Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Hot and Cold and Everything In-Between

Today seems like another good day to wrap up some stray bits of business, since I am currently semi-immobilized underneath a massive pile of clothes, blankets and dog toys, fantasizing about it being 100 degrees warmer than it actually is.

Which would make it, literally, not as hot as an average day at BreyerFest. (You will never – well, almost never – hear me complain about the July Kentucky heat. I live in Michigan, folks: humidity is what we do for summer.)

If like me, you are not venturing outside unless you absolutely have to, but still want to get your horse shopping fix, here’s a nice little treat Reeves is offering us: would you like an inexpensive Espresso? Not the drink, but the Foalzilla of the same name:

She’s already on sale, but if you use the DOUBLESHOT19 code at checkout, she’s only be $14.95. That is... practically body box price!

(Not making this up, guys: this is legit. Just thought maybe some of you guys would want to know, you know?)

And while we’re on the topic of shopping: while I greatly appreciate all the offers of trades and Walmart shopping runs on my behalf, I’m still trying to keep my new acquisitions to a minimum, beyond the ones I’ve already committed to.

If I do find any of the Walmart stuff locally that’ll be great, but I will also be fine if I don’t. In the flea market off-season, I have to get my “thrill of the hunt” fix somehow…

(… but definitely not for the next couple of days!)

It appears that NAMHSA is also making another serious effort to put its own house in order, in the wake of the NAN 2019 cancellation. Will the efforts actually lead to real change, this time?
As the years have passed since that first NAN show, the hobby has evolved greatly, and the Board feels that NAMHSA has not always evolved as equally. To that end, the Board will be strategizing and channelling all energy into making positive changes for the organization and for NAN 2020. While this does include using your feedback to improve NAN, the Board wants to make NAMHSA about more than just the national model horse show. Some of the exciting developments to come include a members-only forum, youth events, new and improved NAMHSA swag, and a REBOOTED NAN coming in 2020.  
For 2019, the Board has decided to hold an alternative event in the same vein as No NANSense in 2017. This year’s event will be based on the 2017 event, which was well-received and held a little bit of something for everyone. The plan is to take 2019’s edition to the next level. Stay tuned for more information regarding No NANSense 2019!
(Relevant excerpt from the NAMHSA newsletter.)

I hope so. I do like that they seem to be (finally) taking the hint that for the organization to survive, or even thrive, it has to step up and actually offer more to the hobby than a national show that only a fraction of hobbyists can afford to attend in the first place.

I am kind of overcommitted on multiple fronts right now, so I can’t offer much more than a public thumbs-up of this possible way forward, and occasional late-night inspirations as they strike.

And lastly, it appears that I may have stumbled upon a keen BreyerFest Costume Contest idea. Keen as it (a) is an actual “hero” of mine, (b) can be achieved mostly by thrifting, and (c) also involves a cape, because you know I am all about wearing capes in public.

FYI: It’s not Lando Calrissian – I do not have the necessary panache to pull that off effectively – and it’s not Ziggy Stardust, because no amount of dieting will give me the body for that. (But if they don’t play this song during the Costume Contest at some point I will be severely disappointed.)

Monday, January 28, 2019


I don’t know what was going on with the Valentine’s Day Plushie Brownie that briefly flitted in and out of existence on Breyer’s social media a few days ago; I’m going to chalk it up as another not-entirely-accidental reveal that will be old news by the end of the week. A Valentine’s Day promotional plush did really well for them last year, so another one this year should not come as a huge surprise.

Since we have someone living here who’s life mission is to rip the faces off of every plushie that enters the house, me collecting plushes is a nonstarter. (The handful that I have are kept either in the closet, or in the car.)

As a person who has painted a horse or two chocolate brown, however, I’m all on board for the other chocolate-themed item that made its debut this year, the gloriously weird and strangely mesmerizing Cupcake:

I’m not a big fan of the mold – he’s a bit of a lunk-head and his mane and tail are oddly styled – and the only way Reeves has been able to convince me to buy them is by going entirely unrealistic, with releases like the BreyerFest 2016 Translucent Auriverde, and the 2018 Walmart Unicorn release Skyler.

(Technically I don’t have a Skyler yet, but it does seem like it’s only a matter of time.)

His mane and tail do kind of look like frosting, come to think of it, and I do like chocolate cake and sprinkles… so yeah, I’m on Team Cupcake!

I won’t be hooking myself up with a Cupcake until things are a little less hectic around here though; I’m assuming this will be around BreyerFest, when – like Bandera – I’ll have a corner of the store all to myself where I can handpick one from the several dozen that will inevitably be available.

Buy what you love, and own it, people! Whether it’s a fancy-shmantzy hyper-realistic horse completely hand painted with a single-hair paintbrush, or the fever dream of a delirious and horse-crazy nine-year-old at a birthday party.

(I never had a horse-themed birthday party of my own, growing up. *Sniff*)

Friday, January 25, 2019

Harper, Ginger, and Inventory

This was the first week of the year I was able to devote myself to one of the scarier tasks on my resolution to-do list: inventory. For various sundry reasons I straight-up abandoned inventorying early in the year, and now I have nearly a year’s worth of models to sort out and catalog.

I think I thought it’d be fine because I was being good about restraining my horse purchases, but my lack of shelf and office space says otherwise! So until I sort out this mess (where did all these Stablemates come from?!) I guess I’ll have to really rein in my purchases even harder…

January is nearly over and done with and so far, so good: the only “nonessential” models I’ve purchased have been those in the Tractor Supply Mustang Set, the one from the first half of last year that featuring the Harper and the Sport Horse Foal. I spotted them at Tuesday Morning a couple weeks back, while I was looking for craft supplies to finish up some even older items on my to-do list:

I’m willing to forgive myself with this one, since it’s not sticking around: I bought it primarily for research purposes. I haven’t owned or examined a Harper mold prior to this, and the price was good enough that recouping my investment later in the year shouldn’t be an issue.

Many hobbyists see Harper as a modern replacement/upgrade of the Classic Ginger mold. Although the Ginger mold is a little further down on my “Favorites” list, I do still have a certain fondness for her.

I like Harper’s pose (obviously) and I like the way the mane and tail are sculpted: sculpted hair is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I think the way a sculptor handles the terminal elements of a mold – the mane, tail, muzzle, ears and hooves – says a lot more about the artist’s mastery of the subject matter and the medium than the biomechanics do.

(Which is why I think the selection of “Great Hair Day!” as the BreyerFest Custom Contest Theme Class this year is secretly brilliant.)

But nice hair is not quite enough to overcome my nostalgia for the Ginger, just yet. Put her in the right color, finish or set and I might eventually change my mind, but for the time being I have a couple hundred uninventoried equines telling me to turn my attention elsewhere.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Malik and the Classic Andalusian Stallion

It’s nice to see everyone excited about a new Classics mold that not either a Love reissue, or a repurposed Nonplastics/Gallery piece:

A lot of the excitement over Malik is because OMG, it’s an affordable Original Finish Plastic Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig Arabian! 

That’s totally fair.

But what got me excited was its obvious visual shout-back to another Breyer Classics milestone, the Andalusian Family Stallion:

Breyer had released individual Classics-scale horses as early as 1965 – starting with the Rearing Horse Rex – and used the molds leased from Hagen-Renaker in the early 1970s to launch the “Classics” line altogether.

But in late 1978, the Andalusian Family became Breyer’s first fully formed, internally-designed (Hess, of course) Classics family set.

More sets would shortly follow, including the No. 3040 Black Beauty Family and Friends Set and the No. 3035 USET Gift Set in 1980, and the No. 3030 The Black Stallion Returns Set in 1983.

The Andalusian Family was such a big deal for me, though, that I went out of my way to hand my aunt the Bentley Sales Company order forms – carefully annotated, naturally – with my Christmas list, so I could be the first kid in my social circle to have them, at least a month or two before they hit retail stores!

(Yes, that’s the very Stallion from the set that I received, above.)

It was also an important moment for me personally, as it was one of the earliest moments in my life that I realized I had access to the power and resources of a “fandom” – i.e. the model horse community – and I liked it!

Sunday, January 20, 2019


Yes, it’s a Clydesdale Mare, who bears a remarkable similarity to the Passage to the Pacific Exclusive Event Palisades:

Pepper is beautiful and I love her and I’ll probably get her, but Reeves, we need to talk about your Disney problem.

This is the second Special Run reveal after the Celebration Horse, and the second named after/inspired by a Marvel Universe character.

As someone who was collecting comic books before I was even aware of the existence of Breyer Horses, who has been to almost as many comics conventions as BreyerFest, who has worn a cape in public, and has even been a member of comic book APA (the legendary Interlac), nobody’s more excited about a potential exploration of super-heroic themes at BreyerFest.

This is my wheelhouse, people. You think I get obscure talking about mold stamp variations on the Family Arabian Foal? You haven’t seen me talk about the historical significance of Justice League: Detroit, or why I consider Billy Batson the Captain Marvel.

But I have been a DC girl since… well, forever. The last Marvel product I bought was their Miracleman/Marvelman collections, and they were Marvel products in a legal sense and not much else.

And I rarely watch any of the Disney-Marvel movies because while they are technically competent, I find them safe, boring and unchallenging – and in fact the very antithesis of what made many flock to Marvel in the 1960s.

So I am now a little apprehensive that this BreyerFest – like some others before it – will be both literally and metaphorically Disneyfied. While there is a sizable contingent of people who go out of their way to insist that “not all heroes wear capes”, I for one would like to point out that not every hero who wears a cape is owned by Disney.

It’s probably moot at this point – all that’s really left now of the Special Run design process now is the tweaking. (Allegedly they’re even going to reveal the Volunteer Special soon? Which doesn't strike me as the best idea, for so many reasons...)

I won’t let a silly thing like a name be a determinant in my purchases, if all other signs point to yes. Since I tend to name my draft horses after various deities old and New, my Pepper may well be renamed Barda, anyway.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Let The Guessing Games Begin!

Current speculation on what the next Special Run reveal for BreyerFest – based on the tiny sneak peek they provided us on the blog yesterday – is running towards either the Adios or the Clydesdale Mare:

Both have similar coat textures, and both debuted in 1969, more or less. Precise release dates for new mold releases from 1968 through 1970 are actually kind of hard to pin down, but that’s another topic entirely and not something I’m up to untangling today.

(I didn’t sleep well last night, so I’ve been fuzzy all day.)

But let’s nip this one particular nugget of misinformation in the discussion in the bud: the #47 Man o’ War was definitely a 1967 release, not a 1969 one. While I think it’d be awesome if they did offer a Traditional Man o’ War as one of the Special Runs this year (because I’m still a bit chafed about last year’s Early Bird Raffle Model Riddlethis particular model can’t be him.

Anyway, if it’s a choice between the two (I haven’t really done a muscle by muscle comparison, yet. Fuzzy: see above) I’m rooting for the Clydesdale Mare. Aside from being a favorite of mine, the mold has had a rather illustrious history of BreyerFest releases, including the coveted 1998 Special Run Shannon, the (much underrated) 2003 Celebration Horse Gladwin Lucky Lady, and the 2013 Volunteer Special Run Gloss Palomino Opry:

There’s also the 2007 Reserve Champ Show Prize Betsy Ross, but they only made nine of her. Unless I am bequeathed one in a will, or one mysteriously appears on my doorstep, that one will never grace my horseshelves.

It also helps that mold has been in production very recently, with the last of the well-received Tractor Supply Special Run release Alba still lingering in some remoter stores. (I am still trying my best to resist!)

We’ll all know by Friday, regardless.

Sunday, January 13, 2019


They’ve teased us with imaginary BreyerFest horses before – remember the Palomino Silver from 2009, and the Gold Ethereal from 2010?

But lo and behold, they’ve actually gone and done it this year, with the Early Bird Raffle Model Cap:

Well, more or less – the initial original promo pictures showed a Matte piece without a pearly mane and tail. These concessions were done, I assume, to gussy him up and distinguish him from previous Light Chestnut/Dark Palomino releases of this Saddlebred mold, beginning with the original piece featured on the 50th Anniversary Clock back in 2000.

Gloss because Gloss, and Pearl because it happens to be the traditional gift of 30th anniversaries.

(And who also, incidentally, one of my favorite characters on Steven Universe.)

You all know that I am not the biggest fan of the Clock Saddlebred mold – I don’t actively dislike him, but given the choice between multiple molds in the same color, it’s unlikely he’d be my first choice. But he looks amazing in this color, which was first seen on one of last year’s big hits at the BreyerFest Benefit Auction, that Five-Gaiter:

I was genuinely surprised that the Five-Gaiter went for as much as it did last year. Outside of the original Decorators, and nicely shaded or Chalky examples of the #52 Sorrel, the Five-Gaiter mold is simply not that popular today.

With a little careful shopping, you can acquire a Woodgrain, Palomino or Alabaster for less than the cost of a retail Traditional! That just boggles my mind, since I’m old enough to remember when the Palomino and Alabaster were absolute must-haves for any Breyer collector.

But such is the power of a beautiful, well-executed color that it can make a mold someone is indifferent to, and make it desirable.

If I am lucky enough to win one (ha!) I would give him the rather pedestrian name of Steve – because as most “true believers” should already know, “Cap” is Captain America’s nickname! And generic enough to get around potential trademark issues.

(That industry can be quite, umm, litigious about such things...)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Saddle Snaps

Sometimes research hunches lead to big or significant finds… and sometimes, they don’t.

This is a case of the latter, rather than the former.

I had always been curious about the snap fasteners used on Breyer snap saddles – specifically the ones used on the Western Horse, the Western Pony, and the #36 Racehorse. Was there an interesting tale to be told there?

Depends on your definition of interesting, I guess.

Most of these saddles used Klikit brand fasteners, which were manufactured by the Rau Fastener Company of Providence, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1911, and ceased to be in the late 1990s, when it was acquired by its competitor, Scovill Fasteners.

Here’s the trademark info:

Just about the only other thing worth noting about Klikit snaps is that they were extensively used in apparel, especially on the old-timey Western-style shirts favored by Hollywood cowboys and rockabilly artists.

However, most snaps – then, and now – were used on more utilitarian articles of clothing, where buttons would be either a hassle or a liability – like uniforms, outerwear, and baby accessories.

(And costumes, too. But I’m not thinking about that right now, I’m really not…)

Even though the Klikit brand has been out of production for at least 20 years, old warehouse stock can still be found on eBay – if you’re especially keen about restoring Breyer snap saddles or vintage clothing.

Snaps aren’t all that hard to assemble/attach, incidentally, as long as you have the right tools for the job. Easier than sewing on a button, actually!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Alborozo Chase

My Darley came the other day, and he brought a friend with him!

Since the Unicorn Surprise Blind Bags have been extremely scarce around here, I decided to toss one in to my Darley order and be happy with whatever the warehouse randomly shipped me.

Like the Blind Bag Stablemate that I ordered earlier this year that netted me an Appaloosa Django, it actually worked out better than I hoped for! While the standard Pearly Lavender Mini Alborozos aren’t that rare or expensive, I also wanted to wait and see if I could get around paying the (modest) premium anyway.

And I did! The Navy Blue Chase piece would have been even better, but I am not one of those people. (Lucky, or obsessed.)

Alas, it appears that the Alborozo will be the chase piece in this year’s version of the Stablemates Mystery Horse Surprise Assortment, too – though hornless, this time.

This is turning into the Traditional Esprit all over again, isn’t it? Take a mold that’s popular from the get-go, but make all the initial releases difficult to get…

I get it: the short-term sales are great! But it also ends up spoiling some of us on the mold to begin with. What’s the point of trying to collect it, if you find yourself starting out in a deep hole right from the beginning?

It’s not like a vintage mold, where the chance of a rarity turning up in the wild is an actual possibility. That’s what’s the most disheartening about collecting more modern and/or popular molds, and especially the newer Stablemates. With older molds, at least, I can usually count on the chance that if I miss a new release of it now, I’ll still be able to find it out “in the wild” eventually.

Most of the Stablemates Alborozos being bought are going straight into to secondary market, with few making intermediate stops in wider world.

The Alborozo is also a part of the Walmart Exclusive Unicorn Crazy Surprises, too, but I don’t know if he’s going to be the chase piece in that one yet, or not. They’re only just trickling out to the stores now, and I haven’t made much of an effort to seek them out online or offline.

I am in no mood for playing games this year, so I might just skip the Stablemates search efforts entirely and focus my energies on more rewarding hobby pursuits.

(That Appaloosa Mini Brishen, though. Argh! And the Purple Mini Magnolia!)

I do have that one Mesteno custom I started last year that I could definitely work into the “Great Hair Day!” Theme Class. Yeah, maybe that instead.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

BreyerFest 2019 Stuff

Feeling a bit under the weather today – nothing specific, I think, just the exhaustion and stress of an overwhelming year finally catching up with me.

Part of the reason for that is that I didn’t get nearly enough done of what I wanted to get done in 2018: my multitasking habit did me in, again. To start out 2019 on a better note, I spent a good part of yesterday evaluating what I think I can realistically accomplish this year, and packing or putting away projects that aren’t feasible.

As far as model horse stuff goes, I’ll continue to keep purchases to a minimum, barring incidental finds. I want to focus on acquiring a handful achievable ($350 and under) grails instead.

If I get caught up on my sewing projects, I’ll finally start customizing again. Mind you, it’s not likely, but I am keeping that possibility on the table – as is the possibility of attending a live show.

I thought kinda-maybe-sorta I could do BreyerFest Live this year, but I don’t think so, since it’s counter to the treat-BreyerFest-like-a-real-vacation notion that I was toying with.

If I am going to do a live show, I think it is better to start out with one that requires less in the way of logistics. Show horses plus sales horses plus everything else I need to bring makes for a very crowded station wagon!

Since we’re on the subject…

Here’s all the assorted links for BreyerFest stuff that just happened to go live today. Since I know some of you still have troubles navigating the site, I’ll provide the most essential. (I have some spatial awareness issues of my own. I won’t judge!):

Early Bird Tickets

Volunteer Application 

Changes for 2019

“Changes for 2019” is a summary page that includes of the scheduling changes to both the Auction and Costume Contest, and the live show and contest links. There is also an announcement of another new feature for this year: being able to select your preferred Special Run Line Ticket times!

The theme for the “Costume Contest is Not All Heroes Wear Capes (But Some Do!)”, the Diorama Contest is “Salute To BreyerFest!” (a BreyerFest-themed Parade Float), and the Theme Class for the Custom Contest is “Great Hair Day!”

I have ideas for all three, but whether I have the time (or motivation) to do any of them is the question.

(Right now, the answer is no.)