Adventures in Repairing Bryer Horses
Posted on August 11, 2023 by Aywren
One of the fun aspects of collecting models that are pre-owned and sometimes vintage is that some of the horses need little repairs here and there. The most notorious of these that I’ve seen so far is a plastic stand that commonly came with certain models to help it balance properly.
It looks something like this:
As you can probably deduce, this stand is rather flimsy. It cracks. It breaks. But worst of all, that tiny plastic peg that is supposed to lodge into the horse’s hoof to balance the model often breaks. And it often breakes off and gets stuck IN the hoof.
So, while you can get some very nice replacement stands – like this one from Etsy – if the peg is broken in the hoof, it does you no good. You have to remove the peg first.
My first fixer upper was Nutcracker Prince, a holiday horse produced in 2009. So, this was a 14-year-old model by the time I bought him.
The auction description said that he had his stand, but it was glued to his hoof. That’s not idea, but I figured for the price (it was a lot cheaper than others of the same model), I could live with that. After all, he’s just going to be a shelf display horse for me.
However, when he arrived in the mail, the stand was not glued any longer. Maybe the trip had dislodged it. But whatever the case, it was no longer attached, and I could see that the peg was stuck in the hoof as well.
Not only that, but you could see the glue all over the plastic of the stand, which did not look attractive at all. So, I knew I had some work to do.
Along side of that, the bridle had come unclamped – which was easy enough to fix as the clamp still was functional, though I had to take extreme care.
First, I used Goo Gone to try and remove as much of the piled-up glue from the stand as I could. It didn’t get quite as much as I would have liked, but it was better than nothing.
Then I got to work with some pearl white acrylic paint. Since the horse was pearl white and this was a holiday horse, I felt that the concept of a “snow” stand would fit just fine.
In the end, the stand looked something like this.
While it wasn’t perfect, it did cover up most of the glue. Plus, the horse’s hoof would be in the middle to cover it up even more. Then, I had the challenge of finding out what would stick the plastic hoof to the painted surface and keep it more or less balanced.
This was the hard part. While I didn’t really want to glue the hoof back on, I did try hot glue. No luck. Double-sided tape didn’t work well either. I didn’t have any super glue on hand, and in the end, I had to settle with using museum wax on both the stand hoof and the back balance hoof – which keeps it stuck down to the shelf.
While it works, it’s not perfect. And it also got across the importance of having a peg that’s sticking up through the front hoof for ultimate balance.
Still, he’s standing and not leaning against the shelf, and I consider that a win.
My second horse fix was yet another holiday horse, this one produced in 2017 – Winter Wonderland. The auction description said that he was missing his base. That’s fine. I ordered one of the nice wood ones from Etsy to replace it.
What the auction didn’t tell me, but I only found out once the horse arrived was… the base was missing and the peg was stuck in the hoof.
Dang it! Now I couldn’t use the replacement stand unless I figured out how to get the peg out.
Looking at videos, I knew I could drill this peg out if I was careful. So, I bought a small craft drill/buffer and did just that!
I was a little nervous because I’d never done something like this before – it was my first time working with a small hand drill. Also, the hoof was pretty delicate, so I couldn’t drill too far in. But in the end, I got it drilled out and the new stand inserted!
I stuck a little museum wax around the peg to secure it in without sealing it in permanently, and now the horse stands just fine on his own!
One day I may go back and do the same for Nutcracker Prince – get him a wood stand, drill out that peg and toss out the plastic one I painted. But for now, the horses are fine, so I’m leaving them be.