Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Great: I saw a pair of shoes at the Salvation Army, and suddenly I found myself inspired. Now I think I have an idea for the Costume Contest, when I’ve barely started my paperwork – or anything else.

I’m blaming it on the cold medication. Usually it makes me groggy and tired; I’m not sure “sudden fits of creative inspiration” is an improvement though, given that I don’t think I’ll have the time to exploit it! (It will be a few more days before I am fully functional, health-wise.)

According to the paperwork sent to BreyerFest vendors, the Decorator release’s name is Newmarket: I don’t know if this is the first time we’ve gotten the name of a BreyerFest release before we’ve seen the release itself, but I am still foggy from this cold so my memory may be mistaken.

The paperwork also – inadvertently, or not – revealed that the Proud Arabian Mare Sierra Rose is the likely Gloss/Matte split model, which I was not expecting.  It will be a larger release, then? That is interesting.

I’ll be happy with whatever I get, if I decide to get her. (My budget is still up in the air.)

Incidentally, these Vendor Packs have fascinated me for a while. It’s not the contents – it’s basically just one of each BreyerFest release. And it’s not what they were designed for – vendors and other designated attendees who wouldn’t otherwise be able to pick up their timed ticket models.

It’s the convenience.

It’s been a long time since I endeavored to get all the BreyerFest releases: cost is one issue, and space is the other. But I know there is a certain subsection of hobbyists who still do, and how easy and convenient would it be to have some of those sets set aside for them, too? Then they could spend the rest of BreyerFest participating in all the other stuff that gets in the way of line-standing.

However, if a program like that is opened to the general public, the potential for abuse is high, especially if there are rarities involved – like a high-demand lower-piece count item, or rare and random oddballs thrown into the mix.

I could see it being implemented for the One-Day Stablemates, though: a couple hundred prepacked sets of the four could come in mighty handy in keeping the line moving during the Friday morning rush at the Help Desk! (Been there, done that!)

Now that the Early Bird deadline has passed, it won’t be much longer before we’ll get to see them – presumably right after full picture of the Newmarket is released.

With the floodgates apparently opened for Hagen-Renaker releases, I’m curious to see if any of the G1 Stablemate Thoroughbreds – the Mare, and any of the portrait models like Swaps, Citation or Native Dancer – will be utilized.

It doesn’t matter to me either way: whether I get them or not depends entirely on the answers to two questions: Do I like them? Can I afford them?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Beautiful, or Useful?

This is one of my favorite quotes, from the Victorian writer and artist William Morris, that I hope requires no explanation:
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. 
It’s a good quote to keep in mind while cleaning, decluttering, or redecorating!

The quote came to mind a while back when I was skimming through some discussions of the Surprise models, and what constitutes a popular mold. Is a mold that gets put into production frequently – at least as frequently as the Lonesome Glory has in the past 18 years – actually popular, in the same ways the Traditional Silver or Lady Phase are?

I don’t necessarily think so.

The most frequently produced Breyer molds – like every other object in your home – can also be categorized as either useful, or beautiful. The ones considered “useful” fit a certain type or fill a certain niche; while those considered “beautiful” are considered aesthetically desirable, independent of any other qualities it might have.

I consider the Lonesome Glory mold to be more of the former, than the latter. It fills a niche – a more modern mold that represents a racing condition Traditional Thoroughbred jogging up to the gate. The mold also has a relatively small “footprint” – it doesn’t take up nearly as much space as a Ruffian, Cigar or Smarty Jones does, and requires no base – but it’s still in an active (nonstanding) pose.

That I think explains why the Lonesome Glory mold has had so many releases over its relatively short life span. It filled a niche, irrespective of its aesthetic qualities: for 18 or so years, it has been Breyer’s go-to mold for a racehorse.

The Carrick mold now fills a similar niche – and is newer – which is why I think we’ll be seeing more of him and a little bit less of Lonesome Glory over the next few years.

For those of us who’ve been around the block a dozen or few times, the Lonesome Glory – released in 2000 – may seem modern, but to many younger or less experienced collectors, he’s positively ancient.

I think back to my experience collecting, starting in (ulp!) 1974: the Traditional Man o’ War mold had only been in production since 1967 – so, about seven years – and most of the other Traditionals that filled the line back then were not that much older.

And when I “officially” entered the hobby in 1978, the “Old Mold” Mare and Foal had only been introduced 20 years earlier! It does not seem so deep a distance in retrospect, but back then it felt like an eternity.

Back to bed for me; I’ve now moved on to the coughing portion of the cold, and my family would prefer that I do that in the privacy of my sickbed…

Friday, April 13, 2018

Hitting Jackpots

I know some folks were expecting an actual portrait of Buchiko, but BreyerFest Portrait Models tend to be actual Guest Horses or performers. Some earlier Guest Horse Portrait Models were made as Ticket Specials – like The Lark Ascending – but Reeves has now relegated most of those to Store Specials.

That makes sense, because casual attendees and One-Day ticket purchasers who might not be able to snag a Celebration Horse model might still have the (theoretical) opportunity to purchase a model of a different Guest Horse.

(I still think the Scamper Reissue is going to be way more popular than most hobbyists realize – the original release ran forever for a reason!)

I like it! But. 

I ended up selling off my 2015 Lonesome Glory Quelle Surprise, and I’m on the verge of selling my 2016 Bozeman, who has a similar color if not pattern. I thought I’d love him, but like has not yet turned to love, and I’m doubting it’ll happen soon…

I guess I’ll have to wait until I see an By a Nose in person. And see what else is being offered: there are still the Stablemates, the Decorator release, and the multitudes of Pop-Up store merchandise to come.

The Sunday Raffle Horse Jackpot is pretty faboo, but he is (a) a Glossy (b) Leopard Appaloosa (c) with halo spots (d) Raffle Model on the (e) Hot New Bristol Mold.

In other words, his name is very appropriate: I have a better chance of finding a five-dollar Decorator at the flea market between now and then. Or being hit by a meteorite.

(Note: We did have a “close” call on some meteorites a few months ago. Decorators? Not so much. As in ever.)

But I’ll put in my tickets, all the same. Every time I think my luck is the absolute pits, I have to think back to last summer and the five-dollar box of Hagen-Renakers.

I had some additional stuff I wanted to say about the Lonesome Glory mold, but the brain is starting to get a bit foggy. I appear to have contracted a rapidly escalating cold, and my body is telling me it’s already made plans for the weekend.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Clearer Picture

I’ve been busy. Looks like Breyer’s been busy, too; they posted a blenderized version of the next BreyerFest Special Run, and they’ve got another Test Piece Raffle going.

Speculation seems to think the Special Run is a Buchiko-style extreme sabino on the Lonesome Glory; if that’s the case, I am intrigued. I’ll talk about it after they do the reveal later in the week, since I doubt I’ll be able to de-blenderize the photo any better than anyone else has at this point.

We do have a much clearer picture of the Red Roan Clydesdale Test Run, and golly he seems familiar:

Oh yeah, he’s in the Test Piece Archive graphic link on the Breyer web site!

Do I want?

Vintage mold + Red Roan + Blue and Silver ribbons (my stable colors) = Yes, I want.

As always, I am mildly amused and annoyed by the general community commentary about his desirability (or lack thereof) and the price.

These are actual Vintage Test Colors used for the actual testing of colors, and they have a rock-solid provenance: these are both qualities that many collectors find inherently desirable – regardless of the age of the mold, the color or condition.

And the ones that have been resold (the majority of them, sigh) have sold for significantly more than their $850 price tags.

The fact that he’s been used as part of a graphic on the Breyer web site makes him even more appealing to me personally, because you know how fascinated/obsessed I am with owning Photography Samples. You know, like my delightfully horrifying Mariah’s Boon:

He was the exact model used to illustrate the Mariah’s Boon Celebration Model on the Breyer web site in 2012:

I am somewhat indifferent to the Othello mold – he’s not a favorite of mine, but I don’t have any major issues with him, either – but I love that guy to pieces. Weird and Historical is a hard combo to me to pass up! (And it is frequently what gets me into trouble at the flea market...)

Regardless of my feelings toward the Clydesdale, whether or not he’ll ever get to sit on the shelf next to my Jugga-thello is not up to me.

My tax bill says I shouldn’t even enter for him at all, but I’ll just cross that bridge if and when I come to it.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Little Surprises

I am absolutely, positively not giving any thought to this year’s surprise model – dubbed the “Dark Horse Surprise”. My speculating powers will take a rest on this one. For me, it will be the complete surprise it ought to be.

I will give my yearly caveats, though: it’s not gonna be a Lady Phase, Weather Girl, Othello, or Silver. They were already used in Treasure Hunts and Gambler’s Choices, folks. Move along.

Speaking of surprises, I almost completely forgot that I bought some of those Pocket Box surprise thingies late last year during a shopping binge. They’re still here, and still unopened:

(There is no Cat one because they weren’t available yet when I bought them last Fall.)

I was reminded because one of my local Meijer stores also had some Yowies in their Easter clearance. They were half price, and having heard about how cute the figurines were, I thought I might as well add a few to my discount Easter basket. (Along with a bunch of Cadbury Caramel Eggs: No matter how many times I talk to my local “rep”, I always get shorted!)

Even though I’ve participated in a few of those videos (long story), I still don’t quite get the whole YouTube “unboxing” thing. I understand why opening boxes and packages is a thrill – that’s most of the reason I buy unsorted box lots on eBay and Craigslist – but it’s something I’d rather do or watch in person, not from afar.

Since I now find myself with a tiny little window of extra time here (and April is being April, sigh) I’m going to do a little unboxing post of my own. First, the Mini Whinnies Surprise:

Blue Roan Draft Horse Prince! I love roans, and was hoping for a Draft Horse, so this one’s a win-win. And now, the Pocket Box critters:

The Dogs: Alano Espanol (Spanish Bulldog) and Shar-Pei. I was kind of hoping for the Fox Terrier (naturally) but these are cute enough.

The Animals: Fox and Squirrel. The Squirrel is nice, but the Fox looks like a Corgi puppy wearing dog booties.

The Aquarium: Manta Ray and Barracuda. I like these a lot. Props to the packaging designer for making the matchbox look like a mini aquarium!

And finally, the Yowies:

Western Lowland Gorilla, Chimpanzee, and something called a Gnash. The figurines are very high quality, though I could have done without the cartoon creature.

(The chocolate is largely uneaten because I am well beyond my daily quota; I had heard reports that the chocolate was not-so-great, but I didn’t find the bits I sampled to be particularly awful.)

Will I be buying more of these surprise packages in the future? Eh, maybe.

I do want to get one of the Pocket Box Cats for my archives. That was one of my reasons for buying these bags in the first place.

The Aquarium ones are really well done and look like the critters they are meant to be, so if I ever have to order one or two to round out an online order, they’d be the ones I’d go with. They’ll fit right in with my aquarium furniture collection too, whenever I get around to setting it up properly.

If there are any Yowies left when the Easter clearance hits 75 or 90 percent, I might pick up a few more of those. At that price, I will be able to resell any duplicates at BreyerFest out of my Dollar Table section.

But the rest? I wouldn’t turn them down if they turned up in a gift basket or grab bag, but I’m not going to put any active effort into getting more. The local flea markets and thrift stores do a more-than-adequate job of providing me with little – and sometimes, not so little – surprises life needs.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Surprise - Another Palomino Ruffian!

Well, that is interesting. The Dead Heat is going to have variations, but by color, not finish or mold:

It’s been a while since Reeves let us know about a BreyerFest Gambler’s Choice model ahead of time. The very first one, in fact: the Quarter Horse Geldings in 2009.

Even then they didn’t clue us in on the extra rare ones – the Charcoal, Smoke and Silver Filigree – and this is why I can’t completely dismiss the possibility of other variations (long tail/short tail, or Gloss/Matte) of Dead Heat showing up.

The Traditional Ruffian mold hasn’t come in a lot of lighter colors or dilutes, but she should, because I think she looks darn good in them. It’s a nice a visual antidote to all the darker colors and more conservative patterns she’s been released in so far.

But I can see the Palomino variation is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea – in fact, I see a lot of features and details others may shake their heads disapprovingly at: a Vintage “orangey” hue, unstriped gray hooves, a pearly mane and tail, and blue eyes?

No surprise here: I like her, a lot. Aside from all her weird and funky details, she could be a big sister to my two Classic Palomino Ruffians!

I am unsure if I’ll be penciling her in as a possible addition to my herd: it’s partly the budget thing, partly the size thing, but also because my luck on getting the Gambler’s Choice I want has been rather dicey in recent years.

If they do a 50/50 split, a Chestnut one won’t be that hard to trade, but I’m all about minimizing the hassles of BreyerFest this year.

This is also why I decided to forego the Customs Contest a while ago – that, and the fact that the body I wanted (a Carrick) is still too new and too expensive for me. I just can’t imagine paying more than $10-15 for a body that I might end up ruining completely anyway.

(I’m the same way with quilting supplies, incidentally. Having to pay more than a couple bucks for a yard of fabric practically gives me the vapors.)

I’m happier experimenting with the body box leftovers anyway: I’m currently eyeing a Standing Stock Horse Foal with a broken leg and a dinged up Mesteno’s Mother body as potential victims, when the weather gets warmer.

Both of them came out of that doomed box lot I bought a while back: they’ve already been written off as a loss, and a Mesteno and one of the lesser Hess molds didn’t have much salvage value to begin with. I can mess with them to my heart’s content, guilt-free.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Buckskin Smoky Variation

The Web Special Calvin has reappeared on the Breyer web site, confirming my suspicion that he didn’t sell out. I didn’t think he’d reappear until BreyerFest, though, so there must be enough of them left to make it worthwhile to relist.

I’m tempted, but not that tempted: my financial focus has been on getting ready for the flea market season, opening (weather permitting) in a few short weeks. While I have no reason to believe it to be an expensive season this year, it never hurts to be prepared, just in case!

Since I’ve sort of been focused on Buckskins of late, here’s an interesting variation of a later Buckskin release I picked up a long while ago:

The standard version of the #997 Shenandoah – a Collector’s Edition piece from the first half of 1997 – has a bald face and pinked ears, and isn’t that different from the Bald-faced Buckskins of the 1960s and 1970s. Well, it is a little bit different: his points are blacker, and he has a sock, and there is more gray shading on his face.

But did you notice what makes this guy extra special? There is no bald face!

It would be easy to ascribe this to a case of excessive overspray, but it appears intentionally done here. It is possible that overspray did happen, but the painter made the decision to “fix” it with a little extra paint, rather than toss him into the cull bin.

Unlike the original #69 Smoky, this release is not known for its variations: I can’t recall seeing any others like him, when I’ve made the effort to look. Neither he nor his second-half-of-the-year partner release Remington are all that rare, it’s just not a mold that’s in much demand.

I’ve been mulling over selling him, mostly because he’s a shelf hog. But I do love my yellowy Breyer Buckskins, and the likelihood of me ever running across a Test Color or a Surf’s Up – the Florentine Exclusive Event Smoky, and one of the few Smokies that does command some serious cash – is pretty slim.

So for the time being, he’s staying.