Wednesday, June 16, 2021


Guess what? 

After getting the diorama nearly done – and pretty fabulously, I might add – I was getting the paperwork/details in order, and… discovered that the search engine on that particular museum website completely failed me: the artwork was not public domain. 

When I began the project I thought it was, but a quirk in that museum’s web site dropped the public domain tag and included copyrighted images in my searches.

Cuss words? Yeah, many have been expressed. In a couple different languages, even.

Welcome to my world, people. If I had had the time to do my due diligence earlier, maybe I would have discovered the problem a little bit sooner, and focused my attention on one of the other two ideas that it turns out (of course!) were very much in the public domain.

It’s far too late to go back and finish one of those other ideas, so that means… I am done.

I will get the damned thing finished – it really does look amazing, I swear – but for me, not for a prize. 

So like all my other diorama entries, basically. Another float in my parade of fail.

As I’ve mentioned before, the effort wasn’t totally wasted, and I really did need the creative distraction. But the Universe is obviously trying to tell me something. 

It’s telling me to stop trying to enter any of these stupid contests altogether, because all it does is lead to sadness and disappointment.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Close To Home

The diorama is… getting there. All of the components are (essentially) done except the body; all I need to do now is finish the horse itself, and then glue everything together. 

I am surprised at how well the customizing is going, especially since it involves a lot more sculpting than I am normally comfortable doing for a diorama project, especially in such a short period of time. Here’s the only clue you’ll get before the big reveal:

And also a bonus, this was the other project I have (temporarily) abandoned – a FAM that was going to be a Staffordshire Pottery Horse:

I have a bunch of Family Arabian Mare bodies that I will eventually turn into an assortment of art projects – this was a plan well before the announcement of this year’s BreyerFest theme – because those bodies are cheap and nobody does anything with them except as armatures, and I think that’s a darn shame. 

There is a lot of potential there that just needs a little imagination to realize it.

Regardless of the outcome (I haven’t consulted the Magic Eightball yet!) this diorama project has been a very therapeutic creative distraction. And there are only so many weeds to pull in the garden.

I know a lot of hobbyists are a bit bummed that there won’t be much to do during the second virtual BreyerFest except sit in front of a computer screen and watch videos. To be honest, I’m kind of looking forward to luxury of a couple of obligation-free days of doing mostly nothing. I might even bake a cake!

Then there is also this sad news to deal with:

When you consider just how large and complicated a topic as Breyer History is, it is both surprising and unsurprising that there aren’t actually that many of us doing the legwork of uncovering, analyzing and publishing Breyer History.

The loss of any hobbyist – whether we’re someone well-known, or unknown – is always a diminishment. But this one hits close to home. 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Trakehner, Again

Well, the review of the Midyears will have to wait, because apparently my Magic Breyer Summoning Powers have manifested themselves again: there’s what appears to be a Black Trakehner in a box lot on eBay.

I’m not going to link to it because I’m assuming everyone already knows about it. It’s already at a higher-than-I’m-comfortable-with price, so it’s not like it needs the pageviews. 

Also, it’s fairly obvious that it’s not the identical model in my photograph: the hooves of the one in the auction are a different color. 

Because the hooves are even different colors from the front to the back, I gave it a passing thought that it might be a repainted Hanover, and possibly not even Original Finish. 

(And as if the matter wasn’t already confusing and fraught enough, there is also the possibility that it was a Hanover but it was repainted at factory, which can be a thing. Yeah, I know.)

Black paint jobs, like Gloss Finishes, are incredibly easy things to fake, and they can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from the real thing, even in person. I have a hard time investing a lot time or effort into something that has a nonzero chance of not being authentic.

This is, of course, all rationalization: something I tell myself when I know something is probably out of my reach.

Look, you know I’ll put in a good faith effort, but you also know that I am cheap and many other people in the hobby have legit lost their minds moneywise, so my odds of getting him are about the same as me finding an authentic dollar Rolex watch at the local Salvation Army for five bucks.

Not impossible, but it might as well be. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Telephone Game

I’m busy as heck right now and can’t come to the phone right now. Please accept this random assortment of Test Colors and Oddities I do not own while I try to catch up on my sleep.

I do have to say that out of this whole bunch, I’d probably pick the Trakehner because, you know, I’m a big vintage Trakehner fan. But I must confess, that’s one sweet Proud Arabian Stallion! 

I’m so glad that mold has gotten a recent reevaluation; he really was a teenaged girl’s Dream Arabian Stallion back in the 1970s. Now if I could only find myself a nice shaded Alabaster in decent condition...

Actually I could have owned one of these, but there’s a story there that I don’t have time to tell and it’s kind of boring anyway. Feel free to speculate which one it is while you wait to fill out your BreyerFest Special Run preference list!

Incidentally, since I’ve gotten a second complimentary ticket in addition to my VIP, my choices are (a) Seurat, because Seurat is one of my favorite painters and the mold looks great in that color, and (b) either Pollock or the Surprise, because the Pollock is probably going to look crazy awesome in person and I will then regret not getting him, and the Surprise because what the heck, I’m feeling adventurous. 

I would also not be unhappy with the Pinto Marwari Tassili, because I love these Chestnuts with the coppery undertones they’ve been doing recently. 

I don’t know if I really need another Esprit in my life, but I am also definitely warming up to the Apollo del Solis. Otherwise I think the only other shopping I’ll be doing that weekend is picking up the One-Day Stablemate and maybe hoping for an NPOD Grab Bag. 

I had no luck last time, but that was because I was so focused on getting everything else that it ended up giving up after a while.  

Apparently the Midyear releases dropped yesterday? I’ll talk about them more next time, when I actually have time to process them. 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Kings and Queens

Tosses two more bodies back into my project box, waves goodbye to my Diorama Contest dreams.

I’ve just completely run out of time for them. I just have too many higher-priority projects to do between now and BreyerFest to be able to spend any more time necessary to complete them. 

My “clever” idea is turning out better than I expected, too. The only comfort I have with it is that if I take my time with it, maybe it can be salvaged as a Customs Contest entry for next year.

The other one, I dunno. It’s more of a craft project than an actual custom, but it involves solving a technical issue that’s running headlong into my poor spatial awareness skills. 

Think about it this way: I have an easier time folding a map than actually reading it.


(And another thing: I don’t want to hear anybody tell me they’re bored. Unless you can come over sometime this week and weed my flower beds, I just can’t even with you people right now, okay?)

Since I’m short on time, again, here’s another picture of another recent purchase: a Glossy King! No, not a vintage Bay or White Fighting Stallion (I wish!), but the Stock Horse Stallion from the Collector’s Club Appreciation Sale:

He wasn’t the most popular choice among the Glossies offered that year, but I still thought he was pretty neat. Like the Glossy Bandera, I was hoping to find one at a not-unreasonable price, eventually. And that eventuality was last week!

I’m not too keen on the long tail, though. I’ve never been a fan of the whole “short mane/long tail” look that’s so popular in the Stock Horse world: it reminds me too much of mullets. 

I don’t care that they’re back in style again, nobody looks good in a mullet. Not Superman, not David Bowie, and definitely not horses. 

UPDATE: I just did a slapdash, ten-minute mockup of the second diorama, and it looks like I’m being a drama queen. I just may have the time to finish this one after all. I’d still rather go with my clever idea, but that would necessitate the invention of a 36-hour day. In other words: toss it back in the box, Andrea. The Sampler is not going to write itself!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

How It's Going

How’s it going on my new schedule?

I’m crushing it on my old paperwork, the garden is looking respectable, and the office cleaning and reorganization is coming along. Sleep is still a work in progress; the melatonin doesn’t seem to be working well for me, and I’d rather not keep relying on the Benadryl.

But the customizing is… a problem. The rest of the household is not too keen on my cracking out the Dremel drill and hacksaw during the small hours, so my diorama plans have changed a little. 

Idea One (the best idea) involves too much customizing for the amount of time left on the clock anyway, so that one’s on hold. The effort there has not been wasted: the mold involved is part of a larger project, and I will get back to it eventually.

Idea Two (my first idea) was supposed to be something quick and simple, but the mold I selected for the task is less amenable to customizing than I originally thought. I think I can still make it work, with some compromises. I’ll give myself until the end of the coming weekend to decide whether or not to abandon it.

Idea Three (the “clever” idea) is actually coming along rather nicely. But it’s also the one I think the judges will be least likely to “get”, and it also involves a painting technique I haven’t tried before. 

So that’s my conundrum. I’ve got several writing projects to occupy my time between now and the weekend, so that’s where my head’s going to be at for the next several days. I’ll probably hem, haw and peck away at the two remaining ideas in whatever down time I do have between now and then.

But as we head into BreyerFest season, let’s all take a moment to stop and smell some freshly unpacked Stablemates Unicorns:

There’s nothing special or noteworthy about any of them, other than the fact that I think it’s a little weird that the dark blue Warmblood Unicorn is named Topaz. While topazes can come in almost any color, they are most commonly some shade of yellow or orange; dark blue is usually only achieved via heat treatment. 

Inner rock nerd me isn’t a huge fan of stones that need heat treatments, other than Tanzanite. If they wanted a dark and mysterious looking stone, I would have gone with Galena or Hematite.

I suppose I should also mention the Limited Edition BreyerFest Stablemate Kaleidoscope:

Ooh boy, he’s something, ain’t he? Rainbow resist-dappled pearly blue with white points: the only thing missing here is the glitter. The 6500-piece count sounds like it should be enough, though I have no idea what they’re basing that production count on. 

The name Kaleidoscope, incidentally, has been used at least once before, on a Special Run Pinto Trakehner way back when. He’s always been one of my favorites among my Trakehner collection, partly because Pinto Trakehners are actually a thing.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

On the Hanoverians

I’m giving myself until the end of the weekend – in my case, that would be Tuesday at noon-ish – to “do” my BreyerFest diorama or forget about it completely. I’m limiting myself to bodies and supplies on hand, and the only purchases I’m allowing myself to make for it are paint, brushes, primer and glue, because those are just craft supply basics that are useful to have around anyway.

If something works out, great, if it doesn’t – no harm, no foul. June is going to be much too busy to bother with something that’s been – historically – a mostly futile enterprise for me.

I do really like this year’s prize “Stubbs”, though, a Dunalino on the Hanoverian mold:

I had just been thinking about the Hanoverian mold, and how I don’t actually have that many examples of him: just my original Bay, and the Horses International Chalky Dapple Gray. 

I did have the Your Horse Source Set in Bay, Alabaster, Black and Chestnut, but in addition to also being rather boring colors, they were also both tippy and Shrinkies. There were others, all of whom were deemed either too uninteresting, or too tippy to bother with.

There have been a few exotic colors put on him. Europa was an interesting idea, but one that (I think) ultimately doesn’t quite work, and neither one of the Appaloosa releases really did much for me either. The only one I plan on getting in the near future is the Spiegel Catalog Hanoverian, because if I want another Bay Hanoverian, he’s the prettiest of the bunch, by far.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck with acquiring Breyer Dunalinos – if they’ve been part of Gambler’s Choices I don’t get them, and if they’ve been Web Specials I don’t get drawn for them. And ultimately when I finally did get one – the Web Special Goddess Series Aphrodite – I was so soured on the experience that I eventually sold her anyway.

But I’m going into this contest with absolutely no illusions about it, other than the slim hope that (a) maybe the judges will finally “get” me this year, or (b) some hobbyists will be somewhat disinclined to enter because Stubbs doesn’t meet their expectations for what a Prize model should be. 

I’ve also been dealing with some – let’s call it interesting – drama around here, and the process of chopping and reassembling otherwise unsellable Breyer bodies has been rather liberating. So there’s that to it, too.