Sunday, July 30, 2023


I’m almost completely caught up on my sleep, but the unpacking – especially from Kentucky – still remains undone. It’s going to be a long time before I finish going through all my mostly-probably-crummy photos too. And I have a project I need to finish ASAP…

I am also now thinking that my travel experience might be best expressed in a book form, rather than a bloggy one. It’s a trip – and a notion – that had been with me for most of my life, and I don’t think the experience can be summed up in a few extended blog posts. 

No worries, you’ll get some photos and deets here eventually, especially the Kentucky bits.

The first day back to work after a long vacation always kind of sucks, regardless of your feelings for the job, so I waited until I got home from it to open the most anticipated package on my doorstep: Studebaker. 

I was a little surprised she was actually still available when I got back to the hotel Friday night. While I wanted the variation like everyone else, I thought that after getting the Holographic Uffington a couple years back that another scarce variation was not in the cards for me, at least not for a good, long while:

No. Freaking. Way. 

How did this happen? Do I need to consider buying lottery tickets this week? Hit the casino? Troll eBay at 3 a.m.? 

Speaking of variations, I still might give the Araba another shot during the second chance sale: her conformation issues aside, her variant sports one of the prettiest production run paint jobs I have ever seen. Since my luck seems to be running very, very hot at the moment, it just might be worth taking the shot, credit card bills be damned.

All that being said, I am not terribly pleased by Reeves deciding to apply the term “Micro Run” to these variations. This is simply not acceptable, people: the general hobby consensus on that term is that it applies only to Special Runs of 100 pieces or fewer (give or take a few, particularly when it comes to some of the Exclusive Event pieces). 

Most of the Special Runs released in the late 1970s and the early 1980s were in the 200-piece range, and we never refer to them as Micro Runs. That’s partly because the term is a recent development – the first time I used it on the blog was back in 2014, I believe – and we really didn’t distinguish smaller runs from larger runs back then, regardless. Christmas Catalog SRs (produced in the thousands) and Model Horse Congress exclusives (produced in quantities of 200-300) were both “Special Runs”, plain and simple.

I think it might be useful to coin a new term for this new class of models, but nothing seems immediately obvious. Short Runs? Small Runs? SR Variants?

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Somehow Still Alive

And boy howdy, I have got some stories to tell. Here is the VERY brief rundown:

I am happy to report that I was neither gored by a bison nor eaten by a bear, though my encounters with both were WAY too close for comfort. (You will have to wait for photographic evidence of the bison encounter, since it is on my real camera, not the phone one. The bear one happened way too fast and the car ahead of me that almost hit said bear had to immediately pull over to, I presume, hyperventilate.)

I also had a couple more crying sessions, a possible religious experience, met a park ranger who grew up about ten miles from my house, outran a thunderstorm, drove on the scariest freaking road ever, did not fall off any cliffs, and saw even more Pryor Mountain Mustangs. 

So yeah, it has been kinda busy the past several days.

It also looks like I have been missing some of the post-BreyerFest drama? How is the Leftover Sale controversial at all? They have it every year at the same time, except when they announce it otherwise, like last year. The only surprise about it is the fact that they had so many to sell. My brain is a bit too fried to speculate on the reasons why...

People will find any excuse to be angry, I swear. Glad I missed most of the drama. Looking forward to seeing what Studebaker I get when I finally get home in just a couple days. (Hoping for the Blue one, only because I never get the Blue one, even if it is the not that rare. Never!) 

Since I was freaking out at the show at the time, I completely missed getting the Stablemate Buggy, but I was a little annoyed over the fact that it was another Appaloosa on the Django mold anyway.

Off to do a bit of journaling, and then to bed.  

Friday, July 21, 2023

More Proof of Life

Let me see if I can get this to work; just a photo that should speak for itself, I hope:

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Proof of Life

So far I have lost a credit card and a water bottle, had a last minute cancellation that forced me to rearrange my itinerary almost completely, screamed once (long story: both necessary and intentionally) and cried several times (this was mostly involuntary.) 

I also got a speeding ticket, which I did not think was possible in Wyoming, but there you go. Lesson learned.

Regrets? Not a one. Though I wish some of you were here with me, in body and not just in spirit. So I am just giving you guys some advance warning: in search of companions for future trips to Iceland, the Kentucky Derby, and my Redneck Roadtrip Redo.

I have taken multiple pictures, but most of them are on the actual camera and not the phone; I periodically lose coverage on the phone because many of the places I have been going are outside the reach of my service.

Not much else to report. I have not spent much so far, beyond food/gas/lodging and the speeding ticket; I have not bought any horses so far, but a sign that said Ranches for Sale starting at $98,000 did give me a brief pause...

Monday, July 17, 2023

From KY to WY

Just passing through, obviously, since I am in between vacays here, but I thought I’d share a few things I picked up in Kentucky:

Yes, that’s a Glossy Marciea Bey. 

First I swore, then I started crying; I was doing pretty lousy at the show prior to that, and even briefly contemplated leaving early. But things got better, and I managed to exceed my goals in the end. (I mean, obviously: winning a Glossy Prize Model wasn’t something I imagined was possible!) 

Even so, if I ever get the idea to do show at BreyerFest Live again, you are all invited to come to my house (unannounced!) and hit me with a 2 x 4. With a nail in it, if necessary.

Because dang, that was hard work. I probably could have eaten an entire pizza afterwards and not even felt it. 

I also got Fifth in the Stablemates Collector’s Class, but didn’t do diddly in Commonality: it’s kind of hard to compete with people who are willing to spend $15,000 to win a $1,500 prize model. At least I gave it a shot, and I can now check off a couple more things off the Bucket List. 

Yes, that Surprise is Glossy, and represents the first time in over ten years since I’ve been able to pull a Gloss Surprise at in-person, from-the-actual-line BreyerFest. I ended up getting a second in the same color, but traded that for the Decorator; (I almost got the Gloss Roan Pinto, but there was a communications issue. Worked out in the end, anyway.) He’s super nice, too, so he might end up in the showstring someday.

I got both Scurries, thank goodness, so my Emma collection (except for the rerelease, and Test Colors) remains complete.

I also tried to get the Roan Araba variation in the Leftover Line, since my Gloss obviously needed a sister, and because I usually always end up with a Roan every year at BreyerFest. But she was just the regular Black one, alas. When my credit card was declined on the fourth(!) pass through the leftover line, I figured it was time to surrender.

I laughed a little when I saw that the BreyerFest Chevaliere was a Roan, because the majority of my Volunteer Models have been Roans. I ran into more than a few people who assumed (incorrectly!) that I was volunteering, but I just want to remind everyone that that was definitely not the case this year. 

It was a little annoying to see so many Chevalieres for sale, but that’s all I’ll say about it. Eh, I’m more “Team Smoky Black” this year…

I did end up with a Volunteer Model (not Chevaliere!) from a kindly benefactor, but that is another story, for another time.

As far as quantities on the variations, I have no idea what’s going on. They’re pretty scarce, but they don’t seem excruciatingly rare: I have a feeling that they’re going to be in the same range as the Horse of a Different Color variation quantities, so a few hundred of each, perhaps? I think that is a good number/range to shoot for, if they continue to do this sort of thing: that quantity range means that they’ll still be expensive, but theoretically “gettable” for people who collect those molds, especially less popular ones.

Jump and Drive and Wells are both 50/50; the loose mane JD and the Gloss Wells just seem a little rarer right now because those are the variations most people want right now. I also have a feeling the Stagecoach Surprises were evenly split, or close to; the Decorator seems a little rarer because the color is exciting and new and everyone wants it. 

The only other variation I “need” is the Action Foal, since I got the standard Standing Foal, and I don’t think that one will be hard to come by. I will not be in market for one for at least a couple of weeks, and by then we’ll know what the splits actually are and we will all be able to negotiate more fairly.   

There’s a lot more, of course, including some not so nice stuff, but now is not the time to dwell on any of that; I have to finish packing and printing my itineraries and stuff. And also apparently I have been assigned Encore Baby Watch, and I need to make sure my camera is in good working order!

Friday, July 14, 2023

Identifying Marney Tests

How do you identify a so-called “Marney Test”, a Test Color either created or rescued by famous hobbyist and Breyer Consultant Marney Walerius? It’s both more, and less complicated than you might think!

Marney worked for Breyer in some capacity from the late 1960s through the 1980s, so they are limited to molds produced in that period. Many also have a little provenance: some of Marney’s Test Color photo albums and sales/auction lists still exist. There is definitely little chance of two or more of this gal existing anywhere, for instance:

She also tended to favor certain colors and models. The Hess Stock Horses (see above) were a favorite, as were Adios and Sham. Paint jobs were often (but not always!) pretty basic – lots of solid colors, with minimal markings – and limited to the paint palette they had on hand. 

A lot of them were simple (or not so simple) variations of colors and color schemes that eventually went into production; whether they were preproduction pieces or things that were cobbled from flawed production models is usually unanswerable.

I have a feeling this girl was an early preproduction of the eventual Black Appaloosa Regular Run release, possibly to more closely match the Bay Appaloosa Stallion, but that is just a guess on my part based on her raised hoof.

Marney frequently did the retouching herself, so some of them could probably be classified as “Factory Customs” today, but the question is moot, since most of them are not going to set the showing world on fire. 

(But I love her, regardless. If you know where she is, drop me a line!)

Context is also important. Unless they’re found within the collections of former hobbyists, most random Test Colors found “in the wild” are probably Employee Take-Homes, especially if they’re found within a certain radius of Chicago. Things were pretty casual back then, in every sense of the word; almost anyone could take a little something home from the factory, and they often did. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Before I Go

Everything is almost done, except the packing. It’s getting hot and muggy here in Michigan, so I had to wait until the last possible minute to pack the car. Everything is done, or as close to done as it’s going to get before I get to Kentucky; I still have to do a bit of work on the showstring and Collector’s Class setups, but none of that is particularly labor- or time-intensive. Like last year, I’ll have a room-sitter to take care of business while I’m preoccupied with gluing and painting things. 

Another head’s up: this will probably be the last major/significant post until I get back from Wyoming, other than a little something that will auto-post while I am in Kentucky. But aside from the fact that I’ll be away from home and a decent keyboard for a couple of weeks, I simply ran out of time, and another project came up that will also require my attention while I am gone.

(Yes, it’s a “working” vacation. But is it really work if you enjoy doing it?)

There may be a checking in post after I get back from Kentucky, and if I can figure out a few things there might be some photographic updates while I am on the road, but don’t count on it. Some of the places I’ll be going will have minimal cell phone coverage, so the decision to post might be out of my hands entirely.

Since I’m checking off stuff on the bucket list, here’s another announcement: aside from attempting to make my way to the Kentucky Derby, I’ll also want to enter the Customs Contest. I just put a quick coat of primer on the two ladies I’ve been working on, and they’re better than I expected them to be: 

I doubt that either one of these would be BCC material, since they’re neither fantasy-themed nor based on Touch of Class armatures. They were both “schooling” horses for me in a sense, anyway. They were very good teachers.

(I am really pleased with the Classic Quarter Horse Mare, though. I fixed most of the problems I had with her, now I just have to clean her up a bit and figure out a hairdo!)

I have other ideas and other bodies in a less finished state, but I’ll have to wait until I get back to evaluate them for worthiness.

And since I took a break from the Diorama Contests, maybe I’ll revisit that too. It’ll depend on how well all the other stuff I have in my life are coming along. 

The first month back from this trip will involve finishing the project mentioned above, possibly taking an online course, and dealing with the consequences of all those emotions I’ve had bottled up for the past several months. 

And catching up on my stories! I hope everything I want to watch is still on all the streaming services when I get back; you never know, these days...

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Sometimes Angels Appear

We have now entered the portion of BreyerFest Prep where I am basically running around the house and yelling at random inanimate objects and everything I do is an EPIC FAIL.

Need to spray paint something? It starts to rain on your project.

Have to print out your Samplers? The cheaper toner cartridges you bought for that are absolute crap and you have to go back to the store and buy the name brand anyway.

Then you find a kinda significant typo in the ones you did print out so far. (Screw it, not reprinting; label them variations and get on with your life.)

The contact paper you need to finish another project? It’s out of stock at the one store that normally has tons of it, so you have to drive across town to the other... 

But at least I was able to procure an obnoxiously colored t-shirt without incident; I considered coming up with a fancy logo or something for BreyerFest back like I did in the ancient days, but I have run out of both time and enthusiasm, so its garish hot pink magenta-ness will simply have to speak for itself. 

I also purchased some Faygo Firework, for those among us for whom even Light Beer is a little much. (it’s like Mountain Dew: Summer Breeze, but without the caffeine. Tastes better IMHO but yo, native Detroiter here.)

The Sampler has been published online; printing the paper copies will be one of the 300 or so things I have to finish this weekend. The writing went relatively easy this year, which may just be because I didn’t have the time to fret over it. Deadlines can do wonders for your clarity! 

(But not your proofreading skills. Oof.)

Speaking of writing, I did actually spend two minutes reading this year’s Hugo Award nominees. I did not make the short list! Not that I was expecting to (I’m no Chuck Tingle) but hey, stranger things have happened…

In some model horse news, apparently some of the BreyerFest auctions are already in the WTF range. Except the Pacer, but I think that’s because (a) the Pacer’s never been a huge favorite even among Vintage collectors and (b) the initial photo had a freaky-weird bend on his front leg which now appears to have been fixed. 

But a lot of collectors don’t trust Reeves’s photography, so they might just be holding off until they see it in person and can confirm that it looks “normal” again. I’m skeptical it’ll stay that low, and you know my heart belongs to another. 

(I am willing and able to go up to $1500 for an auction piece, BTW.)

And finally I’d like to give a shout out to Catherine and Skittles today, a lovely reminder that when you are having an epic fail of a day, sometimes angels appear.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023


Thank you everyone for the kind words; I’ve been checking the comments the past couple of days whenever I’ve hit a rough patch, and it’s helped immensely. It wasn’t unexpected, but it still hurts like hell regardless. 

Whenever the house got really quiet before, we just knew she was up to no good, and sometimes I catch myself wondering exactly what order of mischief she is up to now….

I guess I’m fortunate that I’ve also had a lot of work to keep me distracted, too. All those odds and ends that rush at you in the weeks before BreyerFest that absolutely must be attended to simply haven’t given me the room to dwell. 

Most of you who attend in person are familiar with that feeling.

Fate has her favorites and I know I am not one of them, especially this year, but maybe she’ll look kindly my way and favor me with a Raffle Model? I love them both, in different ways:

I’m not a fan of Buckskin Pintos generally, but the Buckskin Overo on the Rotating Draft Cleveland Bay Surprise Model last year was probably my favorite of all the colors it came in last year. And boy howdy, it also looks awesome on the Fireheart.

Reeves has been absolutely crushing it with the paintjobs on that mold; when I have the time and the space, I’ll definitely make some time to go get me a Mojave. 

Pintaloosas aren’t a huge favorite in the model horse world, a reflection of the same biases apparent in the live horse world. Personally I love them, but other than the Fun Foals Standing Stock Horse Foal I picked up in the NPOD years ago, I haven’t had much luck scoring some of the scarcer and flashier ones. The new Classic/Freedom release on the Liam mold is intriguing, but possibly not wild and crazy enough for me; I haven’t seen one in person yet to decide. That Cancion, though, that Cancion….

I won’t go out of my way to buy more tickets than I usually do; I have another trip literally the day after BreyerFest to also pay for, and I don’t think I’ll be able to bring quite as much stuff to sell as I wanted to this year due to the live show thing. 

But I’ll see what I can do; things usually have a way of working themselves out in the end. Or at least I like to think so. 

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Goodbye, Vita Louise

She came to me in a dream last night. She rolled over, got on her feet, did a play bow and one of her weird little howls that always made me laugh. 

Then she ran off, and I knew I couldn’t follow. I woke up and knew she was gone. 

You were a terrible dog. Willful, disobedient, vain and dramatic. You ran off frequently, jumped into the arms of strangers with disturbing ease, and were occasionally vindictive with your bowel movements.

But you always came back to us. Whenever we were sad or sick or stressed, you were there for us, right to the very end. 

Thank you, Vita, for giving me that last little moment with you before you left; I’m so sorry I couldn’t have been there for you more, near the end. 

We will all miss you terribly. The house is already so quiet without you.

Her name meant life, and she was full of it. 

Death is before me today: 

  like the recovery of a sick man, 

  like going forth into a garden after sickness.

Death is before me today: 

  like the odor of myrrh,

  like sitting under a sail in a good wind.

Death is before me today: 

  like the course of a stream;

  like the return of a man from the war-galley to his house.

Death is before me today:

  like the home that a man longs to see,

  after years spent as a captive.