Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ooh, Shiny!

Sorry about the unannounced mini-holiday. I recently restarted serious job-hunting, and I had forgotten how enervating the whole process was; I guess it finally caught up with me this week. I know I shouldn’t be reading too much into the initial lack of responses, but it does mess with your head regardless.

As a result, I haven’t been able to work up much enthusiasm over this week’s spate of announcements and new releases. The Walkabout Farms Rolex SR Strapless is nice, but I liked the subtler dapples of the 2007 FEI SR Dapple Gray better. The Porcelain Esprit is pretty, but it’s a Breakable. I love the Big Ben mold, but I despise LeRoy Neiman, so the Deco Big Ben leaves me …conflicted. The newest BreyerFest SRs just annoyed me: another Silver? Really?

The one model that did catch my eye was the 2010 Christmas Horse: a light bay, loose-mane Show Jumping Warmblood named Jewel. This surprises me, since it is not a series I have a lot of emotional or monetary investment in. I have Snowball and Snowflake; I liked the Snow Princess Rejoice and Noelle Goffert too, but not enough to buy either one.

But Jewel really strikes a chord. I think it’s his resemblance to a Carousel Horse that’s doing it: just like a real Carousel Horse, he sports a fanciful but not entirely implausible saddle, encrusted with rhinestones and beads.

I’ve always loved Carousel Horses; I sketched them obsessively in high school, fantasizing that I’d someday have the time and talent to create a Traditional-scale Carousel, complete with mirrors, motors and lights. That never happened; I’ve created a couple of Stablemate-scale ones, and I may cobble one or two Traditional ones yet out of my Body Box of Nightmares, but an entire Carousel? Not likely.

Original Carousel Horses were painted realistically, more or less; some of them came with gilded manes and tails, and pintos weren’t necessarily based on real pinto patterns, but the intent was obvious. It was the costuming that made them otherworldly: tigerskin saddle blankets, wreaths of roses, cherubim, ribbons, tassels, swags, chains, feathers, flags, armor, scimitars - sometimes all on the same horse!

You could say I was more than a little bit disappointed by Breyer’s first attempt at replicating a Carousel Horse: the "Merry-Go-Round Horse" from the 1985 J.C. Penney’s Christmas Catalog. He’s a Little Bit Morgan, painted mauve and bubblegum pink …with a boring little hot pink English saddle. Yawn:

The Carousel he was supposed to fit into never materialized; it and the Carousel Unicorn that were advertised in the 1985 Montgomery Ward's Christmas Catalog were never sold as far as I know, at least through Ward's. Some of the Unicorns eventually turned up for sale in the early 1990s, untacked and unmounted, via the Riegseckers, who were contracted to do the finish work on them. (They also had some leftover Morgans, similarly undressed.)

Reeves finally did the research, and got the Carousel aesthetic right in 2000 with the release of the 50th Anniversary Carousel Musicbox, and the Carousel Ornament series. I have a few of the ornaments, but not the Musicbox - it’s beautiful, but a bit too pricey (and fragile) for my tastes.

Jewel might be more my speed, and price. Like everything else, I’ll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Few Words about the G4s

The new G4 Stablemates have arrived - and they look better in person than they do in their photos. What a surprise! (Not.)

At least that's what I’ve been able to gather on the Internet. Since I’m not in the market right now, and they’re currently in short supply anyway, it’s probably going to be a while before I get make the more definitive in-person judgment.

I will be covering the leg and detail concerns some hobbyists have been airing about these new molds in the next week or so, but it’ll be in the context of a larger discussion about the injection molding process. That’s a topic I’ve been meaning to cover for a while now anyway; it’s been sitting on my upcoming topic list, just waiting for the appropriate lead-in.

I know some people are trying to read more in to the limited initial release, with some betting that they’ll get pulled like the ill-fated Play Mat Stock Horse. I’m not getting that vibe; I think any problems they’re having with the new molds are from them rushing them into production, not from anything inherent in the molds themselves.

And for the record, I don’t know exactly what was wrong with the original Play Mat Stock Horse, other than the original shipment also not being up to snuff qualitatively. I hope they’re able to resolve whatever the problem was, because I kinda liked him. He reminded me a little bit of the JCP SR resin "Piper," who is one of the few Breyer Nonplastics I wouldn’t mind adding to my herd in its original form. (The lovely Rose Hambletonian and Tally Ho are among the others.)

I haven’t picked up the original Play Mat Stock Horse yet either. There’s a local toy store that does - or at least, did - have a few of them in stock recently. I didn’t feel like spending all that money on the set, though, and I’m not one of those hobbyists who buys a gift set, takes the horse, and tries to sell off the "chaff" to make up for it. The purist in me likes to keep my sets complete, regardless of what I think of the accessories.

(The Elegance Set breakups I’ve been seeing really boggle my mind - any model I invest that much money in is keeping all the stuff it comes with!)

I know that’s not an option for everyone. The most logical solution would be to replace the models in question with a more common variation of the same mold and sell or give the "reconfigured" set away that way.

The only problem with that is that most charitable organizations won’t accept toys that have been opened. There must be a workaround somewhere; I know there’s been some effort to "pay it forward" at venues like BreyerFest, with the goal of rehoming otherwise hard-to-sell horses with younger hobbyists or potential hobbyists.

I’m not normally a big advocate of PIF (especially how it's been playing out in the model horse community - as an unseemly show of grabby hands) but anything that encourages more people to participate in the hobby is fine by me.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Black Leopards

Dealing with even more remodeling nonsense here: I had to clean out and move the other china cabinet. I sure do have a lot of breakables, for being a big, clumsy Buffalo!

Since so many hobbyists seem to be losing it over the Treasure Hunt Redemption Horse "Winter" - a Near Black Semi-Leopard Appaloosa - I thought I’d turn the spotlight on Breyer’s earliest attempt at the Leopard Pattern: the #115 Appaloosa Western Prancing Horse:

Yep, this one’s an oddity: no front stocking.

There are two variations of this paint job: some have dark gray stockings, and others have black. I don’t think there’s any consistency to the variations, at least I haven’t seen any. I used to think that the gray stocking versions came earlier, but my boy here with the missing hosiery has the USA mark, so it might be the other way around. It’s not something I’ve looked into yet.

When I first discovered that the Western Prancing Horse came Leopard Appaloosa, I became a bit obsessed with obtaining one. He had to be just right, too; I can’t recall how many times I upgraded mine. Then I discovered there were two variations to it, so I had to have primo examples of both. I found the guy above on eBay a few years back, and he became my representative example of the gray stocking version.

I have a pretty nice black stocking version too. And unlike Gray Stocking Guy, Black Stocking Guy has extra shading in his, ah, unmentionables. (A common feature on models from the 1960s and early 1970s.)

(The color difference is a little hard to see, I know. Like Chalkies, it's much more obvious in person.)

The Western Prancing Horse is another one of those models that was released sometime during the documentation gap of the early 1960s. Evidence suggests that he was a 1962 release, like the Running Mare and Foal, and that he was intended to be the replacement for the Fury/Prancer mold, who was starting to look a little dated by then.

The Appaloosa version of the Western Prancing Horse remained in production through 1973. In 1974, the Appaloosa Performance Horse premiered, as did a new style of Appaloosa paint jobs: masking replaced full-body splash spotting.

Splash spotting never went away, but today tends to be reserved for either reproductions of old-style paint jobs, or for models with airbrushed hip blankets (i.e. the upcoming Mid-States release.) Splash spot Leopards have turned up from time to time, too, but the Black Leopard varieties rarely come with the black mane-tail-point feature anymore. An exception was the 1990/91 Country Store Special POA:

I’m not sure what’s the big fuss over the new version of this old paint job. It’s not unrealistic; I seem to recall much oohing and aahing over a dark-legged leopard part-Friesian foal on Blab a few years back, whose photos inspired many custom copycats.

I think it’s a little bit of backlash over the two previous "owners" of this paint job: the Collector’s Choice Silver Matrix, and the BreyerFest SR Appydaze.

My negative reaction to Matrix wasn’t because of the paint job, but with the overuse of the Silver mold: he had already had his turn in the Collector’s Choice lineup, with Blue Suede Shoes. There’s no formal rule that a Collector’s Choice selection can’t be on a previously used mold, but with over 20 other releases in his relatively brief life, doing another CC Silver rubbed me - and many other hobbyists - the wrong way.

The Appydaze was a miscalculation on Reeves’s part. Having a model and paint job combo that was specifically designed for the younger set? A good idea. Making 1500 of them? Not so good an idea. You could sell over a thousand pieces of them - all of the other SRs that year were 1200 piece runs or less - and still have a ton of leftovers. When hobbyists see a lot of leftovers, they immediately think "That one must have been a dud." And regardless of their personal feelings about a model, most hobbyists tend to think twice before adding a "dud" like that to their herds.

It’s interesting that another model with a similar paint job - the Fest SR Ruffian "Heartland" - didn’t elicit the same negative reaction. Three factors at work with her, I think. First, the Ruffian mold definitely has its fans, or at least doesn’t get quite the negative press the other two sometimes attract. Second, she’s glossy: we’ve all witnessed the power of a Gloss Finish to drive hobbyists mad. And third, she’s a shaded Bay, not a flat Black: more shading and detail = greater perceived value.

It’ll be interesting to see what will turn up next. Most hobbyists are assuming a Gloss variation is on the horizon. A safe and logical bet, sure, but I’m kinda hoping for an old-school splash spot Leopard myself.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Had to catch up on my sleep yesterday; more crazy back-to-back shifts. I do kinda actually like the job, but I wish it could go back to being a source of supplementary income, not my primary one. It’s rough on the body, and the soul sometimes.

Lots of news out there in model horse land, though I haven’t had time to digest it all yet. I’ve also noticed an uptick in the cranky quotient this week - not just on the horse boards, but on all of the other places I go on the Internet - and I’ve been minimizing my contact with it accordingly.

What that means is that I’ve been spending more of my rare bits of free time in the physical world. Puttering around the studio, doing a little quilting, catching up on my reading. Made myself a cute little Valentine’s Day box with some MiniWhinnies, for no particular reason:

I’ve also managed to catch up a little on my Salvation Army shopping. No major scores so far, just a few books and crafting items. I did run across one thing that stopped me in my tracks, though: a framed, pre-WWII map of some part of Russia.

Which part of Russia, I don’t know: the entire map was in Cyrillic. The only thing I could read was the printing date (1931); there was also a small vignette of the Revolution in one corner. It had a fascinating, almost-alien quality: I couldn’t read a word of it, and none of the landmarks or physical features were the least bit recognizable. But I couldn’t stop staring at it.

My first thought was that my brother would absolutely love it: he collects maps and atlases, and this was certainly something he had never seen before. It was hand-tinted, and beautifully printed. I didn’t have the cash on me to buy it; it wasn’t your ordinary Salvation Army store find, and the store had priced it accordingly.

I made an appeal to Mom, on the grounds that I thought it would make a most excellent present for my brother, whose birthday is coming up shortly. She took one look at it, noticed a wrinkle in the mounting, and declared it unworthy of her money. The fact that it was rare, possibly unique, and a perfect gift was irrelevant. There was a flaw.

That sort of attitude bothers the heck out of me in the model horse world, too. Wrong shade of bay? Masking a little fuzzy in spots? Solid leg on a tobiano pinto? Unworthy!

I’m not so rigorous or judgmental. I have quite a few horses in my own herd that would barely be body box fodder elsewhere. Like this FAM:

Her name, by the way, is Fragment. She was a body box rescue, and the worst of the lot; everyone else in the box could stand up on their own, at least. I made a few improvements to her condition - cleaned her up, unyellowed her a bit, gave her a replacement leg to stand on. But that’s all I’m going to do; anything more and her authenticity might come into question. And I think she’s lovely enough as she is, like a fragment of an ancient Greek statue.

Doesn’t she looks like she could be In-A-Tiff’s long lost wife? Well, I do have a picture of his spouse (her name was Truanna):

She’s not the same model, obviously: the shading and splattering are different. I’m not sure what my sad little Fragment is, honestly. She could be another Test Color, a Cull, or an Employee Take-Home.

Like the map, she is both fascinating, and indecipherable.

My favorite theory - one with little more evidence than the others - is that maybe she was Salesman’s Sample for the Proud Arabian Mare. The PAM mold may not have been ready for production, so the FAM stood in her stead. It’s plausible: I have a Traditional Man o’ War test color, who was clearly painted as a stand-in for the not-yet-ready-for-prime-time Phar Lap mold.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Brief History of Dapple Grays, Part 2

Of course, the morning after I published the last post, I came to the realization that I completely forgot about the Dapple Gray Clydesdale. (I was a bit under the weather at that time; must have been the cough syrup.) Fortunately, I still think most of my observations hold, and that the Decorators were a greater influence on the style of Dapple Gray paint jobs that came to dominate the rest of the decade.

The early Dapple Gray Clydesdales tended to be more roany, and more sedate - two terms that could rarely be applied to the Dapple Gray Belgian or Old Timer. And when hobbyists describe their favorite old-fashioned colors, the Gloss Dapple Grays of their dreams tend to be the ones on the wild side. And Reeves seems to agree:

(Yes, the photo is dreadful. Still working from scans here, folks.)

As promised, here’s the story of In-A-Tiff, in Marney’s own words (mostly.) From an article in the August 5, 1979 Chicago Tribune, "Model horses are center ring as a hobby," written by Mary Daniels:

Still another favorite in her "barn" is a very dark dapple gray Arab, In-A-Tiff. "He’s special because I made a suggestion to Breyer Moulding, and they did something about it. In 1970 I wrote Breyer and complained about the models being made." She felt they were not as authentic or as exciting as they could be.

Peter Stone himself says the earlier Breyer models were "not very emotional at all. They had four legs, were very straight, were a Western-type ho[r]se. There’s been a great deal of sophistication since then."

"They asked me to come down," continues Walerius, "I went into the factories and talked to the designers and the artists. In-A-Tiff came out of that visit, and he became the forerunner for the current dapple gray Arab they use."

(Neat, eh? Lots of good information in this article, especially about the early days; I’ll have to shoot a copy of it over to the folks at the Hobby History web site sometime soon.)

There were a couple of things that made In-A-Tiff’s dappled paint job different from the ones that came before. First, he was matte; with a few notable exceptions - including the Dapple Grey Old Timer, and "Dark Dapple Gray" Running Mare and Foal - most of the Breyer line had already made the switch to the Matte Finish. Second, he had additional shading: dorsal striping, facial detailing, and dark shoulders and hindquarters.

While not as realistic as today’s Dapple Grays, In-A-Tiff’s paint job was a significant step forward. And a popular one, too. In the 1970s, it seemed like Breyer dappled everything: the Proud Arabian Family, the bell-bottom Shire, the SR Clydesdale Family, the SR Belgian, the Classic Andalusian Family Mare, the Stablemate Saddlebred and Arabians …

There was no consistency to these paint jobs, however. Some of the earliest of the new Dapple Grays came with the full complement of new features, and others didn’t. Some had fine lacy dappling, while others had the infamous giant "cornflake" spots. Others had conservative patterns with minimal dappling on their heads and necks, and other had dappling on every square inch of their bodies - including their manes, tails and eyeballs!

I guess it all depended on the mood of the painting department that day. By the end of the 1970s, though, most Dapple Grays had reverted to a slightly toned down, matte to semi-gloss version of the wilder Dapple Grays of yore.

After that, it’s hard for me to make generalizations, because I haven’t done the research yet. And you can see what happens when I get a little lazy with the research. So my history of the Dapple Gray paint job will have to end here, for now.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Brief History of Dapple Grays, Part 1

So, did you hear about the 2010 Mid-States Horse? Yeah, I know, the 2009 was just out a few months ago - apparently someone’s boss on Blab took a pic of the 2010 model at the Mid-States Hardware show; here’s a link to the discussion if you missed it:

If you don’t want to click for whatever reason - it’s in an open access section of the forum, BTW - it’s a Gray Appaloosa Foundation Stallion named Thunderbolt.

He isn’t like the Gray Appaloosa Foundation Stallion I wrote about a few weeks ago. (Just another creepy coincidence; if I were shilling for Reeves, I think I'd have seen a check, or boxes of horses by now. And I haven't.) This guy is gussied up with splash spots, extra shading, Indian markings and resist underdappling.

"Underdappling" is a term I use to describe dappling that’s underneath another layer of paint. "Resist" is the term generally used hobby-wide to describe the earlier, pre-airbrush style of dappling, where a type of grease was splashed on the model before painting. The dapples were created when the grease was washed off.

Thunderbolt is very appealing, but whether or not I’m actually getting him will depend on how my space situation finally plays out. And it doesn’t look like that extra space I had hoped for will be materializing. The remodel is about 75% done, and most of my stuff is back to where it should be. Except where it doesn’t fit. And what doesn’t fit includes about 50 models.

Major culling will be necessary. I am not looking forward to it.

Did you know that the full-body resist Dapple Gray paint job (aka "Wild Dapple Gray") was a relative latecomer in the Breyer world? It wasn’t until 1964 that we see the appearance of the true Dapple Gray paint job. That’s right, the dappled Decorator colors of Florentine (gold) and Copenhagen (blue) actually premiered before the more "realistic" Dapple Gray. While the Decorator experiment might not have been a success, initially, it did apparently lead to something that was.

Yes, I know, Running Mare and Foal came out in a color called "Dark Dapple Gray" ca. 1962. But it appears that Breyer considered that particular colorway separate and distinct from the "Dapple Gray" of the Belgian and his descendants. Except for the occasional color variation, and some pieces from very late in their run, the Mare and Foal retained their dappling pattern - and their unique color appellation - until they were discontinued in 1973. (I don’t quite know how to classify the Nebraska SRs in all this; they’re definitely "Wild" Dapple Grays, but I don’t know the precise color description they were sold under.)

The Dapple Gray Belgian was discontinued rather quickly - by the end of 1966 - but his color was carried forward on Old Timer, who also debuted in 1966. The color was scarce until the early 1970s, when yet another variation of the Dapple Gray paint job debuted.

That discussion I will leave for my next post. But here’s a sneak preview of the model at the center of that discussion: Marney Walerius’s "In-A-Tiff."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Spelling Test

I understand that standardized spelling is a relatively recent invention, and everyone has certain words and rules that are just beyond their grasp. (The "ie" rules are mine.) You might be an uncoordinated typist, or come to English as a non-native speaker, or suffer from a form of dyslexia. I get that.

What peeves me off is when folks consistently misspell proper names. The one that’s really been grating my cheese lately is The Nokota Horse. It’s NOKOTA, not NAKOTA.

It’d be one thing if it had been misspelled on the box, or in the catalog, or online through the official sources. But for the most part, it’s not. It’s hobbyists, being inattentive, indifferent, or just too darn lazy to look it up - all the things they accuse Breyer of being.

Breyer has committed many a serious - and sometimes amusing - spelling faux pas in the recent and not-so-recent past. For many years, they had trouble with the word Lipizzan:

They corrected it the catalog the following year, to the equally wrong "Lippizan." Not surprisingly, when they released the Classic Lipizzan in 1975, they managed to finally get it right on the box - but still spelled it wrong everywhere else!

You might have noticed that this is a twofer: notice "Palamino?" Palomino is consistently misspelled throughout this 1968 catalog, which is a bit of a mystery since Breyer didn’t have much problem spelling it before - or after. (Was there no time for proofreading, or was a rookie typesetter to blame?)

And then there’s my personal favorite, the Charcoal G2 Morgan BreyerFest "Kay Chain."

That one - and most of the more recent spelling errors - are probably translation or transcription errors. Amusing, but not offensive, except to remind us of the uncomfortable fact of overseas production.

And then there’s the term "Wedgewood Blue:"

Any pottery or antique collector worth their weight in Jasperware knows the correct spelling is "Wedgwood." (Type up both spelling variations in MS Word and see for yourself!)

The Wedgewood error is a very common and persistent one, especially among people with only a passing familiarity with collectible pottery. Some companies add the "e" intentionally when they use that word as an adjective or in a description to indicate they’re not officially affiliated with the actual pottery.

I’m not sure the higher-ups at Breyer were thinking that far in advance; I think it was just a simple spelling error. However, they did just have a run-in with Hagen-Renaker a couple of years earlier, so it’s possible that one of their lawyers may have advised them to add the extra "e" to cover their hindquarters, just in case another "nasty lawyer letter" arrived on their doorstep.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

No Room for Sergeant

Ah, the end of another interesting week. One that included the mother of all bloody noses, a dead car battery, sleep deprivation, and a police stop. (Nothing bad, just annoying - burnt out turning signal.)

On the plus side, I did get overtime. Which should just cover the cost of a new battery.

In the midst of all that, I did manage to hit a couple of Tuesday Morning stores before they were completely cleaned out of horse-shaped objects. Originally I just wanted to do a little people watching; it’s a good two months before the flea market opens again, and that’s the one aspect about the experience I miss the most.

I thought I might pick up a few crafting supplies, and skim the book section for something cheap, interesting or useful. Then I saw a Fall 2009 Collector’s Choice Sergeant:

He has shading, dappling, slight iridescence: everything a girl could hope for. I walked past him a couple of times before I decided he had to come home with me, space issues or not. I was in the middle of a rough week, and as the saying goes, I deserved a pony. A plastic part-pony, but still.

I know the Brown Sunshine mold has its detractors, but I think it’s another case of the right paint job making the model. I think Reeves is aware of that, as well. All of the colors he’s come in since his original, undistinguished blonde chestnut have been quite attractive, in my mind at least: leopard appaloosa, dark mealy bay, dun, and now this shaded iridescent dappled gray.

Yes, I am aware that being a Collector’s Choice model, Reeves only had a partial say in the color selection of Sergeant. But they did choose him as a candidate out of the hundreds of submissions they received.

I haven’t submitted any ideas for the Collector’s Choice in a while. It’s not that I don’t have any ideas to submit, but that I’ve been in the hobby long enough to have seen several concepts I’ve longed for - and occasionally championed - come to fruition. The motivation isn’t as strong as it would be for other hobbyists. It’d be nice to have my name formally attached to a model, in print, but I think there are probably several reasons why that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

(I also have a sinking feeling that if it did happen, they’d spell my name wrong anyway. Which is a huge pet peeve of mine.)

What Sergeant’s arrival means is that I’ll have to make some attempts at selling stuff, again. I’m apprehensive, because it didn’t go so well the last time I listed stuff on MHSP: I got hit with the same group of tirekickers and scam artists everyone else has been plagued by recently. By the time I ran through all of those early responders, I wasn’t in any mood to sift through the rest. Then work started again, and I didn’t have any time for it.

So it looks like I’ll have to start listing on eBay. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve dealt with eBay in any meaningful way; I wasn’t boycotting it per se, I was just avoiding it for my pocketbook’s sake.

I think I’ll just wait and see how everything shakes out after the remodel. I managed to find a little extra room in the china cabinet earlier this week; maybe when the remodel is over, I can find some room for Sergeant, too.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Freckle Roans

Different day, same chaos. Had to spend most of yesterday reassembling the china cabinet. (No fatalities, but lots of stress nonetheless.)

It appears I slightly dissed the old-style "freckle" Red Roans in my previous post on the Buckshot. Didn’t mean to give that impression, as I’m very fond of the color. I think I have every regular run release of it, and most of the special runs. (Yes, including the uber-rare Running Foal and the ultra-desirable G1 Draft Horse.)

Breyer’s original Red Roans were a relatively short-lived phenomenon. The first regular run release of this peculiar color appeared in 1968, on the Running Stallion. It was followed by the Lying Down Foal in 1969, the Scratching Foal in 1970, and the Running Mare in 1971.

The Mare and two Foals were gone by the end of 1973, but the Running Stallion lasted through 1974. He’s relatively "common" for a Breyer of that era; a nice one with attractive roaning will set you back a little bit, but not as much as a Gloss Charcoal. The Lying Down Foal isn’t too difficult to find, either.

The Mare, surprisingly, is the scarcest of the bunch, with just a three-year production run. That may seem like an eternity today, but for a model of that era, it’s a little unusual. It took me a while to find one myself:

I found her - along with the Stallion, the Lying Down Foal, and a few other beauties - at my fabled local flea market several years ago. In fact, they were the very first things I saw as I walked up to the entrance!

All of us who have had some modest flea marketing experience have had a few of these rare and wonderful moments. For an instant you freeze and pretend that you didn’t just see what you’re seeing. You scope out the immediate territory to make sure no one else has zeroed in on your target. Your heart begins to pound, and then you immediately break into your brisk, practiced, pretending-not-to-be-too-interested kind of walk …

(Can you tell I miss the flea market? Darn you infernal groundhog!)

You may notice that this Mare has an unusual feature: a Blue Ribbon Sticker. It’s unusual because Blue Ribbon Stickers were discontinued by the end of 1970, and the Red Roan Mare wasn’t introduced until 1971. It appears to be original, or at least contemporary; the Stallion, the Foal, and a couple other models in that collection had stickers, too.

It’s possible that the Mare may have been released in late 1970, in time for the Holiday shopping season - as I’ve discussed before, a not-uncommon practice. Since Breyer was on the verge of discontinuing the sticker program, it would have made sense to substitute another Running Mare sticker, instead of printing up a fresh batch of correctly numbered ones. Her sticker is actually for the #121 Smoke, who had been discontinued by the end of 1970 anyway.

I have no actual evidence of an early release for the Roan Running Mare, though. The simplest explanation probably is the best one, here: Breyer (or the retailer) was just using up their old sticker stock.