Friday, July 31, 2020

Still Surprising, Sometimes

Well, I’ll be diggidy-danged – they did make all the Slainte Surprises the equal amount! 800 for each of the Mattes, and 325 for each of the Glosses.

I was beginning to suspect that was the case; after the initial rush of horse trading, I noticed that the numbers seemed to be leveling out, and that no particular item seemed significantly “rarer” than the other.


It took a few years for the BreyerFest Surprise Special Run to evolve into what it has become today. With the first Surprise – the Quarter Horse in 2009 – we knew what the mold and colors were ahead of time. The only real “surprise” (aside from the Smoke, Charcoal, and Silver Filigrees that were supposed to be randomly distributed throughout the weekend, but were not) was in which one you’d get.

They switched it up a little bit with the Spun Gold Surprise Ethereals in 2011: we didn’t know the mold initially, but the quantities – again, aside from a Gloss Palomino Appaloosa that actually was randomly distributed – were more or less equal.

It wasn’t until 2012’s Stoneleigh Surprise on the Flash mold that the BreyerFest Surprise became more “standardized”: scarce Gloss variations of the Mattes were introduced, with variable amounts of each color (now four, instead of three). There’s been some variation since then – extra surprises for Anniversary years, the “Dark Horse” in 2018’s Dark Horse Surprise Smarty Joneses – but the formula has been more or less stayed the same.

I know some are lamenting the “chase” aspect, or the delightful mathematical models we build to determine which one is the rarest while we wait for Reeves to actually tell us, but I am perfectly fine with going back to equal quantities across the board. It’ll minimize scalping, encourage trading, and people who suddenly discover that there are eight variations of a mold they NEED NOW won’t find themselves maxing out their credit lines to do so.

It also doesn’t come as a surprise to me that the Glosses were at almost a 1 to 2 ratio compared to the Mattes – I figured there had to be more to my luck this year than The Universe glancing my way and saying “Fine, fine, humor her with a Gloss this time.”

I’ll still take it, though.

One of the other “surprises” this year – the Epona coming in two variations, both loose-maned and braided – is simply a case of Reeves catering to our fondness for variations, nothing more. I fully expect to see unannounced mold variations on BreyerFest Specials going forward, on any mold that comes with that possibility.

(Like most of the Special Runs, she is much lovelier in hand than the photographs suggested, though she is another I will wait a few months on before I even consider purchasing.)

As for the third Surprise – the Volunteer Model being a Gambler’s Choice – that was also something I did not find completely unexpected. With the increased need for volunteers, introducing variations to the Volunteer Special lowers the individual piece counts and therefore increased the potential resale value on the secondary market.

It seemed odd that they would introduce it this year, when the need for Volunteers was significantly reduced (therefore rendering the need for a lower piece count kinda moot). I suspect that this was something that was already planned ahead of time, when an in-person event was still on the table.

1 comment:

Julie said...

I have an odd request.
Could you make a post about they West Coast Model Horse Jamboree? Maybe talk about the Tricked Out Pony Contest, if possible?