Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Wait, What Just Happened?

You might remember my hissy-fit back in 2019 when Reeves went all-in on Marvel for their Hero-themed BreyerFest that year. Aside from the fact that it felt like they were taunting lawsuit-happy Disney with a stick, they were ignoring over half of the comic book world, and the one that I’m personally way more invested in: DC Comics, the home of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman et al.

So you can imagine my surprise when I was doing my Internet rounds a couple days ago and saw… Jim Lee pimping for BreyerFest on his Facebook page. What?!?

For those of you who aren’t all that familiar with the comic book world – and by familiar, I mean having actually read and/or purchased an actual comic book, and not just watched the movies – this is kind of a big deal. Jim Lee is the Publisher and Chief Creative Officer at DC Comics: that’s about as high up as it gets.

So, what is the backstory that led to this? Potential licensing deal over the League of Super-Pets movie? Legal nitpicking over the phrase “World’s Finest”? Is there a Breyer comic book in the works? Or is Jim Lee actually into horses? Or maybe one of his kids? 

He does draw horses better than most comic book artists. Most comic book artists are painfully bad at drawing animals in general, and horses in particular. (And a lot of them are not that great with people either, but cover up their mistakes with lots of crazy cross-hatching and creative coloring.)

Incidentally, one of the few artists who could render a horse competently was the legendary Alex Toth, best known for his work on Zorro for Dell Comics and Hanna-Barbera’s Space Ghost. He could also draw dogs pretty well, and co-created Rex, the Wonder Dog.

For the record, I always imagined that if there was a DC character who was a Breyer collector, it was probably Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. And Supergirl, obviously. 

(The Traditional Spirit mold would make an excellent Comet, the Super-Horse!)

Whatever the story is here, welcome to the family, Jim! BreyerFest is usually the week before the San Diego Comicon so I know you’re busy, but if you ever want to drop by for a day or two, we’ll be glad to have you. I promise not to fangirl squee too hard! 

For the record, I don’t think I’ve actually ever met Jim Lee face-to-face, but he was in the Artist’s Alley of the 1997 Motor City Comic Con, and I did have a pretty crazy time there that year. 

(Harlan Ellison + Curt Swan + Professional Wrestlers = ‘Nuff Said.) 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Second Chances Sale

Something short again today. The best way to describe where I’m at is that I’m in the middle of a lot of things? And I’m finding that transitioning back to the night shift is a little harder than I anticipated? There was a dental appointment this week that also threw me off, as it usually does. 

In case you were wondering, I did redeem my Marzipan ticket at BreyerFest. When I saw the lovely Chocolate/Burnt/Bay variant, I thought I’d give it a shot, especially since he didn’t seem all that rare – and he wasn’t! It turned out that it was a simple 50/50 split, just like the Gloss/Matte variant tends to be. 

(Who was Ländler, but I’ll get to that in a moment.)

Of course, I still got the Palomino Marzipan instead. While he was a perfectly lovely specimen, I immediately turned around and sold him at the hotel at cost. Even in person, he didn’t do anything for me. Thankfully, he was gone by the end of the day: no harm, no foul.

(It’s interesting that the post-BreyerFest blog post about the Special Runs referred to Marzipan as “this years color split”, hinting that this will be a regular thing going forward.)

When the Second Chance Sale came up earlier this week, I decided to take a chance on the Ländler instead: unlike Marzipan, I still like him in his “less desirable” (Matte) variation. I’d still prefer the Gloss, only because getting the Gloss is still something of a rarity for me…

I also bought a Rapunzel, because I thought she was cute and I love Red Roans, and a Rotating Draft Surprise because as I suspected, he was the Cleveland Bay and I liked most of the colors he came in.

While I did manage to finagle myself one at BreyerFest, he turned out to be the one color out of the bunch that I did not like at all: Gloss Silver Bay. I don’t think any release that’s come in this color has held any appeal at all to me, from the Strapless Uncalled For to the 2017 Web Special Swaps Scotty. I’ll sell him off eventually, whenever my schedule allows.

Fortunately, I’m not so enamored of the mold that I’ll have to get all ten variations. I think the Buckskin Pinto is my favorite, and luckily he is not the rarest of the bunch. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Rest in Pieces

I was kind of hoping that I could get a custom or two done in time for a show coming up in September, but that doesn’t look likely. I always forget how difficult it is for me to visualize things in three dimensions! I fuss and fuss over the anatomy, and every time I think I’m done (or almost done) I find 16 other things I somehow missed.

At least I’m enjoying the process, and ultimately, that’s all that should matter. I wish more people would see it that way: being creative doesn’t necessarily mean you have to end with a finished product. Sometimes it’s just worthwhile to goof around with art supplies until the urge to goof around with them subsides.

It only becomes a problem when you decide it’s a problem. Or the art supplies start taking over your house. 

Speaking of questionable anatomy, here’s another unexpected BreyerFest acquisition!

Believe it or not, in spite of having at least a dozen #47 Man o’ Wars littering this place, I did not have a Shrinky one yet. Weird, I know! You’d think I would have come across at least one in my travels before now. 

Maybe it’s because part of me is unwilling to buy something that I know has such a short shelf life, compared to all the other models I own. (He was a gift from a friend, so problem solved, there!)

There’s going to come a time when I will have to do something with the remains of “The Toad” – a lumpy, desiccated, and now quite unappealing pile of plastic horse parts that was once a Pony of Americas “Rocky” in buckskin. And who was, for a while, the world’s most (in)famous Shrinky.

Whenever I finally get the time – and gumption – I just might make a video of Toad’s funeral, with “Slim Jim” here officiating.

The only problem with this plan being the fact that I will then have to steel myself for Slim Jim’s eventual demise. 

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Johann

My schedule is changing again – back to third shift, starting Monday night! – so my posting schedule is going to be a bit messed up here for the next week or so. 

And then I’ll have to start getting ready for Worldcon; it’s been forever since I’ve been to downtown Chicago, and while I’ll probably spend most of my time in the hotel attending panels and stuff, I don’t plan on spending all of my time there. 

I’m already planning to meet up with a couple of other hobbyists while I’m in town; if you haven’t already contacted me, feel free to do so – the more, the merrier! (I plan on wearing at least one model horse-related shirt during the event as a conversation starter, if nothing else.)

My biggest concern about the trip, though, is whether or not I’m going to miss Johann:

As you might know, I’ve not had the best luck with buying “first come/first served” Collector’s Club Exclusives. Now that I’ll be back on nights AND will be out of town in late August/Early September – the window of time Johann will allegedly be released – well, things aren’t looking so great for this guy, either.

This is a huge potential bummer for me because I collect the Classic Lipizzan: I think I have every release except a couple of the Pegasi, including Cosmus and the weird 1985 Flocked Blue Christmas release. 

I don’t have any Test Colors either, but there aren’t a lot of them floating around, as far as I can tell. A Matte Five-Gaiter Sorrel one that sold on eBay a little while back went for beaucoup bucks. (I remembered because, alas, I had fleeting notions of bidding.)

I know everyone is freaking out about the Solid Bay, but I really don’t care which color I get, because I want all of them. Well, I suppose getting the Bay one first would definitely help me out financially, but my first concern is just in getting any at all at this point. 

I’m hoping that the fact that he’s not a newer – or particularly popular – mold will also help me out, but in this market I will take nothing for granted. 

(And yikes, Reeves, did you Google the Johann + Breyer combo ahead of time? That’s awkward, especially for something that debuted at a German-themed BreyerFest. Again, you left Horst right there on the table…) 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Strawberries

Considering I haven’t been picked for one of the Birds of a Feather Series since the very first one – and sold it at cost to a friend anyway – I am not quite sure how this happened:

Dumb random luck, or did the Universe hear my pitiful tale of woe and compensate me somehow? (Spoiler: it’s the former, not the latter.)

Aside from all the drama from the past couple of weeks (I’m on my third food-related injury this month: it’s nothing but microwaveables for the next several days!) I do really love the Bristol mold, and yes I will definitely be keeping him. 

I just wish there were more readily available examples of him in his “loose mane” look: the 2018 BreyerFest Raffle Model Jackpot,  the 2019 Best Customs prize Leap of Faith, and the 2020 Seattle Soiree Redmond are all essentially unobtainables.

(Why, why do Redmonds have to be so expensive? He’s so darn pretty, urgh!)

Anyway, I have no illusions about completing the Birds of a Feather Series collection like, ever. The only one of the previous releases I’m actively seeking out is the Crane, because I love the Emerson mold, and because of his relatively “plain” paintjob I think he’ll be one of the kinda-sorta affordable ones in the not-too-distant future.

Unlike, say, the Silver Goldfinch. Why is something they made nearly 400 pieces of priced in the $1000 range? (I know it’s a Silver, but get a grip, people!)

One series I have been thinking about completing – or at least leisurely collecting as I find them at reasonable prices – is the Berries Ponies Series. I picked up a very affordable Strawberry at BreyerFest, in fact:

(Coincidentally, I just picked and ate some teeny-tiny Alpine Strawberries from my garden. They were way easier to grow from seed than I imagined, which makes sense because you will need about fifty or so plants to make anything with them.) 

While the Croi Bramble and Bouncer Bilberry aren’t going to happen any time soon, the Juniper, Honeysuckle and Persimmon all seem achievable. I’m in no rush, though. It happens when it happens.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Payback

Whenever I have a monetarily-better-than-average BreyerFest, I always fear the inevitable payback. 

Win a Raffle Model? Epic Roommate meltdown that ends with me sleeping in a patio chair near the pool in the hotel. I am uninvited to that wedding and never see this person ever again.

Get picked to Volunteer the first time? In the month prior to BreyerFest, a half dozen different roommates leave me in the lurch for a full double suite, including one who informs me three days before I leave. Oh, and my first Volunteer shift is 9 a.m. Friday, so I have to watch people march past me into one of the best NPOD years ever. 

(‘Twas the year of the German Stablemate Sets and the Interior Decorating Show Samples. Nuff said.)

Win the Costume Contest the first time? Break a tooth so bad it needs a crown. (And me without dental insurance!) 

Win the Costume Contest the second time? Break my foot. Insurance does cover most of it, but because I wasn’t able to work full-time for a month afterwards, I end up with a credit card debt from all my other expenses that takes me nearly five years to pay off. (It never got bigger, but it also never got smaller.)

This year: get a Glossy Surprise Model in a Warehouse Box in the NPOD, a Test Color Ginger in the “Body Box”, and that beautiful Carina Zeitgeist as the Volunteer Model. This year’s payback?

I bought two Warehouse Finds boxes off the website during BreyerFest, spending nearly $450 (cost + shipping + taxes) and this is literally all I’ll be keeping from it:

The most exciting thing in the boxes? The free magnet! And of course, the 2019 One-Day Stablemate just had to be Arya, the one Special Run that sent me into an apoplectic fit that year. 

(I still don’t like it, but this is the third one I’ve ended up with so far – all against my will, I wish to have on record – so by accepting this one I hope the Universe will finally stop sending them to me.)

I also purchased a Torlinie, but he was thrown underneath one of the Warehouse Find boxes, and I am stunned he is still in one piece. 

Or maybe not: even though the box was big enough to stuff an actual Shetland Pony in, it was about 70 percent packing material.

(He’s really cute in person, by the way! Would definitely recommend!)

All told, I will probably lose at least $150 on this deal, maybe more: none of the extra stuff is in particularly high demand, or even selling at retail. I already have plenty of better things to sell, and when I finally get the time, that is what I am devoting my limited resources to. (In other words, it is all probably BreyerFest sales fodder for next year. Bleh.)

While I more than made up for it with everything else I acquired over the weekend, this also happened to come at the end of a rough week for me and definitely did not help improve my mood. And it was pretty much why I spent a significant chunk of my Sunday in the garage getting some quality time in with unsold bodies and my Dremel drill. 

(Suddenly I am possessed of the idea of turning a Western Prancing Horse into a replica of an antique Staffordshire Pottery Zebra. Because sure, what is one more unfinished custom project, hey...)

Next time, I think I’ll skip the online Grab Bags entirely and just order things that are a known quantity.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Breyer's Body Box

Why am I buying even more stuff on the Internet? Argh! 

I swear, every year I tell myself that I’ve bought too much stuff at BreyerFest, and then I turn around and go on a buying spree for the month afterward. 

Anyway, here’s more stuff I bought in the NPOD – more “bodies” from the Breyer Body Box:

The Classic Black Beauty is from the #2404 Fire Wagon Set; I sort of blanked on grabbing the matching Ginger after finding the Chalky Test Ginger. They Fire Wagon horses are not quite in the same demand as the Classic Clydesdale Drafts from the #2405 Delivery Wagon Set, but they’re still a little on the scarce side, for Classics. 

The Standing Stock Horse Foal has been a source of fascination to me for a while now (I really need to finally finish that custom one I started last year!) This Rocky might be a Sample, but I’m just happy to have him regardless. 

The Classic Andalusian Stallion is the scarce Blockbuster Special Run of Hildago from 2004. I’ve been wanting one, and at two dollars I really couldn’t beat that price. There’s also the slight possibility he might be a Sample too, and that didn’t hurt.

I also purchased a Shadow of Blue – the BreyerFest 2001 Special Run Amber in Black with blue undertones. I already had one, but I had a weird feeling she might have been a Sample or Test, too. I inspected her at the hotel later, but came to the conclusion that I was misinterpreting her overspray as something else. 

I priced her pretty modestly and put her on my sales shelves a few hours later; she was gone by the end of the day. If I had known she was going to sell that easily, I might have bought a couple of the Leah’s Fancy Breyers that were also in that bin for the same price!

Unlike the $5 “bodies” they sold the day previous, there did not appear to be a limit on the $2 Classics and Foals. I decided to limit myself to five, because that seemed like a good number, and there was no need to get greedy. I made my one big “find” with the Chalky Ginger, and I was good. While I’m pretty sure I could have found another treasure or two, but I thought I’d let others get the opportunity to dig.

I kind of wish Breyer hadn’t co-opted the term “Body Box” for this particular offer, though. Aside from the fact that most of these models were better than body quality, it also created quite a bit of confusion at the hotel, with a lot of kids asking for “Body Box” models. What I – and most people at the hotel – had in their body boxes was not comparable to what Breyer offered.