Wednesday, July 18, 2018

All The Things

Almost done unpacking, Here is The Haul:

  • Brass Hats (2)
  • Hands Down Stablemate (2)
  • Icabad Crane
  • Gloss Foiled Again
  • Chestnut Liam (still boxed)
  • Newmarket (still bagged)
  • Dead Heat – Palomino (still bagged)
  • Matte Sierra Rose
  • Inari
  • Matte Palomino Splash Surprise Smarty
  • Matte Black Surprise Smarty
  • Annie Oakley’s Prince (NPOD Warehouse Leftover)
  • Bay Western Prancing Horse (True Bay variation)
  • #606 Classic Ruffian, extra dark with derpy markings
Not shown: the Volunteer Model Othello, who is being admired upstairs. I’ll talk about him more next time, along with some of the others. The can of beer is an interesting story, though a borderline NSFW one.

No Prizes, no Glosses, no Raffles, no outstanding rarities other than the Matte Black Surprise Smarty. I did get the two Dark Horse Surprises I wanted the most – the Splash and the Black – though either one of them being Glossy would have been nice change of pace for me.

I haven’t gotten a Gloss Surprise since the Stoneleigh Surprise in 2012 – back when they were actually rare-rare. (The “easier” something becomes to acquire, the less likely I am actually able to acquire it. Go figure.)

I got pretty much everything I wanted, except for the Gloss part. And the Riddle part. I didn’t get a chance to do much room shopping, either, though that’s probably for the best.

And I wasn’t cool with the way the Costume Contest prizes were allocated.

I could handle not winning: I was resigned to that the moment Breyer took my picture. (Always the Pinup, never the Prizewinner…) But the fact that the Adult Individual category had the largest number of entries, but the fewest number of prizes awarded, did not seem entirely… equitable?

I am not sure if I’ll be participating in any of the contests next year. (It’s not entirely about the lack of winning. I just need a break.) Though since next year’s theme is “Horse Heroes” I might just walk around the KHP wearing a cape just for the heck of it.

(Again: the fact that I posted the picture of Comet the Super-Horse a short time ago was entirely coincidental. I might know things, but not all the things.)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Tale of Two Doggies

This was supposed to publish on July 12th - it was scheduled to anyway, but apparently blogspot thought otherwise, and the hotel wifi was spotty and I did not have time to check. See you all tomorrow.

Back in the old days of Breyer History Research, we didn’t have enough information to pinpoint the precise year many models debuted.

The original Breyer Master List that they sent out to collectors who asked for it listed two different dates 1958, and 1963 – as the starting date for the majority of early Breyer models: basically, all those seen in either the 1958 Price List, or the 1963 Dealer’s Catalog.

Those were the only two pieces of reference material we had back then that had any actual dates ascribed to them.

We’ve since made significant progress, and significant corrections. But the bad data of the past still crops up from time to time: the two that rub me the wrong way especially are the 1956 date ascribed to the Old Mold Mare and Foal (nope, 1958!), and 1958 for the Boxer (actually, 1953!)

Although we still have significant gaps in our knowledge base, we’re getting to the point where we can not just pinpoint the year a mold was released, but the month! Like the Davy Crockett: it’s listed as one of the “New Toys on parade” in the August 1955 issue of Toys and Novelties magazine:

(A month before Hartland’s version, by the way…)

Both Lassie and Rin Tin Tin made their “official” debuts at the 1956 Toy Fair, but I don’t think they were released simultaneously: I think Lassie was ready to go at least a couple of months before Rinty was.

The announcement of Breyer acquiring the license for Lassie was announced in the August 1955 issue of Toys and Novelties magazine, and a picture of the Lassie appears in the January 1956 issue.

Breyer is not listed as a licensee of Rin Tin Tin in the August 1955 issue, and his first official announcement as a Breyer product at all is in the March 1956 issue, in an ad placed by Krenzien, Krenzien & Dunlap, Breyer’s Midwest Sales Representatives.

In addition to all that, a few years ago someone in the Chicago area found a Lassie at an estate sale painted just like Rin Tin Tin – along with several other unusual pieces in a collection of someone who obviously had a professional connection to Breyer in the mid to late 1950s.

Exactly when the Rinty was available I still don’t know yet; my files may be good, but not that good. Yet.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Dear Flea Market: The Cowboy Cull

Originally I was just going to whinge about the new Unicorn Stablemates and how I am super annoyed that I will probably just have to order a box of them from somebody just to get some at a halfway decent price, but then I went to the flea market and this happened:

I found an authentic ca. 1950s Breyer Cowboy Cull.

With his hat.

(That was the best part. I didn’t even see it when I picked him up, and the vendor was “Don’t forget his hat!” If he had pulled out the guns or a box, too, you would not be reading this because I would be in the hospital right now still recovering from the shock.)

Seriously, flea market: we need to talk.

I thought we were safely out of range of Chicago for this sort of nonsense to happen.

The closest I’ve heard of such things happening was Lansing and Lansing is, at best, two hours away. We’re close enough to Canada that the occasional Beswick or Royal Doulton piece wanders by, and that I’m totally cool with and grateful for.

You might remember that I found a New Jersey Cull (the Quarter Horse Gelding Splash) here last year, which is why I’m understandably a little freaked out about this.

The rest of the flea market shopping experience was fairly normal. A few body-quality Classics, some craft supplies, a few groceries. I did end up leaving some stuff behind, including a pretty decent Gray Plastic Donkey, because after the Cowboy I was pretty much “I can’t even, anymore.” 

Technically there’s not a huge market for this thing: Culls are a bit of a niche item, and so are the 1950s-era Rigid Riders.

So a niche of a niche is what, exactly? Is it like a nook or cranny?

Since I dwell in that subniche – I own a Test Color Roemer, over a half dozen Black Stretched Morgan variations, and a three-legged Dapple Gray Family Arabian Mare that I’m not even sure I know what she is anymore – it’s a moot point. It’s not going anywhere.

Interesting way to get “model horse holy week” off to a start!

I have to go finish packing now. It is not going well, but I’ll manage.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Worth the Wait

Whoa, yesterday just flew right past me! Like many of you at the moment, I’m pretty much in full panic mode. I’m not sure why; everything is going about as well as can be expected, the car is half-packed, and the various assorted costume bits are coming along just fine.

Habit, I guess? I’m always fearful that I will forget one thing…

Just a couple of Auction lots that can’t pass without comment.

Pearly + Liver Chestnut + Minimal Pinto = this paint job is my everything! A modern reinterpretation of Matte Charcoal, and I’m loving it!

The Gloss Dark Palomino on this Five-Gaiter is pretty sexy too:

Either one of those colors would look good on almost anything. Motor vehicles, Christmas ornaments, household appliances….

I don’t know if the Gaiter will go for particularly big money, though: Five-Gaiters (except for Decorators) are a tough sell right now. Even fairly decent Woodgrains and #53 Gloss Palominos can be had for well under $50.

I’ve been around long enough to see the fortunes rise and fall on most models. Remember when the #465 Khemosabi was all the rage on eBay? When the original release of the AQHA Ideal Quarter Horse, new in box, could guarantee you at least a $150 payout? When a JAH Saddlebred Weanling could set you back $400?

That’s why I try to follow my own tastes and hew closely to my budget. And wait: I literally cannot afford to be impatient.

A good reminder for those of you who might get enraptured by whatever Reeves throws at us next week: unless it’s something you know really is a once-in-a-lifetime chance (like my Gold Charm Man o’ War was) it’s worth it to wait.

Something new and exciting will turn up in a few weeks, or a few months, and suddenly what’s hot will be not. And if you still love it and want it and need it, it’ll be there for you at a better price.

Usually. Not always, but usually.

(This is what I keep telling myself whenever another Stablemate rarity shows up on the open market. Someday you shall be mine, Emperor’s Gold Bar! And it won’t cost me an actual gold bar to acquire you!)

One more comment before I go back to torturing myself with the hot glue gun.

I don’t know where this tidbit of information came from – I am assuming it’s a misinterpretation or misreading of the entry for it in Nancy Young’s Breyer Molds & Models – but there are way more than three Woodgrain Elephants in the world.

Woodgrain Elephants are still pretty rare – not quite as rare, say, as the Woodgrain Polled Hereford Bull or Buffalo, or the Elephant with Howdah, but definitely not something you see everyday.

But it does concern me that that bit of bad information may have had an effect on the outcome of the auction on eBay. (I missed it previously, because I’ve been avoiding eBay the past month or so, because it’s such a huge time suck.)

Well-informed collectors are less likely to overspend.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Homestretch

The flea market’s offerings this week are acceptable:

The boxed Walmart Mustang sets and the Stablemates were pretty… unpleasant to the touch when I found them. They’ve since cleaned up well, but I don’t even want to imagine where they were being stored previous to their arrival at the flea market.

The photos appear to be late 1970s or early 1980s vintage, and professionally framed and mounted. I originally thought the jumper on top of the one was Might Tango, but I think it was just the early morning mugginess that made me think that.

They are super-nice, though; I am still deciding whether or not to drag them to BreyerFest or not; I am at the point where I may have to leave a few things home, and they might not make the cut.

I took a quick look at the program – for the prices and quantities on the Special Runs:

711283 Newmarket - 800 pieces - $65
711284 Inari - 750 pieces - $60
711285 Dark Horse Surprise - 4000 pieces - $85
711286 Dead Heat – 1800 pieces - $70
711287 Straight Bet - 1600 pieces - $60
711288 Julep & Pim - 1700 pieces - $65
711289 Sierra Rose – 1450 pieces - $60
711290 By A Nose - 1400 pieces - $65

1765 Foiled Again - 750 pieces - $55
711311 Lonesome Glory - 750 pieces - $55
711337 Scamper - 750 pieces - $35

711291 Old Ironsides – 1250 pieces - $75
711292 Icabad Crane – 1700 pieces - $70

711293 Born to Run (Classic Deco) – 1500 pieces - $30
711295 Home Straight (Crystal) – 1000 pieces - $45
711338 Winner’s Circle Autograph Horse (Adios) – 2000 pieces - $25
711304 Hands Down (Stablemate Scale) – 3000 pieces - $10
711294 Furlong (Plush) – 1500 pieces - $18

Surprised that they’re doing 1450 pieces on the Proud Arabian Mare Sierra Rose. I mean, we knew a little while ago that she’s the 50/50 Gloss and Matte model, but it’s still seems like a lot for something that’s technically a Vintage mold.

The Elk Inari is at 750 pieces, in line with most of the previous Nonhorse SRs. He’s my primary want, and I’m not too worried about getting him.

4000 pieces on the Dark Horse Surprise? That’s a lot! Secretly I am hoping that they split the four colors and two finishes equally – 500 of each, basically – but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to be the case. I have to wait and see on that one.

The 1700 piece run on the Store Special Icabad Crane is also a little nuts. But a good nuts for me: that means he shouldn’t be too difficult to acquire.

The “BreyerFest Special Editions” (the Reissues) might be, though. Only 750 pieces of each of them? Sigh. I know that the Pacer isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but being a significantly lower piece run than most of the other Specials being offered, and being Glossy, I suspect a lot of attendees will get a little mercenary about him.

Everybody else I need to look at in person. I haven’t seen any of the newer Premier Club models in person yet, so I am most curious about seeing Straight Bet and the Julep & Pim.

The Classic Translucent Decorator Born to Run looks mighty pretty too, so that’s another possibility for me. Normally I try to get the Pop-Up Store Stablemates, but if this year’s piece is actually resin, I might reconsider: I am clumsy, and with dog.

Back to prep: reviewing the final draft of the Sampler, and doing my final sort on the sales items. (Something I usually do back in May, but stuff got in the way.)

Saturday, June 30, 2018

More Photos from the Slush Pile

Another random picture day. First up, my really handsome Dapple Gray Proud Arabian Stallion:

He’s an earlier variation, obviously, with two airbrushed hind socks just like the *Witez II variation of the Mahogany Bay. And like my *Witez II, he’s almost perfect – just a slight bit of yellowing, and some tiny hoof and eartip rubs. A bit of light restoration and he’d be showring ready.

Hmm. I guess I should get cracking and finally track down a minty-mint heavily shaded early Alabaster guy to complete the trio, eh?

(My guess is that it’ll be another incidental find like the other two: it’ll happen when it happens.)

Next up is something I scanned a bit ago to talk about the hobby really being an offshoot of science-fiction fandom:

Oldsters among us will recognize the name Dragonquest, as in Linda Leach-Hardy’s Dragonquest Studios. She was a local artist/customizer for me (other side of town, though) so I very occasionally run across some of her old customs at the local flea market.

The last time I did it was actually kind of funny; I was looking the model over, and the seller was trying to impress me with “And it’s signed by the ARTIST!” and I came back with something like “Yeah, I used to hang out with the ARTIST back in the 1980s. I even had her do a commission for me!”

(Hey, it was like 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. That’s about as sick a burn as I could muster.)

Here’s that wee custom, by the way:

While’s we’re at it, here’s a scan of the first official appearance of Comet, the Super-Horse, because why the heck not:

I think it was in my reference files because I was thinking about doing a Comet custom for the “Fantasy” division of the Customs Contest last year. Which didn’t happen last year, this year, or probably any time soon, because that giant scary pile of unfinished quilts in the laundry room isn’t getting any smaller.

And finally, here’s a fellow I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while, but I never got around to it for some reason. First, a more recent photo of him:

And the original photo of him, from Marney’s Album:

From the style of the original photograph, it’s pretty obvious that he’s a very early Test Color for the Appaloosa Performance Horse. But is he an actual pre-1974 Test for the Appaloosa Performance Horse?

I’d like to think so: even if the evidence is lacking, the timing is right.

It’s kind of interesting that they were experimenting with different types of roaning just as they were phasing out the old style of “Freckle” roaning, isn’t it? I’ll having to write that topic down for future investigation...

Back to (BreyerFest) work.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Just a Few

A Few Spot Appaloosa on the True North mold? You’re killing me!

Aside from the fact I just think Few Spot Appaloosa are kinda neat, I’m also of the opinion that the Appaloosa as a breed has been done no favors by the aggressive quest for color.

Once I get around to customizing again, one of the projects I’m very eager to get to work on is an Appaloosa Performance Horse in a Few Spot Appaloosa, since it’s unlikely that they’ll ever get around to giving us a Regular Run one anytime soon.

As much as we carp about virtually every release nowadays being spotted, the fact of the matter is that’s what sells. Unless the model is exceptional in some other way – glossy, with extra or extra-special detailing, or is a Portrait Model of someone historical/noteworthy – it’s been in Reeves best financial interest to make it as fancy as possible.

And fancy means spots.

Though it is true that many BreyerFest Auction pieces in the past few years have actually been previews of future releases (in other words, truly Tests!) I’m still skeptical of more Few Spot releases in the near future.

They are, by definition, not fancy enough.

There haven’t been many Breyer Few Spot Appaloosas in the past, either. There are the occasional extreme variations of the #115 Appaloosa Western Prancing Horse, and I’ve seen a few older Gloss Gray Appaloosa with spots sparse enough to possibly pass as one (later examples of the Fighting Stallion, for instance.)

But the only intentional Few Spot that immediately comes to mind is the San Domingo Oxydol, who was from about 20 years ago.

(I have one, he just happens to be in storage right now.)

I think they tried to pass off the Dappled Liver Chestnut Running Mare from the 2009 Fun Foals Treasure Hunt as a “solid Appaloosa” too. Which I thought kind of muddled the color genetics lesson the Fun Foals promotion was supposed to be about. (Would it really have been that big a deal to toss a couple of stray spots on her? Mottle her nose a bit? Add a couple of hoof stripes? )
Back to BreyerFest prep…