Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Gaiter Bait

I was very fortunate to get the one model (aside from the Centerpiece, which will never happen ever) I wanted out of the event, the Cremello Five-Gaiter Okeeheelee:

(I only just realized today that the Park he’s named after is… full of ‘gators. Nice one, guys!)

I had decided that this was going to be the year I was going to finally acquire those Gloss Alabaster/Albino and Palomino Five-Gaiters that had eluded me all these years. Especially since all the Saddlebred love now belongs to Hamilton, who appears to have replaced both Othello and Silver as the model on everybody’s BreyerFest Surprise Model bingo card.

(Except mine. It’s going to be a while, guys. Seriously.)

But until I got Okeeheelee, it looked like the year was going to be a washout. I kept missing all the good ones – online, and in person – sometime by minutes. Like most models (and most recently, my Alabaster Proud Arabian Stallion) it looks like I’ll have to bide my time until the right ones come along.

So I was plenty pleased – and a bit worried – when I saw Okeeheelee, sitting there right in that sweet spot in between Albino and Palomino. He was my first choice, and my luck in getting picked near the front of lines is generally not good. The same goes with cremellos, sometimes in the most bizarre ways: it took me a year to finally get the “ordinary” Uffington, because the Holographic Silver just had to happen.

I got so lucky: I was seventh in line! I probably shouldn’t have worried, since everyone was having a conniption over the Bouncer, who would have been my first choice if the Gaiter hadn’t been there.

A few more thoughts about the trip itself…

Three things I miss about Florida:

The weather, obviously. Other than the hurricane part: snow is much easier to shovel than water. I spent a lot of my extended Thanksgiving weekend buried under a pile of blankets. 

Secondly, my friends – or more precisely, getting to hang out with other humans I can have interesting conversations with. And by interesting conversations I mean the engineering of stagecoaches, notable Florida Thoroughbreds, or the differences between Puerto Rican-bred and Colombian-bred Paso Finos. You know, normal stuff.

My family doesn’t really want to hear about the horses anymore (something I’m sure some of you might understand), and all my coworkers talk about are reality shows, football and their hair, three things I could not care less about if you paid me to.

And finally: passing as a reasonably put-together and competent person. I sometimes (okay, often) deal with Imposter Syndrome, and being able to walk around and not feel like a completely out-of-place weirdo was nice. 

I get a little of that at BreyerFest, too – the Imposter feeling, not the not-a-weirdo feeling, because I completely lean into the weird in Kentucky – but as I’m not on Facebook (or even the Internet all that much, lately) I managed to avoid knowing who else was going to be present in Florida (with a couple of exceptions). 

So I walked into that situation without any preconceived notions of how I had to behave or who to expect. Kind of like a real vacation, except with the happy coincidence of some of friends coming along for the ride. (In two cases, quite literally!)

And as I mentioned before, all the freaking out at the CSRs in the days leading up to the event also probably helped.

Time to crawl back under those thick, heavy blankets, and look at seed catalogs. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

More Exceptions To The Rule

Pretty excited about this little bag of mostly Hartland Tinymites!

I’m hoping there are at least some upgrades in here somewhere. (I see no Barkies, alas. I really need more Barkies!) If not, I’ll still have fun cleaning them up and sorting them out for the sales list.

Yes, I am a dork. Is that even a question? 

Here’s the other item that came with it, a lovely early Alabaster Proud Arabian Stallion with extra shading. He’s not perfect-perfect, but he’s pretty close, and I couldn’t argue with his price one bit:

That now means I have examples of the Proud Arabian Stallion in all three of his original release colors in acceptable – or more than acceptable – condition. 

That is not the case with the Proud Arabian Mare, and I doubt it ever will be. I find that bothersome, but not enough to spend the extra money to change that. I’ll find them at a price I’m comfortable with, and not a moment sooner.

(I have a lovely Dapple Gray, an adequate Mahogany Bay, and nicely shaded but battered Alabaster. And let’s not even discuss the Chalky variations…)

As I’ve mentioned several times before, vintage Alabasters are notoriously difficult to find in good condition, and the Proud Arabians are no exception. Considering the popularity of those molds in the 1970s, maybe even moreso!

I can’t count how many Alabaster Proud Arabian Stallions I’ve had in my collecting lifetime, but it’s been a lot, and they’ve come with the full gamut of problems: heavily yellowed, rubs, chipped ears, weird paint flaws, or (most commonly) scuffs galore. 

I also wanted an earlier example, rather than a later one: ones manufactured near the end of his production run in 1981 only had a bit of shading on the mane, tail, head and hooves. Very early examples – like the new guy – obviously have significantly more. 

The new guy isn’t quite as heavily shaded as some I’ve seen, but other than that (and a few stray marks) I have nothing to complain about. And he’s so white, he nearly glows! I am very happy to have made an exception for him. 

I also bought some Stablemates and a few random accessories (socks and blankets) from Breyer’s Black Friday sale: combined with a new mini Shop Vac I purchased in a store on actual Black Friday (half price!), that will probably comprise my Christmas Gift to myself this year.

Friday, November 25, 2022


More strangeness in my life: I think I might have sold a vintage quilt to a kinda famous quilting world person? I was packing up a couple of eBay sales earlier this week and did a double take on one of the labels!

It was a beautiful vintage African-American summer top that needed extensive repairs. I purchased it years ago at the local flea market, hoping to make those repairs myself. But in my efforts to get my sewing projects under control, I made the decision to let it go to someone with more time and/or technical skills.

I’m sure I’ll see it again someday. Probably in a magazine I’ll be skimming while standing in the checkout line at Kroger, or something…

Back to horse stuff. Or more specifically, mule stuff:

Some of my fellow Ponies & Palm Trees attendees were a little dismissive of the Green Group models, presumably because of their similarity to earlier releases: the 2015 Limited Edition Jubilation for the Mule Greenacres, and the 2008 Just About Horses Special Run Party Girl for the Strapless Sarong. 

And also, I suppose, their lower potential resale value. (This notion always blows my mind. Unless you happen to also be a retailer, Breyer is under no obligation to help hobbyists make money.)

I’ve been on a bit of a Brown Sunshine kick recently, so it was pretty clear to me that I’d be coming home with the Mule, regardless of secondary market. With the secondary being so messed up now, who’s to say if I even made a “bad” decision, anyway? It’s not like he’s going anywhere anytime soon.

The only member of the entire lineup that didn’t do anything for me was the Duende Golden Sunset; I have no special attachment to the mold (though I wouldn’t mind getting a Fabio, some day) and I wasn’t overly enamored of the color on him. Although my heart was set on the Cremello Five-Gaiter from the get-go (and I got him!), I would have been happy with the Solid Bay Belgian too, the only mold left in the leftovers from the Blue Group.

I am going to assume that the fact that the two Vintage molds used for this event just happened to be the very same ones I decided to focus on collecting this year was purely coincidence. (And I almost got both. So close!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Shiny and Bright

I have nothing worthwhile to contribute to the model horse conversation today, other than the fact that I bought a lot of stuff today that I shouldn’t. 

In my defense, I have been dealing with a lot of very dumb people recently, and at least one of the purchases (a box lot) will yield me a small profit, once I pull out what I want from it. 

That’s a good way to salvage a kind of crummy week, especially since I haven’t had an opportunity to intentionally make a lot of purchases for resale purposes. (The Sarong is still very much up in the air.)

The Merry and Bright Stablemates were a “for myself” purchase, not a “for profit” one, unless I get two identical pieces. I like them all, and the colors are neat, and very reminiscent (probably deliberately so!) of vintage Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments. 

I’ve decided against getting the Collector’s Club Gloss Palomino Emerson Chadwick – not because I don’t want him (I do!) or can’t afford him (I can!) but because I’m prioritizing my hobby money until the end of the year. If I do make any hobby purchases, I want that money to go towards Vintage items, rather than new ones. 

I’ve had very good luck finding high-quality Vintage items around this time of year, so it seems like a wise strategy.

Unlike the Stablemates, which is just an insane market in general, most Collector’s Club items are not particularly difficult to obtain second hand anyway (and in the case of recent special sales on the Breyer web site, first hand!), so I suspect my gamble will be a pretty safe one. 

I am slightly worried about the potential Winter Web Special animal, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, like I always do. Still hoping for a Dog mold, an Elk, or that Piebald Deer Family I have been clamoring for for years now. 

Another bull? Probably a pass, depending on the color scheme and actual mold used.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Luxuries of Time

Nothing particularly noteworthy to end the week on, other than (a) my clothes finally arrived in the mail from Florida and (b) it was a good week for Stablemates:

Premier Club Lyric, Deluxe Collector’s Club Ellington and the Exclusive Event Stablemate Del Rey. So hard to pick a favorite, they’re all pretty sweet!

The other items I acquired in Florida are still largely unpacked; I’ve been spending most of my spare time this week catching up on my sleep. This is the first week in ages where I have no immediate commitments or deadlines, and I’m going to take advantage of it while I can. 

And do normal human things. Read a book. Watch some TV. Finish embroidering some quilt blocks. (That particular project is so close to being done!)

While I do have several pictures of the Florida trip (and according to my coworkers, some of them can already be found on the Internet) I’m not sure I’ll be posting a lot of them here. While they’re not embarrassing per se, and I don’t mind pictures of myself being taken, I don’t like looking at pictures of me. It feels unnatural and super weird, like I’m looking at my own ghost. 

As for not telling you guys about the trip ahead of time, that was just a personal decision on my part. For one, I wasn’t 100 percent sure I was going to make it (my family history with the State of Florida, and all that) and well, I like the surprise. Just another footnote in my Year of Adventure.

If it happens again, I’ll be a little more forthcoming with my plans. (If anyone wants to come along for Wyoming, feel free to contact me. The more, the merrier!)

I didn’t get a centerpiece model – as I suspected, another unacquireable Polo Pony version of the Smarty Jones – but I was lucky enough to get one of the leftover models, the Strapless Sarong. I just missed getting the Belgian, dang it....

I didn’t even bother to unwrap her prior to packing her in my carry-on; I don’t dislike the mold by any means (I love my Bluegrass and my Pottery Barn Bay!) but reselling her to recoup the remainder of my trip expenses is a huge temptation. A temptation that would be easier to give into if I don’t spend too much time looking at her in any great detail.

I budgeted the heck out of this trip, so the short-term financial “hit” was not terrible at all. (In fact, I’m on track towards having my best year ever, monetarily.) So I have the luxury of time to make that decision, too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Light Housekeeping

Still recovering from Florida; aside from the weather, I work nights, so switching back to my vampire’s schedule can get a little messy. I should be back to “normal” in another day or two, I think. I have another five day weekend coming up next week that should help. (Thanksgiving, already?)

So today’s post is mostly housekeeping.

First: RIP Kevin Conroy. Every nerd has their Batman, and he was mine. I had hoped that, had there ever been a live-action Batman Beyond, he would have been able to also play him “in the flesh”. The closest we ever got was his depiction of a bitter, broken Batman from an alternative Earth in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event in the Arrowverse back in 2019. 

Second: It looks like I’ll have to take a pass on going to BreyerWest in Denver. The possibility of a couple of other trips has been dangled in front of me, including one overseas. More on them at a later date, if they transform into something beyond the hypothetical. I have a lot of other things to focus on, in the meantime.

Third: I apologize to any Customer Service Reps within earshot about my behavior in the two days prior to me leaving for Florida. I am not good on the phone even under the best of circumstances (I have telephonophobia), so having to make phone calls about a possible cancellation of a long-anticipated event just a few days before because the first ******* hurricane to hit Florida in November in nearly forty years is barreling straight towards your final destination is just about my worst case scenario.

The only positive outcome of all that was that I got all my anxiety out of the way before I arrived in West Palm Beach. I was so chill, in fact, that as I was going about my business on Friday afternoon I was mistaken for a resident. 

(Or maybe it’s just that I look very much like a Michigander, and so many of us move to Florida at some point, either permanently or temporarily, that we’re considered Appendix Floridians?)

And finally: my Atli arrived while I was away:

Breyer’s Silvers (the color, not the mold) are kind of hit or miss with me – with their Gloss Red Bay version first seen on the Uncalled For being a miss – but this fellow is just right! Incidentally, I managed to get a Lyric at the Early Access Black Friday Sale while I was down in Florida, after I finally remembered my web site password, LOL…

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Florida, Maybe?

If everything goes according to plan I shall be in Florida attending the Ponies & Palm Trees Exclusive Event this weekend.

It’s not looking so good as I write this, because of course it is. A hurricane this late in the season? More stuff that gets filed in the already overstuffed “weird **** that only happens to Andrea” folder. Great, just awesome. 

(Time to Google “Summer snowstorms in Wyoming” just in case, I guess...)

Though I suppose I should have anticipated to hit a few bumps in the road during my Year of Adventure. I mean I did: most of this trip is either free or (mostly) refundable, so I should not be worrying as much as I do, but I do. You plan for every contingency, and the Worst Case Scenario Gremlin pops up on the horizon and waves like an old friend, because he is. 

Why can’t that little dude take his own vacations and leave me the heck alone? (Okay fine, I didn’t see much of him in Chicago. But still!)

Anyway, enough with the doom and gloom. Maybe everything is cool and I am chilling with my friends in a semi-tropical environment that is not a post-apocalyptic landscape! Or maybe I am stranded in North Carolina reading a book. Or in my basement pouting, eating pizza rolls and waiting for a last minute virtual event. It will be an adventure regardless, even if it was not the one I was hoping for.

As a native Michigander, it’s almost a legal obligation to make at least one trip to Florida in your lifetime. There was one attempted family road trip in the late 1970s or early 1980s that got us as far as Tennessee before we turned back, but otherwise I have never been, until now. 

My brother was obsessed with Jacques Cousteau back then, so seeing the oceans and maybe the Manatees might have been a motivation, but I honestly don’t even remember the reason why we were going to go there in the first place. I know that my paternal grandfather had a place down there before he died (about ten years earlier), but I have no recollection if the trip was in any way related to that.

The opportunity to attend this event was presented to me, and since I had a friend who recently moved there and begged me to visit at least once, the stars aligned.

It’ll also been a good practice run for next year’s trip(s). It’s been a while since I’ve actually flown anywhere, and while BreyerWest is not impossible, it is a little impractical. I’m a warm weather person and flying to Colorado in February is not on my bucket list of travel destinations. 

See y’all on the other side.


I hope.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Atli, and Others

Unlike previous Gambler’s Choice releases in the Stablemates Club, I have no clear favorite among Atli’s four different color options: I like them all about equally, and I’ll be happy with whatever one I get!

I do love his name: it’s the Old Norse variation of Attila! The Hungarian part of me is pleased.

The bigger Stablemates news is that I finally picked up the last two Stablemates in the Dollar General set last week: I had to get some wrapping paper for the wedding shower, took a quick fly-by of the toy aisle and spotted them. 

You know, I think the Black Overo one is potentially live show quality! I have been thinking about going all-mini at a live show next year, just for the challenge...

It’s pretty clear now that these particular Stablemates are not nearly as rare as some hobbyists thought they were going to be. It should have been obvious, since they were being sold at Dollar General of all places, but sometimes what should be obvious, isn’t.

My life has been very instructive on this point.

That’s fine by me: I collect what I like even if it happens to be common. If anything, the existence of a lot of expensive or hard-to-obtain pieces dissuades me from pursuing things. That’s part of the reason why I don’t have many Silvers, Othellos, or Esprits. Just the ones I like, and (most importantly!) can afford.

Collecting is no fun if you can’t, you know, collect the things.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Dog Shaped, Dog Themed, or Just a Dog?

Ah, my head’s all messed up today! I had to do a double shift on Saturday, go to a wedding shower on Sunday, and deal with Daylight Savings Time on top of all that. And then the devastating news about Duran Duran… 

Today is still Monday, right?

At least I know I am not alone. This week promises to mess with the heads of all of us. I am kind of nervous about a potential Breyer Hall of Fame announcement, and might actually be mad if they don’t get in this time…

I didn’t bother entering for Kalahari; aside from trying to avoid any extraneous hobby purchases until the end of the year, I prefer dog-shaped Breyers to dog-themed ones. 

Speaking of Breyer Dogs, I’ve seen both the White Boxer and the Test Color Benji on eBay, yes. I’d love either (or both!) but their listing prices are a little out of my comfort zone. 

It’s become rather obvious that the White Boxer is not quite as rare as we thought it was, so I harbor a faint bit of hope I’ll randomly find one somewhere. 

Oh, and I’ve also seen that BreyerFest Test Color Donkey on eBay too. While it meets all my necessary criteria – it is a verifiable, documented BreyerFest Auction piece from before 2000 – the price is way too high, and I already have a Test Color Donkey anyway. 

For the record, I’m willing to go as high as $1200 to $1500 for an early BreyerFest Auction Test, but cheaper is always better, and I am not concerned about it being live show quality or not. I’d also prefer a mold I don’t already have a Test Color in, but I’m not going to turn down a Traditional Man o’ War or Trakehner if the price was right. 

I might be picky, but I am not stupid. 

I have a pretty busy week ahead of me, so that’s all for today, folks. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022


I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised to see them using a vintage mold – Chris Hess’s Trakehner – for next year’s BreyerFest Celebration Horse, Bravour 54:

The original Trakehner’s mold number is also 54, which I’m sure is just a happy coincidence.

As a big fan of the Hess Trakehner, I do have some mixed feelings about this mold selection. 

The first being that I still prefer the first version of the mold with his rougher coat and thinner tail. I suppose it’s possible that they might have a few unpainted bodies of the original mold floating around the warehouse, but I am going to assume that any models painted from these will be pricey and difficult to come by. 

The second one is that we know there will be Gloss Prize models of him: I do not have a good track record of obtaining these things. Even though the mold is not as popular as it once was, rare Glosses of almost anything drive collectors (and prices) mad.

(The prices for the Gloss Nikolases are still straight up ridiculous!)

And third – something I’m already starting to see – is that there’s going to be a backlash against using an older mold to begin with. And when I mean an older mold, I mean anything that predates Huckleberry Bey. And he was released in 1999!

Sure, there was a period in the mid to late 1980s and early 1990s – the immediate post-Hess period – where Reeves was still searching for suitable sculptors to replace him, with mixed results. 

But it is a little disheartening to see hobbyists and collectors being so dismissive of the first fifty or so years of Breyer’s output. The Trakehner’s underpinnings are a bit light in comparison to his body, and he’s not quite as clean or refined as newer molds, but I consider him one of Hess’s better efforts from that era. 

I just wish he showed better: I’ve got some darn fine examples, and they straight up get ignored in the show ring nowadays…

Some hobbyists also fail to realize that with most portrait models – and especially the Celebration Horse – the owners are actively involved in the development process. Newer molds may have been considered, and rejected. 

As I have said before, mostly in relation to the more recent Arabian releases, cleaner and more refined sculpts are not necessarily more realistic or accurate. 

When I took my car in for a bit of work at the dealership last week, I found out the service rep was also a horse person, and in fact owned a Paso Fino. I showed her a picture of the new Premier Club Paso Fino mold Cancion, but she much preferred El Pastor: the new Vivaldi de Besilu release looked just like her old mare!

And I have to say that the prototype for Bravour is also a pretty good likeness, too. Thumbs up from this old fart!