Thursday, February 27, 2014

Happy Family

The cold that I thought was a passing thing last week? It must have seen that I had a small lull in my schedule, and came back for an encore. So much for getting anything extra done around the house; the only energy I’ve had for the past couple of days was expended going to the store to buy more Nyquil.

I have not said much about the latest Breyer exclusive event, the Big Easy Bash. There were a few days back when the tickets were being sold that I considered the possibility of going, partly to help a friend out, but mostly because I wanted to visit the factory again. And road trips, I needed another road trip.

It didn’t materialize because we couldn’t get our ducks in a row in time.

Whilst helping out another friend, I was made aware of the existence of a wait list, and my name was put upon it. The closer and closer the date became, the less and less likely that a last minute call was going to happen, so I took progressively less interest in any of the details of the event.

And…if I say any more, you’d probably get annoyed with me, mostly because I’d start rambling about my thoughts about hobby gentrification - and since cold medication does weird things to my head, probably end with me babbling about Bigfoot or the Illuminati.

Anyway, happier thoughts of happier families: here is a picture of my Deer Family. I bought them at the flea market quite some time ago; the wooden bases are not original, of course. They were purchased from a dealer who had obviously bought out the contents of someone’s hunting lodge or trophy room; in addition to the Deer Family, there were multiple antler mounts from the 1960s, most of them not much to brag about.

The Breyer Deer, on the other hand, were. Older, with beautiful shading, no rubs in sight, no USA marks, and every tine on the Buck's rack intact: it was the finest Breyer Deer Family that I found up to and since then.

I decided to keep them on their bases because they were in good shape, and well done. They had done their job in keeping the entire family intact in every sense of the word, so why mess with success, right?

The Deer Family are in the small group of molds that are more popular among the general public than they are in the hobby. Hobbyists prefer two things that the Deer Family are not: horses, and variety. The Family returned in two different tweaked versions of the tan/brown: the #3124 "Whitetail" Family from 1998 through 2004, and the #3125 "Summer Coat" set in 2005. The Fawn was rereleased in some of the Wal-Mart Special Run sets, too. But other than that, what you see above is what you would have gotten - in the 30 plus years the originals were available (ca. 1964-1997).

There are some variations. The Buck is sometimes found in Chalky, and the Fawn is occasionally seen without spots. Items issued during the brief bi-eye era came with bi-eyes. Early models were sold separately, in addition to being sold in sets, and also came with Large or Small Blue Ribbon Stickers. The original box for the #3123 Deer Family set has very appealing graphics. And as I mentioned above, early models came without USA marks. Test colors and oddities are rarer than your average horse mold, but do exist.

So if you are truly a dedicated Breyer Deer collector, you could keep yourself modestly busy for a while tracking all that down.

Even so, I think it’s funny that their names rarely come up when discussing future Nonhorse Special Runs - online, BreyerFest, wherever. A Piebald set would be fairly well-received, especially as a Special Run set for Tractor Supply.


englishspot2003 said...

I would LOVE to see a piebald set!

englishspot2003 said...

I would LOVE to see a piebald set!

Corky said...

I wasn't even aware of the existence of spotted deer until a few years ago, and I'd buy a spotted Deer Family so fast it'd make your head spin.

LostInAn80sFog said...

Breyer executives, are you listening? Andrea speaks the truth. I no longer actively collect models but I'd buy a piebald deer family in a heartbeat.