Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Lucky Enough

My brain is melting, the cursed deer are eating my beautiful Purple Ammi Flowers, and my office looks like a tornado hit it.

Since the cause of most of this is the BreyerFest Photo Show that’s basically taken over my life this week, I’ll entertain you with one of the photos that didn’t make the cut because I had too many entries for that particular class, and someone had to go:

Yes, the Mother Lode. While I was very lucky to manage to actually get one - because history nerd me went back to the web site after the initial rush and subsequent crash to download the documentation anyway, and it just happened to be moments after the web store rebooted and restocked - alas, it was only merely the 80-piece Solid Gold Buckskin, not the 10-piece Appaloosa or Pinto.

Which should have been absolutely fine, since I was completely not expecting to get anything at all. I was so shocked my order went through that I called Reeves the next day to confirm that it actually happened.

And yet… not lucky enough.

At least three times now - starting with this offer, and continuing with the latest two Christmas Day Surprises - somehow someone ended up with not just one, but two of the super-rare variations.

If it had just happened once, I’d chalk it up to random luck and all that. Random means random, and sometimes some people really do get all the luck.

But after it happened with the last two Santa Surprises too, it makes me wonder (a) what the heck is going on and (b) how can I get in on this action?

It also reminds me of the 2009 BreyerFest Surprise Models - you know, the Quarter Horse Geldings in Silver Filigree, Gloss Charcoal and Smoke - where someone screwed up and all of the ultra-rare surprises ended up… in the same time slot.

Which was great for folks in that time slot… and not so much for everyone else.

(And I, among the latter - and who completely accidentally “predicted” them several months prior. Oh, the pain….)

Still, I am very happy to even have gotten a Mother Lode at all, even if the whole experience was slightly bittersweet.

As was the acquisition of several of best/rarest horses, as the photo show is also illustrating to me. (Broke a tooth, broke a foot, locked myself out of the car on the way back home from BreyerFest, nightmare roommate experiences… the universe sure has a weird way of making me pay for “winning” things!)

And head’s up, guys: because of the photo show thing, I am going to be even scarcer than usual for the next couple of days. The uploading process is less complicated that I thought it would be, but as per usual, I’m obsessing over documentation because that is what I do.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Basic Black Donkey

Well, I just retook about 75 percent of the pictures I originally took for the photo show, in addition to taking a whole bunch more.

So that was an interesting couple of days. (And yes, I’m much happier with the new photos, which is reason I retook them in the first place.)

I’m aiming for about 150 pictures/entries total, but I’ll be happy with at least 100. I’ll see where I end up by the end of the day today, and spend the rest of the week tweaking photos (mostly recropping and cleaning up backgrounds) and wrapping up documentation and stuff like that.

With 318 other entrants and some classes having potentially 600(!) entries, all I am hoping for is about ten placings - not actual wins, just ribbons. Anything above and beyond that will be… above and beyond my expectations.

I have a few hopefuls, but it’s never the ones I expect to do well that do well. I have heard the stories about the sometimes… unusual placements that go on.

The Anniversary Stablemates are out and the Chase pieces are - a Platinum Brishen and a Copenhagenish Indian Pony, with the Indian Pony being the apparent Super-chase piece.

That’s a bit of a curveball. The Platinum thing not so much - the 70th anniversary is a Platinum one, so I was expecting something of that color to show up somewhere - but the lack of Alborozos is surprising. Either they’re saving it for something else later on, or they’re just messing with our heads as far as packaging goes.

I haven’t gotten around to ordering a box yet, and I’m not in any rush to do so. My mind has been on other things, of course.

Since I’m photographing stuff, here’s another thing pulled from the stash that I don’t think I’ve featured recently, if at all: my near-Black Donkey!

This mold, as many of you know and love about it, comes in an insane number of unique variations, and the near-Black is one of the scarcer ones. My records say I picked her up at BreyerFest in 2006 for not a lot of money, though I can’t remember the particular details of this transaction.

Considering how popular extreme variations are right now, and Donkeys of all types in general, I doubt she would be as inexpensive today.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Crash, Burn, Reboot and Taima

My brother thought he was being helpful updating my computer for Virtual BreyerFest, and now I no longer have Microsoft Office on my main computer right now. Great, another problem to deal with…

It also puts a kibosh on the diorama thing I was doing. Long story, won’t go into it: basically if everything had gone according to plan, it would have been done on time, but dealing with this mess (and others) means that I won’t.

I don’t have the time to stress out about it. I could theoretically get it done on time, but I would rather finish tit at my own pace and for my own pleasure; if I rush it, it will not turn out the way I want it to anyway.

I’ll just have to refocus/redouble my efforts on the photo show instead. (Ha!)

I also plan on redoing some of my previous non winning entries, strictly as art/display pieces. Since I’ve invested a great deal of time and energy into them already, I might as well finish the job, because there’s too much of me in them to simply throw them out.

(This is also an issue with me and customizing: by the time I’m done with one I’m too darn invested in it to part with it.)

I wasn’t too keen on doing the video portion of it anyway: while I don’t have any anxieties about speaking in public or appearing on camera, I do not like “watching” myself. That part feels very, very wrong to me.

Which is also why I haven’t done anything on YouTube yet, though I suppose at some point it is going to be inevitable.

Anyway, here’s some compensation for my rantings today: here’s my Sample/Prototype Taima, and his photograph from the Just About Horses issue he was featured in back in 2010.

I purchased him in the NPOD a while back when getting Samples and other such goodies involved secret handshakes and passwords. Later on, I had a hunch and decided to check out his original offering in Just About Horses and… the spots matched!

I would have been happy even if he wasn’t, because I have a fondness for the mold, being part “Buffalo” myself.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Three Body Problem

By popular request, here’s the other two Quarter Horse Gelding variations. Since I don’t have the time to dig out my Buckskins, a Gloss Bay and Special Run Matte Bay will have to do:

The only immediately noticeable difference between the Variation Two and Variation Three is the very obvious tummy tuck on Variation Three.

As far as when the third variation occurred, I am less certain. Because of the lack of notable production variations and few newer releases of the mold during the time period in question – other than the #97 Appaloosa Gelding in 1971 – it’s difficult to pinpoint the change the way we could with the second.

All I can say for certain is that it was done before 1980, or when the Appaloosa Gelding was discontinued.

And to be honest, pinpointing the change has been a low priority because (until this week) outside of me I didn’t think there was that much interest in the mold to actively pursue.

(And while I have a lot of Appaloosa Gelding variations, it is true, but just how many do I need?)

Because the tummy tuck can be difficult to see if it’s not photographed properly (it can kind of disappear if taken at a slightly elevated angle) it’s also something that benefits from the in-hand field research BreyerFest provides, and that’s not happening this year, obviously.

Speaking of that, gotta get back to my BreyerFest prep.

While everything is going fine in the general sense, this weekend has reminded me just how much I really, really do not enjoy photography. Like painting, I can be more than competent at it if I try, but it just really stresses me out when I do.

Thursday, June 18, 2020


Most of us are familiar with the Clydesdale Stallion, who went from originally being a bit of a blobby beast in 1958 to something a little more buff shortly after.

Hobbyists are less familiar with what happened with the Quarter Horse Gelding, who went in the opposite direction – going from ripped to “dad bod”!

This happened in the very early 1960s, shortly after the introduction of the Buckskin, since the Buckskin version of this mold variation seems to be the rarest of the three early Quarter Horse Geldings.

I sometimes call him the “Supermuscled” Quarter Horse because, well, look at him! He’s awesome. 

I presume the mold change was either a consequence of another mold alteration that necessitated removing some of the extra detailing, or the “bulldog” body type was already trending out of fashion and Breyer did an update to tap into the market for less beefcake.

There was a second round of alterations that softened the detail even more and eventually gave the mold a tummy tuck, but I haven’t been able to determine when that happened, exactly.

I only discovered this alteration by accident when I bought the above pictured Quarter Horse because he had eyewhites, a very rare feature on Buckskins. When I opened him up and looked him over, I was astonished at how well-shaded he was… then realized it wasn’t just the paint job I was looking at!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Making Plans

The latest Test Color Online Purchase Raffle Ruffian looks more like the 2016 Early Bird Raffle Model Polomar on the Smarty Jones mold than it does the 2011 Early Bird Raffle Model Perrault to me.

I really, really wanted Polomar. So I’ll enter for this girl and hope for the best, even though they’ve upped the price to $1000 now, instead of the measly $850 they were charging before.

(Yes, it’s entirely possible for both models to have been inspired by the same thing, sure.) 

And I’d gladly keep anything that rare I have the good fortune to win. Because that doesn’t happen to me nearly as much as some of you think I do. (Outside of eBay, lately. And thank goodness for that.) 

Because of the shifted deadlines with the virtual event I’m now in full BreyerFest panic mode. Let’s just say things are not going as well as I had hoped?

At least I think I now have all the supplies I’ll absolutely need now. No more wild goose chases for… stuff.

Anyway, here’s the situation with my BreyerFest plans:

Selling: I don’t have that much to sell this year; I’ve been selling stuff online since late February, the flea markets and thrift stores haven’t been open, and I haven’t had the time to go through the collection to look for potential sales fodder, either. Anything I do have for sale I’ll upload to eBay, MH$P, and maybe even a dedicated web page by Thursday night, with all the appropriate links.

Sampler: I also hope to have this up by Thursday night. More on this later, as it’s currently on hold pending a couple other projects.

Official BreyerFest Activities: As far as I know, I am not scheduled for anything special during the three-day weekend. This could change, but I’m not counting on it, either.

Unofficial BreyerFest Activities: I had thought I could do a mini-BreyerFest at home, or even a Zoom Meet-and-Greet or Q & A, but I simply haven’t had the time to set anything up. If anyone wants to help set that up for me – I’m going to be available the entire BreyerFest weekend, so scheduling is not an issue – send me an e-mail.

If anyone wants to just come over and do a tour of my collection, shoot the breeze and eat frozen lemonades, that’s cool too. Vita loves company!

Personal BreyerFest Activities: I don’t know if I’m going to do any of the tutorials – again, not much time to spare here – but I’ll definitely be online in the “BreyerFest” space for a big portion of the day. Doing whatever there is to do, I suppose, aside from shopping and watching demonstrations. Maybe hang out in the Collector’s Club Virtual Tent?

I think that’s it for today?

Oh! I see there is some consternation in the comments about the changes that happened with the Quarter Horse Gelding. I have covered this before, but I will cover it again next time because it’s a neat thing I think every Breyer Nerd needs to know about.

Saturday, June 13, 2020


Except for some photos, formatting, and about an hour or two worth of nitpicking/editing – all stuff I can finish the weekend before – the Sampler is done. Now on to the “taking pictures for the photo show” thing.

(This week: Stablemates and Foals!)

Pictures of the Mid-Years are up on the Breyer web site, though nothing is officially for sale yet. Aside from the 70th Anniversary Stablemates – which are already sold out everywhere they went on pre-sale – the one new release that has me the most excited is Apparition:

My first reaction to seeing the 2020 Halloween Horse was “It’s a Scooby-Doo Horse!” 

The second was “I want it!” 

Honestly, this is just about the perfect marriage of mold with an idea: a mold based on a cartoon with a Deco paint job based on another cartoon. Love it!

The “glowing in the dark” part is just a bonus.

Well, technically I was never a huge fan of Scooby-Doo (aside from those goofy “Scooby-Doo Movies” in the 1970s with celebrity guest stars, like Batman and Sonny and Cher.) But still, as an animation fan I adore it, and I’m glad that they’re “leaning in” to the Spirit mold’s aesthetic rather than trying to deny or downplay it.

Though it wouldn’t take that much to get the Spirit mold up to snuff conformationally, I’d rather they just leave the mold as is and find creative ways of utilizing it as is, like they did here with Apparition.

Just like I would have preferred they keep the original #54 Trakehner’s tail the same, the Stock Horse Stallion’s too, and the “bulldog” physique of the Quarter Horse Gelding.

The main problem I have with mold alterations isn’t the negation of history or the adulteration of the artist’s original vision (more the latter than the former with me, but let’s not go there today) but the fact that they are rarely done well.

In short, the alterations look like obvious alterations, and don’t blend seamlessly into the overall sculpt.

That’s my primary beef, for instance, with the Sherman Morgan. While I was perfectly fine with the necessity of changing his original tail – let’s get real people, the original was basically shaped like a turd – the style of the new tail doesn’t match the rest of Jeanne Mellin Herrick’s sculpture, either. I like it better, but it doesn’t quite… fit.

And just like the tail it replaced, it’s the first thing that draws my eye whenever I see a Sherman Morgan. That is exactly the opposite of what these kinds of alterations should be shooting for.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Stablemates Riders

My Sampler is coming along surprisingly well; I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the week, except for a few photos of things buried in storage that I plan to dig out during my big “photo show shoot” over the next three weeks.

Yeah, I know, I haven’t even started that project yet. But I’m not overly worried – if I somehow managed to nearly complete my Sampler in little over a week, uploading and taking a few hundred photos in three should be a piece of cake.

A couple of months ago I ran across an article about the difference between being motivated versus being disciplined. I can’t remember if it was about exercising, dieting, or just getting anything done in general during the early days of the quarantine times, but I found it ironically… rather inspirational.

Motivation is unreliable: it comes and goes. But discipline is a habit you can develop. It seems so obvious now, but the message just hit me at the right moment, I guess.

Which is part of the reason why I am so chill about the BreyerFest stuff this year. It does bother me that a lot of the other things I’ve been wanting to get done this year have fallen by the wayside, but at least I am getting some things done, instead of picking at projects whenever I feel like it and then panicking when I realize the deadline is two days from now.

Sometimes getting stuff done now is better than getting it done perfectly never.

Anyway, end of the pep talk. Here’s a recent purchase I am rather pleased by:

It’s those loose Stablemates Riders that they offered back in September 2014. I briefly considered buying them when they were originally offered, but they sold out before I could really think about it anyway.

But since I apparently have a thing for weird Stablemates stuff in general – like my mint in box Wooden Stablemates Stable from 1976, and all those odd 2008 Target Special Run accessory sets I keep telling myself to sell, but I can’t – when I saw a lot full of these pop up on eBay, I couldn’t help myself.

One of my great unfinished projects is documenting all the various, teeny bits and pieces that come with the Stablemate Gift sets. I actually don’t think it will be that difficult, but it will be time consuming.

And time is finite, at the moment. No amount of discipline can change that.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Narrative of History

Hey guys. Long story short, I had an emotionally rough kind of day today, and I am not in the most… talkative mood right now. At least not in public.

On a slightly more positive note, I’ve been doing a little research – trying to get that paperwork for BreyerFest done that I know some of you are most anxious about – and I ran across this almost by accident:

The original source page from the 1950 Sears Wishbook, here:


It is sometimes stated that history is written by the winners, but I think it’s a little more complicated than that. It’s partly about who controls the narrative – it’s not always the literal or metaphorical winners – and also about access to the source materials.

I’ve had to struggle with both issues, but more with the latter than the former: a lot of research materials are inaccessible, unaffordable, or simply (but hopefully, only temporarily?) lost to time.

Anyway, I knew about the existence of this particular page – the first appearance of Breyer’s earliest proprietary products in a holiday gift catalog – for a while now, but I didn’t have access to a decent image of it until this week.

It doesn’t necessarily add much more to the Breyer story, but it is nice to have, nevertheless.

The reappearance of this page on my history radar, however, also happens to bring the narrative control issue into high relief.

Breyer is technically celebrating its 70th Anniversary this year, but if you go back to 1950, the only Breyer products that Breyer was actively engaged in promoting were… the Money Manager and the Cigarette Host, as shown above.

The Western Horse likely had its “soft” (informal) release sometime in 1950, but it wasn’t until 1951 that it had its official introduction at Toy Fair. “Breyer Animal Creations” probably didn’t exist as a formal division of the Breyer Molding Company until 1952, at the earliest. (But it definitely did by 1953!)

But 1950 is a nice round number and all the other facts are close enough to be good enough, so the finer and more accurate nuances of history often get shunted aside. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Stablemate Freakout No. 6051

I know you know that I know things, but the fact that one of the newly revealed shrinkified Stablemates is the Missouri Fox Trotter mold in that fabulous Fleabitten Dapple Gray I was just waxing eloquent about is not one of the things I knew.

This is yet another total coincidence, I swear.

In fact, I am always double-checking myself to make sure that I am being extra discreet about the things I have a privilege to know about. It genuinely freaks me out to accidentally reveal things even if I had no idea I was actually revealing it ahead of time.

I wish that sort of predictive power worked with lottery numbers and other contests involving cash money. Life would be a lot... different.

Anyway, here is the short video they about them on Instagram:


I figured this Blind Bag Assortment was going to involved Stablematized things when they released the picture of it the other day: you don’t just drop a picture of a blind bag like that for a run-of-the-mill blind bag mix.

What surprised me about it is that technically, there are only three previously-unknown-to-us Stablematized Traditionals in the assortment: the Fox Trotter (swoons), the Fell Pony Emma (screams uncontrollably) and the Indian Pony (collapses on floor, dead).

I didn’t expect the Clydesdale to be Woodgrain either: the only previously Woodgrained Stablemates were the BreyerFest Keychains from (ulp!) 1999. Including the G2 Clydesdale and Andalusian

(I see what you did there, guys!)

As for who the Chase pieces are going to be, my top three guesses:

  • Rugged Lark: Maybe that April Fool’s photo was a total fake out!
  • Big Ben: He’s the logo horse for the 70th Anniversary Celebration merchandise, and he’s yet to show up anywhere. Moody molds shrink really well (Emma and Brishen, hello) so duh…
  • Alborozo as… Alborozo. Which would be perfect, really. With the “Super-chase” piece being either the Early Bird Alegria or one of the Auction Alborozos. Plus his silhouette is on the bag. 

Like everyone else, I need a case of these. Reselling duplicates is not going to be hard, I suspect, as many people will be buying duplicates to replicate their favorite molds in all their respective Traditional-sized colors.

The Indian Pony and the Fighting Stallion, especially.

Oh, and the Stablemate Best of BreyerFest Raffle Model Commemorative Set Numero Uno is also pretty great. Funny how that news was such a big deal back on… Monday?!