Thursday, October 31, 2019


It’s been one of those weeks, folks (possibly ending with snow, ugh), so my Vintage Club Claude will remain unopened until Saturday afternoon. I want – no, need – to live with the possibility that he might be the Matte for a couple days more.

(And in case you didn’t already get the news, they clarified on the web site that the correct piece count on the Matte Claudes is 30, not 25.)

Since we’re on the topic, it looks like they’re keeping their word this year on the Vintage Club reveals, more or less:

It’s a nice mix of molds, and the colors… well, you’ll have to wait and see. (You should know the drill by now. All I can say at this point is: You will like. I promise.)

Unless they decide to pull the rest of the color reveals if the club sells out early, as it did last year. This appears to be a distinct possibility, based on everyone’s reaction to Starlight.

And I totally get it: Starlight is probably my favorite VC release for next year (aside from the Stablemate Bonus). You know that the Shagya Arabian is already one of my favorite newer molds, and it appears that Reeves is finally figuring out the more subtle nuances of the vintage Gloss Gray Appaloosa – namely the different shades of gray, and true “splash spot” randomness – and what I found missing in their first interpretation of the color in the 2012 VC release Harlequin.

Aside from the vintage Dapple Grays – both the Glosses of the 1960s and the Mattes of the 1970s and beyond – Gloss Gray Appaloosa is perhaps one of the most variable of all vintage paint jobs.

Big spots, little spots, streaky spots, belly stripes, pale gray to nearly charcoal body color: it’ll be interesting to see if this variability is incorporated Starlight’s production run, intentionally or otherwise.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Happy Coincidences

The weather’s been yucky, and I have not been feeling all that good myself the past few days (sinus headaches.) To cheer myself up, I finally got my Khalid out of my car:

I am happy to report that he appears to be nearly flawless, after spending nearly a month in my car. (I know, Bad Andrea.) And to prove to you that Dun Sabino really was a thing of mine, here’s that Stablemates Seabiscuit custom I had done by Judy Renee Pope a bajillion years ago (the late 1980s):

We all like to think that something we’ve written or said online – or communicated with Breyer/Reeves in some way – directly affects or influences what eventually gets released.

To a degree, that’s true, especially when there’s a groundswell of hobby interest in a breed, celebrity, or discipline: the more voices you have, the louder the chorus gets. Maybe it was your thumbs up or comment that finally pushed the idea into the “let’s do this” column.

And of course, some of us are lucky enough to directly influence or participate in the creative process.

But I know for a fact that Khalid was not something I had any hand in. Other than the passing interest I expressed in a similar piece done for the BreyerFest Auction back in 2016 or my happiness at acquiring the ASPCA Stablemates Hermes, they likely had no idea that this particular color and marking combo was something that I was really into.

They also wouldn’t have known that the name they chose for this model has some personal significance for me. One of my long-term fiction writing projects is a loosely connected trilogy (actually, a trilogy of trilogies) of books that includes a character named Judge Khalid.

All I’ll say is that he’s basically my take on the “sexy vampire boyfriend” trope. I am very fond of him as a character and it is entirely within the realm of possibility that if this model had not been named Khalid, that I would have named him that, anyway. 

But this is all – well, and truly – a happy coincidence.

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Forgotten Generation

Star Wars tickets were successfully purchased, with a minimum of drama. And why yes, I am super-excited about the SPACE HORSES.

The connection between the model horse community and the science-fiction one is long and well-documented, so I will be very disappointed in you guys (waving hand at entirety of the model horse community) if I don’t see any Orback customs by BreyerFest at the latest. Get to it, everybody!


I only just skimmed my issue of Just About Horses (it arrived yesterday) so I’ll leave that for another time, other than to express the sentiment that I am sure is on the lips – or in the thoughts – of many model horse hobbyists: an injection-molded Akhal-Teke, at last!

No, what I want to discuss today is my annoyance at some of the early 70th Anniversary merchandise, like this Journal here:

(There’s also a blanket and a beach towel.)

Conceptually, these products should appeal to me as both a quilt designer and a Breyer historian. And at first glance, they did.

But then I took a closer look at it, and realized that… this was not terribly well-thought out or well-executed.

I think they started out with the idea of seven different models for each of the seven different decades, but started taking some liberties with it when they realized there weren’t that many horse molds released in the 1950s.

And by the end of it, it looks like they just decided to use whatever silhouettes they had on file.

Not only that, there are a number of historical errors in it. The Family Arabian Stallion probably debuted in 1959; the Family Arabian Mare debuted ca. 1960, not 1958 – that was the Old Mold/Proud Arabian Mare; the Running Mare was probably released in 1962, not 1961; and of course, the Zippo Pine Bar was a 1999 release, not a 2007 one.

(The graphic for Zippo obviously being cribbed from the 30th Anniversary BreyerFest graphic without being properly edited, I presume.)

I am also not thrilled that, like the generation that grew up on them (frantically waves hands) – models from the 1980s were largely ignored. Only four models from that decade were included, but three from the last two years – Bristol, Hamilton and Georg – were?

Not cool, Reeves. 

While it may be true that the 1980s were considered the least artistically successful decade in Breyer History, many of those molds are still in active use today. I’d consider some of them more historically significant – at least, at this moment in time – than newer releases like Latigo or Desatado.

Phar Lap (1985) was used for the first BreyerFest Celebration Horse Dr. Peaches; Buckshot (1985) has appeared as a BreyerFest Raffle Model, Prize Model, and Live Show Benefit Model (Winchester, Pele and Reno, respectively); Roy (1989) was sculpted by the legendary Francis Eustis and recently used as a BreyerFest Celebration Model; and Secretariat (1987) was Chris Hess’s last official sculpt for Breyer and also Secretariat.

So I would have swapped out a few of the 2000/2010 models with a few of those, and maybe included the Fury/Prancer and one of the Nonhorse molds (Boxer or the Brahma Bull) from the 1950s to even things out a bit.

But what do I know, right?

Monday, October 21, 2019

The 2020 Info Dump

Remember last year, when Reeves was oh-so-coy about giving us any detailed info about anything for 2019 until it was absolutely necessary, and even then – not so much?

As you might have noticed over the past three days, they’ve apparently decided to go in the opposite direction this year! 

First it was the 2020 Celebration Horse, a portrait of Irish Sport Horse Ballynoe Castle RM, aka “Reggie”, on the Show Jumping Warmblood mold:

I was thinking a few days ago that the Show Jumping Warmblood mold might have been a good choice for the Surprise model – aside from having multiple mane and tail options, it’s also had two Translucent releases (2007 Halloween Horse Twilight Terror, and last year’s Sugarmaple).

It’s an interesting, and uncontroversial mold choice (as either the Croi or Vanner would have been), though I do expect the inevitable mutterings from the “solid Matte Bay is so boring” crowd. We all thought the same thing with 2018’s Brass Hat, and he turned out gorgeous, right? And this guy’s photo looks way more promising than Brass Hat’s ever did…

Then there’s Klaus, the first release in the 2020 Stablemates Club:

I figured that Darwin would be a part of next year’s club lineup, but first up, and in Leopard Appaloosa, too? Sweet. I am a little annoyed that the first three releases of this mold were/are all Special Runs or limited in some way, though. I know they are trying to recoup their initial investment and get everyone all het up about him (mission accomplished!), but just get to the inevitable Aged Gray already, as the masses demand…

Then there’s the gorgeous Premier Club release Georg, Eberl’s highly anticipated Rhenish German Coldblood:

Like Weather Girl, Georg (pronounced “Gay-Org”, incidentally) is a reworking of one of Brigitte’s earlier resin sculpts – in this case, Valentin.

I am in love with this big beautiful chonk of a horse, but I’ll probably have to wait until next year to find a more affordable release. (I would love him as a BreyerFest Special Run, but I fear he’s got Raffle Horse written all over him.)

And finally, instead of stringing us along like they did last Fall, this time they’re hinting at doing a full reveal on the Vintage Club 2020 lineup. I am not going to read anything into this marketing strategy one way or another, other than to comment that it would definitely be better for my mental and physical well-being. I’ll just let the picture of the next reveal do all the talking for me now:

Okay, now to take a moment to drink something relaxing, before diving into the existential terror that is Star Wars Ticket Presales….

Friday, October 18, 2019


So this is why I’ve been a little cagey about my “Holiday Horse” customizing plans for the Western Horse:

In addition to all of the other decorative motifs I was going to incorporate, I was also going to stitch up a fabric facsimile of the original vinyl saddlebags (in something wintry/Christmassy) and pack it with an assortment of either old-fashioned (Chuckles, Tootsie Rolls) or thematically-appropriate (Candy Canes, Chocolate Santa) candies. You know, make it sort of a cross between the original Grooming Kits and the nearly-forgotten Candy Packers. You remember the “Candy Packers”, right?

But I didn’t want to mention any of that because I didn’t want to telegraph anything, even unintentionally; Lord knows I do it enough of that with stuff I genuinely have no foreknowledge of…

(Which I guess means this was a good thing that the 2019 VC Stablemates dropped when they did, because this was the post I was writing when that happened. So awkward!)

Incidentally, the prevalence and popularity of the Groomers is one of the reasons why the Palomino and White Western Ponies are so commonly found without saddles: it’s not that they were lost, but that they never came with saddles in the first place.

But it should go without saying that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Whenever I find one sans saddle, I just assume it’s been lost, unless I have some other evidence to the contrary. 

The Western Horse, however, was issued as a Groomer – aka the “Giant Groomer” – only briefly, so the possibility/likelihood of a saddle-free Western Horse being a Groomer is pretty small.

I wouldn’t say a vintage Giant Groomer is a grail of mine, but I certainly would be very pleased with myself if I happened to acquire one at a reasonable cost.

I know that the Western Horse has been one of the most asked for/about potential Vintage Club releases – frankly, pretty much since the introduction of the Vintage Club program – so it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that they were basically holding him back for the next significant Breyer anniversary: the brand’s 70th!

Among other things, I’m sure. (Crossing fingers for something crazy, like a Translucent Running Mare, a Woodgrain Lamp, or the triumphant return of the #36 Racehorse.)

I have some issues with some of the initial merchandise they are already hawking, but I will discuss this next time, once my eyes have rolled forward again.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Vintage Club Mini Misty and Stormy

Here I thought I was being so clever and prepared today, writing up a post late last night; I log on this afternoon to do some edits and assemble my links and images, and the Vintage Club Stablemates Bonus bombshell drops on us:

Well okay, mostly for you guys. It’s more the timing of it that caught me off guard.

Anyway, what I especially like about this set is how it rather slyly references the second Misty release, the Hagen-Renaker Performing Misty. I’d show you mine, but I don’t have one, because… well, you don’t need to know that story.

The Vintage Club Stablemates release also comes with a super-neat tiny shipper box very similar to the original individual G1 Sears Wishbook releases of the mid 1970s – packaging that was tough to come by and ultra-expensive well before the Stablemates market became so crazy. 

Judging from the reaction I’ve skimmed (however briefly) on the Internet, it’s a bit of an understatement to say that the Mini Misty and Stormy set is going over fairly well.

I am pleased.

In other news… I’ll probably be skipping the Collector’s Club Lucien: I took into consideration that there was a good chance he’d drop today – but I bought my Stablemates Club Priscilla yesterday, regardless.

While I certainly could use a few more Valegros in my life, and I find the pinto pattern on him quite appealing, I am a bit tapped out after my recent spending sprees. Heck, there are still horses that have not escaped the back seat of my car yet.

I am not all that into Buckskin Pintos, either. Everyone has their color/pattern preferences and biases, and when it comes to Buckskins, I prefer mine minimally marked.

I may regret it later, but I could say that about almost any release, really.

I will now go back to the rest of my regularly scheduled evening, which involved me trying to solve a particularly vexing quilt design problem. (Almost got it, I think!)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Mystery Surprise Rivet

The weather has turned cold and I am not a fan. (Vita is, but let’s not discuss what the BAD GIRL was up to today, shall we?)

What I am a fan of? Stablemates, obviously:

This isn’t even all of them now cluttering my office, just the ones I could fit on top of the printer. I am quite enamored of this fellow, the Bay Overo Rivet from the 2018 Mystery Horse Surprise Assortment:

You know I love the Rivet mold in general, but I hadn’t bothered to acquire this example until recently because what assortments I found locally were well-picked-over by the time I got to them. But I noticed an untouched box at our local Family Farm & Home store last week, and decided to scratch that particular itch.

(And yes, I did look for the Florentine chase piece, too – without success, obviously.)

I’ve said this before, but it’s really remarkable that Stablemates of this quality – especially compared to the very first Breyer Stablemates issued way back in 1975 – can be had for less than five dollars.

Sure, most of the newer molds aren’t as conformationally or anatomically correct or “showable” as the original Hagen-Renaker G1 releases, but in every other way these new Stablemates are superior. The seams are cleaner, the assortment of molds is crazy, and there’s a greater variety to the paint jobs – enhanced by clean and remarkably detailed masking that would have blown my ten-year-old mind back in 1975.

And this little guy isn’t even the “Chase” piece – just another “Regular Run” in a blind bag assortment!

The only thing that is a bummer about the current Stablemates boom we are going through? Being a completist is now (probably) out of the question.

Before I give in to my desire to hibernate, I do want to address a question in the comments from the previous post: yes, there is a Vintage Club Stablemate for this year. Who or what it is, on the other hand...

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Shrink Ray, Activated!

Alas (and as I feared), it appears I will not be able to make it to the local Fun Day next weekend.

Darn it! The past week has been kinda stressful and I really could have used a “Horse Girl’s Day Out” kind of thing. I guess I’ll just have to content myself with pizza and the Friday night TCM Godzilla movie marathons for the next few weekends instead. (Original Japanese cuts with subtitles, because that is how I roll!)

Anyway, I noticed last night that Reeves was starting to put up all of next year’s club and event stuff on the web site, and some of the pages went live today, including the 2020 Collector Club memberships.

With the “Deluxe” level of membership, you’ll get a Stablemates-scale Fighting Stallion in Gloss Palomino:

Reeves turning its “shrink ray” on some of its Vintage molds is something many of us had hoped and/or expected, and it makes perfect sense that the first of these is being released in conjunction with next year’s 70th anniversary celebration.

It’ll be fun to see who – or what – else gets shrinky-dinked. I’m assuming that the rest of the original “Decorator Five” – the Mustang, Five-Gaiter, and Running Mare and Foal – will be up next. But then who? The Family Arabians? The Clydesdales? Man o’ War (please?)

It should be pointed out that the item in the promotion pictures probably isn’t the Stablemate Fighting Stallion itself, but – more than likely – a Test Color on the Traditional mold. (I’m not 100 percent certain of the Test Color part, because the images a just a tad bit too low-resolution for me to determine.)

(And if so, can I call “dibs”?)

More on the Vintage Club stuff another time, because obviously.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Chalky Brighty

Another quiet weekend mostly spent cleaning my office and my car, sorting out the consequences of my last two shopping excursions (Stablemates, Stablemates everywhere.)

A few days ago I did end up at one of my local Salvation Army stores – ostensibly to see if they still had a fabric remnant I saw a week earlier, one I realized (several days later) would be ideal for another long-unfinished quilt project – and found a Chalky Brighty chilling in the toy bins:

One does not, of course, leave a vintage Chalky behind. Even if it is relatively common and not exactly in pristine condition.

Brighty is “common” because like the Appaloosa Performance Horse and El Pastor – all introduced in 1974 – she began her Breyer career as a Chalky. This is smack dab in the middle of Breyer’s so-called “Chalky Era”, which ran from roughly 1973 through 1975/6, an era when many (but not all!) Breyer releases came in the now-insanely-popular Chalky variation.

No vintage Chalky is truly “common”, but unlike other Chalky releases of the time, those three molds – being new – were probably produced in greater quantities, and possibly over a longer period of time. Hence, they tend to be among the easiest of vintage Chalkies to find.

Brighty was originally issued in the #2075 Brighty Gift Set, which was discontinued in 1981; the model was reissued the following year as release #375, without the special carrying case and book. So technically whenever a Chalky Brighty is advertised for sale as the #375 release, it’s misidentified: all Chalky Brighties would have been from the #2075 Gift Set release.

Well okay, the vast majority: there are always some exceptions to the rule floating out there somewhere. Though I do not personally know of any in the case of Brighty.

And yes, I also know that Brighty’s mold number is #375, but mold numbers are rarely used as a reference point in sales listing. Except by us history nerds trying to gussy up a sales post, perhaps...

But anyway, I already have a mint and lovely Chalky Brighty in my herd, so she’ll be up for sale whenever I finally find the time to start doing so again.

(Soon, I hope.)

Friday, October 4, 2019

Appaloosa Drafters

Yes, I am aware of the new shrunkified Traditionals and Classics in the latest (Series 3) MiniWhinnies now available at Walmart. And I am trying very hard to not think about them, since (a) I bought too much last week as it is and (b), I do not have time for this nonsense right now.

She’s not a new mold and she’s being released in a quasi-Decorator color (Matte Gray Appaloosa) that’s never been wildly popular among collectors, but I don’t care, Priscilla is my favorite Stablemates Club release this year (so far):

Like Matte Charcoal, Matte Gray Appaloosa doesn’t get a lot of love in the hobby – which is a shame, because when it’s well-executed – as it is here – it can be a very attractive color.

I can remember a time when Draft Horses with Appaloosa marking were an exotic and somewhat daring thing in both the “real” and model horse world. Norikers were one of the first “obscure, but cool” real-horse breeds that one learned about in the hobby back then – primarily as a way to justify some of your customizing choices!

However, the first Original Finish Appaloosa-flavored Draft Horse didn’t appear until 1986 – and it was almost completely by accident:

The Belgian was originally designed to come in a somewhat more mundane shade of gray – a variation of Smoke, actually –as seen in the original Your Horse Source flier:

(Beligans? LOL!)

But apparently that color was not well-received when it was shopped around to mail-order retailers, who requested something “more like Buckshot”.

Buckshot was the hot new item in 1985, mostly because of its fairly complex paint job (for the time). Initially they tried selling it as a Grulla AND a Blue Roan, but somehow forgot to mention the Appaloosa part:

Anyway, long story short, we ended up with… an Appaloosa Belgian! He was something of a thing back then, but he’s not so hard to find now – I just took a quick lookie-loo on eBay and found three, all well under a hundred bucks.