Thursday, December 31, 2020

So Sparkly

The Jóls are starting to arrive, and to be honest, I love them all. Traditionals with embedded glitter? Be still my heart... 

I know some folks were complaining that the colors weren’t “festive” enough, but growing up with a mother who saw Christmas Trees as her own personal creative challenge, the notion that holiday decorating has to be limited to a red, green and gold palette is an odd one to me. 

One of the first things I learned from her: anything can be festive if you cover it with enough glitter. Or pinecones. 

Speaking of, here’s my festive holiday centerpiece, made almost entirely from stuff purchased at Dollar Tree. (The pinecones and branches came from the backyard, obviously.) It didn’t win the contest it was entered in, but you probably already guessed that:

I set it on the table, everyone went “Ooh, it’s so pretty!” and that’s when I knew it was over. I know this game.

But back to the Jóls. The Clear ones are obviously reminiscent of ice, the Teal Blue ones look like the Disney version of a Nokk, from Frozen, and the Red ones look like my favorite holiday candy, Filled Raspberries

I’ll be happy with any of them; I like them so much, in fact, that once I get this exhausting mess around me sorted out, I might make an effort to complete the achievable trio. 

But the mess before me is huge, and that effort is far away. 

I’ve actually made some decent progress – I can now walk through my office without stubbing my toes! – but I still have a lot of hard decisions ahead of me. What gets sold, what goes into storage, reevaluating my goals and priorities for the coming year…

Buying less stuff is definitely on the menu, regardless. Once all this packing and paperwork is done, I think I’ll just focus on my first loves – Stablemates and earlier (1950s/1960s) Vintage items – and maybe actually finish a few customs and other hobby projects in whatever spare time I am able to carve out in the new year. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

This Year

This year can kiss my pasty white butt.

I had crafted a much longer and more thoughtful post for today (well, now yesterday), but my computer crashed and took that file with it; all that remains of that original effort is the title above and the photo below:

Anyone who has seen the contents of my car or the current state of my office will realize that I can make no great claims to willpower; indeed, if this year has shown, I am all too willing to succumb to my immediate impulses. 

The displayer of 70th Anniversary Stablemates remained unopened until the 25th because there was/is literally stuff on top of stuff: I simply have not had the time or space to do it. But at least in this case, as the photograph above has demonstrated, it was worth the wait.

I still want the Platinum Brishen, but not before I finish cleaning up my office and my workspace. (I did manage to clean up my sewing table today. While waiting for the computer to finishing uncrashing, sure, but still...)

For the moment, like so many of us, I simply want the year to be over and done with. I want to put all the troubles of the past 12 months in a tidy little box, put the box in our fancy new garbage incinerator and toast some marshmallows to the flames.

And the thing is that, on paper, I had a pretty good year. We all made it through the year relatively healthy, my finances are in good shape, I have acquired a number of (what I had assumed were unattainable) grails, and even my previously neglected garden is looking presentable now. 

But if I, someone who is fire phobic, felt like I had a rough enough year that I wanted to set it proverbially aflame, I can only imagine what it has been like for others who have not been so fortunate.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Blessed Jól

As far as this year’s Christmas Surprise models goes, there were only a few colors/molds/options I would have considered for purchasing, and darn it all, Reeves somehow managed to perfectly thread the needle with a sparkly, translucent Icelandic Pony named Jól:

I’ve been dreaming of a clear translucent Traditional release ever since I saw Marney’s Transparent Belgian a lifetime ago, so that’s the one out of this trio I want the most. But I am just happy to get one at all, considering that they sold out in, what, 45 minutes?

I know the whole “12 random Glossy Black Coals” gimmick is at least partly responsible for the swiftness of the sellout, which is one reason why I wish they wouldn’t do it at all. I’d rather have collectors buy things because they like them and want them, not because they think they might be able to win the model horse version of the Lotto.   

And also because the distribution of said Coals the past two years didn’t appear to be completely equitable anyway. Unfortunately, the way the distribution system is set up it’s probably impossible to completely remove the possibility of someone getting two Coals.

When I make my decision about buying, the possibility of a Coal never enters into it. Most of my model horse luck is a consequence of 40(!) years of research and living in a model horse-rich environment. And, on very rare occasions, a bit of good timing.

But the luck of the random draw? Nope, never me. 

Apparently there has been a lot of grumbling about this year’s Christmas Surprise and I’m not entirely sure why? While some of the particulars are, by nature of the promotion itself, a surprise (the mold, the colors), everything else about this year’s promotion was pretty darn standard. Boring, even.

Don’t like the colors, the mold, the concept, the price? Go spend your money on something else. That’s what I would have done. And might still do, depending on what shows up on the Internet over the next week or so. 

I did think that the Fjord mold was going to get the nod this year because of the Berries Pony Goji earlier this year. It had been out of production for a while, and when you run a mold, you don’t run it for just a few hundred pieces, you know?

Tuesday, December 22, 2020


I’m somewhat short on time today, so here’s a picture of that fascinating Dapple Gray Old Timer variation with the Cornflake Dappling from the Dirty Pony Lot:

Large, irregular dappling, also known as “cornflake” dappling, is a variation that randomly occurs on resist or splatter Dapple Grays, primarily in the 1970s. It’s most commonly seen on the Proud Arabians, but is occasionally spotted (no pun intended) on other models that sported this style of dappling, like the #205 Old Timer.

While the #123 Dark Dapple Gray Running Mare and #133 Running Foal did have large dapples from their release starting in ca. 1962 onward, those dapples were restricted to their hips in a paint job that was uniquely their own during their 10+ year production run. 

I once saw – and almost purchased – a striking Dappled Smoke Running Mare from the 1987 Sears Wishbook “Graceful Mare and Foal Set” with cornflake dappling, at BreyerFest several years back. 

The fact that it does pop up so sporadically like that makes me assume it is either a truly random phenomenon and not something intentional (as so many early Breyer painting peculiarities were) or perhaps the handiwork of a particular but now-unidentifiable production worker at the factory.

Off to find an unoccupied window to sun him in! 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

The Nuisance

This Adios doesn’t look like much at first glance, but it was kind of a big deal for me – but more as a nuisance and a lingering bother at the back of my head than an actual grail:

He has no USA mold mark, which makes him a 1969 or early 1970 release. Although there are subtle differences from Adioses that came after – the color on the earlier examples seem a little redder and flatter than slightly later ones, with more noticeable shading in the face and the genitals – the absence of the mold mark is the only significant difference.

And for me, it was a variation that I could never manage to score, ever. I’ve owned a lot of Adioses over the years; the area I live in used to be home to several Standardbred farms, and there used to be harness racing just up the road at the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds. Seeing campers with sulkies strapped to their roofs or being pulled on trailers were a very common sight during my childhood.

In short, I find a lot of Adioses. I thought finding this variation would be easy. 

But most of them are either later examples or in, shall we say, unsuitable condition. My efforts to shortcut the process and buy an example with a Blue Ribbon Sticker didn’t pan out as expected, either: while I have excellent examples of both the Adios and Yellow Mount with stickers, both have the USA mold mark. 

This one came up on eBay a couple of weeks ago, with a very clear photo showing its obvious lack of said mark. So in spite of my spending moratorium, he had to come home to me to (finally) put that nagging nuisance to rest. 

While the Adios without the USA mark is not particularly rare variation overall – he was a pretty popular fellow upon his release ca. 1969, and sold briskly – his mold mark is something that only Breyer History nerds like me, and a not insignificant portion of you, care about. 

It’s not something that is usually noted upon in online listings. Exceptions are ironically made by sellers unfamiliar with Breyers in general, who tend to take pictures of the mold mark to prove to us what we already know (that it’s a Breyer!) not realizing it also tells us other, sometimes more important things (that he’s old!) 

Anyway, he’s neat and he’s sticking around, unless a mint condition one with a Blue Ribbon Sticker happens to show up at the right place, the right time, and at the right price.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

A Surprise in Every Box Lot

It’s cold, snowing, and the Seasonal Affective Disorder is hitting me hard right now, guys. Plus I got wrangled into making a Christmassy centerpiece for Friday, and that should be… entertaining. 

I wanted to do something Star-Warsy, but I limited myself to whatever I could find at Dollar Tree or in my craft closet and alas, no tiny AT-ATs or X-Wings to be found…

The cleaning of the dirty pony lot continues apace; I think the Black Bucking Bronco may also a Pearly, but the plastic itself is just strange overall; I don’t know if the model itself has a textured surface, or the paint is just more heavily applied than average or there is just really deeply embedded grunge. I think the last? 

The plastic almost feels like ABS/Styrene, but it’s not. It’s really perplexing me.

(I have no pictures of him yet because he’s still got a lot of rehab ahead of him – this boy is a mess! – and I am currently preoccupied with this silly centerpiece thingy anyway. The things I get myself into, I swear.)

Here I thought I had seen it all when it came to crazy plastic shenanigans of the 1970s, but in every mystery body box, there seems to be a surprise!

I haven’t owned a lot of Pearlies in my time; outside of the two potential candidates from the dirty pony box lot, I only own a Black Appaloosa Lying Down Foal currently. I haven’t had much luck finding nice examples locally, and the ones in the “retail” market either tend to sell quickly, or go for more than I’m comfortable with. 

The Lying Down Foal was a BreyerFest purchase from many years ago, before they became a big thing. (Wandering the halls, buying cheap Chalkies and Pearlies. Ah, those were the days…)

I think it’s interesting that Breyer seems to have limited the Pearly plastic to either Classic-scaled molds or to Foals. I don’t know if it was an active, conscious decision on Breyer’s part back then, or simply a coincidence: maybe they just happened to be running those molds that week? 

If this Bronco is any indication, though, maybe there were some technical issues they were having with it that made it more practical to run on the smaller molds. I am a little fearful that that is the case: he has a leg bent at a terrifying angle I will only attempt to straighten on a day when I am not feeling either grumpy or flat-out exhausted. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

My Dirty Ponies

While everyone else was plotzing about the Space Bears or Star Wars spin-offs yesterday I was having a grand old time with a big box lot of dirty ponies:

Here’s a close up to give you an idea of what I’m dealing with:

I know I am not alone here, but cleaning dirty plastic ponies is my happy place. Buying a lot like this is not about adding to or upgrading in the collection, or even about making any money off the deal, though when all is said and done I will probably make a small profit. 

I just really enjoy taking something dirty and unattractive and making it presentable and/or pretty again. In some ways it’s much like a customizer’s impulse to make something beautiful out of what they presume is less so. 

The only difference here is that instead of rejecting the original color, shape or design, I’m restoring it.

Some are already done, some are still in process, and some (like the deeply yellowed Shire, and the Proud Arabian Stallion who I’ve nicknamed “The Trainwreck”) are definitely long-term projects. 

The only one I think I might be keeping (so far) is the Clydesdale Foal, who turned out to be a Pearly underneath all that muck. The Clydesdale Foal is one of the less common vintage Pearlies, and she has rather pretty shading too, so that’s cool.

The Shire might also stay, depending on how well the de-yellowing goes. While she has some condition issues above and beyond the yellowing, her shading and dappling are so superior to my already existing Dapple Shire that it’s definitely giving me something think about.

The Old Timer has “cornflake” dappling (sparse, giant dapples), which is also a thing. On the other hand, I definitely don’t need another Dapple Gray Old Timer variation. 

The Diamond P Knockoffs are fun, but I have enough already and they will all be moving on eventually. The big standing one that seems to be an original design might stick around a little longer than the rest since I find him intriguing overall, even if his face is disturbingly serpentine. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Pointy Breakableness

FYI: I didn’t get that good a look at the new weird plastic Stablemates on Saturday because aside from being distracted by the very attractive Sable Island Horse, the place was extremely busy I didn’t want to stick around in the place too long, with things being the way they are right now. 

I did give them a quick look over but I didn’t buy a set, so I didn’t get a chance to get an in-hand feel to assess what plastic it is. I’m assuming it’s something a little softer and less breakable in little hands than the standard ABS is. 

My general impression of them is that they’re being marketed as toys for young children, and directly competing with Melissa & Doug. And as such, they are perfectly fine for what they are. 

People in my orbit who are the actual target market for this – parents and grandparents of young children who are equine-curious – have responded positively to it. Sturdiness, cuteness, and having a half-dozen ponies to play with are bigger factors in their purchasing decisions than realistic or high-quality paint jobs, especially since they’re going to get dinged up from the get-go.

I also like to think of it as a hobbyist starter kit: if and when some of the ponies get lost, individual replacement ponies are right there in the same aisle. And once they get a taste of “real” Stablemates…

Anyway, the Universe is playing hardball with my spending moratorium and I found this earlier this week at my local Salvation Army. I swear I was only there to check out the fabric and craft supplies, but lo and behold, there was a Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron Forever Friends Resin Diorama sitting right there on the knick-knack shelf:

I do not, generally, collect Breyer Gallery items. I am big and preternaturally clumsy and anything remotely breakable is at a high risk of being damaged. That is why I am perfectly okay with buying broken Clinkies at the thrift store or flea market: someone else broke it for me and got the stress and heartache out of the way!

I was going to leave it behind initially – look at all that pointy breakableness! – but then I remember what happens to delicate things at this Salvation Army. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the damage it already received happened at the Salvation Army before I even got there. 

So I rescued it. I am now going to put it someplace (presumably) safe from both me and Vita until I am able to either get the repairs done, or sell it to someone else less accident-prone.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Finished Footings

I had a few moments to spare Saturday and stopped by my local hobby shop to nominally* check out the fuss about the new Stablemates stuff, and it was absolutely bonkers in there. The parking lot was full, the phone was ringing off the hook, staff was scurrying everywhere, and there was an actual line at the checkout.  

(*I say nominally, because there was a beautifully shaded Sable Island Horse there, and I couldn’t just leave her behind, you know? Damn you and your beautiful Bay paint jobs, Breyer!) 

I do not know what’s going on with all of the delays at Reeves – especially the Black Friday shipments, and the notifications for the Space Bears – but if the situation in New Jersey is anything like it is in Michigan, it’s probably a combination of being overwhelmed with holiday orders, being short staffed because of the pandemic, and an infrastructure being pushed beyond its current capacity

I know I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed lately and pushed above and beyond my personal capacities. I hope to get caught up a bit this week, but I am trying to not be overly optimistic. Heck, I’ll just be happy getting my office navigable again and all my sales stuff tagged, bagged and put into storage. 

All this mental and physical clutter is making me claustrophobic, and I hate that feeling.

Here’s an example of some of the clutter I have to deal with. It’s another one of those models from that lot I bought a while back that had such an assortment of lovelies:

Now, I have a lot of #87 Buckskin Mustangs, including a magnificently shaded early example with eyewhites who makes me gasp every time I take him off the shelf. I don’t have a Chalky one yet, but that’s because they get snapped up pretty quickly on the hope that it might be not just a Chalky, but a painted over Decorator too.

What’s making me hesitate putting this fellow on the sales list is his footings:

Painted footings are a relatively recent development. Unless a hoof was upraised or otherwise visually exposed, hoof bottoms on models from the 1950s through most of the 1980s were left unfinished. 

First, there were the technical issues: aside from dealing with overspray, where do you put a model with wet feet to dry? It only takes the paint about seven seconds to dry, but that’s several seconds that could be used to paint the next model.

Second, there were practical considerations: as toys and display pieces, hoof bottoms were simply considered the point of contact between the model and the floor or shelf. “Finishing” them in any way would just make the inevitable rubs and scuffs even more visible.

Usually when I see a vintage model with finished footings, it raises a red flag to me: this model might have been repainted or significantly touched up. 

In the case of this Mustang, the paint not only appears to be authentic, but there’s also light factory overspray on his belly where you’d expect it to be. It is actually quite noticeable in person but, you know, my photograph skills could be better.

So here I am, trying to convince myself I don’t need another Buckskin Mustang…

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Ursa Major and Ursa Minor

Special Run Bears + Astronomical Theme = Yes, please!

The original Black and Brown Bear and Cub sets from the late 1960s/early 1970s were one of my first “big” flea market finds back in the early 1980s; my parents were quite perplexed to see me get so excited over something that was Not A Horse

I wouldn’t say I became obsessed with the molds per se, but I have tried my best to keep myself up-to-date with them.

While there are a few more recent strays I haven’t acquired yet, mostly because space is an issue (the Cub in the one Walmart Mustang set, the 2005 set rerelease, and the Bear and Cub that were sold separately in the early 2000s) the Silver variation of the BreyerFest 2014 Kodiak and Denali are the only ones I haven’t acquired (and am not likely to) because of financial reasons.

Yes, there’s been a set on eBay for forever. But it’s either pay up, or go without. And Breyers being the luxury they are, I’ve had to learn to do without. 

(FYI: $500 is about as high as I could go without starting to hyperventilate.)

Well, them and any Test Colors that might be floating around. I know for fact that there’s at least one set of standard black and white Panda Bears out there somewhere. A Chalky set of Polar Bears turned up on eBay several years ago and went well above my comfort zone, too.

The molds are not super popular in general and they’re making 350 sets so I am not overly concerned about being able to get them, even if I’m not picked from the initial list. But I will worry about that tomorrow, if need be.

I do love this particular “colorway” – Space Pinto, basically? – and I hope it makes its way onto other releases soon. Unicorns, Horses, other Nonhorses…. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

More Models, More Problems

Because you asked for it, here’s another unexpected treat from the collection I bought a while back:

I knew there was a Traditional Man o’ War in the lot; I didn’t realize until I unpacked it that it also happened to have a Blue Ribbon Sticker. 

And since I didn’t (yet) have a Traditional Man o’ War with the “large” version of the Blue Ribbon Sticker, he has to stay. As I stated previously, Traditional Man o’ Wars are one of the few molds that get a pass on my “no more variations” rule. 

This fellow doesn’t necessarily provide me any more data than my previous 15+ Traditional Man o’ Wars do – other than provide additional confirmation that the airbrushed gray hooves variation was concurrent with at least part of the “Big Sticker” era (1969-1970). There is no USA on this pretty boy, so he’s likely a 1969 or early 1970 release.

His color is also gorgeous in person, so there’s that, too. (He does need a bit of cleaning up, though. Whenever I can find the time.)

But seriously, after this weekend’s online escapades (in addition to my Breyer Black Friday purchases, I also bought another Old Timer variation on eBay) I really have to keep new models to a minimum for the rest of the year. The collection is long overdue for a reorganization, and more models at this point will just mean more problems, you know?

(With a possible exemption for the forthcoming Winter Web Animal that everyone thinks is a Bear. Long story: basically the Bear and Cub mold also get a pass from me.)

This does not mean a big sale is forthcoming: I have also been asked by a good neighbor to help her downsize. Once I’m cleaned up here to my satisfaction (all sales/duplicates separated, toted and put into storage), a big chunk of my “spare” time for at least a few months going forward will be spent occupied with this task. 

That means most of my model sales stuff will probably packed away until early Spring, along with my uncertainties about BreyerFest, the flea market season, and pretty much everything else. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Getting Around

La Molina and Masella are here, but I’ll open them next week; since I’m deep in a multitasking mood, their shipping box is probably the safest place for them to be for now.

I also succumbed to Breyer’s Black Friday Sale on Thursday, which means that I was actually logged on when they still had some interesting stuff for sale. So I bought the 2019 Premier Club Bonus Stablemate Charleston, because I really like that mold, and a Spectrum because it was back in stock and Rainbow Decorators have been on my mind a lot this past week. 

Probably because I am hoping or expecting more news about BreyerFest to drop soon, and curious if they’ll take the opportunity that’s sitting right there with the whole “Horses of Another Color” theme with a Rainbow Decorator as a BreyerFest Special Run.

(Any mold, I’m not fussy. A Rainbow Yellow Mount might be neat!)

Speaking of, this video has been circulating around the model horse Internet:

The only comment I’ll add to this is utterly unrelated to any controversies – real, imagined or exaggerated – about the horse, is to express my amusement at the Bradshaws pronouncing Breyer as “Breyers”. Here in Michigan, we’re known for adding an “s” to the end of everything:

Then there’s the Polygon article Reeves promoted on their Facebook page that gave a summary explanation of the basics of creating a model horse, from start to finish:

I know some of the nerdier hobbyists among us would have liked to see even finer details of the process, but as someone who spent five years working in an injection molding plant, I’m glad they kept it relatively simple. Because I probably would have started picking out the obscure technical bits that the writer might not have “translated” into English correctly that nobody but me would even care about anyway. 

Incidentally, when I worked at that plant the head of production was mightily impressed that I – just a girl! – knew anything about injection molded plastic in the first place, thanks to my involvement in the hobby. 

I get that a lot, about a lot of things; as I like to say to people, my resume tends to confuse people. (You did what? You worked where? You know how to do that? Yeah folks, I’ve been around.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Half Measures

The weather finally turned gray and dreary, so I went out to the local Salvation Army Store and bought several cuts of vintage Hawaiian fabric from the 1970s. About 15 yards total?

They are colorful and vibrant and full of possibilities, but at the moment I have no idea what I am going to do with any of it, other than reserving at least one piece of it as a future live show tablecover.

(And if they ever have a Hawaiian or South Seas-inspired BreyerFest, I am all set!)

It was also a bit of a consolation prize, since I missed some fabulous high-end Mid-Century Modern furniture in the same store literally by minutes. There’s actually quite a bit to be found in the Metro Detroit area, but this was (a) an entire matched suite and (b) at Salvation Army prices.

Sigh. Anyway. Back to horse stuff.

Here’s another item from the collection I recently purchased that included that fabulous Buckskin Indian Pony: a partially Chalky #62 Saddlebred Weanling!

It’s difficult to capture in the photograph, but in person you can definitely see that the plastic is only Chalky in spots, with no rhyme or reason for the location of said spots. Her blaze, for instance, is half-Chalky, half-not!

Because high-quality translucent white Cellulose Acetate was in short supply in the early- to mid-1970s, it wouldn’t surprise me if Breyer initially tried to salvage some of their culls contaminated with bits of colored regrind with this technique. 

Tried, and then quickly abandoned, because I could imagine how much of a pain in the butt that would be for painters to do these random touch-ups. It’s much easier to just give them all a thick, solid basecoat – whether it was molded out of solid green plastic, or just flecked with regrind – and call it a day. 

When I bought this collection, I didn’t think of it as anything more than a really nice lot of models in really nice condition, and I was happy with that. But the more I look into it, the more I wonder.  

One thing I do know for certain is that I am definitely not going to go down the rabbit hole of Saddlebred Weanling variations. Different socks, different blazes, different shades of Chestnut – been there, done that! I’ll stick to Traditional Man o’ Wars and #48 Black Morgans, thanks.

Sunday, November 22, 2020


This week’s been a rollercoaster.

Up: I did get drawn for the La Molina and Masella! 

Down: I don’t have a Benasque, and I’m not about to go wandering through that minefield. I can actually afford it right now, but paying $600+ for a 350-piece release is not something I want to be a party to.

Up: I finally found the Walmart Bay Stablemate G3 Quarter Horse. Now I can see why he was such a toughie to get – the color is dark, rich and slightly metallic, and elevates an otherwise blah release into something special. 

This fellow (gal?) is almost Stablemates Club quality, not something I would have expected from a Walmart release. Woo-hoo, new Stablemate office desk buddy!

Down: Reeves decided to drop early access to the better bits of their Black Friday sale in the middle of the day during a workweek. Awesome for people who have access to the Internet at work or are glued to their phones 24/7. The rest of us? No Fylkirs for you!

Then there’s the latest Test Color Purchase Raffle Piece, on the Hess Belgian:

It’s obviously a Test for the 2002 Just About Horses Special Run First Frost, on the Five-Gaiter, and why they didn’t acknowledge this on the web site is a bit of a mystery to me, but whatever. 

First Frost was one of those Just About Horses releases that I bought first, and fell in love with later. It’s the kind of color that improves every model it gets put on, and I’ve been baffled by the fact that it hasn’t been used more since then. I’m guessing because it is hard to photograph well?

While I’m really trying to not get my hopes up, I’m actually in a position right now that I could comfortably pull off a $1000 Test Color purchase. And me being actually part (human) Belgian myself, I think it would be totally fitting.

But alas, my luck doesn’t really run that way. While it does sometimes seems like I have magical powers, they’re rarely of the kind that seems to benefit me directly. So – like everyone else who hopes to get drawn – I find myself wondering what this coaster has in store for me around the next turn. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Jumping Off the Crazy Train

It was a couple of hours before I got a chance to see the “Festive Filigree” Blind Bag Stablemates, and I was genuinely surprised that they were still available when I looked. 

I took a deep breath… and decided to take a pass. I went shopping for cactus seeds instead: I saw my first snowflakes of the season yesterday and my thoughts immediately turned to hot weather and growing things. While I’m planning on a Victorian-themed flower garden next year, I think cactus will be my primary winter growing project. I haven’t tried them before, and I am up for a challenge.

When I came back from my desert-plant shopping sojourn (lithops are adorable!), the Blind Bags were sold out, much to my relief.

It’s bad enough I still have other several other Stablemates to catch up on, including (apparently) another series of Walmart Unicorns that includes a shrunken Prince Charming resin as the Chase Piece. I haven’t even finished documenting most of this year’s(!) arrivals yet.

But I decided to jump off this crazy train of year-end specials (and Stablemates in particular) because, paperwork aside, I am depressingly familiar with this routine by now.

In a few weeks/months, I should be able to secure one of the less desirable ones – which look to be the Red Florentine Smart Chic Olena and/or the Green Florentine Croi Damsha – for not much more than the original asking price. 

The others (Brishen and the Lipizzan) will remain pricey for several months, even after everyone who desperately needs them all has either acquired them, or has decided to move on to something else. Then their prices will drift back down to Earth, albeit more gradually because many sellers don’t want to be the first to “undersell” their investment. 

(Heck, I’m just happy if I get my money back!)

Funny thing was that earlier in the week, I had been thinking that it had been a bit since Reeves sprung some “Christmas Decorators” on us. I was hoping that it included Matte Red and Green Wedgwood horses instead of the Gold Florentine and Silver Filigree that have become their other default Christmassy colors, but that was not my call to make.

Since the Collector’s Club Appreciation Sale was gotten out of the way early, only other holiday offer that I am looking forward to at this point is the Holiday Animal (crossing fingers for that Silver Charm Elk! A Kitten or one of the Dogs would also be acceptable.) 

I’m moderately curious about the Christmas Day Special, but unless they figure out a way to keep one buyer from getting two of the Coal models (Which has happened twice, in two years? Not a good look, guys.) or do away with that concept entirely, I’m definitely dialing down my enthusiasm. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

The Naming of Colors

On one hand, I think I’ve finally found the colors on the Eberl Andalusian Mare and Foal that finally do it for me, with the Winter Web Special La Molina and Masella:

But on the other, it is highly unlikely that I’ll ever be able to complete the family with a Duende Benasque. 

Eh, I’ll enter anyway and see what happens. If I get them, great! 

If I don’t, I’ll just sit back and watch the trainwreck that the aftermarket sales will be. Since the piece count is 450 (as opposed to the usual 350) on this set, I’m hoping not very, but I’ve seen some frankly very scary prices on eBay lately so I am not that optimistic.

(In case you were wondering, I didn’t even try for that White Boxer.)

It’s interesting that they appear to have settled on the name “Blue Filigree” for Masella’s color: that seems awfully generic and mundane for a color that glossy, iridescent and color-shifting. 

Unless they come up with something better (Glossy Metallic Heliotrope? Dappled Iridescent Cyan? Purple Monkey Dishwasher? Or my personal favorite: Blue Raspberry Snowcone!) I’m going to keep calling it Benasque Blue. 

There is logic and precedent to this: the “Sorrel” color that originated on the #52 Five-Gaiter is often referred to as “Five-Gaiter Sorrel” when it appears on other Breyer releases. (Yeah, Breyer tried rebranding it in the 1970s as “Honey Sorrel” when they put it on the Bell-Bottomed Shire, but that did not stick.)

Speaking of, I’ll close today’s brief post with a picture of my semi-gloss Sorrel Five-Gaiter with eyewhites who also did nothing at the BreyerFest Photo Show this year. I bought him years ago in a box lot on eBay with a mint Sorrel Family Arabian Foal; this is one of the reasons why I presume that the Sorrel Family Arabian Variations are from the early 1960s, and not the later. 

That’s all for today, folks!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Shrinky Misty

This sinus infection is totally kicking my butt, so here’s a picture of that Shrinky Misty to entertain you in ways I cannot:

When I am not pondering the mysteries of model horse history, I design and (not as expediently as I wish) sew quilts. It’s my philosophy that with the right combination of pattern, texture and design you can get literally any two colors to work together in a quilt.

This model is making me rethink this philosophy. Highlighter Orange and Tan? I don’t think so.

Like Chalkies, Shrinkies are not necessarily limited to or defined by a specific time period. You can find Breyer models that have shrunk, warped and turned a peculiar shade of something else from just any time in Breyer’s past. It’s just that the ones from the late 1980s are more abundant, more readily available, and turned weirder faster than the rest. 

In fact, all Breyer models – be it five years from now, or 150 years from now – will eventually shrink, warp and discolor. 

There are plenty of models from the 1950s and early 1960s that still look as good as they did when they were manufactured, so don’t freak out just yet. The speed is dependent not just on the chemical composition of the plastic, but on the environment they are kept in.

There was definitely something that went wrong during the “Shrinky Era” of the late 1980s: this was shortly after manufacturing moved from Chicago to New Jersey, and a lot of “institutional memory” was lost in the transition. I suspect it was either a bad batch of raw Cellulose Acetate, or something went slightly awry with the plastic mix that did not get caught immediately because the old pros weren’t around to do periodic quality checks. 

I still haven’t decided whether or not to keep her. She seems pretty stable for Shrinky (no active oozing, doesn’t smell that bad), but I really don’t need another crazy Misty variation. If anyone wants to make an offer and make this decision easier for me, feel free!

Monday, November 9, 2020

Turkey Day

So this long-lost package greeted me today when I got home:

This is not a frozen turkey: there were four horses in there and fortunately/miraculously none of them appear to have been damaged in any significant way. 

But still, yikes. This is not a good way to start out the week.

In other news that was not news because last week was last week, the 2020 inductees to the Toy Hall of Fame were Baby Nancy, Jenga, and Sidewalk Chalk.

I understand Baby Nancy: the original write up was a little too detailed and well-written for me to not think it was a foregone conclusion. History, and all that.

As far as games go, I thought Yahtzee or Risk had a better chance than Jenga, but Jenga does have an appealing (yet deceptive) simplicity to it. It takes two minutes to explain, if that, and there are no notepads to tally or rulebooks to follow. 

But Sidewalk Chalk? We got beat by craft supplies? Sigh.

Okay, I’ll admit that I kind of got my hopes up just slightly, based solely only the fact that one of the hosts of the morning radio show I usually listen to very briefly mentioned the hobby in passing when discussing the Toy Hall of Fame story a few weeks back, during the voting phase of it. 

Then again, that guy is/was a toy train nerd, has a daughter that is the right age, and the two primary independent toy stores in this area both have extensive selections of both Breyers and Trains.

In other words, it was probably just an exceptional circumstance. 

But still, it’s an optimistic sign that we’re not as peripheral to the public consciousness as some hobbyists believe, and that this campaign was not as quixotic as it originally seemed. Heck, Lisa was outed as a model horse collector on The Simpsons last year:

There was a shot of an extensive (20+) model horse collection in her room, and she gave one of horsey friends “a toy horse, with a hat” for her birthday! (Any model horse hobbyist who watched that episode immediately whispered Old Timer.)

I’m kind of curious just how far Reeves is willing to go to continue pursuing it, though, since they obviously saw it as part of their 70th Anniversary marketing strategy. 

Off to bed now; I have a sinus headache that’s not going to get any better staring at a computer screen.

Friday, November 6, 2020

The Choices Given

My Gambler’s Choices are…

…the Glossy Winx and the Appaloosa Valerio! 

The Winx was what I was hoping for, but the Appaloosa Valerio is a surprise, because I usually don’t get the Appaloosa option with Gambler’s Choices. I thought it’d be either the Rose Gray (who I think is the prettiest of the four) or the Unicorn (weird, but awesome in its own way).

Like most of the Valerios out there, he does have the “squish” problem with his neck, which some hobbyists are assuming – and as someone who did work for a plastics injection molding plant for five years, I nod in agreement – is probably a consequence of him being molded out of Cellulose Acetate instead of ABS.

As someone who sometimes goes out of her way to collect mold oddities, it doesn’t bother me in the least. Though I do hope that they resolve the issue for the 2021 Deluxe Club Membership Stablemate Alborozo, because I know my fellow hobbyists are not as forgiving. 

The only (slight) disappointment about the 2020 CCA offer is finding out about the other Glossies that they only hinted at. And that one of them was the Sable Island Pony. 

Dang it! I was afraid of that.

I’m definitely not considering trading my Winx for one, because her gloss is nice and thick and her shading is top notch and I love the Emerson mold. But I might consider trading either of my previous CCA Glosses (the Pinto Wixom Jake, or the Pinto Roxy Kodi) for one. Eventually. 

Or for a Gloss Catch Me. The ones I have seen are pretty nice looking, too.

Ah well, probably better to savor the choices I have been given, and not worry so much about what I haven’t.

In the meantime, I will be spending the rest of my weekend cleaning up and sorting out the horses that are now out of the car. Turns out that that most of the them are in better shape than I expected (yay!) except for one of the sets I was hoping to keep (boo!) The Bay Old Timer looks pretty good, and is more appealing than I remember, though it might be the nostalgia talking.

There’s also a freakish neon yellow and tan Shrinky Misty in the lot too that I shouldn’t keep, but I find myself… hesitating. The weather is going to be nice all weekend, so pics may be coming of her, next time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Another Funky Old Timer Variation

(FYI: This is as political as I am ever going to get here, and as you will see, it’s just barely.)

Like a lot of folks, I’ll be checking out of most media for the next couple of days because I need a break. I live in a battleground state where even my smudge of a town has seen several campaign stops, and I think it’s probably best that – having done my civic duty – I just retreat to my workshop for the next couple of days to decompress and be, you know, productive.  

There’s an applique quilt project I pulled out of storage last week that needs to be completely redrawn (I’ve found that commercial quilt patterns from the 1970s are almost always wrong in some fundamental way.) 

And there is, of course, that big box of (mostly) body-quality Breyers still sitting in the car that I need to get out of said car before I take it in for an oil change later this week, because I’ve had to deal with enough awkward conversations recently. (See above)

One of the pieces in this lot is (supposedly) a fairly decent #206 Bay Old Timer. I had one years ago and sold it, because it was produced at a time when Breyer Bays were not all that interesting. Then I found another who was a lot better, and a variation too, but I sold that one also because I needed the money and Old Timers are reliably good sellers, even the boring ones. 

But I’ve been thinking a lot about the Old Timer mold since last year’s Web Special LaFitte, so if this one turns out to be in reasonably good shape, I may keep it. 

The lot that the Indian Pony came in also included a Dapple Gray Old Timer that I was originally going to send directly to my sales list, because I have a lot of Dapple Gray Old Timers already and didn’t think I needed another. 

Guess what? It’s probably staying:

The gold trim on the harness and headstall are painted on one side… but not on the other!

It’s kind of neat, though, to confirm one little production factoid with this horse: details were painted from side to side, and not from the head down. At least with this particular painter, whoever he or she was. 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Details

Going through my receipts yesterday (I hadn’t touched them at all this year – Bad Andrea!) I discovered why I was feeling so overwhelmed over the past two weeks:

I’ve bought over 100 models in the past month and a half! 

The majority of them came in four large box lots of 15 to 25 models apiece, but a fair share of them also came from Breyer’s recent sales promotions and club offerings. (I am counting the Anniversary Stablemates Displayer as one item for the moment, not 24, because I haven’t opened it yet. This is my logic, and I have spoken.) 

Recent developments have taken some of the financial pressure off me having to sell things online, but having models in every nook and cranny of my bedroom, my office, the bathroom, and even my car(!) is starting to wear on me, psychologically, so I’ll have to do something soon. 

One of the complications I’m running into is that a number of the pieces I’ve bought in the box lots are – or may be – possible upgrades, and that part of the process is going to be a massive time suck. 

I’ll dig things out, compare and contrast, make hard decisions, get lost admiring some treasure I had in storage that I now want to display and then have to choose who goes back into storage. 

One collection I bought is particularly challenging: most of the models are from ca. 1969 through ca. 1974, and some of them have details that lead me to believe that it might be a salesman’s sample lot. The paint jobs are exceptional, and there are some oddities that definitely give me pause – like a partially chalky Saddlebred Weanling, and a Buckskin Mustang with factory painted black hoof bottoms (all four, not just the front two!)

But it’s also entirely possible that this collector was simply very particular about handpicking; many stores were still displaying sales pieces in glass cabinets or behind sales counters during this time period. For those that didn’t (or couldn’t) the clear plastic Showcase Collection was also an option in the early 1970s.

As I’ve mentioned before, Breyer shifted away from gloss finishes and unrealistic colors in the early 1970s due to both consumer and hobbyist demand. They started experimenting with more naturalistic colors and spending more time adding subtle details wherever they could, like these individually painted tendrils in this Buckskin Indian Pony’s mane:

(In case you were wondering, yes, the Buckskin Indian Pony was in that lot and no, you can’t have her.)

Unfortunately, it’s the little details like these that tend to get dropped when (inevitably) production can’t meet demand. This holds true even for more recent releases: this is why I tell people to hesitate just a bit before they dive into customizing the newest/latest molds and models. You might end up doing something you’ll regret later!

Incidentally, if you are looking for something to customize, that’s one section of the sales list that’s (almost) sorted out, so it’ll probably be the first thing I list online sometime in the next week or so. Mostly older Hess molds, Love Classics and some Mestenos, if you’re curious. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Story of Julius

Dear Reeves-type people: I am completely exhausted and you can stop with all the reveals, new stuff and special offers now. I’m sure everybody at the warehouse would also be relieved. 

Aside from the Vintage Club and Premier Club reveals and another web exclusive Unicorn, take a gander at the New Products page for the latest Good Grief What Now. Not shown on this page: the fact that the 70th Anniversary Traditionals are now also selectable by mold, so if you still need a Palomino Hamilton, now’s your chance.

(I’ll wait for that shiny black one.) 

The Vintage Club is currently taking renewals from current subscribers and will start taking new subbers on November 4th. I have no idea if they will release pictures of any of the other releases in the club, and I am not at liberty to give you any hints anyway. 

Except (a) I expect it to sell out quickly, and (b) I don’t think you will be disappointed. 

As for Julius, the first reveal in the VC, I have a little story to tell about him:

It has been one of my greatest joys – and favorite hobby accomplishments – to name actual Breyer releases. When it came time to find a suitable name for a Vintage Club release on the Georg, one name became very obvious for me.

I named him after my Uncle George (my grandfather’s youngest brother), whose given name was actually Julius.

All of the male siblings in the family were... hell raisers, to put it mildly. The inside joke was that if anything went awry on the family farm, they’d blame it on “George”: that was the name the brothers called each other, much to the consternation of their father. (The brothers actual names were Joseph, Charles and Julius.)

Truth be told it, was Julius who was the biggest troublemaker of the bunch, so he eventually he became “George”. Our grandfather Charles passed away when we were fairly young, so George became our surrogate grandfather, even though he had a son who was two years younger than my brother, which caused all sorts of confusion in school. (We lived in the same town, for a while.)

My brother and I didn’t even know that George’s actual name was Julius until years later, when we wondered why everyone else at holiday get-togethers called him “Julius”, instead.

(There was a lot of that in my family, actually. Both sides. I learned very early on that identity can be a very slippery thing.)

All the men on my Grandfather’s side of the family were stout and big-boned: if they had been horses, they would have been Drafts. The name Julius also has an old-fashioned, old-world feel to it that suited the Georg mold very well. 

There have also been a number of Breyer releases that have unintentionally named after other relatives of mine, so it seemed appropriate that one be intentionally so.

Sunday, October 25, 2020


Oh goodness, where do I even begin?

The topic of color is just as controversial one in both the live horse and model horse community. 

Some of it is comes out of old and often debunked beliefs and institutional prejudices about certain colors and patterns (Pintaloosas, double dilutes, narrow ranges of acceptable breed colors, excessive white rules, etc.) 

And some of it is genuine concern about the health and wellbeing of the horse itself: flashy color sells, and sometimes horses with obvious and/or potentially harmful characteristics will be bred because they’re a pretty color or sport an eyecatching pattern. (And some of the colors themselves are harmful in and of themselves, in a genetically homozygous form.)

Any time a model is released in an atypical color – for the breed, or just in general – there is always a backlash.

My first concern when they announced next year’s BreyerFest theme – one that I initially dismissed because surely they were smart enough not to go there – was that they might pick a Celebration Horse that might fall into that latter category: pretty, but problematic.

What I was hoping for was that Reeves would carefully thread this needle: we wouldn’t just have colorful representatives of breeds known for their flashy looks, but also horses that didn’t fit the “mold”. That would have included not just rare colors on more common breeds (Pinto Trakehners!), but unusual patterns and oddities (Brindles and Chimeras), visually striking examples of rare breeds, and also horses or breeds that thrived or succeeded outside of their more usual or expected roles or overcame great obstacles or disabilities. 

And also, at least one actual Zebra, a couple of Decorators including a Rainbow-colored one (duh!) and one or two rarely used older molds because they are also “of another color”, metaphorically speaking. 

Well, that’s what I would have gone with or proposed, if I had been asked.

When I initially saw the Celebration Horse model, my first reaction was “Oh okay, an Appaloosa. We haven’t had many Appaloosa Celebration Horses, so that’s seems like a logical choice.” The model looked nice, though very similar to last year’s Holiday Connoisseur Ambrose. I figured there would probably be a little bit of backlash over that, because any time any release is followed by a somewhat similar release, there’s going to be trouble.

But that was not where the trouble really was. I saw pictures of the actual horse the model was based on, and the first words out of my mouth were “Oh, dear…”

Although I have made it very clearly and obviously known that I am not a stickler when it comes to model horse anatomy – plastic has no genotype – that does not extend to the real thing. 

Horses should look like horses, and function like them too. I, too, cringe at what has become of some breeds in recent years, especially Morgan and Quarter Horses. Give me those old Foundation-bred horses anytime!

There is, undoubtedly, some after-the-fact enhancements that make the real-world horse look even more exaggerated in his photos than he does in person. Sadly, it is these exaggerated looks that often win and sell: that’s part of what got the Tennessee Walking Horse breed into the sorry state that it has devolved into. 

It becomes a vicious circle that results in horses being bred to a type that either can’t, or shouldn’t, exist. 

Do the owners of these horses actually love them as horses, or do they only see them as investments? It’s complicated: some do, some don’t, though most exist in a state somewhere between the two. 

I’m not going to speculate on the owners’ motives or where they exist on that scale: I think it’s unfair to do so, especially since I do not know them in any sense of the word. I do understand why he was withdrawn from the event as the Celebration Horse. I saw the tone of the conversation on Facebook, such as it was, before it was pulled. 

I have no doubt there were some comments that veered into volatile or threatening territory: provoking and stoking strong emotions is a behavior endemic to Facebook, and one of the many reasons I try to avoid it.

There’s also been some speculation that this incident proves that the Powers-That-Be at Reeves are “not actually horsepeople”. I know for a fact that this is not true: some of our very own work for them on, by salary and by contract. 

But what did happen to get to this point? It was probably a combination of factors. 

I think part of the problem is that they were allured by the horse’s celebrity owner, and the possibility of using his celebrity status to draw more attention to the event. They’ve been using that strategy since the 1970s with releases like Stud Spider and Lady Phase, and to great effect at BreyerFest. 

It’s also somewhat obvious that the folks at Reeves tend to favor English and International disciplines over Western ones, and may not have been as aware of some of their attendant controversies. They probably had assurances that the horse was N/N for HYPP, and that was enough to allay their initial concerns.

Regardless of how they got to this point, the issue is now: where do they go from here?

First: the model itself likely never got beyond the Test/Sample phase, and production for Celebration Horses doesn’t usually begin until well after ticket sales do, so they don’t have a warehouse full of unsellable models to deal with. 

Second: who becomes the Celebration Horse now? I’ve always assumed – since the Mego incident in 1995 – that Reeves has had backup plans for Celebration Horses who are unable to attend for any given reason. 

If they had backup choices, they’re going to be recontacted this week, obviously, and whatever contracts need to be renegotiated, they will be. It’s also possible that another guest performer who may have already been confirmed – but not yet announced – could be bumped up to “Celebration Horse” status, which could save a lot of time, money and aggravation.

If I had a choice, what I would do is take the negative and turn it into a positive, with a Tennessee Walking Horse as the Celebration Horse. I’d use the Bluegrass Bandit mold as opposed to the Midnight Sun (of course) and utilize this very visible platform to highlight the efforts to redeem and reclaim the breed from the Big Lick. There are a lot of very colorful TWHs out there – another thing the breed is known for! – and that would definitely help “retcon” it into the theme. 

Anyways, that’s my thoughts on the matter. Not exactly how I thought my first “official” post about BreyerFest 2021 would go, but there it is. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Hindsight Is So 2020

How is it only Thursday? This week has felt at least a month long! 

The first thing I’ll say is that I will devote an entire post to the Celebration Horse controversy, but not today, because I’m still recovering from… all the other stuff.

I get that Reeves is trying to recoup some of the sales “lost” to the absence of an in-person BreyerFest by extending their holiday sales promotions into October. But I paid off my credit cards earlier this year and I kind of want to keep it that way by the end of it, you know? 

I mean, my family is going to be asking some questions in the next week or so about the sheer number of Reeves boxes getting dumped on our doorstep… 

Anyway yes, to start the week I did participate in the Customer Appreciation Sale: all of the revealed/mentioned items – Winx, Buckeye and the Catch Me – were acceptable to me. The Winx and the Buckeye had already been “revealed” through leaks to dealers a while back, but the Catch Me was a surprise. 

The one I’m most forward to seeing in Gloss is the Catch Me: all the ones received by my local retailers were heavily picked through before I got to see them, and therefore probably not the best or most representative examples. And I do love the True North mold.

Like everyone else, I am all hubba-hubba-yowza about a Gloss Winx: Emerson, in Gloss Dark Bay? Sold. 

And I’ve been casually searching for affordable Brown Sunshines for a big chunk of the year, without much success. I had no idea how popular that mold is right now!

Just last week I was thinking that I should probably put together a couple of alternate CCA “buy” lists, but since they dropped it on us two months early, I just went the easiest route possible and bought 5 of the 6 Fairytale Friends. I was planning on getting them all anyway, saving them as order fillers for free postage, but since my week started out pretty rough (not hobby-related) and I didn’t feel like doing any complicated math, in the cart they went. 

(The last one in the set will get added to my Honeybunch order here in a day or two, because you just know I’m not going to pass up an affordable Pearly Possibly Pinto Palomino Fell Pony Emma.)

As for what other Glosses might show up in the CCA mix, I have no idea. I saw some suggestions that the Brick and Mortar Special Lionel could be a possibility, and I am very much in favor of that, please and thank you, especially since I never got to see any locally and I had plans on handpicking one. 

But I am not going to worry about what I get, regardless.  

Monday, October 19, 2020

Atticus, Cassidy, and the Box of Mysteries

I am happy to report that my Box of Mysteries has arrived:

Everyone else, on the other hand, is bored with that already and has moved on to the Stablemates Club Gambler’s Choice Alborozo swap-and-sale-athon. I haven’t even ordered mine yet – not a lack of money or interest, simply a matter of priorities – and as I’ve stated before, I’ll be okay with literally any of them, so selling/swapping is not a concern.

Even the funky teal and purple Pintaloosa Unicorn: now that I’ve seen in-hand pictures of it, I actually think he is really neat! (He kind of reminds me of a quilt I finished recently, color-wise.) 

Photos of the first release for next year’s Stablemates Club have been posted, and it’s the shrinkified Clydesdale Stallion with a new haircut, named Atticus:

The paint job is pretty, and I’m sure he’ll be lovely in person, but my very first thought upon seeing him was “Wait a minute, is this a Custom?” 

He reminds me a lot of vintage customs of the Traditional Clydesdale Stallion: dark dappled Bay Sabinos with loose (usually haired) manes and tails were a fairly common sight in the showring in the 1980s. 

Along with Grulla Overo Lady Phases with lowered/turned heads, Indian Ponies in “fancy” (more realistic) Appaloosa paint jobs, Dapple Gray or Bay Proud Arabian Stallions in exaggerated park trots, and Dilute Pinto Adioses sporting way too much mohair. 

(I tended, even then, to stick to weirder and more experimental stuff, but I’ll dig out photos of my early customizing attempts another day.)  

I am somewhat cool to the final release of this year’s club, Maggie Jenner-Bennett’s Walking Stock Horse Mare Cassidy:

It’s either the photograph or the color/pattern combo that’s throwing me off here, because I usually really like Maggie’s stuff in person. Her hooves are striped and I like the pose – it’s similar to a drawing I did a million years ago (high school, maybe?) that I once fantasized about sending to Breyer as a proposal for a Traditional-scale performance friendly stock horse. So I’m sure it will also be perfectly lovely in person.

It also appears that they’ll be offering up the optional “Bonus” Stablemate Duke (the Gloss Dapple Gray Clydesdale) at the same time as Cassidy in early December, which is a nice gesture and an acknowledgement that a lot of us wait to the last possible moment to order in case something else comes up by the order deadline, because it so often does.

Which is also a reason why I am in no hurry to order my Gambler’s Choice mini Alborozo.  

Friday, October 16, 2020

That Hamilton Horse

I took a chance at the Walmart in the road construction zone today… and success!

While I’m tempted to go for broke and complete my collection of the Warmblood mold – especially now that the Fairytale Friends releases, including Sage, are open to anyone, club member or not – I  am still annoyed about the BreyerFest Arya release and I do not give up little grievances easily. 

In other Stablemate news Chalice, the Bonus Stablemate for next year’s Deluxe Collector’s Club membership, is a replica of the model that broke the bank at the 2019 BreyerFest Benefit Auction, and he’s pretty spiffy. I originally thought that he’d be a chase piece for the 70th Anniversary Stablemates set, but this will also do. (And be much easier to acquire!)

But the model that’s got me all twitchy and bothered is this hot ham and cheese sandwich of a horse:

Glossy. Dappled. Black. Hamilton. 

Pardon my French, but damn. Reeves, you ain’t playing!

Well actually, that I already knew, but the rest of you will see why in a few weeks. 

That Hamilton Horse better be either a pre-order, or a run of 3000+ pieces, because if my recent interactions have been any indication, their beleaguered Customer Service Reps have been through enough in the past year and really deserve a break. 

In fact, probably all deserve gift baskets. (Saturday is Sweetest Day in these parts…)

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Good Things Come in Tiny Packages

My schedule is already apparently back to “normal” and to celebrate, I went out and bought a few more Walmart Stablemates. Nothing especially noteworthy about the lot of them; I still need to find the G3 Quarter Horse in Dark Bay and (of course!) the Carbonated Grape Unicorn Chase piece continues to elude me. 

But I’ll wait on those two. That purple unicorn seems to be getting more common over time, so – like the Rainbow Magnolia – I think I’ll be able to avoid having to pay the online premium for it.  

The 70th Anniversary Stablemate 24-piece Displayers are also back in stock – or were so earlier today – so I also have that coming to me. I know it’s technically not on the “discontinued” list, but I’m tired of trying to track down boxes locally, only to find them completely picked over. 

I’ll see if I can resist the temptation to open them until a significant holiday (or other reason to celebrate) arrives. 

A third – and for the moment, final – Stablemate purchase was made some time back, but I hadn’t bothered to photograph it until recently because other things have gotten in the way, as they do:

I decided to do “full retail” on this purchase because it doesn’t look like a purchase of a Gloss Dapple Gray Belgian is going to happen any time soon, and the money I had designated specifically for that purpose rather neatly accommodated this one. 

I felt a little guilty at first, but then a few days ago I was looking at some recently ended auctions on eBay of what I consider somewhat less scarce vintage NIP Stablemates, I don’t feel so guilty now.

Boxed Sears Wishbook Stablemates have been grail items for Stablemates collectors even before other boxed Wishbook horses became something worth collecting, mostly because the boxes are so darn cute. 

I mean, seriously, they need to make these miniature carton boxes a thing for the Stablemates Club one of these years. Don’t get me wrong, the little yellow boxes are great, but these are reusable and therefore logically superior.

Sure, I would have loved to have gotten her for a lower price, but they can’t all be bargains. But being cheap most of the time means the occasional “Good gravy, what have I done?” purchase is only momentarily discomforting.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

White Shade of White

This year’s Christmas Model Yuletide Greetings is another model whose popularity I am moderately confused by. 

I get that the Shannondell model – independent of anything attached to it – is popular in and of itself. But all the Christmassy gewgaws dripping off of him aren’t doing much for me. As I’ve said before, some of these Breyer Christmas horses kind of remind me of the way Mom decorates for Christmas, and I am not so much unimpressed as I’m kind of over it. And Yuletide Greetings falls into that category. 

A giant, six-foot tall tree made out of pinecones? Completely covering a tree in pink poinsettias? Handmade grapevine wreaths decorated with flowers made out of hand-dyed cornhusks? Seen it. Done it. Yawn.

I do have a pretty nice, saddle-free White Western Pony in my body box right now that I might decorate as my interpretation of a Candy Packer for the holidays. All the supplies have been purchased (they were on sale!), but time? Time is the problem…

Speaking of all-white horses, here’s a pic of an old favorite of mine who didn’t do much at the BreyerFest Photo Show, but her photograph turned out pretty great so I’ll share it with you all:

This is an unpainted Chalky Plastic G1 Saddlebred, purchased from The Bentley Sales Company at Model Horse Congress back in 1985. For 25 cents? Or a dollar? Something ridiculously low, because Stablemates were cheap and collecting unpainted models back then wasn’t that big of a thing yet.

The swirls in the plastic are mold flow lines, caused by the leading edge of the melted plastic already beginning to harden, forming a slight skin. They are fairly common in vintage models, particularly those from the 1970s and 1980s. 

It’s not very apparent in the photograph, but she’s also somewhat yellowed: just because the plastic was opaque white doesn’t mean it doesn’t also yellow. Basecoated Chalkies are less likely to do so, though I’ve seen a few that have mellowed to a very pale ivory with age.

Unpainted Breyers in other colors also exist – most notably, the Pink Proud Arabian Foals – but a lot of the ones I see are actually just stripped Chalkies. The fact that some live shows allow them to show as Original Finish models, alas, only muddies the line between Customs and Original Finish and (to a degree) devalues those truly unpainted rarities that do occasionally resurface. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Some Days Just Be Like That

Yesterday was ridiculous.

First, I apparently wore my tee-shirt backwards the entire day and nobody bothered to tell me.

Second, I had an eBay transaction canceled on me. The seller gave me fifteen minutes (!) to respond to a question about shipping costs. In the middle of the day, when I had no access to any electronic devices whatsoever. 

Third, as I was going through the rest of my e-mails I discovered that there was a second Collector’s Club release – an Appaloosa Lonesome Glory named Sassy – but it was sold out already so never mind.

Truth be told: (a) I wasn’t in a situation where anyone would have either noticed or really cared about the shirt, (b) that deal was probably too good to be true, and (c) I am not all that into the Lonesome Glory mold anyway.

As for the quick sellout on the Sassy, it’s mostly a combination of Glossy finishes making hobbyists dumb and people with multiple accounts taking advantage of their fellow hobbyists’ desperation for anything glossy. 

There’s nothing that can be done to counter the all-gloss, all-the-time mindset; y’all know I’ve tried my best. But we can counter the opportunity for profit-taking by resisting the urge to reward that behavior. 

That’s why I don’t have a Buckskin Adios or the Polled Hereford Bull Marshall and (probably) never will. (Yeah, I saw the Marshall on eBay. Wasn’t me that bought it, that’s for sure….)

I’m good. You know I’ve gotten my fair share of goodies this year. I’m mainly kvetching because of other, more serious nonsense I had to deal with today and it takes my mind off of all that. 

But back to the topic: I don’t know why they switched the Collector’s Club Exclusives to a first-come, first-served basis when they had been doing pre-orders before. I am going to assume that there’s some logic to the decision that currently escapes my tired and exasperated brain. (Too much extra hassle for the additional profit?)

I will get myself a Fabio eventually, but like the Dapple Gray Belgian I was hoping for, I will have to wait until the next in-person BreyerFest. Not going to bother with Sassy, unless I see it in person and find myself smitten. 

That’s it for today; I need to get back to cleaning and sorting out the mess of models that I have, and not worry as much about the mess that I missed out on. 

Sunday, October 4, 2020


When I found out about the return of the In-Between Mare, my first reaction was “I can’t believe they’re actually doing this.” 

My second reaction was “Keeping this secret is going to be next-level hard.”

My third reaction, when they finally decided what colors she’d come in as the Gambler’s Choice model, was “I guess that means I’ll be getting the Matte Dappled Palomino one, then.”


And that’s fine. I haven’t even attempted to acquire other Vintage Club Gambler’s Choice pieces beyond the one my subscription gives me, so I certainly wasn’t going to start that nonsense now with a mold so rare that most hobbyists haven’t even seen a vintage example in person. 

Having an actual piece in hand that I can now examine at length and at my leisure, you know what she reminds me of? A Hong Kong Breyer Knockoff! 

But I don’t mean that in a negative way: my Zahra is just as well-constructed and painted as any other of my Vintage Club pieces. It’s in her awkward similarities to both the Old Mold/Proud Arabian Mare and the Family Arabian Mare, without be an exact copy of either. 

In other words, like many Knockoffs, she feels both a little familiar and also a little off. Her legs also seem a bit “knobby” in the same way a lot of Hong Kong Knockoffs are, but I think I my mind might be accentuating the knobbiness because of the other Knockoff vibes she gives off. 

As mentioned on their blog, this is the real deal, not a digital rescan: the mold was built up and around the original metal insert from 1959/1960. This also means that unlike the Traditional Alborozo, it’s now a permanent addition to Breyer’s stable of molds, which means we will be seeing her again. 

When, and in what context, I do not know. I’d like to think that they would use her sparingly to preserve her mystique, possibly only for Special Run items. 

I would forego attempts to camouflage her anatomical issues with more “normal” horse colors, though, and lean into her oddness. Personally, I’d go with either Decorator paint jobs (Christmas or otherwise) or improbable but theoretically possible realistic color combinations, like Dunalino Pintaloosa or Reverse Dappled Flaxen Liver Chestnut Roan Splash Pinto.

What’s nice about this approach is that it would roll very neatly into next year’s BreyerFest theme of “Horse of Another Color”, however they choose to execute it. (A topic I promise to get to, eventually.) 

And in case you were wondering, I’d take that Chalky Buckskin Stud Spider Appaloosa Test Piece one in a heartbeat: