Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Let The Guessing Games Begin!

Current speculation on what the next Special Run reveal for BreyerFest – based on the tiny sneak peek they provided us on the blog yesterday – is running towards either the Adios or the Clydesdale Mare:

Both have similar coat textures, and both debuted in 1969, more or less. Precise release dates for new mold releases from 1968 through 1970 are actually kind of hard to pin down, but that’s another topic entirely and not something I’m up to untangling today.

(I didn’t sleep well last night, so I’ve been fuzzy all day.)

But let’s nip this one particular nugget of misinformation in the discussion in the bud: the #47 Man o’ War was definitely a 1967 release, not a 1969 one. While I think it’d be awesome if they did offer a Traditional Man o’ War as one of the Special Runs this year (because I’m still a bit chafed about last year’s Early Bird Raffle Model Riddlethis particular model can’t be him.

Anyway, if it’s a choice between the two (I haven’t really done a muscle by muscle comparison, yet. Fuzzy: see above) I’m rooting for the Clydesdale Mare. Aside from being a favorite of mine, the mold has had a rather illustrious history of BreyerFest releases, including the coveted 1998 Special Run Shannon, the (much underrated) 2003 Celebration Horse Gladwin Lucky Lady, and the 2013 Volunteer Special Run Gloss Palomino Opry:

There’s also the 2007 Reserve Champ Show Prize Betsy Ross, but they only made nine of her. Unless I am bequeathed one in a will, or one mysteriously appears on my doorstep, that one will never grace my horseshelves.

It also helps that mold has been in production very recently, with the last of the well-received Tractor Supply Special Run release Alba still lingering in some remoter stores. (I am still trying my best to resist!)

We’ll all know by Friday, regardless.

Sunday, January 13, 2019


They’ve teased us with imaginary BreyerFest horses before – remember the Palomino Silver from 2009, and the Gold Ethereal from 2010?

But lo and behold, they’ve actually gone and done it this year, with the Early Bird Raffle Model Cap:

Well, more or less – the initial original promo pictures showed a Matte piece without a pearly mane and tail. These concessions were done, I assume, to gussy him up and distinguish him from previous Light Chestnut/Dark Palomino releases of this Saddlebred mold, beginning with the original piece featured on the 50th Anniversary Clock back in 2000.

Gloss because Gloss, and Pearl because it happens to be the traditional gift of 30th anniversaries.

(And who also, incidentally, one of my favorite characters on Steven Universe.)

You all know that I am not the biggest fan of the Clock Saddlebred mold – I don’t actively dislike him, but given the choice between multiple molds in the same color, it’s unlikely he’d be my first choice. But he looks amazing in this color, which was first seen on one of last year’s big hits at the BreyerFest Benefit Auction, that Five-Gaiter:

I was genuinely surprised that the Five-Gaiter went for as much as it did last year. Outside of the original Decorators, and nicely shaded or Chalky examples of the #52 Sorrel, the Five-Gaiter mold is simply not that popular today.

With a little careful shopping, you can acquire a Woodgrain, Palomino or Alabaster for less than the cost of a retail Traditional! That just boggles my mind, since I’m old enough to remember when the Palomino and Alabaster were absolute must-haves for any Breyer collector.

But such is the power of a beautiful, well-executed color that it can make a mold someone is indifferent to, and make it desirable.

If I am lucky enough to win one (ha!) I would give him the rather pedestrian name of Steve – because as most “true believers” should already know, “Cap” is Captain America’s nickname! And generic enough to get around potential trademark issues.

(That industry can be quite, umm, litigious about such things...)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Saddle Snaps

Sometimes research hunches lead to big or significant finds… and sometimes, they don’t.

This is a case of the latter, rather than the former.

I had always been curious about the snap fasteners used on Breyer snap saddles – specifically the ones used on the Western Horse, the Western Pony, and the #36 Racehorse. Was there an interesting tale to be told there?

Depends on your definition of interesting, I guess.

Most of these saddles used Klikit brand fasteners, which were manufactured by the Rau Fastener Company of Providence, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1911, and ceased to be in the late 1990s, when it was acquired by its competitor, Scovill Fasteners.

Here’s the trademark info:

Just about the only other thing worth noting about Klikit snaps is that they were extensively used in apparel, especially on the old-timey Western-style shirts favored by Hollywood cowboys and rockabilly artists.

However, most snaps – then, and now – were used on more utilitarian articles of clothing, where buttons would be either a hassle or a liability – like uniforms, outerwear, and baby accessories.

(And costumes, too. But I’m not thinking about that right now, I’m really not…)

Even though the Klikit brand has been out of production for at least 20 years, old warehouse stock can still be found on eBay – if you’re especially keen about restoring Breyer snap saddles or vintage clothing.

Snaps aren’t all that hard to assemble/attach, incidentally, as long as you have the right tools for the job. Easier than sewing on a button, actually!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Alborozo Chase

My Darley came the other day, and he brought a friend with him!

Since the Unicorn Surprise Blind Bags have been extremely scarce around here, I decided to toss one in to my Darley order and be happy with whatever the warehouse randomly shipped me.

Like the Blind Bag Stablemate that I ordered earlier this year that netted me an Appaloosa Django, it actually worked out better than I hoped for! While the standard Pearly Lavender Mini Alborozos aren’t that rare or expensive, I also wanted to wait and see if I could get around paying the (modest) premium anyway.

And I did! The Navy Blue Chase piece would have been even better, but I am not one of those people. (Lucky, or obsessed.)

Alas, it appears that the Alborozo will be the chase piece in this year’s version of the Stablemates Mystery Horse Surprise Assortment, too – though hornless, this time.

This is turning into the Traditional Esprit all over again, isn’t it? Take a mold that’s popular from the get-go, but make all the initial releases difficult to get…

I get it: the short-term sales are great! But it also ends up spoiling some of us on the mold to begin with. What’s the point of trying to collect it, if you find yourself starting out in a deep hole right from the beginning?

It’s not like a vintage mold, where the chance of a rarity turning up in the wild is an actual possibility. That’s what’s the most disheartening about collecting more modern and/or popular molds, and especially the newer Stablemates. With older molds, at least, I can usually count on the chance that if I miss a new release of it now, I’ll still be able to find it out “in the wild” eventually.

Most of the Stablemates Alborozos being bought are going straight into to secondary market, with few making intermediate stops in wider world.

The Alborozo is also a part of the Walmart Exclusive Unicorn Crazy Surprises, too, but I don’t know if he’s going to be the chase piece in that one yet, or not. They’re only just trickling out to the stores now, and I haven’t made much of an effort to seek them out online or offline.

I am in no mood for playing games this year, so I might just skip the Stablemates search efforts entirely and focus my energies on more rewarding hobby pursuits.

(That Appaloosa Mini Brishen, though. Argh! And the Purple Mini Magnolia!)

I do have that one Mesteno custom I started last year that I could definitely work into the “Great Hair Day!” Theme Class. Yeah, maybe that instead.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

BreyerFest 2019 Stuff

Feeling a bit under the weather today – nothing specific, I think, just the exhaustion and stress of an overwhelming year finally catching up with me.

Part of the reason for that is that I didn’t get nearly enough done of what I wanted to get done in 2018: my multitasking habit did me in, again. To start out 2019 on a better note, I spent a good part of yesterday evaluating what I think I can realistically accomplish this year, and packing or putting away projects that aren’t feasible.

As far as model horse stuff goes, I’ll continue to keep purchases to a minimum, barring incidental finds. I want to focus on acquiring a handful achievable ($350 and under) grails instead.

If I get caught up on my sewing projects, I’ll finally start customizing again. Mind you, it’s not likely, but I am keeping that possibility on the table – as is the possibility of attending a live show.

I thought kinda-maybe-sorta I could do BreyerFest Live this year, but I don’t think so, since it’s counter to the treat-BreyerFest-like-a-real-vacation notion that I was toying with.

If I am going to do a live show, I think it is better to start out with one that requires less in the way of logistics. Show horses plus sales horses plus everything else I need to bring makes for a very crowded station wagon!

Since we’re on the subject…

Here’s all the assorted links for BreyerFest stuff that just happened to go live today. Since I know some of you still have troubles navigating the site, I’ll provide the most essential. (I have some spatial awareness issues of my own. I won’t judge!):

Early Bird Tickets

Volunteer Application 

Changes for 2019

“Changes for 2019” is a summary page that includes of the scheduling changes to both the Auction and Costume Contest, and the live show and contest links. There is also an announcement of another new feature for this year: being able to select your preferred Special Run Line Ticket times!

The theme for the “Costume Contest is Not All Heroes Wear Capes (But Some Do!)”, the Diorama Contest is “Salute To BreyerFest!” (a BreyerFest-themed Parade Float), and the Theme Class for the Custom Contest is “Great Hair Day!”

I have ideas for all three, but whether I have the time (or motivation) to do any of them is the question.

(Right now, the answer is no.)

Monday, December 31, 2018

Just Super

There’s no obvious or lengthy discussion to be had over the following photograph; I simply unboxed my Emma and wanted to see her with her sister:

There have been a lot of Breyer models that have used the tail as an actual or potential point of contact – from the Fighting Stallion to Lady Roxana, to Llanarth True Briton and Silver, and a host of Stablemates – but I think Emma is my favorite. With other molds it’s quite obvious that the tails are the way they are as a concession to the design, but with Emma it’s far less obvious, and more naturally integrated with the design.

I’d love to see more of her in 2019, though I am fearful that they’ll just make her either a Glossy Prize Model, a Micro Run, or a Diorama Contest Prize, all of those things being beyond my reach, typically.

Best not to think about it, really.

Speaking of BreyerFest, I just noticed the BreyerFest ad card included in the box of my CC Appreciation order is actually comic book-themed:

Ben-Day dots, and an unironic and actually appropriate use of Comic Sans? Be still my heart! Is it too much to ask the One-Day Stablemates to be interpretations of the Super Friends? It probably is.

Outside of Western-themed comics, horses as comic book characters are a bit of a rarity. Dell did have a series of comics featuring Fury, Trigger, Silver and Champion, with the latter three featuring sweet Sam Savitt cover art. And there is, of course, Comet the Super-Horse, whose history is weird and complicated even by Silver Age standards but I love him anyway.

That, combined with the much needed scheduling changes they announced a couple weeks back, are making me reconsider my position on participating in any contest-type activities at BreyerFest this coming year. I was going to wear a cape for the heck of it, anyway…

But I’m still way behind on all my other (non-hobby) projects, so at this point, still not. Probably.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Bacon and ... Golden Corn?

These fellows arrived a day early:

More or less what I expected on both.

Even though I would have preferred the Green one – or the black Brighty, ‘natch – the color on my Gold Othello is very similar to the Perlino Duns I keep missing out on, so there’s that. The shading is softer and more natural looking than the Blues or the Greens (which, duh, makes sense!)

I won’t be pursuing trades or outright purchases of the others, though. Aside from not being able to afford it, I’m kind of in the middle of my end-of-the-year cleaning and purging phase: my mind is more on what I want to sell, rather than buy.

(I was pretty proud of myself, being able to walk out of the Tractor Supply Breyer-free on Wednesday! I’ll regret it later, more than likely…)

Plus space: Othello’s a big dude, and I’ve already been told the fireplace mantel is off-limits!

I do feel kinda sad about some of the Othellos that will now be resold, for the sole sin of not being a Solid Black Brighty. Gotta hand it to Reeves for turning the hobby’s general disdain for Solid Black paintjobs on its ear: first the BreyerFest Dark Horse Surprise, and now the Coal Brighty!

I would have bought the Santa Surprise regardless, and pretty much did.

The Brighty was a nice gesture, but ultimately unnecessary: selling out would have just happened slightly later in the day. I know some people have suggested that a Glossy Black Othello Unicorn would have been even better or more appropriate, but I personally think if that had been the case, it would have ended in tears and bloodshed.

Hawthorn is… interesting. The woodgraining is a little more subtle than I expected, but not out of the range for a vintage Woodgrain; I have a Shetland Pony with similarly low contrast graining.

I was also kind of hoping he’d have a dark drip mark on his underside, as the vintage ones do. Since they’re using a somewhat different technique now compared to what they used back then, and that drip was a consequence of the original technique, that was perhaps asking a bit much.

Some less seasoned hobbyists who might not yet have experienced vintage Woodgrains firsthand might have perceived it as a flaw too, and make a fuss accordingly.

One last little factoid before I call it a night: the last production Woodgrain – the #931 Fighting Stallion – ended production in 1973, and the Jasper mold was introduced in 1974. Since they would have been testing colors on him in 1973, vintage Woodgrain Jaspers are theoretically possible, but unlikely.