Tuesday, March 14, 2017

An Elephant of Another Color

And right on cue, an all-too-obvious Elephant clue:

Gray with painted decorations, in the same manner Elephants are decorated for the Elephant Festival, which happens a day before the Festival of Colors – Holi – that (not coincidentally!) just wrapped up.

And that’s just about what I expected. I know a lot of people were hoping or expecting a White Elephant, but the more I thought about it, the less likely it became.

First, although a White Elephant named Airavata was the mount of Indra, King of the Gods, White Elephants are more closely associated with the history and mythologies of Southeast Asia (Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia).

Second, the term “White Elephant” has some rather negative connotations I think Reeves might not have wanted to associate with a Nonhorse Special Run. Wikipedia, again:
The expressions “white elephant” and “gift of a white elephant” came into common use in the middle of the nineteenth century. The phrase was attached to “white elephant swaps” and “white elephant sales” in the early twentieth century. Many church bazaars held “white elephant sales” where donors could unload unwanted bric-a-brac, generating profit from the phenomenon that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Many organizational and church fairs still use the term today. In general use a “white elephant” usually refers to an item that’s not useful (decorative) but may be expensive and odd.
Considering some of the issues they’ve had in the past few years with Nonhorse BreyerFest Specials not selling as well as they hoped, marketing an actual “White Elephant” could be a, uh, little problematic?

The 1950s Pink Elephant was a bit cringe-worthy in retrospect, too. I tend to be somewhat more forgiving of that one since believe that that release – along with its Blue friend – were a one-time/one-run deal designed to use up colored acetate that had been earmarked for another project that had gone by the wayside.

Since the first BreyerFest Elephant Special Run – 2006’s Nimbo – was a straight-up Decorator of the Copenhagen Blue variety, it also seemed unlikely that they’d go with another, unless they were going to do the Surprise SR on it to “complete” the set. But I really doubted they would go for a Nonhorse Surprise.

Decorator Ageless Bronze – like the Commemorative Edition Durango – might have worked, and would have been a nice callback to the infamous “Bronze Glo” models that turn up from time to time, a club of whom the Elephant is a member. (Side note: I am skeptical of many “Bronze Glo” models I’ve seen. Like Gloss, it’s a finish that’s very easy to fake.)

I would have been all-in on another release with the rarely-seen plastic Howdah, but that would have been a little too “Modernistic Buck and Doe”-level obscure, I think. And I say that as someone who has advocated for another release on the Modernistic Buck and Doe.

So an Elephant in fancy festival makeup it is. The only question remaining is whether or not it will be a Ticket Special, or a Pop-Up Store Special? A difficult decision for me, either way.

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