Friday, January 22, 2021

The VIP

Well hey, this showed up in my mail box:

Which is a very nice and welcome cap to an emotionally draining week! 

In addition to the Uffington and the Best of BreyerFest Stablemates Set, I think I’ll be going with Ansel and Queen of Hearts/Josie. 

I decided on Ansel because I love Blue Roan pintos in general, and the “concept” behind it: honoring Ansel Adams, a photographer whose mastery of his medium was so complete that it takes you a moment to realize what you are looking at is only Black and White. 

Josie I waffled on for a bit; while I love her chocolately bay color, I was a bit concerned about how her unique markings will render in production. Ultimately, I decided that the Bristol mold is popular enough that should I not find her to my liking, she wouldn’t be hard to rehome later.

I want to sleep on my selections one more day before I pay for them, though, because I was operating under the (usually correct) assumption that I wouldn’t have to worry about this decision until much later. 

I know it sounds like a rather depressing assumption, but as someone who is not naturally gifted with luck like some people are, I prefer to think of it as both pragmatic and absolutely necessary for my mental health.

I was also not surprised, at all, that people are trying to sell their tickets – at a nice markup, of course. Since you had to buy the entire package – two Special Runs, two Limited Editions, et al – I can understand selling off an item or two that you might not have wanted in the first place. 

But the whole package? Tacky and gross. I’m glad that Reeves put out a statement on the BreyerFest Blog to address this issue:

https://www.breyerhorses.com/blogs/breyerfest-blog/a-note-to-breyerfest-newcomers

The kicker is that Reeves is doing everything it can to make sure that everyone can get everything that they want – at least in terms of the Limited Editions – and effectively rendering much of the “pickup” industry moot. Why pay double for a Josie or Apollo, when you could just buy the All-Access pass and get the Celebration Horse and online access included for the same price?

I know some hobbyists are not happy about this development, also arguing that allowing backorders renders their “Limited Editions” worthless, or at least worth less. 

As someone who buys primarily for herself, this is a moot point for me; there’s a whole other discussion about rarity and value I’d rather not wrap my head around today.

And to be honest, if it helps tamp down some of the less honest among us who use the inexperience and desperation of the less informed among us to profit, so be it. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Art Movements

All my entries are in for the VIP ticket thing. Since I’ll be out for most of the evening Wednesday, I won’t even bother checking my e-mail until Thursday and just assume that I lost anyway, unless evidence proves elsewise. 

BTW, I am totally here for these beautiful babies: Dada, Nouveau, Rococo, and Avant Garde. 

I was kind of hoping that the One-Day Stablemates would be all Decorators, and beyond my hopes and dreams, they’re even named after art movements! (Technically “Avant Garde” is more of a generic descriptor/qualifier than a specific historic movement, but it’s a Purple Wedgewood Fjord, so I will give it a pass.)

The only one that seems to be a bit of a stretch is the Fighting Stallion: aside from the fact that we already had an Art Nouveau-themed BreyerFest Decorator back in 2014, nothing about it screams “Art Nouveau” or “Alphonse Mucha” to me. He’s still pretty, but in more of a generic “Tri-Color Decorator Pinto” way. 

Or maybe Memphis? That I liked back when it was originally a thing in the 1980s, but it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.

The Eberl Andalusian (aka Chrome) would have been a better fit for an Art Nouveau theme, too, but I think they just wanted to shoehorn in the Stablemates Fighting Stallion somehow.

If it was me, I would have gone with an Art Deco themed Decorator. Think about it, people: an Art Deco Deco. (Probably a little obviously too on-the-nose, but not my call.)

My favorite of the quartet is Dada, because aside from the fact that the Darley Arabian mold is the perfect mold to embody it, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that there is now going to be a Dada-themed Breyer Special Run. Whoa.

(Or maybe someone in New Jersey is a Grant Morrison fan?)

That’s all for today. Got a lot of stuff to get done this week and I’ve already spent way too much time researching airfares to Wyoming for a trip that probably can’t happen until next year. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Decisions, Drawings and Snap Judgments

Money is definitely not the issue: it’s my luck in Breyer drawings – especially the ones involving “exclusive” events – that’s pretty bad, so I’m not getting my hopes up for this BreyerFest VIP Ticket raffle/drawing thing. 

All the VIP package does is guarantee your selections, throws in the Stablemate 4-pack, and adds a swag bag which I am assuming is stuff like a coffee mug and a backpack, anyway. 

And some exclusive online content too, I guess? That part is not a big draw for me, to be honest, because of my experience last year. 

But the “All Access” Ticket that goes on sale after this drawing is basically just the standard BreyerFest ticket with Celebration Horse, the option to buy two Special Runs, and access to all areas/opportunities/sales, save for whatever the “VIP exclusive” content is. 

And you have to buy the Stablemates separately, if you’re lucky enough to snag a set.

Other than the Uffington, (An iridescent Cremello? You know the way to my heart, Reeves!), I’m not going to be upset over not getting anything in particular.

Well, okay, the Best of BreyerFest Stablemates Set, too: my Nottingham needs his Mini Me. But they’ve significantly boosted the piece counts on just about everything, and some smaller piece count items other hobbyists are swooning over (Knossos, the Crystal) aren’t doing diddly for me, I should be good, regardless of my ticket status.

Quick takes on some of the other SR announcements: 

Although I am not likely to buy him, I’m glad the John Henry is getting some BreyerFest love this year. He looks good in Bay Appaloosa!

The new Morgan mold in Blue Roan Frame Overo is intriguing in both concept and execution; I definitely like the mold in that color as opposed to its original Splash Pinto paintjob, which did him no favors.

The artistic inspiration for the Rainbow Pintaloosa Valegro is definitely more Lisa Frank than Jackson Pollock. The Rose Gold Filigree paint job on the 2019 Winter Web Special Avoriaz reminds me more of Pollock’s style: all you would have to do is overlay some black and/or metallic silver splatters on that, and call it a day.

I like to imagine that they totally did do the Valegro as an homage to Lisa Frank, freaking nailed it, and then… doing their due diligence realized it was in their best interest to preemptively change the name. (It’s a long story. Google it yourself if you’ve got a couple hours to spare.)

As far as the Surprise goes, the first thought that popped into my head is that it might be Bobby Jo? Or maybe it’s just me looking at the Spectrum that’s sitting in my office and wondering if that’s too obvious a choice. I’ll consider it when the time comes, whether it’s sooner… or later. 

I’m just not a big fan of Buckskin Pintos, so the Store Special Ashquar Rheverence+ is out, as is the Crystal Sherman Morgan Prisma, because I break nonsense like that. I’m on the fence about the Queen of Hearts/Josie: her base color looks amazing, but I’m a little concerned about what her markings will look like in person.  

And that’s… it, except for the rest of the Stablemates (want anyway), the various bits of swag and plushes (depends, probably not), and the various prize and raffle models (which are not up to me to decide). 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Yes, No, and Maybe

While I thought his initial paint job was fabulous, last year’s Premier Club release of Vermeer, the Friesian Sporthorse, left me a little… meh. Fraley’s sculpts are definitely hit or miss with me, and while there were some elements to the mold that I really liked – his mane, those windblown feathers, the wrinkles on his neck – he didn’t strike me as a mold I’d sell off other molds to collect.

The BreyerFest Special Run Seurat might make me change my mind. That’s a real pretty color on him, reminiscent of the sooty palomino that made me fall in love with the 2015 Special Run Chanel, on the Croi Damsha/Connemara mold.

The production pieces for Chanel differed significantly from the original promo photographs – much to our delight, since those photos made her look kind of bright and orangey. 

So while I already have some favorite picked out – among the revealed, and unrevealed – this particular item is one that I’d be most curious to see in person.

The fact that he’s named after one of my favorite painters, Georges Seurat, doesn’t hurt either. I’d rather the name be used on a leopard appaloosa of some sort, but the new Celebration Horse/Former Guest Horse probably put a kibosh on that idea. 

But if we’re going with Horses and Art History, it’s Franz Marc that owns my heart. While others dream of vintage Wedgewoods and Copenhagens, when it comes to blue horses, that particular painting is the grail I seek. A Franz Marc-inspired BreyerFest Special Run would be a very distant but still acceptable second choice.

On the other Special Run announcement, however, I’m going full contrarian here and giving it a hard NO: I’m sorry, I don’t care how detailed the paint job is or how closely they’ve tied it to the theme, using the Spanish Fighting Bull for the FOURTH time – when many Nonhorse molds have had, at most, a single BreyerFest release – is something I simply can’t get past. 

In a theme devoted to artistic inspirations, it strikes me as a downright uninspired choice.

(BTW, thanks guys, now I’m spending all my spare time planning a Wyoming Road Trip itinerary. For the record, though, the “Redneck Roadtrip Redo” I mulled over last year is probably more likely. We will see.)

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Bandwagon

I sort of suspected that BreyerFest was going to be all-virtual this year when the link for the “Breyer Boot Camp” went up a few weeks ago. 

I am not happy about this development, to put it mildly. The first thing I did upon hearing the news – no joke – was to search Google for “Wyoming Vacations”, because there ain’t no way I’m spending another vacation entirely at home. With my family. 

(Aside from being socially distant by its very design, I’ve always wanted to do a Wyoming Road Trip anyway. Though I think I’d need a fellow traveler, because I’m the kind of person who gets lost in grocery store parking lots.)

I understand why it had to be done, but I did not have a pleasant time “at” BreyerFest last year, so I’m hesitant to participate in another online experience even remotely like that one. 

I know the people at the New Jersey HQ are going to do their best to make it a less troublesome experience, and their “new” selection as Celebration Horse (actually a Guest Horse that was upgraded to Celebration Horse status) is really beautiful and I would have bought the model as a Store Special anyway. 

Danash’s Northern Tempest, a Semi-Leopard Appaloosa on the True North mold: the YouTube video here, and the Podcast here.

While it’s pretty obvious that they’re completely overhauling the most painful part of the online BreyerFest experience from last year – the actual buying of things! – buying stuff is not the primary reason why I look forward to BreyerFest. I am fortunate to have several local independent toy and hobby stores to get my horse-buying fix, whenever the mood strikes.

What I miss is the real-time interaction with my fellow hobbyists: as a seller at the CHIN, as an attendee at the Park, and as a volunteer. 

I got none of that experience last year. (Well okay, almost none: I did have one friend over.)

A little bit of that was my fault, and some of it was the (lack of) timing and the stars simply not lining up, as they usually do. But a lot of it had to do with a format that had to be built from scratch in the space of three months: the ways in which it had to be cobbled together left no place for someone like me. 

While I was not on board with the Celtic theme at all (for various reasons) I, as the history-type person I am, was looking forward to doing something to help celebrate Breyer’s 70th Anniversary there.

That did not happen. In fact, it was kind of frustrating to see a lot of official merchandise and historical information released last year that was not accurate. (Remember my rant about the Blanket?) Nearly forty years of history nerdery building up to what I thought would be a pinnacle moment and I found myself rendered, essentially, invisible. 

(I hate being invisible. I hate it more than chewing gum and telephones.)

That they managed to pull off what they could last year is worth noting, but I am going to be brutally honest and tell you that the entire experience left me feeling pretty bummed for a considerable amount of time afterward.

And apprehensive about this year’s effort. 

It will be different, because every year is different. There’s more time to plan, the anxiety about the Special Runs will be diminished, and I hear murmurings about the possibility of greater online interaction. 

I was an Art History major in college, and all of the (officially) released SR photos so far are art-historically themed, so maybe this is a hint that I might be able to participate or contribute in a more meaningful way. 

But, I am still apprehensive. So you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t join the “Woo-hoo, Online BreyerFest 2021!” bandwagon, at least not yet.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Raspberries

Boy, I picked the wrong week to give up caffeine. 

(Long story short: I’ve become entirely too dependent on Diet Mountain Dew to get me through the day, and I’m trying to figure out what my migraine triggers are anyway. If anything I write in the next couple of weeks comes across as crankier than usual, that’s why.)

First: Yes, I saw those images and No, I am not going to talk about them until it’s legal and appropriate to do so. Trust me, I have opinions

Second, I won’t keep you in suspense:

Raspberry it is! Not my first choice – that was Clear, obviously – but she really does look like one of those Brach’s Filled Raspberries, and I find myself resisting the urge to lick her. 

(The Raspberry-flavored Kit Kats I picked up at Kroger earlier this week are not a bad substitute.)

I’ll probably wait a while on acquiring the Teal and the Clear, because I am both cheap and patient. Since almost everybody want the Clear, it looks like I’ll have to be extraordinarily patient with that one.

Now, about the Coal. 

I kind of suspected that they were up to something when they didn’t show the Coal in the original offer. Either they were going to do something different with the color, or with the mold. 

And this year, they decided to go with the mold.

Seeing hobbyists react like they received an actual lump of anthracite when the Coal was revealed to be the Galiceno Pony kind of annoyed me (to put it politely). 

Are hobbyists so unaware of history that they’ve completely forgotten about the existence of the 2017 Early Bird Raffle Horse Sokkar? Sokkar was the reason why I rated the Icelandic Horse as an “outside possibility” in the first place. 

I like the Galiceno Pony mold and I would have been thrilled with a Coal, but since getting randomly drawn for this sort of thing never happens to me, the possibility never enters into my buying equations. 

I buy things because I like what they are presented to me as, not what they might possibly be. Life is full of disappointments, and I have no desire to add to the list. 

(And with my luck, if I did get a Coal, I probably would have fainted at the sight of it, hit my head on the nearest piece of furniture, and spend the rest of my day in the ER.)

Buying a Coal secondhand is unlikely: all I’ve got to play with is the $600 stimulus check, and (checks recently completed Coal sales) that’s obviously not going to cut it. I suppose I could throw in a couple of my CC Glossies, but then it starts looking like actual work, and I already have plenty of that, thank you....

And that’s fine. The world’s on fire again, my tinnitus is driving me crazy, so not getting a shiney black pony that nobody wants anyway is the least of my worries.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Soap, Water and Sunlight

You know me, I love a good fixer-upper, and I couldn’t resist this one when I found him on eBay for less than a price of a new Traditional at current retail:

While I am certainly not averse to a challenge, there’s nothing better than finding a rare model for cheap who only needs soap, water and sunlight!

The soap and water part almost done; the hard part now is in finding an open windowsill. Many members of my “dirty pony box lot” are currently occupying most of the available real estate, and they are as yellow – or even more so – than the new kid.

But I hope to sell most of those guys this year, and the Mustang is staying, so I’ll just have to be patient.

The #85 Alabaster or “Albino” Mustang isn’t a particularly rare vintage model: he was made from ca. 1961 through 1966, and that was a respectable run for models made in that era. The hardest part is finding one without significant rubs in his gray body shading and mane and tail.

Because it requires a light and delicate touch, gray shading on white or nearly white models can be quite fragile, especially on Matte-Finished models from the 1970s onward. Typically, the gray shading was one of the last layers of paint added to the model, sometimes on top of the matte clear coat that gave those models their soft, powdery-matte finishes in the first place.

Gloss-finished models, on the other hand, are a bit of crapshoot. Sometimes the gray shading was applied first and then the model was glossed, and sometimes the gray shading was applied over the Gloss. 

The ones with the gray shading under the Gloss, understandably, tend to weather the years better than the ones with the shading over the Gloss. 

My newest addition appears to be the “shaded under” version, but I’m still taking my time cleaning him – partly to be cautious, but also because I’m rather enjoying the process.