Thursday, April 30, 2020

2020 One Days

I have way too much to do today to spend too much time with you guys today (it’s still April, right?) but the One-Day Stablemate Skye did me in yesterday:

You could put that Gloss Black Silver paint job on anything, and I’d buy it. Yeah, the mini Croi Damsha Arran is pretty great too, but that was a given:

And excellent, a Roan! I am always up for a nice Roan – either the realistic variety, or those funky Freckle Roans that debuted in 1968 on the Running Stallion. Man, when teenaged me found out that Breyer had painted Roans – they were discontinued about the same time I started collecting – I became a little obsessed.

It would be a few years before I even saw a Breyer Red Roan person though, because the hobby was almost entirely “virtual” for most of us back in the Dark Ages. Everything was done by mail, occasionally by phone, and news was transmitted only on a monthly (or bi-monthly) basis via mimeographed newsletters worth their weight in gold. You were lucky to get photographs of anything before you bought it.

When I finally did get a Red Roan it wasn’t what I expected but I fell in love, anyway.

(The 1980 Special Run Running Mare. I no longer own it. Long story.)

Back to Skye for a moment.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have reason to believe – but no concrete evidence yet – that Breyer’s Charcoal paint job was probably inspired by a black and white photograph of a Black Silver in an equine periodical, back when the genetics of horse colors were a little less well researched and the names of some colors had yet to be more clearly defined in equine circles.

I hope Reeves is planning on upping their production counts on the One-Day Stablemates, because I have a feeling that a lot of hobbyists are going to go for the “four-pack” option, since it appears to come with most the benefits of the standard Celebration Horse Ticket package, sans the SR Ticket and Celebration Horse.

I also hope they go on sale at a time when I actually have access to a device to purchase them on. 

And finally, as to whether or not I still believe the Surprise Model is Croi: I’m still not ruling it out, especially since the “no duplicates” rule got tossed out the window last year when the Standing/Clock Saddlebred was used for both the Early Bird and a Tent Ticket Special Run.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


I took a pass on the Gambler’s Choice Classic Nayati on the Mustang/American Dream mold today. While I actually loved all three colors (but especially the Dunalino!), I’ve been buying a lot of stuff lately and I really need to draw the line somewhere.

Some of it completely justified, like this:

Yes, a White French Poodle Perfume Kit – to match the Black one I had purchased several years ago, also on eBay. The Black one didn’t cost much – less than the average cost of a vintage Gloss Black or White Breyer Poodle on the secondary market, which is fairly low to begin with.

This one cost more, but I figured this could count as my official “birthday splurge”.

(Like I need another, but whatever.)

The Perfume Kits appeared in the Spiegel 1957 Holiday catalog, and the Sewing Kit version appeared in the Sears 1957 Wishbook.

However, the Big Poodle mold (as distinguished from the Small Poodle mold, which technically didn’t get an official release until the 1990s) wasn’t “announced” as a Breyer product until the 1958 Toy Fair.

It’s pretty obvious that the model had been for sale for some time prior to its Toy Fair debut, since not only did the mold have to be ready to photograph for inclusion in the holiday catalogs by Spring of 1957, they also can be spotted in a Western Saddle Company sales ad in the June 1957 of Western Horseman.

My guess is that it was originally scheduled for a 1957 release, but there might have been some technical issues and the mold itself wasn't ready for production (or even test shots) until after Toy Fair. Instead of making an interim announcement, they just put it in production and and waited until the next Toy Fair to say Hey Look, New Product!

This sort of nonsense is why a lot of Breyer release dates from the 1950s through the early 1970s have a little “circa/ca.” tag in front of them.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Going Green

My first thought upon seeing the third Store Special – W. H. Topgun, a Dappled Buckskin Connemara on the Newsworthy mold – was that’s a pretty subtle way of working a green horse into the BreyerFest lineup:

But seriously, it’s more than likely that this is just Breyer’s often-questionable photography messing with us again; I’m sure that the actual pieces will be a warmer, more appealing shade of Buckskin in person and not a repeat of the classic, but still a little cringeworthy Green Bay #3163 Sham from 1994.

(Because, as I discovered in the Ninth Grade during Ms. Eberline’s Painting class, “olive green” is what you get when you mix yellow with black.)

No, this sneak peek teased the intentionally Green Horse to be revealed next week, a Decorator that is most likely the Pop-Up Store Classic release:

The current line of speculation is that in addition to being dappled lime green with gold and purple accents, it’ll probably be a unicorn as well, since the Unicorn is the national animal of Scotland. And also possibly on the Classic Brabant/Mighty Muscle mold.

If all that is true – or even most of it – you can sign me up for that one. Especially since it’ll be a while before I’m able to procure my current funky Decorator obsession: the Walmart Series 3 Dappled Glossy Purple/Carbonated Grape (!) Standing Warmblood Unicorn Chase Piece.

(Completely unexpected, and I love it!)

With BreyerFest being a virtual event this year, it definitely throws a monkey wrench into my selection process: I don’t make my final purchasing decisions until I’ve seen the actual items in person, usually. I’m hoping that they’ll offer other, non-studio photographs of the sales pieces available prior to us having to make choices on things like W. H. Topgun.

I’m generally good with surprises, but keeping them to a minimum this year might be a good idea, all things considered.

Off to do some gardening. And sewing (Anyone need face masks? I’m only making about a bajillion!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Not Hard At All

What’s nice about the Misty’s Twilight mold, the subject of this week’s Test Color Purchase Raffle, is that it’s a ridiculously easy mold to collect. The only two that pose any moderate difficulty - the 1996 Jamboree Flabbehoppen and the Spiegel Dressage Set Black in 1993 - both had piece runs of about 1000.

In other words, not hard at all.

Test Colors aren’t all that common on her, though. This isn’t surprising, since she’s probably the least collected of all the Jeanne Mellin Herrick molds, and there are a number of other more popular models in a similar running position that are far more likely to have bodies knocking about the factory.

I certainly wouldn’t mind owning her, though. I’ll put in some entries, and see what happens.

So I went to buy my Florian over the weekend, and decided what the heck, I was going to toss a Fabio into my order because this was the first Duende that I both liked AND could afford.

(Benasque and North Star? Yeah, not going there.)

And apparently a lot of others thought the same thing, because he’s already sold out!

Unless it’s a supply issue, like the Winx and Crystalline.

Probably not, and it’s not something I’m going to worry about too much, regardless, because I’m eyeing plenty of things on eBay. Nothing expensive, just body lots and potential upgrades, because I am an apparent glutton for punishment.

My attempts to upgrade things rarely work out, but hope springs eternal! And what’s a few more bodies for the body box, right?

Since I was determined to buy something else on the Breyer web site, I ordered the Fighting Stallion Tee-Shirt instead. I’ll probably have nowhere to wear it, outside of my possible imitation BreyerFest in June or July, or whenever I get my act together here.

Like everyone else, I have absolutely no idea what this undefined blob of a sneak peek actually represents:

I am going to assume it’s either a Classic mold or a Pony because (a) we haven’t seen the Pop-Up Store Classic Special yet, and (b) we’re still grievously short of Ponies. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Virtual Reality

To clarify to everyone, there will be paper versions of the Sampler available to anyone who wants them. I am just assuming that if I make a downloadable PDF, the downloads will outnumber requests for paper copies.

In case you haven’t heard yet, even the original “nerd prom” – San Diego Comicon – has been canceled this year. As in canceled-canceled, not just moved online in some fashion. I was expecting this also, since it’s at least three to five times the size of BreyerFest (depending on how you count either) and with a crowd that tends to exercise considerably less stringent hygiene practices than the model horse hobbyist community.

(I’ve been to enough regional comic conventions. First hand experience here, guys.)

I’m still trying to decide where to go on my alternative vacation – San Diego was never a possibility in the first place, in case you were wondering – and some variations I am exploring will involve Kentucky, with a side trip to the Horse Park also being on the table.

I am also considering doing a “I Can’t Believe There’s No BreyerFest” Party/Event at my house, depending on what restrictions will be in place by Summer. It won’t be BreyerFest, but an incredible simulation!

And even if it can’t happen, I’m having a good time planning it regardless. (Splash Dogs = Vita + Kiddie Pool! Man o’ War Fountain = Birdbath + a Traditional Man o’ War! VIP Lounge = Garden Patio + Beer Cooler! Pal O Mine = My brother in a rubber horse mask!)

As for the Actual-Virtual Fling Thing, they’ve already started providing some updates: extending the Early Bird pricing until April 30, reassuring us that there will be One-Day Stablemates, Raffles, Swag, and even free Domestic and discounted International and Canadian shipping on our purchases.

And even possibly a variation of the NPOD, if I’m reading this quote right?
All ticket holders will have access to this year’s BreyerFest Store Specials, Fling! Pop-up Souvenir Shop models, and exclusive BreyerFest swag, as well as some fun surprises we have planned for the BreyerFest virtual store.
(Emphasis mine.)

Oh, and as I suspected, there was more to the absence of a Decorator in the BreyerFest lineup – they simply added a ninth special!

Boudicca is… intriguing. I’m not a big fan of the Traditional Andalusian Mare, but I do like Mulberry Grays and war paint is an interesting take on the Decorator concept. Since the volunteering thing is an obvious no-go this year (as far as I know!) I’m still on the fence about buying another ticket, or waiting to see what the One-Day Ticket Stablemates will be like.

I have a couple more weeks to decide; in the meantime, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my “Stage Three” purchase. (Or: another grail, how is that even possible?)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Five Stages of BreyerFest Grief

Because, you know, that announcement on Monday:
  1. Crying.
  2. Eating way too much leftover Easter candy and passing out.
  3. Blowing your BreyerFest fund on an expensive online purchase.
  4. Googling alternative vacation getaways because staying home with family is not an option.
  5. Dusting. 
FYI: I’m currently at Stage 4. (Kentucky Derby tickets cost HOW MUCH? Anyone out there want to go halfsies and be a Thelma to my Louise?)

It’s funny that, no matter how well prepared you think you are for the inevitable, it’s still a punch in the gut. Just last week I was thinking to myself that I hadn’t had any of my usual “BreyerFest Nightmares” yet, but that’s because as the ticket mailing dates kept getting pushed forward, it became very obvious that I didn’t need to dream it, I was living it.

For what it’s worth, I’ll still be doing a MGR Sampler this year, except that it’ll be (primarily) available via a downloadable PDF. I’m also willing to do Zoom sessions either just to hang out, or for general history chat or questions.

(Hence the Stage 5: I don’t need y’all getting judgey on the state of my office!)

I figured that Reeves would eventually – but gradually – add more virtual offerings to the BreyerFest experience, in an effort to be more inclusive to hobbyists with physical or financial limitations. I just had hoped it would have been something done proactively, rather than reactively.

I don’t know how the Room Sales – or any other aspect of this experiment in virtuality – is going to work. I’m not sure The Powers That Be even know at this point.

But I am most intrigued by what they might have in store for the Live Show; I’ve been thinking about showing for the past couple of years, but with all the other stuff I’d have to drag to Kentucky, it never seemed feasible logistically. Now, maybe…?

On the plus side of this development, that means – if we manage to make the virtual interaction part of this work, via Zoom or whatever platform Reeves decides to use – that means Vita finally gets to attend BreyerFest!

More thoughts about this later in the week.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Mold 36, Where Are You?

I just went poking about on MHSP for a bit to check out some prices on things (my sales lately have been surprisingly… good?) and I have to tell you, it feels genuinely weird to be the contrarian on the Seattle Soiree models.

I have to wonder if my recent “grail fatigue” has anything to do with it: once you start scoring Presentation Series or Showcase Collection models for less than the initial cost of modern Micro Runs, it sort of puts things in perspective?

That, and the fact that the former are so much easier to find on the secondary market than the latter. As you all know, the local markets here are totally my jam.

Not for the time being, though – it’s been nearly a month since all the thrift stores closed and it’s not likely the flea markets will be open before mid-May, this year.

(If at all, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

One mold that’s been on my mind a lot lately has been the #36 Racehorse. The two original releases – the #36 Bay-that-was-actually-Chestnut, which ran from ca. 1953/4 through 1966, and the #936 Woodgrain, who ran ca. 1959 through 1965 – are not terribly hard to find. As is the 1997 Just About Horses Special Run Phantom in Matte Dapple Gray.

The #36 Racehorse was among the first batch of vintage molds revivals in the 1990s that included many of the Dogs, the Kitten, and even the Elephant and Donkey. But unlike many of those molds – particularly the Dogs – we haven’t seen much of the Racehorse mold since then.

In fact, the only other production runs we’ve had on the mold since Phantom have been two Micro Runs: the 2000 Tour Special Raffle Model Daisy in Dun Blanket Appaloosa, and the 2014 Exclusive Event Dixie in Gloss Dapple Gray Tobiano Pinto. Only 15 of the Daisy were made, and 24 of the Dixie: both, I presume, made from leftovers of the 1997 run.

There have been a handful of Test Colors – in Honey Bay, Red Roan, and that swoon-worthy Charcoal from the 2018 BreyerFest Auction – since then, too.

I mean, I get it, the mold is neither conventionally pretty nor typey, but I’ve been genuinely a bit saddened that this historic mold hasn’t been included in this year’s 70th Anniversary plans in any way.


Friday, April 10, 2020

Inexplicable Things

FYI: Both Winx and Crystalline are currently out of stock on the Breyer web site; the Winx because of PR like this:

The second photo of Winx on the Breyer web site looks very similar to the BreyerFest 2018 Celebration Horse Brass Hat, so I’m more than willing to wait for the luxury of handpicking.

They also dumped two more BreyerFest reveals on us this week, both Appaloosas. First it was the Sunday Raffle Model Fields of Heather, a Nez Perce Horse on the Akhal-Teke/Altynai mold because sure whatever:

Yeah, yeah, beautiful. I’m trying not to get too excited about this one either because aside from the fact that it’s a Raffle Model – and by its very nature, virtually impossible to get – it’s also on a mold I have some apprehensions about.

Mostly by virtue of its length: I’ve already given my heart to the Shagya Arabian mold, and I don’t need another three-foot-long beast competing for shelf space here.

And is it just me, or does this model bear some significant similarities to another Appaloosa release on another dimensionally-challenged mold: namely, the Traditional Black Beauty Sir Wrangler? (More of a coincidence than a callback, I think.)

What I am more excited about is this inexplicable creature: a Buckskin Appaloosa Trakehner? Named Thorn? This is also not a release I would have expected from this theme, but in this case I do not care:

While I’m “old school” and I’d prefer the mold the way it used to be – with the textured coat and the original tail – I’ll still take him. In Gloss, in Matte, and any Decorator surprises they might be throwing in the mix, too. All on the easier to find side, I hope.

(I am also assuming that the actual model will be somewhat less yellow in person, just like last year’s Clydesdale Mare Pepper was.)

With this final reveal of the ticket models, it’s very odd that there’s apparently no true “Decorator” in the BreyerFest mix this year. Makes me wonder if that means… something? Most curious.

The Trakehner mold has only had two other spotted releases, neither one of them an Appaloosa: the #732 Spotted Trakehner in Black Pinto, and the #702395 Kaleidoscope in Red Bay Pinto, both in the 1990s. Otherwise it has been all solids, all the way back to 1979.

And Bay. Mostly Bay.

Aside from my fondness for the mold, he shares a name with another character in another on-again, off-again writing project. While Khalid was my interpretation of the “perfect vampire boyfriend,” Thorn is “your best friend who may – or may not – be an actual dog.”

(A fairy curse may be involved.)

So that settles it: my two definites this year are Hamish (the Standing Black Angus Bull) and Thorn. Everyone else I need to see in person before I make a decision.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Chasing Rainbows

From what I’ve seen of the Seattle Soiree models, I think I’ll be okay: I have no “mighty needs”. I certainly wouldn’t turn down a Black Blanket Appaloosa Idocus Nirvana if it were offered to me (at a reasonable price, of course, which is not going to happen).

They dropped a few more reveals on us today to brighten our spirits, including the rainbow-hued thingie they sneak-previewed in the March newsletter: it’s a Goffert named Crystalline!

I actually… really like this one. I was just thinking to myself last week that, other than the 2014 BreyerFest Celebration Model, I don’t actually have any Gofferts in the herd, and I’d like to remedy that. The colors remind me of Larkspurs and Delphiniums, flowers that I’ll be reintroducing to my garden once the weather warms up a bit more. (All of my previous ones have either died off, or spent themselves.)

They also “officially” announced the Winx portrait, on Emerson. The only surprise there is that they’re shipping by the end of this month. Since all the stores that would have her in stock are all closed as non-essential businesses until the end of April, I’ll just have to wait until May for the luxury of shopping for one in person.

And finally, the BreyerFest Saturday Raffle Model, Order of the Thistle:

Don’t get me wrong, he’s drop-dead gorgeous and if by some improbable bit of good fortune I win one he’ll be staying with me forever, but I continue to be amused by the lack of fuss being made about the mold choices this year. I am not quite sure how a Gold Champagne Tobiano Pinto Saddlebred on the Hamilton mold really fits into the theme here.

The only surprise is that most of us assumed that this mold was going to appear as a Store Special, not a Raffle model, because the only semi-reasonable way they could shoehorn a hot new mold into a theme it was unsuited for was as a portrait model of a guest horse or performer.

Nah, they decided to go the Woodford route: give an inappropriate mold a gorgeous paint job and a name that fits the theme, and call it a day.

Friday, April 3, 2020


Well, I thought I was holding it together pretty well this week, but then my Vintage Club Starlight arrived yesterday and well, I’ll let the picture speak for itself:

(The first thing that came to mind was: Dog Food, Linebacker, or Refrigerator?)

It’s being dealt with, but yeah, along with a few other unmentionable matters, things are not going well at La Maison des Gurdons. All I want to do this weekend is eat fried chicken and watch bad movies in the solitude of my basement.

The other “half” of my order came in a separate and surprisingly large box, completely and utterly intact and perfect:

The Starry Skies Pink Warmblood “Cassiopeia”. My first choice – like almost everyone else – was the Alborozo, but Cassiopeia was my second because I think this mold works surprisingly well as a Unicorn. And while I am also not a “pink” person, the color has a bit of iridescence to it and is actually very pretty in person.

I’ll get the others in this series eventually. Just not now because, you know, the world’s on fire.

There are also apparently some new Stablemates at Walmart – including a mini Liver Chestnut Brishen, a Pinto on the G4 Driving Horse, and the Fiero mold in Palomino. I did my shopping for the week yesterday, so I’ll have to wait until next week to see if they’re even in.

When Reeves first posted the Mini Rugged Lark on April Fool’s Day earlier this week, I assumed that it was a joke on the same level as the Decorator Khemosabi set from 2014: although probably fake, there had to be a nugget of truth in there somewhere.

That nugget being that there were likely more Mini Traditionals coming soon, and it was so. Actually, an SCO (Smart Chic Olena):

As an SCO collector, I approve of this choice.

I have no idea who is next on the shrink list, though.

Some of the early Hess molds – like the Clydesdale Mare and Foal, the Running Mare and Foal, and the Stretched Morgan – are likely, since their thicker legs and slightly less refined proportions would translate well into a smaller scale.

As for newer molds? Any of the Moody molds will do. Othello and Silver are obvious, and if they don't shrinkify the Ethereal mold, it'll be a dang crime!

Since Big Ben’s silhouette is featured prominently in their 70th Anniversary branding, I am assuming they are going to shrink him as well, perhaps as a bonus to be included in a Big Ben release later in the year.

(And if they don’t, they should have.)

Pardon me, but these chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs aren’t going to eat themselves.