Saturday, February 28, 2015

British Relations

I don’t have anywhere else to put this, but as I was catching up on the news earlier today I came across this picture, and I think the hobby needs to see it:

That pretty much sums up my early experience in the hobby, ca. 1978-79. There are so many SF and Fantasy references in pre-Internet model horse newsletters and zines that a reasonable argument could be made that the hobby ought to be categorized as another subsection of that fandom.

Now for something more timely.

Here are some actual in-the-flesh pics of some of the Best of British line, including the mysterious reappearance - again - of the G1 H-R Draft Horse in the Stablemates set (as a Suffolk Punch). Not included are those of an upcoming mold, a new Fell Pony named Waverhead Model IV, by Kathleen Moody. There’s a picture of her with the original sculpt at BreyerFest last year:

I don’t know much more about the Best of British line than anyone else does, though if I had the energy and gumption I could probably pull a few strings and change that. Rumor has it that the launch will be in the UK first (naturally) followed by a US/worldwide release by Summer, with more items added to the line by Fall, including the Fell.

I’ll guess that his release will be tied somehow to the "international collector days" mentioned in the last Just About Horses annual - one in Canada, and one overseas.

In light of the recent controversies, it’s interesting to see just how many British breeds and/or British celebrity horses Breyer already has in its lineup, from the Clydesdale Stallion (ca. 1958) forward. Just speaking of Traditional molds, there’s the entire Clydesdale Family, the Traditional Shetland, the Bell-bottomed Shire, the Cantering Welsh Pony, Bouncer, Aristocrat, Llanarth True Briton, Black Beauty (ad infinitum).

More is always better, and better is always better, but objectively there’s been no shortage of "British" critters in Breyer’s past. What there has been - until recently - is a shortage of ponies, British or otherwise.

Think about all the times in the past when a new pony release meant one of four things: another Shetland, another Cantering Welsh, another Haflinger, or another Pony of the Americas. (And sometimes for variety’s sake, a Classics Merrylegs.) We had other pony molds, like Misty and Stormy, the Galiceno, Henry the Fjord, and Midnight Tango, but they rarely got a lot of love in the form of new releases.

Some molds, like the Hackney Aristocrat, didn’t see a lot of action because they were not well-received. But the others? Heck if I know.

The turning points came Flash in 2004 and Bouncer in 2007 - two well-received molds who have since been released in a rainbow of colors. Newsworthy arrived in 2008, and was a more modest hit; in 2011 couple of Classics-scale Eberl Pony molds received more acclaim, then late last year came Croi Damhsa.

And later this year we will be getting a Fell.

So things are getting better on the pony front, anyway. Now about that shortage of Draft Foal molds…


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. I absolutely ADORE that fell pony. I saw a picture of Kathleen with the model a few weeks ago and was wondering what the heck it was going to be fore, but I had no idea we were going to be lucky enough to get it in plastic! It is so beautiful! I'm even more happy because I'm not too crazy about the Icelandic we got last year in the Premier Club. Thanks for sharing this. Although I would rather it be released today than have to wait until fall lol

Little Black Car said...

Amen! More draft foals, please! Wouldn't we all love to have a foal to go with Wixom?

I sort of feel as though a lot of horse-dom has gotten short shrift by Breyer. They have a lot of good Thoroughbred-type molds: Cigar, Ruffian, Smarty Jones (even though most people show him as a stock horse), Strapless, the one they used for Zenyatta, Heartbreaker and Valentine. But it took them way too long to come out with a good stock horse with Roxy--I hate the Zippo mold, the standing AQHA is ugly, the ranch horse is doing a non-gait, and Chic is nice but not very useful. There is still no good stock foal mold. There are still no good Morgan molds.

I know the Moody models are popular but I'm ready to see fewer of them and have more energy (and money) spent on sculptors who care more about conformation and good positioning and not just cute factor.

Anonymous said...

Can I agree about the draft foals and add that I want a mule foal and a baroque-type mare?

I never would've guessed about the Star Trek connection. I'd be curious to hear more about model horses and overlapping fandoms.

Corky said...

I recall a contingent of model horse showers in the, um, late 1980s? early 1990s? who considered themselves Klingons and would customize Klingon horses.