Monday, September 21, 2015

Missed Opportunities

I must confess I’m feeling a bit burnt out, Breyer-wise: the Chicago trip was a big emotional drain, and in the past few days all I’ve wanted to do is watch cartoons and make quilts.

The Internet chatter is not helping my mood: it sounds like a lot of people are about fifteen minutes away from declaring the Chicago event an “Epic Fail”.

It was flawed, yes, but I wouldn’t go that far. I wasn’t party to any of that discussion, but the event felt like it had some issues from the get go.

The Special Run situation is the one getting the most discussion, and it certainly could have been handled better. Issuing them in equal quantities (80 each?) would have tempered the obvious resale motives that were in evidence during the sale on Sunday.

I actually liked most of the Specials: this was meant as a hobbyist-centric event, so I was expecting a nerdier-than-average selection. I had suspected that we’d be seeing the Family Arabians again in some form, so I was very pleased to see the Mare and Foal set “Addison and Clark”.

Can’t get any nerdier than that! (Okay, I’ll spot you the Modernistic Buck and Doe. And Benji and Tiffany, too.)

We haven’t seen either of those two molds as a production item since 1997’s Galena and Julian. Is this a hint, perhaps, that we’ll be seeing more of these two in the near future? I hope so.

From the somewhat dismissive tone of the discussion on Friday night, assumed that I’d actually be able to get the ones I wanted, regardless of my position in line. My first choices were among the less popular: the Family Arabian set (of course!), and the Appaloosa Performance Horse “Ferris”.

What struck me most about the event, though, weren’t the models but the missed opportunities: first and foremost, the reasons why the location was so significant to the model horse hobby in the first place.

Chicago is the “birthplace” of the Breyer Molding Company. It was also the home of Model Horse Congress, the BreyerFest-before-BreyerFest held by Marney Walerius, the first among us to work in a semi-official capacity for the company. The modern hobby, essentially, was born there.

Outside of a single bus trivia question, there was no acknowledgment of Breyer’s connection to Chicago. Heck, we weren’t even anywhere in the vicinity of Chicago. The only connections the event seemingly had to Chicago were the names of the models themselves. That seemed very strange to me, especially as a history-oriented hobbyist.

The resources were available. There are still plenty of us from the “Chicago Factory” days around to assist, if needed be. We could have pointed out some of the sites of hobby-historical interest, provided a slideshow, wrangled some of local hobby celebrities out of their retirements, or even just serve as raconteurs or tour guides.

I could go on; I won’t. I don’t regret going: I made the most of the opportunity and had a good time, for the most part. Things went more right than wrong; the biggest sticking points with many attendees – the model selections, and the food – were not an issue with me at all. The Dancing Horses trip thing was cheesy, but we still had fun with it; I just imagined that it would have been exactly the kind of thing nine-year-old me would have eaten up with a spoon.

Whether I go to another one of these events will depend on the circumstances. A lot of things had to happen to make this happen, and I’m not sure if that can be replicated.

As far as getting the models I wanted…

Like about 25 percent of the attendees, I found myself consigned to the back of the line where our choice was limited to the Glossy Dapple Gray Desatado, or the Glossy Dapple Gray Desatado. When you price the highest piece run item (144 for the Desatado Four Stars) the same as the lowest piece run item (50 for the Make a Wish Burnham) that’s what’s going to happen.

We tried to make the best of the situation by spinning it as an opportunity to handpick: one of mine was a little darker than average, and is quite lovely in person. Nevertheless, he was my fifth choice of the five.

I still had the Mustang (Beautiful!) and the Stablemate (Blue Roan Appaloosa, yes!) and lots of wonderful memories to go with them. I figured it was just my special kind of luck again that would tease me with special runs seemingly designed to my quirky specifications, and put them just out of my reach.

Then a lovely thing happened. One of the many beautiful souls among us offered to trade her Addison and Clark for one of my Desatadoes. She couldn’t bear to see my sad face, she said.

I thanked her over and over then, and I thank her again here, in public: you are the kind of hobbyist I like to think we are all capable of being.

And one of the reasons I stick with the hobby, in spite of the grief it sometimes dishes out. Just little griefs, they are; as they say, you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.


Anonymous said...

I was also at the event, on the Orange bus, I would have loved to meet you. I was disappointed in some of the comments I heard about the SR's, speaking to one person who was spitting nails. I happened to like all of them and was able, with help from other great hobbyists, to get when we wanted, in fact we all did by working together. I've had the fortunate opportunity to attend Lonestar, PTTP and BEB and have enjoyed being able to OD on model horses and horses for a weekend with my model horse friends. I collect and don't resell so these events have been a real treat. So glad to hear you got the mare and foal, there are a lot of awesome hobbyists out there.

Anonymous said...

hey I was on the orange bus too!all in all my mom and I had a great time,,a little disappointed with some things...sat nite party..was disappointing,was starving ..stood in food line ..only to get no food of any kind..was not much of a party..loved the costumes...was thrilled with Ferris...I was about #6 in line ..passed on the mare and foal..they were lovely..but was sure someone else would love them more than of my friends really wanted the maw arab I sold her mine for what it cost,,i don't resale either..mostley collect..looking forward to the nextevent

Anonymous said...

I was on the orange bus too! I did the math early on, and was wondering if they meant for everyone to take a Four Stars and one other mold. Unfortunately for me, the person in front of me in one got the last mare and foal. But I love the horses I have.

I agree that the food was disappointing, but the rest of the time I was feeling pretty spoiled. I enjoyed doing the various activities, and really, I wasn't expecting all the extras that we got.

I probably will never get to go to another event like this (cost), so I'm just gonna keep my happy memories and ignore all the whining.

Anonymous said...

"Then a lovely thing happened. One of the many beautiful souls among us offered to trade her Addison and Clark for one of my Desatadoes. She couldn’t bear to see my sad face, she said."

The story the beautiful soul told was she couldn't bear to see you crying your eyes out. Yes, there were many friends helping each other out. The person who traded with you, had no clue who you were, but just responded to all your tears.

Anonymous said...

I was also on the orange bus. :D I guess all the good people were on there!

I was three people away from the BGB, who I wanted so badly. Did manage to snag a Ferris and traded him later for the BGB so I was happy. And Four Stars was my other choice, so no sweat there! The Grab Bag was totally unexpected, and I was thrilled to get the Glowy Andy keychain.

Food: not happy with lunch at the Dancing Horses event- it was in the sun and my food was WARM. Potato salad and cold turkey is not supposed to be warm. I have food phobias to begin with, so this was an issue... the food at the Lippizans was good, but lines were so long and slow. And the food at the hotel was totally unexpected- they weren't going to have food, only desserts, but someone realized there was no time for people to get dinner, so Breyer got food brought in. Thanks, Breyer!!

I did have a blast. The Lippizans were awesome, the Dancing Horses cheesy and Arlington freezing but I'm game for the next Event!!

Susan said...

I'm so happy you ended up with the mare and foal. How fitting. And just for the record, they would have been my first choice. The mustang is absolutely stunning!

Catherine said...

Hugs!! You are the kindest person ever, Andrea. Thanks for calling me a "beautiful soul"! I was so very, very happy to have helped you!! And I'm so glad that the Arabians have a home with you. I look forward to hopefully meeting up with you again in the future! Best wishes from Catherine

Highadventure said...

SO glad you were able to get those two, Andrea! Especially after the stresses of this year's BF. TOLD you things would swing back around to something good! :)