Friday, December 25, 2015

Play Sets: Cinematic Sensations II

We skipped over two of the movie collections in the last post as both collections are rather photo-heavy.

In 2004 Breyer went slightly wild with the Hidalgo movie. Plushies, Traditionals, Classics, Stablemates, and special runs were unleashed upon the collectors. The sets contained a mix of G1 and G2 molds which caused a bit of confusion at the end of 2005 when the big switch occurred.

There were two gift sets released, on a regular run and the other a special run through Blockbuster Video.

Play Sets: Cinematic Sensations I

Though Breyer has had a long history of producing portraits of famous horses, both real and fictional, on their larger scale models, it wasn't until relatively recently that the Stablemates got into the act. Breyer released tie-in sets for horse-themed movies each year from 2003 to 2006.

In 2003 the blockbuster movie Seabiscuit inspired Breyer to produce Traditional, Classic, and the first Stablemate scale movie tie-in models. Two different Stablemate sets were released, one a regular run and the other a special run only available through Blockbuster Videos (Wikipedia link for you young whippersnappers)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Look-Alikes: G2 Prancing Morgan

Like the real Morgan horse gene pool, there's a whole lot of brown going on with the G2 Prancing Morgan look-alikes.

One of these things is not like the others - Starlight from the #20012 Starlight Play and Activity Set (2006-07) is a deep black with a slight metallic blue sheen and is completely without markings. By himself the G2 Prancing Morgan from the #55016 Horse Play Card Set (2005-07) can appear almost black, but when placed beside a true black like Starlight, it's obvious this horse is a deep bay. The richly shaded dark chocolate coat is satin to semi-gloss in finish. The model has a near-hind sock, star, snip, and eye-whites.

The only true glossy in the bunch is the model from the QVC Silver Cup Series, Second Collection (2002) on the bottom-left. Like the Horse Play model, the coat is a very dark bay, but panagre, the creamy shading creeping up the body from the belly, makes the colour appear much lighter. This model has no markings and a very high gloss finish.

The model from the Just About Horses #790798 Special Edition Stablemates Gift Set (1998) is a bright red bay with black shading and a tiny star. The finish is matte and this is the only old plastic release on this mold.

One of the hardest to find G2 Prancing Morgan models is from the Tractor Supply Company #301124 Bonanza Ponderosa Ranch Set (2010). This model is very similar in colour to the Horse Play model, but is a touch lighter, matte to satin in finish, and has three socks (not near-fore), and a full stripe from star to snip.

Not all of these horses are chestnut, the stallion from the #59982 Horse and Foal Gift Set - Red Dun Morgan Stallion and Dark Bay Foal (2003-06) is a chestnut dun, though a case could also be made for a slightly sooty chestnut with counter-shading as the model is lacking leg-barring. The model is generally matte in finish and has a single sock on the near-fore leg.

The other three models are all flaxen chestnut. On the top right is #5612 Morgan (1999-02) from the Stablemate Assortment. This model is darker, more heavily shaded, and less red than the other two models. He has a star, blaze, and snip, four socks, and is generally matte to satin in finish.

World Equestrian Games Special Run #9162 Sporthorse (2014) and #5979 Polka Dot Parade (2012-14) are essentially the same, except the Polka Dot Parade model has a small snowcap blanket while the WEG model is solid. Both have a slightly elongated star and a stocking on the off-fore leg.

Though my particular models appear different - one lighter with misty dapples - this is due to the usual variation found in a run rather than changes specific to a particular release. This model can be found in the Target Special Run #720599 Horse and Foal Set (2006), regular run #5923 Horse and Foal Set - Pintos (2007-15), and Toys 'R' Us Special Run #760218 Stablemate World of Horses Shadow Box - Pintabian (2010) sets. The model is a blue-toned dapple grey tobiano with star, snip, black forelock and hind legs, near-hind pastern, off-hind sock and white fore-legs.

Both of these models are bay pintos, but the upper model is a bay frame overo while the lower one is a bay tobiano. The bay frame overo is #701706 Special Edition Connoisseur Set - Mini Mosaic (2006) - a miniature version of the 2001 Just About Horses Connoisseur model, Mosaic. He's a medium bay with a near-hind stocking, lacy frame overo markings, and a blaze ending in a full white muzzle. The finish tends to be satin to semi-gloss.

The tobiano is from the #59977 Pinto Stallion and Foal (2000-02) set. He is a medium bay tobiano with four white legs, star, stripe, and snip. The mane is half black and the tail has a black tip.

Many thanks to Deb Walsmith for providing pictures for this post!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Conga! G2 Prancing Morgan

The Generation Two #5612 Prancing Morgan mold was first released in 1998 and was sculpted by Kathleen Moody. This mold is sometimes also called the G2 Morgan.

Regular Run Releases
Listed from left to right

Friday, December 04, 2015

Play Sets: Equine Life

Soon the horse and rider sets just weren't enough. In 2001 Breyer took it up a notch with play sets highlighting four scenes from equine life.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Look-Alikes: G2 Paso Fino

The G2 Paso Fino is heavy on the look alikes, though only a few of them are particularly tricky.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Conga! G2 Paso Fino

The Generation Two #5610 Paso Fino mold was first released in 1998 and was sculpted by Kathleen Moody.

Regular Run Releases
Listed from left to right

Friday, November 13, 2015

Singles: More BreyerFest Goodies - Keychains

The BreyerFest Special Run keychain trend continued to be offered, this time with the new G2 molds.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Look-Alikes: G2 Mule

For a mold with so few releases, the G2 Mule has a surprising number of fairly similar models.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Conga! G2 Mule

Generation Two #5609 Mule was first released in 1998 and was sculpted by Kathleen Moody.

Regular Run Releases
Listed from left to right

Monday, October 26, 2015

Variation Spotlight: G2 Warmblood #5204

I haven't seen much in the way of variations for the various Horse and Rider sets until this one. Dapple grey and leopard appaloosa models - those with a randomly applied pattern - are more likely to provide variations than other colours and patterns.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Play Sets: Horse and Rider

With the introduction of a new generation of Stablemates, Breyer saw fit to invest in further diversification of the line. A pair of riders, very similar to those produced by Britains, made an appearance in English and Western wear. Each style came with an appropriate saddle and bridle and was paired with a horse. The tack and riders were all made of rubber and were quite detailed for the scale.

The first batch of horse and rider sets appeared in 2000 and were available through 2004. There were two Western and two English sets.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Look-Alikes: G2 Frolicking Foal

With a number of similar releases, re-releases, and renamed sets, the Frolicking Foal look-alikes can be a bit of a nightmare.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Conga! G2 Frolicking Foal

Generation Two #5613 Frolicking Foal (also known as the Scrambling Foal) was first released in 1998 and was sculpted by Sarah Rose.

Regular Run Releases
Listed from left to right

Monday, October 05, 2015

Variation Spotlight: G2 Horse and Foal Sets

Last week we covered the G2 Mare and Foal sets, as a little bonus I thought it would be fun to see some of the variations which can be found in these sets.

#59976 Warmblood Stallion and Foal 2000-02

Friday, October 02, 2015

Gift Sets: Mares and Foals - New Foals on the Block

With the popularity of the Generation One Mare and Foal sets and the addition of a small herd of G2 foals to the line, a new collection of Mare and Foal sets was the only logical choice. The first collection of the new sets, released in 2000, followed the usual Breyer formula: frame, tobiano, appaloosa, and solid.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Look-Alikes: G2 Clydesdale

While many releases are predominantly some shade of brown, the majority of the G2 Clydesdale look-alikes fall somewhere on the grey scale.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Conga! G2 Clydesdale

Generation Two #5604 Clydesdale was first released in 1998 and was sculpted by Kathleen Moody.

Regular Run Releases
Listed from left to right

Friday, September 04, 2015

Look-Alikes: G2 Cantering Foal

The look-alikes for the G2 Cantering Foal are fairly simple except for the palomino models; I always have to refer to my database when trying to identify these models.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Conga! G2 Cantering Foal

Generation Two mold #5614 Cantering Foal was first released in 2000 and was sculpted by Sarah Rose.

Regular Run Releases
Listed from left to right

Friday, August 21, 2015

Play Sets: The Little Red Stable, Part II - Still Little, Still Red

In 1999 the Generation One models in the #59197 Stablemates Little Red Stable Set were replaced by two Generation Two models; the name and number of the set remained unchanged.

#59197 Stablemates Little Red Stable Set 1999-2001

Friday, August 14, 2015

Look-Alikes: G2 Andalusian

When it comes to look-alikes, the G2 molds don't disappoint; the sheer number of releases compared to the G1 numbers makes a healthy quantity of look-alikes a certainty. The colour breakdown is similar to that in the real Andalusian breed - lots of greys, some bays and chestnuts, and the rare dilute.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Conga! G2 Andalusian

Generation Two mold #5606 Andalusian was first released in 1998 and was sculpted by Kathleen Moody.

Regular Run Releases
Listed from left to right

Friday, July 31, 2015

Gift Sets: Stablemate Collections - All Together Now!

After the success of the Saddle Club Collections, a collection of the new G2 molds seemed a logical step. The first set, #5651 Stablemates Collection, was released in 1998 and consisted of five models in a range of interesting colours.

Regular Run #5651 Stablemates Collection 1998-2000

Friday, July 24, 2015

Look-Alikes: G2 American Saddlebred

With thirty-six releases, there's a small herd of G2 American Saddlebred look-alikes. There are also a small handful of re-releases which may or may not vary slightly from the original release. Fun, right?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Conga! G2 American Saddlebred

The Generation Two #5608 American Saddlebred mold was first released in 1998 and was sculpted by Kathleen Moody.

Regular Run Releases
Listed from left to right

Friday, July 10, 2015

Gift Set: Just About Horses Special Run - Return of the Old Plastic

The picture of the Stablemate Assortment was not the only attraction in the 1998 July/Aug issue of Just About Horses; the announcement of a new special run was bound to steal the show.

5,000 sets of the complete line of the new G2 molds in special run colours were offered to Just About Horses subscribers. The sets were to come in presentation boxes, complete with a certificate of authenticity. As if this weren't enough, as icing on the cake, these models would be produced, for one time only, in old plastic!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Singles Assortment: The Second Generation - What Pony is This?

When subscribers to the Breyer magazine, Just About Horses began to pour over the New For 1998 list in the 1998 Jan/Feb issue noticed the list was unusually long for the Stablemate scale. At first the offerings seemed fairly standard: Thoroughbred - Blood Bay, Arabian - Shaded Steel Grey, Shire - Black (well, okay it's possible Breyer's stretching a point with the G1 Draft Horse...), Pinto Saddlebred - Chestnut and White, Shetland Pony - Red Ro...wait a minute, Shetland Pony? Breyer doesn't have anything that could pass for a Shetland Pony! NEW MOLDS!!

The 1998 July/Aug issue featured images of the full 1998 Singles Assortment, as well as announcing an exciting special run. The full-colour picture showed not just a handful of new molds but twelve (including the three from the special run set) dynamic molds in a variety of breeds by the talented and popular Kathleen Moody!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Happy 2nd Birthday Many Mini Hooves!

Two years ago today we made our first post! In these two years we've managed to cover the history of the G1 molds; they will continue to pop up from time to time in some posts, but now our focus is going to shift to the G2 molds which were first released in 1998.

Birthday Week - Footnotes: Modern (2010 & newer) Customs

New techiniques and sculpting materials, and changing style trends keep the Custom scene in a constant state of evolution.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Birthday Week - Footnotes: One of These Things is Not Like the Others - G1 Oddities

In the early pre-China days of the Stablemate line production oddities, small unannounced Special Runs, and other unexplained phenomenonmenomenom were not uncommon.

In the possible unannounced special run category is the mystery buckskin Arabian stallion. The owner of the Arabian Stallion from the set was told it was a special run from the 70s and came with a black Swaps; Nancy Young was unable to find a second source or any further information. The Arabian Stallion is a mustard yellow buckskin (like the Quarter Horse Mare) with four stockings and grey hooves17, the Swaps is presumably a solid black as markings weren't mentioned.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Birthday Week - Footnotes: Almost Vintage (2000-2010) G1 Customs

Use of tools such as heat guns and air-brushes, and materials such as masking tape, pastels, and coloured pencils, and improvements in sculpting materials led to a substantial leap in the quality of finish work and detail possible.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Birthday Week - Footnotes: Stamp of Approval - Evolving Bellies

As we've established, many of the G1 molds have twin molding cavities; others only seem to have one cavity, but have still undergone some changes.

G1 Draft Horse
"Floating" mark & "Tight" mark

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Footnotes: Vintage (Pre-2000) Customs

While not Original Finish Breyer releases, customized models have a place in the Stablemate history. The availability of new molds and changing customization techniques keep the Live Show Custom divisions in a state of evolution.

In the early years of the hobby collectors were just beginning to experiment with the media. Oil, acrylic, spray paint, poster paint, wood filler, plumber's epoxy, mohair, synthetic hair, string, and hair from a range of other animals were often the materials of choice. Repositioning was frequently accomplished with hot water or a hair dryer. Some of the early efforts appear quite crude to us now, but were highly successful show horses in their time. If you are a fan of vintage customs, check out the Vintage Model Horse Cust Group on Facebook.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Birthday Week - Footnotes: Special Run Releases Timeline and Distributor Chart

The timeline for the special run releases had to be split into two parts to make it a bit easier to display. Each image is linked to the file to make detailed viewing easier.

Birthday Week - Footnotes: Regular Run Timelines

If you've been reading here for a while you will know that I am a big fan of graphs, so I thought it would be fun to put some timelines together for the different Stablemate releases.

The first timeline shows the release history of the Stablemate Assortments only. You can view a larger image by clicking on the timeline.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Birthday Week - Footnotes: I Can't Believe It's Not a Test Run - Custom Breyer Look-Alikes

There are some incredibly fun and creative customs out there, some of my favourites are the Breyer-style look-alikes. Dorothy Graham has created some lovely custom Stablemate-scale decorators and other iconic vintage Breyer colours.

Friday, June 19, 2015

We're Turning Two!

Can you believe it?! We're turning two next Sunday!

In celebration of our second birthday we will have a full week of posts! Some will be our usually scheduled Profile posts, others will cover a range of fun topics. Don't forget to come have a look on Monday and to keep checking back throughout the week!

Footnotes: That Inner Glow - Experiments in Plastic

For all we know, Breyer may experiment with different plastic types on a regular basis, always on the look-out for the more cost effective solution, but these experiments have only been obvious at a few points in Breyer History - first in the 1970s during the oil crisis and more recently during the late 1990s. One of these, the not so mellow yellowing plastic, we discussed last year, the others we've mentioned in passing at

Friday, June 05, 2015

Look-Alikes: G1 Thoroughbred Standing Foal

A large percentage of the G1 Thoroughbred Standing Foal consists of decorators, leaving us with only a handful of fairly simple look-alikes.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Conga! G1 Thoroughbred Standing Foal

The original ceramic Hagen-Renaker mold, #25 Mini Thoroughbred Foal 40, was sculpted by Maureen Love Calvert, and leased from the company by Breyer for production in plastic. The Thoroughbred Standing Foal mold was released in 1975 and was discontinued along with the other Generation One molds at the end of 2005.

For a mold which saw limited production years, the run count is surprisingly high. Breyer released nine regular runs and eight special runs on this mold, putting him one ahead of the G1 Thoroughbred Lying Foal.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Variation Gallery: G1 Wild Bays

Regular Run Stablemate Assortment
Bays (& one buckskin) with little to no black leg shading

Friday, May 08, 2015

Footnotes: Don't Squeeze the Citation! - Squeezies and Other Production Irregularities

The birth a Breyer should be simple, right? Pour the melted plastic in the mold, let it cool a little, then pop out the little plastic horse. The still-warm model gets set aside to cool completely, then it's off for prepping which smooths off rough seams and prepares it for painting. Finally the paint is applied and the finished model is left to dry before packaging. Simple, except there's many a slip twixt the mold and the box.

Who would think the simple task of moving a freshly molded, warm Stablemate from the mold to the cooling area could be so fraught with peril? One minute everything's fine, then the person carrying you sneezes, involuntarily tightening their grip, and now you've got a flat shoulder, or a sway back, or a tucked head. The effect can be subtle or extreme; a deformity or an enhancement - it's all luck. I affectionately call this type of model a "Squeezie".

Many of the more subtle alterations go unnoticed.

I only noticed the curled ear because I was looking for some way to tell these two mares apart.

I bought the chestnut G1 Draft Horse in 2004 and it only took me ten years to notice his off-hind leg was extended further than normal. This isn't an uncommon issue for this mold.

The moved areas on this unpainted Riegseckers SR is difficult to photograph. The ribcage on the off-side has been smooshed down and the off-hind leg is stretched out a bit.

Model and picture owned by MySt and used here by permission. Standard G1 Swaps.

Speaking of outstretched legs, have a look at this G1 Swaps!

Extreme heat can cause non-factory warping, but the models above were either purchased new in package in their current state or, as in the case of the Draft Horses, are difficult to bend.

Unlike the Squeezies, molding issues usually have less than attractive outcomes.

Something happened to this 1995-97 Citation during the injection process leaving her with an off-fore hoof even more deformed than what has become typical and toothpick for a cannon bone. Ouch! Her off-hind hoof is also less than normal and she has a factory-original missing ear-tip. This is probably caused by gunk getting stuck in the mold.

The molds weren't the only part of the process that could go awry. The type of plastic used could also cause some fluctuations in the final product. It's easiest to see when you have a good sized conga, but it only takes two to notice not all Stablemates are created equal.

The shockingly yellow palomino is an old plastic 1990 SR while the seemingly massive grey is a new plastic SR from 1998. In general, new plastic models tend to be larger than old plastic models, but there is a certain amount of inconsistency between models of the same plastic type.

The G1 Swaps mold apparently suffered a minor malfunction early in its life. The space between the curve of the tail and the leg on the very earliest models is a clean, uniform gap.

Very shortly after the release of the Swaps mold, something happened - maybe a pinhole leak, maybe the mold not fitting quite tightly enough in the one spot - to cause plastic to leak into the tail gap, forming a thin skin. In 2005, the last year of production for this mold, Swaps began to appear with a tail hole again. This time the hole was hand-carved, not molded. As part of the preparation process, each model would get a quick little zip with a dremel; not being molded, these holes were not uniform and could often take a bit of the haunch or tail with them.

While not exactly a flaw as a little work with a fingernail can correct the issue, forgotten masking stickers are a production irregularity.

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

I regret taking the blaze sticker off of my 1998 regular run G1 Quarter Horse Stallion, but this Lying Thoroughbred Foal is a lovely example, even if she's not mine.

Many thanks to MyST for providing a picture of her G1 TB Foal!