Saturday, April 30, 2022

Variations on a Theme

My Phineas arrived today and he’s… nicer than I expected! Definitely not as weird or goofy as I thought it would be. I still think they need to work on the technique a bit more before they try to issue it more regularly, but they seem to be heading in the right direction.

But let’s talk about another new arrival that I am much more excited about: my Charcoal Running Foal!

He came in a box lot of models of similar age, condition, quality and rarity, with that final factor being in the “not very” category. But everything else about them was superb: I really couldn’t have asked for a better group of vintage “commons” to buy, except for the price. (Not expensive, but you know I am also very cheap. Cheaper is always better!)

As I told you a little while back, I’ve been obsessing over the Running Mare and Foal, so when I saw this stunner in a box lot, I was smitten. One of my first in-hobby purchases was a Charcoal variation of the Smoke Running Mare, so finding a matching Foal for her has been on the backburner for a very long time. 

This was the first one I’ve seen that I seriously considered buying. Running Mares and Foals, like the Family Arabians, were primarily purchased as toys, not as Decorative pieces. Finding them in acceptable condition is a challenge, to say the least! 

Other than a minor (factory?) paint flaw on one hoof, this fellow is perfect. His color is rich and dark, and in spite of what the photograph says, his pinking isn’t faded or pale either. I just adore him! 

The rest of the lot was pretty awesome, too, but whether I keep them or not depends on me making some hard decisions: do I upgrade, or do I keep old favorites because they are old favorites? 

I’ll be pretty busy for the next month or so, so I might be able to kick those decisions down the road a little bit, or at least until the threat of BreyerFest looms.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Bland Brothers

Since you all enjoyed the Alabaster APH so much, here he is with his two almost equally bland brothers, Splash Spot Leopard Appaloosa and Red Roan!

Paint jobs in the late 1980s were not terribly innovative or daring, but the fact that three of the four Horses International Performance Horses – all save the Liver Chestnut, who is in storage and I’m not in a mood to dig him out today – were a similar shade of pale was a little much even back then. 

We bought them anyway because (a) our options were limited when it came to Special Runs, and (b) we were buying them sight unseen. “Red Roan” could have been the vintage-style Freckle Roan, and the Leopard Appaloosa could have been the same Leopard Appaloosa we originally saw on the #115 Appaloosa Western Prancing Horse. Right?

But they weren’t. 

The style of Red Roan seen on this APH was something relatively new – first released on the Signing Party Lady Phase that same year – and it represented one of Reeves’s earliest attempts to create more realistic Roans. 

That Lady Phase was pretty well received: as a fan of Roans in general, I thought she was pretty spiffy, too. But the Roan APH is probably my least favorite of the set of four, perhaps because I was hoping against hope that they’d still opt to put that crazy Freckle Red Roan on him anyway, even though they hadn’t been using it much since its brief renaissance in the early 1980s.

I still love him anyway, but dang, he looks a lot like Lady Phase’s slightly homely little brother, you know?

I still long for a vintage Freckle Red Roan on the Performance Horse I had originally hoped for. The pretty Dark Bay Roan they’ve used on releases like the 2012 Constellation, on the Roxy mold, will also do. Speaking of her, I’ve been meaning to pull mine out of storage here; I got a lovely Sample one in the NPOD at BreyerFest years ago, and I am looking to beef up the “non-collectibility” portion of my live show string...

Off to finish off my birthday cake (homemade Carrot Cake, yes!) and head to bed. I did buy some Stablemates to celebrate, by the way, but I left them in the car tonight and I don’t feel like going back outside. I’m not one to complain much about the weather, but I am so over this recent cold spell, and I’d rather not go outside and be reminded of it again. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Alabaster Performance Horse

The garden looks less terrible now – not good, but also not completely embarrassing. And it looks like all I’ll have to replace are the Verbascums and the Lupines, which is strange because those are two perennials I thought could survive an actual nuclear winter. 

(And good news for me, those are two I can direct sow!)

But that will have to wait until next weekend; the weather is turning cold again for a few days, and I have other things to worry about between now and then. Like recompiling my sales list and writing rough first drafts of articles for this year’s Sampler. 

After taking a good, long look at all the places I want to go and stuff I want to do in the month of May, I finally decided against participating in the BreyerFest Breakables Photo Show: I think it might be one activity too far for me. There’s always next year, I guess.

I’m not in a super-talkative mood today – my schedule switched over to days this week*, and I’m still feeling a little jet-lagged – so here’s a picture of an old friend:

Even by the standards of the late 1980s, the Horses International Special Run Appaloosa Performance Horses were kind of boring, but I loved them anyway. The mold is very much in keeping with the unrefined, rat-tailed Appaloosas of my youth, and I’ll always choose him over the more modern Appaloosas. 

Three of those four releases were in solid colors. Although the mold has had its share of solid-colored Test Colors over the years, the Horses International SRs have been the only solid-colored production run pieces on the Appaloosa Performance Horse mold, so far. 

The Alabaster was clearly the most boring of the original four – if there was an award or class for “Most Generic-Looking Special Run”, he’d definitely be a contender. But I love the subtle touch of that single, natural-colored hind hoof.

*I have been told that this is temporary. We will see. 

Friday, April 22, 2022


Winter was harder on my garden than I anticipated: a lot of the perennials I so carefully cultivated from seed last year did not survive. After spending most of the day working on the main beds, it’s not quite as bad as I thought originally, but I was planning on having it be a pretty easy year. 

All I wanted to do was just yank up and separate a few overgrown things, grow a few veggies and annuals, and weed as necessary. While I do have several “new” perennials stratifying in pots on the porch, it’s going to be a long time before they make it into the garden.

But… horse stuff. I am probably a little more enthused about the current Stablemates Club release Phineas than most:

It’s interesting that they’ve decided to classify him as a Shagya Arabian. The original resin Prince Charming was generically labeled an Arabian. He’s not super typey or refined, so it’s in the right neighborhood, I guess. (He seems a little pony-ish to me, personally.)

I am not keen on the paint job, though: Reeves has made several attempts at doing Star Dapple Grays, often with not the best results. It’s a difficult color for most customizers to execute, so it’s not entirely a surprise that Reeves has struggled with it. 

Their more successful attempts at the color tend to be with smaller runs that they can lavish a little extra attention on. They only made 500 or so (probably less) of the Elegance Collection Dressage Set in 2008/2009, one of their earliest production runs in this color. The 2013 BreyerFest Raffle Model Blue Bird also turned out pretty nice, but the Polo Pony Smarty Jones Santiago? Not as much.

It was also released on the Stablemates Endurance Arabian for several years – 2011 through 2014 – and I was shocked that he lasted that long. You know my standards are not that high, but even I had a hard time getting past his stripes and polka dots.  

It’s the memory of that Arabian that is most likely cooling Phineas’s reception. It’s been several years since that attempt, however, so I’m more willing to give Reeves a chance to prove themselves. He does look good in the photograph, right? That has to count for something. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022


While awaiting those decisions being made about me (still a work in progress, grr) I spent most of my weekend gorging on Easter candy or sleeping. I also made significant headway on the old tax paperwork, too – it’s on track to be finished by next weekend! (I need to get some office supplies and double check some items now in storage, that sort of thing. You can never have enough sheet protectors and binders in the house, apparently...)

Except for the Stablemates, because they’re Stablemates, I haven’t bought most of the patriotic-themed Decorators. Either they haven’t been executed all that well thematically – bloody red points on blue bodies doesn’t exactly scream “America” to me – or the selected molds weren’t must-haves (I’m not a huge fan of the Clock Saddlebred, for instance). 

But this new model Anthem? I think I dig him. Maybe because he’s more of a personification of American Patriotism than a literal representation: there are no stars, stripes, or actual flags arbitrarily slapped on him. I think that’s where a lot of patriotically-themed artwork falls flat: it’s not enough to simply include the elements, you need to integrate them into a design that makes sense both artistically and thematically.

Either that, or you have to do something so over-the-top that you have to admire the audacity of it. Kind of like one of my old favorites, the BreyerFest 2007 Special Run Times Square, also on the Ethereal mold:

I cannot wait until Reeves finally has the gumption to release a Mini Me of Times Square in a future Best of BreyerFest Stablemates Set!

Anthem is just pretty, all dressed up in that funky metallic pearly automotive-style paint they introduced on the Red Pinto Auction piece Georg last year, and executed on a production run with the Christmas Clydesdales a few months later.

The precursor of the American Flag Series was the 2012 BreyerFest Special Run Union Jack, on a translucent Classic Ruffian. She’s got a few design problems herself – the flag sort of blends into her base color, and she’s got those weird red points – but I was kind of hoping that she’d lead to other “Flag Horses” of other nations, but that hasn’t materialized yet, beyond the American Flag Horses. 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

A Brief Interlude with Classic Ruffians

This weekend is full of anxiety. It’s not just the holiday weekend and all the drama that usually brings with it: a couple of big decisions are being made about me, and I’m not going to know my fate until Monday afternoon at the earliest. 

My normal recourse in situations like this would be to go out and pull weeds, but the weather took a brutal turn and is not going to get any better for the next several days, so I’m now going through and cleaning up some old tax paperwork I’ve been avoiding. And being reminded of why I was avoiding it in the first place, oh joy! 

The 2021 papers are almost done. The 2020 papers are… a work in progress. (To be clear, the taxes are done and filed, it’s just the e-mails, receipts and other paperwork that need to be organized to my satisfaction. Even with my taxes, I’m a paperwork nerd!)

Since I am not in a super chatty mood today, I’ll share a photo of something I bought a while back, but haven’t shared until now because other items and other topics got in the way:

She’s a Test or Sample of the Misty II from the #3350 Misty Family Set, the one that included a Black Pinto Swaps and a Palomino Mesteno Foal. One of the reasons I was hesitant to share was because she’s a little on the rough side, and I haven’t had time to clean her up. Most of the marks are in her white areas, thank goodness, so it really is just a matter of time and patience.

She’s not “showable” in the live show sense, though – if you want to compete with Classic Racehorses, it’s best to stick closely to the Loves, and the Swaps and Man o’ War in particular – but the mold is a sentimental favorite, and I already have another Test Color Ruffian, and she could use the company. 

Looking purely at the numbers, I paid more for the Misty II than I did the Solid Black, but I bought the Solid Black back in the mid-1980s. So factoring in inflation, the Solid Black probably cost me more. But she would also sell for more because, aside from an excellent provenance, that photograph is actually a pretty good representation of just how pretty she is in person. 

The whole point is moot, though, since neither one is going anywhere anytime soon.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

More Spring Cleaning

I had a few minutes to spare today so I made a rough list of items I had that were eligible to enter the Breakables show and… I had a lot more than I realized! There is easily over three dozen show-worthy pieces here. Interesting. 

Most of them I would classify as fairly common, or at least not exceptionally exceptional or rare, but there’s also nothing I’d be embarrassed to enter either. It never hurts to enter it anyway: sometimes you’ve owned a model so long you become inured to its beauty or quality, and it takes the fresh eyes of a judge to remind you of it.

I am reminded of everybody squeeing over my Test Color Chestnut Stretched Morgan at the show Saturday before last, for instance. I knew he was great, but seeing so many people over the moon about him was an unexpected highlight, especially since he was virtually ignored at the last show I took him to. 

I have a couple of long weekends coming up here so I could probably get all the photos done and ready to go for Breakables when the time comes. But my priorities right now are finishing my garden prep and spring cleaning. (Dusting, specifically. Ugh.) 

FYI: I am very aware of Shatner’s failings as a human being, and all the potential problems inherent in this scheme. Fortunately, it appears that you do not need to preregister for signatures, so my only commitment here will be to take a model and keep it in the car just in case. 

If it’s possible, I’ll do it; if not, there are plenty of other things to do and to see at the convention, so I’ll go do them instead. (Hello, Freddie Stroma!)

No cosplay this time around, though. Gotta lose about 25 pounds before that’s a possibility again!

Anyway, no e-mail has been forthcoming, so I’m going to write off the drawing for those Glossy Unicorn Tests as another Not-A-Win. I know so folks are upset that sales tax has to be paid on it, but seriously, in my case it would come out to about sixty dollars. Even though sixty dollars is considerably more than what I’ve paid for the majority of my Test Colors, I’d gladly pay it, and so would most of you. 

(If you’ve seen the majority of Test Colors, you’d realize that this in most definitely not a humblebrag!)

But yeah, not likely happening. 

As I was saying to a friend of mine at the show, if you don’t have luck and you don’t have money, all you can do is hustle. So back to hustling, it is…

Sunday, April 10, 2022

The Signature Issue

It looks like the decision about BreyerFest Live has been made for me, which is actually fine: I’m already signed up for two other live shows this year and possibly a third, and I’d rather get a little more experience under my belt before I tackle something that big, anyway. So next year it is, maybe? 

I’d also rather focus on my more immediate needs, like socializing and selling. And unlike a lot of other hobbyists for whom BreyerFest Live is the only show they either have access to or are comfortable attending, I have more options.   

Breakables is still a possibility, of course. The resin show is not: I only own one resin – the 2011 BreyerFest Store Special Sorcerer’s Apprentice – and honestly I’m too afraid of breaking him to even take him out of the box, except for the occasional photograph.  

I still have a little bit of lingering resentment from when resins first became a big thing, too: some the early adopters were not the least bit nice to us OF Breyer enthusiasts, and I have a hard time forgetting. 

I’d rather not rehash the old arguments, though. Our worlds rarely intersect nowadays.

I’ve finally – well, more or less – finished unpacking from the show last weekend. This week I’ll be working on mostly nonhorsey things, like my taxes, some early gardening prep, and an applique project (some vintage Dresden Plate blocks that I found at the local Salvation Army, years ago) that’s coming along a little more quickly than I anticipated.

Oh, there is one model horse related thing I should probably put to a community vote: guys, should I get Shat to sign a horse for me?

Normally I am not a signature-oriented person at these conventions: I go to shop, people watch, and attend panels and stuff. For those of you who do no conventions outside of BreyerFest, just imagine BreyerFest without the horses or the room sales. 

Motor City Comic Con has been my go-to comic convention since the late 1980s, when I have had the time or inclination. There have been a few times I’ve (almost) run into model horse people at the Motor City Comic Con, but that’s more of a “nerds being nerds” thing than a “me being weird” thing. 

There’s always been a lot of overlap between those two worlds: an enterprising soul could probably get a pretty good research paper or thesis out of it, but I am not that person.

But back to the signature issue. Signatures on model horses, by and large, don’t add a lot to the value of a model, unless the signer is someone who is historically important outside the world of model horses. It never hurts the value though, and if it has a personal or historical meaning to the person getting the signature, monetary gain is irrelevant.  

And that’s where I’m at with this. Value is not that big a consideration for me, except where it becomes so high that it impedes my ability to buy something I want or love.

As awkward as it is sometimes, I love it when my worlds collide. A memento of that collision might be worth the price. I also think Shatner might enjoy the possibility of signing something that’s horse-related for a change, as well. 

(I may have to get a signed copy of Danny Trejo’s cookbook too, because how dope a Mother’s Day gift would that be for Mom?)

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Accounting

I still haven’t done the full accounting – I’m having to deal with some actual work-related stuff that has put my brain in a completely unrelated place – but the rough numbers are: six rosettes, 41 flats, and 13 NAN cards (three Breed, ten Collectibility.)

My best show horse of the day was my Gloss Silver Bay Flash “Manny’s Boy”, who got a second in Collectibility and a fourth in Breed (as a Morgan). The most photographed models included my Showboat, the Test Chestnut Morgan, the Angel Kitten and the Ghost Moose. 

The most complimented upon model was my Gloss Bay G1 Morgan Stallion Antares, who also took home a rosette. He also happened to do well at the last show I was at (three years ago!) so I know at least one model who’s definitely making the cut if I ever decide to do BreyerFest Live.

I did okay in Breed, though I think I could have done better if I had had more time to work on it. My sweet Semi-Gloss Malik, the #40 Lady Phase who photographed so well but did nothing at the BreyerFest 2020 Online show, and that nice Pinto Icelandic I bought during BreyerFest last year all placed in very competitive classes.

I really enjoy doing breed research in general – I mean, who doesn’t like looking for pictures of pretty horses online? – and when I do have the time to do it, it tends to work out well for me. The next show has no Collectibility component, so that will simplify some of my choices and allow me a chance to focus on that.

I also signed up for another show in September: it’s a smaller show and hyperlocal – I mean, literally, it’s less than ten minutes from where I work! – and the class list is definitely up my alley. Though that means I’ll have to find the time to finish a couple of those customs I have sitting on the workbench in the garage.

(After the BreyerFest stuff. And the gardening stuff. And dozen or so quilts currently inhabiting the sewing table. Hmm. Maybe I should add “invent a time machine” to this “To-Do” List of mine…)

Some general notes about the show:

The venue and its bathrooms were spacious and excellent. The sound system was a little wonky, and the distance between my table and the Mini showring was a bit of a hike. The latter was entirely due to my choices though, since a full third of my showstring was Minis and I was really pushing it with the number of entries I brought.

Both the judging and the competition were excellent, especially in Collectibility. A few tweaks will need to be made to the classlist for Collectibility, though: there were definitely some classes that were spare for entries. And in Breed (in general), there was some confusion about the classification status of all the various Mustang subtypes.

But overall I had a pretty positive experience. I’ve made no secret of the fact that of all the things we’ve had to do without over the past three years, the thing that I’ve missed the most is just being in the presence of other people who “get me”. This was lovely, gentle on ramp back to that world.  

Monday, April 4, 2022

Friday Afternoon Fever

Very short show recap: went in with a goal of ten placings, three NAN cards, and a rosette, and did considerably better than that. It’ll be a couple of days before I know the exact total because I am not unpacking the car until at least Tuesday. 

I did run into a little bit of difficulty getting home, partly because I am directionally-challenged and partly because there was an extremely inconvenient political rally near my house that you might have heard about. After got home, I basically slept for twelve hours straight; I should be back to “normal” (night shift person here) by tomorrow.

But let’s talk about a more pressing issue of our time: Discoheart!

My first thought when I saw this guy was “Oh dear, they’re doing the Decorator Khemosabi joke again.” It was pretty obvious he was an actual model and not a Photoshop job, so my assumption is that he’ll eventually end up as an auction piece, perhaps in the BreyerFest Silent Auction – like the Decorator Khemos did.

I have to admit that I’ve been kind of surprised by the unusually strong positive reaction to him, considering how roundly mocked the Ram was. But calling the Christmas Deco Ram “Montana” a failure is also a stretch. 

A failure for speculators looking for short-term profits? Most definitely. Aesthetic failure? Maybe. But Reeves evidently sold most of the seemingly extravagant 490-piece run without having to resort to multiple waitlists. Any time a company can make money that easily is not a failure. 

And the color is obviously a win!

Fireheart is definitely Decorator-friendly, as the late 2022 Stablemates Club release Helios amply demonstrates. But the minute I realized that Discoheart was an April Fool’s joke, I tossed him in my very large“things to be mildly annoyed about” file and moved on with my life. 

(I also happened to be in the middle of rewriting all my live show documentation when he dropped, which probably helped with my attitude.)

I have no doubt that the mold – either his Traditional incarnation, or his Stablemate ones – will be made available in a multitude of Decorator colors in the near, and not-so-near, future. 

I am already imagining the impending anguish and furor of future Web and Club Specials like Silver Filigree Fireheart, Benasque Blue Filigree Fireheart, Ocean Blue Fireheart, Rose Gold Pinto Fireheart, Pearly Dappled Pink Fireheart, Holographic Silver Fireheart, Halloween Fireheart, and (my favorite) Sparkly Translucent Embedded Glitter Christmas Gambler’s Choice Firehearts “Fire” (Red) and “Ice” (Clear). 

Though, as you would expect, I most look forward to seeing him in a Vintage Club release in an original Rearing Mustang color. Line-shaded Gloss Albino? Gloss Charcoal? Any of the Old School Deco colors? Think of the possibilities, people! 

(FYI: none of these actually exist yet, I am not aware of any plans for them existing, and there is no guarantee that they ever will. But you know my luck with accidentally predicting things, so take it all with several grains of salt and a margarita chaser.)