Saturday, 23 January 2021

Namopaimo 2021

 I can't believe it is nearly February already and with just over a week to go I have finally started work prepping my 2021 Namopaimo model.

Don't know what Namopaimo is? Check out the Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/234123470349077 

I was feeling really indecisive this year so instead of choosing my own model and colour I let the wise people of Facebook choose. And actually I think they made a pretty good choice!

I presented them with a choice of ten different models. The most popular one was this beautiful Edgar Allen resin:



This model was actually my Namopaimo 'prize' from two years ago. Edgar Allen was the first resin I ever painted and I'm really excited to be painting one again.

He didn't need too much prep work thankfully. As you can see he has a few exposed wires and he also had a hole in his back that I've filled. Once the epoxy putty has dried he will be ready for a prime (which has to be done in a shed at the bottom of the garden *yay*). I'm hoping to take him and a few others out there tomorrow.

I can't find my dremel though so the others (which include some CollectA and Schleich) are taking some time to prep!


Now for the colour. Again I gave a choice of ten different colours. The winning choice was 'rose grey'. That makes me really happy as it is one of my favourite colours to do!

But I also like to give myself a bit of a challenge during Namopaimo so I have deliberately chosen a reference picture with loads of dapples, because I really suck at dapples, so I'm hoping that will be a nice challenge and chance to improve.


I think the colour will really suit him :D

I also think it is fitting as my current Edgar Allen, Patience, is also grey:


I'm hoping there will be a nice contrast between the two which will show improvement (I'd like to think I've improved over 10 years...but who knows)!

Working from home also means I don't have the horrific two hour drive home at the moment, so that gives me more chance to paint in the evenings. I have started to do a bit of work on some customs and trying to get back into it.

The plan is to do mainly pastels, but I'm wondering whether to use thinned down acrylics for the dapples, I feel like that will either work well or be a complete disaster, I guess we'll find out!

Now roll on February :D








Friday, 22 January 2021

BreyerFest 'Single Day' Stablemates

 I just realised that I've never updated you guys with the 'single day' Stablemates. This year there are no single day tickets this year however, the little Stablemates are still available. You get the full set as part of your VIP ticket and there are also various options to purchase them as well (although they are very limited).

Did you get picked for a VIP ticket? Let me know below!

I absolutely LOVE decorators as you guys know so you can imagine my excitement at receiving news that ALL the single day Stablemates this year are decorators! My favourite has to be the purple Fjord, Avant Garde, I desperately need him in my life.

So here they are in all their glory:

Dada:










Nouveau:











Rococo:











Avant Garde:











Which is your favourite? Make sure to let me know below!

More information about BreyerFest and the different ticket options can be found here: https://www.breyerhorses.com/pages/what-is-breyerfest-2021-new

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Breyer Bootcamp Part #2

 Yesterday I wrote a Blog post about Breyer Bootcamp and how much I was looking forward to it.

I also said that I had asked regarding the shows and whether, like BreyerFest, they were only open to USA residents.

I got an email back from Breyer today: 

"Unfortunately, the Breyer Boot Camp model horse show is restricted to participants from the US and Canada (excluding Quebec) only at this time."

This is fully what I expected but it is sad to see that we still cannot enter the shows.

That said it maybe will give me time to enter some other photoshows! It might also give me time to plan my own photoshow for the year, because I definitely need to run a really awesome show :D

I am also planning a virtual live show at some point this year, just like the one that was run on BMHC last week :D That will be super good fun :D



Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Breyer Bootcamp

 This is something that I'm really excited about, as I know lots of others are too. I think we all feel really isolated from our hobby right now so anything that gets us interacting with other hobbyists and gives us something to look forward to has got to be good :D

Breyer Bootcamp is basically the virtual version of BreyerWest.

It is held on the 26th-28th February and it is via the Breyer website and several Zoom meetings. Tickets for the event are available directly from Breyer here: https://www.breyerhorses.com/pages/what-is-breyer-boot-camp 

What does it involve?

There are several different events throughout the weekend, some of these are included in your ticket and some can be purchased additionally.

As well as some meet the artists via Zoom the thing I'm really excited about are the three workshops! I have paid for the full version of these (although I am conscious that it means I'll be up until midnight on the Saturday doing model horse stuff, so may be a bit of a grumpy grump).

There are also some shows, although it is not clear whether these are open to international entrants (I have asked)

How much does it cost?

The basic tickets are just $5 each.

The workshops and shows are an additional cost on top. I have paid for the $40 workshops because I want the Zoom experience (and I want to fan girl over my favourite artists, one of the workshops is being run by Maggie Bennett!!!!).

The shows are open and novice. The open show is $50 and the novice show is $25.

Will Crackers be there?

Definitely!!! As long as I can find him....












Now the question is, which of these little guys will get VICTIMISED DURING THE WORKSHOPS *evil cackle*

Monday, 18 January 2021

BreyerFest Special Runs - My Priority List

 It feels so weird to be writing Blog posts about special run choices so early in the year! But it hasn't exactly been a normal twelve months so I'm cool with that :D

I thought I would share my BF special run 'list' with you, basically a list of all the special run models in order of most wanted :D I'll do the same with the limited edition models once they are all released.

Absolutely no surprises as to who my favourite is! And probably no surprises that I want the surprise model as well.

But after them I'm not actually too fussed about the others. All I really care about is getting Pollock, he's the whole reason I'm entering for a VIP ticket. I MUST HAVE THAT HORSE!!!

1. Pollock












2. 7 Arts Surprise










3. Knossos







4. Gran Cavallo











5. Pech Merle








6. Ansel


7. Uffington









8. Seurat











9. Tassili












I'd love to know your preference list, share it below :)

Full list of all the BF models is on the Breyer website here: https://www.breyerhorses.com/pages/exclusive-models-breyerfest-2021 

Sunday, 17 January 2021

As a Someone Who Cares About the Environment, I'm Finding it Harder and Harder to be a Model Horse Collector

Below is a scene that is common in many of our houses, hundreds, even thousands of beautiful models lined up neatly on shelves, they look aesthetically pleasing and they are the result of years of hard work collecting, customising, searching and generally hoarding.



But behind them is a dark and dirty secret and that secret is packaging. Zoom out a bit further and you see this:


The reality is as model horse collectors we generate a lot of waste, and I mean a LOT. Look at the packaging at the top there, that was one My Little Pony. As well as all the boxing there was also a plastic comb, that I'll never use, and a leaflet that was shiny paper (not good). Then look at your average Breyer, mixed media boxes (hard to recycle), plastic tags and the obligatory catalogue in every box. And that's before we even start to think about what they are made of.....

For me the issue is even more potent, I run a business selling these things, I have boxes filled with neatly boxed Breyers and....even worse.....the blind bags! Those blind bags cannot be recycled, they are a single use 'sachet' type product that basically just fills up landfill and our oceans, they are the worst of the worst, but they are our best selling products, and I love them.

And then we move beyond just the collecting. Once we've got over all the packaging and the plastic models we then move to the other stuff. Let's start with customising, pots of paint, we all have them and if you're anything like me you probably get through quite a few, but the majority of those plastic paint pots can't be recycled. Then there's synthetic brushes, aerosols, chopped off body parts, micro plastics urgh the list goes on and on. Tack making is a bit better, you use more natural products like leather and metal, but you still get the packaging waste it comes in. Some companies are better than others and do use minimal waste (we are moving to cardboard large letter boxes rather than the padded envelopes for example) but still...

As I move towards a sustainable zero waste home I can't help but feel that I'll never achieve that objective whilst I collect model horses. How can I claim to care about the environment and then go and happily spend several hundred dollars on plastic items that come in tonnes of plastic packaging? It feels inherently hypocritical. But it also in a way feels wrong to deprive myself of something I love so much and to put all that guilt on me, as a consumer, when there aren't alternatives out there. This is not me buying bottled water when I have a perfectly good water bottle to use (which really is not on, and actually I don't do), this is a situation where making a change just isn't an option. So what can I do, as a business owner and hobbyist, to start to be more responsible about my hobby and the planet I am leaving for those just a few years younger than me? Because the reality is that in 30 years time the world is going to be a very different, and not very nice place to live.

Changes to Make

I am by no means an expert on zero waste living, and the reality is that pretty much everything we do is going to have an environmental impact. But here are some suggestions that can, at least, help us lessen that.

1. Take responsibility. Accepting that there is responsibility there is a big step. We all have a duty to care for this planet and for younger hobbyists, we are in the dying days of our current age, if we want this hobby to be able to continue we need to save the planet. Nobody is going to have time for plastic ponies in an environmental disaster.

2. Avoid BNIB. This doesn't eliminate the problem all together, someone is still generating that waste, but if you are personally trying to go zero waste buying models that aren't boxed is a good place to start. It also has other benefits too, they are often cheaper and you can inspect them for flaws!

3. Change your collection. There are plenty of models out there that don't ship in loads of packaging. Vintage, premier, collector's club, BF SRs etc. all ship out of box with just bubble wrap (can be reused easily) and a cardboard box or plastic bag (urgh). You'll also be buying one model instead of three or four so it saves on the plastic production as well. This will probably mean changing your buying habits, saving up for several months and buying one horse, rather than buying several. Models such as customs, resins, chinas, CTFs all come with no boxes as well!

4. Plastic free models. For many of us the vast majority of our collection will be plastic based, whether that's resins, Schleichs or Breyers. But there are plastic free models out there. Chinas are an obvious choice if you are looking for plastic free, but for those who want something less breaky have a look at the CTF market. Latex (sustainable sourced), wool, felt, wood and even glass are used to make models.

It is worth noting that of course these alternatives need to be sustainably sourced. But they are generally better than plastic, particularly as they will all biodegrade (eventually).

5. Look for alternatives. If you are using lots of paint have a think about whether you could use pigments instead. There are stores where you can go in and fill your own pots with pigment (there is one in Bloomsbury in London), which makes a good alternative to plastic paint pots. This is not an option open to everyone, particularly in a global pandemic, but maybe one to think about in the future (or create an online business doing it, there's a market there, if you can do it with pasta you can do it with pigment)! Look at sourcing natural fibre brushes and look at packaging to see whether it can be recycled. There may be brands out there that are putting their paints in better packaging, go do some research! Finally reuse as much as you can.

6. Where are you shopping? There is absolutely no rule that says you cannot ask a business about their carbon footprint and the type of packaging they are using. Choose model horse dealers that pack items in recyclable or biodegradable packaging. If you can buy models 'in person' rather than online as this will also reduce the footprint.

7. Shipping. Packaging is necessary when shipping models, nobody is saying it isn't, but there are better alternatives out there. Here are some of the changes we have made or are making to try and reduce shipping waste:
  • Biodegradable packing peanuts
  • Biodegradable air fill or paper for padding
  • Biodegradable or Oxodegradable bubble wrap (just keep the later out of the sunlight, it literally does degrade)!
  • Cardboard boxes made from recycled cardboard
  • Paper packing tape
  • Reuse everything! Boxes, bubble wrap, fill - keep it all and reuse to ship more models!
  • Eco Labels? This one is harder, the best I've found so far are A4 sheets where the backing paper is silicone based so could be composted
  • Choose a courier that fully carbon offsets - this BBC article highlights some of the issues with courier/delivery companies: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47654950
8. Ask & Demand. There is absolutely no harm in being really clear to companies that you want them to reduce packaging and source better alternatives. Packaging in the toy industry is a huge topic! As dealers we need to be better at asking these questions and use our own buying power to make demands. But as consumers we have a responsibility too. If enough people ask and question then companies will change, they aren't stupid. Also pressure your law makers to insist upon stronger regulations and zero waste mandates. In 2020 the UK banned several single use plastics (straws, cotton buds etc.) all because of one sea turtle. That is the power we have, use it.

This article is not meant to attack anyone or any company, it is designed to help me get something that has been bothering me for some time off my chest. But it is also designed to start a conversation, because this is important, really important, particularly if you have children. We are all responsible for our planet, that doesn't mean we can't have nice things, but it does mean we have to think carefully about what those nice things are and how we go about acquiring them.

Disclaimer: The changes to Chestnut Ridge shipping and packaging mentioned above are ongoing. Any new supplies bought in are designed to, as far as is possible, be degradable and/or recyclable. However, we also reuse numerous supplies (especially bubble wrap, boxes and filling materials) and we have been given a TONNE of packing tape that we will, of course, use up. We strongly encourage you to reuse these items yourself.


Sunday, 5 July 2020

Get Ready for Fun Week!!!!

I hope you are all ready for fun week because I certainly don't feel like I am! This post will have a run down of everything that is going on this week, please make sure to register for events that you need to register for.

I have highlighted events as follows:

Bold - Require Registration
Italics - Running all week

Red - Facebook
Blue - Instagram
Pink - Website

Below is a day by day run down of everything that is going on. I've added links where appropriate and a little bit of detail about each one.

Monday



18:45 (19:00 start) BST - Zoom Pub Quiz (email catriona@chestnutridge.co.uk for registration details)

Tuesday



Treasure Hunt - www.chestnutridge.co.uk

Wednesday

Thursday


19:00 BST - Zoom Social (email catriona@chestnutridge.co.uk for registration details, over 18s only)


Friday

Saturday

Sunday