Triple Mountain is excited to be the first retailer in the U.S. to carry Wia brand models! Wia is based in Germany… just a few miles away from where Brigitte Eberl lives, so you may recognize her sculpts in the lineup.
They are producing beautiful models in 1:18 scale, the same size as Schleich and CollectA, in a similar, but slightly harder material. The models are solid, not hollow, and the paint jobs are really nice for this scale! Check out my favorite, Vincenzo in grey, below, and others in this article:
WIA is also currently producing 1:9 scale solid resin models, including Fair Lady, a cantering Thoroughbred-cross (available currently in three colors) and the special edition Isabell Werth's Belantis, a stunning dapple grey German Sport Horse, shown below. Some of the proceeds from Belantis's sale go to charity - More info can be found on his item page on our site:
Wia is a family-owned business just as Triple Mountain is, and as we were working with them to bring their lovely models to America, I was delighted to get to know Nicolette, the owner of Wia. She is a lot of fun to talk with. I asked if she’d be willing to share a little about herself and her brand so that North American collectors can get to know Wia better, and she generously agreed. Here is our conversation:
I understand you're a collector - Do you have a favorite mold or breed?
Yes yes yes yes. I am a collector. I love animal figurines as long as I can remember. Horses where always my favorite in those lots. I did have several Breyer as a kid. Later it was not so easy to get them here. A friend had the Running Mare, Running Foal, Grazing Mare and the Fighting Stallion in bay. I ADORED them.
I would say a have a large collection, but not as large as many may imagine. I am a Congaline-Collector.
All the molds I collect are my favorite ones, it is hard to pick one. A mold does not have to be perfect, it just needs to speak to me.
Same goes for breeds, I do not have a favorite breed. I like an Arabian as much as Shire, for totally different reasons.
What mold do you have the most of in your personal collection?
I think currently it is the Lonesome Glory, but I would need to count them. I have also a large bunch of the old Five Gaiter, Sham and the standing Saddlebred stallion. Maybe Marabella? I really need to count, hehe.
What made you decide to create your own line of models?
There is nothing more special than to create something. It started small with special editions and grew from there.
This is kind of addictive and when you have friends to work with on those things it is so much fun. Challenging for sure, but fun!
What was the first model you created for sale under your own brand?
The first horse was a Resin in 1:9 Salome, the Arabian mare from Brigitte.
How did you come to work with Brigitte Eberl and use her lovely sculptures?
We know Brigitte for many years, I met her the first time in the 1980s. :D We discussed doing affordable horses for several years, but it took some time to find a factory to work with.
Brigitte always thought it was sad that kids where at her booth on several fairs and loved her horses so much, but could not afford them and they are no items to play with. The Resins are easy to break and ever tried to take 30 cm Bronze to a friend for a play date?
After Bella Rose we were sure we found somebody to work with. It still took some time till Gustav was ready, but not even Rome was built in one day. :D
Who else in the family is involved in the daily operations?
Not so much in daily operations anymore, but my parents helped a LOT! I can still relay on them if needed. I have several friends who always help.
What has been your biggest challenge in manufacturing and how have you solved it?
Oh, we had many challenges over the years. Not really sure which was the biggest. Every one has its own story, many never made it past our warehouse!
This starts from totally butchered figurines, messy paint jobs, wrong shipments and so on.
It took us some time to find a factory that could produce the quality we wanted to archive. Still there are challenges and we are learning with each new mold.
The biggest challenge lately was the packaging.
As most of you know the real start to go from one horse every other year was Gustav and when you ordered the horses you saw a bit different packing with every new horse.
The full blister on Vincenzo is the latest attempt and the biggest success so far. There are nearly no breaks anymore (just a handful ears within the whole shipment). The other thing is that sometimes the legs still bend a bit sometimes.
We are working on solutions to reduce this as well. This is something you cannot solve to 100%, because of the material. This is something every brand has to deal with. It can be thin legs, tails, antlers, you name it. Those rubber mixtures start reacting at approx. 26C° (80 F), this can easily be reached. Even if the whole room does not feel so hot, there are always spots that can reach those temperatures. Sometimes it is enough to have a figurine sitting on an external hard drive and so on. Most other brands have solved (or tried to solve) this with thick legs. We do not want to go out of proportion. So this is a small price to pay, because everybody can fix this ‘problem’ in a minute. Just gently heat the bent part of a figurine (no matter if WIA, Papo Schleich, etc.) and the bent parts will go back to their original posture, no manipulation of the figurine necessary. Just make sure that while cooling there is no pressure on any of the heated parts. To speed up the process you can always use cold water. If the figurines are close to a heat source it is possible you have to repeat this from time to time.
Which of the current WIA releases is your favorite and what do you love about it?
The one we are working on is always my favorite, because of the amount of time that goes into this process.
I hear you have more new molds currently starting production... What can we expect to see from WIA in the next couple of years?
Yes, there is a lot in different stages of production. From ideas, to sketches, rough draft sculpts to finished ones, scans and even already finished molds.
The next one is in production while I try not to bore you too much with my answers. There will be something new with this horse as well. Several things new thinking of the horse.
It is the first one not done by Brigitte, it is a new sculpture (so not a mini me Resin). The rest is a bit of a secret.
We have several more Brigitte Resins in line for production as well, she is also working on more. Some new ones as well as mini versions.
In addition we have also a more or less new Artist, she never released as Resin as far as I know, but she is well known for her beautiful customs. We hope to have at least one of her horses done this year as well.
We aim to release at least one new mold about every 3-4 months. This is not set in stone and may change with new challenges, but we finally have enough material at the factory to have substitute if needed.
Many have asked if the horses are limited editions, so far none of those are. Still we have no plans to order more of those colors when they are sold out. Yes, we will use the molds again in new colors, we already have some planned, but it will take some time for us to use them, cause our main focus is to provide new molds and not the same horse over and over. When there is a nice variety to pick from than we talk about bringing some back.
This does not mean we will not use a mold much sooner for a real special and limited run!
Do you have more 1:9 scale resin sculptures coming as well, and can we hope to see more colors on the existing ones?
This is also always possible, but our main focus will stay on those 1:18 figurines.
There is so much more to the 1:18 world than only horses ;)
Do you have real horses, or have you had them in the past?
Yes, I did have a real horse, but this was a long time ago and I did not have her long at all. Her name was Bianca and she was a Gelderlander Mix. I did ride for many years and I had formal lessons at a riding school for about 15 years.
I do not ride anymore, not because I would not like to do it again, but I have no time and everybody with real horses knows how time consuming this hobby is.
I hope you’re as excited as I am to hear about the new molds they’re working on! You can be sure we’ll be bringing them to the U.S. as soon as they’re ready. I have been quite impressed with the paint jobs on the sculpts so far, and think you’ll enjoy them, too. You can shop the current WIA models, both 1:9 resins and 1:18 plastic, here: