Sunday, December 18, 2016

Highlander Haflinger

I’m feeling so sorry for the Highland Pony release on the old Haflinger mold:

She really does have a lovely paintjob, but as I feared, it wasn’t enough to rescue her from being discontinued for next year – along with fellow “Best of British” series alums the Welsh Cob (on the Llanarth True Briton), the Shetland Pony and the Connemara Pony Newsworthy.

It wasn’t a surprise, though; in spite of the fact that there have been quite a few “collectible” Haflingers issued over the years, it has generated very little love for the mold among hobbyists in general.

The original 156 Haflinger comes in multiple – though minor – variations, mostly involving the shade of Chestnut it comes in, and markings. (This release can, on very rare occasions, be found with airbrushed stockings.)

Of the rarities, there’s the Gloss variation of the #1483 Highland Pony, made for the 2012 BreyerFest Youth/Child Shows, the Gloss Apricot Dun prize model for the 2005 BreyerFest Sceptre Contest, and the slightly modified reissue of the RDA Strikey (sans “brand”) made for the 2010 WEG in Kentucky.

Even though all of those releases were under 50 pieces – and there were only 18 made of the WEG Haflinger! – the most desirable Haflinger of them all is still the 1997 Christmas release of Snowball:

Snowball is popular because outside of being the first in the ongoing series of Holiday Horses, the release was cut short due to production issues with the tack. They disappeared rather quickly in stores, which cause a bit of a run on them right from the get-go; judging from the recent sales on eBay, demand still seems pretty solid nearly 20 years on.

Like the Highland Pony, Snowball came a Chalky finish, albeit without the extensive shading or dappling. Snowball wasn’t unique: many Alabasters from that time period came in a Chalky or semi-Chalky finish, like the Black Stallion release Equus.

In Snowball’s case, that bright white finish wasn’t merely an aesthetic choice, but a practical one. The matte and opaque Chalky finish would help keep them from turning into… yellow(ed) Snowballs.

I haven’t made a decision yet on keeping this pony; I’m already keeping several pieces from that Grab Bag, and I don’t really want to add more. Even if I did decide to let it go now, busy season is coming up at work, and I won’t have much time to do much selling.

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