Saturday, September 16, 2017


Like a good chunk of the hobby, I am also in love with Java:

I was hoping that they’d get around to that color/pattern, eventually. The Nokota Horse mold is an inspired choice of mold, too. It really suits him!

I am a little surprised that they decided to do a fifth member of this series, since most Web Special series only have four releases, generally. But the “Big Cats” Series was already unusual in that it was (or became?) a “yearly” series, much like the Christmas Silver Filigrees.

Is it by design, or a consequence of the complexity of the paint jobs? A little of both, I am guessing.

As I have only one official account, and space issues, and I’m trying to generate funds for the two train wrecks in the garage, the likelihood of Java coming home with me is slim.

I will not be completely heartbroken, as I was also thinking of cutting back a bit on some of the bigger/bulkier/more spatially challenging molds, and the Nokota Horse definitely falls in that category. If I get selected for one, that means someone else might have to go.

It’s not a coincidence that we’ve seen the mold so often as a non-boxed Special Run – he’s been a BreyerFest Raffle Model three times, an Exclusive Event model three times, and a Surprise Model. While other Breyer boxes can be adapted/repurposed to fit multiple molds, I believe that the Nokota Horse’s box is uniquely his own. And therefore is more expensive to get printed.

Oddly, he’s only been a “Web Special” one other time, the 2011 Cyber Monday Decorator Fall in Love. I thought it was more than that!

I’m sure he won’t be difficult to find a Java in the aftermarket, the same way the Zion and Moab set was – for a price. (The sheer number of those I saw for sale was giving me painful flashbacks to Marshall, no joke.)

If I don’t “win” one, I won’t be seeking him out.

I don’t think I’ll be getting out of the next few weeks without buying something, however: rumor has it that the Brick and Mortar Special Markus will be hitting stores this coming week, and my work schedule will take me past a few participating venues. I cannot not see him....

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Random Test Color Day: Appaloosa San Domingo

I’m tired, not feeling particularly well, work has been running long, and what little free time I’ve have over the past two days I’ve spent researching carousel horse restoration.

(The only decision I’ve made on them is that since Sparky is a Herschell Indian Pony, he needs to be painted like one – specifically, like the Brown Pinto Breyer Indian Pony, warpaint and all!)

So anyway, while I attempt to get caught up on my sleep, my bills, my mail and so on, here’s a random picture of a Test Color from one of Marney’s albums, for your enjoyment:

I have no idea where this San Domingo is, or what happened to him. I just happen to find his big old splashy spots very fetching right now. I have always preferred my San Domingos to be of the spotted variety – though I wouldn’t turn down one of those really scarce BreyerFest Special Run Buckskin Porcelains from 1999 if the price wasn’t too high…

There’s a nice old Appaloosa Gelding on eBay who has spots even bigger and splashier than that, but I am trying my best to resist the urge to bid. I doubt he will go very high, but I need fewer horses and more money right now, not other way around.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Cliff Diving 2: Sparky and Jules

Still trying to process this….

Yep, I bought two carousel horses, including the screamy guy I kind of fell in love with. His legs are a mess, but dat face! 

Technically, it’s more like pieces of two carousel horses, but the better and fancier horses went for better and fancier money, and the prices for these guys were in the “moderately desirable Web Special Run” range.

I still can’t believe I did that, though. It feels like I just bought two real rescue horses and now I have to make arrangements to get them taken care of, ahhh….

No, actually, feels more like last year when I took that chance on the Chasing the Chesapeake Event. I was mildly to moderately terrified at the enormity of the task ahead of me, but it turned out wonderful in the end.

This will too.

If this does anything, it will motivate me to do that serious herd thinning I’ve been putting off. Partly because I’ll need the money to get Sparky and Jules all fixed up, and also to make a place for them in the house.

(Can you guess who is who?)

I’ll also probably be abandoning a lot of my customizing and craft projects because cripes almighty, I just took on the two biggest craft projects ever…

(Not the quilts, though. Quilt projects are carpool-friendly.)

Breathe girl, breathe.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Literary Aspirations

The book sale on Monday was better than I expected – I ended up doing a nice little “restock” on my own sale books and added a few to the personal collection, including an older (but not a first edition) copy of Tschiffely’s Ride. It’s kind of beat up, and without a dust jacket, but I can live with that:

I know it’s still in print, but I’m a sucker for older editions: they tend to be cheaper than newer editions, and just as sturdy, if not more so. Chances are if I hadn’t picked it up, it would have gotten tossed into someone’s “decorative book” pile anyway, and that weirds me out to no end.

I’m not as averse as some are to using books in crafting (the “altered book” movement) but the idea of buying books strictly as decorative objects is not something I will ever be (or need to be!) into. If I’m going to have “pretty” books on the shelf, I want books that I would also want to read or find useful.

Another book in that stash was a more recent copy of Will James’s Smoky. I only bring it up here because I’ve been meaning to get the illustration that Chris Hess clearly modeled the Traditional Smoky on, because it’s not one easily found on the Internet:

(Not the best quality, I know…)

As to why Chris selected this pose and not the others, I’d suggest taking an online looky-loo at some of the other original Will James illustrations from the book: this pose was probably one of the easiest to adapt to injection molding!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Rising Above

I do not have much to offer today; I’ve spent most of my extended weekend cleaning and organizing things, with a little bit of crafting on the side to break the tedium.

It rained this morning too, so there are no fun new “finds” to overanalyze. This is for the best I suppose, with that carousel auction coming up next weekend, and a possible mini road trip later in the week for a garage sale.

So here’s a picture of one of my BreyerFest finds, a nice example of the 2003 BreyerFest Rugged Lark Special Run of The Lark Ascending. He was cheap, he was in mint condition, and he was signed. He didn’t come with his teeny-tiny “Certificate of Authenticity”, however.

The last year they handed out certificates for the larger run BreyerFest Specials was 2006. The practice is now reserved primarily for prize models; as much as the hobby loves and lives for its paper documentation, it was stunningly impractical to hand out certificates for models with piece runs in the hundreds or thousands.

I kind of wanted The Lark Ascending that year, but when I managed to get a really good place in the line for a change, the two porcelains – the Othello Galway Warrior, and the Stablemate Seabiscuit – took priority instead.

The Lark Ascending has been a backburner want since then. They did a nice job on his color, with extra shading and metallic undertones to add a bit of sparkle to what could have been another ho-hum Bay paint job. The more I saw him, the more I thought Yeah, I think I need that guy.

The release exists in that strange state of being both relatively rare (only 500 pieces) and somewhat undesirable (being on the Rugged Lark mold). While it wasn’t hard to find one for sale, finding one at a price I was comfortable paying was the real trick. Physical rarity alone is not, and should not be, a guarantee of an elevated resale price.

And then this guy turned up during my late Saturday CHIN shopping marathon, at a price I literally could not walk away from. Sure, he didn’t have his little certificate, but I have gotten used to coming home from BreyerFest without them.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Are You Serious?

I thought my budget was safe.

The flea market has been relatively uneventful, the pickings slim on the thrift store circuit, nothing’s out at my local Tractor Supply yet, the Tuesday Mornings were mostly cleaned out by the time I got to them, and even Craigslist has been quiet…

And then my brother shows me this ad, and my world gets turned upside down:

Are you kidding me?

A live auction with real, honest-to-goodness Vintage Carousel Horses that’s literally a twenty-minute walk from the house?

Gee, thanks again, Universe.

To give you some evidence of the seriousness of my desire to own the “ultimate” model horse, behold the cover art of the second (!) issue of my MGR Sampler, from 1995:

Now I find myself doing the math to figure out if buying one of the fixer-uppers is actually feasible. As long as I stay away from the Dentzel or the Greyhound I might be fine, right? (I have been eyeing the tragic, screaming pinto on top of page two. I think he needs me.)

Yeah, right. It’ll probably devolve into me taking lots of notes and pictures while I mutter cuss words to myself the moment every piece soars past my teeny budget. (They just bid HOW MUCH on that pile of horse parts? Are you ******* kidding me?)

I might not be able to afford one, but can’t not go, either. Carousel parts do turn up at the flea market and local antique malls from time to time, as there used to be a considerable number of amusement parks in this area.

It has been a while since I have seen a genuine carousel animal, though. (I think that one that did turn up around here ended up being spotlighted on an episode of Antiques Roadshow?) I cannot pass up the opportunity to see over a dozen for auction, so close to me.

It’s just more proof that I pretty much do live in the best model horse shopping zone in the U.S., outside of the Reeves Warehouse.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Tractor Supply 2017

This year’s Tractor Supply Specials offer an interesting contrast. We’ve got something old – the Traditional Running Black Beauty in Palomino, named Lakota:

And something new – the Geronimo in an Aged Gray, named Jacy:

(FYI: Neither one is technically available, yet. They are just on the TSC web site to get us all stirred up, obviously.)

Hobbyists tend to forget that the model-horse-buying public consists of more than just active hobbyists, and what the rest of the world likes and what we like rarely align.

Lakota is clearly designed with the rest of the model-horse-buying public in mind.

I see two big markets for Lakota. The first: someone who might feel nostalgic for the less sophisticated Breyers of their youth – he might not be popular now, but the original #89 Black Beauty had a pretty respectable ten-year run through most of the 1980s. The second: someone (young or old) who just wants a pretty palomino horse to gallop on their shelves, and for whom strict realism or accuracy is not that big a thing.

Jacy is a little more tailored to the active hobbyist market: a new mold fresh off a moderately well-received BreyerFest release, in a modest and realistic color. (The other widely available Geronimo is the Patinated Copper Decorator Bandera – an acquired taste, no disagreement there.)

If I were to buy one – this Fall is looking to be a bit of an expensive one for me, so the TSC SRs are a definitely not a priority here – the Lakota would get the nod. It’s not that I’m necessarily a huge fan of the mold (who is the very definition of a shelf hog) but the color looks lovely on him.

Like one of the 2010 Tractor Supply Specials – Templeton Thompson’s Jane, a solid Chestnut on the Stock Horse Mare mold – I fear I may be smitten once I see him. Darn it, Tractor Supply, why do you have to be right next door to the local Salvation Army store....