Thursday, December 8, 2016

Winter Surprises

No Olaf for me – I didn’t even have a choice in the matter, since I got home from work about 15-20 minutes after they sold out. If it had been the day before (when I was home earlier than usual) or the day after (my day off) the situation might have been different.

Or if they had announced it when they had usually announced these sort of things – early afternoons or evenings…

…but if there’s been anything consistent about these December Surprises, it’s their complete inconsistency. We’ve had Giveaways (the War Horse), Vault Sales, Christmas Day Sales, Boxing Day Sales, Micro Runs, 350-piece Purchase Raffles, 350-piece Direct Purchase items, Gambler’s Choices, Christmas Decos, Black Friday Surprises and Gifts with Purchase Offers.

I take some consolation in having mixed feelings about the release itself.

To deal with some of my space issues here, I had sold off a couple Longhorns, and I am considering letting go of a couple more. He really is one of the shelf-hoggiest of shelf hogs, and I’d like to devote that space to other Nonhorse molds I’m currently more interested in – namely, the Dogs and the Deer Family. So he was not a must-have for me.

It seemed like an odd mold choice, too, as the Longhorn Bull isn’t something I’d associate with either cooler climes or Holiday themes. The name grates me a little, but that’s strictly a personal thing – whomever it is on Team Breyer that’s a big fan of the Disney references, I wish they’d give it a rest.

On the plus side, the money I might have spent on Olaf I got to spend on something else – a Grab Bag! I wasn’t going to buy one, initially – my sales inventory is almost at a manageable level here, finally, and I didn’t want to risk adding to it so soon. But one of the Grab Bags (#1) had the newer Deer Family, the Eve and Claus Mare and Foal set, and some of the leftover WEG 2014 Special Run Classics, and since those were all things I had been actively eyeing before, it was a no-brainer.

And I get another shot at a Silver Sherman Morgan too. (Third time’s the Charm? Literally, maybe?)

The color on the Olaf pretty though – I think I’ve made it abundantly clear this year that I do love me some Gloss Alabaster – and the fact that it is a 350-piece run, and not a 40-piece one is oddly encouraging. That means if I find some shelf space, and one at an affordable price (IOW: not too far off the issue price) six months or a year down the road, it might be doable.

I am curious if Olaf was made from bodies leftover from the 2007 BreyerFest Special Run Alamo – as I suspect the 2009 Lone Star Experience Wranglers were – or if this is a precursor to either another Special Run or Regular Run Longhorn in the near future.

Time will tell, I guess.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

My Alabaster Cantering Welsh Pony

I’ve been trying to get caught up in my paperwork, but with little success; every time I pick up a horse to examine it, I end up losing valuable time just staring at the darn thing. One that’s been particularly hard to get past has been my Alabaster Vintage Club Cantering Welsh Pony My Girl:

When they were first announced, I was hoping to get the Palomino, but I have to say that I am exceedingly pleased that I received the Alabaster instead. In fact, she’s been such a distraction in my office that I’ve had to pack her back in her box and tuck her away from my sometimes less-than-dainty fingers.

The only minor quibble I had with her – and the original reason I was hesitant to deem the Alabaster my first choice – was that she didn’t have much in the way of body shading as the original White and Alabaster releases did, especially examples from the early 1960s. Even last year’s now highly-coveted Bonus Vintage Club Stablemate Bravo had some!

But when I opened her up, that lack of body shading was forgiven. In fact, she reminded me a lot of the Semi-Chalky Alabaster Running Mare I picked up last year, who has also become another fast favorite of mine. (Her yellowy parts whitened up real nice in the window, by the way!)

In every other respect they nailed the color, other than the name of the color on the box itself. As I explained earlier this year (first in the Sampler, then here) it should have been “White”.

I only finally figured that little nugget of trivia out this year – that the term “Gloss Alabaster” is a recent invention, and that in the 1960s those models were almost always labeled “White” – so that mistake, as it were, is easily forgiven.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

In a Name

Calm down, everyone: Tuesday’s special offer on Breyer’s web site was just overstock of last year’s Tractor Supply Special Jesse, given the more generic name “Palomino Quarter Horse”. Everything else appears to be exactly the same, even the issue number:

They did the same thing with the 2012 Mid-States Special Run Bay Roan Roxy Constellations, too, if you recall.

I briefly thought of ordering one – the handful of Jesses that I found around here were underwhelming – considering the possibility that there might be some of the Chalky variation ones in the overstock.

But then they sold out, and that temptation went away. More money for the potential surprises of December, I guess!

These re-releases are a nice offer for people who don’t have these participating retailers near them, or who wouldn’t dare brave the Breyer Sales Tent/NPOD for one either (where these kinds of overstocks often go).

I don’t have any Mid-States retailers within a reasonable driving distance, for instance; if I hadn’t already acquired a Constellation, I might have taken up the offer on the web site.

(Ironically, mine is a Sample from the NPOD!)

But historically speaking, this is little more than an interesting footnote, kind of like this one:

Yes, in some – but not all – early Breyer ephemera, the Running Mare and Foal were also known as the Running Arabian Mare and Foal. (This particular snippet is from the 1964 Price List.)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Coco, Coeur de Lion, Swaps et al

Whew – made it through the holiday weekend without buying anything model horse hobby related! (I did buy some sewing supplies. Vita has acquired a taste for my leather thimbles, grr.)

Though those Web Special Classics, especially the Coeur de Lion, definitely gave me a lot to think about. And now he appears to be sold out, so that definitely helps…

With the Terrang Coeur de Lion, the Stablemates Club Thoroughbred Mare Coco, the 2017 Vintage Club releases of both the Classic Quarter Horse Family and the Stablemates Standing and Lying Down Foals, and that Classic Swaps Poll they had us voting on back in July, it’s fairly obvious that these aren’t all warehoused bodies, but totally new production.

Clearly something changed in regards to the Hagen-Renaker leases.

How so, exactly, I am not privy to. And you know what? I’m fine with that. The official story will come out eventually. The primary focus of my research is investigating the mysteries Reeves cannot answer for lack of time, resources, or even (gasp!) interest.

And even though they were the models I grew up with, truth be told I am not as wedded to the Hagen-Renaker molds as many hobbyists are.

I’m not ever giving up my Classic Racehorses or G1 Stablemates, heck no! But given the wider range of choices we now have in regards to Classics and Stablemates, the Hagen-Renaker molds are not always going to be my first choice.

While I may have hesitated on the Terrang mold Coeur de Lion, I’m definitely not skipping out on whatever Classics Swaps won the popular vote for release next year. I think Swaps was one of Maureen Love’s masterpieces, and he looks great in every color they put him in. Yes, even that totally weird gray one in the 1990s where they gave him rubber-cemented Chubari Spots:

Friday, November 25, 2016

Traditional Man o' War Cull

Because I apparently can’t help myself, I bought another oddball Man o’ War, too:

This one, unlike the other oddball Man o’ War I purchased earlier this year (the one missing the gold trim on his halter), is quite clearly a Cull. His halter is completely unpainted, his hooves are unfinished (no gray/charcoal overpainting) and his eyes, alas, his eyes:

That big eyeball splotch is what obviously got him tossed into the Cull Bin. All of his other failings – a seam split on his neck, the mildew dappling and most of the scuffs – happened later on in life.

The trimming flaw on top of his noseband was not atypical for the era (mid 1970s) either, but it wouldn’t have been a disqualifier. I’ve seen trimming flaws far worse than that on models from the 1970s that somehow made it through production and onto toy store shelves. Once painted, most average consumers (nonhobbyists) wouldn’t have given it much thought.

That was also the era where I “cut my teeth” as a collector, which goes a long way in explaining why it takes something pretty egregious before I get Reeves on the phone to request a replacement for anything.

So this means that I’ve officially added six Traditional Man o’ Wars to my herd in the past year – four variants/oddities of the original #47 release in addition to the Gold Charm Raffle piece and the Vintage Club Storm.

There were several more that passed through here in box and body lots that for one reason or another – no provenance, no distinguishing features, not pretty enough – didn’t pass muster.

Next year is the 100th anniversary of his birth, so you’d think it’d be logical to assume that we might see another possible Man o’ War release soon. But then again, this is the same company that gave us three Drafts SRs for the Chasing the Chesapeake Event, so maybe I shouldn’t pin my hopes on logic.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Another Mustang Oddity

From another grungy box lot arises yet another weird Buckskin Mustang I feel compelled to keep….

He’s another one of those plastic oddities from the early 1970s – the surface physically feels like chalk, the plastic looks bright white in places, and he has some paint flaking characteristic of an Opaque White Plastic Chalky.

But he isn’t a White Plastic Chalky – he’s not opaque enough. And he’s not simply an exceptionally white model that hasn’t yellowed one iota from the day it was pulled from the mold, because he doesn’t have the translucency of standard, garden-variety Tenite, either.

(Most exceptionally white vintage models, I believe, were molded from fresh Tenite that was completely unadulterated by any regrind. The more regrind there is in the mix, the faster and more deeply a model will yellow.)

No, this fellow is something in between.

He was found in a collection with a couple of genuine Basecoat Chalkies and at least one other piece that might be of the same “stuff” (that one’s still grungy, so I can’t tell yet).

So he fits in with my earlier hypothesis, which is that at some point during the Chalky era, Breyer started mixing the Opaque White Chalky plastic with the standard Semi-Translucent White plastic to get this – kind of plastic I still struggle to find a proper name for. (Milky White? Bright White? Partial Chalky?)

So now I find myself in the possession of not one, but two oddball Buckskin Mustangs from the 1970s. Of all the crazy things you can find in box lots....

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Things You Wish For

I’ve resisted the siren call of the Breyer Black Friday Pre-Sale so far. I already had a Charlie and a Bravo, and the only other thing calling my name – the Deer Family – is a Regular Run item I can wait on.

In the ongoing end-of-year hubbub I forgot to mention that I got the Gambler’s Choice Reiner that I wanted – the Brindle! Yay!

Getting what I want doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like (my recent eBay bidding history is testament to that!) so he’s been sitting just under my monitor here as a reminder that every once and a while, you do get what you wish for.  

Since I am not in a very talkative mood today – partly because my fingers are sore from all the quilting I’ve been trying to catch up on this week – here’s another picture of another piece that was something wished for:

Yes, this is a Connoisseur Thrillseeker. Sort of: it’s actually from a group of unnumbered Thrillseekers that were found in the Ninja Pit a few years ago. I grabbed one, but in the ensuing melee, another Ninja pilfered it from my buy pile while my back was turned.

I still did okay that year – that was the year of the Stablemates Hermes, I believe – but it did sting a bit nonetheless. I had won the first Connoisseur Mosaic, and had hopes of winning the last, Thrillseeker, but that didn’t happen.

To make a long and complicated story short, I obviously and eventually did end up with one!

Since I still don’t have a “normal” Thrillseeker for comparison, I don’t know if there are any subtle or significant differences between the NPOD Thrillseeker and the numbered Thrillseekers, beyond the numbering.

They were probably overruns, but a few years later some equally mysterious Smart and Shineys – with no VINs, a different backstamp and slightly different shading and markings – were also made available in the NPOD.

Those pieces were very obviously a different item from the standard Smart and Shineys that were distributed at BreyerFest in 2013. Which is why I can’t yet shake the nagging possibility that these Thrillseekers might have been something similar. I mean, technically, I guess...

So this is why I still have a Thrillseeker on my want list.

Such is the case of getting what you want, or what you think you want: you just end up moving on to wanting something else.