Friday, May 17, 2019

Customs Contest

An approximation of how I felt earlier this week:

Apologies to whomever this picture actually belongs to, but when I found it on Twitter a few days back, all I could think was: It Me. 

(No worries. Things are looking better now. Well, maybe not the hair, but….)

Anyway, I was doing something boring and adult last week, the kind of task that lets your mind wander. And it wandered up to a really, really neat idea for a Fantasy Custom – of a kind I think could be competitive in the BreyerFest Customs Contest.

Although I briefly contemplated it earlier in the year, I came to the conclusion that competing in that contest was not going to happen this year, for a number of reasons mostly related to time and money. Then they released pictures of the prizes, and I let out a painful yelp:

Dang it. Dang it all to heck! Black Pinto is a huge weakness of mine, and Gloss Black Appaloosa on the Stablemates Valegro is just about the perfect paint job for that little guy.

Black Pintos are a weakness for a lot of people: that’s why it was a staple of the Breyer’s limited color palette in the 1950s and 1960s. Along with Solid Black, Solid White and Palomino: these are the colors the general public actually know and can accurately identify.

Come to think of it, if someone can – more or less – accurately distinguish between Chestnut and Bay, that’s when I know I can talk to them horse person to horse person. (Not always though – some real horse people can also be kinda dumb when it comes to color genetics. But that’s why this hobby totally rules: horse nerds, unite!)

Shortest answer: this custom project is still a nonstarter, regardless of the prizes. I’ve committed myself to finishing existing projects this year using only the (voluminous) craft and hobby supply stash I have on hand, and this particular project would involve buying new supplies and tools.

Once I get caught up on the most urgent projects (basically: quilts, memory boxes, and completely sorting out the gardening mess outside) then I’ll consider pulling out the bodies and playing again.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Signal Boost

Still busy, so here’s a picture of my Test Color Donkey. I took a picture of it against a neutral gray backdrop so you could see the brown tones better:

It’s basically the same color as the quasi-rerelease #376 Brighty that was in production from 1991-2005, sometimes called Brighty 1991 to distinguish it from the original #375 production run item made from 1982 through 1987 (and from 1974 through 1981 in the #2075 Gift Set).

My Donkey was a part of the “newtoymens” collection that was dispersed on eBay several years back, most of which consisted of models from ca. 1998-2000. What that means is that it’s not likely to be a Test Color for the Brighty, but for another release, possibly the Donkey itself.

Yet there hasn’t been a new release of this Donkey mold since 1992. Even models as obscure as the Small Poodle have gotten more releases since then.

I have no idea why that it so, other than Reeves thinking that the current Donkey market is better served by their other Donkey molds – the Brighty, the Stablemates Donkey and now even Collecta ones.

Of all the Vintage molds and models people talk to me about, the original Breyer Donkey is the one who has the most… vocal supporters? I am all in favor of more old Donkey Special Runs and releases, but I have limited say in the matter.

Vintage molds that are not specifically horses – and even some that are merely unfashionable – appear to have been consigned to Micro Runs and other limited releases for the time being, so a fresh new retail release on the Donkey seems unlikely.

However, we do have a rather big Breyer anniversary coming up next year (as they count it; I prefer 1951 or 1952 as the brand’s official birthday, but that’s neither her nor there) so I wouldn’t necessarily rule out anything.

What I can do is give the notion a signal boost, and so I have.

Thursday, May 9, 2019


Yes readers, I bought one. My budget is telling me I probably shouldn’t have, but I felt a twinge of obligation, as my tirelessly weird advocacy of a Traditional Man o’ War in a vintage (yucky yellow) Palomino may be at least partly responsible for a Palomino being included in the Lancelot assortment:

This will also probably be the closest I ever get to my dream Man o ’ War. I mean, I do collect the Classic Man o’ War mold, too – that gorgeous shaded buckskin from the BreyerFest 2001 Special Run set is one of my favorite Classic releases ever – but I haven’t pursued him as vigorously as I have the Traditional.

Maybe with this release, I should reconsider it. Aside from oddities, Test Colors and some of the rarities (like the Triple Crown Sets) most Classics are undervalued, and the Man o’ Wars are no exception.

I love all three Lancelots, so whichever one I get initially is irrelevant. I like that they went  – and I hope, are going forward with – the Gambler’s Choice of One Glossy, One Matte, and One Decorator. Covers every market!

I find it somewhat encouraging that he’s taking a while to sell out: I hope this means I’ll be able to get all three at a not-insane price eventually. When I get my horse office mess straightened out, that is.

In other news, I am modestly interested in this Stablemates Unicorn-oriented “Fairytale Friends Club” – Sparkly Things and New Molds (mini Firebird!) are a big draw, and it’s Stablemates so it won’t be too big of an expense…

But I don’t know. I think I might be tapped out on Club memberships for the time being. I have a hard enough time keeping track of the clubs I belong to now. Adding one more just might push me over the edge, because you know those shipping schedules aren’t always going to coordinate.

I have a bunch of deadlines – real, and self-imposed – to meet next week, so I am going to be extremely scarce for the next three days. See you all on the other side!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Lime Green With Envy

I didn’t watch the race, so I have no opinion of what happened at the Kentucky Derby, but it is darn weird that passing acquaintances – who know of my familiar with things equine, and not much else – certainly seem to think I want to listen to theirs.

I’ll just leave it at this: having more people interested in horse racing again is, like comic book movies, definitely a mixed blessing.

Anyway, I saw a whole shipment’s worth of the Flagship Model Seamus today and had a very, very hard time leaving him behind – I was at that particular toy store to pick up something very specific, and there was absolutely no straying from the budget this month, no sir…

But his pattern was so cleanly masked, and surprisingly lacy and intricate for a tobiano pinto. And he had lime green ribbons: I am absolutely a sucker and a half for lime green ribbons. The ribbons on the Black Misty’s Twilight is half the reason why I was so enthralled the 1993 Spiegels Catalog Dressage Set (the other half being the knockout Mahogany Bay on the otherwise not-really-my-thing Hanoverian) and also why I lusted after the 2012 BreyerFest Auction Hackney.

I even recently finished a quilt top where that shade of lime green is the dominant color. I am not saying that it’s my favorite color, but it does have a certain je ne sais quoi to it that makes my inner nine-year-old nod approvingly.

(Though if I am being perfectly honest, my inner nine-year-old’s absolute-most-favorite color is actually red-orange. There is … a very long story to that.)

If this pretty boy ends up getting glossed for the Customer Appreciation Sale at the end of the year, he’s definitely going to be the must-have in the bunch. For me, especially.

And before anyone asks: no, I can’t do any pick-ups for Seamus. It’s not very likely I’ll be veering over to that part of town again any time in the near future. (I probably shouldn ’t even be talking to y’all now, actually.)

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Rules of Shipping

There aren’t a lot rules when it comes to packing models for transport or shipping: some people prefer crushed or shredded paper, others go with packing peanuts, and the hobby itself is pretty evenly divided on the issue of mummy-wrapping.

(FYI: I only do it for Breakables and Customs.)

As long as the model in question gets where it needs to go with little to no damage, in a timely fashion, most hobbyists are fine with whatever packaging method gets used.

But there are two hard and fast rules that we all agree on.

The first: when using bubble wrap, you wrap the model with the bubbles facing outward. While I’ve found that it’s more of an issue with Customs and newer Glosses than with the vintage Original Finish pieces I usually deal with, I still do it out of common courtesy and to keep myself in the habit.

The second: no matter how great the temptation, you never, ever ship Stablemates in a bubble mailer. You’d think that was patently obvious: break resistant isn’t the same as unbreakable, especially when you are dealing with thin legs and tiny tapered ears and tails. Right?

Apparently I got lucky – real lucky! – that when my Gwenevere and Blind Bag Magnolia came in their bubble mailer(!) from the Breyer warehouse earlier this week, they arrived unscathed:

That’s my first non-unicornized mini Magnolia! I am especially pleased at the quality of my Gwenevere, too, but I’ll talk more about these models as models another time.

Back to the shipping issue: I don’t have any more insight into the current Reeves warehouse and shipping situation than the rest of you. I’m an eleven and a half hour drive away, folks, and I haven’t physically been to New Jersey since 1992. Whenever we have occasion to communicate, those topics don’t usually come up. As long as whatever I order gets to me undamaged and without extended delays, that’s their business, anyway.

(Though I would absolutely love to spend a day or two poking about the warehouse, just because. That’s a dream vacation right up there with a horseback tour of Iceland, attending San Diego Comicon, or visiting the alleged family castle in Hungary. But I digress...)

While I am absolutely certain that they have received plenty of feedback about this serious violation of the “rules of shipping”, I’ll add my voice to the chorus, for whatever it is worth.

It doesn’t matter if the percentage of undamaged pieces is greater than the damaged pieces, and/or that it might be cheaper to fix the damaged items as they happen rather than go back to more durable packaging you were using before.

Unless you are shipping models where condition is irrelevant (in other words: bodies) you ship Stablemates in sturdy boxes. End of story.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Gloss G1 Stablemate Morgan Stallions

Since I am in the middle of working on one big project – and trying to finish a couple of other long-standing projects in-between when I get fidgety – I’ll just post a quick bit about a topic that comes up fairly often whenever the discussion turns to vintage (G1) Stablemates.

Did they come in Glossy variations? And if so, which ones?

The first question is the easiest: yes, they did. I knew I had some, but I was rather shocked at the number I found when I was plowing through my Stablemate Storage Boxes looking for live show material. Here are two of the nicer ones that I happened to take with me to Pansies and Ponies – both a Bay and a Black Morgan Stallion:

(The Bay won his class, incidentally. The Black took fourth in the same.)

As for the answer to the second question, I don’t have a complete list of the ones in my herd – again, my time’s been a bit limited of late – but judging from what I remember seeing, I’m guessing most of the G1 molds came in Gloss in their original issue colors.

As to when and why: that, I have no idea. These two guys above aren’t of much help. The Black one for instance, was purchased from someone during room sales at BreyerFest in 1996 (for the hefty sum of $5.00!)

The Gloss Bay was purchased in 1986 at a local Toy and Hobby Shop chain that often received discontinued merchandise from other local retailers. And sometimes that merchandise was ancient: from another one of their locations I also purchased a new-in-box #626 Polo Pony in its original White Picture Box, and a #327 German Shepherd nearly a decade after it had been discontinued.

(Man, I loved that store!)

Judging from the crispness of the detail and the abundance of overspray and flashing, my guess would be that they are pretty early, though I do not remember seeing any particularly shiny ones when I first started shopping for Stablemates in 1975.

So early, but not necessarily the earliest is the best I can do.

I would love to fill in the gaps in my Glossy Stablemates collection, once I figure out exactly where the gaps are! But considering how white-hot the Stablemates market is, I think I’ll just wait things out and hope the local flea market and thrift scene does its magic.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

It's A Day

Apparently the new standing Stablemate Warmblood mold is a mare, but the rest of my criticism about that One-Day release still stands.

It’s overt and heavy-handed pandering to an audience that might pay off in the short term, but will be costly in the long-term. If you become increasingly reliant on a smaller but more intense clientele, that clientele eventually begins to think it can dictate the business of the company itself.

(Looks in mirror. Yup, you too!)

Anyway, since I had already planned on focusing most of my resources to finishing old business, rather than starting new business, I’m going to regard my displeasure at the thematic aspects of this year’s Special Run lineup as a potentially positive development: buying fewer models means I have to spend less money – and time! – dealing with them.

Let’s see, what else to do we have going on today, aside from the birthday (which is a national holiday, incidentally, sort of).

I am somewhat relieved that the “My Strongest Suit” model Beau is already sold out, though I am curious about the piece runs on these more recent first-come, first-served Web Specials. I know other factors are in play – the choice of molds, colors and finishes, and in the case of Beau, the two different mane options – that are helping with the quicker sellouts, but I’d still like to know, you know?

I actually like the latest Test Color “raffle” piece, the Autism Yearling Hope in a Gold and Pearl Appaloosa covered in primary-colored puzzle pieces:

She’d make a lovely birthday present, and I see a lot of people posting the same yucky-faces they did when the actual production run release came out, which would make you assume – wrongly – that there will be fewer people entering for her.

What’s interesting (but not entirely unexpected, to me) is that the original production release is starting to pick up a little traction in the aftermarket, presumably either from collectors who don’t give a hoot about realism or showability, and/or from people who have a personal or familial connection to autism.

I fall into both categories, but I’m still dealing with some time and space issues here, it’ll happen when the time, place and money are right, and not a moment sooner.

Unless the Test Color happens.

I have a bunch of photographs to take and some deadlines to meet, so that’s all for today, folks.