Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Web Specials Commentary

As proof of my Breyer History uber-nerdiness, I was going to post a lengthy, heavily footnoted article about the first Breyer mold mark - not the famous "copyright horseshoe," but what came before. It's fascinating - really! - but it's going to take me another day or two to whip it into readable shape. (Mostly editing for length - I tend to overwrite a bit on my first drafts.)

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts about the recent Web Special release Ballyduff.

I really like him; Reeves has been doing a bang-up job on their solid colors lately, especially their chestnuts. (I adore that gorgeous shade of red chestnut on the Australian SR Phar Lap!) It's nice to see them move away a bit from all the crazy psychedelic colors and patterns they've been high on lately. Don't get me wrong - my first choice this year at BreyerFest is going to be that awesome, over-the-top Lady Phase "Confetti" - but there's nothing prettier in the world than a simple, nicely done chestnut. (Wouldn't Ballylee's color look smashing on the Bouncer, or even the Stretch Morgan?)

Unfortunately, I'm on a budget so tight I can't even pass up the grotty pennies one finds in supermarket parking lots. Since I also had the happy misfortune of being picked for the Connoisseur Auld Lang Syne, and I rather prefer the Kennebec to the Flash, my budget priorities were pretty clear on the matter. Even though I think he's actually a pretty good deal for the money, I had to take a pass on him.

(Oh, I can almost hear you wincing at the thought of someone actually preferring the Kennebec Count mold over - well, anything. I'll deal with you conformation freakazoids another day...)

I think Reeves is finally getting closer to the winning formula for the Web Specials on price, quantity and availability. The 350 piece run - identical to the Connoisseur releases, and the recent regular run gloss variations - seems about right. Not so few to create a ninja-pit-style feeding frenzy, and not so many that they won't retain most of their value. Kudos to Reeves for managing to create a nice buzz - and likely, a tidy little profit - in one heck of a rotten economy. Sure wish I could have contributed!

I'm hoping that they don't go monthly on these particular specials; that kind of overkill is what spoiled Stone Horses for a lot of collectors. And the three month wait certainly added to the anticipation and the drama: the Web Special thread on Blab was interesting, to say the least. (And also, a little scary!)

And yet, in spite of all the fussing, cussing and drinking that went on, the Ballylee still isn't quite sold out. There's lots of reasons why: the Auld Lang Syne drawing was last week, the economy is still sinking, and it's that time of year when a lot of hobbyists are taking a hard look at their live show and BreyerFest budgets for the year. I'm sure he'll be gone by the end of the week though, if not sooner.

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