Mold Feature: Breyer Legionario III
By Samantha Kroese
Since Legionario has been and always will be my favorite Breyer mold I have researched him and own almost every one of this mold. I thought I would share my knowledge about it for everyone.
Legionario III is a traditional sized Breyer that depicts a male Spanish horse doing the Spanish Walk. He was introduced by Breyer into the line as Legionario III in 1979 and was sculpted by Chris Hess.
He was first released in the white-grey color (often called Alabaster by Breyer) you see above as #68 Legionario III. He ran from 1979 to 1990 in this color.
In 1991 came a dashing bay: #851 Spanish Pride, who is a bay with one fore sock (on raised leg). Spanish Pride is one of the most sought after of this mold both because he is older and more difficult to find in good condition (ran for less years) and because it is hard to find him for sale. He only ran for one year (1991-1992).
Next was Medieval Knight, who ran from 1993-1994, a stunning Mulberry Roan (Chestnut going Grey). Interestingly enough the term Mulberry Roan was used to describe Andalusians that were born Chestnut and turned Grey (because chestnut was not allowed at the time).
1995-1996 brought this stunning creature. This is #918 Promenade, Andalusian. He is bay silver (bay with flaxen mane/tail) with four socks and a blaze/white muzzle. Of course he is a “Breyer Color” which means he doesn’t quite accurately display the true genetic make up of a real silver horse (the points dilute to chocolate brown instead of black on a bay silver horse). But with Original Finish Breyers you often get colors that aren’t ‘quite’ right.
Interestingly while Bay Silver has not been proven to exist in the Andalusian breed it has been found in Lusitano and Lusitano x Andalusian horses.
There was also the exact same model released on QVC with the special run #707995, Promenade. Though the model was identical to the regular release.
1997-1998 brought us #977 Galante, Lusitano. He is chestnut with on sock (raised foreleg) and a blaze/snip/white muzzle. While Breyer called him a Lusitano, there are now PRE Andalusians who are also registered that are chestnut though this was forbidden for many years.
#1143 Lavrador was done in 2000-2002 as a portrait of the stunning real Lusitano stallion Lavrador. He is a stunning light golden buckskin with a metallic sheen to his paint. I believe he was one of the first Breyers released with the metallic sheen.
2003-2007 brought us the horse inspired by Robert Vavra’s work, #1217 Majestad. Majestad is a shaded white grey (with more leg/body/mane shading than the original alabaster). He came with a poppy garland and Robert Vavra’s CD “Horses of the Wind”.
#1338 was Legionario in a light dapple grey (with darker points) who came in a very festive set called the Spanish Flameco Set. He was adorned with a fancy Spanish bridle, saddle and breastcollar. He was accompanied by Brenda Breyer in a Spanish Flameco dance costume.
From 1979 to 1981 there was a set #3070 Legionario III Gift Set. This featured a model that was pretty much identical to the #58 Alabaster only he came with a book “The Andalusian; a rare breed”. It is almost impossible to tell if you have the gift set horse unless he is still in the box with his book.
1991’s Breyerfest saw the Gold Florentine Legionario as a raffle model - #415091. 21 were made. He is a glossy gold florentine (dappled gold decorator) with two rear socks.
One of the most sought after Legionario III special runs is the 1995 West Coast Jamboree horse #410395 El Campeador. He was made for the now defunct West Coast Jamboree which was a live show event held in California every year. There were only 875 made and he is very difficult to find in mint condition so this makes him a very sought after horse. On top of this he is a stunning dark dapple grey with black points.
1999 brought us two very nice special runs. First there was:
#700299 Eclipse was the 1999 Fall Show Special and was available through Breyer dealers at various Fall Breyer Horse events. He is a solid true black (no brown shading).
Then there was Grane of Gotterdammerung, who was a special run for 1999’s Equitana. 2000 were made. He is a silver filigree decorator (dappled metallic silver with white points). He came with a hang tag with a story depicting Brunhilde’s mystical mount from the German musical opera titled Gotterdammerung (Twilight of the Gods). He has a red speck in his eye that is supposed to be the flames from the opera reflecting in his eye.
#702597 was a Toys R Us Special Run in 1997 named Stardust (not to be confused with the unicorn of the same name). Stardust is a medium dapple grey with huge circular dapples, and four stockings. Somewhere between 4000 and 5000 were made.
In 2004 Breyer released Legionario in a reddish flaxen chestnut as #710204 a Volunteer/Judge’s model/Live Auction model. There were about 70 made. He has one sock and is darker body wise than the other flaxen chestnut Special Run that will be mentioned below.
Horses with no numbers:
(None pictured due to them being so rare I do not have any of them currently in my possession however some pictures not included in this article maybe found on the Breyer Identification site here: http://www.identifyyourbreyer.com/identify/Legionario.htm).
Bourbon Street is a 2002 Breyer Door Prize/Auction model. This is a decorator color on Legionario inspired by Mardi Gras. He is a dark Lavender body with bright gold mane/tail/hooves. He sports four stockings and a bald face.
In 1985 there was a JC Penney SR Flocked version of the original Alabaster sold as “Circus Set with Ringmaster”. He is a white flocked Legionario with a circus costume. He sports a hair mane/tail and glass eyes. He came with Brenda Breyer in a ringmaster’s costume. This horse is so rare I have never seen one for sale in all my twenty-one years in the hobby.
Also in 1985 there was a medium flaxen chestnut (differentiated from the Breyerfest SR by having a lighter body and four stockings) released for various mail order companies. Also known as the Congress SR Chestnut. About 900 were made. While he is seen for sale now and then he is normally always priced in the $100 or above range and it is difficult to find him in mint condition because of his age.
In 2011 Breyer released Legionario in a very limited run of 1 for the Breyerfest Test Run Auction. He is a red dunalino (dun with reddish points and white mane/tail) Tobiano with four stockings.
There are also two known other test models (documented). One is a Semi Gloss Black with 3 stockings (all but right hind leg). The other is a red dun with three socks.
Now that I’ve covered all the runs so you can identify them let’s talk about the model itself and what to show it as.
The model is definitely Iberian/Spanish in appearance.
It is doing the Spanish Walk which is a trick or circus move that is loosely connected to Dressage. The horse walks very slowly and picks up each front foot in a very high exaggerated movement. It is a move taught to Lusitanos and Andalusians and considered to be part of the Spanish Culture. It is taught to the horse to open up shoulder movement. Legionario is caught in the process of lifting his leg high before striking out forward for the movement. The foot would then extend, flung forward in a strike-like movement before being dropped back to the ground.
The mold is distinctly an Iberian breed so it excels at being shown as an Andalusian or Lusitano (mostly depending on color). Odd colors not found in either of those breeds can sometimes show well as a Spanish Mustang. Breeds crossed with either the Andalusian or the Lusitano would also be possibilities. Sometimes he is also shown as a Lippizan though he suits Andalusian or Lusitano much better. Because he is so typey it is hard to get ‘creative’ with him.
(All horses pictured are in the collection of Samantha Kroese. All photos were taken by Samantha Kroese and copyrighted by her. They may not be 'borrowed' for any reason without express written permission by Samantha Kroese.)