Sunday, December 31, 2023

Wrapping Up 2023

I wish I could have gotten more done this week, but my back was definitely not cooperating. One of the first things I am going to do when everyone gets back to business this week is finally make an appointment with the doctor and see if anything else can be done for it, beyond what I am already doing. 

They finally released a hype-free video of the entire 2024 Stablemates Club lineup. I’m a little meh on the Cassidy mold and Gambler’s Choice Foal. I think it’s mostly because Duns don’t photograph very well, so they look a little drab compared to the rest of the lineup. To me, at least. 

I also did a quick skim of the videos posted on Collector Club News page; I know for a fact that I am in at least one of their promotional videos from the 1990s. I know it exists because I had a coworker say “I saw you on TV!” after he got back from a vacation in Colorado, several months after the BreyerFest where I was filmed.  

A friend and I were asked to look at some horses in a class at BreyerFest Live back when it was still in the Covered Arena, and pretend to comment/critique them. None of these videos appear to have that footage in them, fortunately, but I also zoomed through them pretty fast, so I may be wrong....

The only other historical tidbit I can offer is that the gentleman narrating the 1990 Breyer Factory Tour video is Werner Fleischmann, founder of Reeves International, and Tony Fleischmann’s Dad. 

I managed to escape the temptations of the Reeves Warehouse Sale, mostly by doing a little of my own inventory this week. One phrase kept popping into my head as I was wading through all the models and paperwork:

Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. 

It really was one of those years for me: Test Colors, Rarities, Variations, Gloss Prize Models. Just about the only thing I didn’t get this year was a vintage BreyerFest Auction Test Piece, and all y’all know how that turned out…

But seriously, I need to sell a ridiculous amount of stuff in 2024, and I’m not going to get too worried about the prices they ultimately sell for. (Heck, I was going to donate some stuff to Toys for Tots, but again, my schedule got in the way…) Some mistakes were made, and I have to own up to some of them: the physical and mental space are worth more than the money I might potentially “lose”. 

As far as next year’s hobby goals, aside from selling a bunch of stuff, it’s pretty short: I want to finish some of my Customs, and enter at least one contest at BreyerFest. I’d prefer it to be the Customs Contest, but since I’m going to be elbow-deep in quilting and sewing projects until at least the end of January, that one might be a stretch. 

I will also squeeze a few live shows in there, too, but BreyerFest Live is definitely off the table. I am not crazy.

Personal, non-model goals are pretty much the same: lose weight, eat better, save more money, take better care of myself, and try to work on my communication skills. My non-BreyerFest vacation goals are still up in the air; I’m hoping they’ll become clearer by the end of January. (Fingers crossed, Oklahoma City!)

And that’s about it for the year. Off to work on another bajillion piece quilting project. Four blocks pieced, just another 95(!) to go. I thought this quilt was a good idea why?

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Once More, With (A Little) Less Feeling

To clean up a bit of business from the previous comment section:

I have some sensory issues related to food texture and sound. You’re not going to notice the food issues unless you bring a dish to a potluck and find me avoiding it. It’s only a handful of things – like custard-based desserts, and bananas. I am otherwise a very unpicky eater, at least flavor-wise. (I like the taste of bananas, for instance. But don’t ask me to eat one! Weird, I know…)

My reactions to certain sounds are much more noticeable: I have misophonia. I will walk away from people with extremely high-pitched voices, and if someone is chewing gum, I have been known to tell them to their faces that I find it disgusting. And song “remixes” are absolute torture to me. All of these things hurt my ears, raise my blood pressure, and sometimes even trigger a “fight or flight” response. 

So if someone’s social media style incorporates any of those elements into their online presence/persona, I will absolutely turn it off and I will not apologize for it. Most of the time I can access the information elsewhere, so it’s primarily a “me” problem, but if they make content exclusive to some of the more exuberant influencers, me and others like me may miss out, and that could be a problem in the future. 

It almost – but I don’t think quite – rises to the level of ableism. The information was not time-critical, and it was eventually available elsewhere. 

Anyway, back to actual model stuff. 

I am not entirely surprised by the selection of the Stablemates Donkey mold as the Gambler’s Choice for 2024: he’s both cute and popular. Some hobbyists are upset that he’s little, as if the amount of plastic being used has some significant bearing on his perceived value. 

The only thing that kind of weirds me out about him is that he’s one of a handful of molds who have crossed categories. He originally started out as an accessory to various Stablemates gift and play sets, but because of his popularity crossed over into being an individual release with his inclusion in the Spirit: Riding Free Blind Bags in 2017. My mind still thinks of him as an accessory.

Another model that switched/switches categories is Merrylegs: originally designed as a part of the Classic-scale Black Beauty Family Gift Set, the mold has frequently been issued as a de facto Traditional-scale Miniature Horse. 

My problem with Merrylegs, however, is entirely due to the fact that the darn thing is tipsier than The Black Stallion and Pacer combined – at least in my experience. Except for my Test Color Merrylegs, all the others I own are currently in storage to keep her from being the chaos agent that she is. 

Let’s see, I probably should open the last of this year’s shipment, Brio and Nero:

Nothing anybody hasn’t seen before; I am rather pleased that they’re continuing with the Roman Emperor naming scheme with the Draft Horses. And I like Brio a little bit more in person than the original photos, but I still think I’ll like him even more in a solid color.

This came as a complete surprise to me, and as a gift from another kindly benefactor: a Silver Charm Alborozo. I had been aware of some of the items I was being sent (which will be featured in at least one more upcoming post), but this one left me speechless:

As you know, I haven’t had the best luck even finding blind bags in these parts, much less Chase pieces, and I haven’t had any luck with throwing in random ones into some of my online orders, either. I haven’t given up so much as surrendered to my fate: if I happen to stumble upon them in my infrequent shopping excursions, that’s great, but if I don’t, I’m not going to sweat it. 

And then stuff like this happens. 

Monday, December 25, 2023

Christmas Day Ramblings

Alas, I did not win the (char)Coal lottery this year. In fact, I received my least favorite of the four attainable colors, the Red Filigree:

Meh, oh well. It’s been a pretty good year model-wise, I guess I shouldn’t complain; I need to save my luck for Oklahoma City, right? 

I will say that I do like the sparkly-glittery paint they used on these guys, and will look forward to seeing it on other molds more to my liking in the future – maybe something a little more vintage? I could definitely use a few more Five-Gaiters in my life, for instance…

I am a little baffled that some people are mad that the Coal is not solid glossy black? My guess is that since the Huckleberry Bey mold has come in several Black and Black-adjacent colors (my favorite being the lovely Polaris!) that they wanted to go with something a little more Decorator-y, and Charcoal was the logical choice.

I know he is not a “true” Charcoal – his hooves are gray, not pink or tan, and he has no bald face, either – but it works on him, and I’d take him in a heartbeat (as would most people lucky enough to receive one.) Especially since I only have a handful of Hucks here – including two variations of the Celebration Horse Atlantis Bey V, and Polaris.

As it is, I’m not quite sure what to do with my Wassail; I am elbow deep in quilting projects at the moment (I just finished one, yay!) and selling things just isn’t that big a priority for me for the next several months, and I do not have energy enough to arrange a trade. 

This is also why I decided to not take the plunge on the latest Grab Bags. Some of the stuff in them is better than the past few rounds – like SM Club models, Web and Store Specials, and Chadwick, et al – but adding more to my sales pile was a definite turn off. 

Hmm, that reminds me – I still need to renew my Stablemates Club subscription! The latest reveal – a G3 Thoroughbred named Dylan in that same, peculiar new style of dappling first seen on Anamar – isn’t necessarily my cup of tea, but I like the rest of the releases so far, so rejoining is a no-brainer.  

However, I would like to register a formal complaint about the unboxing video for the Polo Pony release Newport. It was unwatchable!

Due to my schedule and my lifestyle, my consumption of social media is currently limited to YouTube videos of hoarder house cleanups and crafting drama. (You think model horse drama is bad? Yarn drama will destroy you!) While I’ve sampled some model horse social media on occasion, I’ve found most of it way too intense and hyperbolic for my tastes. 

Yes, I know some of it is that this content is tailored to a younger audience’s sensibilities and not mine. I also have some minor sensory issues related to certain sounds, and most of the information that can be gleaned from it can be found elsewhere, so I tend to avoid most of it out of habit. Since it was basically a new mold reveal, I thought I’d try to stick it out. 

But seriously, I had to tap out about 15 seconds into it and go looking for screen shots. That... was bad.

Friday, December 22, 2023

The Narrative

Way to ruin the narrative guys…

Since this is like the fourth, fifth or sixteenth draw, I’m not sure this even counts as pull from the waitlist anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely taking him, but it all seems so anticlimactic now, like being told you can eat that last piece of birthday from a party held three days ago you weren’t invited to in the first place. 

I mean, I will say yes to cake always, but it definitely feels weird.  

There’s been a lot of news in the past several days and I’m not quite sure where to begin; I suppose I should begin with the giant elephant in the room: the Spokes & Spurs Exclusive Event.

Remember how I was telling you how my vacation plans for next year were so completely messed up I had to come up with an alternative to my alternative plan? Not only would this event fit perfectly into the alternative plan I had been cooking up, it is almost like it was planned with me in mind. 

Originally I wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby, but unfortunately so did a couple million other people, and because my back still hurts and I am super-judgey right now, my mind imagines (mostly unfairly, I know) that many who did secure tickets either don’t know one end of a horse from another, or cannot even rattle off three random Kentucky Derby winners off the tops of their heads. Grr, argh….

(If on the slender but not impossible [for once!] chance that the Detroit Lions make it to the Super Bowl, I am not going to stand in the way of people who have been waiting since 1957. That would just feel mean.)

I did not get picked for the ticket lottery, and due to a series of unfortunate events, I did not find out about the public part of the sale until five days after it happened. All that’s left now are infield (drunk people), box seats (nobody I know who wants to go has the money to split one with me), insanely expensive luxury seats, and scalpers (both self-explanatory). So yeah, unless a miracle happens, I will not be attending.  

My backup plan was San Diego Comicon.

(Yes, I can hear you laughing.)  

The backup to the backup plan was Iceland, but since one of my cousins expressed an interest also, that’s going to require more planning and coordination.

Which left me with… the Redneck Roadtrip Redo. My family had a weird, epic roadtrip to the Southern parts of the U.S. in the summer of 1979; it was the closest thing our working class family had to a “real” vacation, and included stops at Graceland, Lexington, Nashville and Little Rock, Arkansas. Other than Lexington – where I got to go to the Kentucky Horse Park for the first time, and met Forego – a lot of the places I wanted to visit along the way were nixed. 

I always thought that someday I’d redo that roadtrip, but do it right. Dig for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park! Take my picture in front of the post office in Gurdon, Arkansas! Actually go inside of Graceland! (Technically it wasn’t even open to the public in 1979.) And other stops Dad didn’t bother to slow down for, for reasons both known and unknown.

(Known: my always impeccably-dressed Grandmother wasn’t going to go digging in the dirt for anything, even diamonds.) 

I had thought about taking this roadtrip the week before or after the Derby, as a way of both avoiding and thumbing my nose at the Derby festivities I will be missing out on, and because life is too short to be hate-watching anything anymore anyway. 

Combining this roadtrip with an Exclusive Event in the middle of it would be perfect. But will it actually happen? 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023


I spent an hour last night rationalizing how I wasn’t going to buy the Christmas Surprise model unless it was Emma, and like the fool that I am I bought one anyway.


My rationale now is that since it’s Huck Bey, he’ll be easy to sell if I don’t happen to love whatever one I get. And since I am also going to attempt (AGAIN) to go on a budget diet next year, I figured this is going to be my last “wild and crazy” splurge for a while. 

I don’t know why they’re doing it this way this year: early, and without pictures. I am assuming it is both inventory- and staff-related: I used to work in the inventory services industry, and a lot of companies do their physical inventories at the very end of the year, and the more stuff they can get out the door before December 26th, the better. 

Reeves doesn’t directly employ as many people as you think they do, and most people do not particularly enjoy doing inventories, even if it is their job, or part of it. (I did but, well, it got complicated at the end.)

No selling scenario Reeves can come up with can be entirely fair, no matter what any hobbyist out there thinks. Every scenario can and will be gamed, and not everyone can have equal access or equal luck all the time ever. (Yes, even random draws!)

I’m annoyed as heck that I struck out all three times with the draws for Garret – a model I personally campaigned for! – but I accepted my fate and moved on. 

You either choose to play, or you do not. That’s all there really is to this. For some strange reason (I blame both the back pain and the weather) I decided to play. If there is any silver lining to this, it’s that this marketing changeup will allow more people time to participate, and the ability to consider the purchase, rather than simply relying on impulse and timing.

I spent a lot of time last night considering the purchase and did it anyway. I’d like to think that was my intuition talking, but let’s get real here: even this year, my luck has not been that good. If it was, I’d be hanging out on Fiji like the guy who won two billion dollars in the lottery, and not giving two thoughts about a plastic horse on the Internet.

(Other than shopping for a BreyerFest Party Bus because really, what’s the point of having all that money if you can’t just randomly rent a party bus for all your friends?)

I take a little grim amusement in the fact that people were mad when Reeves first started selling special items on Christmas Day. And now they are mad they are not. And entertaining some odd fantasies that it will not sell out because of their ire.

There are far better things to direct your anger towards. 

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Sharing is Caring

Although I think I am through the worst of the cold, I have to say that I am very sick of being sick. The past two months have been plagued by insomnia, gastrointestinal issues, back pain and (this week) a nasty cold. 

I am trying to accept it as a slow-motion system crash and hoping that once the cold has run its course, the rest of the year will be both painless and productive. (The heating pad I bought for my office chair gets to stay, though. Why didn’t I buy one of these before?)  

As it is right now I barely have the energy to open up my mail when I get home. So many tempting packages sitting at the foot of my bed; I may just end up saving them all for Christmas anyway.

The Collector’s Club Appreciation Sale sold out a little faster than I anticipated; my guess is that there were fewer pieces available than I suspected. I wasn’t tempted – too much stuff here people, way too much stuff – but looking at the Traditionals they now have in production, I fear I might bite the bullet next year: Mojave, Zorah Belle and Mooney? I’d be delighted with any one of those in gloss!

I am a little bummed that they’re returning to the mini-display boxes with the Stablemates Club releases next year; I much prefer the eminently reusable two-piece cardboard ones myself. It’s not going to affect the status of my membership. Which I need to renew sometime soon…

Since mobility is still a little bit of an issue for me, here are a few brightening up my very cluttered desk. First, the BreyerFest Horse of a Different Color Dada:

There’s nothing particularly special about this one: I just think he’s a neat little guy and he makes me smile. (As does the art movement that inspired him!) Second up is a NIP Buckskin Quarter Horse Mare with the MEXICO mold mark:

I already had loose examples, but I had been wanting a New in Package example for ages, and she just happened showed up on eBay at an extremely reasonable Buy It Now price earlier this year. Contrary to popular opinion, MEXICO-stamped Quarter Horse Mares are not all that rare, but Vintage NIP Stablemates are definitely a thing right now, especially in this fine of a condition. She was included in my Stablemates Collector’s Class Entry at BreyerFest that took Fifth Place.

And finally, one of the customs I had been working on, before I decided to go all-in on quilting for the rest of the year:

Yup, good ol’ Mesteno: The Messenger! I took him up as both a companion piece to the Mesteno’s Mother custom that is also still languishing on my work table, and as an even more extreme artistic challenge. 

He was the experimental piece that ended up in my BreyerFest Free Box, but I either came to my senses or lost them again, and fished him back out. He still has lots of problems that I probably won’t get around to fixing until Spring, but I am rather pleased at my progress, and wanted to share with the group. 

(His tail is just loosely taped on; it won’t be reattached until I’m finally happy with the resculpting.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2023


My apologies for my absence: in addition to the back problems, I have also acquired a cold. I am significantly better today than yesterday, but it will be a couple more days before I’m back to my sassier self.

The biggest bummer is that I have been unable to work on any of my various quilting projects: the motivation and inspiration are there, but the Nyquil has been putting the kibosh on my ability to get anything meaningful done.  

I was also not selected from the alleged waitlist for Garret. I think it’s the predictability of it that’s bothering me more than anything; it reminds me of elementary school gift exchanges and door prizes, when I was so often the last person picked from the random draws that by the sixth grade I had begun to dread it.

The only time this terrible superpower worked for me was when a friend of mine held a live show and the last door prize selected was actually the best: I don’t think she knew my history with such things, but it definitely made my day, and I will never forget that kindness.

And speaking of kindness, thank you for the offers to sell your Garrets at cost to me; I’m fine, really. I prefer to have my collection grow organically, and it’s clearly not meant to be right now anyway: it’s been a very good year otherwise, and I really need to focus on selling more and buying less. 

For those of you still in the mood to buy more, the Collector’s Club Appreciation Sale is tomorrow, offering the same assortment of models they offered earlier in the year. The WinterFest Trueno and Mouse are also still available while supplies last. 

I am baffled and a little saddened that there were collectors buying Trueno and Mouse secondhand even during the initial sale period. Have collectors become so conditioned to assume that every purchase requires a Collector’s Club membership that they assumed these did as well? 

Always do your research, people; it does not always help, but it never hurts.

And that’s about all the energy I have today; I need to save a little for work.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Delayed Gratification

Yeah, big not-surprise on the Garret here. I’m not even mad anymore, just annoyed. Fine, I’ll take my money elsewhere and buy something else, like (for instance) the Rose Gold Charm Avoriaz, to match my Filigree:

Ah, the good old days, when I could occasionally get picked for 350-piece Web Specials! The new Avoriaz only cost me slightly more than the original, and since I wanted a matched set, buying her was the logical thing to do.

Small correction: I did get Elsa last year, so I am not completely 0-for-everything on the 1000-piece Special Run sweepstakes. I forgot about her because the poor thing is still NIB because I want to display her next to my Hamish, but there’s no room for that right now.

One of the things I’ll be doing over my winter break is a radical reevaluation of a bunch of NIB stuff I’ve stockpiled over the past few years; I’m planning on an absolutely bonkers (SO CHEAP!) room sale at BreyerFest next year with the stuff that doesn’t make the cut.

(Elsa will stick around, though. As will 99 percent of the Stablemates.) 

Yes, I finally got around to watching the Winterfest broadcast; I did skip through the workshop clips because I’m still having a hard time sitting for extended periods of time, and if I do want to watch them, they’re still available through the end of the month.

I am kind of tempted to do a Mari Lwyd on one of my bazillion FAM bodies, but the actual doing of it may not happen until I finish a few dozen more old sewing projects. 

This isn’t necessarily a criticism, but an observation: the inaugural WinterFest felt more like an extended QVC segment, rather than the miniature, Winter-themed online BreyerFest I was imagining. 

I was also little bit bummed they didn’t have any themed merchandise – instead of the usual t-shirts and water bottles, they could have done seasonally appropriate sweatshirts and coffee mugs, or maybe included a little goodie or two with purchase, like a magnet, stickers or hot chocolate. 

(Especially magnets and stickers!)

But it was fine for what it was; for a lot of us hobbyists in the more northern climes, the Winter season is sort of a dead time where we don’t get to do a lot of in-person socializing with our hobby peeps, and online communal events like this are appreciated. 

With that thought in mind, it looks like I’ll be taking the last week of the year off to rest and recuperate (from work, the back injury, just life in general) so I’ll be available to hang out/paint Stablemates/eat cookies/gossip if anyone needs it or wants it – your place or mine. 

Well, maybe more yours than mine – like I said, there are a lot of unopened boxes here that need attending to. Unless you want to help sort with me.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Spotting Things

Welp, I bought stuff over the weekend anyway, but not from WinterFest. I got this guy instead, because he was (a) on sale, (b) the 15 percent off offer also worked on him, and (c) after I tossed in some show pouches because I needed them anyway, shipping was free! 

Every time I saw the Ideal Appaloosa in the wild – a couple of times at the Tractor Supply, and once at one of my local toy store haunts – he kept catching my eye, but I was a little hesitant to lay out the cash, or acknowledge the fact that I now seem to be collecting the mold (he would be number four!) But for the same price I would have paid locally, I got some “free” pouches, and I couldn’t pass that deal up…

So even if I don’t get a Garret – which, considering my luck lately with the larger piece Special Runs, is not out of the realm of possibility – at least I have one package coming in the mail.

And it may also cover whatever transpires with the Christmas Day Special, which in light of the WinterFest revelation that it’s going to be a Moody mold, I simultaneously fear and hope it really is Emma. (This could also mean Rain or Ethereal, but Ethereal has already had one Gambler’s Choice, so maybe not…) With the hours I keep at work, sleeping in could also happen, like it did the year of Spice Drop. 

Special Runs, Oddities and Test Colors on the realistic Deer Family are something of a rarity. All of the previous releases from their introduction in 1964 going forward have been some shade of brown or tan, with various amounts of detailing. 

I do have a few oddities, including a Chalky Plastic Buck, a Fawn without spots that was part of a larger collection in Arizona that may or may not have been related to Breyer’s attempt to relocate production to Mexico (probably not, but close enough to make me go hmm...) and a Doe that came with the Fawn that’s shaded a little bit different than the standard paint jobs of the era.

I know most hobbyists would have preferred an entire Deer Family, but I wouldn’t rule out the rest of the family turning up soon, especially since the molds technically have an anniversary (the sixtieth!) coming up next year, along with the Stretched Morgan and the Belgian. 

The Belgian has already had a couple of recent releases, including the Ponies & Palm Trees Coconut Grove and the TSC Gibson, but the Stretched Morgan has been absent since 2018’s Web Special Kaibab. In fact, he hasn’t had a larger, Regular Run release since the 1990s; all of his subsequent releases have Special Runs, Test Colors, or Club models, with the largest being the Appaloosa Halo from the Vintage Club in 2013.

In other words, he’s due, especially considering how well-received the Troubadour doppelganger was. 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

More About WinterFest

And if you’re wondering if I am excited about the Winter Animal Special Run Garret, I am, but I’m leaving that discussion for next time, hopefully when I’m feeling a little bit better. 

I still have not partaken of any WinterFest-ivities yet; it’s kind of hard to concentrate when your back is yelling obscenities at you. (“You need to sneeze? Good luck with that!”) I decided I really didn’t need either of the Special Runs designated for the event, so “attending” has been a low priority anyway. (Maybe later today?)

I was a little surprised that so many folks insisted on being there when the metaphorical doors opened; I thought it was common knowledge that the quantities made were not small – 3000 pieces! – so a quick sellout seemed pretty unlikely. 

My guess would be that some might have thought other surprises were in store; the thought crossed my mind too, but I wasn’t in any condition to worry about it when my alarm went off Friday morning. (Actually getting out of bed was my biggest concern!) 

I think some of it ties into the fact that a lot of hobbyists seem to hold a lot of contradictory notions about the hobby being both unimaginably large and incredibly small. And they are not 100 percent wrong: there are a lot of people who just collect, or who participate in the hobby in the privacy of their homes, but the actual number of people who are highly engaged is relatively small. 

And when I mean highly engaged, that includes live showing, photo showing, attending hobby events, customizing, making tack, blogging or vlogging, on a regular basis. 

Even events that are ostensibly designed for low-engagement collectors and hobbyists, like WinterFest, are not necessarily going to draw the majority of them in: in fact, I’m sure quite a few of them are completely clueless about it. 

I’ve spoken to a number of more casual collectors, for instance, who were utterly unaware of the existence of the virtual component of BreyerFest. Considering how much effort Reeves puts into advertising the event on its web site, via other social media, in their catalogs and other ephemera, you’d think knowledge of the event would be inescapable, and you would be wrong.

I think the WinterFest models will sell out eventually: the price points and quantities available are comparable to other seasonal, limited edition models. The only difference between them and the other “Holiday” Special Runs like Tinsel, Mittens and Wintergreen is that they are specifically tied to an event – and we know exactly number of models available. 

(And also free postage in the U.S. is being offered on the WinterFest items? I didn’t put any in my cart to confirm.)

I don’t know how many of the “Holiday” models were made, but it wouldn’t be surprised if it was less than 3000. And except for the Stablemates, they’re all still available.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Nope, Not That One Either

Ugh. I feel like I’ve been moving in slow motion for the past several days. My back is definitely in a better place than it was last week, but getting anything extracurricular done – prepping a quilt for quilting, sorting out old mail, writing blog posts – has been an exhausting process. 

As you know, after several years of fruitless searching, I was finally able to find myself a Glossy Dapple Belgian. The search for an adequate Smoke Belgian still continues, however:

He wasn’t the main reason I bought that particular box lot – it was a good deal, and the majority of the models in the lot were not body quality, that’s why – but I was kind of hoping he’d be close enough. Nice shading, good pinking, no yellowing, snowy-white, beautifully executed eye whites and tail ribbons…

… but not quite nice enough for me to spend money restoring. Like all the other Smoke Belgians I’ve had in my life, he’ll probably spend several months here before moving along, like all the rest.

He’s not an especially rare model to acquire, but he is hard to find in good condition. Since he was primarily produced in the mid- to late-1960s (1964 to 1971, to be exact), the majority of them were specifically purchased as toys, not as collectibles: he’s a big, sturdy fella that I’m sure many parents assumed could stand up to some rough handling. 

And except for eartip breaks and rubs, they usually do! 

Smokes do seem more prone to rubbing than other paint jobs, too, which might have something to do with how they were painted in the first place: the paint was thinner and more lightly applied, and they were (except for a few Belgians on lamps) almost always Matte-finished. 

(By the way, the Smoke Belgian was never actually advertised as a Smoke: He is listed as a “Grey with white mane and tail” in all the known catalogs, manuals and other ephemera. Why that is, I have no idea. Just Breyer being Breyer, I guess.) 

Incidentally, I still haven’t gotten around to getting myself a Gibson; my work schedule hasn’t been very accommodating to casual shopping at Tractor Supply. That’s… probably for the best?  

I’m not in any hurry for either a Smoke Belgian or a Gibson: if anything, I need more excuses to sell more stuff, but until both my back and my work schedule clear up a bit more, sales are definitely not a priority.  

What is a priority, if it does happen? A vintage Chestnut Belgian with eyewhites! It’s been a couple of years since I’ve even seen one for sale, so I am not holding my breath. Catching my breath is hard enough, nowadays...

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Jam Sham

I am actually pretty annoyed that Reeves decided to sell most of the “good” stuff they had set aside for Black Friday several days before the actual Black Friday. 

I realize that I have had a really, really good year model-wise and I don’t need to be spending any more money. And I get it that this week/s long Black Friday sale thing has become a thing with sellers of all stripes this season.

But it is kind of a bummer to wake up on Black Friday and not have anything to look forward to, especially when you do have the fundage. And especially when your shopping in the previous week was almost a total bust. 

(Let’s just say both Plan A and Plan B for my vacation-that-is-not-BreyerFest next year are completely out of the question. First world problems, but still ugh…)

I did have a tiny bit of success today – just an itty-bitty bit – when I did venture out of the house on Saturday to buy a few necessities. I found a couple of books at the Salvation Army Store that always has a good selection:

The Brighty is a Scholastic first printing, which is a nice plus. Both books will probably end up on my saleslist, though the Mustang book has an interesting inscription that will greatly amuse a couple of my friends… 

Since I am also still feeling a little crappy because of my back – which is making it hard as heck to get any of the crafting I had planned for the weekend done – today is another picture day. And that picture is the #410994 Jamboree Sham from 1994!

Due to the introduction of several newer Arabian and Arabian-ish Traditional molds in recent years, Sham has fallen slightly out of favor; he’s also come in a bajillion colors, which has made it difficult to find something new to dress him up in, though they did do a mighty fine job on the BreyerFest release of Lugh in 2020.

The Jamboree Sham came out only about ten years after the mold’s introduction, when there were still many options to explore, though most of them still veered into “just another shade of Bay” territory. So a Flaxen Dark Liver Chestnut was a delightful surprise!

They only made about 550 of him, which may seem like a lot for a mid-1990s Special Run release. He was still a little tough to acquire though, especially if you were living on the East Coast: after the initial hullabaloo, I was able to get one for not too much more than retail.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023


My life is weird, part one million: this past week included my shoes melting and an extended argument about a toilet. I also unintentionally manifested an entire box of French Vanilla coffee creamer.

(Yeah, the same nonsense I can do with models I can now do with food. Except a decent vegetarian corn chowder: that search continues.)

First, some of you were a little confused about the references to the legs on the Family Arabian Foal: I was referring to how she looked from the front, rather than the sides. Here’s a shot to show you how different the leg positions are on my belly-stamped FAF, compared to a slightly later Bay example.

Most of my FAFs (I have… so many) look more like the Bay than the Woodgrain. It could just be that this specific Woodgrain Foal was made this way, or got this way somehow; legs have a habit of going wonky in storage. Maybe there is something more to it, and maybe there isn’t. I haven’t seen enough of these Foals in person to make any assumptions.

Someone mentioned the Old Mold version of the Stallion in the comments – yes, he is most definitely an underappreciated early rarity! But ironically, not a hard one to collect: I think I have a complete collection of them now, and I don’t think any one example cost me more than fifty dollars (the Woodgrain, I believe: I think because he had a Tenite sticker? Back is still too achy for me to dig him out.)

The only significant difference between an Old Mold Stallion and an early Family Arabian Stallion is the mold stamp: Old Molds don’t have it, though most Gray Appaloosas seem to have the partial one. There may be some other subtle differences, but I’ve never been able to conclusively pinpoint anything that couldn’t be ascribed to an incidental manufacturing error. 

Second, this WinterFest thing is interesting; I was just thinking that it was about time for another Duende Special Run. I do like Trueno, and how this paint job makes his mane looks like icicles, but I don’t know if I like him enough to pursue him.

The same can probably be said of the braided-mane version of Nikolas, named Mouse. Other people have done some digging in my stead and discovered that they are going to be both relatively plentiful and inexpensive, so I may have time to change my mind.

Mouse reminds me a little bit of another one of the customs I’ve been working, too. I’ll probably be putting most of my customizing on hiatus after the Thanksgiving work break, though, to focus on my quilts instead. 

The garage is cold and quilts are warm; that’s all there really is to that.

What else they have in store for this thing we’ll all have to wait and see. I might do a workshop or two if I can find the spare time. (Tempted by the Zebra one, but I fear my patience for painting stripes is very limited.)

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Cooler Things

It just amuses and baffles me that I can’t “win” 1000-piece Special Runs, but Test Colors, 50-piece runs, and things other hobbyists are like “what, they made that?” No problemo!

(Yeah, still no Vail. At this point I’m just laughing and shaking my head about it.)

The Bay Lady Roxana has soared past my upper bidding limit; but that’s fine: I went and bought some box lots on the Internet for less that are probably worth more; I’ll find out by the end of the week!

So here’s another cool thing I have been looking for for an insanely long time:

As you might have guessed – because it’s me we’re talking about here – this is no ordinary Family Arabian Foal. Check out the location of her mold mark!

(Just above the drip mark.)

The belly-stamped Foals are obviously very early; in fact, I think they represent the “first state” of the mold, before any of the multitude of other changes were made to it. 

The Family Arabian Foal was likely Breyer’s most popular and in-demand mold through the 1960s and a large portion of the 1970s, and because of the wear and tear of near-constant production, it went through many repairs and revisions. So many, in fact, that with a little extra research, we could probably create a pretty accurate year-by-year timeline of the changes.

(Sorry folks, I do not have the time for that right now!)

Looking for a belly-stamped FAF has been awkward, to say the least, and is complicated by the fact that the best place you would think to find something like this – BreyerFest – has also become one of the less likely. Unless it’s a Test Color, Oddity, Rare SR, New in Box or another known rare variation (like the Sorrels), people don’t bring Family Arabians to sell, because they’re old-fashioned, common and allegedly boring. 

Fortunately, on places like eBay, a lot of sellers don’t know or don’t care: they just want to make a sale. The more diligent ones do what sellers selling items outside of their comfort zone usually do: they photograph everything, including the location of the mold marks. 

Although there are instances where the presence or absence of certain mold marks is historically important, usually it isn’t, so most of us roll our eyes when we see that photo included in a listing. Yeah, I already know that’s a Breyer, doofus.

But in this case, it’s what made the difference for me. I immediately saw it and jumped on it like a cat on a can of tuna. 

I’m beginning to wonder if the FAF was the first – or one of the first – molds to receive the mold mark, before they decided that putting it on the inside hind leg was the way to go. The change happened very quickly, and before they revised the curled eartips: curled eartip FAFs with the standard leg stamp are a little uncommon, but not super-rare. 

(The Shetland Pony also received a belly-stamp around the same time, but it never got removed or repositioned).

Theoretically, the Belly Stamp Foals should only exist in the original four Family Arabian/Old Mold colors: Alabaster, Bay, Woodgrain and Gray Appaloosa. Palomino and Charcoal didn’t show up until later; how much later I am not sure, but I do know I still haven’t found any evidence of Palomino or Charcoal FAFs with the curled eartips.

I haven’t done a comprehensive, point-by-point study of the Foal to figure out what else was changed or corrected from the first state of the mold to the second. Having a sample size of only one is also not helpful, because you don’t know if the variations are the result of a molding or production change, or just something idiosyncratic to that particular Foal.

The Foal’s legs are definitely not in the same places as most of my later examples, but that could just mean the cooling boards weren’t ready yet and everything was assembled by hand, as was the case with the original In-Between Mares around the same time.

Even though Breyer had been producing horses for nearly a decade by the time this Foal was manufactured, she does feel a little – primitive? Maybe they had rush orders to fill, and even though they didn’t have a production process or even all the equipment “ready”, they just got them done by any means necessary?

(I work in a production facility: some of the crazy stuff we do to get product out the door...)

The real question, though, is this: just how rare are these Foals numerically

Well, the first problem here is that we don’t have any production records from this period to establish a lower limit. We also have to consider that the mold change happened very early, maybe/likely after the first production run; this first production run could have even been a test batch! It’s been over sixty years now since they were produced, so a lot of them have gone to the model horse graveyard by now, too. 

So my guess (and experience!) would say that unless several come out of the woodwork like the Woodgrain Old Mold Foal did, I’d say she was pretty rare. I do think these Foals are probably a little more common than we realize, because most hobbyists have been unaware of this variation’s existence, until now. And now they will look!

I’d love to have a complete set of four, but I’m happy with just the one, for now.

Thursday, November 16, 2023


Nothing makes you feel old like shopping for store brand Ben-gay at the grocery store.

On the other hand, with it I’ve been able to get a decent night’s sleep with it for the past two days, though the dreams are beyond weird. Like playing hide-and-seek in a multidimensional furniture store weird. 

I’ll take it, I guess. 

What I won’t be taking? A trip to Denver in March. Tickets for BreyerWest go on sale today (I double checked this time, LOL). Flights are expensive, the exclusive special – a Gloss Harkness – is nice but nothing I can’t live without, and my presence is not required, so I am giving it a pass. 

(It’s a little more complicated than that, but nothing else you need to know.)

I think too many hobbyists are overthinking the fact that the Swirls & Snowflakes Stablemates are still available. They probably made more due to historical demand – remember that some previous iterations of them sold out in hours – and I also think the hobby in general is experiencing blind bag fatigue. 

The general public likes blind bags just fine, but the Christmas ones are targeted toward active collectors, and I think most of us would like the option – if possible – of buying a complete set and being done with it. Designate a certain amount of them as sets, sell the rest as individuals, the end. 

For me, personally, it’s also because (in case you haven’t noticed!) I’ve been acquiring a crazy amount of rarities, Test Colors and Grails: things I have wanted for years, sometime decades. Things like that trump items that I found out about a week or two ago. My money is also not infinite: I have to draw the line somewhere.

And now there’s a Test Color/Oddity Lady Roxana on eBay that’s caught my eye. Like I need another Test Color, yikes… She’s not even a BreyerFest Auction piece or anything. I already have a Sample Roxana, on the Sahara release. And a Preproduction Test of Roxana on the Sham…

Yes, I have a lot of Tests, Samples, Oddities and Whatnots. Probably not quite as many as Reeves does, but I’m hesitant to get them out for a group shot and put that theory to the test. (No pun intended!)

Finally, I found this link on another (non-horsey) blog I frequent, and I thought I would be something of interest to at least a few of you; consider it an early Christmas present:

Monday, November 13, 2023

The Latest in Hamiltons

If you are wondering if the time change helped with my sleep patterns, the answer is the same as me getting drawn for a Vail: that would be a No.

In lieu of stronger medications (there is a family history of sleepwalking: I am NOT mixing Ambien with that!) I’ll probably ramp up my quilting and sewing activities, in the hopes that the peace of mind that comes from completed projects will help.

I am more or less okay with the Vail: the past month has been a bit on the expensive side (a minor but necessary car repair, an unexpected dental bill, things on eBay I shouldn’t be buying but were unlikely to show up ever again) and there are a couple of things I need to save up for, including a space heater for the garage and a new phone. 

Consequently, the Swirls and Snowflakes Stablemates that have been rescheduled for Tuesday Monday are now completely out of the question for me.

Since I am so very, very close to finishing a one of those aforementioned projects (to a certain stage, anyway) I’ll just give you all a better shot of my Gloss Buckskin Pinto Stagecoach Surprise Hamilton:

Aside from being the first Gloss I’ve pulled from the actual ticket line since… 2012, egads – he also appears to be nigh-perfect. I’ve been looking for a good Hamilton to add to my showstring for a while, and I think he might be the guy, in spite of the fact that Buckskin Pintos generally aren’t my preference. He’s just so nice in person! (The shading on his other side is even better.)

He isn’t the rarest color of the bunch by far – that would have been the Decorator, followed by the Dapple Gray – but as I’ll likely be showing him more in Breed than Collectibility, the argument is irrelevant. 

The first Stagecoach Surprise I pulled was the Matte Dapple Gray; I remember looking at him and thinking he’s probably the “rare” one, because I almost always pull the rarest Matte. But I was not particularly enamored of the color on him. So I immediately traded him for a Matte Black Pinto, which I felt suited him much more, and who also turned out to be the most common Matte.

Even after the Dapple Gray’s relative “rarity” was confirmed a while later, I was untroubled by my decision. I’d rather have something I like that’s more common, than something I dislike that’s more rare. 

Within reason: at this point, my collection is almost a refuge for all the ugly, weird Test Colors and Oddities the rest of the hobby has deemed “undesirable”. And I just caught myself looking at some inexpensive NIB Mesteno sets the other day, and it wasn’t just the ones with Duchess in them; my recent experimentation with them has piqued a certain curiosity...

(I did buy something cool and rare yesterday, but it wasn’t a Mesteno.)

Friday, November 10, 2023

Things I Cannot Worry About

My Tuxedo arrived, and he’s the Bald-faced version:

I was slightly bummed to find out that the split on the variations was not (more or less) equal: according to the recently arrived Just About Horses, there’s only 100 Solid Blacks, compared to 450 each of the Star-faced and Bald-faced.

I was all for the multiple variations; I was not expecting the uneven splits. And I am always amazed how preferences change when rarity is involved! 

I’m actually more annoyed to discover that there were even more of the Volunteer SR Chevaliere made than advertised, especially with me still be completely Chevaliere-free. 

I mean, I ended up coming out ahead at BreyerFest anyway, and the rest of the year – aside from the Appaloosa Performance Horse fiasco – has been unusually abundant, so I think I’ll live. 

Kind of surprised about the Black Friday Sale being today. I’m a second shift person (NOT by choice, BTW, but that’s another story) so whatever was there that I could have wanted (maybe Slyder?) wasn’t going to happen regardless. 

For all those people who are ticked off they didn’t get a Zugspitze, just how many did they think they actually had left over to sell? Couldn’t have been more than a few dozen. The only effect of pre-announcing the sale would have been people flooding the web site and having it crash, which would have ticked off even more people. 

I have more mixed feelings about Vail. I haven’t had the best luck getting the rarer blue variations in general, outside of the Studebaker, and I’ve gotten a lot of good stuff lately (and I was bad again, last weekend) and I really do not need more stuff. And he is a bit tippy....

Sure, there’s a 1000 of them, but I didn’t get picked for Tahoe from the first list – or any of the subsequent, mythical – waitlists, either. I will have to abide by the the Universe’s decision on this, too. 

I don’t know exactly what’s up with the delay with the Christmas Blind Bag Stablemates, but they are also not high on my list of concerns. I told myself that the only things I may need to get for the remainder of the year are (a) the Christmas Day Special, if it’s something I collect (Emma?) and/or (b) the Winter Web Animal, depending on what the mold is. (Dog, Elk or Deer Family? Hella yeah!)

I do think they are very neat, and reminiscent of the glitter-encrusted ornaments that adorned Grandma Jankowiak’s ginormous Christmas Tree every year. Along with 30 year old actual metal tinsel she saved and reused every year, and German Stars made out of waxed paper.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Another Lucky Find

I know a lot of people are not fans of the concept in general, but if the time change manages to reset my internal clock, I am all for it. I am very tired of being very tired. 

It’d be fine with the not-sleeping, if I was actually getting anything done. But all the projects I am currently working on are, to put it kindly, long slogs. At what point did I think handpiecing a bed-sized quilt top that includes 684 bias-cut one-inch high equilateral triangles was a good idea?

Anyway, another “lucky” find arrived late last week: a Chalky #23 Bay Shetland Pony! 

I’ve had a lot of Bay Shetland Ponies over the years, and none of them really stuck around. The paint jobs were uninspiring, the seams were bad, they had condition issues, you name it. I really wanted a Chalky variation, but all the ones I found either (also) had condition issues, or were overpriced, or sold before I got to them.

Then I found this one for a super-affordable Buy It Now on eBay. I wasn’t 100 percent certain she was a Chalky, but the price was good, even for an ordinary Bay. I would have been happy even if she wasn’t what I thought she was.

But luckily, she was!

In terms of rarity, I’d put her somewhere in the middle of the pack. I think there are more out there than we imagine, because the color did debut in 1973, at the start of the “Chalky Era” (ca. 1973-1975), and new molds and new colors tend to sell really well at the beginning of their runs.

For example: the #99 Appaloosa Performance Horse and #61 El Pastor both debuted in 1974, and are among the “easier” vintage Chalkies to find.

The problem with this release – like the Chalky variation of the Midnight Sun – is that it’s a solid color with minimal markings. Even though she does have a bald face, it can still be difficult to determine if she’s a Chalky, because the overspray that was common on models from that era sometimes mimics chalkiness, especially in the overexposed photographs commonly seen over the Internet. 

She was never really a “Grail” model for me: I didn’t go out of my way to find one, or target one, and her absence from my rather abundant collection of Shetland Ponies never really nagged at me the way the Dapple Belgian sometimes did. But I did want one some day. 

So when the right model at the right price came at the right moment, I took it. 

And she is so lovely: nice dark coloring, and just a couple of itty-bitty marks and dings!

Friday, November 3, 2023

Pretty Chestnuts

As you know, I’ve had a hard time warming up to the Dundee mold, but I think next year’s BreyerFest Celebration Horse is one I will keep: that is a very pretty shade of chestnut, and I do like minimal pintos:

I’ve been watching a lot archaeological documentaries lately (hello insomnia, my old friend), so when I hear the phrase “Athenian lady”, all I can think of is how the actual ladies of Ancient Athens were the opposite of empowered.

I know it’s just a play on one of the goddess’s many names and I am reading way too much into it; ‘tis the curse of being a history nerd. 

Her story is (fortunately) not as sentimental as a lot of horse stories tend to be. I am not immune to sentimentality, but The Hallmark Channel doesn’t get a lot of airtime in my house, either. 

(As far as the rescue angle is concerned – I am not touching that with a 50-foot pole and a Hazmat suit. All I will say on the matter publicly is that the enemy of your enemy is not your friend.)

I also really like the latest Test Run offering, who is also a lovely shade of chestnut with just a little bit of extra white:

I was just thinking that if I ever got the notion of entering another Collector’s Class at BreyerFest (definitely NOT next year!) I’d want to do a “Hooked on Classics” Test theme, especially since I have… a lot of Classic Test Colors. A documented “Archival” Test would made a very nice addition to that potential entry, since the rest of mine are technically undocumented. 

I’d also like something in Appaloosa and something in Gloss, too, for variety’s sake, but I also know those are even longer shots than this fellow.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

All That

So, here he is, at last! 

Just your garden variety #93 Gloss Dapple Gray Belgian. The one made from 1964 through 1966, and who used to be the Graili-est of Grails for collectors in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Time and the Internet changed all that. 

There were a surprising number of Gloss Dapple Gray Belgians out there for me to choose from, but finding one that was that unique combination of price (I could go low-end “retail”) and condition (the best I could buy on that budget) was challenging. 

And whenever I thought I did… well, I didn’t. He might not be All That anymore, but he’s still something. There were a lot of painful near misses! 

But I think I finally found my guy. All I have to complain about is that he’s very slightly yellowed, and one ear seam is a little rough. 

He’s also not a Dapple Black variation, and he doesn’t have his original box or Blue Ribbon Sticker. I’ve had a good year, and a lucky one too, but obviously not that good and not that lucky.

I also paid slightly more than I wanted to, but I’m doing okay right now, financially, so I was willing to pay a little extra. But just a little. The amount of money I see some people throwing around in the hobby will never fail to baffle and appall me. 

That, and clapping at auctions. They didn’t accomplish anything, they just spent a lot of money. Unless you’re the one getting the money, there’s no reason to clap. (And even if you are, it just seems tacky.)

Saturday, October 28, 2023

No One Could Have Predicted...

Alas the consequences to my Wyoming trip have finally revealed themselves: I have now been roped into a trip to Las Vegas with my cousin Renee sometime in the near future. And also maybe Iceland? 

It’s a long story: visiting her in Montana was going to be a part of the itinerary during the early planning stages, but the closest I would have gotten to her was still a seven-hour drive away, and my plans literally had to change the moment I got to the airport, anyway.

I was planning on going to both locations a bit further down the road; now I guess it will be sooner rather than later, and I’ll have company. 

(Yes, the Iceland trip will be horseback, at least partly.) 

My latest Grail has arrived, but I’ll save him for next time; I’d rather spend this weekend catching up on old business. I just finished two more BreyerFest memory boxes (only seven more to go!), made some decent progress on an old diorama project, and finally opened up that batch of Stablemates I bought a few months back:

The Andalusian is my favorite (you know I love undappled grays!), but the Darley Arabian looks good in black, too; it highlights his pleasing, stylized silhouette. The only one I’m mildly disappointed in is the Standing Stock Horse: he’s both pink, and polka-dotted? Normally I like that sort of thing, but it just doesn’t work for me here. 

I always like to keep one Stablemate from every new version or variation of the packaging intact; since the Clydesdale is in another version of Bay – and will likely come in many, many more, if his career mimics his Traditional counterpart in any way – he seemed like the logical choice here.

But otherwise, these little guys are unremarkable, historically. That will change, eventually, but never in ways anyone can predict. 

Technically I could predict what’s coming in next year’s Vintage Club, but you know I can’t due to legal and ethical stuff. I definitely have my favorites, though… as you’ll find out soon enough. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Sunshine and Cloudy Days

Another short one today: any day that begins with spiders is not a good one.

(Not being intentionally cryptic, but everyone I actually told the story to wigged out, so I’ll spare y’all the details.)

I forgot to mention that I got the Appaloosa Virkie:

I am not displeased – I liked all four color options – but the Appaloosa one was not what I was expecting. 

Another unexpected new addition to the herd: the Walmart “Sunshine Meadows” version of the #62031 Grey Thoroughbred & Dark Grey Foal set. 

With all the crazy awesome models I’ve been getting lately, my Duchess collection had been put on a bit of a backburner, but this set turned up at a price I couldn’t pass up. 

As most of you know, I tend to take a more organic approach to my collection compared to most collectors. While I definitely do have grails and molds I do collect (I just purchased a major grail this week, in fact!) I try not to obsess about them too much, because that only leads to heartbreak and foolishness, like overspending on hot new releases that turn out to be not that pricey six months down the road...

I am also fortunate that many of the models I do collect are vintage or vintage-adjacent, so the possibility of finding them “in the wild” or languishing on a lower shelf in someone’s room at the Clarion exists. I am not going to pay the premium if I don’t have to.

Though occasionally I do, because reality is hard to avoid. As I had to with this week’s big purchase. (I’ve been experiencing a lot of overtime lately, so it was easy to rationalize.)

I have no idea who the Celebration Horse is going to be for next year’s BreyerFest; all I’m hoping for is that the new Lipizzan Adonis is in the mix somewhere, because the rescue of the breed during World War II definitely fits with the “Against All Odds” theme.

And also, I just want a Traditional Lipizzan. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable request. Heck, I’ll even take another Classic one.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Little Things

How did I not know of this t-shirt before? I need it:

Knowing about this yesterday would have made my day just a wee bit less stressful. (Too long, not in any mood to explain. Dragging my sun lamp out of storage today to partially solve the problem.)

I was just thinking the other day that we were probably due another rearing/jumping/leaping Stablemate, but that’s because I forgot that we were getting one – the last release in the Stablemates Club this year, Brio:

I like him better than the other rearing Stablemates (except the Lipizzaner), but I think I need to see him in person and in other colors before I fall in love.

I have no such qualifications about next year’s new sculpture: Zug’s little cousin Augustus is my new favorite Stablemate!

In fact, I was just looking at pictures of Sarah’s Stormwatch earlier in the week, since it only just occurred to me that the Mesteno custom I’m doing is basically turning into a vague, plastic-and-epoxy imitation of him. 

(But done with considerably less skill, and still looking very much like a Mesteno.)

Anyway. There’s the chonky Draft I was hoping for/whingeing about just last post. He just happens to be Stablemates scale, rather than Traditional. I am okay with this: he will require less space, and is theoretically more affordable.

Until they offer one as a Custom Contest Prize: you don’t have to be me to know that is eventually coming. And a Gambler’s Choice, too...

We also got “a” matching Traditional family set too, but it turned out to be for Fireheart, not Georg: Firestorm and Tigerlily!

I do love Fireheart, and this set is very, very tempting, but I have managed to avoid signing up for the Premier Club until now. What is staying my hand for now is that although the money is available, the space is not. (You do not want to see what my office looks like right now. Nope!)

But it is nice to see another Traditional Foal in a more active or playful pose; I was wondering if we’d ever see one that required a base, and now we do.  

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Checking Off The Boxes

I’m not sure how I feel about the long-awaited Premier Club Draft Mare and Foal Rhiannon and Rhemi: I don’t dislike them, but they weren’t quite what I was expecting, either. I suspect some of it is that I find the names a bit too twee and pretentious for my tastes. 

And they are Vanners. I get that they’re popular, but like most hobbyists, I dig the slightly more obscure and/or rarer breeds, especially ones on the chunkier side like Jutlands, Suffolk Punches and Dutch Drafts. Georg deserves a family! 

I’m not in that club anyway, so until they come out in a more widely available release, the whole argument is academic. I think I may like them more once I see them in a solid color. (Next year, probably.)

I will also not be buying the Collectors Club Special Jota. This is odd, because everything about him says he should be totally my thing: he’s a Gloss Black (check) Splash Pinto (check) Smart Chic Olena (and check). 

But he’s not doing it for me for some reason. I know a lot of collectors are turned off by the weirdness of his pattern, but it’s definitely not that: I was just researching Splash Pintos for my Standing Stock Horse Foal custom the other day, and I now have a disturbingly large reference file full of peculiar looking foals. They don’t look possible, yet they are. 

I once heard the word “cute” described as “ugly, but interesting”. That about sums it up: I find them cute.

But I think it’s the Gloss that’s the turn-off here. 

I’m definitely not one of those Finish Fanatics: I think some models look better in Gloss, some in Matte, and some look good regardless of their finish. Jota would have been more tempting to me in Matte, especially that soft, satiny Matte Black finish the Stretched Morgan came in in the 1960s. 

I know it’s possible: the Black Sabino version of Araba is pretty darn close!

Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to the Vintage Club Black Troubadour Tuxedo; I’m trying not to be mad that I couldn’t wait that extra day to order my Virkie. 

I am currently debating whether or this means I need to order a little something extra from the website, just because. I know I shouldn’t, but…

Monday, October 16, 2023

Point of View

For the record, and to clarify: I don’t dislike the new Stablemate version of Othello. I am just bemused and confused by the excitement over him, in much the same way I see some of my friends gushing over guacamole. 

I appreciate a good guacamole as much as the next person, but I don’t quite get why people get so animated about it. It’s just avocado dip, people, not the Fountain of Youth…

Nothing new here, model-horse wise; I spent the weekend crafting and customizing. I briefly considered participating in the Breyer Fun Day on Saturday, but I decided to stick to my original plan and work on old stuff instead. 

I didn’t make much progress, but I did make some: I even had an old FAM custom project surprise me by being nicer than I expected after the first coat of primer. She’s still not good, but I despair about her prospects less, so that’s something. 

The only other thing worth reporting here is that my Thunderbird arrived: I got Gloss Palomino, which amuses me partly because… well, it’s a long story, and today doesn’t quite feel like the day to go into it. (I had a rough bout of insomnia last night, and I am exhausted.)

My only quibble with him is a minor one: I would have preferred gray hooves, rather than the pinkish/natural ones. I know that both variations existed in the pre-Reeves era: the natural/pink hooves were generally reserved for “fancier” molds like the Fighting Stallion and Five-Gaiter, and the gray hooves used on pieces more tailored to kids, like the Family Arabians. 

But by the mid-1980s that distinction was largely tossed out the window: the Special Run Palomino Pacer and Shire were definitely not items designed for little kids! 

Since the Silver is basically a modernized version of the Fighting Stallion, going with the more natural hooves made sense. Still, it would have been fun to see that variation, even if it did not exist historically; it did with the Rearing Stallion, but that is because he remained in production into the 1980s, and the Palomino Fighter was gone by the end of 1973. (And in Gloss, even earlier than that.)

But personally, I find the gray hooves feel more “iconic” than the pink/natural, in the same way I see the black hooves on old (unpointed) Breyer Gloss Bays. While Gloss Bays with gray hooves do exist (hello, Clydesdale Stallion), I just like the way the black hooves pair with it. 

Friday, October 13, 2023

The Legions

Here I thought the reason I was in kind of a sour mood this week was because I just missed getting a really sweet deal on a Presentation Collection Bison on eBay. Nope, it was something else entirely:

Most comic book dilletantes know Keith Giffen as the co-creator of both Rocket Raccoon and Lobo, but I first encountered him due to his work on The Legion of Super-Heroes. After I came back to comics after a brief hiatus, I was fortunate enough to do it literally at the very start of The Great Darkness Saga. (Why it has not been made into a DCAU movie yet is beyond me!)

Even though I was involved in Legion fandom during his tenure on the title, I never got to make his acquaintance. Other in my orbit certain did, and I heard stories, so I can perhaps still claim him as part of my “Six Degrees of Separation” circle.

And now, back to our program…

I’m sure the season is partly to blame, but I can’t generate the same enthusiasm everyone else is expressing over the 2024 Deluxe Collector’s Club membership exclusive Stablemate Horatio, who is a mini-me of Othello:

I was just wondering what the next “mini-me” Stablemate was going to be, and I definitely did not have Othello on my Bingo card. (I am still holding out for Ethereal!) 

I don’t dislike him, but much like the Silver, he’s already come in a lot of colors, and it’s hard to do anything original with him. (My first reaction to Horatio: another fuzzy gray one?) And with his legions of fans – no pun intended there, I swear – he’ll be very hard to acquire when they do. 

I like his larger counterpart better: the first 2024 Collectors Club Special Heath. You all know I am a sucker for roany paintjobs. But like most Othellos before him, I’ll probably be bowing out of buying him. I am quite happy with the assortment I already have. 

And one final note, because I know the right people will be reading and I don’t have a Facebook account to correct it at the source, and it’s bugging the heck out of me: the realistic Deer Family debuted in 1964, not 1974. That sell sheet/insert itself is from 1964!

There were the usual variations in color, finish and mold marks throughout the years, but the Deer Family was relatively unchanged from 1964 through 1997. The only thing “new” about the 1974 release – aside from the box and the model number for the gift set – was that the individual members of the family were no longer available separately.

(I’m crossing my fingers and hoping it’s a hint. Now that, I will buy.)