Friday, April 16, 2021

Big Money Chalkies

I now have a pretty decent picture of a Black Dapple Belgian (thanks Jeri!) but I am still in search of a Rainbow Weather Girl pic. I think I’ll be good otherwise, but I’m making my last edits this weekend, and if it’s anything like my editing process with any of my other creative endeavors, I’m sure something will come up. 

By the way, if it’s one thing this video project has reminded me of, it’s that I do not like taking photographs, not one bit.

That’s also why I’m deciding to forego the BreyerFest Photo Show this year – one of the reasons, anyway. There’s apparently a limit on photos this year also, and I simply don’t have the time to curate my photos that well. 

I definitely took a “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks” approach last year, out of necessity. 

And as far as I could tell, any extra effort I put into making my photos “pretty” didn’t really help that much either: I know they said as much in the rules that it didn’t matter, and it showed in some of the placings. 

You’d think that would fall under the banner of “showmanship”, but whatever.

I have too much to do between now and BreyerFest as it is; I’d rather spend that time doing other things, like pulling the 3000 or so dandelions that have mysterious popped up in my garden (darn you, milder than average Winter!), finishing some of the quilts I promised to finish last year, and catching up on about a year’s worth of TV shows and movies. 

(Just about the only non-model-horse-related content I’ve been able to partake in over the past six months was a 4-hour long magnum opus about the end of the world, and it shows. I mean, I enjoyed it, but not the lightest of entertainments.)

To give you guys a little bit of model horse related content, here’s one of the photographs I’ve taken over the past couple of days: my Chalky Bay Appaloosa Indian Pony!

While she’s one of the scarcer Chalkies out there and I knew it when I bought her, I still winced a little when I paid the rather steep (for me) price of $45 for this beauty at BreyerFest several years back. I think that is the most I had paid for a Chalky up to that point, and even since then. (Cheapskate, etc.)

I shudder to think just how much she’d go for now. Car payment territory, maybe? 

Doesn’t matter, she’s not going anywhere.

I also discovered that I have way more Chalkies than I thought I did. Not a lot of the “big money” ones like the Shire, Misty or the Proud Arabian Mares, but at least a couple dozen. I’m so glad I was ahead of that curve before it took its huge exponential turn.

Most of the ones I now have were acquired the old-fashioned way: flea markets and cheap box lots on eBay with blurry pictures. Crossing my fingers that I find the rest of the ones I “need” the same way.

(For some reason I have never owned a Chalky Yellow Mount. I think I need one. Eventually.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Letting It Be

The waitlist is also now apparently out – I say apparently, because well, you know.

So now I’ll put the entire affair in a box, stick that box in the closet, and move on; this is a rare situation where my limited access to the Internet is probably a blessing.

You know what I’m gonna do now? Unbox a few more things! 

I have a lot of things that need to be unboxed. If you saw what my office currently looks like, you’d understand. If you saw what my tomato seedlings look like, you’d understand.

(I think maybe a half dozen might make it? The pepper plants look great, though I’m not sure how or why. Best to stop fussing over it and just let whatever happens, happen.)

Anyway, here’s the La Molina and Masella:

I was ambivalent about this set initially, because Benasque is clearly not going to happen ever, but now I’m hoping that another Electric Blue Filigree release can step in and be Masella’s stepdad. Something more affordable and attainable, I hope.

Next up – my Nonoma!

Aside from the Brighty, I think Nonoma is my favorite Vintage Club release this year. Man, when I was 12, the Foundation Stallion was absolutely the bomb-diggity, and even now I find myself wanting to collect them all – all the variations of the Azteca, the original Indian Pony releases, throw in a vintage Marney Test or two somewhere, too…

I have no idea what the distribution pattern/quantity/desirability of the various Indian marks variations are with Nonoma – not my call – and I’m perfectly fine with just the Nonoma I have. (Unless an inexpensive one wanders by. I know, I know…)

I am very glad he’s gotten such a warm reception. I know he’s been on a lot of hobbyists’ want lists as far as the Vintage Club goes, so I’m so glad he’s finally here. 

Back to the video project that is eating my brain. It’s actually going pretty well, but ugh, I really need to learn this program properly for the next project, to save myself a metric ton of time. 

(Also: anyone have a photograph of a Rainbow Weather Girl I can borrow? A Dapple Black Belgian would be nice too, but I think I can work around that.)

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Plastic Things

When it became obvious to me that I hadn’t been picked for the True Blue Exclusive Event – as I suspected – the first thought that crept into my head was “This shouldn’t be this painful.”

Part of the reason I went all in on the hobby all those years ago (more than 40 – ulp!) was because the world of living, breathing horses was essentially inaccessible to me. My family made it very obvious that “the real thing” was a luxury and absolutely not something that was going to happen. 

They paid for a couple of years of horseback riding lessons, but after that, it was all on me.

The world of model horses was cheaper, and fit into my lifestyle better anyway – even when I could technically afford the real thing.

I could afford some of the ridiculous prices people are already putting up for their True Blue loot ($500? For the Stablemate? Okay, maybe not.) but I won’t do that because I don’t want to have anything to do with making the hobby less affordable or accessible to others. 

Yes, yes, there have always been ridiculous prices in the hobby. And people (unfortunately) able to pay them. 

That’s why I started research Breyer History and stuff: if I couldn’t compete with money, I could compete with knowledge. Which works with older models, vintage models, obscure releases nobody much cares about.

But as far as modern models go? I am just as much as wit’s end as the rest of you. A little worse off, even, because people sometimes blow off my rants, assuming that I have more fabulous modern things than I actually do. 

Look: it’s just me and my one account and my vast and impressive library of reference materials. None of which really help when it comes to lottery drawings. 

Lottery drawing don’t care if you can categorize all of the different stocking variations of Stud Spider by rarity or that you are one of the handful of collectors who actually does collect the Polled Hereford Bull, thank you very much. 

That’s also why I am not the biggest fan of these Exclusive Events. I don’t get picked for these things, and there’s nothing I can do to improve my odds. 

Of course money is always a solution, but here is the thing: there is no way I can justify paying for anybody else’s vacation. 

Or their couch. (I actually saw an ad for a Raffle Model once that stated that explicitly. Needless to say, I did not find it persuasive.)

Trust me, people have tried that nonsense on me. Do not come at me with an offer that’s not really a bargain at all. Y’all should know by now that not only do I not play that game, I will put you on my personal “naughty” list forever. 

(If it’s one thing my family has taught me, it’s how to hold grudges.)

I know they’re only plastic horses. But this shouldn’t hurt so much. It’s beginning to feel a little like my high school days, where the world of real horses was essentially closed to me. 

I don’t want the world of model horses to be that way, either.

And anybody who trots out the “But drawings are the most fair system!” excuse can also pound sand. We all know that is not true. The fairest system would not allow people who have gone multiple times to go again and again, and some people to never go at all. 

I also wonder just how many people would enter for these events if there were not any limited edition models involved? 

Anyway, to make up for my griping (my throat is also sore!) here is a picture of something that is actually making me happy at the moment: I finally opened up my Christmas Space Bears!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A Game of Wanting

I put in my lone entry for the True Blue Exclusive Event; as I’ve said before, I’m not optimistic, especially since so many hobbyists are treating it like a Lotto drawing. 

The Traditional for the event – Bondi – is a Light Dapple Gray on the Valegro mold, and it appears to be Chalky as well as Glossy. He’s beautiful and I want him, but that’s not up for me to decide.

I won’t go to the secondary for this one either because the math doesn’t work out for me. It’s a pretty simple equation, really:

Gloss + Chalky + Valegro + Exclusive Event Model = Unaffordable.

The next Premier Club release is a new Fjord Mare named Astrid, and I also love her. I think I’ll be okay waiting for a more plentiful Regular Run or Special Run, though. I don’t want to get too attached to her, because I had my dreams dashed with the previous Fjord release Henry when they made him the 2015 BreyerFest Diorama Prize Truffle.

(Oddly, I wasn’t as upset with the 18-piece WEG 2010 reissue; maybe because I knew I never had a shot at that one?)

The Spring Decorator release is a Flag-themed Translucent Esprit name Old Glory. I actually like him more than most of the previous patriotic horses – no kinda weird bloody red points, yay! – but I’ll probably take a pass on him, too. Too much stuff, not enough room, others love him more than I do, all that jazz. I think I’ll like him more in person, but we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it.

And finally, there’s this pretty little girl:

Sigh. You know how long I’ve been wanting a black or gray variation of the Appaloosa Performance Horse color? On anything? A very long time. Knowing that this Test Color is going to be out there, and probably not at my house ever, is discomforting.  

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Swing And A Miss

Sigh. Weren't we just talking about bad information?

This picture – from the latest Collector’s Club online newsletter, celebrating mold birthdays from 1961 – is mostly wrong:

The first and most obvious: the Grazing Mare didn’t come out until 1965. This is not a matter of a lack of documentation. She’s not in the 1961 Dealer’s Catalog inserts, she’s not in the 1963 Dealer’s Manual, and she’s not in the 1964 Dealer’s Catalog inserts. The first time we see her in any official Breyer ephemera is on the official pricelist from 1965, with the Grazing Foal.

The Running Mare and Western Prancing Horse are probably 1962 releases; I don’t have any official Breyer ephemera that says so, but I have multiple copies of Red Bird Sales Company fliers from the early 1960s, and the Running Mare and Foal and Western Prancing Horse don’t appear on the earliest of version of them. The earliest version of these fliers does include the Semi-Rearing Mustang and the Five-Gaiter, who we’re pretty sure are genuine 1961 releases.

The Fighting Stallion is the most questionable one here: although he does appear in the 1961 Dealer’s Catalog insert sheets, I think he might have been released as early as 1960, but I only have circumstantial evidence of that. 

So, at best, Reeves got only two out of five right? 

I could kinda-sorta understand why they didn’t get the Running Mare and Western Prancing Horse right; that ephemera is pretty scarce and not widely circulated, and despite my best efforts to the contrary, bad information has an annoying habit of persisting long after it has been corrected. 

To the point where I wonder if I should even bother sometimes.

But the Grazing Mare? A pretty big swing and a miss here, guys.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Not One for the Win Column

All my Spoon Tomato seedlings are either dead or dying for no discernable reason, and I didn’t get picked from the waitlist for Goldfinch, so I am putting Tuesday in the “bad day” column and moving on. 

(I am more bummed about the tomatoes than Goldfinch – I spent actual money and time on those!)

I don’t care if I get called out for price shaming on this, but seriously, I need to rant right now. Prices are completely out of control not just for the Silver, but for just about… everything right now. Who are all these people buying $1000 Alborozos? 

Speculator markets like the one we’re apparently in the middle of are scary, dangerous, and never end well. I want no part of this.

This is also why I am not optimistic about getting picked for the True Blue Exclusive Event: people like me who actually want to participate in the event are going to be outnumbered by the resellers.

(I kind of wish there weren’t any exclusive items for these events at all, beyond the one model and the one Stablemate. But I know I am dreaming.)

One of the side effects of this speculator’s market is the sheer abundance of White Boxers that have come up for sale. The White Boxer is one of the few Traditional Breyer Dogs I don’t have – and at the prices they are currently going for, it’s going to stay that way.

Years ago it was assumed that only a small quantity of White Boxers existed – I think the number that floated around was 25? – but that’s since been disproven by both documentary evidence and the sheer number of them that have turned up over the years. 

Scarce? Yeah. Eight hundred dollars worth of Rare? Nope.

Some of the pricing on these Boxers is a consequence of misinformation still being circulated. That was the case with the Buckskin Lady Phases for years, as well.

Collectors, for the most part, now realize that not all Buckskin Lady Phases are the same, and “rare, extremely limited quantity” label attached to her referred to her slightly (but noticeably) different Model Horse Congress and VaLes Bead Trailer runs, not her later and actually pretty numerous JC Penney’s Christmas catalog run. 

But the White Boxer? It looks like I am going to have to continue biding my time until (a) I get lucky, (b) this nutso speculator’s market we’re currently trapped in finally abates or (c) the hobby finally comes around to the idea that it’s not THAT rare of a model in the first place, and moves on to something else.

Preferably something I do not want, or already have.

(I know, also dreaming.)

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Glossy Chalky Buckskin

The first thought that came to mind when I saw in-hand pictures of Goldfinch was: holy cats, this is My Girl all over again.

The 2016 Vintage Club release My Girl, on the Cantering Welsh Pony, came in three colors: Gloss Bay, Gloss Palomino, and Gloss Alabaster. When I opened the shipping box and discovered that I had received the Alabaster – my third choice – I was slightly crestfallen. 

I think Gloss Palomino is a highly underrated vintage color, and who doesn’t love a lovely Gloss Honey Bay? But Gloss Alabaster can be hit or miss, depending on its shading, or lack thereof. And as far as shading goes, the initial pictures of the Alabaster My Girls showed a definite lack.

Then I opened up her actual box-box, and fell in love with Glossy Chalky Alabaster. 

I think I kind of love Glossy Chalky Buckskin, too.

If I don’t get picked from what’s going to be a very small waitlist – because people are definitely willing to put themselves in short-term debt if they know they can make an almost-immediate profit – I’ll just have to let it go. 

I have a little too much stuff anyway. 

That’s what I keep telling myself, but there I was at the toy store after I got my first COVID shot Saturday, trying to persuade myself that I really didn’t need Obsidian.

I did manage to walk out of the store horse-free. This time.

(In all seriousness, though, if I do start buying seriously again, I think I’ll start with the homely little Standing Stock Horse Foal. Not a lot of demand, not a lot of rarities, not a lot of Test Colors, Oddities or Whatever.)