Thursday, July 1, 2010


Connoisseur Buffalo? Awesome.

Some folks are in a tizzy because Reeves is "repeating" a color, but it doesn’t bother me at all. Lots of real horse colors have been repeated in the series, on different molds, and this really isn’t any different. Like Silver Filigree, I think it’s something that’s going to be reserved for special runs and special occasions; I just don’t foresee the Tortuga-style coloring become a widespread technique.

I can understand why folks might have wanted to see a Decorator Buffalo in a more "theme-appropriate" color, but what, exactly?

Woodgrain is out of the question; they already did a tiny batch of them as a special run for the Ranchcraft line in the 1960s - one of the rarest of all Woodgrains, but still. There are a handful of stone-based color might work (marble, sandstone, basalt, agate?) but then you’d run in some potential conflict with Peter Stone, who seems to think he has a lock on all colors based on rocks. A metallic color might work, but then there’s the infamous "Bronze Glo" pieces to contend with.

I’m guessing they decided to play it safe with the Tortuga-style coloring; the crazy prices the original Tortuga has been bringing in the aftermarket might have had some influence on the decision, too.

I have a great deal of affection for the Buffalo mold, because I am part Buffalo, myself. "Buffalo" is a slang term for persons of Belgian/Flemish descent; in some circles it’s seen as a mildly derogatory term, but that’s not been the case in my family or any one else I know of similar ancestry.

What I was told about the origin of the term is that Buffalo, New York was the first place Belgians emigrated to, en masse, from the old country. I’ve always wondered if it had something to do with the old Buffalo nickels. Belgians are notoriously thrifty; my Grandma never relinquished a nickel without a fight. (When we moved her from her apartment to the nursing home after her stroke, we found 88 dollars of spare change in her bedroom, alone!)

Like the Elk, he’s come in multiple variations and releases in Brown, from Buckskin, to Chestnut, to near Black. The earliest Buffaloes have hand painted lipliner: mine looks like he’s got a bit of a smirk on his face. The Buffalo was also one of a handful of models to get the unpainted gray plastic treatment in the 1970s; the easiest way to tell is by the color of his (mostly) unpainted horns.

Among the most desirable of Buffaloes are the White ones: the brief regular run Tatanka, a small special run of Tatanka that was made a few years later, and a tiny batch of heavily shaded ones that were probably made for the movie The White Buffalo, ca 1977. You’ll have to part with an awful lot of nickels to add any one of the three to your collection, though.

As you might have guessed, I have a lot of Breyer Buffaloes. I’d love to have the Woodgrain, the Bronze Glo, or the Presentation piece, but so far I haven’t lucked into one via my usual sources. I’m way too much of a Buffalo to pay "retail" for any of them.

Oh, I won’t give up hope; I did manage to get a Tatanka in an extremely favorable trade deal at BreyerFest several years ago. Would have made Grandma proud!


Anonymous said...

Huh. Well, if I were Breyer I wouldn't sweat using stone-based coloration, since Peter Stone, while he may be older than dirt, isn't older than metamorphic rock as far as I'm aware and would have a hard time proving he invented the color. Plus, I distinctly remember a Gold Charm ISH or two, so he's not afraid to, ahem, borrow.
I also know the going term for Taima is some variation on "Tortuga-colored". The hobby must be allergic to the term "tortoiseshell". Overpriced horsey is called Tortuga for a reason.

Laura Dotson-Thomson said...

Yep, I have been lucky enough to get three Tatankas relatively cheap, but have only ever seen one woodgrain come up for sale, and that one went for MUCH more than I could have parted with. I'd love to get all of them though. If anyone ever knows of any buffalos for sale, I'm always willing to work something out... I can hope, right?

Stockstill Stables said...

I love the Buffalo as well but HATE Taima. I do not like that coloration at all.
I have an old battle scarred one I fondly call Broken Horn. He was a gift from a fellow Blabber.