Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Shiny Object to Distract You

Another less substantial one today - nothing to do with Halloween, it’s just my work schedule messing with my non-work schedule, again. Because contrary to what some of yous may believe, what I do here isn’t work. Work pays the bills, blogging doesn’t.

(Not a complaint, just a mere statement of fact.)

Our weather, mercifully, has been not awful. Not good, but a mere shadow of a shadow that hit the East Coast this week.

The only troubling thing I experienced was watching a transformer explode about a mile down the dark and sleet-covered road I was travelling for work yesterday morning. It was already being repaired when I drove back via the same route about nine hours later.

A small programming note - and unrelated to my personal issues with the concept of time - the big "reveal" will be Sunday night, not Saturday. Nothing nefarious going on, really: it was always scheduled for Sunday. It wasn’t until a day or so ago that all parties involved realized that this Sunday was the fourth, not the third. (My excuse: the way my work schedule is, it’s just better/less stressful for me not to look more than two or three days ahead.)

Like everyone else, I got my Glossy Zenyatta Foal, too. Oh my goodness, he’s beautiful:


There’s some variation in the run - some lighter, some darker - and mine’s on the darker side. My certificate says he’s #259 out of 500, but according to the letter included in the box, they were sent out randomly, and not according to order number. As I talked about before - and more experienced hobbyists know - the numbering doesn’t really "mean" anything anyway, outside of the personal meaning any number has for anyone.

Speaking of that letter, Zenyatta’s people did a beautiful job of marketing and packaging the little fellow - not just a letter, packing slip and receipt, but a "Certificate of Authenticity" that doubles as a "Birth Certificate", and a lovely little Thank You/Business Card.

Ah, if only every super-special were so carefully packaged and tailored to hobbyists. We all love our little bits of paper, don’t we?

Even if I hadn’t gotten him this week, I would have known it from all the Foals popping up, well, everywhere. I know I shouldn’t be surprised by it, at all, but it still grates a little.

I’m old school when it comes to very limited or exclusive Special Runs, always will be, I think. My first thought whenever I stumble across one early enough to take advantage of it is: Do I Really Want One? My second thought is Does Anyone I Know Want One?

If the answer is No to both questions, I generally pass, unless it’s so super-cheap that it’s worth the effort to resell. That’s generally the case when I stumble across something at the flea market, though there have been plenty of instances where I’ve let even those good deals go, just because it wasn’t worth the hassle.

I’ll let someone else have the pleasure of a good deal - or the aggravation of trying to resell it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Novel Idea

I’m feeling a little bit better today. I figured out what I was doing wrong with a recipe I’ve been experimenting with (I wasn’t following it to the letter. Duh.) I found a few more auctions to fantasize about on eBay (for a week, until I inevitably lose them.) And I’m just about ready to wrap up (what wasn’t supposed to be such) a tedious sewing project.

I’ll probably spend most of the next day or two cleaning up some paperwork, prepping some stuff to sell, and working a bit more on that secret thing.

In fact, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with a few more not-too-obvious clues for you all about it. Here’s what I was able to come up with:
  • I can almost guarantee that it’s going to be something that a big chunk of the online model horse community will be talking about for some time to come. The chunk that’s obsessed with Breyer History, that is.
  • Oh, and it happens to be something I’ve talked about here before, in passing. Not very helpful, especially since that’s nearly 500 posts you’d have to wade through.
In other tangential/self-referential news, I think I might have come up with a sufficiently motivational writing project for November. In light of the events of the past couple of months, this particular notion keeps floating to the surface of my mind: writing a hobby history of myself.

It’ll contain all the crazy stories that I couldn’t otherwise tell here - or the ones I haven’t quite told in full. It’s not necessarily a novel, per se, but some of the stuff I’ve experienced sounds almost fictional - some of you who have seen what I’ve done (and what’s been done to me) know what I’m talking about.

Some of what I want to write down is also potentially libelous, involving people who are no longer with us, either physically or in the hobby proper. So the notion that I could profit from this history in some way - either by self-publishing it, or tailoring it for the larger memoir/autobiographical market - isn’t something I’m even considering at this point. I just want to write it down for the record, so the stories themselves don’t get lost to the ages. Its purpose, more or less, is to basically become another volume to add to my archives.

I don’t necessarily think of myself as a "BNP" in the hobby, or someone who necessarily needs to write an autobiography. Actually, I think everyone at some point should write their own hobby biography - if, for nothing else, to explain to their friends and family why this thing we do means so much to us in the first place.

I just happen to have way more - and way crazier - stories than most. 50,000 words worth, at least.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lumpy, Bumpy, Scratched and Dinged

Looks like the Lionhearts have shipped this week after all. Which is fine by me, since I lost big on an auction I was bidding on today anyway. I sliced my finger open yesterday while walking the Vita Monster, and I deserve a pony for my suffering, darn it!

(Finger got caught up in the leash just as the Fuzzy Little Ball of Rage happened to spot vermin running across someone’s yard. She's usually pretty good about not taking off like that on her walks; the cooler weather does put a bit of pep in her step, though.)

I didn’t win a Luna, either. I only entered for her once, so it wasn’t like I was heavily invested in winning. Would have been nice, but we have the "Winter"/Black Friday/Cyber Monday Web Special to look forward to in a few weeks, right? (Who shall wear the lovely Silver Filigree coat this year?)

Reeves put up the "official" sneak peeks of some of the 2013 releases yesterday, too, confirming my suspicions about the Vintage Western Pony. Sigh. I’m sure she’ll be quite pretty in person, but the only thing "vintage" about this release is the fact that it’s a Western Pony. She looks more like a glossed 1990s release, almost a "Mini Me" of the Western Horse Royal Te.

http://www.breyerhorses.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=2921

If they wanted "Vintage Appaloosa" they could have gone with the Western Prancing Horse Black Splash Spot Leopard, the Performance Horse Roan Semi-Leopard, or even a Glossy Gray Whatever a la the Fighting Stallion or Traditional Mustang (provided they get away from the polka dots that plagued the Harlequins, of course.)

It just feels like Reeves is conceding to the "Glossy = Vintage!" people. Fooey.

You think I’m being a whiner? The online commentary about the Northern Dancer release makes me look like an amateur: you’d think that Reeves just committed a marketing disaster on the same level of "New Coke".

I really do not understand the antagonism in some circles of the hobby over the John Henry mold. Other than the lumpiness - which has been largely remedied - the only great sin I see with the mold is the uninspiring paint jobs he’s come in: Bay, Bay, more Bay, Bay Pinto, Bay Roan. Bleh. (The ELCR releases on Red Dun and Gray did break the pattern a bit, but the point holds: the dude's got a rather limited wardrobe.)

To be fair, some of those Bays are pretty nice. I’m still trying to track down - for a reasonable price - an early "Brindle" Bay John Henry. All the ones I find are either beat to heck, or out of my price range. It didn’t help that he was also a rather unexpectedly popular mold among the younger set at BreyerFest this year. Don’t know why that was, it just was.


(Though nobody saw fit to make an offer on my rather nice Cincinnati. Their loss!)

As with most new Thoroughbred releases, we’re being bombarded with the usual arguments about how This Very Important Race Horse needs - no, DEMANDS! - an entirely new mold of his/her/its own. Anything less is a travesty of justice, yadda yadda blah blah. 

Look, I’m not arguing that a few more nice Thoroughbred molds wouldn’t be appreciated, but we go through this discussion Every. Darn. Time. If Reeves had to create a new mold for every latest and greatest legend in the racing world, they’d be doing nothing but Thoroughbred molds.

I don’t know about you, but I'd rather they get hopping on a new Draft Foal, a more correct Akhal-Teke, and a few more Ponies of the British Sort, first.

On a positive note, I do like the Sergeant Reckless on the Galiceno. That mold deserves more releases, and the chestnut paint job  - what can be seen of it - looks appealing. Might have to make some room on the shelves for that one.

And the sparkly, translucent Stablemates are so full of win, it hurts. Now that’s the kind of "girly" stuff even this self-confessed tomboy can squeal about.

Monday, October 22, 2012

More Whining, and a Test Color

The fact that it is October has finally caught up to me. As some of you may know, October is historically not a good month for me mood wise. The top secret project I’m working on helped carry me through most of the month, but the doldrums finally arrived.

Gotta push myself through it, as always. (A head’s up: there’s going to be some moodiness ahead.)

I’ve been skimming through the Passage to the Pacific stuff, but my heart isn’t all that into it. There are lots of reasons why, and it being October is only one of them.

I’ve expressed this sentiment before, but it bears repeating: a hobby (any activity worth pursuing, really) grows from the bottom up, not the top down.

I’ve always thought - and continue to believe - that the hobby is best served when everyone feels like they can participate, regardless of their income or experience levels.

You can vary your level of participation at an event like BreyerFest, for instance, in ways you cannot at the Exclusive Events. BreyerFest is in a fixed location, with dates planned well in advance, with lower Special Run prices, and requires little advanced planning required for a casual attendee.

These Exclusive Events? Nuh-uh.

If you went to the event and had a good time, good for you. Just be mindful that most of the hobby will never, ever have the time or resources to attend even one of those events. It’s not going to happen for me unless (a) it’s within a reasonable driving distance of my house, or (b) Reeves pays for it.

Which both seem extremely unlikely, at this point. (Though I might add that a tour of my house and my collection might be an attraction for some. Heck, if any of you are in the neighborhood, drop me a line and I’ll do it anyway. Just give me an hour or so to clean up the place.)

And as a reward for putting up with more of my whining, here’s another picture from Marney’s photo album:


Ooh, pretty! I'd definitely take him over the Peacock Fighter any day. More proof, too, that a statement like "don’t trust Black Test Colors" must always come with caveats.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Patching Together

That big project I’m working on is melting my brain, I swear.  I thought I’d take a little breather from it and catch up a bit on my sewing, until I realized what was up next in my quilting queue:


Points, curves AND insets? I might as well be painting a Reverse Dappled Palomino Roan Pintaloosa, sheesh.

(FYI: it’s a variation of a Depression Era pattern called "Imperial Fan". I found a pile of pieces and some templates at the bottom of a box of scraps, and in a not-rare-enough moment of insanity, I thought it’d be a fun reconstruction project. Yeah. No.)

Lots of news to catch up on. Let’s roll.

The talk is now that the Walmart Special Runs that have been turning up in some stores might be some sort of test, or just a regional release. All I know for sure is that very few people have been able to find them, and they’re not in my neck of the woods either.

There are two OTHER Classics Special Run sets turning up at some Mid-States stores that appear to be a continuation of the old Walmart Mesteno/ Mustang series. They’ve been shipping old Walmart overstock of their Mestenos to the "farm store circuit" for a few years now, so I’m guessing that means that's where the series will now carry on; these newest releases have the new Breyer logo, so it’s definitely not older overstock. Unless it is a test/regional thing, too. 

There are no Mid-States nearby, but I do have a local/regional farm store chain nearby that does get a very nice selection of Breyers in around the holidays, so this will be added incentive to stop in the next time I drive by. You know, just in case there are some enhancements to the selection.

(All I REALLY want is that "unreleased" set with the light gray Bronco and the white Wolf. Like everyone else)

The Traditional Totilas mold is being delayed until the beginning of the year. It appears to be more of a legal/technical issue, than one of production. It’s only a few more weeks of waiting, anyway.

The Lionheart Esprits are also delayed, but no explanation (or hints of) have been offered. It’s annoying, but my budget’s doing its end of the year tightening, so I’m okay with that, too.

Pictures of some of the 2013 releases are now floating about, including a new Classic mold, a new release on the Smart Chic Olena, a Vintage release on the Western Pony, and some glittery (!) Stablemates.

(Yay, glittery Stablemates!)

I’m going to wait until there are better pictures of the 2013 releases before I do any detailed commentary on them. I’m happy to see that the Vintage release of the Gloss Bay Pinto Fury this year did well enough to merit continuing the series, but the color they appear to have chosen for the Western Pony - Flaxen Chestnut Appaloosa, with detailed out hooves, mane and tail - strikes me as a little more Modern than Vintage.

I hope the splash spots are a little on the sloppy side, like the old splash spots were.

I’ve been periodically skimming the discussion on the Passage to the Pacific. Once I got a gander at some of the pictures of the SRs - including a Black Tobiano Pinto Galiceno, and another PAM, for crying out loud - I checked myself out of that discussion. The freakouts on MH$P are going to be bad enough to witness.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Can’t Help Myself

So the new Web Special, Luna, glows in the dark? I am intrigued, but since my money is going to be tied up doing other things, I won’t be entering for her. Much.

(Only once. Because the possibility of entering a contest and winning on just one entry appeals to me.)

The concept seems a bit muddled, though, somewhere in the foggy middle ground between "Halloween" and "Fall". That does sort of bother me, a little bit, my fondness for glowy things aside.

Because I just can’t help myself, here are a few more extremely vague clues about the business that's been keeping me up the past couple of nights (and more to come).
  • Things were seen that I had not seen before. (Take a moment to think about the things I have, and the things I’ve seen.)
  • Conversely, things were seen that almost everyone has seen before. ("Everyone" being defined as the kind of people who frequent this joint.)  
  • Although I may "profit" from this venture in the long run, I will not be making any money off of it.
  • All shall be revealed the night of November 3rd.
Back to work!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mystery Date

I just got back from my little road trip. ‘Twas just as awesome as I had hoped.

I can’t tell y’all anything about it just yet. It’s a busy week in the hobby anyway, with the California thing, the Web Special thing, and the Lionheart thing, so I’m sure you’ll find plenty enough to keep yourselves entertained in the meantime.

However, in the spirit of Breyer’s sneak peaks, I’ll give you a teeny-tiny taste of what’s to come:


Hee.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Daytona

I am elbow-deep in paperwork and prep that I need to get done by Sunday for the road trip, so it’s another pretty pony drive by today. This one is a Daytona that I picked up in the NPOD last year:


There were a few other pieces from the Sunshine Celebration that were also made available in the Pit that year, but by the time I made it to that particular corner, Daytona was the last one available.

Not that I’m complaining: he’s beautiful. I am so in love with dark seal bays right now it’s not funny - to the point where I’ve been lingering a little too long over pictures of the Heartland High Tech Hackney, even though I know I shouldn’t.

BTW, don’t get your knickers in a twist over the availability of these models: it seems pretty clear to me that they were a part of the infamous "Sample Room Cleanout" that occurred earlier that year. They were all priced at event retail, too: none of us lucky enough to stumble on these treasures got a "deal" on them. (Other than not having to pay the aftermarket mark-up.)

He - and I’m assuming, all the others - had the same mold marks and backstamps and VIN numbers that the regular production pieces did, so it seems that they may have been pulled from the production run to be used as photography/display/promotional Samples. Normally Samples are made - and shipped - ahead of production, but it may have been a case where they were crunched for time, or felt it wasn’t necessary, adding an extra model or two to everyone’s production run instead (or pulling from the spoilage).

Whether or not there are "true" samples (sans VIN numbers) of said models floating about, I do not know. Probably.

Regardless, this is a classic case where provenance is important.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Long and Winding Roads

FYI - My upcoming road trip (this weekend!) isn’t to Sweden:

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/08/world/europe/sweden-nobel-prize-medicine/index.html

There aren’t a lot of Gurdons in the world; in fact, it’s a rare enough name that the chances are fairly high that we’re all related to each other somehow, though I don’t know this guy intersects with our family tree. Our branch appears to be from a little town in Hungary called Borzav├ír:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borzavár

(Allegedly we’re related to royalty, but if you go back far enough, everyone is. Moot anyway, since there’s nothing left to inherit. Another fun family rumor: either a great, or great-great grandfather was in the Austro-Hungarian cavalry. So maybe I might have inherited something after all.)

Dang it, though, there goes my dream of being the first Gurdon to win a Nobel Prize. Guess I better get cracking on being the second. (Why must I forever be Alydar to someone else’s Affirmed? Bah!)

Maybe I can be the first to win the prize in Literature? I could live with that. I’m now undecided about participating in NaNoWriMo this year, BTW; I have plenty of ideas, but time is definitely going to be an issue.

I suppose I should put a little something model-related in this post, yes? Other than the road trip thingie, my mind hasn’t been on the horses much the past few days. I’ve been checking in and out on Blab, but it seems to be going through another one of those phases where five or six people are posting a lot of giggly nothing every day. I’ll admit I don’t have much of a life, but yeesh. guys. Go bake a cake or rake some leaves, why don’t ya?

I am intrigued, but not overly excited, about the upcoming Web Special, which appears to be something Decorator-y, though it’s not clear what the "theme" is quite yet. Purple, Silver and Blue equals what, exactly? Halloween? Fall? The Presidential Election?

I need to move more horses out, not in. I’m currently on the fence about this fellow, for instance:


This year's pretty porcelain Store Special Killarney!

I only just opened him up this week. In the ensuing hubbub, I sort of forgot he was even here; it also didn’t help that I was a little afraid of him, with me being clumsy and him being porcelain. He’s actually really cute, and I lurve his big ol’ Roman schnozz. I’d certainly be open to having him translated to plastic: he strikes me almost as a more handsome and up-to-date revision of Morganglanz.

Too bad his lackluster sales at BreyerFest probably put a kibosh on that. I think it was the paint job more than anything else: if they had put some minimal pinto markings or a blanket on his behind, fewer would have been left behind.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sometimes, I Have No Clue

I was going to get so much done this weekend, then WHAM - hello, migraine. And not some crawl-in-the-basement-and-sleep-for-three-hours one, either. This sucker lingered.

On top of that, the Vita was sick, too, so at one point during my extended weekend I was outside, nauseous, shambling around in the rain, waiting for her to lose her lunch as well.

So, instead of getting caught up, I am now even further behind. No long, lovingly researched post for you!

Instead, here’s a picture of some oddity I picked up at Model Horse Congress back in 1985 or 1986:


I think he’s a cull, but I’m not entirely sure. (His condition is a little rougher than the photo lets on.) Breyer had stopped using the pinto mask on the Western Horse about 10 years earlier, and it would be a few more before they’d pull it out again for the Chestnut Pinto Just About Horses Special in 1990. So he might actually have been a test for … something else? I knew he wasn’t that old, because his color was not dissimilar to the acidic yellow palominos Breyer was cranking out at the time. 

The reins are obviously not original, but I can’t recall if the saddle was. I honestly can’t remember. That was when I was just starting to hit the flea markets pretty seriously, and Western Horses and Ponies were still fairly plentiful, if not in the best condition. Sometimes I’d buy something just to salvage the reins or saddle from it.

(People were a little less particular about the bodies they were willing to customize back then, too. Partly out of necessity, partly out of youthful exuberance.)

I’m also almost certain that the eyes and hooves were touched up later, too, but I never bothered to "fix" them because I couldn’t be 100 percent sure that they weren’t. Plus, I just couldn’t bear the thought of having an unfinished model standing on my shelves.

I’ve since gotten over that sentiment. This weird old boy's been grandfathered in, though. Sometimes it's best to leave some mysteries to be. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

More Housecleaning

Time for a little housecleaning.

I had to pitch a couple of bodies in the trash yesterday. I hate to throw out anything, but it wasn’t a total loss: I did learn a lot from my experimentations. That’s sort of the whole point of experimenting, right? You’re not going to learn anything if you don’t open yourself up to the possibility of failing.

My "October Surprise" has nothing to do with the Passage to the Pacific thing. Y’all realize I live in Michigan and, by the conventional standards of measure, am poor? And that I just laid out a fair bit of change to get my car repaired?

There’s a photo of the event horse "Like Thunder" on the Breyer web site now, and it’s quite nice. Unlike a lot of the kvetchers, though, I prefer the Rejoice mold to the Clock Saddlebred. It’s still not going to motivate me to buy a ticket at the last minute. I need more horses going out, not coming in.

Speaking of, I managed to avoid the charms of that pretty Bear at Tuesday Morning this week. Whew.

Looks like the Gloss Zenyatta Foals may be sold out; if so, they went a little quicker than I expected, but I also suspect some speculating going on. I already see it on the Mid-States Specials, which I find a little strange. I know Roxy’s popularity’s been on the rise - especially with the new mane she got at BreyerFest - but the Mid-States SRs have typically averaged around 3000 pieces, more than enough to go around.

My Harlequin (whom I have dubbed "Mista J") arrived a couple of days ago, and (being the contrarian, again) I am actually rather unimpressed with him:


His hooves aren’t black, and the spots are, frankly, a little weird and unrandom. The speckling in his gray areas is untypical of vintage gray appaloosas, and dang it, his face isn’t bald enough.

The eyewhites bug me, too, but that's already been discussed.

He’s not going anywhere, though. I am not one of those people who joins clubs just to skim off any "good stuff".  Because it’s all good - chocolate is still chocolate, regardless of whether it’s Hershey or Callebaut.

(Reeves persons who might be reading: my consultation offer still stands.)

As an art historian (I have a degree, really I do!) I’ve been keeping up with the story of the "Flea Market" Renoir, which now appears to have been stolen:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/flea-market-renoir-was-allegedly-stolen-from-baltimore-museum-of-art/2012/09/27/193d6162-08bd-11e2-a10c-fa5a255a9258_story.html

Here’s a quote from the story linked above that piqued my interest:
The Virginia woman, who wants to remain anonymous, bought the landscape in 2010 for $7 in a box with a doll and a plastic cow. She stashed the box for nearly two years before her mother suggested that the painting might be a real Renoir.
Did you see that - and think what I was thinking? Was that a Breyer Cow in that box?

Dang. How come I’ve never found lost Impressionist masters at the bottom of my flea market box lots?

I can just imagine what would have happened, though, if I had bought said box home with me. Mom would have appropriated the painting - both the picture, and the frame being very much to her taste. I would have insisted on taking it to the DIA or DuMouchelles for an appraisal, then the whole "OMG it might have been stolen" part would have come out, and then Mom would be all ticked off at me because I couldn’t let a sleeping dog lie…

Still would have been worth the trouble, though. Seven dollars for a Breyer Cow - even a beat up, body quality Holstein - is a good price.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Elvis on my Mind

I took a couple weeks off from flea marketing; my heart wasn’t into it, and the weather was simply not to my liking. But I did go yesterday. And golly, look at what I found!


In glorious black velvet! Is this not one of the most awesome things ever? It’ll look perfect next to my vinyl upholstered horse head with the hand-cut fringe. (Not for sale either, ladies, at least not yet.)

I also bought a couple of china figurines - a pretty Roselane Sea Gull, and a scary-looking Pekingese of German origin that looks vaguely like Ernest Borgnine. Because, duh.

I do regret not buying a vintage fuzzy gray mohair men’s hat; ‘twas only five bucks, and made by Detroit’s legendary Henry the Hatter, but for  reasons unknown, I left it behind. Maybe because I figured that a Vegas/Rat Pack-themed BreyerFest is a very dim possibility, at best.

(Great. Now I’m thinking how sweet a Vegas-themed BreyerFest could be. Showgirls, playing cards, slot machines, neon, lounge singers, a Don Rickles impersonator going around and insulting the anatomy and finishwork of BNAs…)

There were quite a few horse-shaped objects to be had, most of them reasonably priced, but I decided to leave them all behind. I have quite enough to sell as it is, thank you, and that Bluegrass Bandit/Bear I saw at Tuesday Morning last week was weighing heavily on my mind. I was looking at my schedule the day before and noticed that I’ll be working just down the road from that particular store this week.

Depending on how the week goes, he might just be coming home with me after all.