1st class Dip/Pack/Tanning from Universal Trophy Services.
Universal Trophy Services (Rupert Dedekind)
Highly recommended for Dip/Pack and Tanning comparable to high quality North America standards.
Well I finally made it home to see my Crate. Having it sitting at home for over a month before being able to come see it was brutal! Christine had the crate pulled open and rummaged through everything before I got home so no pics of the packing but she said everything was neatly and securely placed in the properly sized crate.
My safari arrived at Universal Trophy Services on a Friday evening after hours with a quickly caped Springbok with the head still in it due to last minute shooting and dashing for the airport. Rupert made sure to have staff on hand to receive my bag and cape the Springbok.
The skulls/horns were boiled only so much as necessary to remove meat, natural skull texture remained on all skulls. No meat was present, even in stubborn/difficult areas where I have seen small scraps in the past with other Dip/Ship companies. The skulls were also bleached white and ready for the wall. Detached horns were packed separate from the skulls and horns that do not detach were filled at the base with a skull colored epoxy and look great. Each skull was bubble wrapped and stored carefully in the crate, none were damaged. If I were to criticize anything it would be that the tape left on the horns left a bit of goo that needed to be cleaned off, very minor.
My rating of the skull preparation and handling 10/10.
The capes were all tanned. Due to the high rate of poor quality tanning coming out of Africa I did plenty of research before leaving my hides in Ruperts capable hands, 2 champion US taxidermists specialising in African trophies gave him 2 thumbs up and that was enough for me. The quality of the tanning and fleshing/thinning was comparable to the very best that I have worked with here in Canada with the exception of the detail areas around the eyes and lips which were done to a much higher standard than I am used to (although I have heard that some shops in the US complete their capes to this standard as well). The hides are pure white all the way through (an indication of thorough tannin penetration) lightly oiled to a semi soft state and bagged separately from each other. The only hide that was not completely white (on the outside) was the Mountain Reedbuck but only because some of the tumbling media was still stuck to the cape (something very common on domestically tanned capes as well). Anyones taxidermist should be thrilled to receive hides of this quality.
Back skins and flat skins are tanned shaved and oiled to a beautifully soft high quality finish. The Zebra face has been flattened and invisibly stitched to a perfectly symmetrical and flat surface. Bullet holes have been repaired and are invisible to all but the closest scrutiny.
My rating on the tanning 10/10 but only because I cant rate it higher!
Communication was good but I would have preferred to be kept in the loop a bit better when the lot was received. My emails were returned in a timely manner and all questions answered without issue.
Timeline was quite acceptable, a bit slower than some but tanning adds a bit of time to the process but I would rather wait a bit longer for a clearly superior product. I was quite happy with the 6 month turnaround + 3 weeks from the time I was notified of completion and made my final payment until the shipment landed in Edmonton.
Price was ever so slightly higher than previous dip/ship but only slightly. About the same amount as taking my wife out for a fancy dinner, in the grand scheme of things money well spent!!!
All of my personal tags were still attached to each trophy with the exception of the flat skins that had been neatly trimmed up ready for the trophy room. All skins returned were 100% mine!!! LOL
My rating for communication/timeline/Price 9.5/10
Overall you cannot go wrong with Universal Trophy Services.
Here are some pics: