Friday, 7 September 2012

A history of Julip and why I collect them.

It was the Utterly Horses Hullabaloo the other week and being held at the same time in the same venue was the official Julip Live Show. I would have loved to have gone but it was on just as I was due back at college so there was no way I could have got there and back in time without missing the first day.

Luckily for me however, a fellow collector had filmed Julip owner Annabel's talk on the history of the company and has very graciously allowed me to share it with the rest of the world. It's a little difficult to hear at times but proves to be a very interesting look into the oldest model horse brand in the world!


I realised that this was the perfect opportunity to explain just what the big draw, to me at least, there is to these quirky little horses seeing as I'm known primarily for my unwavering loyalty and addiction to them. I'd typed this out about a year ago for something on a forum that I've since forgotten about but thought it still rang true.

Why I Collect Julips.
When I first got seriously involved with this hobby in 2005, all I could think about was realism and so Breyers became something of an obsession. Living in Scotland, there aren’t quite so many retailers of them nearby (although there are more now) so whenever I went down south on holiday I’d buy them up eagerly – even ones that I didn’t even like that much but they were Breyers so I couldn’t afford not to get them!

Would Be Weston
Even though I don't actively collect much other than Julips these days,
EA Would-Be-Weston is one of my never sells.

 I’d heard of Julips from seeing adverts for the HOTYs in magazines but I didn’t really pay them too much attention, assuming that they were aimed at kids and weren’t really all that popular. (back then I just followed the majority of collectors and went with what was all the rage at the time) I didn’t realise that there was a difference between the mass produced plastic HOTY range I’d seen and the handmade, poseable Julip Originals that I now can’t get enough of. I don’t remember who was painting them at that stage but the paintjobs were pretty plain and unappealing so none of them really tickled my fancy and I didn’t realise that you could do special orders.
Years passed and I started to get really into photography which led to my first photo stories with Breyer Trads and Schleich scale models.

Alex hacks Jack out
EA Calico Jack, ridden by Alex

I really enjoyed setting up scenes and making tack and props and things but something was missing.
I couldn’t put my finger on it but there was definitely something. It took me a while but I eventually pinpointed the problem. While the models I used were realistic, they remained in a static position; virtually scuppering any plans of using the same model for both a relaxed stable scene and a flat out galloping cross country one!

Stefan jumped on.
Sherrick the Schleich custom is still one of my favourites, despite being one of my oldest!

I toyed with the idea of painting an array of models in different poses but for horses with more complicated patterns it would end up being more trouble than it was worth. I carried on regardless but all the while I was thinking of the alternatives. More interesting colours were emerging from the Julip workshop by this point and the day I saw Espiridion, a gorgeous mulberry grey Lipizzaner - one of Georgie’s special orders - I was convinced that I had to get a Julip, at least to see what they were like. My parents (mainly my mum – my dad doesn’t really mind what I buy, so long as he’s not paying for them!) were against them from the start because of the price and especially seeing as I could get ‘one of those nice realistic ones’ for a lot less.
I wasn’t sure what to expect or indeed what to order so when a Lippi was listed on the spares page (in the days before they put up photos) as a ‘shaded battleship grey with chocolate mane and tail’ I just had to get him as he sounded just like Espiridion. Although he turned out to look absolutely nothing like what I’d expected, I loved him instantly and it wasn’t long before Tamarind as he became known, was joined by several others and the EA Equestrian herd started to grow.

Tamarind meets his sire, Harecroft Espiridion.
Tam met his spiritual 'sire' Espiridion last year at the 2011 Richmond Live.
As you can see they don't look particularly alike! XD

 I soon realised that what my photo stories had really been lacking in was character. Although they had personalities in the stories, on the shelves they were little more than ornaments and often I’d forget names or breeds I’d assigned them for showing and stories alike. The Julips on the other hand... Even though at their core they are little more than wired rubber horses, each of them has a distinct individuality about them – some are quiet and calm...

Green & Brown headcollar
EAE 'Callisto'
...others are bolshy and a bit difficult...

'Cool Crusader' AKA Roscoe - that's his long suffering owner Dawn there...

...some like getting attention from their favourite person...

EAE 'Freya'd at the Edges'

...or people...

Plaiting Simba
EAE 'Simba'

Some are full of beans...

EAE 'Dancing with Shadows'

...while others are full of rather more in the way of pigheadedness.

'Archipelago' doing his best impression of a dead fly.
No matter who they are, if I catch their eye from across the room it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Being able to order customs or ‘special orders’ is a brilliant advantage and many of mine were ordered, not as portraits of real horses I know (although that is of course possible too) but of characters I had waiting in my head that needed a body to inhabit. Making tack and props for them is great fun and especially bridle making because you have the added bonus of being able to fit them with an actual mouthpiece.
Being poseable means that they are much more adaptable for photo stories and things but the main reason I collect them, when all’s said and done is simply because I like them.

If you’re a hardcore resin collector who lives for realism then Julips probably aren’t for you but don’t just dismiss them after one look, give them a chance, they might surprise you. In recent years the quality of the paintjobs has shot up and they’ll attempt pretty much any colour you like.

 If you’re only used to one kind of model then Julip Originals will come as a bit of a shock to the system but they are scarily addictive and you can’t just have one...

Collector's tables at the Oxford Live 2010


  1. This is a wonderful post. If we had them over here, too, I would have been all over those, too. I love how much personality your horses have in your photostories and I totally understand the point about the static poses- that is what bugs me about my Breyers, too.

    1. *prods towards Julip website*

      They ship worldwiiiiiiide! ;)

    2. They do? Must not look, must not look... >.<

    3. *prods again*

      Oh it never hurts to looooooook. ;)

    4. You're wicked. XD

      Okay, so I looked, I am properly tempted (but out of funds this month, alas)... (Mostly I blame "Granny Lene", who would looove to have more horses her size (Classic))- I kind of dread the possibilites she's have then...

      But I do have a question- are those "newer" horses (as opposed to the gallery of "originals") that are currently available somewhat poseable, too? On some pictures they looked as if they weren't.

    5. *grins*

      Oh well clearly she'd provide the best home... ;D

      Ah, no, the HOTY range (Horse of the Year) are mass produced in plastic without the wires that give the latex Originals the posebility. They're more like Schleichs in that you *can* bend their legs etc but they don't hold the pose.

      I made a video to explain it (badly) a while back.

    6. Oh thanks for making this clear! Your video really helped. Well, then I should probably save up some and then go haunt your Ebay. *big grin*

  2. Good post! Your Julips are adorable. I love the pictures you take and how each one has it's own personality. :)

    The static poses (and even the lack of "real" manes and tails) on Breyers bothers me too. Don't get me wrong though... I love my plastic ponies. Most of them have names, personalities and elaborate backstories that I write up when I'm bored. :D

    Are Julips classic scale? I've noticed that I'm really drawn to that scale because of my (more quiet) interest in dollhouses. It's much easier to find 1/12 scale things than 1/9! :D

    1. Aww, thanks! :D That's exactly why I love them!

      Yup, they're 1/12th...roughly. It varies from model to model as they're all different sizes. I tend to use Doctor Who figures and customised doll's house/Julip people as well as my own handmade ones so they don't look out of scale. Heidi Ott dolls I've found look way too big on them unless you have them all as ponies rather than horses.

    2. i love all your ponies!!<3333
      Wish i knew you in real life :(
      my julip mare says hay sexy geldings;)

  3. Hannah Mill.18/9/13 6:01 am

    Ever since I saw your Julip horses I've been literally obsessed - you make them seem so amazing, which they are! But really I'm only torturing myself, they aren't available here in NZ and buying them from here would cost double what they already are, without shipping etc! Oh well, I'll keep myself busy with your photostories and such for now, which by the way, keep it up, they're epic!

    1. D'awww, thank you! :D Yeah, I know of a couple of collectors down your way but `I think the postage does take its toll. :(
      I haven't really had the time to make any photostories recently thanks to college but I have plenty of ideas for when I do... :P