Friday, December 27, 2013

My North Lights

When discussing my hobby history, I usually tell people that I transitioned from original finish Breyers to artist resins and customs in the early 2000's.  This is true, but it's also incomplete.  In between the Breyers and the artist models, there was a short period of time when my primary collecting focus was original finish resins, most notably the Black Horse Ranch Collection and North Light models.  Today's post showcases my North Light collection.

Tristan, the head down Friesian, was my very first North Light.  I'd fallen in love with this mold years before when he was pictured on the top of the Hobby Horse News.  I was extremely excited when he came to me by way of an early tack trade.
After Tristan, I couldn't wait to add more North Lights to my herd.  Happily, I was able to arrange several tack-for-horse trades, bringing Bjorgi,
Dragon Tales,
Wishbone, 
Peanut Gallery, 
and Cobblestone to my herd.  
I think Othello...    
and Rabscuttle may have been trades as well, but I'm no longer certain.  I didn't keep very good records, and my memory isn't as good as it used to be!  
Even though my model horse budget was limited, I was able to purchase a few North Lights outright.  Calliope,
Punchline, 
Clandestine, 
and HomeBrew were all purchased very cheaply from various eBay wholesalers.  If memory serves correctly, I paid less than thirty dollars a piece for each of these four! 
Greta and Hans also came from eBay.  I grabbed them right before the cheap North Light pipeline dried up.
Bitsy Brayer was purchased from the guys at H & H Winners Circle at Lone Star Live in 2006.  Unfortunately, she did not survive the drive home in one piece.  If you look closely, you'll see she has broken ears and a broken hind leg.
That was the main reason I stopped collecting North Lights--they were just a little too fragile.  Also, they didn't show particularly well.  At that stage in my hobby life, I was actively working to build a competitive showstring.  As much as I liked my North Lights, I was smart enough to realize they weren't going to take me where I wanted to go.  I switched over to resins and customs and never looked back.
Or perhaps I should say, I haven't looked back yet.
I still find these guys extremely appealing.  
As I find myself going to fewer and fewer live shows, it's entirely possible that my collecting tastes will change again,  and a new herd of North Lights will find their way to my shelves.

11 comments:

  1. Where do you get North Lights? I'm in love with Friesians, but Breyer doesn't seem to make any current ones.

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  2. What scale are North Light? I've never seen one in person.

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  3. Ditto to the other comments - I've never even heard of these models before and I think they're lovely!

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  4. North Light is a UK brand. The horses are made of a heavy resin material, and originally, they were produced and painted in the UK. However, sometime in the early 2000's the company was bought by Wade Ceramics, and some (all?) of the production was moved to China. I bought my cheap eBay North Lights during the time of the Wade takeover. I'm pretty sure they were the first wave of Chinese imports.

    As far as scale goes, they don't match up exactly to Breyer standards. Most of the molds I own are large classic, but some (Clandestine, Calliope and HomeBrew) are small traditional. I've also seen some North Lights that are quite small. Since I don't generally collect minis, I've avoided those.

    It's been a long time since I've actively shopped for North Lights, so I have no idea where to find them these days. Maybe eBay?

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  5. Love the Northlights. I, too, have the head down Friesian and have successfully shown him as a Dales Pony.

    Many years ago when I was first starting out in the world of model horse showing I was lucky enough to get a factory custom Shetland in a classic champagne (formerly Lilac Dun). I suspect Larry is one of a kind and cute as a bug.

    Now only a select few Northlights (pre and post Wade sale) remain in my collection for many the same reasons, fragility and competitiveness in the show ring being the biggest factor.

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    1. The Friesian is one of the most competitive (and popular) North Light molds. Mine has several old NAN cards, and I bet I could get him requalified if I was so inclined. I showed him as a Frieisian, but I know of others who did well with a Fell or Dales pony breed assignment.

      I'd love to see your Larry! Like the Friesian, the Shetland is another one of North Light's better molds. I know I would gladly own a whole conga line of them!

      In regards to the fragility, I do want to add that it's not just the resin itself, it's also the paint. These guys get rubs sooooooo easily. They look great on the shelf, but they don't hold up well when handled. :(

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  6. Wonderful! I love your North Lights, I have recently developed a weakness for them, too.
    Could you do me a favour and tell me how tall Wishbone is at the ears or the withers?
    Thanks a lot!

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    1. Wishbone is one of my littlest adult North Lights. He measures about 5 1/2" at the ears and 4 1/2" at the withers. His mold is called the New Forest Pony, and he is a special order flea bitten grey color. When the models were still being produced in the UK, it was possible to special order colors, kind of like you can do with Stones now.

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    2. Thank you for your quick answer! That is just the measures I had hoped for. Now I am gonna cross my fingers that the one I set my eyes on is still there. :)
      (That one is an old CM in need of TLC, though)

      Wishbone's colour looks awesome. North Light made some very cool OF colours, I think.

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  7. If you look at the Fresian and the Fjord and look at the pictures really closely, they look similar in conformation, hoof placement, and neck curve!

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    1. It's not just those two--there's definitely a "family resemblance" between lots of the North Light models. I don't know this for sure, but I'm assuming it's because they're all the work of one sculptor.

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