames. Brass frames were silver plated. Some ivory gripped original specimens will be encountered. The caliber was .41 rimfire.15)
Like in the original the barrel of the miniature can be turned for loading and unloading procedures using the rod.
Barrel swang to the side for loading, unloading or cleaning: note rifled bore of the miniature's barrel
Head stamps of the miniature's dummy rimfire cases are HP
Larry Smith's miniature of the Southerner in the Hunzinger Collection is a beauty with her fire blued barrel and spur trigger, silver plated brass frame, ivory grip panels, and all packed in a neat mahogany box with accessories. They include 12 dummy rimfire cases, balls in a separate compartment, and a combination loading and unloading rod fitted with a brass handle.
The head stamps of the rimfire cases read HP for Hirtenberger Patronenfabrik from Austria. This famous Austrian ammo maker was founded by Swabian Serafin Keller in 1860. The 1,000 $ question is why replicated Larry Smith Austrian ammo?16)
To load or unload the miniature you turn the barrel to the right like you would do on the original. The bore of the barrel is rifled and not plugged.
Historically correct the top of the barrel is marked SOUTHERNER.
1. James, G.: I HAVE THIS OLD GUN: BRITISH PATTERN 1801 SEA SERVICE PISTOL, Jan. 27, 2016, AMERICAN RIFLEMAN
2. Wikipedia: JACK TAR, https//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Tar
3. American Revolutionary War Movie: THE PATRIOT, 2000
4. Pirates & Zombies – MULTI BARREL PISTOLS AND VOLLEY GUNS, https://pirates.missiledine.com/index.php/multi-barrel-pistols-and-volley-guns/
5. Pirates Movie: CUTTHROAT ISLAND, 1995
6. Adventure and Action Video Game: ASSASSIN'S CREED III, 2012
7. Western Movie: TRE PISTOLE CONTRO CESARE aka DEATH WALKS IN LAREDO; 1966
8. Wikipedia: E REMINGTON AND SONS, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._Remington_and_Sons
9. Western Movies: WYATT EARP, 1994
10. Latham, S.: MINI-COLTS, DWJ 08/1978, 1088-1091 (translated by Schinmeyer, K.)
11. Hieke, H.: KLEINIGKEITEN, VISIER 2/1988, 14-19
12. Recktenwald, M.: RUND UM DIE UHR, VISIER 3/1998, 112-114
13. Chapel, C.E.: GUNS OF THE OLD WEST, 1961, 144-145
14. James, G.: SOUTHERN DERRINGER, NEWS REVIEWS HANDGUN HISTORICAL, May 29, 2012
15. Chapel, C.E.: GUNS OF THE OLD WEST, 1961, 142
16. Wikipedia: HIRTENBERGER, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirtenberger#Firma_Serafin_Keller_(1860_bis_1887)
May 4, 2021/WDN
Cased beauties by Larry H. Smith (from left): Miniature of the Frank Wesson swivel barrel 2-shot and the Southerner 1-shot derringer, 1:3 scale
3.1.3 Apart from his pieces of miniature gun art few facts could be discovered about the life of master miniature gun maker Daniel E. Osterman. He was brought up at U.S. west coast States and spent the last years of his professional career in Junction City, Oregon. In the making of miniatures 1:2 scale seem to have been his preferred dimension. Based on our research most of his miniatures appear to be of "pocket pistols" type, like Colt 1st, 2nd and 3rd Model Deringers, Remington pistols of the Double, Elliot Single Shot and Vest Pocket variety or the Smith & Wesson Model #1 revolver. He made them as plain Jane versions but more often with different grades of embellishment.
Daniel Osterman died too early in December of 2004 from an unexpected cardiac event at age 55.
E. Remington and Sons (1816–1896), the original maker of the Vest Pocket Pistol .22 was a manufacturer of firearms and typewriters (!) in Ilion, New York, U.S.A. Founded in 1816 by the blacksmith Eliphalet Remington II in 1839 Eliphalet was joined by his oldest son, Philo Remington making the business E. Remington & Son, and in 1845 his second son, Samuel, also joined the company, afterwards called E. Remington & Sons4).
Eliphalet Remington II: U.S. firearms manufacturer *October 28, 1793 - †August 12, 1861
During this early business period, the Remingtons specialized almost exclusively in the manufacture of rifle barrels. After 1846, first martial longarm and later also revolver production dominated the company's workforce. In 1856 the business was expanded to include the manufacture of agricultural implements. Upon Eliphalet's death in 1861, his son, Philo, took over the firm and diversified the product line to include sewing machines and typewriters in 1873.
E. Remington & Sons supplied a large proportion of the small arms used by the United States government in the Civil War 1861 to 1865. On March 7, 1888, ownership of E. Remington & Sons left possession of the Remington family and was sold to new owners, Hartley and Graham of New York, New York and the Winchester Repeating Arms Company of New Haven, Connecticut, at which time the name was formally changed to the Remington Arms Company8).
188.8.131.52 This Daniel E. Osterman miniature of a Remington Vest Pocket Pistol could be added in October of 2020 to the Hunzinger Collection. The frame is nicely scroll engraved and nickel plated, the little barrel is rifled. Trigger and hammer are fire blued with their sides in the white and polished. The front sight is a brass bead.
Osterman miniature Remington Vest Pocket Pistol in the original carton with French fit dark brown insert proudly displayed on the New York State flag where this model came into existence in 1865
Right side view of the Vest Pocket miniature with 1 € cent for size comparison: Note blued trigger and hammer with sides in the white, and the brass bead front sight
Two piece ivory grip panels with escutcheons in the white are fitted. They are kept in place by a single screw entering from the left side like you will find on the originals from yesteryear. The butt of the miniature is hand engraved with Dan Osterman's maker's mark D.E.O. †.
Typical Daniel E. Osterman's maker's mark D.E.O. † on the butt of the Remington Vest Pocket Pistol
Osterman serial numbered the early 50 or so miniatures of this model only. Since there are none on this one this implies later manufacturing. However, this Remington Vest Pocket Pistol came in the original Osterman green cardboard lift top box with French fit dark brown insert.
Osterman's 1.2 scale miniature of the Remington Vest Pocket Pistol with original carton; Note top interior with buff colored label in black print
This rare little Remington Vest Pocket Pistol .22 was designed and patented by dentist (!) William H. Elliot, one of Remington's most prolific inventors. It is alternatively known as an Elliot's pattern or Saw Handle-Grip Pistol because of the shape of the butt. Approximately 20,000 of these diminutive personal defense arms were produced between 1865 and 1888. The original was a single shot pistol fitted with a 3" round barrel in .22 RF cal., other rim fire calibers offered were .30, .32 and .41.
WYATT EARP is a 1994 biographical Western starring Kevin Costner in the title role as the iconic lawman of the same name. There is one scene in Dodge City when deputies Ed (Bill Pullman) and Bat Masterson (Tom Sizemore) confront two men and ask them to surrender their firearms. Wyatt runs up and knocks them both out. Ed asks if that was necessary and when Wyatt finds a derringer, likely a Remington Vest Pocket Pistol ready to fire in one of their hands he makes it clear that it was absolutely necessary9).
In perspective on the Union Jack (from top): Indian made replica of short Tower pistol "father" and the long "son"
Close-up (from top): Tiny differences in the details
David Bradbury's 4-barrel Duck's Foot flintlock pistol in 1:3 scale displayed on its rosewood case and the Union Jack
3.1.2 David S. Bradbury from Stockport in the northwest of England has been running a gunsmith business since the early 1970s. Interestingly, you may find his name also written D.L. Bradbury in the miniature gun literature, i.e. his middle initial S mistaken by an L when written in Edwardian script.
"Contact info" inside of top lid of a Bradbury miniature flintlock pistol reading
Until retirement his gunsmith services included antique gun restoration works and general repairs, coupled with the making of the occasional miniature.
David Bradbury's 1981/82 produced cased 7-barrel flintlock revolver with accessories in 1:3 scale
In the late 1980s David recognized a business opportunity in the gun industry for a gunlock and springmaker. Hence, he concentrated on the making of best quality gunlocks. Boss & Co. in London soon discovered his outstanding talents.
Boss & Co. are London's oldest gunmaker (https://bossguns.com/), famous the world over for their finest side by side and over/under shotguns and double rifles manufactured under the motto "Builders of the Best Guns Only". For the next 30 years Bradbury worked mainly for them.
Makers mark D.S.BRADBURY on inside of lock plate of sidelock made for Boss & Co., London
184.108.40.206 Let me introduce you to the latest addition of the Hunzinger Collection in April 2021. This piece of miniature art is David Bradbury's 1:3 scale 4-Barrel Duck's Foot Spread Barrel Flintlock Pistol, made as early as in April of 1979 already. Below are a few supportive pictures including close-ups, some historical perspective and specific background information on the pistol.
Clinical view of David Bradbury's rosewood display case with open lid: Contains pistol, powder flask, screwdriver and combination bullet mould/sprue cutter/barrel wrench; lidded compartment with the lifting knob is for lead balls
A little general discussion about this type of pistols4) is probably in order before we look closer at this gem of a miniature. Also known as duckfoot pistol or just duck's foot it is a peculiar name for a weapon. It derived from the splayed shape of the webbed foot of a duck. In some cases the term is very accurately descriptive.
Original 4-barreled flintlock duck's foot pistol found over at Holts Auctioneers' in London
The principle behind this type of pistols is one of confrontation by one person against a group. Bearing this tactical aspect in mind, they were popular among bank guards, prison warders and sea captains. The threat being that one volley can take care of several offenders.
Discharged by one lock (!) these multi-barreled pistols would fire all at once. They were fairly common during the 18th and earlier 19th century. To keep recoil manageable most ducks' foots fired small caliber balls, like .30 to .45". Back in the old days they were manufactured in either snap lock, dog lock or flintlock configurations. In the literature these pistols are also referred to as boarding pistols or volley guns.
Another original multi-barreled flintlock duck's foot enhanced for close combat
Many variants are documented: Barrels are brass or iron, some are Damascus, octagonal, cylindrical and tapered barrel exist, and some have smooth bores rather than rifling. Others were fitted with even more barrels like seven or eight, etc.
To make the pistol ready for action you would unscrew the barrels with the combination bullet mould/sprue cutter/barrel wrench, then fill the chamber with black powder and place a lead ball on top of the powder into the concave breech, then screw on the barrels again. No wads are used. For a proper gas tight fit the lead balls need to be slightly larger than the bore. Once the pan was charged with fine grained powder you were ready to go.
David Bradbury's pistol comes cased with accessories in a hinged rosewood box with pivoting latches. The interior has partitions lined in a burgundy felt, i.e. English fit. A round brass escutcheon is inlaid into the lid. Unfortunately, the case exterior suffered some flaking to the lacquer finish, especially to the front of the lid.
Clinical left side view: Hammer, top jar screw, frizzen and trigger are case hardened, engraving of British naval & war motifs on the side of frame; note just one flash hole ignites the four barrels; 1 € cent coin added for size comparison
The pistol is fitted with four barrels. If you look at them from the muzzle they seem to have eight pointed rifling grooves. But these grooves serve to engage the barrel key aka combination bullet mould/sprue cutter/barrel wrench. It is no rifling at all but smooth bore barrels. The original pistol miniaturized here had ca. .442 cal.
Bottom view of pistol: Note fire blued triggerguard
Top view of the duck's foot breech and barrels assembly: No maker's marks only the barrels and front of mating breeches are numbered 1 to 4
Close-up of engraving on right side of frame: British naval & war motifs and some modest lines and borders
Incidentally, Bradbury had bored the barrels of his duck's foot pistol all the way through back in 1979. But someone since has plugged the barrels with some resin to comply with current British gun regulations.
Duck's foot pistol and accessories (clockwise from top): Duck's foot pistol, brass & copper powder flask, rosewood handled screw driver, 4 lead balls, combination bullet mould/sprue cutter/barrel wrench
Like most of David S. Bradbury's miniatures also this duck's foot flintlock pistol is made from photographs and by eye. In other words "does it look right, does it please the eye?"
You bet and to this day David Bradbury is famous for his excellent craftsmanship no matter if we are talking about the real thing or his miniatures.
Once this new member of the Hunzinger herd had made it over from the U.S.A. to Germany in April 2021 I started researching the internet for movies prominently featuring a duck's foot pistol. I was certain I would quickly strike gold in one of the many pirates' movies or similar adventurous plots … but what an almost vain endeavor this search turned out to be. Little only surfaced in the 18th or 19th century Seven Seas' of Hollyweird.
One of these multi-barreled flintlock pistols is seen loaded in the 1995 pirates' movies titled CUTTHROAT ISLAND by Mr. Blair (actor Rex Inn).5) Allegedly it was one of the vicious Nock pistols. I stumbled over another one in the 2012 adventure and action video game ASSASSIN'S CREED III.6.
Rex "Mr. Blair" Inn loads a 10-barrel (!) duck's foot pistol in CUTTHROAT ISTLAND: In real life the recoil of shooting such a beast would probably have broken his wrist
What I discovered, however, was this review about a duck's foot pistol in the Wild West wonderland of Italy's Cinecittà. Almost laughed at this extravaganza of a gun that actor Thomas Hunter as Whity Selby used in the 1966 spaghetti western directed by Enzo Peri titled DEATH WALKS IN LAREDO7) aka TRE PISTOLE CONTRO CESARE7) aka THREE GOLDEN BOYS7) aka DREI PISTOLEN GEGEN CESARE7). In the opening scene four gun hawks challenged Selby to a duel he had beaten in a game of poker. It looks like all the typical scenes from Spaghetti Westerns … until Selby pulls out this four barreled gun and shoots all four opponents with one single shoot, see for yourself … https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x28wd60.
Thomas "Whity Selby" Hunter (* Dec. 19, 1932 - † Dec. 27, 2017) aiming his 4-barrel duck's foot pistol in DEATH WALKS IN LAREDO
High-tech Prop Pistol? What kind of a futuristic or even eccentric construction of a pistol was issued to Thomas "Whity Selby" Hunter for this odd Italian western on set in Algeria? It looks like a single action revolver's grip/frame-assembly fitted with brass triggerguard, then mated with four big bore duckfoot barrels on top of the frame: These barrels apparently are connected by some folding mechanism alongside their longitudinal central axis between second and third barrel when in the carrying mode. But once drawn and the double action (?) trigger is pulled for serious action the two pairs of barrels flip up spreading out into proper duck's foot shape like the wings of a bird.
Right side view: Note eight pointed grooves at each muzzle where the barrel key aka combination tool would engage to unscrew or screw on the barrels
The barrels are made of steel whereas the one piece frame and barrel breech are made of yellow brass. Other metal parts are steel, too.
Like the wooden box the slab sided 1-piece grip is rosewood with an oval silver escutcheon inlaid. The hammer has half and full cock.