Friday, June 30, 2017

The Expected, and The Unexpected

I’ve been trying to not pay too much attention to the Auction models – I haven’t won the lottery, yet, for that to even be a consideration – but ooh, I really like the Cremello Tobiano Newsworthy:

We’ve had Cremellos (BreyerFest Surprise Lonesome Glory) and Perlinos (Desatado Orion), but I can’t recall if we’ve had a production run Double Dilute Pinto or Appaloosa yet.

I think I need that to be a thing, now!

Some of the more recent Auction pieces have been previews of coming attractions, so I’ll cross my fingers and hope to see a similar paint job on something easily available and somewhat affordable…

(Also trying to pretend I didn’t see the Gloss Silver Bay Fell Pony Emma, but at least that one wasn’t as delightfully unexpected as the Pinto.)

Oddly enough, I’m slightly less enthused about the new Premier Club release Duende. Don’t get me wrong: the sculpt by Mindy Berg is beautiful, and I am all for more standing models. Some of my favorite molds – the Traditional Man o’ War and Trakehner come to mind – are standers.

But my first reaction was something I never thought would cross my mind:

Oh Jeez, Is that ANOTHER “Spanish” horse?

I love Andalusians. I was thrilled to pieces when the Legionario and the Classic Andalusian Family came out in late 1978 – so much so that I made my Aunt Arlene order them from the Bentley Sales Company for Christmas that year. (Yes, they are still here).

We have a lot of Breyer Spanish molds now. Sure, okay, we didn’t have a standing one. And I would be all over a Lipizzan doing a capriole.

But still, they are fairly well-represented across the various lines and scales. And yet we still wait for a new Traditional Shetland Pony, another Draft Foal, an updated Man o’ War, a new TWH Stallion, a true Akhal-Teke, a typey Morgan…

I know: gripe, gripe, gripe. Andalusians and their relations are flashy, beautiful, and popular, that’s why they keep doing them.

And if they put a paint job on it as beautiful as the Newsworthy, I will buy them, too.

Back to the BreyerFest prep, I guess.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Comfort Food

Since I’m deep into “BreyerFest Crunch Time” and I’m running on not that much sleep, here’s a picture the most relevant finds from an amazing flea market Sunday:

Not going to lie, the most exciting find of the bunch (for me) was the Gloss Palomino Family Arabian Stallion. He’s not particularly rare, or in superior condition, though this one does have really nice color and shading (Gloss Palomino is one of those few colors that can get away with the overspray).

No, it’s because I didn’t have many Family Arabians on the sales list, outside of my Body Box, and the Vintage Club Family Arabian Stallion Ali just came out.

Even prior to the Vintage Club announcement last year, the fortunes of Family Arabians have been on the rise, and I haven’t had any issues turning them over on my sales list. There’s apparently such a “shortage” that the past few years I’ve even had people asking for them at BreyerFest.

I’ve been trying to keep a few in reserve this year, but the temptation to sell plus the lack of local finds have left me with a serious Family Arabian deficit.

This hasn’t always been the case – even now, I’d wager, there are people who’d be more than willing to dump all of their excess Family Arabians at my door and run.

(But seriously, don’t. I’m already at “how am I going to fit all these things into my car?” territory, and my latest box lot hasn’t even arrived yet. Yikes!)

It’s a combination of things working in the Family Arabians favor: they’ve come in a ton of different colors, they’re still relatively cheap (with some exceptions), they can be challenging to find in good or better condition, and oh-so-many variations.

They’re not the prettiest, or the most correct, or very typey, and outside of a few rarities (the Sorrels, the Solid Blacks, vintage Chalkies, etc.) not very valuable. But most of us have had one, two, or a dozen in our collecting lifetimes, and the sentimentality tends to trump all those qualms.

I guess they’re sort of like the comfort food of the model horse world.

The Five-Gaiter is older with very neatly painted ribbons and is also going on the sales list; the Hartland Buckskin Polo Pony has some marks and some seam splits, but might be staying as an upgrade.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

More About Iridescence

I had a perfectly lovely day today – had a last minute work reschedule that actually gave me the day off, so I spent it doing (mostly) fun stuff, including a bit of horse shopping.

(Yes, I know I am extremely lucky that I can go horse shopping at multiple stores. I’m telling you folks, if the possibility of coming to the Metro Detroit area comes up for you, let that be an enticement.)

Here’s the thing I’ve been meaning to show you all for a while: a Poodle with an iridescent collar!

It’s a little hard to capture in a photograph, but basically it’s a red color with a translucent layer of gold iridescence on top. It’s 100 percent Original Finish, and came out of that Chicago collection with all those other odd and mysterious models that were probably factory Oddballs, Tests, Samples and Whatnots.

Since the only early, pre-Reeves models that I know about that have any factory-original iridescence on them are the Kittens – released in 1966 – and all of the models in that collection date to 1966 or before, the logical assumption is that they are somehow related.

A test of the paint before production for the Kittens? A test after production of the Kittens for possible use on the Poodle? Or someone just getting silly with the new paint at the factory one day?

The seller never provided any more context, so it’ll probably remain a mystery.

The funny thing was that when I purchased him (paired with a White one) he didn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary: the effect is hard to capture in photographs, and the seller obviously didn’t know there was anything different about them in the first place.

Needless to say, I was extremely pleased when I pulled him out of the shipping box back in March.  

On the flip side, he was supposed to be an upgrade of my other green-eyed Poodle, so now I had to make room for another. I think I have enough Black Poodles now to form a sled team...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ooh, Sparkly!

Surprise – two of the models in the bag of bodies weren’t bodies after all:

The little one is a Fontanini Nativity Horse (Schleich-like), and the other is the Majestad release of the Legionario. I hadn’t seen a Majestad out of the box and without the goofy wired garland before, so who he was threw me for a bit. Then I recognized the oddly linear shading on his face, the slight pearliness to his finish, and the lack of a brand.

In fact, for being another Aged Gray Legionario, he’s a lot more “different” than I initially thought. Props to Reeves for that! Tempted as I am, I am not keeping him, especially since I didn’t get the chance to do as thorough a herd culling as I wished this year.

(Though my body box will be almost as epic as it was last year. I am totally rocking the cheap box lots this year...)

Fiona and Rory came today, too (not the best pictures, I know):

Totally digging those little holographic blankets! I’m such a sucker for fancy, sparkly fabrics.

While on one hand I can see the Fiona and Rory merely as a part of a “series” of Classic Mare and Foal sets designed for the online market – like the Unicorns, and the Pinto Arabians – I also have to wonder if part of the reason for the existence of this series is as a way to experiment with the viability of newer paint colors and finishes.

Fiona and Rory are very subtly iridescent – not something I can capture with my weak photographic skills, but they’re definitely there, especially on the Foal.

I can’t recall seeing this bit of shimmer on any of the other, newer Black releases, but if this is something they’re thinking of implementing on other releases, I’m all for it.

(Momentarily fantasizes a “Midnight Blue-Black” Valegro. Mmm.)

Incidentally, iridescent paints are not something new, or newer, in the world of Breyer: the first time they were officially used – however briefly – was on the original Kitten releases back in 1966! Most, but not all, have iridescent eyes.

But more on that next time.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Different Kind of Blind Bag...

I wasn’t planning on going to the flea market today – it rained last night, and that tends to scare off some of the more delicate flowers – but I threw caution to the wind, and I was rewarded for my efforts:

Not quite the “blind bag” I was hoping for, but I’ll take it!

Don’t freak out, they’re mostly bodies. I got them inexpensively enough that I didn’t object when the lady decided to stuff them all in a single bag. One of two of them might end up in my personal project box, but the rest are going to ‘Fest.

And here I was worried I wouldn’t have as plentiful a body box as I had last year! Piffle…

Incidentally, I have now reached the point of my BreyerFest prep where I want to do nothing more than hide in the basement and work on my quilts.

Everything is actually going fairly well and according to plan. The only hangups I’m having are my sales list – I haven’t had the time to dig through my storage boxes as I planned – and the costume, which I am just not feeling right now. I know what I have to do with it, and I have all the supplies on hand, I’d just rather work on other things.

There have been a few scheduling issues at work that have been distracting me too, but there’s nothing to be done on that front until after Kentucky.

Not much else I want to say today, other than I finally broke down and bought the Web Exclusive Fiona and Rory set. (Still available on the Breyer website, though you do have to do some searching.)

I had a little extra cash in the Paypal account, and I’ve been really good this year, budget-wise. So I figured I was entitled to a couple of sparkly black ponies!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Blue, Not Blue

Apparently there’s a new “surprise” in the Blind Bag Stablemates Assortment that hit Cracker Barrel Stores this week – a metallic blue with black points on the G4 Endurance - Arabian mold.

But the two nearest Cracker Barrels to me are 45 minutes to an hour away, and judging from the reaction he’s causing online, I’m not even going to try. I just can’t take that kind of time out of my day anyway, this close to BreyerFest.

So that makes two “rare” Stablemates that were basically not distributed in my area. The Breyer supply here is good enough that I really can’t complain about getting my fair share of ponies, but I did “cut my teeth” on Stablemates back in the day, so it does hurt a little bit, nevertheless.

I had a ton of other stuff distracting me this week (and coming weekend), so here’s another short tidbit to keep you while I get back to the proverbial grindstone:

This is not the same Buckshot one auctioned off on eBay this week. When I saw the price that one went for, I blinked a few times and went “Oh, really now?”

(As handy as a thousand or so dollars could be right now, mine’s not going anywhere.)

But he’s a useful example to illustrate this point: very few Test Colors are truly unique, especially “vintage” ones. The only thing that really distinguished these two Buckshots from the standard production version is the absence of one step in the painting process: the blue base coat.

So is it possible that there might be more like these guys? I wouldn’t rule it out! Especially when you realize that a model like this is a result of less work being put into a piece, rather than more: basically, they are culls that present as “finished”.

For what it’s worth, the fact that something isn’t unique doesn’t necessarily diminish its value. Sometimes it even enhances it: you might not even consider bidding on something that’s truly “unique”, but something that exists as a group seems within the realm of possibility – and bid-ability.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Spirit Days

Interesting day at the flea market – a lot of horse stuff, but not a lot of model horses. The only thing I bought that’s worth mentioning here is this handsome pup:

A Boehm Schnauzer! It would have been even better if it had been one of the Boxers or Bulls the Breyers are based off of, or the Adios, but one doesn’t find Boehms of any variety in the wild all that often, even at my flea market. And the price was more than right.

The Boehm made up, a bit, for the events of the previous day. For a variety of reasons, I wasn’t able to go to either one of the Spirit Fun Days near my house on Saturday. I am a bit disappointed because there is still an awkward, horse-crazy ten-year-old inside me who desperately wanted to sit at a table to talk horses and paint Stablemates.

(Like the rest of you, my life is full of people who nod, smile, and secretly hope for their cell phones to ring when I start talking about horses.)

The new Breyer Spirit line itself seems to be getting pretty positive reviews in general, though the reaction to the TV show its based on is a little more mixed.

It’s not likely that I’ll be watching it any time soon, but that’s more because I’m mostly indifferent to horse-themed film and TV projects in general, and not the quality – or lack thereof.

And also because you have no idea just how far behind I am in my movie and TV watching. I have a DVD I got for Christmas in 2015 I still haven’t gotten around to watching….

But anyway, back to the models themselves.

The Spirit “blind bag” Stablemates assortments – if purchased by the box – apparently contain one of each of the entire set, which is nice. That’ll make it easier for the Stablemates completists.

The “Small Sets” I wrote about earlier appear to be just a shade smaller than the original Little Bits/Paddock Pals. For the purposes of showing, I still think they will be classified as that scale.

Traditional models have had the same scaling issues over the years – like, for instance, the Boehm-inspired Boxer – and even with the models that don’t have the excuse of being copied/translated from other manufacturer designs.

The Traditional Boomerang mold is about as cute as I expected it to be, but it is not likely that I will be able to pick one up, or even see one in person, until BreyerFest rolls around.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Green-Eyed Monster

I was just taking a few pics here and there for various posts and projects, and this one made me laugh out loud….

Long story I cannot go into here, but this sort of sums up what I feel like right now.

Incidentally, green-eyed Poodles are a later variation, not an earlier one, running contrary to the rule that releases tend to lose extra details as time goes on. Actually, the earliest Black Breyer Poodles did not have much extra detailing at all; in fact, they were cast out of Black-tinted Tenite and barely even painted!

White Poodles, on the other hand, were special in their own way: they frequently (but not always) come with painted black eyebrows that sometimes reached Spock-level goofiness.

But anyway, there you go: a bit of levity for your late Friday nights. More later in the weekend, I hope, as circumstances allow.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


A little over a month to BreyerFest, and I don’t even have my sales list done yet. (About the only thing going remotely well is my diorama entry, for some strange reason.)


I am guessing that there is not going to be much sleep for me between now and then?

One of the pieces I have managed to pull is my 1995 QVC Gem Twist. I have a lot of Jumping Horses as it is – including one Test and a Sample Kiowa – and I’d like to make room for a State Line Tack Jumpin’ Jupiter, because I think it’s just flat out the prettiest Jumping Horse release ever.

The QVC Gem Twist wasn’t technically a rerelease or reissue of the original Gem Twist – the former USET team member and Olympic medalist was still available in his original color and mold #495 – but a reinterpretation, I guess?

I found it very strange.

In 2002, they did another QVC “reinterpretation” – this time of the #718 General Lee’s Traveller. Instead of using the original Traditional Man o’ War mold, they used the San Domingo:

In this case, it made some sense to use a different mold, since he had been discontinued for a while (since 1999) and they also reissued the Traditional Man o’ War for QVC that year, too – as Man o’ War. Two releases on the same mold in the same year probably wouldn’t have flown with QVC.

Normally I’m not a fan of San Domingo in solid colors, and I had been having a hard time finding an acceptable Man o’ War Traveler to add to the herd – most of them either had weird trimming flaws or paint goobers – but I went ahead and bought this Traveler anyway.

And it turns out, I not only really liked him, he’s probably one of my favorite San Domingo releases ever, of the ones I can afford.

(The ones I love that I can’t afford? The 1997 Volunteer Model Moccasin, the BreyerFest 1999 Raffle Ransom. Or those Dealer Catalog Tests for the Stock Horse Stallion that EVERYBODY wants….)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Lime Green and Magenta

Everyone has their own likes and dislikes, so we’ll never be able to come up with a perfectly designed model horse that everyone will love. 

But as a thought experiment I once tried to dream up the ugliest possible Breyer ever, something so outrageous that everyone’s first reaction would be DO NOT WANT.

The “best” idea I could come up with, coming at it as a person who has a hard time hating any Breyer release, in any color? 

A Lime Green and Magenta Khemosabi. (The part that would put it over the top for me: the Magenta. Almost nothing looks good in Magenta.)

Sure, there’d always be a few people who would buy it for the sake of completion, or actually have a fondness for the mold or the colors, or be able to rationalize it as being “so ugly that it’s cute!” But the majority of us would take a pass on that one.

So guess what colors the BreyerFest Bazaar Stablemate is?

Oh, my. 

Actually, I think Navya’s cute, and definitely not the ugliest Breyer ever.

Two things are working in his favor. One, he’s on the new Stablemate Cob mold Django, and I like him a lot. He’s a little narrow chested, but otherwise I don’t see any especially egregious about him conformationally.

(I’m sure there’s something wrong, but I’d rather not go down that well today. Or any day, really.)

And he’s translucent! Translucency makes everything better, regardless of color or mold type. 

Like last year’s funky Orange, Brown and Lime Green Silver Pegasus, I have no worries about Navya not selling out. Collectors and Hobbyists tend to be more forgiving of oddly-colored Stablemates, since the financial commitment tends to be small anyway.

Since he’s only the second release of the Django mold, I suspect that a not-insignificant portion of them may sell as bodies, too. The original Stablemates Club Django is still selling pretty briskly at well over his original 20 dollar issue price, so 8 to 10 dollars for a scarce new Stablemate mold will seem like a bargain.