Friday, 6 November 2015

My First Collectible Model

I would like to try something here. I appreciate that it can sometimes be difficult to think up a subject to write your next post about, so I'd like to issue an invitation to anyone and everyone who would like to give this a go. All you have to do is write a post about your first collectible model.

That's it. No tags, no nominations, no rules. Just tell your readers about the first collectible model you ever got. You can be as flexible as you like with the subject. You might choose to write about your first Breyer, first resin, first custom, even your very first toy pony if it got you collecting!  It can be any make, any material, any age, anything. It doesn't even have to be a horse. Just write a post and put it on your blog. It's an open invitation, so if you'd like to, go ahead.

Right, so here's mine.

My First Collectible Model: My First Breyer Traditional

I've been collecting model horses for most of my life. My various collections include vintage Pony in my Pocket, My Beautiful Horses, Schleich and even a little herd of assorted zebra figurines. Like many Breyer collectors, my love for Schleich horses led on to collecting Breyer Stablemates, since they were similarly sized. But it took a special model to give me the push to move on to larger Traditional and Classic scales. That model was Ember.

I saw her for the first time in the 2010/2011 edition of the Utterly Horses sales catalogue. She's the Morgan horse from the 2010 Lets Go Riding English set, which came with a rider, saddle and bridle, and she's on the much loved 'Marabella' mould. If you were familiar with Utterly Horses they had a charming gimmick of naming all the Breyer and Schleich horses that didn't come with names already, and the name they chose for this mare was Ember. Coincidentally, it just so happens that I adore Morgan horses, chestnuts (especially red chestnuts with shaded legs) and one of my favourite names for a female animal is 'Ember'. It's almost as if she was custom made for me!
I dithered for a while. Traditional Breyers are quite expensive for a model horse, and I didn't know whether I'd have the room for her. But eventually my heart won out and I bought her, along with a couple others that I liked the look of. So, whilst I got a couple of horses at once, I consider Ember to be my first Traditional: if it wasn't for her, I never would have bought any of the others.
Please note: The above is not my photo
 What was really interesting about the set, however, is that there were two versions featured in the catalogue. One was the official photo, which clearly showed a long haired rider and a horse with two socks and no facial markings. The other photo was one Utterly Horses had taken of an unboxed model, which featured a doll with short hair and a horse with 4 socks and a blaze. I loved both horses, but secretly hoped for the one with more markings, since I preferred that one. And, as you can see, that's the version that arrived. I was delighted. I have since only ever seen the other version in official Breyer photos, never collectors' photos, so I think the official one must have been a test/unreleased version.
 I passed the doll and tack on to a fellow collector, since I didn't want them: it was the mare I really wanted. And I instantly fell in love with her. The Marabella mould is so elegant and feminine, and her colour is so rich and vibrant. She has 4 chestnuts on the inside of her legs, each individually painted. Her 4 white socks and striking white blaze balance out the chestnut coat perfectly, and I adore how long and curly her mane and windswept tail are.
 I'd never before seen a Traditional or Classic Breyer in real life, so as I was examining her I was surprised to find a small, circular hole in one corner of her mouth. At first I assumed it might be a hole to put a bit in when bridling the horse, but then I looked closer at photos of other Breyers and saw some with holes in their nostrils. Other collectors kindly told me that these holes were meant to be there, as they allowed warm air to escape from the plastic model without causing it to bloat and warp.
 Since I loved the name so much I kept my model's name as 'Ember'. After a while, however, I began to notice that many other people, especially those in the UK, who also got the set called their mares 'Ember' as well. This started to annoy me, as I didn't want my mare to get lost in a sea of identically coloured and named models, so I changed it. Very recently, though, I changed it back to 'Ember'. It just fits her so well, and feels right for her in my eyes.
 There's a wonderful feature of the Marabella mould that I keep forgetting about because it's so subtle that's it's easily overlooked: in her tail she has a loose braid. I love this feature. It just gives so much character to the mould, and is a wonderful little extra, like an Easter egg on a DVD. If you've got a horse on the Marabella mould, go have a look at her tail. I'll bet you find the braid too!
 Ember got me into collecting Traditionals. I fell in love with her picture in the catalogue, and then I fell in love with her all over again when I received the model. She's the perfect combination of everything I love in a horse, and the mould is just so wonderfully beautiful with the kindest eyes. If it wasn't for Ember I wouldn't have any of my other Traditionals, and if I ever had to sell my collection, she's the one model I'd keep. Maybe it's wrong to have favourites, but there's no doubt in my mind that she is mine.
So, there you have it. I consider Ember to be my first Breyer Traditional, and maybe even the founder of my herd, because she started my Traditional collection.

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