Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Another Decision

Just passing through again today: I am elbow deep in some heavy literal and metaphorical stuff. (Actually, I’m using the literal stuff to avoid dealing with the metaphorical stuff. But that’s as much as you’ll get out of me on either.)

Since we’ve now covered every other item in that small collection I recently purchased, here’s the final piece, who also offers me another conundrum:

Believe it or not, I don’t have this actually-kinda-common variation of the Palomino Western Horse in my collection yet. I have a Chalky, I have one with a Transitional Saddle, I have one with o-link reins, and I have one on a Clock who also happens to be a two-stocking variation. 

But a basic #57 Western Horse with a basic Brown Snap Saddle? Nope. I’ve had several pass through my hands over the years, but most of them have had condition issues, as Western Horses tend to do.

It’s nothing structural or age-related: Western Horses, like Family Arabians, tend to get well-loved over the years. This example isn’t perfect, but he is one of the nicest ones I’ve run across in a while: like the rest of the lot, I think these models were strictly display only (and maybe even residents of a well-tended china cabinet?) 

But do I really need another Palomino Western Horse? Since my time is at a premium and selling is most definitely not a priority right now, he will probably be mine until at least July, anyway...

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Decision Fatigue

Another short post again today – not only did I have entirely too much fun over my long weekend, I came home to a rather prodigious pile of work that I need to attack tout de suite

I haven’t really unpacked anything yet either, or even downloaded the picture from our epic Legion of Doom meeting… 

The driving part was more or less successful. Other than getting lost in the same place twice, but I’m putting that little incident in a box, taping the box shut, tossing it in a dumpster, and setting the dumpster on fire. As one does. 

(FYI: I am, and always have been, directionally challenged. And GPS doesn’t really help, but that’s not a story you need to hear today.)

I was also good and didn’t buy anything other than food, though the temptations were there. I have a pretty specific shopping list this year, and nothing on that list happened to be at the Swap Meet. 

In terms of showing, I didn’t start off well, but I finished with a Sectional Reserve (my Thornycroft) and a Sectional and Division Champ (my airbrushed Misty). Not quite as good as the last show I went to, but the selection of Collectibility classes was limited, and I decided to avoid them this time around as a challenge to myself. 

My goals were one Rosette, five NAN cards, and 15 placings. I think I ended up with only four NAN cards, but the other goals were met. 

My Morgans that all NAN’ed last time didn’t even place this time. Which kind of blew my mind, but I guess I should have expected that: as I remembered from my old showing days in the 1980s, every time I crossed a state line to show, the judges’ personal preferences seemed to flip completely, too. Lesson (re)learned, I guess.

Since I probably owe you all at least one picture, here’s that dilemma I briefly touched on a little while back: 

So, which one of these Old Mold Appaloosa Stallions do I keep – my original, sentimental favorite (R) with the darker shading and heavy speckling, or the new arrival (L) who is in better condition, but is a little on the light side, both color and spot-wise?

Keeping both is not an option, by the way. Despite my family’s insistence to the contrary, the house is not a museum. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Another Oddball

Here’s a little something to tide you over while I go off on another ill-advised weekend excursion. (I’m telling myself that it’s a dry run for next year’s Upper Wyoming Grand Adventure, but it’s really more of a “I need to get away from my life for a couple of days, please and thank you” thing.)

Apparently I have moved on from weirdo Shams to weirdo Proud Arabian Stallions! As you might have noticed – at least, I hope you did! – this beautiful fellow has no black points on his front legs. This is an unusual variation of the Bay that Breyer employed on some of releases in the mid-1970s, most notably on early examples of the G1 Stablemates Citation and Arabian Stallion.

While I have occasionally spotted this variation on other releases – l have a matching Bay Grazing Mare and Foal set, for instance – this is the first time I’ve seen in on the Proud Arabian Stallion. When I eyed him on eBay, I found him so striking that I realized he had to come home with me. 

Even though I already have a couple of pretty nice Mahogany Bay Proud Arabian Stallions, and didn’t think I needed more. (The *Witez II that you’ve seen here a few times before because he’s unbelievably gorgeous, and a Chalky who I keep forgetting that I own, for some strange reason, who is also extremely nice. But I digress.)

The Mahogany Bay Proud Arabian Stallion went through several different markings variations – beginning with two neatly airbrushed short hind socks on the earliest *Witez II models, and ending with four stockings that were sometimes rather… undefined. 

That was nothing unique to the Proud Arabian Stallion, though. Most leg markings in the 1970s were pretty darn fuzzy. And variable. Oh, so variable.

I’m assuming the new guy is from the ca. 1974/1975 era, because he still has the neatly airbrushed hind socks typical of the *Witez II. Some Mahogany Bay Proud Arabian Stallions still rocked those socks even after they started adding front stockings to the paint job later on in the 1970s. 

I am assuming that all they did at the factory was instruct the painters to add some front stockings to the original paint job. Since it is likely they didn’t specify what they had to look like, they just went with the standard fuzzy markings of the era. 

He is in excellent shape, but he does need a little bit of cleanup before I decide what to do with him. (Have I mentioned before that I own too much stuff?)

Monday, May 16, 2022

Peak Nerd

Had a great time, wish you were there:


So there I was at the Motor City Comic Con, in my Kingdom Come Superman shirt, waiting in line to have Shatner sign the Breyer Lafayette I have stuffed in my Hello Kitty messenger bag, and the thought occurred to me: have I achieved Peak Nerd?

I came to the conclusion: probably not. I think I would have needed either a sword/lightsaber, or a full-on cosplay to complete the superfecta. But considering that I had been wavering about going all week, I think I did alright.

I had wavered because, well, I have a lot on my plate right now: I have to finish getting my garden in, I haven’t even started my BreyerFest paperwork, and there’s a live show this weekend I haven’t done much to get prepared for yet. 

But the news of Liz’s passing made me realize how important these kind of events are for my mental and emotional well-being: although I am not the most social person in the world, from time to time I need to be in the presence of people I don’t know with whom I can have long conversations about nerdy things. 

It’s been nearly three years since the last in-person BreyerFest, and I don’t know how long since my last visit to the Motor City Comic Con. It was time. I had to be brave. I had to go. 

I won’t go into the details of my experience today – maybe I’ll save it for the Sampler? – but it turned out pretty magical. One of the very first people I had a conversation with, for example, wasn’t a stranger at all. And I wouldn’t have had that chance meeting if someone didn’t gift me a free ticket right there in the parking lot of the Suburban Collection Showplace.

(I was seriously verklempt.)

But anyway, I’ll probably be pretty scarce for the rest of the week because that adventure really did put a kink in my plans. (I’ll deal. I always do.) 

Be excellent to each other while I’m away, okay? All we have is each other, you know. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

The Weight of Missing Souls

I was going to open with some exciting developments in my garden – some of the seedlings may survive after all! – but the news of Liz Bouras’s passing kind of squashes that “Spring is my favorite season because it represents the triumph of life over death” vibe I wanted to go for. 

Although I wouldn’t consider her a close friend, our paths crossed many times, and we had several friends in common. I entered the hobby just as she was coming into her own in it, as it was transitioning from its wild and wooly early days to something a little more formalized and organized. 

It wasn’t until last year that I was able to acquire a custom of hers – a vintage Arabian from that very era! – in a body box lot early last year.

I also ended up becoming the caretaker of a (large!) portion of her hobby papers a few years back. Today I feel that in doing that, I now carry a piece of her katra with me.

I also have a funny memory of (not meeting) her at the Motor City Comic Con several years ago. That memory will be on my mind quite a bit at Motor City this weekend. But I’ll have to tell it another day, when I am not feeling so melancholy.

In other news…

Information has leaked (possibly prematurely?) of the next Exclusive Event, which is supposedly going to be in Florida in November. My Google-Fu turned up these images of the banner ad and the possible guest horse Salvino that were pulled from the Breyer website:


I’m not terribly bullish on the idea Florida, but I do have a standing invite to visit from a friend who, in spite of my protests to the contrary, is bound and determined to move there in the very near future. 

And I do want to go to at least one more Exclusive Event in my lifetime. But I’ll probably have just as much luck getting draw for the event as I was for (the actual) Kingfisher – which was none, in case you weren’t able to figure that out:

I know I don’t really need more models right now (I won’t officially cop to anything, but I’ve been… bad) but winning something for a change would be nice, you know? As acknowledgement, at least, of my existence as a human being. That’s kind of a pet peeve of mine, and all of these drawings that go nowhere feed into my phobia of being forgotten.  

I am not super-crazy about the clean-legged version of the Brishen mold, but I do love me a Gloss Blue Roan Pinto. 

I will now log off and think happier thoughts. (My new nerd t-shirts arrived today, and I have to decide what to wear the convention on Saturday: Kingdom Come Superman, or Green Lantern?)

Monday, May 9, 2022

Black and White and Gray All Over

And now, George Pérez. I mean, I’ve known that one was coming since late last year, but it hits hard in a different way, because I actually met him once. It is one of my most delightful convention memories, in fact. 

He was good friends with some artist/creator friends of mine. I was sitting with my friends in the Artist’s Alley at the Motor City Comic Con one year, just goofing around as they were fielding questions and sketch requests. George, who was one of the featured guests that year, just walks up to the table and starts singing show tunes. And my friend Mercy starts singing show tunes back. 

What a strange and magical moment it was: stuck in the middle of an impromptu Broadway medley with George Pérez! 

(No pictures were taken to record the event, alas. I think I would have been too dumbstruck to take any, even if I had brought my camera.)

This whole weekend was kind of downbeat, when I think about it. First, most of my seedling have shriveled up and died for reasons I absolutely cannot fathom. I’ve had seedling failures before, but nothing like this. All I can hope for at this point is that I can salvage something. Anything, really.

After (finally!) finishing up my sales list inventory, I also came to the sad conclusion that I will not be able to bring everything to BreyerFest as I had hoped. There’s just too much stuff – nearly nine pages of it, and that does not include the most recent collection pulls! So I’ll have to make some hard decisions on what I can and cannot fit in the car. Selling things online is currently not an option, at least until late Summer or early Fall. 

On a more cheerful note, here are two other pieces from the collection that brought me my Charcoal Running Foal:

A few years ago I discovered that I did not possess a complete Gloss Charcoal Family Arabian Family, as I had thought. I was hoping to find a complete family to purchase at some point to remedy this situation, but like so many things, I never got around to it.

Although the Foal above is not an exact match for my Mare (who is currently in storage), I really doubt that I could find better, and I am not going to try: bright white, perfect pinking, minimal molding flaws.

I’ve had several Alabaster Family Arabian Mares – both Gloss and Matte – and this example is also one of the best I’ve seen. Quality vintage Alabasters on any mold are challenging, but on Family Arabians even moreso, since they were tailored specifically for the toy market. 

I’m not at all worried about matching up my Alabaster Family Arabians, though. I have an insane number of Alabaster Foals – Matte and Gloss – as a consequence of a research project that went a little too far (don’t ask!). My Gloss Alabaster Family Arabian Stallion is actually an Old Mold Stallion with a crazy amount of shading – the kind you normally see on vintage Fighting Stallions, Five-Gaiters or Rearing Mustangs – and I just don’t think it’s likely I can anything that can even remotely match him. 

He does have a matching Old Mold Foal for company who is also pretty nice. My Old Mold Mare is… potentially upgradeable, and I’ll leave it at that. (You would not think that the Alabaster Old Mold Mare would be such a tough nut to crack, but she is for me.)

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Pearly Jet Run

Though it’s not directly model horse related, this is the kind of story that always gives collectors of all stripes a little bit of hope:

https://www.samuseum.org/press/press-release/texas-collector-finds-roman-bust-missing-from-germany-since-world-war-ii-at-local-goodwill-store/

I have a few objects in my possession that might have a dubious ownership history – like my hand-colored photograph of Midnight Sun from Harlinsdale Farm – and I wouldn’t hesitate to give it back to the rightful owners, if asked. 

I’d be a little bummed, but I’d understand. Just being a part of the provenance of something like that is compensation enough. 

It was kind of a stressful week for me, and I deserved a pony. I went to the store expecting to buy an Adamek or an Anthem, and I bought this fellow instead:

I had seen this exceptionally glowing example of the #960 “Pearly Grey” Trakehner on the Jet Run mold several months ago at this same store, and he definitely gave me pause. I had other priorities back then and walked away from him, assuming that someone surely would have also noticed his awesomeness. He really stood out in comparison to everything else sitting on the shelf, even his fellow Trakehners!

The store is sufficiently out of my way that going back for him was not going to be a temptation. It has nothing to do with the price of gas, and everything to do with the fact that I am not a big fan of driving. (If you’ve ever lived or traveled in Michigan, you’d understand: roads, ugh.)

Yet there he was. It’s really not that hard to see why: it’s an older Classic mold in a somewhat unrealistic color and not really showable as anything. And a lot of hobbyists have and almost reflexive dislike for anything with even a hint of pearliness. 

But I found him kind of captivating, and took his presence at the store as a hint. I abandoned my initial plans and took him and a Morganquest Native Sun home, too. 

Initially I hadn’t been impressed by the Native Suns I’ve seen on the Internet, but the two I saw in person were much nicer than I imagined. He was a much warmer Chocolate color, akin to ice cream topping, and not the slightly greenish Umber that had been making me go “Eh, maybe not?”

The Native Sun is still sitting in the car, though, since I’ve got quite a bit of spring cleaning to do before I bring anything else into the house. I really have junk just everywhere at this point! (Among the weekend projects: recompiling the sales list. Horses, horses everywhere...)

At least the plants are outside. In the ground, that’s another project…