Sunday, August 31, 2014


No "extra special" models in my BreyerFest leftovers box, and no "Let’s Celebrate!" e-mail either. My luck hasn’t been running that way lately; my kind is of the more mundane, day-to-day variety. Here’s a sampling - minus some books, some bodies, and some non-modelly stuff - of the kind of things I’ve found locally, since July:

The best pieces here would be the Chalky Family Foal, the Kitten (with a Blue Ribbon sticker!) and the Hagen-Renaker Elephant minis. The PAM is the two-sock version and extremely nice as well. As awesome as my flea market is, a lot of this stuff has come from elsewhere; the Mortens Dobie and the Elephants were Salvation Army finds, for instance. I travel a lot for work, and one of the "perks" is that I drive past a lot of thrift stores and hobby shops in places I’d normally never go. And as long as I’m there…

Sometimes I do get lucky - like that big bin of Hartlands last year, or the shoebox full of vintage H-R miniatures earlier this season. But most days, it’s little drips and drabs. My luck is in living in the area that I do, with its abundance of stores and merchandise. It’s not free and clear, though: I have to put the legwork in and the money out.

It’s something a lot of people don’t like to think about - and will argue to the contrary - but luck is unevenly distributed. It’s most noticeable, and painful, in situations where there’s nothing you can do to improve your odds, like hard work or patience.

Like raffles. There are hobbyists who have won raffles multiple times, and others who have never once been drawn for any raffle ever - online, in person, or by mail.

Except for the fact that I’ve never been pulled from a wait list for anything ever, I’d consider my luck about average with raffles. Actually, I calculated it, and it is. Back when Connoisseurs were the thing, I was curious to know how many a hobbyist should be able to win, on average. I had access to some numbers, ran them, and yep, I was right on the money with my "wins".

Others, as I mentioned above, haven’t been as average. This is one of the reasons - and not out of the quality of my personal luck - why I think Reeves needs to continue to offer rare and extra special models via multiple distribution methods. Some should be by raffle, or by raffle-to-purchase, others by contest or competition, by simple subscription, or on a first-come-first-served basis.

If you’re not a creative type, contests and competitions will do you no favors. If you don’t have a predictable cash flow, subscriptions or first-come-first-served offers won’t work for you. No one distribution method is more "fair" than another: the only way to make things more fair is to mix it up, release to release.

The only thing I think should not be repeated is the raffle-to-purchase of extra-low piece run Specials online. It basically creates a "money for nothing" situation: because there’s no cost to enter, and there’s a small window of time between winning and having to pay, it’s theoretically possible to make a tidy profit with no monetary investment on your end at all. It creates an incentive for otherwise uninterested people to enter to resell.

While selling off low piece runs via vault sales has had some major issues as well (traffic volume and shopping cart issues, ahem) the notion of having to put money down up front seems to cut down on the initial speculating, at least a little. It seems more likely to me that they’ll go the "Buried Treasure" route with those goodies, instead. Which is not fair to folks who have Internet time or access, or who take the occasional nap. (Happened to me once, it did!)

Not sure if my luck will hold out with the weather in the morning; last weekend was really good to me, so I'm not all that worried or invested in it.


Anonymous said...

The Farnam series! I have 2 of those; thrift store finds!

Christi said...

I've got a couple of the Farnam books too. I picked up one (Pretty sure it was Farnham) because I recognized Sam Savitt's style on the front cover.

Also saw a copy of Fury of Broken Wheel Ranch recently, in German. Didn't buy it, but I did get a copy of an old C.W. Anderson, called Future Champion or something like that.