Thursday, March 31, 2022

Small Fortunes

I think everything is okay, so far? I’ll save the panicking for Friday afternoon, I think. 

The only thing I’m slightly worried about right now is the breed documentation. I don’t have a lot of it to do, but I tend to go overboard when researching that stuff because I don’t feel comfortable writing about a topic unless I know way more than I need to know about it. 

(This gets me in trouble because I end up sounding like I know more than I actually do, sometimes. Mostly at work, but also life in general. But I digress...)

It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to bring much – if anything – to sell, mostly because of time restraints. None of that stuff is tagged or priced anyway, and I want to prioritize tagging and packing the showstring. (Everyone is tagged: I just need to dust, touch up, pack and load.)

This is also a reason why BreyerFest Live has rarely been an option for me. Aside from the space issues, one or the other has to take priority, and sales almost always do. I have a standing reservation at the hotel, aka The Model Horse Mall, so I might as well take advantage of it! 

And while nothing is guaranteed at the Live Show, I can always make at least a little bit of money at the hotel. Coming home with less than I started is always a perk, too! This is a really big concern and source of stress right now, hence the hesitation.

Anyway, I made a quick supply run to Dollar Tree earlier in the week (tags, snacks, glue sticks, painkillers), and I found some new horses! Most of them are about what you would expect from dollar store horses, but there’s one  that’s… not bad at all, especially for something that is only a hair larger than Mini Whinnies scale!

A couple small tweaks and I would not be embarrassed at all to show him. I’m tempted to do it, except for whole “no time to finish the projects at hand” part. Heck, I barely had time to shower today...

I have said this before, but if Dollar Tree or any of the other discount chain stores somehow manage to cobble together a small assortment of decent-looking horses for cheap, they could make a small fortune from the model horse community, alone. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Live Show Stuff

My showstring is apparently half Morgan, half Warmblood, with a smattering of Mustangs and Arabians. At least this show has separate classes for Morgans – the last one I attended in person did not, which made things complicated. 

But Tests are also being handled completely differently this time around, which means I had to reconsider some of my choices there. I had to cut a few anyway…

If there was a class for damaged or homely Tests, on the other hand, I’d totally clean up! I love you, my Fragment, the Splatter Dapple Gray Family Arabian Mare with a missing leg and ear that I found in a body box lot on eBay:

And let’s not forget my delightful trio of “gently used” Classic Quarter Horses – two Mares, and a Foal – that cost me less than ten dollars, combined:

The Mares I found in the Bentley Sales “clearance” boxes of miscellaneous models they were selling at the 1985 Model Horse Congress. The boxes consisted largely of loose (or casually bagged) things they found as they were cleaning out the Chicago factory, post-Reeves purchase. 

I found the Foal in those same boxes at MHC a year later; I was hoping to find the father of the family eventually, but that never happened. And likely never will: if he were to turn up now, he’d probably be unaffordable anyway. 

It looks like I partially got my wish with the BreyerFest shows: Breakables is online, as well as a Boot Camp-style show for Adult Novices

The Boot Camp is obviously out for me – I’m definitely not a Novice! – but I am seriously considering Breakables. I only have a few dozen show-worthy models to curate, compared to the few thousand (!) of the plastic kind. And I’ve always wanted to show this little fellow somehow, somewhere, without the anxiety of actually taking him out on the road: 

(Any clues what he is? What’s left of the sticker is not helpful!)

With less than 50 pieces worth showing, the indecision and waffling that goes with winnowing 2000+ down to a manageable 50 is… simply nonexistent. Conceivably, I could get everything done for that show in the space of a weekend. 

It’s something to consider, if the BreyerFest Open Show ceases to be a possibility (I am still thinking about it.)

Anyhoo, I’m heading offline again. Only about half of my show documentation is done, which is – believe it or not – better than I was anticipating at this point. And I am still undecided about bringing sales items; it will all depend on what the situation looks like on Thursday. (I took Friday off of work for last minute prep and stuff.) Toodles!

Friday, March 25, 2022

Blue Emerson

That eBay Benefit Auction Emerson? Of course I love him:

This color has only been used on a handful of releases in recent years. Aside from the Lancelot mentioned in the listing, last year’s Stablemates Club Gambler’s Choice Dahlia on the mini Croi also included it.

An Appaloosa variation of this color was also seen on the Best In Show Stock Horse Web Special Calvin in 2017, and a darker and more metallic variation appeared on the BreyerFest One Day Stablemate Big Lex in 2018.

That Stablemate was inspired by the life-sized statue of Lexington designed to promote the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. A small (slightly larger than Little Bits scale) resin of Big Lex was released at BreyerFest in 2010, which probably represents Breyer’s first production release of the color.

There were also a couple of Traditional Man o’ Wars painted to decorate a jump designed for Children’s Activity Area at BreyerFest, before it became all about Stablemates Painting. One of those Man o’ Wars was allegedly stolen, but if it was it hasn’t been seen since. 

There have been a few Stablemates Chase pieces in Iridescent/Interferenced Black-pointed Blue, too, mostly recently on the G2 Morgan for the Canadian Walmart market – aka “the French Stablemates”.

And there was last year’s “differently colored” Ansel, in Metallic Blue Overo.

Others have pointed out that the Emerson mold is actually a pretty good match for the Ukrainian Riding Horse, which is probably why the mold was chosen specifically for the purposes of charity. 

Out of all the previous releases, the only one I have is the Stablemate version of Big Lex. I didn’t buy the mini Lex because I am clumsy and break resins. Money was tight so I didn’t buy a Calvin at all. The Gambler’s Choices of both Dahlia and Lancelot gave me different colors, and I’m reluctant to pay the premium for either. 

Same goes for the Stablemates Chase pieces, except the premium is even moreso, because they’re Stablemates. (I saw how much the 2009 Frankenstang went for on eBay. Ouch!) 

And while I would have preferred the Blue Ansel to the Holographic Silver Uffington, because I really wanted the Cremello Uffington, I’m not going to complain about that one too much. (Other than finding myself in the weird position of having to pay two to three times as much for a regular Uffington compared to the holographic one.)

Part of its desirability is in its scarcity, but Reeves could throw us a bone or two our way in the form of a larger production run. Any mold will do, really....

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Enter Sandman

Darn it, lost another post to a power outage! I was only a couple of paragraphs in, but I totally lost my mojo on that one. 

I spent most of the weekend going through all my assorted ephemera, looking for my old live show paperwork. I found most of it, but a lot of the names and identities of the unplaced horses are still missing. Since they technically don’t “exist” in the live show system (such as it is) it’s not that big of a deal. Other than the fact that it’s going to take some time to re-create, and time is one thing I do not have in abundance.

While I am generally of the opinion that no good comes from keeping things in the closet, some of the other paperwork I discovered along the way should probably stay there. At least until the rest of the participants are no longer with us.

Reading through some of it was reassuring, in the sense that it showed me that my memory is better than I thought it was. Some of the things I remember seemed a little too wild or bizarre to be true, but apparently not!

No, you’re not going to get anything more out of me than that. Like I said, some of these folks are still in the hobby, and may not even remember the incidents involved, themselves. 

It is also worth noting that the hobby has always been kind of… dramatic? Social media is simply amplifying what has always existed. The bigger issue is that people are marinating in that media environment all day, and mistaking it for reality.

But back to the matter at hand. You really can’t really rely solely on your memory: the brain tends to edit and reinterpret things to fit our biases, often without us even realizing it. That’s why documentation is so important in the first place: people can change their minds, but a piece of paper cannot. How you interpret that documentation is another matter, but I’m probably going a little too far into the semantic weeds here.

But let’s go back to reality: I am super excited about the next Vintage Club release, Sandman!

I know a lot of people were wondering when he’d finally show up in the Vintage Club, and I was quite pleased that he finally came to fruition. The documentation I did for him was probably my favorite among the batch I did for the Vintage Club this year. 

(Sorry, no clues on the others. I’m suffering just as much as the rest of you. Just in a different way!)

We haven’t seen the mold much in recent years, aside from the Warehouse Find that was a re-release of the original Smoky, and the 2012 Passage to the Pacific Centerpiece “Surf’s Up” in Florentine that I want dearly but I’m not willing to sell my car for it. 

(The shading in his mane and tail slay me every time I see one. Argh!)

So anyway, I’m going to be scarce for the rest of the month, as I attempt to get my act together for the show on April 2. Today is Stablemates Excavation Day!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Other Guy

I didn’t get pulled from the waitlist for Robin and Nestling either, which at this point is like saying “water is wet”. So, moving on…

In more cheerful news, the wild strawberry seeds I purchased germinated! I’m not a huge fan of strawberries in general, but since I’ve been told that growing any other types of berries is off limits, strawberries it is. 

I also have at least four Berkheya “Zulu Warriors” and one Heliotrope. Technically we’re in between a Zone 5 and 6 here, so I’m probably taking a chance with the Berkheyas. But we do appear to live in a weird little microclimate – the Ageratum I started years ago perennialized! – and the plants are so neat looking that I figured I might as well give it a chance. 

Okay, back to horse stuff. 

I found out about the BreyerFest Workshops before most of the popular ones sold out, but I decided to heed my own advice and not overschedule myself. I’ll wait until after my first live show this year – and the Volunteer selection process – before I decide what else I want to do during the weekend, beside socializing and shopping. 

I was tempted by the Carousel workshops, because once I get caught up on my sewing projects I want to jump into the Little Bits/Paddock Pal scale carousel I’ve been slowly accumulating supplies for. 

Some of the webinar and pre-recorded workshops are also tempting, but as I mentioned before, I’m hesitant to spend much time online at an in-person event. 

Actually, I’m kind of hoping that they include some in-person only competitions, like they did at BreyerWest with the Stablemate Painting. Though I wouldn’t necessarily compete in that one personally because painting is my least favorite part of the customizing process! 

I think that’s one thing that BreyerFest is missing: the spirit of spontaneous competition. Most of the competitions we have at BreyerFest now hinge on a great deal of advance preparation. Things like the Costume Contest, the Live Show, and the Customs Contest all take weeks or months of work. The 5K doesn’t necessarily, but it’s also more of a physical than a creative exercise. I don’t know about you, but by Sunday morning I’m exhausted!   

As a reward for slogging through all this, here’s the other half of the Fighting Stallion lot that included the Gloss from the post previous:

I already had a pretty nice #30 Alabaster, but the deal was too good to pass up, and this example is a little bit different from that one: he doesn’t have the USA mold mark. I’m still uncertain that I am going to keep him, which is why he’s gotten the privilege of window time: keepers can wait, potential sales items cannot.

Unlike the Gloss, the limited amount of gray paint on the Matte version of the White/Alabaster Fighter was painted first and then sealed with a Matte topcoat. (White plastic is not necessarily unpainted or bare plastic, she says for the millionth time…) 

The Matte topcoat wasn’t a cure-all, however: Matte models tend to yellow more quickly and profoundly than the Glosses do, but they also un-yellow pretty quickly too, as long as the weather cooperates. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Big and Little

While I was prepared for the inevitable disappointment regarding Robin and Nestling, I found myself more bummed than I wanted to be when I logged into my account and saw the photo list of the year’s previous “Special Run Lottery” models. I noticed I had only been picked for one of the past ten (Zugspitze).

And I know my luck has been better than many, even getting that one. But seeing the visual tally like that definitely makes you think about collecting something more attainable, like Van Goghs or FabergĂ© Eggs. 

But let’s focus on what we can have, rather than what we can’t. Here’s another not-so-recent acquisition I’ve been hesitant to put on display because he’s still almost as yellow as the day I got him, because both sunlight and window space have been a premium since the day he’s arrived:

Because they usually painted the mane and tail and hooves after they applied the Gloss, finding Vintage Alabasters in good or better condition can be difficult, and matching the gray paint is almost equally difficult.  

Being yellow, fortunately, is the only thing really wrong with this guy, which is why I bought him in the first place. (He is a lot yellower in person than the camera shows. Darn you, camera!) He came pretty cheap, too – less than a modern Traditional at retail. Part of the reason for the cheapness was because the photographs accompanying the auction were not good.

But I noticed his mane, tail and hooves were in excellent condition, and all of the other marks appeared to be mostly surface issues, so it felt like a pretty safe bet. And even if he wasn’t all that, all I had to do was clean him up, de-yellow him, and I’d be able to at least get my money back and maybe a small bit extra to cover my time and efforts.

Like my Semi-Gloss Bay Running Mare with eyewhites, there is also a chance that making the plunge with this purchase will improve the odds of me making a significant upgrade in the near future. I mean, he is pretty sweet, but is not minty-mint, after all...

(The story, if you did not hear it before: after finally spending a nice chunk on what I thought was a pretty good Bay Running Mare, I ended up upgrading her twice within the space of a year, ending with a darn-near-perfect example for eight bucks at the local flea market.)

The only regrettable thing about his purchase is that this Winter has been pretty dark even by Michigan standards, and all the plants and other even-more-yellowed models residing in the window haven’t been doing that well. The seedlings have been moved to grow lights and are doing much better, but the Fighter will have to wait until the weather is warm enough to move the bigger plants outside.

While I’m at it, here’s a picture of the Stablemates Club Dax, as well. You know I was initially a little underwhelmed by him (I am all about the Gambler’s Choice Fjord and Tiny Fireheart!) but he’s much nicer in person than I thought he’d be, and that’s a happy surprise. The new box design is pretty keen, too.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Robin and Nestling

I’ll just say it was a rough weekend, and leave it at that! On the plus side, there was homemade chocolate cake that was freaking amazing…

You probably won’t believe me (something I’m used to, but let’s not dwell) but I’ve been a little obsessed with the Running Mare and Foal lately. I’ve been shopping around for the 1984 Sears Wishbook Running Horse Family Set to replace the set I had and sold years ago, and for a 2009 Fun Foals Collector’s Event Running Mare in Dappled Liver Chestnut that’s technically/allegedly an unmarked Appaloosa, but so beautifully painted I give that bit of weirdness a pass. 

And the Just About Horses Anniversary Appaloosa, mostly because the JAH included in the set has an article I wrote in it, and I kinda-sorta need it for the archives. (The Mare herself isn’t too shabby either!)

So I was kind of delighted at the reveal of the latest Birds of a Feather release Robin and Nestling, on the Running Mare and Foal. They look very similar to the 2014 Web Special Run Mare and Foal Set Vixen and Blitzen, except that they’re Glossy, and possibly Chalky? 

Even though they’ve bumped up the runs on these Web Specials to 500 pieces, and they’re Vintage molds, I’m still not expecting to get picked for them. To be honest, I’m not expecting to get picked for anything anymore. That’s just how the market is right now: if that goofy Christmas Bighorn Ram didn’t happen for me, nothing will.

It’s not entirely a bad thing: I’m still pretty behind with the paperwork for all of last year’s new (non Web Special) arrivals, so getting caught up on all that, and sorting out some of my more questionable purchases (and getting a few of them sold) is a bigger priority. As is getting ready for a live show, getting the garden ready for Spring, finishing two applique projects, cleaning the basement, and finishing my taxes. 

(That’s just this week’s plans, except for the selling part. That probably won’t happen until April, at the earliest. Sigh.)

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Risk Tolerance

Now we know why there was a delay in getting the BreyerFest Contest information posted: they did… stuff to the rules. The Costume Contest is still online and the Diorama Contest requires you to “pre-enter” it online before bringing it to BreyerFest. And some people are still barred from entering because of the legalities involved in that.  

The Customs Contest seems to still be mostly the same, even though I think (personally) that it’s the one contest that needs the most revision. (The “Most Drastic” category is really just an Original Sculpture competition, and you can’t convince me otherwise.)

To be honest, I really don’t have a lot of free time I can exclusively devote to being creative for its own sake, so I feel like I’m the only person in the hobby right now who is not terribly phased by all this.  

I do have a couple of Diorama ideas I might pursue if some free time does open up – one easy and silly, one elaborate and time consuming. I am assuming that 95 percent of the entries for this contest are going to be either Oktoberfest or Christmas Market-related, as will be winners, which might also affect what entry I end up choosing. (If I even do it.)

While I do have Costume Contest ideas, most of them involve a lot of sewing, and what little sewing time I do have for myself (lunchtime, basically) has been spent working on my backlog of quilt projects. So that is likely a complete no-go.

I like that this year’s random category in the Customs Contest involves a relatively unpopular/not often customized mold. I kind of wish it had been something vintage instead of more modern, but going with something that’s currently in production makes sense, since not everyone has easy access to cheap old bodies like I do. The Geronimo mold doesn’t do much for me, though. 

(The three-legged Grazing Foal in my body box, on the other hand, has me full of ideas!)

But anyway, here’s a little of the actual model horse content you come here for: another mystery model!

When I saw the auction lot, I initially dismissed it as either a heavily yellowed Fleabitten Gray Sham, or a discolored Shrinky Bay Sham. But the price was not… terrible, and there was enough evidence there that I decided to take a modest bet on it. 

And it seems to be authentic?

Alas, the model came with no documentation, and the group of models it came with offers no clues to its origins, either. The qualities of the paint job suggest an origin in the 1990s, but it’s clearly not the same Buckskin Sham that was auctioned off in 1998. 

I’m torn between getting him restored and leaving him the way he is; I’ll probably keep him the way he is, because I’m cheap and I’m also unlikely to show him.

Incidentally, this means my tally of “oddball” Shams is now up to four. I swear I don’t have a problem. 

Monday, March 7, 2022

The Price of Knowledge

Apparently I was for sale on eBay


If I were to self-identify as a model horse, it’d be some type of heavy warmblood (Cleveland Bay?), the Shagya Arabian or maybe a Lipizzaner like Pluto. The rationale: I am not petite, and am of Belgian-Polish-Hungarian descent. Probably Dapple Gray too, since going gray early runs in the family…

But for $37, you’re only going to get about an hour and a half of uninterrupted in-person time from the real me. While my time is free at BreyerFest, it’s usually limited in quantity, and I often have no idea when it’s available. 

I probably should organize a meet-and-greet this year, if only to get an hour or so of time to sit for an hour in one place and just shoot the breeze. 


Anyway, in a minor follow up to the previous post about the other eBay auction, I am aware of that many of the various Western Horse Knockoffs that exist have value, and that the Gold Foil Sticker boxes also do. I own plenty of both!

It’s just that with the recent influx of newer and less savvy collectors into the market, I’m a little concerned that some of the bidders incorrectly assumed that the items do in fact belong together, when that’s not the case. It’s been more than once that I’ve observed someone buy something on the assumption that it was a vintage Breyer Western Horse or Pony, and then discover that it was not. 

All the Black Beauty Western Horses and Ponies that I’ve seen that came with their original boxes came in corrugated shippers. All variations of the original Western Black Beauties – with markings, and without – were discontinued by the end of the 1950s, while the White Border boxes didn’t debut until 1973. 

I can see why some hobbyists might assume that they reissued the model in that color in the 1970s, because a lot of models were reissued in the 1970s, or re-released as Special Runs. And Solid Black Special Runs were also a thing in the 1970s. 

But as far as I know, there were no Special Runs or re-releases of the Western Horse or Pony in the 1970s. There are some rare variations, including a Chalky of the Palomino Horse and Matte of the Palomino Pony, neither of which are too expensive. 

I’d be on board with a Solid, Matte Black Western Horse or Pony Special or Regular Run. Don’t think it will happen, though; while there is definitely a market for vintage molds – the expanded Vintage Club membership also sold out, and some of the Breyer Breeds releases seem to be selling well – a relatively plain black Western Horse or Pony might just be a little too plain for the current market’s taste.

(Make it Charcoal, however, and all bets are off!)

Thursday, March 3, 2022


I don’t know what was more awkward to witness on Tuesday. Those epically clueless contestants on Wheel of Fortune? That completely messed up auction where more than one person bid up something that was not only an obvious knockoff, but also in terrible condition

Or seeing all the Honeybears already for sale on the secondary – who, at the time of me writing this, almost 48 hours later(!), is still available on the Breyer web site.

Personally, I’d vote for the auction, because it would have taken all of twenty seconds to do the research to determine that just about everything about this lot was wrong. And all Wheel of Fortune does is confirm my suspicion that they deliberately put on less-than-stellar contestants to make the people watching at home feel smart. Which I think is a terrible idea, but I digress…

Anyway, since my sleep schedule was out of whack because of jury duty (that I later found out was cancelled – after I woke up!) I thought I had to make a quicker than average decision on whether or not to get the Honeybear, and I decided against it. 

Not because I didn’t like him – he’d definitely make a nice companion to my Fell Pony/Berry Pony Jujube, who has similar feathered pinto markings – but because I have enough physical Stuff to deal with right now.

I also had the suspicion that unlike Lafayette, Reeves would not get caught flatfooted this year. I am happy to be proven correct! Honeybear’s picture was prominently displayed on the web site for months as a perk of membership, after all, and it’s only right that they make enough for everyone looking forward to him. 

If it takes the wind out of the sails of the more aggressive flippers, even better. If there’s a sufficiently large number of overstock left over after a certain period of time, all they’ll have to do is “repurpose” them with Gloss, problem solved!

What’s nice about this situation is that now I can put off a decision on Honeybear for at least a little while without costly consequences; the extended window has also given a lot of other hobbyists the time to actually make an informed decision about it purchasing him. Or not.

Time I wish I had had last year, as my receipts from last year are quick to remind me.  

Compared to the heydays of the 1970s and 1980s, we get relatively few Regular Run Traditionals to choose from on a yearly basis, so it makes sense to have items that sort of “bridge the gap” between Regular Run items that are theoretically available for most of a year,  and (often extremely) Limited Editions/Micro Runs/What Have You that are gone in the blink of an eye.