Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Conveniences

Great: I saw a pair of shoes at the Salvation Army, and suddenly I found myself inspired. Now I think I have an idea for the Costume Contest, when I’ve barely started my paperwork – or anything else.

I’m blaming it on the cold medication. Usually it makes me groggy and tired; I’m not sure “sudden fits of creative inspiration” is an improvement though, given that I don’t think I’ll have the time to exploit it! (It will be a few more days before I am fully functional, health-wise.)

According to the paperwork sent to BreyerFest vendors, the Decorator release’s name is Newmarket: I don’t know if this is the first time we’ve gotten the name of a BreyerFest release before we’ve seen the release itself, but I am still foggy from this cold so my memory may be mistaken.

The paperwork also – inadvertently, or not – revealed that the Proud Arabian Mare Sierra Rose is the likely Gloss/Matte split model, which I was not expecting.  It will be a larger release, then? That is interesting.

I’ll be happy with whatever I get, if I decide to get her. (My budget is still up in the air.)

Incidentally, these Vendor Packs have fascinated me for a while. It’s not the contents – it’s basically just one of each BreyerFest release. And it’s not what they were designed for – vendors and other designated attendees who wouldn’t otherwise be able to pick up their timed ticket models.

It’s the convenience.

It’s been a long time since I endeavored to get all the BreyerFest releases: cost is one issue, and space is the other. But I know there is a certain subsection of hobbyists who still do, and how easy and convenient would it be to have some of those sets set aside for them, too? Then they could spend the rest of BreyerFest participating in all the other stuff that gets in the way of line-standing.

However, if a program like that is opened to the general public, the potential for abuse is high, especially if there are rarities involved – like a high-demand lower-piece count item, or rare and random oddballs thrown into the mix.

I could see it being implemented for the One-Day Stablemates, though: a couple hundred prepacked sets of the four could come in mighty handy in keeping the line moving during the Friday morning rush at the Help Desk! (Been there, done that!)

Now that the Early Bird deadline has passed, it won’t be much longer before we’ll get to see them – presumably right after full picture of the Newmarket is released.

With the floodgates apparently opened for Hagen-Renaker releases, I’m curious to see if any of the G1 Stablemate Thoroughbreds – the Mare, and any of the portrait models like Swaps, Citation or Native Dancer – will be utilized.

It doesn’t matter to me either way: whether I get them or not depends entirely on the answers to two questions: Do I like them? Can I afford them?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Beautiful, or Useful?

This is one of my favorite quotes, from the Victorian writer and artist William Morris, that I hope requires no explanation:
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. 
It’s a good quote to keep in mind while cleaning, decluttering, or redecorating!

The quote came to mind a while back when I was skimming through some discussions of the Surprise models, and what constitutes a popular mold. Is a mold that gets put into production frequently – at least as frequently as the Lonesome Glory has in the past 18 years – actually popular, in the same ways the Traditional Silver or Lady Phase are?

I don’t necessarily think so.

The most frequently produced Breyer molds – like every other object in your home – can also be categorized as either useful, or beautiful. The ones considered “useful” fit a certain type or fill a certain niche; while those considered “beautiful” are considered aesthetically desirable, independent of any other qualities it might have.

I consider the Lonesome Glory mold to be more of the former, than the latter. It fills a niche – a more modern mold that represents a racing condition Traditional Thoroughbred jogging up to the gate. The mold also has a relatively small “footprint” – it doesn’t take up nearly as much space as a Ruffian, Cigar or Smarty Jones does, and requires no base – but it’s still in an active (nonstanding) pose.

That I think explains why the Lonesome Glory mold has had so many releases over its relatively short life span. It filled a niche, irrespective of its aesthetic qualities: for 18 or so years, it has been Breyer’s go-to mold for a racehorse.

The Carrick mold now fills a similar niche – and is newer – which is why I think we’ll be seeing more of him and a little bit less of Lonesome Glory over the next few years.

For those of us who’ve been around the block a dozen or few times, the Lonesome Glory – released in 2000 – may seem modern, but to many younger or less experienced collectors, he’s positively ancient.

I think back to my experience collecting, starting in (ulp!) 1974: the Traditional Man o’ War mold had only been in production since 1967 – so, about seven years – and most of the other Traditionals that filled the line back then were not that much older.

And when I “officially” entered the hobby in 1978, the “Old Mold” Mare and Foal had only been introduced 20 years earlier! It does not seem so deep a distance in retrospect, but back then it felt like an eternity.

Back to bed for me; I’ve now moved on to the coughing portion of the cold, and my family would prefer that I do that in the privacy of my sickbed…

Friday, April 13, 2018

Hitting Jackpots


I know some folks were expecting an actual portrait of Buchiko, but BreyerFest Portrait Models tend to be actual Guest Horses or performers. Some earlier Guest Horse Portrait Models were made as Ticket Specials – like The Lark Ascending – but Reeves has now relegated most of those to Store Specials.

That makes sense, because casual attendees and One-Day ticket purchasers who might not be able to snag a Celebration Horse model might still have the (theoretical) opportunity to purchase a model of a different Guest Horse.

(I still think the Scamper Reissue is going to be way more popular than most hobbyists realize – the original release ran forever for a reason!)

I like it! But. 

I ended up selling off my 2015 Lonesome Glory Quelle Surprise, and I’m on the verge of selling my 2016 Bozeman, who has a similar color if not pattern. I thought I’d love him, but like has not yet turned to love, and I’m doubting it’ll happen soon…

I guess I’ll have to wait until I see an By a Nose in person. And see what else is being offered: there are still the Stablemates, the Decorator release, and the multitudes of Pop-Up store merchandise to come.


The Sunday Raffle Horse Jackpot is pretty faboo, but he is (a) a Glossy (b) Leopard Appaloosa (c) with halo spots (d) Raffle Model on the (e) Hot New Bristol Mold.

In other words, his name is very appropriate: I have a better chance of finding a five-dollar Decorator at the flea market between now and then. Or being hit by a meteorite.

(Note: We did have a “close” call on some meteorites a few months ago. Decorators? Not so much. As in ever.)

But I’ll put in my tickets, all the same. Every time I think my luck is the absolute pits, I have to think back to last summer and the five-dollar box of Hagen-Renakers.

I had some additional stuff I wanted to say about the Lonesome Glory mold, but the brain is starting to get a bit foggy. I appear to have contracted a rapidly escalating cold, and my body is telling me it’s already made plans for the weekend.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Clearer Picture

I’ve been busy. Looks like Breyer’s been busy, too; they posted a blenderized version of the next BreyerFest Special Run, and they’ve got another Test Piece Raffle going.

Speculation seems to think the Special Run is a Buchiko-style extreme sabino on the Lonesome Glory; if that’s the case, I am intrigued. I’ll talk about it after they do the reveal later in the week, since I doubt I’ll be able to de-blenderize the photo any better than anyone else has at this point.

We do have a much clearer picture of the Red Roan Clydesdale Test Run, and golly he seems familiar:


Oh yeah, he’s in the Test Piece Archive graphic link on the Breyer web site!


Do I want?

Vintage mold + Red Roan + Blue and Silver ribbons (my stable colors) = Yes, I want.

As always, I am mildly amused and annoyed by the general community commentary about his desirability (or lack thereof) and the price.

These are actual Vintage Test Colors used for the actual testing of colors, and they have a rock-solid provenance: these are both qualities that many collectors find inherently desirable – regardless of the age of the mold, the color or condition.

And the ones that have been resold (the majority of them, sigh) have sold for significantly more than their $850 price tags.

The fact that he’s been used as part of a graphic on the Breyer web site makes him even more appealing to me personally, because you know how fascinated/obsessed I am with owning Photography Samples. You know, like my delightfully horrifying Mariah’s Boon:


He was the exact model used to illustrate the Mariah’s Boon Celebration Model on the Breyer web site in 2012:


I am somewhat indifferent to the Othello mold – he’s not a favorite of mine, but I don’t have any major issues with him, either – but I love that guy to pieces. Weird and Historical is a hard combo to me to pass up! (And it is frequently what gets me into trouble at the flea market...)

Regardless of my feelings toward the Clydesdale, whether or not he’ll ever get to sit on the shelf next to my Jugga-thello is not up to me.

My tax bill says I shouldn’t even enter for him at all, but I’ll just cross that bridge if and when I come to it.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Little Surprises

I am absolutely, positively not giving any thought to this year’s surprise model – dubbed the “Dark Horse Surprise”. My speculating powers will take a rest on this one. For me, it will be the complete surprise it ought to be.

I will give my yearly caveats, though: it’s not gonna be a Lady Phase, Weather Girl, Othello, or Silver. They were already used in Treasure Hunts and Gambler’s Choices, folks. Move along.

Speaking of surprises, I almost completely forgot that I bought some of those Pocket Box surprise thingies late last year during a shopping binge. They’re still here, and still unopened:


(There is no Cat one because they weren’t available yet when I bought them last Fall.)

I was reminded because one of my local Meijer stores also had some Yowies in their Easter clearance. They were half price, and having heard about how cute the figurines were, I thought I might as well add a few to my discount Easter basket. (Along with a bunch of Cadbury Caramel Eggs: No matter how many times I talk to my local “rep”, I always get shorted!)


Even though I’ve participated in a few of those videos (long story), I still don’t quite get the whole YouTube “unboxing” thing. I understand why opening boxes and packages is a thrill – that’s most of the reason I buy unsorted box lots on eBay and Craigslist – but it’s something I’d rather do or watch in person, not from afar.

Since I now find myself with a tiny little window of extra time here (and April is being April, sigh) I’m going to do a little unboxing post of my own. First, the Mini Whinnies Surprise:


Blue Roan Draft Horse Prince! I love roans, and was hoping for a Draft Horse, so this one’s a win-win. And now, the Pocket Box critters:


The Dogs: Alano Espanol (Spanish Bulldog) and Shar-Pei. I was kind of hoping for the Fox Terrier (naturally) but these are cute enough.


The Animals: Fox and Squirrel. The Squirrel is nice, but the Fox looks like a Corgi puppy wearing dog booties.


The Aquarium: Manta Ray and Barracuda. I like these a lot. Props to the packaging designer for making the matchbox look like a mini aquarium!

And finally, the Yowies:


Western Lowland Gorilla, Chimpanzee, and something called a Gnash. The figurines are very high quality, though I could have done without the cartoon creature.

(The chocolate is largely uneaten because I am well beyond my daily quota; I had heard reports that the chocolate was not-so-great, but I didn’t find the bits I sampled to be particularly awful.)

Will I be buying more of these surprise packages in the future? Eh, maybe.

I do want to get one of the Pocket Box Cats for my archives. That was one of my reasons for buying these bags in the first place.

The Aquarium ones are really well done and look like the critters they are meant to be, so if I ever have to order one or two to round out an online order, they’d be the ones I’d go with. They’ll fit right in with my aquarium furniture collection too, whenever I get around to setting it up properly.

If there are any Yowies left when the Easter clearance hits 75 or 90 percent, I might pick up a few more of those. At that price, I will be able to resell any duplicates at BreyerFest out of my Dollar Table section.

But the rest? I wouldn’t turn them down if they turned up in a gift basket or grab bag, but I’m not going to put any active effort into getting more. The local flea markets and thrift stores do a more-than-adequate job of providing me with little – and sometimes, not so little – surprises life needs.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Surprise - Another Palomino Ruffian!

Well, that is interesting. The Dead Heat is going to have variations, but by color, not finish or mold:


It’s been a while since Reeves let us know about a BreyerFest Gambler’s Choice model ahead of time. The very first one, in fact: the Quarter Horse Geldings in 2009.


Even then they didn’t clue us in on the extra rare ones – the Charcoal, Smoke and Silver Filigree – and this is why I can’t completely dismiss the possibility of other variations (long tail/short tail, or Gloss/Matte) of Dead Heat showing up.

The Traditional Ruffian mold hasn’t come in a lot of lighter colors or dilutes, but she should, because I think she looks darn good in them. It’s a nice a visual antidote to all the darker colors and more conservative patterns she’s been released in so far.

But I can see the Palomino variation is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea – in fact, I see a lot of features and details others may shake their heads disapprovingly at: a Vintage “orangey” hue, unstriped gray hooves, a pearly mane and tail, and blue eyes?

No surprise here: I like her, a lot. Aside from all her weird and funky details, she could be a big sister to my two Classic Palomino Ruffians!

I am unsure if I’ll be penciling her in as a possible addition to my herd: it’s partly the budget thing, partly the size thing, but also because my luck on getting the Gambler’s Choice I want has been rather dicey in recent years.

If they do a 50/50 split, a Chestnut one won’t be that hard to trade, but I’m all about minimizing the hassles of BreyerFest this year.

This is also why I decided to forego the Customs Contest a while ago – that, and the fact that the body I wanted (a Carrick) is still too new and too expensive for me. I just can’t imagine paying more than $10-15 for a body that I might end up ruining completely anyway.

(I’m the same way with quilting supplies, incidentally. Having to pay more than a couple bucks for a yard of fabric practically gives me the vapors.)

I’m happier experimenting with the body box leftovers anyway: I’m currently eyeing a Standing Stock Horse Foal with a broken leg and a dinged up Mesteno’s Mother body as potential victims, when the weather gets warmer.

Both of them came out of that doomed box lot I bought a while back: they’ve already been written off as a loss, and a Mesteno and one of the lesser Hess molds didn’t have much salvage value to begin with. I can mess with them to my heart’s content, guilt-free.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Buckskin Smoky Variation

The Web Special Calvin has reappeared on the Breyer web site, confirming my suspicion that he didn’t sell out. I didn’t think he’d reappear until BreyerFest, though, so there must be enough of them left to make it worthwhile to relist.

I’m tempted, but not that tempted: my financial focus has been on getting ready for the flea market season, opening (weather permitting) in a few short weeks. While I have no reason to believe it to be an expensive season this year, it never hurts to be prepared, just in case!

Since I’ve sort of been focused on Buckskins of late, here’s an interesting variation of a later Buckskin release I picked up a long while ago:


The standard version of the #997 Shenandoah – a Collector’s Edition piece from the first half of 1997 – has a bald face and pinked ears, and isn’t that different from the Bald-faced Buckskins of the 1960s and 1970s. Well, it is a little bit different: his points are blacker, and he has a sock, and there is more gray shading on his face.

But did you notice what makes this guy extra special? There is no bald face!

It would be easy to ascribe this to a case of excessive overspray, but it appears intentionally done here. It is possible that overspray did happen, but the painter made the decision to “fix” it with a little extra paint, rather than toss him into the cull bin.

Unlike the original #69 Smoky, this release is not known for its variations: I can’t recall seeing any others like him, when I’ve made the effort to look. Neither he nor his second-half-of-the-year partner release Remington are all that rare, it’s just not a mold that’s in much demand.

I’ve been mulling over selling him, mostly because he’s a shelf hog. But I do love my yellowy Breyer Buckskins, and the likelihood of me ever running across a Test Color or a Surf’s Up – the Florentine Exclusive Event Smoky, and one of the few Smokies that does command some serious cash – is pretty slim.

So for the time being, he’s staying.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Chasing Phantoms

I swear I didn’t plan this with them, guys: the only reason Riddle is up on the BreyerFest Blog is to tease us into buying more/any tickets before the Early Bird deadline in April.

I do think Reeves is slowly coming to the realization that they probably made a mistake in not releasing Riddle as a bigger run at BreyerFest, judging from the positive online reaction.

Their initial calculations were rational and understandable: it’s a Vintage mold, not terribly realistic by modern standards, and he has the (gasp!) molded-on halter. But I think he would have made a really swell Pop-Up Store Special: still on the scarce and hard-to-obtain side, but not as unattainable as a 3-piece Early Bird Special.


Ah well, best not to give it much more thought. The Exclusive Event in Scottsdale, however…

Boy howdy, I really like the Special Run for this. Looking over the abundance of #98 Quarter Horse Geldings and #87 Mustang variations I’ve added to the herd in the past few years, it’s pretty obvious I have a thing for Bald-faced Buckskins. In my opinion, it’s an underappreciated Vintage colorway, often overlooked in favor of the flashier, glossier, or less realistic ones.

So a modern interpretation of this color on the Nokota Horse mold? Sign me up!

Or maybe not.

The Event Models for these Exclusive Events are among the easiest and most affordable Special Runs to attain. I don’t have to go to get one – and logically, the most sensible course of action for me would be to buy a Phantom Face second hand.

But that’s not how I like to do things. After all these years I still don’t have a Dr. Peaches – the first BreyerFest model – not because I can’t find or afford one, but because I didn’t attend that first BreyerFest.

For me, models are placeholders of memories, but there are no memories to attach to a Dr. Peaches – or I should say, the same category of memories as all the other BreyerFest models I was personally there to pick up. My collection of BreyerFest “Celebration” Models would be complete, but he would still feel out of place to me.

Anyway, the fact that they’ve gone back to a pair-only lottery system for this Event is also not helpful. Do you all need a reminder that my luck in getting drawn for things I want is not so good?

Many, many things are in flux for me right now; while everything is going to plan, more or less, throwing another logistical or financial monkey wrench into the works will not be helpful.

Yet, it’s two months away until the drawing itself. Lots of things could happen in two months.

I’ll give myself a few more weeks to get other, more pressing things done (I finished a memory box today, woo-hoo!) and consider my options then.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Even More Bays!

And the Bays keep coming!


The second release on the new Spirit Boomerang mold, as the Diorama Prize called Win, Place or Show.

When they mentioned “little guy” in the teaser for the Diorama Prize they posted last week, I was expecting something more along the lines of the old #36 Racehorse mold.

That mold is actually “little”, relatively speaking, to the other Traditionals he usually gets lumped together with. And something I thought would make an ideal prize model, since as much as I want it, a larger release of the primitive little Racehorse mold seems unlikely. (Unless they have something Decorator-y planned for the Pop-Up Store. Perish the thought!)

On the other hand, I was just wondering when the next release of the Boomerang mold was going to be. I’m rather fond of him – he seems like a sweet and happy kind of fella – and was looking forward to seeing him in a more realistically rendered color. I have nothing against his cartoon eyebrows personally, I just wanted see what he would look like with a little more shading and detail.

Glossy Dark Dappled Bay? Why Reeves, why did you have to put one of my favorite colors on him? Just when I thought I could get maybe away with not entering the Diorama Contest this year!

You know my luck with the Diorama Contest in recent years has not been so keen. In fact, it’s been mighty terrible. I honestly think I have a better shot at the Early Bird Raffle Prize Riddle (3 out of 3000+ entries) than I do with getting this guy (7 out of 100-150 entries).

For most of us in the Adult category (20-up) the Diorama Contest is the most vexing of all BreyerFest competitions. I’ve been busting my behind for years with increasingly elaborate and detailed dioramas, all for naught.

If I had a dollar every time someone told me “But I thought for sure you were sure to win…” I might actually have enough to buy one second hand, if I did that sort of thing.

What BreyerFest prep I have done so far (not much, to be honest) hasn’t involved anything Diorama-related. I have ideas, but not the enthusiasm. As I have said before, I was toying with the idea of not doing it all.

I’ve had other things to keep me busy, too: for the next couple of weeks, in addition to finishing my tax paperwork, sentimental dork me will be finishing up several years’ worth of old BreyerFest memory boxes that have been cluttering up my office.

Like the Exclusive Event in Scottsdale, it’ll be a little while more before I can really put more serious thought into it.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Infinite Shades of Gray

Isn’t she lovely?


I had figured a variation of Flea-bitten Gray was a possibility; the previous two Volunteer Models Assam and Caipirinha both came in intriguing new interpretations of the color, so it’s obviously something they’ve been thinking about and experimenting with.

But Dappled Rose Gray? The rest of the hobby seems to be down for that, and I’m okay with it, too!

All things considered, it’s rather remarkable that Reeves was able to come up with yet another fresh and different take in the realm of Gray.

I had discounted the notion a bit because there have been a lot of Gray Proud Arabian Mares over the years, both as Regular Runs and Special Runs. And Test Colors, too, both old and new.

The Special Run Grays have been especially attractive and desirable ones. There’s the scarce and highly desirable 1986 Rose Gray Live Show Special, the 1991/2 Fleabitten Gray in the Arabian Horses of the World Gift Set from the Sears Wishbook, the 1994 Just About Horses Special Steel Dust, the 2002 Tour Special Banat er Rih, and the Exclusive Event La Jolla in 2012.

While Sierra Rose will likely join their company, I still happen to think she will be a smaller run for all the reasons I outlined before: being Vintage, slightly dated, under contractual restrictions, and so on.

For that reason I also think it’s unlikely she’ll be the Gloss/Matte split: those releases tend to be larger runs, and more modern molds. I still believe the Appaloosa Ruffian Dead Heat is the more likely candidate for that treatment.

My only reservation about Sierra Rose is that Reeves is making it very, very difficult to stick to my budget: I already have the Glossy Foiled Again and Elk penciled in as must-haves, the Icabad Crane and Old Ironsides are leaning in that direction, and we still have half the Ticket Specials and all the Pop-Up Store items yet to be revealed.

 (It’s a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Mystery Mare

Still busy cleaning; late Saturday night I started a long-overdue purge of out-of-date reference books and books-I’ve-lost-interest-in from the bookshelves, and it felt so good I’ve since moved on to other parts of the home and office.

It’s been a constructive way to work off some personal and professional frustrations, too. (Nothing y’all need to know about, other than that’s my operational mode right now.)

Anyway, much speculation has abounded about the Proud Arabian Mare silhouette Reeves has been teasing us with on all fronts since yesterday:


There’s been only one official BreyerFest Special Run on the Proud Arabian Mare: the elusive, desirable Silver Filigree Volunteer Model from 1993.

There have been a three of the Stallion – the 2003 Silver Filigree Raffle Model Saturday Night Fever, the 2009 Volunteer Special After Party, and the 2015 Raffle Model Que Sera Sera – but only one of the Foal: the 2003 Silver Filigree Born to Run.

I suppose the Palomino Appaloosa Fun Foals that were made available in the Ninja Pit with all of the other leftover Fun Foals could count as a BreyerFest Special Run too, since that’s where the majority of them (all of them?) were distributed.

I have no special insight as to the nature of this Special Run – whether it’s going to be a Raffle Model, Prize Model, Store Special, or straight-up Tent Special. I figured they’d give us at least one Arabian model this year, but the Proud Arabian Mare never came up as a possibility to me.

Most of the speculation seems to be focusing on it as being a Raffle or Prize Model, or the Pop-Up Store Crystal release – in other words, something extremely limited – but I don’t think we can rule out a larger release.

We had the Vintage Club Farah in 2015, and several recent larger-scale releases of the Hagen-Renaker Classic Racehorses too: the Terrang Coeur de Lion, the Swaps Web Special Scotty, and the re-release of the Man o’ War.

If they do go the Tent/Store route, I think a PAM release will be on the smallish side (1000 or fewer) – but it won’t be out of contractual issues, mostly.

It’ll be because she’s a Vintage mold, featuring an old-fashioned/dated body type.

The younger/newer hobbyists who make up a fairly large chunk of the BreyerFest crowd will be both unfamiliar with and unsentimental about her. And wondering why Reeves couldn’t have gone with a newer mold like Weather Girl or the Make A Wish/Justadream instead, because obviously.

(Remember the response to the Appaloosa Bonne Fete in 2014? More experienced hobbyists were unimpressed, but Reeves knew what it was doing: the newer hobbyists helped sell it out.)

I’ll be fine, regardless. If it’s a smaller release, I’m not going to let myself worry about it, and if it’s a larger release, it shouldn’t be too difficult to attain – if I like it, well enough.

While I think she’d look fabulous in a Gloss Dappled Red Bay with a lot of white, there’s already a lot of Bays in the lineup. It also happens to be her 60th anniversary as a Breyer release, so a Decorator release isn’t out of the question either...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Clearing Off the Desk

Cleaning off the desk here today, so a few odds and ends follow…

You probably do not know this, but I am a huge fan of novelty socks, so I am very pleased to see Reeves kicking up their branded clothing and accessory program a notch and giving us Breyer ones!


My only issue with them, naturally, is that they did not appear on the web site until the day after I paid for my Vintage Club Clara and Mae.

If they’re still around when the next Stablemates Club purchase is available, a couple pair will hitch along for the ride. (One to wear, and another for the archives.)

My local Tractor Supply finally stocked the two TSC Specials earlier this week; I stopped by the Salvation Army next door for my weekly shopping run and decided to check in to coo at the chicks and ducklings.

I managed to walk away without buying anything feathered – horse or fowl. The Clydesdale Mare was tempting, but then I reminded myself that I’m saving up to splurge on museum-quality archival supplies for my recently reorganized hobby papers.

Since it appears that these Specials may be more limited than the standard TSC Specials, I may live to regret it. But considering my most recent attempts at speculating, maybe not.

Sigh. 

Not everything in my last box lot was a body when I bought it, but by the time it got here, they most certainly were. I’ll still break even with it – if it’s one thing I’m good at, it’s salvaging something out of nothing – but darn that luck of mine, again!

The box lot of unicorns I bought back in February was a little less derelict, mostly because I had a chance to repack it myself before driving it home from a local auction house. Among the treasures in it I didn’t mention before was this lovely pair: Hagen-Renaker releases of Freeman-McFarlin designs, I believe?


I’d love to keep them, but as I am clumsy and in possession of a small and highly destructive dog, they’ll be packed up for BreyerFest. (Sorry, guys: I don’t ship larger china figurines.)

Looking over my saleslist, I have to say I’m pretty pleased at my assortment so far. Since my vacation spending money is drawn from my sales, it looks like in this one regard I am already ahead of the game. I won’t have to put too much pressure on myself to “stock up” once flea market season gets underway in another month.

I’m considering taking a similar approach to all of BreyerFest this year: ditch all the self-imposed pressure of trying to win something, and just chill.

My Contest attempts are memorable and (so I’ve been told) inspirational, but they are bigger emotional and financial drains on me than you might realize. And there’s not a lot in my trophy case to show for it.

To put it in business-speak, my ROI has been terrible.

I do have some ideas, but as I am also on a bit of an efficiency kick, I am beginning to think my time and resources might be better invested in something else.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sure Fires

Here are two of the horses I found in my supply closet last week – a pair of Sea Star “Sure Fire” Foals from 1997-1998:


The other horses in there I might have forgotten about, but I knew about these two; they were one of the reasons why I decided to undertake the task in the first place.

Why they were in there, I’ll get to another time; that’s another ongoing project I am trying to resolve this year. As to why I had two rather than just one, the second photo will clarify:


Their belly spots are different! I saw them side-by-side at a local Toys R Us, and I had such a hard time trying to choose between them that I decided to not decide at all, and kept them together as a set.

I loved the deep chocolately black color, the minimal crop-out pinto pattern, and I already had a bit of affection for the homely little Sea Star mold anyway.  

It’s difficult to see in the first photo, but one Foal also has brush-painted pinking on her nose, as opposed to the standard airbrushing. At first glance it looks like something somebody did after the fact, but an up-close and personal inspection shows it to be factory paint.

Hand-painted factory touch-ups and corrections are unusual, but not necessarily rare; most of the time they are in less noticeable places.

Sea Star is the least seen, and least loved member of Breyer’s Misty “trio”. The original Sea Star had solid, 8-year run in the Regular Run line (from 1980 through 1987), but unlike Misty and Stormy she hasn’t been given any Reissues since then.

There have been a fair number of other releases of the mold since then, but the most recent was the Palomino in the Pony Picnic Gift Set in 2010-2011.

Aside from these Sure Fires, the only other Sea Stars I currently have in the collection are multiple variations of the original Sea Star.

Because I’m weird that way.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

At Last, an Elk

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I have been campaigning for a Special Run Elk forever. At last, my wish has been granted, with Inari!


As for his name, “Inari” refers to the largest municipality in Finland, located within the heart of Finnish Lapland. It is also where they also hold the Reindeer Championship Race.

Yes, an Elk is not a Reindeer, but close enough is good enough for me.

And points for Reeves for making the BreyerFest Nonhorse Special Run actually kind of on point to the “racing” theme, in contrast to the two previous announcements – the Saturday Raffle Horse Woodford (on the Shannondell) and the Mare and Foal Set Julep and Pim (on the new Traditional Lipizzan Mare and Foal).

Mind you, I think both of those releases are quite beautiful – and if I somehow win a Woodford you’ll have to pry him from my pasty white hands – but it’s painfully obvious that they’ve gone out of their way to make these new molds fit a theme they are not designed for.

When you have a more nebulous concept with few obvious mold choices – like last year’s “India” theme – you can pull that sort of thing off better. But trying to sell a Draft Horse, a couple of Lipizzaners and an Andalusian as part of a racing theme?

Seriously, guys? I know you’ve got a business to run and hot new molds to promote, but you could try to be a bit more subtle about it?

Off the soapbox, and back to the Elk. (Who is now penciled in on top of my buy list for BreyerFest, if you haven’t already figured that one out.)

The Elk mold has had only two previous releases: the original #77 that ran from 1968 through 1997, and the #396 Rocky Mountain Elk that ran from 1998 through 2005.

Until now, Fans of the Elk mold have had to content themselves with variations of the original #77, and his 29(!) year run provided a few. Although the color didn’t vary a lot, it did vary: earlier examples are definitely lighter and browner, while later examples are redder and more chestnutty. Early Elks sometimes came with Blue Ribbon Stickers, and lack the USA mold mark. Pieces made near the end of its run (in early 1997) came with those mildly creepy, experimental bi-eyes.

Inari gives me hope that the Silver Charm Elk of my Christmas dreams might just come true. Then again, a lot of us are still waiting for a Holiday release of the Zebra mold after the BreyerFest release of the Caves of Lascaux back in 2015.

So I am not getting my hopes up, yet.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Alba

A few weeks ago when I was looking at the last of the Christmas Breyer leftovers at the local Tractor Supply, one of the employees made a comment in passing about how they “needed” to sell them soon.

I didn’t think much of the comment at first – I just assumed it was about needing to make room for the Seasonal Spring merchandise – but it did nag at me a little bit. Did that mean they’d be getting more Breyers sooner, rather than later?

Apparently, yep. One of them, in fact, is very similar Clydesdale Mare similar to the #856 Shire who – oddly enough – was something I was looking at on eBay over the weekend.

(I had one once, and sold it a while ago. I can’t remember why.)

This new piece – named Alba – commemorates Tractor Supply’s 80th anniversary. The name “Alba” is Latin for White, an odd choice for a dark bay-black horse. Maybe it’s because she has a lot of white on her?

The Clydesdale Mare has had so many genuinely pretty releases – Opry, Del Mar, Lanark’s Rosebud, Palisades, the Picture Perfect Pinto, Shannon, the Vintage Club Blossom, that Glossy Appaloosa Test Piece I’m still kinda-sorta mad about not winning – that I’ve been wondering if I should go ahead and make the commitment to actively collect that mold.

Except for Palisades and Betsy Ross, I already have most of the harder ones to get. If I ever decide to go on that quest it’ll be a achievable, lower-stress one.

To make a long story short, though, I won’t be getting Alba any time soon. The primary reason is space: since I just finished an extensive collection cleanout, I am a bit reluctant to make any impulse purchases beyond the box lots I’ve been buying for resale. (Kaibab was a happy exception.)

I do not want to deal with the drama right now, either. Like the regular Holiday TSC specials, I have a feeling that hobbyists are going to lose their minds, buy out store stocks, then the stores will restock, the prices will start fluctuating wildly….

No thank you. If I need to, I can wait until either the market levels off, or until the next “gotta have it” Special Run drops somewhere. Though at the rate they’ve been going with releases this year (another release in the America the Beautiful Series, already?) that probably won’t be too long.

For the time being, I’ll just retreat to my office and continue with my Spring Cleaning and paperwork. (It’s been an interesting and productive day: I just found a few “lost” horses in my office supply closet! Nothing rare, but a nice surprise nevertheless.)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

One Project Down...

Whew, just finished reorganizing my horse files. It sure is nice to get both the floor space and headspace back! By the way, does anybody need a box of my duplicate ephemera?

($15 plus Media Mail postage for a single, six-pound box. Not all of it shown/visible, obviously. Shoot me an e-mail if you are interested.)

A lot of my “new” material turned out to be stuff I already had: since a significant portion of the paper I’ve picked up over the past year was other people’s unsorted slush piles, that was not a huge shock.

Those slush piles are worth the risk, though, because (a) I really do love the whole process of sorting and filing, and (b) sometimes wonderful things show up, like diamonds in the dirt:

(I will give you all a moment here to hyperventilate.)

Also, I don’t have everything – I really need to catch up on the most recent ephemera, for one thing – but sometimes it feels like I do. Going through these slush piles reminds me of just how much I don’t have yet.

On the plus side, it looks like I won’t be needing as much in new filing and storage supplies as I thought – just a couple more flat file boxes, two more binders, and (as always) more sheet protectors.

I do need to do some labeling and indexing, and there’s a separate collection of materials that I need to handle a bit differently, but for the most part I’m now ready to catch up on my research and update my electronic “quick reference” files.

When those are done, then maybe I can finally get going on that grand dream of a comprehensive online Breyer reference guide – something that goes beyond just the basic names, dates and numbers.

But that is a long way off, and I have a few more pressing projects to take care of in the meantime.

One of those projects involves digitizing some of my more requested materials, like Marney’s photo albums of Test Colors, auction price lists, correspondence (the letter from Wild Horse Annie to Marguerite Henry, talking about Hobo, is a treasure I want to share with everybody!), Model Horse Congress fliers and show results, stuff like that.

I doubt I’ll get that done before BreyerFest this year, but it’s definitely on my docket.

First come the tax returns. Then finish the paperwork for all of my “new” arrivals (i.e. last year’s keepers). Then finish at least a dozen of my larger quilting projects. Then all of the usual BreyerFest prep.

Yikes. No wonder I slept in so long today!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Kaibab

I was not expecting the latest America the Beautiful release Kaibab to be the lightning rod that he is. Personally, I love mine:


The Stretched Morgan mold is one that’s experienced huge swings in popularity over the course of its 50+ production career. He’s been derided as being too typey, not typey enough, old-fashioned, awkwardly posed, obviously suffering from laminitis, and bombarded with the standard conformational nitpicking every Breyer mold ever has been subjected to.

Yet he still retains his fans – like me – and many Stretched Morgan releases and variations are among the most desirable and highly sought after Breyers of any kind. The Woodgrain? The BreyerFest 2000 Raffle Model Showboat? The multitudes of variations of the original #48 Black?

(Have you seen the prices on some of those Black variations lately? Yikes!)

Sure, the price for Kaibab was a bit high, but that I attribute to the popularity of the series and the complexity of the paint jobs they’ve been attempting on the Web Specials: in many cases they are approaching Connoisseur-level quality.

There are some real-horse world biases in play with Kaibab, too: in the past few years, especially, nonstandard colors on breed-specific molds have been getting a lot of pushback.

That is something I find rather weird. Part of Reeves marketing program is selling the notion of model horses as a fantasy wish-fulfillment of horse ownership. Even the most technically accurate horse figurine is still a fantasy construct.

Are some of them bad ideas, artistically? Maybe. But an Appaloosa or Tobiano Pinto Morgan sitting on your shelf isn’t likely to spawn any real-life horses. They have no “bad” genes to propagate.

Anyway, again: with retail or in-hobby purchases, it is always safest to buy what you love, not what you think you can sell later. Buying something at retail to resell later has rarely worked out well for me. (You would think I would have learned by now, but for some reason I keep trying...)

I was secretly hoping that there’d be a Morgan release for BreyerFest, since one of the most famous race horses of the early 19th century was Black Hawk, sired by Sherman Morgan himself, and memorialized in folk art ranging from quilts to weathervanes.

I think a Glossy Dappled Black on the Kennebec Count mold would be great, but I know most of the hobby would beg to differ.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Another Oddity: Bay Grazing Foal

Here’s another fun one I shouldn’t have bought, but did anyway:


A Bay Grazing Foal with no front black points. You might recall that I found a similar Mare back in November:


So now I have a matching set of variations! Anyone who has tried to complete families – Family Arabians, Proud Arabians, Stock Horses et al – knows how hard it is to find matching or complementary sets. The opportunity to reunite this pair was one I simply couldn’t pass up.

Variations on the Grazing Foal are a little more common than the Mare; Foal molds in general tend to be in production longer than their respective Stallions and Mares, and sell in greater quantities. More models = more potential variations.

That’s the reasoning behind the recent spate of Foal releases – Traditional, Classics, Stablemates, Camilla the Foalzilla – that are otherwise unattached or unaffiliated to a matching Stallion or Mare. People will buy “orphan” foals without any pressing need for a matching parent.

(I’m old-fashioned in that regard. I bothers me a lot when people ask to buy “just the foal”, especially matching sets that have otherwise managed to stay together for decades.)

While it is easy to chalk up both the Mare and the Foal as random production variations, in the mid-1970s there were Regular Run items that were specifically painted without front black points. Most notably, the early version of the Stablemates G1 Bay Arabian Stallion, especially when he was sold as a mislabeled Citation. From the 1975 Dealer Catalog:


(FYI: Most of them did not look this nice.)

Was there some sort of correlation? It is a safe assumption to make, since the timing lines up: my Grazing Mare and Foal have all the mold marks and stylistic cues of mid- to late-1970s releases.

But again, like the Palomino Ruffians of my last blog post, sometimes variations just happen. I am just happy to finally have a matching Bay Grazing Mare and Foal set that I can live with.

Friday, February 23, 2018

A Tale of Two Ruffian Variations

Might as well discuss these two before they get lost in the shuffle of everything else that’s been coming and going:


You know how you’ll sometimes look at a Regular Run model and tell yourself “If only I could find just the right one…”

This is the story of how I ended up with not one, but two Palomino Classics Ruffians.

The last time I was at Tuesday Morning, pondering those Semi-Gloss Stablemates and the Squishie Classic Haflinger, I also spent a little time looking over a couple of the Classic Palomino Ruffians – aka the #932 Thoroughbred Cross, just discontinued late last year.

I liked the concept of a Palomino Classic Ruffian, but none of the ones I had come across really appealed to me. The ones at Tuesday Morning were very nice; additionally, the packaging was slightly different than the standard Classics packaging, and the assortment consisted of recently discontinued items from very late in their production run – possibly the last pieces produced in their respective runs, making them another possible de facto Special Run.

But like the Haflinger and Stablemates, I left them behind.

Then I found that slightly pearly Palomino one on eBay a few weeks ago, with the unmasked mane and oversprayed tail, and no eyewhites. I was in love.

Because I happened to be in the area and I needed to buy some storage boxes for some of my ephemera anyway, I went back to that Tuesday Morning and bought one of those, too. Obviously they needed each other, and I felt I could justify it because unlike her Traditional-scale sister, the Classics Ruffian takes up hardly any room at all on the shelf.

This is where my lack of attention to the recent Classics releases has come to bite me in the behind. Is my pretty, pearly Ruffian a variation, an oddity, or something else? Her VIN number says she was produced in early 2014, but all the photos of her in the ephemera, and online show masking right from the start.

I have similar questions about the Tuesday Morning Ruffian (whose VIN number indicates a September 2017 production date). Is she different from the bulk of the run, or am I just imagining it?

I fear this may lead to me buying more Palomino Ruffians.

Sometimes oddballs and variations just happen, for no rhyme or reason. Fretting over their origins sometimes gets in the way of appreciating them in the first place.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Teeny Boxes

Yesterday was a wash in many ways, but this cheered me up a little:


I was a wee bit skeptical about the boxes, and figured they’d go with a plastic insert like they’ve done before – beginning with the very first Stablemates releases back in 1975.

But dang it guys, it really is a teeny-tiny replica of the larger boxes – and it is super-duper cute! You do not know (and don’t want to know!) how much I needed a bit of cuteness in my life yesterday.

It’s interesting that these boxes were designed to have bar codes, especially since these are direct-order, club exclusive pieces:


It could be related to their inventory practices, but what it suggests to me is that these boxes might be used for retail packaging later on. (Or BreyerFest?)

They’ve already done something similar before, for the Translucent Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awareness Horse on the G2 Morgan mold. However, that was a one-off for a special promotion, while these Stablemates Club boxes are miniaturized versions of the standard/generic packaging used for Traditionals.

They could be used for almost anything.

I know I would definitely be more inclined to buy individual Stablemates in these packages, as opposed to the blister cards they use now. You still don’t get to see the opposite side, and the risk of rubs is still there, but you do get a better overall view of the model unobstructed by the form-fitting plastic blister.

Don’t get me wrong, I also like the little drawstring bags they replaced: in fact, one of my many sewing projects involves coming up with a quick and easy-to-sew pattern to make them for 400 or so Stablemates in my life that don’t already have them.

But now that they’re starting to miniaturize Traditional molds into Stablemates-scale ones (Mini Brishen!) it only makes sense that they’d come with scale boxes, too.

(Speaking of miniaturizing molds, can I put in a request for a wee Family Arabian Stallion? Please? Let’s give some of the vintage molds some love!)

I’ll open up this cute little bugger eventually, but for now I’ll just carry him around from room to room, periodically squealing in delight.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Reissue Thing

Reeves telegraphed us early on that there would be more than just flat-track horse racing specials at BreyerFest this year, but even I have to admit I am a little surprised they went with a Reissue of Scamper:


On their blog they went out of their way to point out how different this set is from the original #477 Scamper release, which was one of Breyer’s longest running recent releases (1998-2008).  In addition to the three blue and yellow BreyerFest-themed racing barrels:
Scamper features a "BreyerFest 2018" print on his belly, crisp leg markings and modern shading.
Okay, sure.

It’s interesting that of the eight models announced so far, four of the five “Portrait” models are solid Bays with minimal whites. That’s more a consequence of the theme (racing Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds tend towards conservative colors) than a conscious effort of color coordination on the part of Reeves.

Hobbyists out there are complaining less about the Bay Thing and more about the Reissue Thing “This is boring, and dumb. Why couldn’t they make him Glossy like Foiled Again, at least?”

Well, because I don’t think they’re necessarily appealing to hobbyists per se, with a Scamper Reissue. The original Scamper ran for over ten years, and that is an eternity in model horse time: long-running releases like that are clearly appealing to a larger swath of humanity than us mere model horse hobbyists and collectors.

That larger swath of humanity – fans of the real-life horse, or of barrel racing in general – are (at best) indifferent to the concept of glossing. Glossing is very much an in-hobby Thing.

By adding (and emphasizing) a number of subtle differences with the original release, they’re trying to make it different enough for hobbyists to at least consider it.

And I am.

I don’t have any Scamper models in my collection presently, but it’s not for a lack of love for the mold or the Western Performance Series. I just never found the right one. I keep telling myself I ought to get the cute Barrel Racing Set with the Semi-leopard Appaloosa and the pink and purple barrels, but something else always comes up…

…like a couple more unexpected variations I’ll get to later in the week.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Suckling Foal Oddity

I’ve been keeping busy the past several days by sorting through ephemera – both stuff that was pulled for research purposes, and “new” stuff that I’ve acquired over the past few years that I never got around to properly classifying and filing in the first place.

It’s almost as much fun as cleaning and sorting box lots of horses! Speaking of, I find myself presented with a particularly challenging little filly in a recent box lot acquisition:


The Suckling Foal from the original #3155 Thoroughbred Mare and Foal Set didn’t come in a lot of variations. It does come in Chalky, and it was one of the handful of releases that came in Gray Plastic without a Chalky Basecoat.

(The best known of those being the Elephant and Donkey, of course!)

But other than some slight variations in color and shading (lighter and darker) the Foal’s paintjob was remarkably consistent throughout its twelve-year run (1973-1984).

So when I found this one with two front stockings – well, she clearly had to come home with me.

The rest of the items in the lot weren’t bad either, but did not provide any hint of her origins. The seller was from a location not too far from Chicago, so that opens up the possibility of her being an Employee Take-Home. The paint job on the other side of her neck is a little uneven, too, which would be consistent with her being a finished Cull.

The only problem I have with her is that someone decided to spray some aftermarket gloss finish, and  they did a terrible job of it. Runs, drips, globs, lint and hair? She’s got them all!

Aftermarket gloss is not impossible to remove, but the fact that she’s a more-unusual-than-average oddity makes me extremely apprehensive about trying anything. So on the shelf she goes, with all my other rehab projects...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

More Hard BreyerFest Decisions

I really like the latest two Specials announced for this year’s BreyerFest. First there is Old Ironsides, on Strapless:


There have been three other Gray releases on the Strapless mold, including the 2005 Live Show Prize Dapple Gray Overo Pinto, the 2007 FEI World Cup Special, and the 2009 Valvella.

I loved the first two, but they are essentially Micro Runs, and unattainable. The Valvella is more plentiful (700 pieces) but I’ve had a hard time warming up to that release. I love fleabites and the loose mane/tail version of Strapless, so this one might be a no-brainer for me.

The Chestnut Snowcap Ruffian Dead Heat is the second (though she looks more Red Dun to me):


There’s our designated “Racing Appaloosa” release! The Traditional Ruffian mold has also come in Appaloosa a couple times before, both as BreyerFest releases: the 2006 Silver Bay Blanket Appaloosa Raffle Model Windswept, and 2007’s Glossy Bay Semi-Leopard Heartland.

Current speculation is that Dead Heat is the item most likely to be the 50/50 Gloss/Matte Split model, though I am more intrigued by the fact that they “accidentally” released a second photo (now deleted/replaced) of this SR with the mold’s original longer tail.


Allegedly this was a mistake and the short-tail version is the official version, but the fact that the second photo existed at all is interesting.

This means that they might have only very recently made the decision on the tail but had photos of both versions made ready, just in case. Or we’ll be seeing the long-tail version in some other capacity such as a Raffle, Auction, or Online piece.

I prefer the short-tail version, regardless: I am more of an “old school” Appaloosa fan. (One of my “dream” Special Runs is a Few Spot Leopard on the Appaloosa Performance Horse mold.)

Breyer’s first Racing Appaloosa was, of course, the Stud Spider back in 1978. While I wouldn’t mind seeing something to commemorate that mold’s 40th anniversary – a Glossy Re-release, or the original Stud Spider pattern on a newer mold – I’m kind of doubting it.

BreyerFest Portrait Special tend to be of the “Store Special” variety, and they’ve already announced three: the Gloss Foiled Again, Icabad Crane, and now the Old Ironsides.

My only hesitation about the Dead Heat is the size of her. I own only two Traditional Ruffians currently (the original release, and the Goddess Series Athena) because she’s a shelf hog and hard to display properly.

I wish I could more ruthless with my affections as some are – we are not even half way through February, and Reeves is already making things hard for me!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Another Oddball FAM

Here I thought I was doing pretty good earlier this week when I picked up an inexpensive box lot of unicorns through a local auction house. Even after taking out a few treasures for myself (the Hagens), I should be able to make a nice little profit from the rest of the lot at BreyerFest.

Then I saw what that Mahogany Bay Family Arabian Mare went for on eBay. Yikes! If only I could be that lucky.

Well actually, I have been, but my problem is that the really good stuff tends to stick around. The ability to own a rare and beautiful thing tends to trump whatever financial considerations I have – and it’s usually easier just to sell off things I am not as emotionally invested in, horses or otherwise, until the need passes.

Ironically, one of the models I had been waffling on has been my other Oddball/Test Color FAM, here hanging with a couple of friends:


Isn’t she lovely? She’s basically a mid-1970s Matte Palomino with a Palomino mane and tail, a simple yet surprisingly effective alteration. I assume she was another Factory Employee Take-Home, possibly a Cull that was fished out of the reject bin and finished for gifting.

I picked her up pretty cheaply several years ago on eBay, before Family Arabian Mares of any stripe were a thing. I remember being a little apprehensive about paying that much money for what was essentially a glorified Matte Palomino FAM.

It doesn’t seem as foolish a deal now. (Less than two percent of the Mahogany Mare’s selling price, if you’re curious.) She is staying: she only happens to be on my sales shelving unit because I am still in the process of reorganizing here.

I have to say, though, that I am as shocked as anyone that the Family Arabian Mare – who has been, historically, the least appreciated of the three Family Arabian molds – is now a “hot” item.

This is good for her, though not so good for me. I might have to find another lightly collected, underappreciated and cheap Traditional mold to obsess over now, or at least until this craziness blows over.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

FAMs as PAMs?

Several years ago I acquired a Matte Dapple Gray Family Arabian Mare in a Body Box lot. She was missing a leg and half an ear, but I didn’t care:


I knew there was at least one other Dapple Gray Family Arabian Mare like her out there, and where there are two, there are usually more. I assumed that she was either a Salesman’s Sample or very early production piece of the Proud Arabian Mare, produced before the Proud Arabian Mare mold was ready for full production.

I also assumed that meant there had to be at least a few Mahogany Bay Family Arabian Mares out there too, either sitting unnoticed in someone’s collection, or passed off as a simple variation of the Bay.

(Any Matte Alabasters that would have/could have been produced would have been virtually identical/indistinguishable from the original Matte Alabaster FAMs, save for a little extra body shading, perhaps.)

So it wasn’t a complete surprise when a Mahogany Bay Family Arabian Mare showed up – on eBay, of course. What was odd about it was that it came with the original White Cardboard Picture box, and a not-quite-matching Bay Proud Arabian Foal.

Oddballs and obvious Samples have turned up in retail boxes before, especially the enclosed cardboard ones of the 1970s and early 1980s. It might have been done to round out the production quota for the day, or (according to a rumor I heard from Marney herself) to give the hobby community a few little surprises to go hunting for.

But if these Oddball Mares were Samples or simply very early production items, you’d expect to find them with Corrugated Shipper Boxes: the Proud Arabian Mare debuted in 1972, but the retail-friendly White Cardboard Picture Boxes didn’t appear until 1973.

A random thought occurred to me a while back, now bolstered by this Mahogany Bay Mare and her box: what if these Mares were straight-up goofs? What if – like so many hobbyists – one of the factory painters simply confused the PAM mold with the FAM mold?

If so, it was obviously a mistake that was caught early. This is a darn shame, since I have grown rather fond of Mahogany Bay as a color.

I had the strange misfortune of actually finding the Mahogany Bay FAM auction very shortly after it was listed, and fumbled around the page for a few anxious seconds desperately looking for the “Buy It Now” button that was not there.

So I will simply have to be content with my three-legged mare…

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Striking Green Gold

After getting dismissed early from jury duty on Thursday, I decided to stop at the Walmart on the way home, and guess what I found?


It looked like they had just plopped a freshly opened box of Mystery Stablemates on the shelf, so it was more a matter of timing than luck or skill. (There is nothing especially special about the Pony. I just like the mold.)

I wanted to wait until I got home, but my curiosity got the best of me, and I opened them in the parking lot. I probably should have waited – you guys weren’t kidding about the overwhelming paint-store smell!

It’s not just the Gloss that’s responsible for the Friesian’s unique funk, but a combination of the opaque green-gold metallic paint, the Gloss, and the sealed bags they marinate in.

I think that these Green-Gold Friesians will end up being not all that rare, since they seem to be appearing at roughly the same rate/quantity as all of the other pieces in that Mystery assortment, and are being replenished somewhat regularly. They only seem scarce because everyone is rushing the stores and grabbing all the Glossy! Metallic! Friesians they can find.

The situation with the Copper Florentine Django is a little bit different: he’s appearing in one out of every four Mystery assortment boxes. That is rare, but not elbow-to-eyeball Black Friday Sale rare: that’s 750 pieces for every 3000 boxes of Stablemates shipped.

Since many of the other pieces in the assortment are in high demand also – the Reiner, the Bucking Horse Rivet, Tushar, and that especially handsome Alabaster Eberl Andalusian among them – I foresee many more boxes of those Mystery Stablemates being sold and shipped, and many more Djangos with them.

This is why I can’t muster the energy to worry about him. There will be more in the pipeline, sooner and later.

My second Friesian will be sold or traded in the near future (for the Metallic Blue Endurance Arabian, I hope?) There were no Unicorns or Mini Whinnies at the store I stopped at, and since I have too many other things to buy and/or worry about in the next several weeks, that’s likely the end of my Walmart adventuring.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mirado, et al

Since I’m still feeling a little out of sorts today over last week’s matters, I’ve been trying to work off some of the frustration by starting my Spring Cleaning a couple months early.

I packed away some sales items, sorted out my shipping boxes, and now I’m attempting to get caught up on my more recent Stablemates arrivals, like the Mirado I only just recently unwrapped…


Generally I like him – his carved out ears and raised hoof are adorbs – though he has just a tad bit too much mane for my tastes. (I have the same issue with the Tushar.) Some people are a bit put off by his blue eye, but it doesn’t bother me.

Incidentally, I have so far managed to avoid the Stablemates (and the Squishy Mare) I saw at Tuesday Morning, and since I won’t be on that side of town again for another week, I think I have managed to successfully avoid the temptation.

While I wouldn’t mind picking up some of new Regular Run Blind Bag Mystery Stablemates, I’m getting the impression that my search for them – at least, for the next few weeks or months – will probably be as fruitless as my recent Walmart quests.

At first I thought that making the “chase piece” the same mold as another item in the assortment was a great idea – until I realized that meant it would make the more common example hard to come by as well.

Especially when you use a newer and more desirable mold like Django, and use a brand new Decorator color like Copper Florentine for the “rare” one.

I understand the marketing strategy behind it, but I do miss the old days of Stablemates collecting, when you had multiple simultaneous releases that were produced in roughly the same quantities. Any variances were because of desirability (some colors being more popular than others) or production issues.

On the other hand, that was largely because we only had a handful of molds to work with for over 20 years – 16, technically – until the Kathleen Moody “G2” molds came out in 1998 and blew up the world of Stablemates collectors.

At one point, I had an almost complete collection of Stablemates. I was just missing the Silver Saddlebred, the Poop Paperweight, and a complete Stablemates Stable Set. I’ve since improved upon that original collection – I’ve since found a factory sealed Stablemates Stable Set, and the Wooden Stable, an item so rare I didn’t even think it made it out of the prototype stage.

But the newer stuff? I am so far behind. I lost my Stablemates mojo sometime in the early 2000s: all those new molds and colors tapped me out, then wore me out.

My purchases have been a bit spotty since then, but I’ve made up a bit of ground recently with the web site special offers and such. When I do finally get back into the swing of buying again, I might just stick with Stablemates for a while.

But just the slightly older stuff. Part of the appeal of Stablemates collecting for me is the affordability thing: $100 Copper Florentine Djangos are definitely not in my budget.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Glossy Foiled Again

To be euphemistically coy as possible, a personal matter (completely unrelated to model horses) that started in fire ended in fire this past Friday. While it was not entirely unexpected, it did hit me a little harder than I expected, and left me largely out of sorts most of the weekend.

But this helped soften the blow: a Glossy Pacer Special Run Foiled Again for BreyerFest!


This Foiled Again Special Run was also not completely unexpected: I suspected as much back in December, when it was quietly announced on the USTA web site that the horse himself would be making an appearance at BreyerFest.

While I was hoping for changes like these, what I was expecting was that they’d only make a small change or two – some special packaging perhaps, and/or maybe a commemorative backstamp, blanket or button. Hurray for happy surprises!

It’s interesting that in the 50+ year history of the Pacer, there have only been two other Gloss releases – the earliest examples of the original #46 Dark Chestnut release, and the 2010 Web Special Pace Yourself.

The halter color appears to be the same lime green as the headstall on the Vintage Club Appaloosa Balking Mule release Lucy. Although most Pacer halters have been some shade of brown or black, there has been a fair assortment of more cheerful colors too, including the bright lemony yellow of the original Foiled Again release.

The blog post about the release is a bit vague on specifics: we don’t know where or how the model will be sold (Pop-Up Store? NPOD?) and all we’re told of the quantity is this:
BreyerFest fans will have the first opportunity to add the Special Edition Foiled Again to their collection. If models remain available after BreyerFest, they will be offered for sale to the general public on BreyerHorses.com.
So – more than the average BreyerFest Special Run, but still kind of limited? So 2000 pieces or fewer?

Whether it’s 200 pieces or 2000, all I know for sure is that this is the first release in this year’s lineup that I will absolutely, positively have to have. There is no negotiating on this.

My only (slight) disappointment is that this eliminates the possibility of the Pacer being the Surprise SR. Although there have been a few dilutes – like the infamous Riegesecker Palomino – we haven’t seen much in the way of spots, dots and speckles on the Pacer. The only Production Run pinto, I believe, has been the Exclusive Event Praline, and they only made 48 of him.

But hey, I'll happily take a Glossy Dark Bay Pacer in the meantime....

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Squishies

Had a close call earlier this week; I had to make a quick pit stop after work (bran muffin-induced emergency) and found myself in a Tuesday Morning – and ooh, they had some mighty fine high-semigloss Stablemates Mystery Foal Set variations!

They were quite tempting, especially since my attempts last week to track down the Walmart Specials – not to buy, necessarily, but just to see “in the wild” – met with abject failure. Every store I happened to find myself in during my work travels either looked liked it hadn’t been reset yet, or had already been plundered for all the gold. It was nice to see a store with actual models on the shelf, for a change.

Fortunately I managed to escape the Tuesday Morning unscathed, but tomorrow is payday and I’ll be in the same part of town….

…and they had an intriguing Classic Haflinger Mare that is bothering me even more than those lovely little Stablemates. She was seriously squished, kind of like my Woodgrain Boxer here:


He’s normal looking from the side, in case you were wondering:


The Haflinger’s side profile was also distorted – that’s how I noticed she was a little peculiar in the first place – so an even better example would have been one of the later Stablemates G1 Quarter Horse Mares with the twisted barrels. But I am in no mood to go digging through my Stablemates tonight.

I’m fairly sure it was a factory-originated flaw and not one that occurred in shipping, because her shading was exquisite – either someone at the factory took it upon themselves to make up for her other deficiencies, or her more dramatic contours enhanced her paint job naturally.

The Haflinger was obviously a one-off, possibly caused by a handling or machine error while the mold halves were still warm and freshly molded. More uniform examples like the Boxer might be – like Bloaties – a result of climate/temperature changes, issues with the mold itself, or a problem in the assembly process.

(The narrowness of more recent molds – like Duende, or the Imperador das Aguas – is most likely an issue with the metal molds themselves, I think.)

Although not as common – or beloved – as Bloaties, this molding flaw occurs with enough frequency that I feel like I need to coin a name for the afflicted. Collapsers? Squishies? Skinnies?

I kind of like Squishies, at the moment.