Sunday, June 30, 2019

Black Beauty Western Pony

Let’s see – the garden’s been abandoned, for now. I gave up on even starting the diorama yesterday. I’m tripping over almost everything in the house and I still haven’t entirely finished either the Sampler or my Sales List.

Yep, full panic mode activated!

I know I’ll pull it out like a superhero, but dang, the view is scary from here!

Anyway, here’s a little something to admire along the way – a Black Beauty Western Pony! Isn’t she cute?

She was one of my earliest in-hobby purchases, from ca. 1980: I think I bought her from an ad in Shari Struzan’s The Hobby Horse, a hobby publication that briefly became the hobby’s oasis after Linda Walter shuttered The Model Horse Shower’s Journal.

(And I only managed to get a subscription to The Hobby Horse because I managed to place a classified in either the last, or next to last issue of the MHSJ. More about that crazy story some other day…)

Back then, we pretty much bought and sold everything sight unseen: in the stores, everything except the Stablemates came in closed cardboard boxes, and it was too much of a hassle to take and send photographs back and forth while negotiating for a horse off of a newsletter sales list.

You took your fellow hobbyists at their word, and sent the money. For the most part, I wasn’t disappointed. (Sure, there were some, but not as many as you might have thought.)

I bought her along with the Black Beauty Western Horse, because even then I was kind of obsessed with early Breyer History, and why the heck not?

Keep in mind, I hadn’t even seen an actual Black Beauty Western Horse or Pony at that point, either. So not only was I buying something I hadn’t had a chance to inspect, I had virtually no idea what to expect when they finally got here.

I was obviously pleased, because they’re still here, all these years later….

As a bonus, here’s an ad for the Black Beauty Western Pony from the September 1953 issue of Western Horseman

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Bernadette’s Box

Bernadette arrived – in pretty Wedgewood Blue!

The graphically, her Touchability Box is pretty close to the original, but made of far better materials, which was basically the same corrugated cardboard the original shippers were made of – just reconfigured and with fancier (two-color!) printing!

The original Touchability Boxes only came with the Family Arabians, for a very brief period of time in the late 1960s. They were an experiment in more retail-friendly packaging that went… poorly.

Horses got scuffed, horses got stolen, and they were hard to stack and store on the shelf. It’d be another five years before they’d finally just go with the closed “white boxes” all of us who bought horses in the 1970s knew and loved.

They did an updated version of the Touchability Box in 2009/2010 for the My Favorite Horse Series, a line of older molds – like Buckshot, Sherman Morgan, Quarter Horse Yearling – designed with younger kids in mind.

They experimented with it again on the presumption that touching a Breyer horse will make a kid more likely to want it.

(Well, it certainly does in my case!)

That experiment didn’t last long either – same problems as before, duh – and they went right back to the standard clear plastic boxes shortly thereafter.

The original Touchability Boxes are extremely scarce, and I’m lucky to have the one that I have, that I purchased back in 1998 for the then kinda-scary price of $50.00 – and sight unseen, too!

Technically, Breyer originally referred to this type of packaging as a “Display Carton”; the word “touchability” only appears in the text of the original announcement flier, and in the intervening years that name has stuck.

I would say that in spite of the steep price tag I paid for my Gray Appaloosa FAS over twenty years ago, it was a good investment. I could probably sell it for at least ten times that in less time than it would take me to go to the fridge and grab a drink.

In case your rare packaging radar went off, this is not going to happen. Though when things like this happen, it makes me think twice:

Oh no, not again!

In spite of my shortage of fun money so close to BreyerFest, one does not let a scarce and pretty Old Timer slip by. I’ll just have to extra careful with my trip money this this year, I guess.

(Which I should be doing anyway, but we all know how that goes!)

Monday, June 24, 2019

The 2019 BreyerFest Program

In case you didn’t know, this year’s program is up. First, the important bits – Special Run piece counts and prices:

Pop Up Store Items:
711351 RCMP Musical Ride (Classic) - 1000/$30
711352 Officer Oliver Plush - 1000/$18
711353 Sarge (Stablemate) - 2000/$10
711354 10 Piece Celebration Horse Miniatures 2010-2019 - 2000/$60
711355 Defiant (Crystal) - 750/$45

Store Specials:
711349 Zipped in Black Magic - 1000/$75
711356 Rico - 1000/$75
711366 Hal - 1250/$70

Tent Models:
711341 Banner - 800/$65
711342 Bucky - 800/$55
711343 Hero’s Welcome Surprise - 4250/$85
711344 Pepper - 1545/$65
711345 Diana - 1800/$70
711346 Rocket - 1725/$65
711347 Quill - 1680/$65
711348 Natasha - 1650/$60

A few breakdowns and takeaways…

The total number of Tent pieces is 14,250(!) which means that they’re planning for approximately 7,000 3-day tickets sold, under the assumption that each attendee fully redeems their Tent SR tickets.

(Their calculations are probably a little more sophisticated than that, but close enough is good enough.)

It’s interesting that they’re producing more of the Store Special Hal than they are of the Rico; you’d think they’d know the popularity of the Silver mold and plan accordingly. My guess is they think that since the Hal is the first non-club release of the Dundee mold, more of him might be necessary for completists and customizers.

Unlike last year, when the Vendor Pack list “accidentally” revealed who the Gloss/Matte Split model was, we’ve gotten no such clues so far. It’s more likely to be Quill or Natasha, rather than Pepper or Rocket, because it’s easier to divide even numbers in half. (If it is Quill, my shopping plans might change...)

I have nothing interesting to say about the revealed Live Auction pieces so far, though I wouldn’t mind owning that Chestnut Pinto Emerson:

People are trying to read more into this particular statement on the BreyerFest blog about Lot 13:
Lot #13 is another one of our extra-special models, and you will just need to wait until Saturday, July 13th to see it unveiled!
The possibility that they might be holding out on the reveal of it until the actual auction is just another twist on the “mystery lot” thing. Previous Auction mystery models haven’t been that mindblowing, so I doubt that the “double secret mystery” lot is going to be something all that special – but then again, you know I set the bar pretty high for what I consider special.

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Other BreyerFest Stablemates

I knew it was coming, but this one is still going to hurt:

I sure hope they (a) parcel these 30th Anniversary Stablemates Sets out more or less equally/equitably every day and (b) limit them to one per customer, no dang exceptions.

Not that I see that helping me in any way. I am occupied/indisposed early Saturday and Sunday morning, so the only time I’d be able to pick it up would be Friday morning.

This is… not likely.

I gave up the late Thursday/Early Friday KHP campouts a few years ago – not necessarily because of the whole diminishing returns thing, but because I had too many other things to do and something had to give.

Shopping and socializing at the hotel were far more important to me than possibly snagging something rare/weird/valuable early Friday morning at the Horse Park. And to be honest, with my skill set I’d probably have a better shot at finding something rare/weird/valuable at the hotel nowadays, anyway.

Even though they only made 500 of the original 20th Anniversary BreyerFest Stablemates set, I had a relatively easy time acquiring it: Friday morning shopping in 2009 wasn’t as excruciating an ordeal as it is now; Stablemates weren’t quite as hot a commodity back then; and we only really knew about its (rumored) existence a day or two before, not three weeks before.

All these things have changed.

So even though they’ve quadrupled the amount available to 2000 sets, I am not optimistic. I’ll give it a try, because OMG Tiny Carrick, but I am not going to risk life, limb, or a good night’s sleep over it.

In other news, I hope I didn’t jinx myself passing up the last America the Beautiful Web Special Teton, because I love the next one –  Pepper’s Cajun cousin, the Old Timer LaFitte:

Not sure what’s up with the weird capitalization – some people and places with the name do capitalize it that way, but not the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park that this special honors.

My only other criticism is that the timing is bad for this special, but anything released in June or July that’s not BreyerFest related is difficult to deal with.

If I get picked, I’ll deal with it then.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


I am so pleased with the reaction to the latest Vintage Club release, Bernadette:

I know a lot of people were wondering when she’d show up as a Vintage Club release, and when I found out, well… let’s just she was another tough secret to keep!

The Bell-bottomed Shire is one of the few Breyer molds that I might be able to complete my collection of; I bough the Riegesecker Shires when they came out, and managed to buy most of the rest at my leisure.

The only tough one will be the Chasing the Chesapeake Testudo, and that’s because I made an executive decision to go with the Chestnut Fell Pony Emma instead.

(The Chalky Sorrel and the Glossy Dapple Gray are sufficiently out of reach that I am not even going to consider them a part of my list. Sort of the way I ignore the Presentation Series Man o’ War, until/if/when it happens.)

Vintage Test Colors of the Shire are relatively uncommon, mostly because I don’t think they had a lot extras bodies floating around the factory in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Marney was painting most of them up. The mold was discontinued in the mid- to late 1970s in the first place because she was a bit of a resource hog: those tree-stump-thick legs take a lot of plastic to mold!

And she kept coming back because… of collectors like me, who kind of love her in a low-key way. It’s helpful that she’s a relatively easy mold to collect – though it’s probably a bit ironic that she’s being honored with a Vintage Club Gambler’s Choice release that makes her somewhat less so.

I really don’t care which one I get, though I think Golden Charm one is my favorite; Wedgewood Blue used to be my favorite of the original four Decorator colors, but lately Golden Charm’s been more my thing.

(Though I would be happy with finding any Decorator in any condition in the wild.)

Incidentally, it is “Golden Charm”, not Gold Charm, per the original price lists from 1964. Actually, it’s kind of interesting to examine the original Decorator price list to see that the hobby is basically using three of the four color terms incorrectly: it’s Florentine, not “Gold Florentine” and Copenhagen, not “Copenhagen Blue”:


This I attribute to the fact that the original Decorator price list didn’t get as much circulation as other Breyer ephemera from the same era, and when it finally did, the hobby usage of the terms had become so ingrained that the correct terminology doesn’t register.

(And even I slip up, a lot of the time.)

Sunday, June 16, 2019


It figures: I had a couple unexpected free hours to play with on Friday, so I swung by one of my local toy stores – and dang it, they had Bisbees!

Then early Saturday morning Reeves sent out an e-mail informing all of us that Bisbee was now available on their web site:

Is someone or something trying to tell me something? Because I have now spent most of the weekend – the parts where I wasn’t working on all of my BreyerFest prep – trying not to think about her.

It’d be cheaper for me to go back to the store and get her there (their prices are great!), but most of my mental and financial resources are understandably tied up at the moment.

(I just remembered today that I need to get a new folding table, since the hotel remodeled the rooms and my old tables don’t fit anymore.)

The weekend was more productive than I expected: I finally finished the sales list (more or less), I got quite a bit done on the Sampler (though I did find myself lost in a deep research hole for a couple of hours) and worked on the costume a bit, too.

And since the weather was being uncooperative, I even managed to do a little “shopping” out in the storage shed and found a few more books, bodies, dolls and bits of whatnot I can add to my sales list.

It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to find the time to complete – or heck, even start – the diorama, and I am fine with that. One less thing to worry about – and some of the supplies I had delegated to the task can now go back into the sales stash!

I’ll have a bit more actual history for you guys next time, since I now have to spend the rest of my Sunday evening cleaning up the aftermath of my weekend of busyness….

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Bald-faced Bay Proud Arabian Foal

It’s a month before BreyerFest, and my sales list isn’t even done yet: so yeah, you could say that I’m edging into panic mode a little earlier and a little more intensely than usual this year.

If I push it, I should be able to get most of my paperwork done by the end of the weekend. In the meantime I will probably be even harder to get a hold of than I usually am.

(Yeah, I know that my accessibility is something I need to work on!)

Since I haven’t had much time to do my usual shopping, I’ve been casually perusing eBay for Breyer box lots: aside from the excitement of not really knowing what you’re getting until you open the box, you can usually recoup most of your investment once you pick out the handful of must-have pieces out of the box.

You should know me by now: even in the yuckiest of box lots, I usually find something!

Anyway, there was one lot that went for an unreasonably high amount of money recently, because it apparently had one of these in it:

A Mahogany Bay Proud Arabian Foal with front socks and a bald face.

Note: I don’t own this model anymore. I bought it off eBay – possibly in a box lot, I don’t remember – and then sold it several years later when it became apparent to me that my variation collecting was getting out of hand.

(When you have a half-dozen variations of the Hess Haflinger, you have a problem!)

I made a small profit on it – in the tens or dozens of dollars, if that – so I wasn’t exactly pleased to find out that this model was what triggered the bidding war that led to that lot going for at least ten times what I got for mine.

It’s okay, really – when I had to sell a Test Color Proud Arabian Foal a while back when I absolutely had to, I did all right for myself… but man, the market is just nuts right now. And if only my timing was good enough to capitalize on it!

(Now ponders the possibility that this Foal might be the selfsame Foal. No, don’t go there Andi...)

Just about any variation of the Proud Arabians – Stallion, Mare or Foal, and the Old Mold variants of the Mare and Foal – is going for big bucks right now. I remember being shocked at how much that pink-nosed Alabaster Old Mold Mare sold for a little while back. (So shocked I can’t remember the price, except that if it wasn’t in the four figures, it was darn close.)

The Bald-faced Bay Foal is one of the more unusual ones, I agree – I think I’ve seen maybe two or three others? – but even so, I certainly didn’t think it’d go for that kind of money.

As far as timelines go, I have no idea when the Bald-faced variation of the Foal occurred. Most of the better-known Proud Arabian variations appear to have occurred early on in their runs, so I would assume this to be the case with the Foal as well.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Shopping Lists

This was the first weekend in a while where the weather was nice enough – and no deadlines looming – that I was able to do some casual antiquing.

I found a few horse-adjacent things, and some quilting supplies, but ended up buying nothing in the end. So it was mostly an exercise in exercise.

That was fine; the past few years I haven’t been able to bring everything to BreyerFest that I’ve wanted to, so this is actually helpful: it is looking like everything that can come, will!

The only thing I wish I had more of is bodies. I haven’t bought any significant body lots since last August, and the only ones I’ve seen at all when I have gone roaming have been Mestenos.

While I think Mestenos, in general, have a lot of untapped potential in terms of customizing, they are still not quite burning it up in body box sales.

Since I am having a bit of a quiet interlude here, here’s a picture of one of my new favorites, the LV Integrity. She is my newest/latest office buddy:

Honestly, this mold doesn’t seem to have any bad sides! And that shade of Bay can go on anything, please and thank you.

This is why the Roxy/Diana release for BreyerFest this year is the one I am most eager to see in person. If she’s half as pretty as the Integrity, it’s going to be no contest who the most popular girl at BreyerFest is going to be…

But to circle back to the Shagya Arabian mold, after buying one – and literally losing it in the shuffle in Kentucky – the 2017 Kaalee is one of the few items I’ll actively be on the hunt for in Kentucky this year, especially since the Open Show Grand Prize model ain’t gonna happen.

The Forever Saige Bisbee is another; the last time I was able to make it to my local toy stores, none of them had them in yet, so I’ll use that (and the potential for NPOD handpicking?) as another reason to put her on my list.

Then there’s the Gloss Bandera I’ve been putting off, too. That should be an easy one, also with potential for handpicking.

Other than that, I’m not sure what I want to hunt for, other than the same magical five-dollar Body Box Test Colors everyone else looks for. (Hey, I’ve seen it happen!)

Performance Horse variations? More of the Classic Duchess? That #3125 Deer Family set that always just eludes me? A Morgenglanz Gris Gris?

(Yes, really. But somewhere around original asking price: I am not that crazy.)

I’ll know it when I see it. I always do.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Two Small Drafters

I don’t buy any of the Crystals because I am preternaturally clumsy. I was briefly concerned I would have to break this rule when I saw the sneak preview of this year’s BreyerFest Crystal, and I suspected it might be the Fell Pony. (No pun intended. Really.)

Fortunately, it was not:

Defiant is based on the 1993 Evolution of the Horse Shire, who we last saw as a BreyerFest Special Run in 2009 “Party Time”.

I do like the mold, and if it should ever come in a plastic version – Traditional, Classic, Stablemate, whatever – I would definitely consider it, depending on the size they adapt it to.

Smaller would be better, for me anyway.

I haven’t opened up my Unicorn Zena, for instance, because she’s about three weeks long and pointy. Not a good combo in a house with limited shelving, a small dog with periodic fits of zoomies, and my status as person of inadequate coordination. I really am trying to avoid bringing more big, pointy things into the house.

That’s why I am more tempted, and more intrigued by this new Mid-Year Classic Brabant Mighty Muscle. We’ve definitely been underserved in the Classics department when it comes to Draft Horses, but I’d like to take a closer look in person before I commit to liking or loving him. He is not quite as dynamic as I thought he would be, though I do not know if that is a good thing, or a bad thing.

(I am on board with everyone else, though, in loving the new Classic Rearing Mustang American Dream, but more on why another time.)

But back to the Porcelain Shire/Defiant. I could have sworn that there was at least one Traditional-scale injection-molded Sample or Test of that mold floating around somewhere, but a cursory search of my files didn’t turn one up.

And I am not particularly motivated at the moment: my time is probably better spent tonight finishing my sales list or working on any of my BreyerFest stuff because of course I am already way behind on that stuff.

Another busy weekend awaits. alas!

Monday, June 3, 2019

There He Is!

That was a rough patch of days. I finished a number of lingering projects, another one is well on its way, the garden is almost done (thought the rain is not helping) and I even managed to finish a quilt I though would be the death of me.

(Note to self: Matchstick quilting by hand? Bad idea!)

There was a dentist appointment in there, too.

And now I am completely exhausted. The “sit back in a chair, blink your eyes and immediately lose three or four hours” kind of tired. (Which is also why I am putting off seeing the new Godzilla movie for another day or two.)

So of course the Mid-year photos had to drop today, when I have absolutely no energy to be excited.

The most talked about of this year’s Mid-Year crop is obvious: the Bay Bristol that had all of us so consternated late last year, who is now a portrait model of champion show jumper Voyeur.

(I think I speculated that he was likely a Mid-Year portrait model. I’m pretty sure? I am rapidly losing my will to brain.)

Unlike the model seen in the GoldieBlox video, though, Voyeur has a braided mane, instead of a loose one. But it’s not necessarily a big revelation that the model in the video was a Test Color, either. Even if it was absolutely identical to the regular production run piece, it’d still likely be a Test Color by dint of the date the video was published.

(I mean, yeah, they have made models before and sat on them for months and months before unleashing them on us, but… just go with it for the sake of simplicity, okay?)

Voyeur will be a big seller, either way. Breyer has been killing it with their Bay paint jobs lately, and everyone is pretty hot to get their hands on an affordable Bristol since his Premier Club release, BreyerFest 2018 Gloss Chestnut Leopard Appaloosa Raffle model, and now the Black Pinto Custom Contest Prize model Leap of Faith are all – more or less – either unaffordable or inaccessible to the majority of us.

Just like the Newsworthy mold, my personal preference leans more toward the loose-maned version to the braided one. In fact, one of the few “personal collection” purchases I’ve made so far this year was a loose-maned Newsworthy, specifically the Best of British Connemara Pony one:

I originally purchased him with nefarious purposes in mind, but then I got caught up in other business and lost the will to do nefarious things by the time he arrived at my doorstep. Then he sat in his box for a couple of months until I decided to open him up for my birthday because it is not a birthday without a new Breyer horse, right?

(I bought an LV Integrity specifically for my birthday, too. But more on him on a less delirious day.)

In spite of my current space issues, I managed to find the perfect place for him, perched on top of my printer and looking like he’s about the dive into a mosh pit of Stablemates Unicorns on the desk below.

Enough with the silliness. Time for bed.