Friday, August 31, 2018

They Find You

Another thing that was entirely predictable: after telling myself and the world that I’m trying to cut back on buying horsey stuff for the duration, I find a box lot of 1970s-era body quality models at the Salvation Army literally the next day:

It really does seem like I plan this sort of thing! But I swear to Vita that I didn’t.

The first thought I had when I found them was “When I stop looking for horses, the horses come looking for me.” (For what it’s worth, I was there looking for clothes and shoes for work. I swear.)

The worst part, though, was when the cashier made the comment “Boy, these horses are selling like hotcakes!”

OMG, there were more? 

Anyway, as you can see, they’re mostly models from the mid- to late 1970s, or basically my prime horse-crazy years. These were the kinds of models I then aspired to owning – in better condition, of course.

Their previous owner once thought very highly of them too – many of these horses have glossed hooves, and the Bay Proud Arabian Foal was at one point decapitated (accidentally, I presume) but repaired.

Most of the models from this era had extended production runs, and all of the models here are definitely body quality, so the likelihood that I missed something awesome is rather slim.

The only thing that really bothers me is that there might have missed some cool variations: while  collectively quite common, models from that time period have a reputation for variations. Things like random socks, funky dappling, and dramatic body shading can turn a body quality model into a shelf sitter right quick.

I try to comfort myself with the thought that at the time I got there and the day of the week I went shopping, any of the other models that sold before I arrived went to the grandparents of horse-crazy preteens.

And if those models help inspire a love of Breyer models from that era with the younger set, I’m all for it.

Anyway, most of these guys will be heading to the body sales box. The Galiceno is tempting and I’ve seen a couple of really neat Fantasy customs on the Classic Andalusian Stallion, but I don’t have time to finish the customs I’ve already started, much less start more. Then again, by the time I have time to start selling things again, my creative calendar might be clear too.

In the meantime, my extended weekend will be spent cleaning the house, the office and the garden. Finishing at least one quilting project would be great too, if I can manage.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Getting My Circadian Rhythm Back

Effective this week, there will be a change in my work schedule that may or may not affect my posting schedule here.

I’ll also be curtailing my online sales activity, and probably not doing much shopping beyond obligate club purchases and incidental finds. (Which is kind of a bummer, since many of the Duchess pieces I “need” decided to show up on eBay this past week.)

There’s some remodeling going on here and stuff is still everywhere, and will likely be for the next couple of months. To be honest, it’s stressing me out more than it should. No need to add anything more to the pile of things that already can’t be dealt with.

(I can’t believe I once harbored thoughts of being a “completist”. Silly me.)

As I’ve intimated here before and elsewhere, there are some things I want (and need!) to accomplish by the end of the year, and this change to my schedule will help with that.

One of those things will involve monetizing the blog, eventually and slightly. I want to have some merchandise – the usual t-shirts and swag, but also want to make some reference and research materials available for purchase. (A Sampler Omnibus, Marney’s photo album, some article collections, etc.

I’m also thinking about starting a Patreon account, but that notion is strictly in its exploratory phase right now.

So, long story short, if my postings get a little haywire over the next few weeks – multiple postings over several days, or no postings for nearly a week – don’t panic. At the latest, I’m hoping everything will be straightened out by the end of October.

And then you will (i hope) get more of me on a more regular basis. For better or worse!

In the meantime, here’s a not-random picture of a Test Color; I was looking up something else entirely, and ran across what might be Marney’s original reference picture for that Test Color Mahogany Bay Stock Horse Stallion I purchased from The Horse You Want at BreyerFest few years back:

I cannot remember if I posted this or not, but in my slightly addlepated state I think it is neat to see it again, whether it is the first or second time.

(His name was Darrell.)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Fine Apparel

I haven’t gotten around to these yet, I might as well now…

Yup, the Breyer socks that I coveted. I ordered them as an extra on top of an order I placed, but the rest of the order was canceled, so I ended up getting a box with just… socks.

Normally the arrival of new novelty socks in the house is something to be celebrated, but I’m actually a bit bummed because the whole point of my waiting to get the socks was to add them to an order to mitigate the postage costs.

In spite of my best efforts, I still ended up paying for postage on a box with nothing but socks in it. Fooey!

On the other hand, I suppose I could just wear them as an ensemble with one of my Volunteer T-shirts to offset the cost:

Let me tell you, I was probably just a little more excited about the t-shirts than was necessary. Gosh, this is what real conventions do! I haven’t gotten around to putting one into my regular t-shirt rotation at work, but I’m sure I will at some point.

The first Breyer “wearables”, of course, were the Bolo Ties of the 1970s, sculpted by Bob Scriver – yes, the same man who later brought us Buckshot. Incidentally, I recently I found the online listing of Scriver’s personal archive, and the references to Breyer materials related to the Bolo Ties intrigue me. If I ever make it out to that part of the country, I will have to plan a visit:

After that, there was that odd belt buckle offer in the Winter 1979 issue of Just About Horses that was more of a Peter Stone vanity/side project than a Breyer thing, and then… nothing much for years.

It has always surprised me that Breyer – even after the acquisition by Reeves – was not quick to capitalize on the hobbyist desire for branded apparel.

It even took them a while to get the ball really rolling on BreyerFest swag. I was unimpressed by the earliest BreyerFest shirts, and ended up making my own for a couple of years.

Aside from the design challenge it presented, I kind of wanted to make the point that it didn’t take all that much extra effort to come up with something special.

The problem has long since been solved, except for the sizing – in previous years they didn’t make enough of the larger sizes, and this year they probably made too many.

(FYI: I’m hoping to have a shop for the blog – with my own shirts and swag! – by the end of the year. But more on my plans for the rest of the year, next time.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Hands Down

Another day, another Walmart, another full and unrifled-through box of Surprise Mini Whinnies. I guess someone is trying to tell me I picked a wrong time to put a hold on collecting Mini Whinnies, huh?

I’ll probably regret not getting them later on. Ah, well.

Here’s something I didn’t regret or pass up: the BreyerFest Pop-Up Store Stablemate Special Run Hands Down, who was an easy pick up for me on Sunday.

Usually the Pop-Up Store Stablemate release either sells out, or sells well, but there was a substantial pile of them when I finally got a chance to peruse what remained on Sunday (no Tervis Tumbers, rats!)

I was pretty happy to discover that it was injection-molded plastic, and not something more breakable. I think that apprehension – and the fact that the mold has molded on tack – probably led to the more modest sales this year.

I liked him a lot more in person than I thought I would! It is neat that in spite of its origins as an ornament, the item also stand pretty well on its own – a nod, perhaps, to the original Breyer Robin Hood set from the 1950s, where the rider itself is also (quite cleverly) designed to stand on its own.

Although there have been several resin and china molds released with molded-on tack in recent years, the last “new” free-standing injection-molded Traditional molds were the Pacer and Man o’ War in the mid-1960s.

These earlier items with molded-on tack – especially the Western Horse, Pony, Prancer, and the Old Timer – still continue to be made, and in many cases are often among Breyer’s better-selling items!

But alas, not among hobbyists: we prefer removable tack to the molded-on variety. That’s why newer molds with molded-on tack tend to be items that are specifically designed to be admired from afar or on a tree, rather than something you’d see in a show ring.

The Hands Down is something slightly different from BreyerFest Stablemates releases of the past: he wasn’t really designed for the hobbyist, but for the more casual attendees, or the hobby-curious.

To mixed results, obviously.

It was kind of an experimental year all-around for BreyerFest; it’ll be interesting to see what they decide to keep, and what they decide to discard. Will we go back to a more standard Stablemate release next year, or continue with the more souvenir-like items like Hands Down?

I’m fine, either way.

Sunday, August 19, 2018


Well, that was completely expected.

Technically it wasn’t officially “gone” when I went back late the next day – someone apparently called earlier and put the Alborozo (and only the Alborozo!) on hold.

I’m more annoyed than mad, though; I had to deal with an insanely long road trip for work that day and that made a call and/or pickup arrangements extremely impractical anyway.

But mostly I am a little puzzled by all the fight put up for an item that there’s no guarantee of being limited or exclusive? All over a modest mark-up, at that?

I did feel sorry for all of the other Painting Kits left behind, especially the mini Magnolia – I’ve spent a lifetime finishing in second place, so I know how it feels to think the spotlight is yours at last, and… nope.

For the record, I did see some of the Stablemates Alborozo Unicorns at BreyerFest. However, I didn’t have the chance to give them the careful, in-the-round inspection I wanted: BreyerFest just isn’t the time or place for careful inspection, or introspection.

So now I’ll have to wait a little longer, until everyone else gets this nonsense out of their system, and local suppliers finally get some of those Unicorn Surprise Box Assortments on their shelves.


In the meantime, here’s a picture of my Palomino Dead Heat:

I had decidedly, initially, to pass it by; I love the Ruffian mold, but it’s longer than an extremely relaxed housecat, and shelf space is already at a premium here.

But after the inevitable disappointments of (a) no Glosses, (b) no Prizes and (c) no Raffle models I went and got one sooner, rather than later. It didn’t hurt that it was the American Pharoah version of the mold, as well – short-tailed, with the boy bits – and since I haven’t gotten around to getting one of those yet, I could totally justify it.

I wasn’t thrilled that they decided to start the sale on the Special Run Leftovers at the very same time as the Sunday Raffle; by the time the Raffle was over, everything but the Dead Heat and the Newmarket was gone.

It was inevitable with shifting the Sunday Raffle past the last ticket time on Sunday that there’d be a conflict; it wasn’t a problem for me this year since I had already gotten everything I “needed” earlier anyway. I’ll just have to remember to plan accordingly next year, just in case.  

Thursday, August 16, 2018


So this is what I get for not trying too hard:

The Appaloosa Django came with my Stablemates Club order; in addition to the Glow-in-the-Dark set I finally decided on to capitalize on the weekend Stablemates sale, I tossed in a couple of Mystery Stablemates Bags just for the heck of it, too. I hadn’t purchased any yet locally – mostly because I haven’t found any to purchase – so it was going to be a win-win regardless of who showed up in those bags.

Then I stopped at a Walmart on the way home from work yesterday; Back-to-School sales are in full swing, and I really needed a new lunch bag for work…

After that, I swung by the toy department: the Pink Icelandic was long-gone of course, but everyone else in the Series 2 Mystery Box was still available, and I wanted them anyway – especially the Fleabitten Gray Dungaree. The Liver Chestnut G2 Saddlebred is lovely too, which came as a surprise; the photos I’ve been seeing of him online do not do it justice.

There was also a fresh, full box of the Mini Whinnies Surprises, but after a couple of minutes of poking around, I decided I had had my fun and let someone else have the pleasure of a lucky find.

This particular Walmart did not have the 4-piece Stablemates Set with the Bay Django and Dun Tushar, but at least a half-dozen of the older 4-piece Stablemates Set and a couple of the Classics Unicorns. Since I’m not all that into Unicorns at the moment, and that SM set is basically a renumbered “Reissue” of the Horse Crazy Set I already have, I took a pass on all of them.

Then this afternoon I went to the local Salvation Army to look for some new pants for work; I stopped in at the local Tractor Supply next door, and they had just put out their Mystery Stablemates a few minutes before.

I found the shelf label for the Stablemates Paint Kits, but they weren’t out yet, so I guess I’ll be making a return trip to the store tomorrow after work – that is, if someone else doesn’t get there first.

Since the secret to my success in Stablemates hunting appears to depend on my lack of worry, I’m not going to worry about that, either. And I’ll be fine, regardless!

I have a funny feeling those Paint Kits will not be a TSC-only exclusive, anyway. I just want to see the mini Alborozo and mini Magnolia in person, dangnabit.

I have to get up at an entirely unreasonable hour for work tomorrow, so that’s all for today, folks.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Pursuit

Since I took a big step today in alleviating the incredibly high stress levels I’ve been experiencing for the past few months, I decided to buy an off-the-shelf horse or two to celebrate. I was originally going to go with an LV Integrity, on the Yasmin mold, but I came home with some Stablemates instead:

The shading on the Icelandic is amazing; he has a few minor production boo-boos that’ll preclude me from showing him, but my primary objective today was Ooo, Pretty Horsies and he fits the bill.

The G2 Thoroughbred was chosen because I particularly like his spots. All of the others had bigger and cleaner spots, and his randomly-sized freckles really stood out in contrast. I also liked the fact that he is not actually black but either a very, very dark gray or roaning black.

Another thing I’ll be doing to alleviate the stress this week? Not doing a darn thing to follow up or pursue any of the latest crazy/rare/obscure Stablemates floating around. Because now apparently, there are some at Tractor Supply too?


There are ten – yes, ten – Tractor Supply Stores within an hour’s driving distance to me, including one that’s just down the road. But I am not going to go make any special effort to get to any of them in pursuit of the Copper Florentine Django, the Unicorn Alborozo paint kit, or anything else.

I don’t want to feel like I’m being forced to buy anything because they might be even more unaffordable later than they are now. In every other nonmonetary term – time, money, and headspace – they’re already unaffordable.

If I happen to be in the vicinity, or driving by in pursuit of something else, of course I’ll stop in and take a look. But I don’t have the resources for anything more than that.

I have more immediate things to worry about. Like how I managed to lose my keys inside my car for a half-hour last week. (I know the past couple of weeks have been rough on my psyche, but seriously?)

If I want some new horses, you’ll find me over in the Regular Run aisle, doing some handpicking.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Raleigh, Etc.

This week was about on par with last week in terms of stress, drama and overall chaos. (But I did finally get my nachos!)

I managed to visit most of the local Walmarts within my usual driving area this week, but most of the stores were either just getting ready to do their reset, or weren’t even considering it yet when I visited. Since my schedule over the next couple of weeks is straight-up crazy, that’s probably the end of my local Walmart Stablemates search.

Bah! I picked such a bad year to focus on Stablemates!

At least the Stablemates Club Raleigh will be coming this way shortly:

Did you know that the Saddlebred was the first of the 16 original Hagen-Renaker molds adapted to plastic? That’s why it appears first in the Stablemates numbering sequence: the original releases were the #5001 Dapple Gray, and the #5002 Bay.

It’s also the only G1 Stablemates mold that is its own mold: all of the others are paired up with another Stablemate, to make it more cost-efficient to run. I believe his solitary nature is because they used the Saddlebred as their test piece before they went ahead and produced the other 15 molds.

Thus explaining the lack of detailing between the mold’s ears.

This is also why the mold was probably used to make the 25th Anniversary Silver-plated Promotional piece that makes everybody so crazy whenever it shows up on the Internet. Someday one of you kind shall be mine, G1 Silver Saddlebred!

(I have this strangely detailed fantasy that I’ll be rummaging around in someone’s old jewelry box at the flea market, and find one tangled up in a knot of funky rhinestone-encrusted owl necklaces from the 1970s. I’ve found things in stranger circumstances, so it could happen...)

Since they’re running a Stablemates sale this weekend, I might toss in a few others in my order just for the heck of it. After making it through the past two weeks, I think I deserve a few.

I wanted to wait until the end of the year – and the possible return of the Free Holiday Gloss Promotion – to buy all the newer ones en masse off the web site. But I recently added everything up I wanted, and there appears to be more than enough to fill up a couple of potential orders. So which ones will I buy first?

At the moment I’m leaning towards the 8-piece Blister Card Assortment; while I love them all actually, I really could use that Icelandic and Appaloosa Dungaree:

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Bay, Bay and Bay

If Monday was any indication of what’s to come, it looks like this week is shaping up to be a sequel to last week.

However, I decided to take some of that this-only-seems-to-happen-to-me stress out on one of my hapless customizing projects (that Mesteno’s Mother mold I blathered about a while back) so it’s nothing but pretty ponies for the rest of the post, yay!

Specifically, three Bay Western Prancing Horses:

The older “Sorrel” variation of the #114 Bay Western Prancer, the later “Bay” variation of the same release, and the Tractor Supply release of Annie Oakley’s Prince.

The Sorrel was one of my very first in-hobby purchases, and I was positively giddy when I got him: he was my first model with eyewhites, and one of the first models I purchased that was older than me!

The Bay Bay was a CHIN purchase. I was looking around the hotel hoping to upgrade my Buckskin WPH; I thought I had a potential candidate, but didn’t pass closer inspection. Then I found the Bay Bay variation, so I bought him and called it a day.

The Prince was an NPOD find. He’s not a true Sample or anything interesting like that, just a bubble-wrapped warehouse leftover I found when I was wandering about the NPOD sometime over the weekend. I had been half-heartedly looking for on eBay, but the prices were scaring me off.

Unlike other Sorrel variations of the 1960s Bays (like the Fighting Stallion, and the Family Arabians) it appears that the Sorrel Western Prancing Horse is actually rather plentiful and common.

The Bay Bay – distinguished from the Sorrel by the reddish cast to his body, and a Black mane and tail – was made for at least a year or two before he was discontinued at the end of 1971, as my example doesn’t have the USA mold mark.

As far as I know, the #114 Bay release – either the Sorrel Bay or the Bay Bay – never had any kind of black paint on the hooves or legs. Saddles for the Bay, unlike some of the other vintage Western Prancer releases, could be either Tan or Gray.

I think I’m all Bayed out now. Unless something shows up with a sticker or box. Not likely, but you never know with me.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Horse You Need

The week started with such promise – one of my regular dealers at the flea market told me he had a large collection for me to look at, I thought I had some of the BreyerFest One-Day Stablemates coming my way, nachos were on the menu this week, I found some extra large socks on clearance at Meijer…

And somehow at the end of it, all I had to show for it was a bruised middle finger.

Kind of emblematic of how the whole week went, I suppose.

(I wasn’t doing anything untoward with the finger, it was just me being clumsy and injuring myself in my usual unique ways. The lack of nachos hurt more, to be honest.)

I ended up buying myself a pony a couple of days ago in hopes of assuaging the whole darn week away. He’s not out of the box yet because that’s another story we don’t want to get into today:

I’ve been eyeing this guy for a while, and I had a coupon. I have a soft spot for the homely little Standing Stock Horse Foal, and I found his Splash Spot Semi-Leopard Appaloosa well-executed and very appealing. He’ll look real nice next to my Fun Foals Pintaloosa SSHF, once I figure out where that little guy went.

(Sigh. The current state of my office is largely not my fault, but again, this is not a story we want to get into.)

However, his most important feature was also his most obvious: he was available.

Collecting isn’t always about what you want, but what is accessible. You can’t collect things you can’t get your hands on.

Sure, I’d love to own more Glossy Prize models, or some of those Walmart Exclusive Stablemates, or more Woodgrains, or any vintage Decorators. But barring lucky finds these are all fairly unlikely, at least in the near future.

Weeks like this remind me that I need to stop stressing myself out over items I can’t get in the first place. If they happen, they happen. If they don’t, there are other horses in the pasture.

Rocky was almost immediately available, and when and where I needed him.

To paraphrase a few well-known songs, if you can’t buy the horses you want, buy the horses you need.