Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Just a head’s up: I am not a happy camper today. Aside from having to deal with the kind of people who make one think wistfully of giant meteors hitting the Earth, the computer just crashed and blowed up my latest post before I had a chance to even save it.

(Long story. I blame the dog.)

Anyway, I just came back from being outside: the flowers are blooming, and there’s a nest of baby Robins in the garden. I had a good hair day, and I found a bunch of good chocolate on clearance at the store this morning. I saw some not-outrageously-priced Breyers at the Antique Mall today, and one of them was a Chalky!

Dang. Happy thoughts not working like I hoped. Oh well, moving on. If you catch a whiff of anything iffy, it's me, not you.

One somewhat positive development, it appears that this year’s BreyerFest Youth Show prizes are going to be Semigloss, rather than Gloss, whatever that means. (More on that in a minute.)

This is a good thing, because all those Gloss Prize models were doing was ramping up the intensity level on a show that should be, essentially, a fun learning experience.

Cheating’s been going on a while, but it looks like last year finally drove Reeves to do something a little more meaningful than including even sterner warnings about unsportsmanlike behavior in the show packet.

It’s funny, I was just looking over some ephemera I acquired recently and it included a bunch of show results from the early 1980s. We had show prizes back then, too, but they tended to be relegated to raffles, silent auctions, and door prizes. It was more about the ribbons, the rosettes and the prestige. My Bay Trakehner won a Reserve Grand at Model Horse Congress in the Senior Division back then. All I got was a big rosette, but that was a HUGE deal to me!

Cheating went on back then, too. Get a bunch of horse-crazy young ladies in a room competing for who has the best/prettiest horses, and there’s going to be drama. And felt tip markers. And people with X-acto blades who aren’t happy about your minty-mint Buckskin Indian Pony with the blue ribbon sticker keeps beating their horses, and is going to do something about that.

Aside from the lack of prize models, one other difference back then was that there was another division, composed of non-adult Novices who were no longer Novices, but didn’t feel they were ready to compete with the adults yet. The "Junior" division was never big, numerically, mostly because people aged out of it. (Novices, on the other hand, could be any age.) Moving on towards the Senior/Open divisions was considered a "step up" in terms of prestige, too.

Switching to slightly less impressive prizes for the Youth Show will, I hope, revive the notion that "stepping up" is a good thing, especially among those Youth showers who are more like the Junior showers of yesteryear. That it requires a little "financial" encouragement isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either, as long as it achieves the desired effect.

Anyway, back to the "Semigloss" thing: no one’s quite sure, yet, what Reeves’s definition of that word is going to be. Heck, even in the hobby we can’t agree on what "Semigloss" means: I’ve seen it used to describe models that were very slightly satiny, to models whose Gloss wasn’t quite as thick as the old-fashioned 1960s "dip glossed" models. It’s an extremely variable - and relative - term.

I tend to fall into the "relativity" camp: in other words, how different is it from the standard/contemporary finishes? Many early Matte-finished models from the 1960s appear to be Semigloss compared to the Matte-finished of today, but are quite obviously Matte compared to the other releases of the time.

While it's a bit of a sticking point for me, who likes simple and neat definitions for things, the point is moot if you’re a variation collector. All that matters there is (a) do you like it? and (b) do you like it enough to buy it? As someone who has just a few too many horses in the barn right now, the variation has to be really distinctive and/or really special to come through my front door.

I just can’t ever see myself being one of those one-mold-only collectors, where going hog wild over ever shade and variant could be a legitimate collection focus. I love the Traditional Man o’ War. But I love the old Trakehner, too. And the Pacer. And the G1 Stablemates. And the Western Prancing Horse, and - you get the idea.

UPDATE 6/5: Well, the baby birds fell out of the nest today...and there was nothing we could do to save them. I will now spend the rest of the day in the basement waiting for the meteor and eating chocolate until I am sick.

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