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.)

Monday, October 9, 2023

Fandango and Stuff

The weather’s getting cold and the Seasonal Affective Disorder is starting to kick in, so it’s another random, hodge-podge kind of day.

With the end of the year approaching, we’re going to get hit with a ton of news about next year’s everything; I’m not overly concerned about BreyerFest, but I am kind of curious if there’s an Exclusive Event in the works, since that might affect my travel plans for next year. (Especially since BreyerWest is a no-go.)

Incidentally, it’s unlikely I’ll be traveling for pleasure from now until the end of the year, model horse related or otherwise. I mean, I essentially drove the circumference of Wyoming, I think I can relax. 

Speaking of that, I am contemplating dedicating the month of November to writing the very first draft of the travel memoir, NaNoWriMo style. If I can get some of the craft projects I’m working on to a better place, which is not entirely certain.

I saw the price that Sorceror’s Apprentice went for on eBay – yikes! Especially since they were going for about $400 not all that long ago. I wonder if the fact that this mold hasn’t been translated into plastic like Avalon (Paddock Pal) and Prince Charming (Stablemate) is having any bearing on the prices, or is it just another example of the secondary market being straight-up insane?

The two customs I gave a quick coat of primer to the other day are now looking less terrible, though I think I am at a point with both of them where may stop fiddling with them and just wrap them up and move onto the next ones. My inability to “let go” has probably been the biggest impediment to finishing, aside from my anxiety about painting.

I have no preference on the Virkie; I haven’t gotten a Splash on any of these Gambler’s Choice models, so maybe that one?  

I am a little annoyed with myself for not holding out that extra day on ordering my Thunderbird, though. I already “ordered” the Fandango, since the shipping was free:

Like the Paddock Pals thing, I am having a little bit of a hard time mentally reconciling the existence of a previous Fandango – a 2004 BreyerFest Live Show Prize Moody Andalusian in Matte Dun – with the new one. Then again, the likelihood of me ever acquiring the first Fandango is laughably small. 

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Oh, The Purpleness....

A few years back there was a Clydesdale Stallion Unicorn silhouette included either on a box or some holiday-themed fabric, and I remember thinking: that’s so crazy, but it kind of works. Put something pearly/metallic/shimmery on that boy, go wild with his ribbons and bobs, and I’d totally buy it…

We came kind of close in 2021, with the Stablemates Christmas Clydesdales. But alas, they were (a) Stablemates, (b) sans horns and (c) the Stablemates market is still too bonkers for me to complete my set. 

(I need the Blue and Silver ones. Again, I am not in a rush.)

So naturally, the only item from this year’s holiday collection that’s really tempting me – aside from that insanely cute little knit hat included in the Fjord gift set, because tiny fabric accessories get me every time – is the Unicorn Mare and Foal set Hyacinth and Wisteria:

They remind me a great deal of the 2015 Web Special Unicorn Andreus, in lavender pinto. I have half-heartedly been looking for him in the secondary market, because all the ones I’ve found have been way too rich for my blood. 

Since I’ve been in a customizing mood, I am now tempted to make myself a Metallic Purple Clydesdale Stallion Unicorn. But I probably should finish one of the half dozen or so pieces I currently have loitering around the office. 

Unfortunately, I just sprayed a bit of primer on a couple of them, and that dashed all my hopes that either one was anywhere near completion. 

(Makes note to go check my body box stash for Traditional Clydesdales anyway…)

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Weird Places

Nothing special here, just the standard (initially offered) Surrey and Axle:

When I heard about the variation, I was mildly freaked out that I’d get the Action Stock Horse Foal: even if it had turned out to be a one-in-ten variant, I would have been kind of annoyed, the same way I was a little miffed about having to find the Cremello Uffington secondhand.

A big part of the reason I bought the set was for that Standing Stock Horse Foal. A Few-Spot Appaloosa Lady Phase didn’t hurt, either. I know a lot of hobbyists aren’t fans of Few-Spots, but I am definitely not one of them!

Anyway, crisis averted.

The Standing Stock Horse Foal, incidentally, was one of those “more common” models I was looking for to fill in some holes in my collection, but all the ones I was specifically shopping for were in short supply. Which is super-weird, considering how popular the mold used to be as Breyer’s generic, go-to Stock Horse Foal!

Again, I am not in a rush. I am assuming I will pick up what I need in a box lot somewhere along the way. 

Since I had an unexpected day off last Saturday, I used that opportunity to look at – but not actually buy – some of the newest “Paddock Pals” at my local Dollar General.

I haven’t bought any of them since the initial batch dropped at Five Below a while back, and we didn’t know what the heck was going on. But now we kinda do. It’s what I speculated all along: it’s a budget-priced, entry-level line sold at dollar/discount stores and marketed to younger kids. They even have a web site now with backstories for every single release:


I like a lot of them, and I may end up buying a couple more in the future, but actually collecting them looks like it is out of the question. 

It’s not just that I don’t have the time or space, it’s that they exist in such a weird place. It’s a completely new scale that’s somewhere in between Traditional and Classic, that’s both realistic in terms of anatomy and conformation, but also not really live showable as-is (without special accommodations). And they gave the whole shebang the obsolete name of a now largely obsolete scale: the Little Bits. 

My brain doesn’t quite know how to process them.