Thursday, September 30, 2021


It’s going to take me a few more days to unpack everything I want to say about this new funky Five-Gaiter in my life. That, and the studio/office/workspace is still a wreck so I couldn’t take a “glamour shot” of it if I wanted to anyway. 

Speaking of recent purchases, my Second Chance Sales experience went disturbingly smooth. I haven’t had the best luck getting leftovers on Sunday at the live, in-person BreyerFest because I’m usually booked solid with other activities throughout the event. By the time the sale rolls around, I just don’t want to stand in any more lines at that point, especially when the pickings are slim. 

So going online, loading up my cart with… pretty much everything I wanted, and checking out within five minutes felt weird. Like there should have been a catch to it all. 

I bought one of everything I didn’t buy before except the Plush and the Crystal; my Special Run selection this time around was a Gran Cavallo. It just seemed like a safer bet to go for something I don’t already have, instead of trying for a variation of something I already do. And I already like it, as-is, so I am not going to be disappointed in getting something that was exactly as advertised.

Which is a super-strange problem to have. I still maintain that this is one of the few times where this kind of promotion can work, in the sense that collectors will get – at minimum – the model they asked for. 

When they’ve done this at BreyerFest before, a lot of people ended up buying extra models in hopes of getting one of the extra-special ones, which sometimes led to people not being able to get the as-advertised models they wanted in the first place. 

If we had known about the variations ahead of time – or seen them first hand Friday morning – then there would have been significantly fewer leftovers to choose from. 

All I’m saying is that if my Gran Cavallo turns out to be a variation, it’s a bonus! I don’t think it will, but I’ve been wrong before, and recently. 

Oh hey, part of my Halloween order just arrived! Let’s see what Stablemates I got:

Two different ones, yes! The Drafter is way more sparkly than I expected, and honestly I kind of love it. This is kind of surprising, since the Foal he was inspired from – Jack, from the Casper and Jack set back in 2015 – wasn’t something I was sad missing out on. Their designs felt out of proportion on them. And shrinking things almost always makes them cuter!

I am very slightly disappointed that I didn’t get the Fighting Stallion, but that’s only because a lot of collectors are absolutely losing their marbles over it. This means getting a complete set at a reasonable price looks unlikely any time soon. Bummer.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Chestnut Clydesdale Foals

I’m in a weird place right now: everything I want to talk about is in transit, unopened, unfinished or unordered. (But the Mystery Five-Gaiter is currently “out for delivery”!)

So let’s talk about something that everybody – or almost everybody – has, or has had in their collection at some point: the #84 Chestnut Clydesdale Foal! As you may remember, this particularly fine filly came out of that “Dirty Pony” lot I bought last Winter, and other than a bit of yellowing is in beautiful condition otherwise. The yellowing has not improved much since then, but that’s because some of the sales ponies took precedence: 

(My apologies for the quality of the photograph: my “studio” is currently dismantled.)

The #84 Clydesdale Foal was in production for over twenty years – from 1969-ish through 1989. As for the “-ish” part, as I’ve mentioned before, Breyer has never strictly adhered to January as the official release dates for new molds or new colors, and that was especially the case in the late 1960s, when Breyer first began to directly court the hobbyist market. 

(I remember how happy I was to get the Classic Andalusian Family for Christmas in 1978, a whole month before they hit the stores! I was quite chuffed at my already-budding hobby acumen.)

As with any model released for any length of time, the Chestnut Clydesdale Foal has come in its share of variations, veering from the Very Chestnut to Almost Bay. It also comes in a Chalky variation (one of the easier Chalkies to find, in fact) and early examples can also come with the large Blue Ribbon Sticker. For completists, there’s the #8384 Clydesdale Mare and Foal Set, too, with not one but two different versions (with metal clasps, or Velcro fasteners) of those Kelly Green Felt Blankets we all know and love.

The Clydesdale Foal has come in a number of uncommon or flat-out rare releases – like the Silver Filigree BreyerFest Diorama Prize Quicksilver, the 1998 Tour Raffle Model Captain in Gloss Charcoal, the 2009 BreyerWest Delano, the 2009 Fun Foals in Bay and Chestnut Roan, and the surprisingly difficult to find 1980 release of the Dapple Gray – but alas, I own none of these, nor am I likely to. 

I do have most of the variations of the Chestnut, so I have that going for me, at least. And whatever this girl turns out to be.

Incidentally, I would like to inform you that the Five-Gaiter just arrived and all I can say for now is that he’s definitely Original Finish. And I have so many questions. 

But more on him next time, after a good afternoon’s sleep.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Buy It Anyway

You’d think I’d be pretty blasé about just about everything Breyer by now, and by and large I am, but sometimes even I see things that leave me a little stupefied. 

During my lunch break at work last night (a little after 3 a.m. Eastern, in case you’re wondering), I’m noshing on my cheese and crackers and window shopping on eBay, until this mystery pops up on the computer screen:

My first reaction was (naturally) What the what?

When confronted with models of a questionable nature, it’s generally a good idea to err on the side of caution. Most things are – or turn out to be – absolutely ordinary items that we misinterpret due to a combination of bad photography and wishful thinking. 

I always shake my head when I see things get priced or bid up to some crazy figure in the hope that it’s something that, to my eyes, it is obviously not. (Chalkies and Glossies, ahem.)

Anyway, I had no idea what I was looking at, but it appeared to be Original Finish, it was located in New Jersey, it was cheap, and the postage was free. All that added up to the right side of questionable to me!

So that’s when I discovered how to do a Buy It Now on eBay as a Guest, because of course I couldn’t remember any of my passwords for any of my accounts, because it was 3 a.m. and I thought I would just killing a little time on the Internet.

I guess this might make up for missing out on that pretty sweet Albino Five-Gaiter a few weeks back? Guess I’ll find out in about a week! 

And even if it isn’t all that, the monetary investment was pretty minimal. I’ve spent more on raffle tickets that have gotten me bupkis. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Valegro vs. Valegro

Here’s a side-by-side comparison you won’t see very often: a production Valegro next to its Central Park prototype variation:

(Yeah, I know. I can’t believe I have one either – and I clung to it a little more tightly after I saw how much Reeves auctioned one off for back in July for BreyerFest. But I digress.)

Aside from the prototype’s transparent base and the lack of the ribbon, there aren’t obvious between the two. (FYI: there’s no significant size difference: the production Valegro is just slightly heat warped, presumably from storage. He was purchased secondhand in a box lot.)

The differences between the two paintjobs are a little too subtle to photograph, but are much more noticeable in person. The prototype version has a more matte, almost textured finish. It’s something I have observed on other samples and prototypes, but I’m not sure if it’s due to differences in the painting technique or in the way the model’s surface was prepped for painting in the first place.

Whenever I see an argument break out on the Model Horse Internet about Alabaster, Aged Gray, and other mostly White-colored models, it’s one of my bugbears when hobbyists assume that the translucent white areas of modern Breyer models are raw, unpainted plastic. 

Anyone who has actually seen a factory unpainted model in person would know this is not the case. In fact, I’d argue that these kinds of models are even more highly prepped and finished that more painted ones, because there are fewer opaque pigments to camouflage any flaws inherent in the plastic itself.

But anyway, off my soapbox and back to the Valegros in hand. 

The markings are more finely rendered, and the hoof color and detailing are a little different. The eyes are more tightly painted also, though the quality of any given model’s eye detail depends more on what kind of day the painter of your model is having than anything else. There’s also a small gold Breyer logo imprinted on the belly of the prototype.

There are some differences in the mold, as well. Details are a little tighter and cleaner in spots, and you can even faintly see the nails in some of the hooves, though I suspect this is something that still there in the mold, and it just gets wiped away during the factory painting prep. 

And finally, the most obvious? No mold mark! I actually squealed a little when I discovered that little detail. You know I’m such a dork for things like that.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Spiders, Spiders Everywhere

Welcome to the Post-BreyerFest Sales Season, where you tell yourself you’re going to cut back on your purchases, but you just can’t help yourself:

I was only expecting to purchase a pair of the Spooky Stablemates from the Halloween Store this year, because I think all three are awesome and reselling or swapping a duplicate won’t be much of an issue this time around – but I ended up buying pretty much everything but Hermie and the hoodie. 

I didn’t get the Hermie because I didn’t see the freebie code until after I checked out, and I didn’t get the hoodie because I’m either going to Motor City Comic Con or DC Fandome on October 16th and I want to get myself an appropriately-themed shirt or hoodie for the occasion instead, especially since I found out that the shirt I was going to wear is now (yikes!) a collectible. 

The Classic Eek! Is still available, which is both surprising and unsurprising: surprising in that everything else sold out fairly quickly, and unsurprising because he’s a Classics-scale model covered in spiders, two things a lot of collectors get a little squicky about.

As I’ve explained before, I’ve never had any antipathy towards Classics in the slightest. While I am still not a huge fan of spiders, I have made my peace with them and – in fact! – even attempted to write a children’s book about them at one point.

(FYI: It’s another one of my many, many stalled creative projects.)

Some have speculated that another factor may be that the piece run was larger than average, but I don’t think they’ve ever formally released piece counts for the Halloween Classics, so I have no idea if that is the case. My enjoyment of a particular release is not tied to how popular it is or how quickly it sells out, so that’s a moot point for me anyway.

But I got Eek! primarily because he’s an obvious callback to the second Breyer Halloween Horse, the Marabella Merry Widow, who was the first Traditional-scale Glow-in-the-Dark model in 2003. She’s one of my all-time favorite Halloween Horses: I think the way they incorporated all of the spider imagery into her overo pinto pattern was clever, beautiful and inspired. 

The first official Glow-in-the-Dark release happened a few months before: an unpainted G2 Andalusian Keychain that was first given to attendees of an “after dark” movie screening at the KHP at the 2003 BreyerFest, and subsequently distributed to hobbyists at various Breyer events for (many!) years to follow. 

Aside from various Club-related releases (including the VC Decorator Brighty Nugget), the Tractor Supply Special Runs, the Brick and Mortar Special (a pretty pinto Wyatt!) and the Rainbow Decorator Equidae, two other big sales will be following shortly: the hotly anticipated BreyerFest Leftovers Sale, and possibly the Customer Appreciation Event. 

I suppose I should be grateful that I’m racking up lots of overtime at work and I can afford most of these beautiful frivolities, but actual time to enjoy them would also be wonderful. I’ve been getting assurances that this will be soon, so we will see. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Another Mystery Custom

No Baruti for me. Since I don’t get picked from the waitlist and I am not made of money, that’s pretty much the end of that story.

I’ve been compensating for my lack of web special luck this year with the purchase of multiple box lots, and the latest one has been my favorites so far: a body quality Donkey, an early (and quite nice!) #401 Black Stallion, and a vintage custom Black Stallion in need of a hair transplant and some cosmetic surgery!

The Donkey will probably be made into a replica of an antique novelty pincushion, like this one:

It’s an idea I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while now; novelty Victorian pincushions are not uncommon around here – I even own a few! – and it struck me that some the older Breyer molds would make excellent custom pincushions. If this one is successful, I might end up making a whole slew of them for my fellow hobbyist-sewists, because I know you’re out there.

The other custom idea I have for the original Standing Donkey is a replica of the Bremen Town Musicians statue, something I’m sure we’ll see or hear a lot of for next year’s German-inspired BreyerFest:

Come to think of it, that would… actually be a really neat Companion Animals Gift Set for the Pop-Up Store. And a pretty popular one, too, considering the prices the older Companions Animals are bringing on the secondary market. (I tried pricing a few for the bodies, but that’s clearly not happening anytime soon, unless I get lucky locally.)

The vintage Black Stallion custom is interesting. The hairing on what’s left of the tail is well-done, he has carved out hooves with frogs, decently modeled genitalia (take my word for it) and the customizing on the head and neck is sophisticated and competent: in other words, this is not the work of an amateur. 

But he’s not signed, and I have no idea who could have done him. If anybody has any clues or ideas, let me know. The markings seem specific enough to suggest he might have been a portrait model. 

In the meantime, I’ve already started doing some restoration work on him: his legs have been unbent/unwarped, and the mohair for his new mane and tail has already been purchased. If I’m recalling correctly, matching this shade of bay is not particularly hard, either, but finding the time (and natural light!) to do it is the bigger problem.

Monday, September 13, 2021

The Ones That Get Away

Saying this as an historian is a little weird, but sometimes things are best left as mysteries. I found out the identity of the mystery unicyclist, and my world now feels a little less wondrous than it was before.

Moving on…

As any fisherman can tell you, nothing hurts more than the one that got away.

Just the other day I missed getting a pretty sweet Albino Five-Gaiter on eBay by about three seconds – literally! I went to buy it, and it sold before I could finish the transaction.

While it never rose to the status of a grail, I had always hoped to eventually get myself one. Time, money and – most importantly – condition never seemed to work out for me. Vintage Alabasters/Albinos of any sort are notoriously difficult to find in good condition. 

I had thought that now that the Five-Gaiter has moved down another rung in the Breyer Saddlebred hierarchy – with Hamilton now topping the chart – that acquiring one would get a little easier, but apparently that time has not arrived yet.

As I’ve noted before, vintage Breyer Saddlebred molds are relatively easy to collect: whenever the newest Saddlebred mold arrives, all the Saddlebred molds that precede it tend to nosedive in both price and popularity. There are a few exceptions to the rule – the Decorator Five-Gaiters, Translucents like Banner and Gala, and the G1 Saddlebred generally – but for the most part, you can collect them without bankrupting yourself. 

While I like Hamilton as much as the next hobbyist, I’ll always have a soft spot for perhaps the most common Breyer Saddlebred of the bunch: the original #52 Sorrel Five-Gaiter. I keep hoping that that sweet color of his finally makes it onto one of the Saddlebred molds that came after him. 

Or on anything, really. It’s a vintage color that’s been largely overlooked in recent years. I was pleased to see a more modern adaptation of it debut on the on this year’s Seven Arts Surprise model as a “Sable Champagne” Splash Pinto, but I wasn’t lucky enough to get one. Maybe when the prices settle down in a few more months, I hope?

Anyway, there was a pretty nice Black Pinto Clock Saddlebred/American Saddlebred in the last box lot that I bought. I’ve never been a big fan of the mold – he seems so stiff and posed to me – but he’ll probably be sticking around for a little while as I sort out my sales list. I now have about two years’ worth of sales items littering the house, and I haven’t had an ounce of time to do anything about it.

(And I’ll spare you the gruesome details, but it looks like my schedule might be changing again, so I might have even less time for myself. If that’s even possible.)

The only problem here is that any moderately attractive model that hangs around here for any length of time has a habit of staying, especially if they’re a harder-than-average sell. He had a pretty healthy six-year run in the early 2000s (2001 through 2006, to be precise) so most people who needed him already have him. And I don’t necessarily need him. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Crazy About Carrick

The next release in the Wild Animal Series an Oryx on a Carrick? Sign me up!

Getting drawn for Baruti is not up for me to decide.

It’s kind of funny how you don’t set out to collect a mold, but then you turn around and realize that you already do. I have three Carricks – a Cortes C, Brass Hat, and the Matte Volunteer model Caipirinha – and I have been shopping around for a Justify and a 2014 Tractor Supply Pinto Sport Horse Travis, but they’re both models I’d rather handpick in person.

I had a lot of Justifies (Justifys?) to pick from in person locally, but I never did find “the one”; just like any model, I’ll know him when I see him. 

Most of the rest of the Carrick releases are essentially unattainable – Gloss prize models, rarities like the BreyerFest Silver Charm – but Bonne Fete (or as my friends called him, Boba Fett) isn’t too pricey yet. But he’s another model I think I need to shop for in person. Too many fiddly bits of masking that could go wrong, you know…

I’d also like to acquire a Carrick body for customizing purposes, eventually. A few years back I had a notion to customize a portrait Candy Spots, a racehorse I was a little obsessed during my “teenage handicapper” years. (I grew up in an era where I saw Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and Ruffian live on the TV, and I was good at math. Perfectly logical!)

Aside from his head and a couple of issues that need to be resolved with his legs, the Carrick mold is a pretty good match. I never got around to it because I (still) have about 300 other projects ahead of it. 

And as an Original Finish-oriented person, it is also extremely difficult for me to purchase a perfectly good model off the shelf just to customize it, especially since there’s a high likelihood of something going wrong. I’d rather not spend 30 or 40 dollars on something that I might end up throwing out anyway. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Longear Love

When we were working on this year’s Vintage Club lineup last year, I knew that the Brighty release was going to be mega-popular, but I had no idea he’d be “four-figures in pre-sale” popular. 

I mean, yeah, I’ve seen the prices for the Micro Run Cornelius, but the prices for most Breyer Longears in general are just crazy. Even the Hickory Hills Wall Street Brighties that were dumped and heavily discounted at Ollie’s a few years back are now going for big bucks.

Though to be honest I did kinda-sorta see the price increase on the Wall Street Brighties. Seeing them at Ollie’s reminded me a little too much of my experience with the S Justadream: a local farm store literally had an entire wall of them – at least two dozen – and I had a good laugh about the misfortunes of their purchasing department when I saw them.

Two years later, they were selling for $250 apiece on eBay, NIB. I could have made a killing, if I had only known. But I didn’t, and I didn’t.

I did a favor for a friend and bought her a carload of those Brighties, and I’d do it again if the opportunity presented itself. I am just not that lucky when it comes to capitalizing on things like that. That’s why I don’t go out of my way to even try, and why I am more-than-sometimes annoyed by hobbyists who somehow manage to make it work. 

The only exception to the recent longears trend is the Balking Mule, especially the original releases in Seal Brown and Bay. This kind of blows my mind, because they were notoriously difficult to find at my local flea markets for years, to the point that they became one of my grails. 

I could have just taken the easy way out and buy one from another hobbyist, but I was determined to wait until I found one locally. Then I found three in the space of one weekend, and I’ve managed to find them on a semi-regular basis since then. I still have two of the three, incidentally, including this very chestnutty-looking Bay: 

I tell myself that that’s what’s going to happen once I find my first vintage Decorator in the wild, but I’m still waiting.

Anyway, I felt especially proud of myself yesterday because I finally managed to find a body quality Standing Donkey at a price that did not make me uncomfortable. I have a couple of Donkey customizing ideas and I wanted to have at least one body on hand when the time and the mood finally align. And you know me, I wasn’t going to take a Dremel and hacksaw to the mint or near-mint examples that inhabit my saleslist on a near-perpetual basis. 

I tried scoring one through a local auction website recently, but (of course!) the price went well above what I expected it to be. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

A Little Uffington!

Look guys, it’s a little Uffington!

In reality, it’s just Cloud from the #1728 Cloud’s Encore set, and part of the box lot of mystery horses I just opened up a few hours ago. He’s also one of the few that I’ll probably be keeping from that lot; the rest are duplicates, bodies, or things I’m simply not all that into. 

In spite of the fact that I actually like Cremellos, I don’t own many original finish ones, either Regular Run or Special Run. I have the first intentional Cremello – the #906 Goliath, the 1995 Commemorative Edition Belgian as an American Cream Draft Horse – but not much else. 

(Yes, I know that American Cream Drafts aren’t really Cremello. Phenotype, not genotype.)

One of these days I’ll get myself that neat Cremello Appaloosa Stablemates Club Iris, but not at the prices they’re going for right now. 

(I was not willing to take a shot at getting one in the Stablemates Grab Bags. My luck is not that good.)

I should be able to recoup my investment in the mystery lot, at least. That’s all I really ask of purchases like these, especially when there are keepers involved. Because that means the keepers are free, and who doesn’t love free horses?

Of course, that also means that I have to go through the effort of actually selling things. Now that I am finally back to my original schedule, that should be easier, but we’ll see what happens. 

(I hesitate to make plans because I have a feeling that “stuff” is going to hit the fan, very soon. Crossing my fingers that it is for the better, in the end.)

Also recently purchased: a stack of books from the local Book Sale, including several horse books for the sales stash and a couple more books for the Someday Wyoming Adventure:

I managed to make it to the other toy store earlier this week, and was delighted to find several Omega Fahims in stock. None of them were quite “right” – they all had small but distracting flaws – so I left them behind. 

I did almost buy a really nicely shaded Pearl Gray Trakehner on the Jet Run mold. Although I have no particular feelings for the Jet Run mold – beyond my original childhood one that I had Michael Matz sign at the Chasing the Chesapeake Event, because obviously. Depending on how the week works out (will this be the week the leftovers sale finally drops?) I may just go back and buy him anyway.

The rest of my weekend will be spent doing mostly nothing; I briefly considered going to an auction near Metamora this morning that had some horse-themed stuff in it, but I decided against it, since I’ve bought so much stuff already this week anyway.