Modelhorses - once upon a time - no open for your memorys and comments

  • A few days ago I was once again jabbling into my model horse memories (this happens more often than you think when you get older) and then the thought came to me “why not write something about it in the MPM?” There are some readers who didn’t experience the early years of the model horse collecting hobby in the 80ies, for them it might be interesting to read as it used to be. And those of the readers who were there at the time might reminisce like me. So then . . . . Once upon a time . . . .

    . . . a small community of people in Germany who were interested in model horses. Some of them founded the Model Horses Club in 1979, which, according to an advertisement in the magazine “Pferde Heute” gained a lot of popularity in the summer of 1981. The club magazine, the model horse magazine, was designed by readers who typed their posts on the typewriter, glued the photos into it and sent them all together with the post to the respective club management. She put the issue together, copied it in black and white and sent it to the subscribers. What was the joy when you finally held the MPM in your hands. There were not only reports about new horses that could be called one’s own, but also conversations of other kinds, such as this crossword puzzle


    In the days before the internet there was only one way to see the horses of other collectors: Visit live shows or take part in photo shows. The former were still rare at that time (the first live show in Germany took place in Bielefeld in 1985, followed by more shows in the following years, but there were only 3 – 4 a year, distributed all over Germany), so the second variant was used. Each collector was able to organize a photo show, and he could design the classlist as he wanted. The organizer was able to advertise classes for all breeds and bridges, award prizes or not (in the first case a starting fee was required, otherwise you only had to enclose a stamped and addressed envelope). Putting on such a show was a lot of fun,

    was also associated with some work: Sort photos by class, lay them out on the table, set them up, write down results, finish certificates, sort the photos again (this time by participants), pack everything into the envelopes, paste them and finally bring them to the post office.

    In the photo below you can see some collector friends who visited me in August 1988 and me doing some of these activities:


    It was not easy to get Breyer horses (Schleich and Co. at that time, as well as Stone) in the 80s. The fewest toy shops in Germany had them in their assortment, so we had no choice but to order directly from Breyer in the USA. This was done by post, was paid with International Money Order and cost 30 DM at the time, so it was not exactly cheap. When all this was done, it was time to wait. And wait and wait, because the horses usually came by land and ship, which meant they were always on the road for about three months. It really took patience! When the parcel finally arrived after passing through customs, the joy knew no bounds. The scissors were taken, the packaging was cut open, the package was torn open, the Breyer box was opened and there it was, the long awaited and longed for horse! My biggest order directly from Breyer was in 1988 when there was the Lady Phase taken out of production two years earlier as a special run called “Breezing Dixie” – I bought 30 pieces! At that time I didn’t know that almost all models would always come back at Breyer, then in different colors, and I loved this model (and still love it)! Yes, I admit, I was crazy at the time.

    So that this report does not consist almost entirely of text, I would now like to say a little more about the models of that time. We collected mostly of-models, the Cust-models were rare. In the mid-1980s, the first modified horses in the USA came to Germany. They were quite expensive, which is why I only bought a Cust-Lady Phase there after a lot of thought. It was altered by Jane Gary and cost me 200 DM at the time.


    I loved painting myself (and still do), after receiving my first MPM in August 1981, in which there was a report about repainting, I also dared to paint my models. First I used Revell colors, but then I switched relatively quickly to Waconfin, a poster color. The paint mare “Delta Shoshonnie” was born out of a lady phase, and she got a foal called “Don Mesquito” (Standing Stock Horse Foal – unfortunately I don’t have a photo of him at the moment), both had live horses as a model.


    To be continued ...

  • Oh yes, the eighties . . . Now I have to go through my little grey cells, what there was in the model horse world at that time. Right, there was still. . .

    Most collectors had devised imaginary studs, farms or ranches for their horses. And of course there were also catalogues for them, in which all breeding stallions and mares with pedigree and a short description of the characteristics of the horse (e. g. “inherited cow-sense” or “light-drawn”). If a collector decided to take one of these horses as a parent (at that time we were still thinking about a good pedigree, just like breeding real horses), he would of course get a breeder’s certificate. Here’s one of my Rimrock Ranch, on which all western horses were standing at the time.

    In the Model Horses Club there was also a four-page pedigree form in Din A6 (I think at least it was this size), unfortunately I don’t have a photo of it anymore.

    Over the years, more and more issues were added to the model horses magazine: Pony Magazine, Araber und Vollbut-Neuigkeiten, Warmblood Magazine, Foam Magazine and last but not least the Western Horses Magazine, which is the only one of the model horses magazines at that time – apart from the MPM – still exists today. The first issue was in Dec. 1984, it was the club magazine of the Western Horses Club, short WPC (founded by me).

    From 1985 to 1989, the number of members in the MPC increased continuously, there were more and more photo and live shows, but also the number of those who dared to change to model horses or tinker tinkerers increased. I want to show you two examples. The first step is a cust by Inge Hoffmann – a haired Shetland Pony (No. 23)

    And here is a cust of Monika Hannawacker (the photo is also from her) out of the Classic Mustang foal (No. 3065)

    Over the years, collectors became more and more creative in their hobby. Not only were the horses changed, but also scenes from everyday life were depicted, as you can see in the next photo:

    (No. 40 cust and photo by Monika Hannawaker )

    Photos of tournaments, no matter if the horses were ridden in English or Western, also increasingly appear on the photo shows:

    In 1989 there was a two-day exhibition in Neunkirchen in the Siegerland to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Model Horses Club. Collectors from all over the country met there; On Saturday a live show took place and on Sunday scenes were presented to an interested audience the diversity of the hobby “Collecting Model Horses. ” Unfortunately, I only have two photos left from this exhibition, but I don’t want to keep them from you:

    The Icelandic at the blacksmith was introduced by Inge Hoffmann, the tournament scene on the next photo was by Monika Münker

  • In the days before the internet it was not so easy to find templates of real horses for the repaints you wanted to make. That’s why there were some horses at the beginning of the 80ies, whose check-out was not realistic. But the model horse collector is in itself inventive, so he came up with the idea to look for templates in books and magazines. At that time there were not too many books about the Paint Horse or the Appaloosa (westerreiten was still in its infancy in Germany), as a result there were not many horses of these breeds, which could be found in relevant magazines. But there were a few, if you searched long enough, you found it. I also regularly flipped through the “horse market” and when I found a painter stallion (father “Oileo Mount”, dam: Tuska Strip) there, I was immediately on fire.


    I really liked the overo fox check with the light long hair. However, I only took over the cheque, not the color (why, I can no longer understand, I liked – and still like – foxes with light long hair very much). As a repaint victim – as quite often at that time – had to be a lady phase. She mutated into a blue-eyed overo-rape cheque and was named “Tic Tac Char Lee. ”


    I was - for that time - very satisfied with the horse. A few months later I was judging the Western Horse Annual Champion Show and while judging the Paint stallions and geldings I thought I wasn't seeing right - there was a horse that had the same spotting as my mare! And not only that - the gelding "Kissem N` Passum" was also born out of a Lady Phase!


    However, he had got the original fur color of the model and as mentioned above – I love it very much. So I wrote to the owner Monika Hannawacker (she also has the photo) and asked her if she would sell the horse. And I was lucky – she did it and so pulled the doubles of my repaints to me. It was a funny coincidence that both Monika and I chose this very stallion as a model. And who knows, maybe there’s still a copy of him in a showcase somewhere in Germany.

    At the beginning of the 80ies there was only the model horse magazine, but that changed over the years. I founded the Western Horses Club in 1984 and consequently published the Western Horses Magazine, Susanne Bösche did the same with the M. A. V. S. (Modell Araber- und Vollblut-Stutbuch) and the Araber- und Vollblut-Neuigkeiten (AVN), there was also the Pony-Magazin (of Pony Club), the Schaumagazin, the Warmblut-Magazin, the Baroque-Rassen-Magazin (BRM), the Österreich-Magazin (which appeared in the MPM) – I can remember them, so it’s quite possible that there was one or the other magazine that escaped my brain. I still have some covers of the magazines of that time, of which I would like to show you three:




    Unfortunately, the magazines went one after the other like a primrose without water, only the model horse magazine and the western horse magazine survived and exist to this day. However, their appearance has changed over time, as I want to show you with the help of the WPM:

    The first magazine, published Dec. 1984

    An issue published in September 1992


    And this is what the Western Horses Magazine looks like today – the current issue, published in June 2021


    Dein "Tun" heute beeinflusst dein "Sein" in der Zukunft.

    Edited once, last by Sinela ().

  • Nowadays it’s relatively easy to get information about horse breeds, I just say “Aunt Google. ” In the 80’s, it looked completely different. They went to the library and looked for books about the horse breed that they wanted information about. Most of the time – and I say this from my own experience – people were not very lucky. There were many youth books with horses, but hardly any non-fiction books. So what did the model horse collector do -- exactly, he went to a bookstore and bought the books he needed. I was already a big fan of Western horses, especially the colorful ones like the Appaloosas and the Paint Horses, but I also liked the Quarter Horses very much. So I was very pleased that Hardy Oelke has published two books about these two breeds.

    And as you can see on the photo, I also found one over the Appaloosa. There were not only lots of information about the respective breeds, but also photos of Quarter Horses and especially the Paint Horses and Appaloosas – great templates for painting model horses! Well, that was all well and good, but the variety of photos in the books wasn’t that great, so I ordered two books from a bookstore about the Paint Horse and the Appaloosa, which came from the USA, the country of origin of these horse breeds.

    And I was thrilled, because there were so many photos in them. One or the other horse in it was then immortalized in the course of the weeks and years also on a model.

    Another way to get information about certain horse breeds and living models to paint model horses was not only the horse market (here the photos were unfortunately shown in black and white), but especially special issues of the horse magazines available at the time, such as the “Pferde Heute”

  • Breyer’s catalogues were also highly sought after in the 1980s. Yes, back then you couldn’t go to the “identifyyourbreyer” page and look for certain models, no, you were dependent on paper. I have taken pictures of the catalogues from that time, which are in my Possession

    Unfortunately, the horses were very hard to see in these small catalogues, because they were depicted quite small. But then, what a blessing, from 1986 onwards you could get the big dealer catalogues!

    These were really hotly sought after and if you had a double, you could sell it well. There you could see the individual models much better than in the small version. I still have some of the Din A4-sized catalogues and still like to look into them today, in the age of the Internet, very much.

    In the second half of the 80’s there was another American company besides Breyer that sold model horses – Hartland. Although they had actually existed since the 1960s, they were not known in Germany before the date mentioned at the beginning. The Horses of Hartland are – how should I put it – more edgy than the Horses of Breyer, the details are often not as well worked out and the colors and drawings are sometimes unrealistic. I still have two catalogues from Hartland, but I don’t remember which year the first one comes from:

    I had bought “Jewel” and “Jade” at the time, that is the galloping mare with her foal on the photo at the top in the middle bottom. I had to wait a year for them to finally arrive, but it was worth it, they are just great (they are still in my possession).

    Also at the exhibition for the 10th anniversary of the Model Horses Club in 1989 you could see some of the Hartland horses live, there was a whole table full of different models (pardon the bad quality of the picture, since I don’t have a scanner, I had to photograph it)

    Finally we jump into 1993 – there was the first model horse calendar in Germany! It was edited – if I remember correctly – by Sabine S. and depicted there were some of the registrature winners of 1992.

  • In the 1980s, there were lots of photo shows. If someone wanted to hold one, they would put together a class list that listed the individual classes as well as the entry requirements. Entry fees were not always required (it depended on what prizes were to be awarded), but a stamped addressed envelope almost always had to be sent to the organizer with the photos (sometimes the return postage alone was enough). It was always nice to be able to look at the horses of other collectors this way, especially of course when more and more altered horses started to appear in Germany. The quality of the photos increased over the years; I myself took my pictures with a pocket camera in the beginning, towards the end of the 80's it was a used SLR camera. At that time, the films had to be developed and how big was the disappointment when only a few of 24 pictures were really good. Since one has it today with the digital or the cell phone cameras nevertheless more easily.

    At that time, collectors kept in touch by letter, and very rarely by telephone, because long-distance calls were expensive. Rarely one had the luck and there lived other collectors in the proximity. Therefore, the live shows were a welcome event to meet. Collectors from all over Germany came there, they took long distances to be there.

    In 1985, the very first live show on German soil took place in Bielefeld. At that time I went by train to Saarbrücken to Sabine S. and I felt like I was at the exodus from Egypt. I had two big suitcases with horses packed in clothes, a smaller one with clothes for me as well as my dog Susi (a hunting dog/boxer-mix) with me. Today I ask myself how I managed to do all that - I didn't have (and still don't have) so many hands! - I stayed overnight in Saarbrücken and the next day I went with my fiancé at that time (today it's her husband) and Sabine by car up north. Today I don't remember who all took part in this show, but I still have some photos of it. On the first one you can see me looking at a bridle class:


    Western Horses


    Elected Grand Champion of the show. The light horse in front (No. 401 cust of Kathleen Timmerman) is the Arabian "The Wind", who was very successful at shows at that time


    So this was my very first live show, but by God not the last one, on the contrary: In 1987 the first live show organized by me took place in Stuttgart, which I organized every year up to and including 1992. It always took place on the last Saturday in September, because on this weekend the clocks were changed from daylight saving time to winter time and so one could sleep one hour longer). On the following photo you can see me judging a class in 1991)

    This photo was also taken in 1991. It shows the winners of the championship, who all received a Dun Indian Pony by Breyer, booted by the MPV (at that time still under the direction of Ingrid Münsterer).


    At the end of July 1990 I was probably on my hottest live show, in the truest sense of the word. It took place in Weiterstadt (near Darmstadt) at Gaby W.'s garden and the thermometer there showed 35 C° in the shade in the afternoon! After the show, the horses were kept in a trunk that was very very hot. I sweated blood and water because of it, but none of them took damage, neither the of- nor the cust models. My goodness, I was glad when I saw that while unpacking!


    At the Stuttgart Live-Show 1992 I celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Western Horse Registry, so I raffled some prizes among the participants. On the photo you can see Marlis S. drawing the main prize, but of course she didn't know that at that time:


    At the end of my model horse nostalgia I would like to show you a photo of the participants of the live show in Fürstenfeldbruck (near Munich) in 1992. It was taken in the morning after the show before leaving for home.


    Dein "Tun" heute beeinflusst dein "Sein" in der Zukunft.

    Edited once, last by Sinela ().

  • So, that was my review of the early days of the model horse hobby in Germany. I could not mention everything due to the short lead time on this possibility of the digital Breyerfest (for example, there were still pedigree forms and registries), but I hope it the thread could give you a little insight into the early model horse business in Germany. I would be happy if there would be more memories of this time, but I am also happy about comments to the report.

    Happy collecting!:)