Well, I've done another one of those hobby things that I said I'd never do but then went ahead and did it anyways. That being, buying tack. I did used to own and love having tack and accessories in my early carpet herd days. I'm sure I had most of Breyer's flimsy tack sets at some point or another. And while, today, I can greatly appreciate the incredible details and workmanship in performance tack, props, and dioramas, I decided it wasn't for me. That level of detail requires a lot of patience, even just to put together on show day, and I don't have it.
Still, when I bought my Leonardo resin last year, I immediately thought, "boy, he would look incredible in a nice Portugese tack set." I sat on that thought for a while, even started looking at tack maker studios and such. Finally, earlier this year, a tack maker who had become my favorite opened up commissions and I decided I'd jump on a slot and take the plunge. That tack maker was Anna of RED ANIMA Studio, a Russian artist (not the same Russian Anna who painted the Leo - that's Anna Zaharenkova). After a few months, the tack set was done and sent to me and it just arrived - and I am blown away.
Anna created my dream set, exactly as I had envisioned it only better. The level of details is absolutely insane. Stitching in the soft felt saddle, itty-bitty buckles, straps, leather tooling, and everything else you could think of. I mean just look at the immaculate workmanship:
I was also super pleased to see that it works with Leo so well. The black, gold, and bright splash of red really suit him. Overall, it's absolutely incredible and I have zero regrets buying it.
That said, I'm still not going to get into performance. It took me a good half hour just getting all these tiny buckles adjusted and on him, and my shaky hands did me no favors. I can't imagine trying to pull this off on show day. You performance showers out there who are changing tack sets and props constantly from class to class truly have my respect! I think I'm mostly going to have this set as an excuse to go take some nice photos of Leo galavanting around in his fancy stuff!
Last week I picked up my Hamilton from the post office. He is the second release of the 2019 Breyer Premier Club, and one I was very excited for. I used to have a 10 horse conga of the Peter Stone saddlebred mold, and I do love a nice saddlebred. Though I don't have any of those anymore, I still do have some other saddlebreds of various types (such as my Sarah Rose Reveler resin). This guy was a beautiful racking saddlebred in the color I was most hopeful for when I first saw the sneak peeks of the sculpt - a bay cat-tracked tobiano, with mapping of course. Almost like some kind of dream come true!
Unfortunately, many of them were coming with flaws. I had to wait over a month for mine as Breyer takes two weeks just to get international orders sent out, let alone the extra two weeks for it to actually travel across the ocean and process through customs. I was terrified mine would come with flaws as bad as others were getting - it's too expensive and long to deal with a replacement internationally. Luckily, mine didn't have any white paint all over the face or similar as others had, but it wasn't flaw free. One of his ears is covered in tiny bubbles under the paint, and he has a few weird "crazing" spots in his paint that others don't seem to have. But from a distance, at least, he does look nice... I'm keeping him and maybe someday I'll fix the ear, or trade him for a better Hamilton. I do want to have one, because it is a gorgeous release.
I'm hopeful someday they'll release him in a nicely shaded, classic Saddlebred chestnut with just a minimal amount of chrome. Throw in some gloss and I'll buy one no matter what.
Other than that, I recently emptied my collection cabinet out so it could be move over a bit and be anchored to the wall. It was moved to make room for a future second cabinet, when I need more space for more horses. In three weeks I will also be going to my first show since BreyerWest in March, and my second show this year. It'll be my first time showing in Europe, as it's being held in Germany. I'm exceptionally excited for it - just as I am for any show, but I think a little extra because it's been so long and it'll be a kind of new experience. It should be a lot of fun and I'm interested to see how my horses do with an entirely new crowd of competition!
Don't let the title confuse you, this will make sense. In my last blog post I briefly mentioned another new addition on its way, and it's finally here. After being held hostage at customs for two weeks due to dumb and completely untrue reasons - customs declaration missing my ass, it was right on the box when I finally got it - I finally was able to bail this guy out for a hefty fee yesterday. He wasn't alone in his box, I had him packed with a (very) late birthday for my ever supportive, lovely boyfriend.
In any case, he's here, he's big and beautiful, and he came with a show name I couldn't help but laugh at. Had I not already submitted a roster of my horses for an upcoming show with a different name, I might have kept it. In any case, meet Ciabatta, formerly known as Pineapple Chunk.
He's a Bacchus resin by Emilia Kurila and painted by Sara Gifford of Friesian Fury Studio. He's got some great metallic sheen in his paint and lots of details - truly lovely and an addition to my collection I am over the moon about!
His new name, Ciabatta, does come with an interesting and fun story, too. Last year when I went to BreyerFest with my friend Rachel, she impulse bought a $500 sorrel Andre resin - a huge steal of a deal, the seller was originally asking $800 but wanted him out so she could close up her room and offered him to her at $500 - that she ended up naming Cornbread by my suggestion. He did look like tasty cornbread, so it worked out nicely. Almost exactly a year later, I impulse bought that toasty guy above for almost exactly the same price ($515), making it a weird coincidence. Two sorrel draft resins, one year apart, of course this guy needed a bread name also! Rachel suggest Ciabatta, and that was quickly decided.
So, he and the rest of my resins will be off to PonyPallooza Live in Germany in a couple months, where we'll see how everyone does across the big water. Here's hoping!
A massive box arrived here in Rotterdam from back home in the US. My mom was so kind to as pack up a bunch of boxes that I had sent there of recent purchases and forward them to me. There was one last minute impulse buy that didn't make it into this box, but quickly followed and should be here in a week or two. In the mean time, here is a bunch of things I have acquired in the last few months since I moved.
Some of these were purchased quite a while ago. Pierre, the big drafter on the right, was pre-ordered and paid for back in December, shipped in April, and is now here in July. Aerosmith was a trade from a month or so ago, I purchased the Orion from Stacey during a sale a while back. The Stablemates, of course, were sent when they were released in the Stablemate Club.
Lola wasn't a recent purchase but a recently completed paint job. She was painted to a soft, beautiful appaloosa by Jaime Castleman. She did an incredible job on her and I couldn't be happier. Here is a closer shot of her:
I have been trying to set up commissions for the new naked horses, and others that are still back home ready to ship out to painters, but thus far have been unlucky. Every artist I've contacted has not replied. I have decided to wait until after BreyerFest craziness dies down to try again. It is frustrating, but I don't want to bother anyone. I am not in any rush, I will wait for the right paint job opportunity to come along. Back in my earlier days of resin collecting I was always wanting to get things painted as soon as possible by whoever happened to be open. Waiting for a more limited, sought-after artist wasn't something I was interested in. Now, however, I am increasingly picky on who I want to send my horses to.
In any case, my horse cabinet keeps getting fuller and with the other horse that's still on its way, it'll be jam packed! It may be time to get another cabinet...
I've had my first true taste of being an international collector recently. I knew the shipping costs would be more expensive, but what I failed to also remember was the customs fees that would also come.
I finally joined the Premier Club this year, after some years of debating on joining and then never pulling the trigger. With artists like Josine Vingerling, my favorite sculptor, Jennifer Scott, and Eberl with a promised draft horse, it was set up to be a year I didn't want to skip. So I finally joined and ordered the first release for 2019 - the welsh mare and foal set, Rhian and Cadell - right away when it was put up. Over two weeks later the box finally shipped from Breyer, and another couple of weeks after that they arrived at a nearby pickup place. The cost for shipping from Breyer was a painful $60, and I owed about $45 in customs fees upon pickup. Ouch! That's over $100 just to receive an already pricy set. And unfortunately I am disappointed with the mare in my set - sloppy dapples (much more evident in person), and messy masking. The foal, on the other hand, is perfect as far as I can see and lovely.
I have made the rather easy decision to have this be my very last year purchasing from Breyer. I don't really collect plastics anymore, anyways, and with the cost of shipping plus customs fees, it just isn't worth it for me especially if I'm not thrilled with each release. I'll finish out this year in the Collectors Club, Premier Club, and Stablemates Club, and then I'm done for good.
In other news, I am certainly not slowing down with resins. Some new arrivals include Emilia Kurila's new Percheron stallion resin, Pierre. I did manage to jump in on the pre-orders for him and he arrived back at my family's house in the US just yesterday. I wish I could see him in hand, but they will eventually forward him to me, however I am trying to set up a commission for his paintwork first so he can be shipped within the US more cheaply.
Another couple of recent purchases include both Aerosmith and Orion, the jumping warmblood resin by Stacey Tumlinson in both traditional and mini-me stablemate scale. I traded my Miss Lizzie resin, who just wasn't growing on me, for the Aerosmith, and then Stacey put a few Orions up for sale at a discount. I had barely any warmblood resins - none, in fact - which is crazy to me as next to Spanish horses, warmbloods are my favorite. How I've managed this long without a single one in resin is impressive. No worries, now I have a big and little jumper and some painting plans. Again, I will likely have them sent to painters before they are sent overseas to me.
I'm looking forward to having all these pieces in hand eventually, but for now it'll be probably a few months if not more before I see most.
Last month I finalized my move to the Netherlands. As I've already mentioned here, I "moved" in December already, but it was more of a soft move where I brought most but not all of my things. I mostly went over then because that was when we could get into the new house and start renovating, putting together, and filling it up with all sorts of things. I went back to the US in March, did some family visits, experienced BreyerWest, and then in April I packed up the rest of my stuff in three large suitcases, a stuffed carry-on, and my laptop bag and came over for the final time.
One of those large suitcases was dedicated entirely to my collection. I was a nervous wreck about it, but I figured it'd go through less bumps and risk by flying with me rather than shipping them in boxes. I packed them as carefully as I could, crossed my fingers, and watched the suitcase get tossed onto the luggage belt behind the airline counter, hoping they would reemerge on the carousel in Amsterdam unscathed. Luckily, they did! Absolutely no horse got harmed and everyone made it to their new home in the new cabinet:
I'm in love with my models in this new cabinet - sure beats an old circa 1980s bookshelf! Currently I have it organized where my resins are by sculptor (starting at the second row of shelves down, top left is Stacey Tumlinson, then Emilia Kurila, bottom left is Sarah Rose and finally Josine Vingerling on the bottom right). Then CM stablemates, OF stablemates, and traditionals on the bottom two. The top left shelf is a menagerie of things and top right is classics. I may rearrange these later but for now I'm happy with how it is.
Some horses did get left behind, namely my unpainted resins. Each of those is packed up and ready to ship out from my family's house back in the US whenever I happen to find painters for them. Those horses include long mane Lola, Valor (oh yeah, did I mention I got an HP Valor recently? Yeah, that was a chunk of change), Abrantes, and also Miss Lizzie, who just arrived there from the casters recently.
Anyways, now that they're all here, I truly feel like this place has become a home! With recent IKEA trips, plant nurseries, and furniture order deliveries, everything is really coming together. Yesterday I was especially excited about putting together our balcony with some cute patio furniture and a bunch of plants I got a week ago. Here is my Leonardo resin showing some of it off:
BreyerWest 2019 has come and gone and boy what an experience! I attended it with my best hobby friend (and friend in general) Rachel. We each showed the max amount of 50 horses during the show and both of us walked away with a "rosette" and a prize horse.
The show was well run even with a few snags. Mostly, the box on the palette from Breyer that contained the official ribbons and rosettes apparently fell off and was missing for the show. They handled it as best they could with "temporary" ribbons cut from actual ribbon spools and the rosettes were slightly thicker ribbon (white and gold for champion, white and silver for reserve) made in the same manner. I believe we are supposed to receive our actual rosettes and ribbons in the mail later.
Rachel's prize came from her Django stablemate, Tarantino. He is one of her best show horses and the win was well deserved, however it did put an end to the rivalry that was our Djangos, both good show horses, both who have squared up against each other before in other shows, but the final proof that one was better than the other, and unfortunately it wasn't mine! The show before this one they competed against, Emerald Downs Live, resulted in hers getting a 1st in the class and mine right behind with a 2nd. Both are lovely horses!
My champion was the one I was the most hopeful for. I almost couldn't bear to watch the class get judged - it was massive and full of well-deserving horses. Mine managed to win the class, much to my excitement, but by the time the callbacks happened I didn't let myself get my hopes up. Every single horse in the callbacks could have won, they were all amazing and I'd have pinned them all if I was judging and it was allowed. And somehow... it was my boy that won!
My lovely Darwin custom by Nikki Button managed to get Champion in the custom mini section (under the custom division). I was so ecstatic - the whole day was won for me right there, regardless of the placings of the rest of my horses. I won a glossy Fletcher, a 2018 Collectors Club model. Prize aside, I was just so happy this boy won. He was the horse that was lost in the mail for a couple of days and sent me through a whirlwind of emotions. I feel so lucky to own such an incredible piece.
Other notable placings included a 1st for Tezari, my ever consistent winner Marwari custom by Jeanette Garey, a sweep of the OF Mini warmblood class with my two cantering warmbloods getting 1st and 2nd, and a handful of other 2nds and under. Rachel and I's "mini strat" did not end up working out very well, but namely due to some (at least what we considered) questionable judging that had a rather vintage mold bias and the classes where vintage molds weren't allowed there were some choices made I would never dream of. For example, I'd have never placed my Darley 2nd, or anything, let alone exclusively pick Darleys to place in the non-G1 arabian class. I wasn't the only one who walked up to the table after this class was judged and was confused and shocked by this.
Nonetheless, it is the judge's decision in the end, however it is not a judge I would show under in halter again. The overall champs of the division were, unsurprisingly, both G1s. I love G1 molds, they are among my favorite SM molds, but some are quite lumpy and the paint jobs from back then are usually flat and/or unrealistic (see: splatter dapple grays, something that usually never places in a breed class, yet ended up pulling overall reserve grand). All that being said, the rest of the show was still enjoyable and getting to see the lovely horses there was fun.
The next day we took part in two workshops, a micro mini painting class with Maggie Bennett and a medallion sculpting class with Kylee Parks. Here are my two resulting projects from the workshops:
I am now back in North Dakota with all my horses and I'm packing them up for their final move to the Netherlands with me, where they will get cozy in their shiny new collection cabinet I posted about previously. I'm excited to see them all in it, however stressed about making sure they get there safe and sound! I will be packing them up in boxes and putting those boxes in my suitcases. It's a lot quicker, cheaper, and less risky of a journey to do that than sending them through international mail. Here's hoping everyone makes it safe and sound - I head over on Saturday!
We're only a couple weeks from BreyerWest, and I am incredibly excited to go! I never thought I'd go to BreyerWest, after all it's all the way on the west coast and not necessarily a large event - more of a glorified model horse show at an expo. Still, I love showing and this one will most certainly be the largest show I've shown in thus far.
As I've mentioned in blog posts before, I am attending BreyerWest with my best hobby friend (and friend in general) Rachel. She, conveniently, moved to Oregon last year and isn't far from the venue. We'll be showing together and each have nearly 50 mini horses to show. That's right: we are showing practically exclusively minis. The only non-minis I am bringing is my traditional marwari custom, Tezari, my black OF PAF, and a couple of classics: the haflinger mare and a glossy Cosette. Other than that, I have over 40 stablemates, mostly OF, to show.
In ten days I will be flying to Oregon and only a few days after that I will be the big event. After the show on Friday, we are also signed up to a couple of workshops on Saturday. One is sculpting a medallion with Kylee Parks and the other is painting a micro mini with Maggie Bennett. Both of which should be quite fun.
It's getting so close - and lot's of photos will follow!
As mentioned in my previous blog entry, this saga gets its own post. Really, looking back it wasn't all that big of a deal but at the time I was going through a total rollercoaster of emotions. Let's begin, shall we?
Almost two weeks ago on February 7th, I flipped a coin and had fate decide for me to put a $405 bid on a custom stablemate. This isn't an exaggeration: I had been watching the auction, it was ending in a few hours, it was almost to $400 and I had never fathomed paying that much for a stablemate custom before - even if it happened to be one on a brand new SM mold painted by Nikki Button. Yet I was so drawn to this horse, so in love with him, I couldn't just ignore it. So I flipped a coin - just once - and the coin flip decided for me to put in a bid. I posted my bid and then forced myself not to look at it until I knew bidding was over so I wouldn't potentially bid again if someone outbid me.
Fast forward to the end of the auction, I had won. I won't lie, I felt some immense guilt on the fact I was about to shell out that amount of money on a little stablemate custom - but I HAD to have this horse. Here is Nikki Button's photos of the gorgeous boy:
As far as finances go, I did conveniently also sell my car back home in the states at the same time for more than I was expecting. With that bit of extra cash I decided it was justified. Plus, my birthday is coming up this month and I could count it as a treat for myself. He was paid for and sent on his way and I was incredibly excited for him.
Because I'm still overseas but will be heading back stateside in March, I decided to have him sent to my very close friend and fellow hobbyist, Rachel. I've mentioned her here before - we've hosted a live show together, been to BreyerFest together twice, and next month will be attending BreyerWest together. We are both going to show a hoard of minis (mostly all OF stablemates with a few CM stablemates mixed in) and of course I planned on also showing this new Darwin custom there. The box was addressed to her and only took a weekend of travel before arriving there on a Monday. Rachel worked that day but had never had packages missing or stolen before - in fact, I even had already had quite a few boxes of stablemates I have been buying over the last few months to prepare for the show arrive there without issue, even just a week prior.
Unfortunately, when she got home that night, the package was not there. I checked tracking - marked as delivered hours before - and she scoured all over for it. Neighbors, mailbox, apartment office... nothing. No where. My heart was immediately crushed and I instantly thought the worst. Just a over year ago I had a box stolen from my front door. Inside was a Christmas secret santa swap gift with just a few small treats and a painted Maggie Bennett micro mini resin. There was full video evidence of the person stealing the box, I took it to the post office, my building manager, and the police - and nothing happened. The police reviewed the evidence, asked me a few questions, and nothing else. My apartment manager said that was too bad and that's about it. The post office allowed an insurance claim to be filed but the box was never recovered. My secret santa was super nice about the whole thing (I felt awful as they had painted the horse themselves) and took the insurance claim money and sent me a new package of goodies and an unpainted version of the micro mini resin. Still, the whole situation left a bad taste in my mouth because that original horse was probably thrown in the garbage by the man who stole the box thinking it was worthless.
I figured this was the same situation. Someone swiped the box, opened it up hoping for something valuable, discovering something valuable but not knowing it was at all - and throwing it away. What was going to be my first piece by Nikki Button, one of my favorite painters, in one of my favorite colors, on one of my favorite breed types, and being the one to own what I'm pretty sure is the very first CM on this new mold... gone. Missing. Lost. I was heartbroken and gave up all hope. I would have gotten my money back, the box was fully insured, but still... I wanted the horse, not the money.
But then, by some miracle, he showed up. He was delivered to the wrong place and the person who received him put him in a parcel locker and my friend was notified a few days later. He was completely unscathed and Rachel and I were overjoyed. Not only that, he came in time for her to proxy show him for me with my other minis that she currently has at Emerald Downs Live 2019 just this past weekend. Unsurprisingly he NAN'd in both breed and workmanship and got a reserve champion in workmanship.
Needless to say, it was quite a wild ride but worth it in the end - this little boy is mine. We'll see how he does at BreyerWest next month, which I am terribly excited about!
Things have been quiet here as expected - my collection is still thousands of miles away, stored away in totes in a closet at the family farm, while I've been settling in quite nicely to my new home in Europe. The awful purple walls are no more (still working on the purple door frames and doors, but the purple toilet seat is gone at least. I'm not joking about any of this - the previous owners were just that crazy about purple), we actually have some light fixtures in instead of bulbs hanging from wires, and pretty much an entire apartments' worth of furniture is in and assembled (thanks mostly to IKEA - whether buying secondhand or at the store itself).
The only room we really have left to go is the second bedroom, which has thus far been more like a storage room until recently when we finally brought all this stuff down to our ACTUAL storage room in the basement of the condo building. Our plans for it is a combination guest bedroom and studio room for me. Surprisingly didn't take much convincing for that decision! I'd love to have a dedicated workspace for painting and sculpting, and my boyfriend is all for it. With a convertible bed/futon sort of deal also in the room, it'll work as a good guest bedroom as I do have family members and friends back from the states who are yearning to visit - some of which have already purchased tickets. Time is of the essence to get that together!
One fun addition from IKEA is a brand new cabinet for my model horse collection. Instead of a low but solid oak bookshelf from the 80's, it is a nice shiny new cabinet with glass-pane doors to protect the contents inside. My two cats are a bit unruly but I never really had an issue with them messing with my horses even with the easy-to-jump-on bookshelf from before, however my boyfriend was very insistent we get one with doors to protect the horses inside just in case. He considers them investments (which in a way, they are) and knows they mean a lot to me, so who am I to argue? I'm all for it.
I didn't wait long to follow that advice, and bought one of the new 2019 RR Breyers from a German dealer along with some apoxie to work on my current sculpt project. Here she is:
Please enjoy my quickly put together photo set up: a cardboard box, which we've of course had an abundance of, and the fake grass out on our windowed-in, three-stories-up balcony, where no grass would be. I don't like the grass - I think it's tacky and would much rather just have stone tile or something, but I'll admit, it's pretty good scale for traditional models. If I got a better background it would be a great photo taking place! But still an ugly balcony. The other great upside to the balcony is it gets great natural sunlight from all angles (it's the shape of a triangle with nothing but windows and glass sliding doors). Likely to be my photo taking spot forever - grass or no grass.
Anyways, this isn't my only new acquisition, but I'm going to give the other one its own post for a few reasons...
This will be my personal blog I'll use to talk about the going-ons of my hobby experience and who knows what else with rambles.