Thursday, December 25, 2014

Footnotes: It's All Just a Popularity Contest - Breaking Down G1 Mold Usage

The graphs are back! This time we're having a look at which molds are the most commonly used, and breaking down the regular run and special run numbers.

Total Mold Usage:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Conga! G1 Silky Sullivan

The original ceramic Hagen-Renaker mold, #30 Mini Silky Sullivan39, was sculpted by Maureen Love Calvert, and leased from the company by Breyer for production in plastic. The Silky Sullivan mold was released in 1976 and was discontinued along with the other Generation One molds at the end of 2005.

During this time, Breyer released five regular runs and nine special runs on this mold, putting him in a three-way tie with Citation and the Thoroughbred Mare for the third least used G1 Mold.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Footnotes: Not Just for Blackboards - Chalky Stablemates

If you've been around collectors for any length of time, you've likely heard someone mention finding or looking for chalkies. No, they're not searching for sidewalk art, they're talking about a special class of variations. Chalkies first appeared during the oil-crisis of the 1970s when Breyer was experimenting with different plastics. Modern chalkies (post-1970s) are either intentional or the result of further plastic experimentation. There are two types of models which fall under the chalky umbrella: base-coat chalky and chalky plastic chalky.

Identifying chalkies, especially from pictures, can be difficult. Even for experienced collectors there's a certain amount of guesswork and luck involved. The Virtual Chalky Museum has a brilliant FAQ to help with identification. A model with any of the following characteristics may not be a chalky while conversely, a model without them might be chalky. If your model ticks more than one box, there's a better chance of him being a chalky. Characteristics to look for include:

Models and pictures owned by Sharon Walbridge and Damaia and used here by permission
White "halo" around rubs & speckled "roaning" effect to coloured paint

Friday, November 21, 2014

Look-Alike: G1 Seabiscuit

The G1 Seabiscuit had a whole lot of brown going on which made for quite a few look-alikes.

The top row consists entirely of variations of the original Seabiscuit release. Colour ranged from light to dark, semi-gloss to matte, none to four leg markings, and the bay coat could be gold, tan, or red toned. All models were made with old plastic.

#1 looks as if it could be an original Seabiscuit variation, except for one small detail, this 1996 JCPenney special run is made with new plastic.

Numbers two and three are basically the same model: one was released as a Blockbuster special run and the other as a regular run in 2003. There really isn't a way to tell them apart as they were painted in batches at the factory and randomly packaged as either the RR or SR. The reason they look a lot like the Seabiscuits above is that they were the modern Seabiscuit release produced to capitalize on the popular new movie.

The bottom three models are all a shade of chestnut. #4 is shown in the catalogue as a highly glossy, I am not sure if matte variations exist as I have never seen one. This 1997 new plastic SR should be a dark red-brown chestnut with darker points and hind socks. My model is translucent, though opaque models probably exist.

Number five is the only old plastic chestnut, the 1989 Sears SR. The mane and tail should be darker than the brick red body and the model should be no white markings.

The leg markings on number six can vary quite a bit. My model shown here has very high whites while the leg markings on my other model are very low and vague. The chestnut colour of this new plastic Regular Run is much more orange than the others and is generally better shaded.

Though both the grey releases on the G1 Seabiscuit mold are new plastic special runs, there is really no confusing them. The 1992/94 Sears/JCPenney special run on the left is a cool-toned, rather stark alabaster while the 1998 Sears special run is a warm-toned, nicely shaded chestnut going grey.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Variation Spotlight: G1 Citation #710695

JCPenney Special Run
#710695 Set of 12 Miniatures

The splatter technique used to put spots on the blankets of these appaloosas ensures that each model is slightly different from the others in the run.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Conga! G1 Seabiscuit

The original ceramic Hagen-Renaker mold, #10 Mini Seabiscuit38, was sculpted by Maureen Love Calvert, and leased from the company by Breyer for production in plastic. The Seabiscuit mold was released in 1976 and was discontinued along with the other Generation One molds at the end of 2005.

During this time, Breyer released five regular runs and eleven special runs on this mold, making him one of the middle runners in the G1 mold popularity contest.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Play Set: Virtual Ponies - Multi-Media Swaps

From time to time models pop up in some unexpected places, sometimes as a result of Breyer specifically producing models for a collaborative product release, at others a company may utilize standard issue models for use with their products. Our model today is an example of the former.

In late 1996 Breyer teamed up with Inroads Interactive to produce a CD ROM and model horse set.

Model and picture owned by Deb Walsmith and used here by permission.

Profile: G1 Morgan Stallion #59971

Regular Run Gift Set
#59971 Morgan and Foal

Monday, October 27, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Singles: BreyerFest Goodies - Keychains!

The first four BreyerFest events (1990-1993) only featured the celebration model, a raffle model, and some test runs which were auctioned for charity; the volunteers at the 1993 BreyerFest were given special models for the first time. In 1994 collectors were treated to something new - BreyerFest special runs!37

At a time when the Stablemate line was being produced in China in new plastic, these special models were made of old plastic in New Jersey36. Gold-coloured key-chains with little metal Breyer logo fobs were added to G1 Standing and Lying Thoroughbred Foals, creating the first Breyer key-chains.

Models and pictures owned by Deb Walsmith and used here by permission.
Some collectors prefer to remove the key-chain hardware for aesthetic reasons or for easier display

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Look-Alikes: G1 Saddlebred

The G1 Saddlebred doesn't have many look-alikes, and the only pairs with similar colours are quite easy to tell apart in practice. The basic identifying characteristics are the same for both look-alike colours - old plastic vs. new plastic, unpainted ribbons vs. painted ribbons, regular run vs. special run.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Variation Spotlight: Draft Horse #5180

Regular Run Stablemate Assortment
#5180 Draft Horse

Like other randomly patterned runs, each #5180 is unique. Variations in shade and dapple placement and quantity are completely random, but within this chaos two distinct dapple types do exist. Older models will have 'splatter' dapples which are created through a grease-resist technique. Newer models were painted using a water-resist method which results in 'bubble' dapples.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Conga! G1 Saddlebred

The original ceramic Hagen-Renaker mold, #458 Mini American Saddlebred34, was sculpted by Maureen Love Calvert, and leased from the company by Breyer for production in plastic. The Saddlebred mold was released in 1975 and was discontinued along with the other Generation One molds at the end of 2005.

During this time, Breyer released six regular runs and thirteen special runs on this mold, making him the fourth most used G1 mold. Only one old plastic special run was produced, the regular run #5110 included in the 1989 Sears set..

Friday, September 12, 2014

Singles: The Stablemate Grails - Early Special Runs

Though collectors have been drooling over hard to find models such as the Riegsecker G1 Draft Horses for longer, the three special runs in today's post are older and even harder to find - we just didn't know about them until relatively recently.

Before the dawn of the internets, collectors only found out about the smaller, more obscure special runs through word of mouth or by being fortunate enough to read the right magazines and newsletters. Breyer did, and still does, release small numbers of special runs for an audience other than the greater collecting community, so if you aren't in the know, it can be hard to keep up.

Some examples of the early runs began coming to light as the Breyer events got bigger and more popular, and information became more widely disseminated as Breyer collectors got online and started comparing notes. Now it's possible to get the latest model news as it breaks via Facebook and the assorted forums which have sprung up.

Model and picture owned by PolarVrtX and used here by permission.

A metal G1 Saddlebred? Is this a knock off, a custom, or could it be original finish?! It turns out that in 1975 Breyer commissioned an outside company to create 1,000 of electroplated G1 Saddlebreds to celebrate their silver anniversary 34 and probably to announce the introduction of the stablemate line. These were given away as promotional items in silver boxes with purple inserts.34

The first BreyerFest auction in 1990 featured one of these silver models; the auction card confirmed the production numbers and the 1990 Nov./Dec. Just About Horses described the distribution method.34 It is probable the existence of these models wasn't widely known until the 1990 auction and JAH mention.

Model and picture owned by Deb Walsmith and used here by permission.

Almost as difficult to find, especially complete with his base, is this little conversation starter - Emperor Gold Bar and his 'Genuine horse-hockey'. Yes, you've got that right, he originally came with real horse poo!

Production quantity is unknown and dates for this release are uncertain - they're generally listed as 1975-85. A collector bought one example from a seller who stated they had purchased the model some time in 1975 and another collector found an ad in a 1980 issue of Horse of Course! magazine in 1994, at which time it was brought to Nancy Young's attention.17

No one seems to have any idea why the owner of Emperor Gold Bar or Breyer would choose the G1 Arabian Stallion for this run as the horse it was representing was actually a Quarter Horse. The palomino stallion came mounted on top of a clear resin base containing a small piece of horse poo. He came with a hang-tag reading:
Front: Genuine 'Horse-Hockey' By 'Emperor's Gold Bar' A.Q.H.A. Reg. No. 786615

Inside: Great grandson of world-famous 'Three Bars,' and one of the most beautiful racing bred stallions in the world. Declared undisputed world equine tetherball champion in 1971 and still holds claim to that title today. Emperor is sometimes referred to as the 'million dollar lover' since his advertised breeding fee is a whopping $1,000,000,000 [sic].
Space-Age Products
Tolleson, AZ 17
The ad found in Horse of Course! read:
Emperor's Gold Bar is the beautiful racing bred stallion who's[sic] advertised breeding fee soared to an incredible one-million dollars!!!! Now you can own a piece of this Gorgeous Palomino stallion. Genuine 'horse-hockey' from Emperor's stall artistically entombed in transparent plastic. Atop is a solid detailed statue of Emperor.
The Conversation piece of the century, and the perfect gift. Order Now While Supply Lasts.
The Clements Co.
Guntersville, AL 17

As famous as this horse seems to have been, I haven't been able to find anything on him with a Google search or through AllBreed. I'm sure the AQHA pedigree database would bring up his record, but I'm not curious enough to purchase a membership.

Pancho in matte and satin finish
Model & picture owned by Deb Walsmith & used by permission. Model & picture owned by Elizabeth Emswiler & used by permission.

Even later to the party was the special run G1 Quarter Horse Stallion sold by the Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm, home of the descendants of Misty of Chincoteague. This little black horse was commissioned to represent Pancho, one of the farm's performing Miniature Horses. In the act, these Minis were billed as different breeds, Pancho was their star "Quarter Horse".

These models are reputed to have been in production since the 70s, based on the release dates of the mold, 1976 is probably the earliest date they could have appeared. According to the owner of the shop, less than 1,000 models were produced.35

In the late 80s or early 90s two collectors purchased a quantity of these models from the shop at the pony farm during their holiday on the island. Some of these were offered for sale at the 1997 BreyerFest at which time the hobby at large became aware of the run. The rest were offered later in 1998. Other collectors then came forward with examples which had been purchased in 1982/83.35

It is uncertain how long these models were produced, but with their relatively small production number, it is likely that they were purchased from Breyer in one batch and were sold from the shop for a period of years before the supply ran out.

Model, items & picture owned by Amy Widman & used here by permission.

How exactly these models were packaged is unknown, but some examples are accompanied by a few other souvenirs from the shop, namely a sheet of puffy stickers representing ponies from the farm and a postcard featuring Pancho in front of the iconic Chincoteague Pony Farm barn surrounded by adoring fans.

Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm postcards

Many, many postcards have been printed by the farm with pictures of Misty and her family and friends. A surprising number of different Pancho cards can be found.

Pancho retiring to his barn in 1985 after a performance.
Picture taken by Eleda and used here by permission.

A history of the Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm and pictures of the ponies can be found at Misty's Heaven.

Many thanks to PolarVrtX, Deb Walsmith, Elizabeth Emswiler, Amy Widman, and Eleda at Triple Mountain for providing pictures of these rarities from their collections!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Variation Spotlight: G1 Morgan Mare #5185

Regular Run Stablemate Assortment
#5185 Morgan Mare

Though the box and dealer catalogues show #5185 with a near-hind stocking, models with four solid legs were found right off the bat. I don't know what the production break-down on this particular variation is, but both seem fairly easy to find.