Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Fibonacci Pins


Even before these 6 new Breyer pins joined my growing collection, I'd made the move from two display boards to four.  Ah, the Fibonacci sequence:  1 to 2 to 4 --!!  The last pin post on this blog was in June.  At that time I transitioned from one to two -- the Mink Unicorns got their own -- and the remaining Mink + Breyer + Misc original board was big enough to need two photographs:

Left Half

Right half (sans some miscellany)

And even these don't show all of them!  In October the collection reached a stage where something had to be done.  I went to JoAnn Fabs and bought some black velveteen.  [Note: Velvet can cost $30 a yard or $20.  I got the $20.]  With more cardboard, tape and staples, I indulged in making more display boards.  And just like that, my collection easily divided itself into 4 categories.

First off is the pride of Mink Unicorns.  These naturally set themselves apart. 

Faleadon is my latest acquisition.  To photograph him took some juggling of dark lighting and PhotoShopping, but I am very pleased with his sparkles.

The second-most-recently acquired was Kalasin.  This photo makes him look greener than he is (alas, the above photo makes him bluer than he is).  He's really a luscious, pure light sky blue.  Every one of these pins is a masterpiece.

The second board, the original, found itself home to all my Breyer pins.  Breyer has certainly found the golden cash cow with their enamel pin offerings!!  (Believe it or not I mis-typed that at first as the golden ow.  SO true!)

Earlier (c. Sept) new ones for me were the black Hope pony and the Artic Grandeur, bargains from MH$P.  Now, with my new 6, I had a blast arranging them and trying to photo them.  Up to now, Breyer has been a little stingey with their glitter on pins.  But the Mink sculpture of the Croi Damsha pony, named Cascade here, is -- most amazingly -- VERY glittery!  And a major challenge to photograph!  Pardon me for trying so many times here.   At first you can't really see it:  She just looks smoky and mysteriously foggy.

And then you darken the light and try to get closer.  I used PhotoShop to both unsaturate and sharpen, as well as enhance contrast.

Starting to see some of the real sparkles now!  The darker, the better.  And notice how they're never the same from shot to shot...

This little pony really challenged me!  The last shot is the most mysterious -- and it brings out the most glitter.

Who'd-a thunk-it!
Here's a closer look at three of the new Breyer pins, Mojave, Spectre and Lonesome Glory.  I was particularly pleased to see a Lonesome Glory;  I do love that mold.  However, this dark bay without white is nowhere near the original bright chestnut Lonesome Glory.  All dark makes a pin small!  What's up Breyer! 

Another interesting point is that Breyer's pins are starting to duplicate themselves moldwise.  I saw this first with the two versions of Nicolas the German Riding Pony, in 2022.  They're very different!  Mojave, the pinto Fireheart here, is different, larger and prettier (in my opinion) than the earlier Fireheart, Stein. 

The Spectre really does glow in the dark -- first of my pins to do so!

Here's a third case of duplication of mold:  This Holiday Highlander pin is the same mold (True North) as the Danash's Northern Tempest (Dani) small one released earlier, in 2021.  As with the others, the angle of view (of the pin) is different between the two.  Highlander is an interesting pin.  While he doesn't have glitter, and features (to me) boring colors, he has some unique textures in that fur lined coat.  I love those long cinnamon stockings!  The ?antler? headpiece on his poll is stupendous, giving him great character; and the gold metal color perfectly sets off the whole ensemble.

I suppose it was inevitable that we'd get Breyer pins that look like Minks.  That's because they are!  They're Breyer pins of sculptures by this amazingly talented and generous artist.  An advantage of this hybridization is they're produced in much larger numbers and anyone can get them anytime.  In my immense spreadsheet of Minkiewicz enamel pins, I've included the Anamar.  The pin was designed by Sarah and produced with her blessing.  Now I'm realizing I've overlooked at least 2 previous Breyer/Mink pins, both of which I now own:  the black Arabian Malik and the Cascade Croi Damsha.

Anamar, above, is a delightful case of how realism and fantasy can blend in a single pin.  I don't believe I've ever encountered a rose grey with a golden tail like that in real life;  but it just gives him so much character.

So here's my Breyer pin collection in toto:

Apologies for the dark corners and the clipped off black spaces.  It really is hard to photograph these creatures;  but now they've got room to grow!

So of course the third display board is given to my pure Minks:

The interesting thing to point out here is the size difference between the earliest Dancing Horse pin, Zigmund (top center, the leaping grey) and the latest one, Lucky, to his right (buckskin pinto with a light purple border).   These pins are arranged in the order I got them, downwards from Zigmund and then up again from the bottom.  Zigmund - Baxter - Rockette - Sayida - Sammy (the roan appy on the bottom).  Next to Sammy is Tango, then above:  Dreamer - Cobre - Dawnstar - Lucky.  You wouldn't notice them growing larger, but Lucky is seriously bigger.  Zigmund is under 1.5"  tall, but Lucky is a full 2" tall and more than 2" long, by far the largest Dancing Horse yet.

Elsewhere I have developed the theory that the increase in scale and size of model horses has to do with the steadily growing ego and power of their creators,...

Let's move on to my 4th and last board, Miscellany.  There are new ones here:  a colt that fits right in with an earlier family and a very welcome Carousel Jumper.

The lowest, chestnut pinto colt  is not really news as I blogged about him in July:  The Traditional Loot Shots.  What's striking is how perfectly he fits in with my Chincoteague family.  They might have been created by the same artist...!

And glory be, a fourth Carousel horse has joined up.  Once again, these seem to appear out of nowhere, usually on eBay (as was the case here), and I had no idea at all they even existed.  There are so many carousel pins out there that are primitive, or not enamels, or the wrong color or size!  Very few pass all the defensive filters I throw up in their way.  And yet this one did.  The fact that the clear acrylic layer was so old it had yellowed merely gave the horse a lovely ivory cream color, which I happened to fancy.  I love the quiet wisdom and colorful metallic streamers on this little jumper, lower left:

I have found a favorite collecting interest.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The Silver Dapple Fighter


This is a long post (long overdue!), so, important stuff first!  This horse is looking for a good home, but he's not for sale.  He is, hopefully, a gift, a donation to the next generation.  Money can't buy him, (although, in a perfect world, the new owner would supply the postage, Hah!).  In that ideal world, he'd go to someone who was conga-ing unique, unusual Fighting Stallions:  those with a touch of hobby history.  In this case his claim is a name:  he was created by a famous artist who is not known for painting but for tackmaking.  😁   He's been sitting around doing nothing for about 40 years, and for many different reasons I don't want to keep him.  This post is his story.  Email me at with your own story of why he might come to you.  I'll wait til Halloween, then reassess.

 Sooner or later, good things come to an end.  It was hard enough to lose my mother this spring (see May's post), but it hadn't occurred to me that meant losing the house as well.  Yet in the end, things have boiled down to that.  We have been unable to find enough helpers for Dad to go on living there in the summer, and none of his 3 children wanted the house enough to keep it.  The process of cleaning out my natal home -- think of it, 63 years! -- has begun.  (Dad's now in the winter house, in Tucson.)  And so we come to the silver stallion.

We are all familiar, I think, with the concept of a model horse as a memorial.  Often they are portraits of real horses;  sometimes they are a memory-piece for a real horse (I have one of those).  Other times, the model is a souvenir of a person or a place, or of a time with a special person(s).  I have quite a few horses that remember places and people, happy visits and vacations.  But this one embodies an entire house,... as it happens, one without me.

I owe my brother Allen for my possessing the Silver Dapple Fighter right now.  He said quite simply, "But you have to take him Sue!"  Spoken with inside knowledge of my model horse career.  Skipping over, forgetfully, the Lipizzaner Reitschule plates and embroidered pictures still hanging in the old place; certainly skipping, because I haven't told anyone yet, my own Will's dictates for a few models to go to family, i.e. my sister.  The silver stallion is pretty much outside of everything.

He has no name, no personality.  He has no registry card (almost every other one of my models does).  He's not like Thomas, the Fighter on my piano:  Tuning my piano.  He has sat on the mantle for, let's see, about 42 years.  Thirty-six of them, appx., without me.  (Note the fireplace was never used in this house.)

Blog readers may recognize this end of the basement from my BCS Winter Photo Challenge post (see January of 2015, first photo).  Of course, particularly during the 80s, the silver stallion may have been residing anywhere in the basement.  I left home permanently in the spring of 1987, and I just didn't want him.  So there he remained.  I told myself he'd stay there forever, in the place where the TSII began -- where I began.  Every other horse I've owned or wanted I've long since taken away; they have continued their story with me, accumulating memories, history and story, layering richer.  This one I deliberately left behind, a symbol of unchangingness,...  of unthinkingness.  I couldn't imagine ever losing the house itself.  How comforting, for all those years!  far longer than many other families,...

Ah but how can you refuse little brother, especially when he's right.  😲   

The horse has no photos, not being represented in the 5 shoeboxes of photographs I have covering my pre-digital hobby life, circa 1978 to 2010.  I'd done a number of repaints and customs in my early years, and many are shown here:  Thoughts on NaMoPaiMo 2017.  Somehow, my few faux-Decorators are not mentioned.   I do remember one gold-dapple FAF.  Fake Decos appears to've been a phase I went through.

"Luke I am your father!"  I was a young artist in the first full flush of her powers, in her early 20s, going to college, discovering the model hobby and setting up a mail-order business.  He is a piece that reflects my early determination and stubbornness -- my love of silver! -- which would soon be turned to leatherwork and tackmaking.  With him actually in hand, I am astonished by his power now -- the raw strength of him.  I really had forgotten that.

Take an Alabaster Fighting Stallion (they were common in those days), strip off what little grey shadings there were (nail polish remover!) and leave the pink.  These photos don't show it but the sheath is pink.  If you look closely enough you can see the remains of hoof pads!  Take a can of silver spray paint and let most of the freon out (by spraying with it upside down).  The paint then comes out in blurts and splatters, dribs and gobbets, making for a satisfactory if not authentic reproduction of those most revered model horses, the fabulous metallic Decorators.  Handpaint the places that need it and run some polishing, smoothing factor (probably sandpaper) over the areas that got too much paint.  I did not have any gloss coating back then.

It's entirely possible he was my original White Fighter and got demoted when he broke his ear (honestly I've no idea how that happened).  A replacement might've been too perfect to destroy, so I kept the newcomer (today I have a great Alabaster Fighter dating from those years) and may have used the broken one to experiment with.  But it's also possible I bought him with painting in mind from the start.  The first flush of eager experimentation was successful:  that's all that mattered.  In this case that excitement went on to form a hobby artist who has lasted 40+ years,... although it took until 2018, and NaMoPaiMo, before I seriously painted horses again!  With NMPM to guide me, today I inked initials on him:

It should be clear we don't really have a year pinned down for the Silver Dapple Fighter;  but a good educated guess is 1981.  

A logical question is how many more of these surprises are there to uncover!?  Heh!  There's the mentioned-but-long-lost gold-dapple FAF (you'd know that one by his much-worn-down off fore hoof); and there's a TSII-saddled buckskin Stock Horse Mare on the Tucson mantle, but she is seriously ugly  😄  no desires there!  Every horse from those ancient days has either been dispersed long since or is with me now.  This one was an exception, sitting in the basement of Fox Hills, unwanted, quietly absorbing, suspended.  He was present during my Mom's last times there, but it's more than her;  it's the house itself I can hardly bear to let go of.  For once, I am not strong enough to want him;  it's too painful;  I have other horses to do this job.  The house's fate is his fate.

The best thing that could happen would be for him to go to a new generation that was trying to capture hobby history yet enjoyed pieces for their own sake.  Tell me a story, make me an offer.  I can help with the postage.