Bee No. 92 (AKA Stinger back Club Special)
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Where to buy: $4.95 / deck http://store.dananddave.com/bee-stinger ... cards.html
and here: http://www.theory11.com/playingcards/stingers.php
Information about my reviewing methods: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=156760Initial Impression:
Wow! Smoothest fanning deck I have ever felt! There is a good reason bee club specials printed on the aristocrat stock have become favorites among card men for generations. They simply feel like butter. With that said they cater to a specific type a of card magician. Folks who like classic gambling demos and flourishing peppered with a good dose of spread fans, table spreads, and faro shuffles probably won’t find a better deck of cards. With that generous pat on the back I should mention it’s obvious weakness (won’t be a weakness for some). The stock on the Bee club specials is very loose. It isn’t even as stiff as a Bike 808. If you are using a lot of spring based moves, or moves that work better with a stiffer stock you may find the stingers just a bit too swishy. Indeed reviewing these cards on the heels of the D&D v.4 makes me appreciate that deck even more. In retrospect those felt like an attempt, an admirable one at that, to get Bee style performance with a stiffer stock.The Look:
A very simple black diamond pattern that fades to white at the boarders gives the Stingers a unique look I have not seen in any other card. I won’t say that it is better but it is unique. There is less color in the court cards but what color is there is well balanced. The yellow and blue is gone and you are left with a grey(almost silver), black, and a deep, almost maroon, red. All the hearts and diamonds use the same dark red for their pips. I really like the red used on these, very similar to the red used on the Massa deck. The Joker actually has a little yellow thrown in. Jokers are great because it is where the design artists can actually get a little creative. In this case it is a picture of a jester walking on the back of a bee. You get two jokers in the pack and they are the exact same. The Ace of spades is fairly large. A bee hive inside the spade that is surrounded by flowers. On the top is “Bee” and on the bottom is -92-. The ad banner at the bottom of the spade reads Consolidated –Dougherty which tells be that Bee’s and Tally-hos share the same lineage.
A few things to mention: It is my understanding that the Bee Stingers share the same stock and finish as the standard Club Specials and the recent Erdnase playing cards. I certainly would appreciate any confirmations or denial of that information and edit this review accordingly. In the mean time, while I won’t discuss the look of those cards, you can assume that the performance review will work for those cards as well.
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These cards were 14.5 mm or about three cards thinner than a bike. These also weigh in at about 89 grams making them one of the lightest I have reviewed. It is a softer flexing stock than most other brands on the market but that probably helps make the finish feel smoother as well.Handling:
Overall great fans and dribble but a little sketchy on the sleights.Fanning:
Okay I have done my best to avoid handing out 10s but I have to admit this fans discernibly smoother than any other card I have reviewed. Simply outstanding!Spring Moves:
While your “spring flourish” should look fantastic with these supple cards the actual spring energy is quite poor. Even a Bike 808 has this one licked. That is certainly not a bad thing, I found a lot to appreciate in the Massa deck, but if you like a stiff stock I’d stay clear of these.Dribbles:
Well I didn’t want to hand out two 10s on one review but it was darn close. If you recall my Tally-ho review you know that I really fell in love with how easy and smooth they dribbled after they broke in. These top the Tally-ho dribble right out of the box. Perhaps not by much, but you can tell the difference. If you like dribble passes, dribble forces, or Anaconda flourishes these come highly recommended. Crimp hold and recovery:
The stock seems to hold and recover well from crimps. Hopefully this characteristic will give it a bit more durability than some other soft flexing decks.Single card glides:
Pulling a bottom card longitudinal glide off the pinky was a little difficult but all other glides were pretty good.2+Card Obfuscations:
The Hugard&Braue push-off dl had a tendency to grab an extra card. Probably something you could adjust to once you get used to the soft stock but either way going into a single corner display from there will be a delicate operation. The soft stock and super slick finish will make spinning moves more tenuous than with the Bike 808 stock. You will have to be careful with a Diving Board double. The cards may have a tendency to break apart on the initial snap out and during the turnover phase. Ironically a deck like this might be good to practice your various 2+O techniques as it is fairly unforgiving in this category.XCM cuts:
This is not a deck to learn new multi-packet cuts with but should be okay for moves you are familiar with. Obviously if beautiful fans, ribbon spreads, one handed faros, and Anaconda dribbles are a large part of your flourishing repertoire then this is a deck to get.Card Splitting and Gaff construction/availability:
The Stingers come with a double backer. No other gaffs available. Because of the different red used in this deck you won’t be able to use a standard Bicycle double facer with this deck. I have yet to split these cards.Who should not buy?:
Folk whose repertoire is heavily laden with modern card sleights. Floops, Diving Board Doubles, One Handed Pop-outs, Clip shifts, Nowhere Passes, Herman Outjog Passes, are just a few of the moves made either a bit more tricky or a bit less deceptive with the slick finish and soft stock of the Stingers. Even still, if I’m correct one the same stock and finish being used on the Stingers, Erdnase, and the Club Specials, then there should be no excuse not to at least try out the Club Specials. Those cards sell for $1.89 at most websites. Bicycles are not even that cheap unless you get them in bundles. Who should buy these?:
Anyone into fans of all sorts, dribbles of all sorts, and one handed and two handed faro shuffling. Ie. Anyone into classic card sleights and flourishes. I don’t consider myself particularly good at many of these classic flourishes but I can perform most of these fairly well with this deck.Final Thoughts:
From the OOB evaluation I would ponder that these will be headed for a specialist bracket. Much like the Fourniers are the kings of powerful knuckle busting modern card sleights but sacrifice fanning smoothness, these are the kings of classic card magic and flourishing. I am so impressed with what this deck has to offer that I’ll happily overlook some of its failings. While it may never become the performance deck of choice for me I will be sure to always keep a deck or two of these around for times when I want to practice my dribbles and fans. If the Stinger’s afore mentioned strengths match with your style of card magic then don’t hesitate, get a brick!
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