Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Friday Morning Madness

There will be no fussing about March Madness brackets and predictions here; basketball was more my Dad’s thing, and since he’s been gone I haven’t had the heart, or courage, to watch even a fraction of a game.

I used to be pretty good at that sort of thing; when other little girls were fantasizing about being ballerinas, doctors and airplane pilots, I dreamed of being a handicapper - much to the horror of my elementary school teachers, surely. (I still have my notebooks of racing statistics I kept, tucked away in my relic boxes somewhere.)

The only "Madness" I’m interesting in handicapping in nowadays is the Friday Morning Madness now known as the NPOD.

For the uninitiated, NPOD = Ninja Pit of Death. It’s the "affectionate" nickname for the early Friday morning sales crush in the Breyer Sales Tent, where several hundred people attempt to fit into a roped off area slightly larger than my living room. The objective: grabbing whatever leftover warehouse goodies are to be had before anyone else does.

Last year’s Pit left a less-than-pleasant taste in my mouth that still lingers, which is why I’ve sort of avoided the subject since then. I’m not completely soured on the experience yet; I’ve found some real treasures in the NPOD over the years, and I still hold out hope for more.

I probably shouldn’t even be thinking about buying any more horses right now. It’s that time of year when I’m not even certain I can make it to Kentucky this year, much less brave the indignities of the NPOD. Everything seems so uncertain right now: job, money, life.

But it is also almost Spring. And what good is Spring without hope?

So here’s a few predictions about the contents of this year’s NPOD:

There’s the usual stuff we see every year, more or less: early releases of the Holiday items, Mid-Years, the J.C. Penney’s Catalog items (this year, and last), the first batch or two of Tractor Supply and/or Mid-States Specials, some Fun Day Classics, and maybe leftover Target Pony Gals odd and ends.Some early releases of the WEG exclusives? No doubt.

Then there’s the Ghosts of BreyerFests Past: Buttercream, Cotton Candy, Party Time, Cupcake and probably a few of last year’s POA Toby. Older things, too, depending on what they unearth in the warehouse.

The last several JAH Specials haven’t sold out, and I doubt the Grazing Mare and Foal set "Cream and Cocoa" did either: beautiful paint jobs, not so beautiful prices. That’s a no brainer. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more Party Girls show up too.

Another no brainer: last year’s Dealer Special Autumn. Another beautiful paint job, and well-received. But do the math: An average JAH Special runs about 1500 pieces, and they haven’t been selling out. They made 2000 of the Autumn - a better price, and a slightly different distribution strategy, but still pretty plentiful.

There might still be a few Medalist Ponies left: they managed to run through the Bronzes and Golds in last year’s Grab Bags, but I didn’t hear many (any?) reports of Silvers being shipped. Were there fewer of the Silvers left, or had they not gotten to them yet by the time the program expended itself? We’ll find out.

There’s been a lot of speculation about the Web Specials. I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect to see Rileys and the Summer Solstices, and perhaps a few more gloss Summer Solstices. Some of the online "combo" exclusives - the horse and book, or horse and tack packages also sold through Shopatron might show up, too, though most folks will be passing over them looking for "more exclusive" things - unless those combos unexpectedly come with unadvertised SRs.

The Connoisseurs? I don’t know. I know lots of hobbyists are beginning to suspect that the Fighting Bull "The Widow Maker" will be showing up: apparently they’re still sending letters from the back up list, which isn’t a good sign because the drawing was back in October. He was pricey, and some hobbyists avoid anything non-horse, so I guess it’s possible. I dunno.

The handful of leftover Halloween Missouri Fox Trotters from last year’s Lone Star Experience are also a puzzle. Everyone at the event had a second chance at them, so theoretically there shouldn’t be any complaint IF they end up in the tent. But after last year’s VRE fiasco, Reeves probably thinks those models are radioactive. Raffles and prizes may be a better bet for them, unless they actually follow through on their promise to limit "Sample sales items" to one per person.

(Which would be sensible, as would a numbering system for early risers. But they haven’t, don’t seem likely to, and I don’t have the authority to implement.)

Will there be other specials in the Tent, a la Toby? If you’ve been reading the literature, you’ll know this to be so: the draft horse "Radar" will have his own exclusive in the Tent. What model this will be I don’t know. The logical choice would be the Classic Shire, except that the mold has a bit too much feathering for him. (I know, I know, since when has a little historical or breed accuracy stopped Reeves?) Like Toby, I think he’ll be fairly limited, but still plentiful, unless he turns out to be drop dead gorgeous or is more limited than Toby’s 750 piece run.

Anything else? I still hold out hope for the slightly defective Play Mat Stock Horses: they’d easily sell through at a buck or two, as bodies. I wouldn’t mind seeing more bodies in general: the "whiteware" box of assorted bodies last year was a good idea in theory, if not in execution. Some collectors like having unpainted examples of their favorite molds: a better assortment of bodies, sold singly, would go over very well.

Then there’s the leftover Alborozos. They must have a few of them kicking around the warehouse. They can’t do anything with them, except paint over a few for test pieces. There’s definitely a demand for them - but I can see how getting rid of the extras could be as troublesome as the Halloween Fox Trotters.

I could go on, but it’s getting late and I have to be up early again, tomorrow. See y’all on Friday or Saturday, thereabouts.

1 comment:

BluelineGoddess said...

Breyer has a picture of Radar online now - it's the Roy mold. He looks pretty good, but don't all of their proofs?