Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Two by Two by Two....

When my package was temporarily lost over the weekend, I assumed it was just the Universe preparing me for the inevitable, and I was not wrong:

Collecting is a function of time and money: you have to have at least a little of both, though most of us usually have significantly more of one than the other. For me and most of my life, it’s been time. 

But I now exist in a rare moment where money is (almost) no object, where I can seriously consider attending an event halfway across that offers me no financial benefit just because I can. 

(Still not likely, but I’m keeping my options open.)

I know it’s probably part of their marketing plan for the blind bags in the first place – let’s get hobbyists to interact by trading! – but that is absolutely, positively not something I have time for in my life today. 

So rather than keep adding to my ever-growing stockpile of sales items in the garage, I now have to find the time to list it. And a few other things too, probably, because all the equipment and setup will already be out, so might as well make the most of it.

(The darker one is staying, because he really does look like he plopped right out of a can of cranberry sauce.)

What this means in the long run is that for future holiday blind bag promos, I am only going to be buying one, because that’ll save me the time I’d inevitably have to waste getting rid of my duplicates anyway. (You can’t get a duplicate if you only buy one!) I won’t be bothering with buying any other items in these sets secondhand because (a) that’s not how I roll and (b) I don’t like encouraging scalpers. 

(Unless they happen to be cheap and/or unpopular.)

I am so annoyed by this that I’m also seriously considering tapping out of the rest of the promos through the end of the year. The likelihood of even getting picked for one is so slim nowadays that it doesn’t feel like it’s even worth the minimal effort it takes to enter for one. 

And I am not so addicted to the plastic that I feel the need to purchase a half dozen more memberships just to compete. 

(It is also worth noting, for context, that today’s terrible national event is literally only minutes from my house and probably has some bearing on my attitude today. I wish I could say that I’m shocked, but I’m not.)

Monday, November 29, 2021

Purple, Blue, Yellow

Back to work – and a “normal” sleep schedule – tomorrow. I certainly don’t lack for more things to do, but I found myself watching carpet cleaning videos last night, so it’s probably about time to go back to the real world. 

I did find a Blind Bag Unicorn Croi yesterday – on sale, even! – but it’s just the purple one. That’s fine, because I was sincerely doubting I’d find any of the Crois at all, because these people are vultures around here, I swear:

The rest of the series – except for the Chase pieces, because that’s not happening – I’ll pick up later from the enterprising souls who purchased entire boxes. Groping blind bags in farm stores has lost its appeal, especially since success in these parts is so slim. 

I have way too little time in my life to be running around half of Michigan looking for “rare” Stablemates. In fact, it sounds more like work than anything else. No thanks!

I was moderately amused by the “Best Holiday Shopping Spots for Breyer Fans” e-mail that Reeves sent out a few days ago; just going by this e-mail alone, you’d conclude that I lived in a vast wasteland with no Breyers within our borders. I can assure you that is most definitely not the case. I can handpick almost anything I want within an hour’s drive except (of course) the accursed blind bag Stablemates. 

In other news, I did get the Copenhagen Brighty, fancy that:

And the Yellow Mount Mini Me is the no-spot variation:

I had no preference on either of these: they were all equally “rare” anyway, and I have no illusions about completing my sets, regardless. (Flipping the negative on theYellow Mount box was a nice touch, by the way!)

I am glad, though, that aside from the Chalky variation, I’m pretty much “full up” on my Traditional Yellow Mounts. Vintage Club releases tend to boost the aftermarket prices of their respective molds and inspirations (good gravy, have you seen the prices for absolutely ordinary Brighties nowadays?) 

What’s funny is that up until a few years ago, I didn’t have any Yellow Mounts, at all. I had had several over the years, but they were all either subpar or just not what I was looking for. 

Aside from the Chalky variation, I think all I really need now is a better no-spot variation and one with a dorsal stripe. A Presentation piece would be nice, too, but it’s rare enough to not be a must have.   

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Quickstep

I am completely caught up on my sleep, I’ve made a small but noticeable dent in my backlog of TV shows (two shows binged out, six more to go!) and I finished up a couple of sewing projects that had been lingering around here just a bit too long. 

As far as the inventorying goes, I’ve finished reorganizing and relabeling all of my collection bins, and will (I hope) finish the sales bins tonight. After that, it’ll be time to wrangle all the free-range equines currently littering the place. 

I’ve kind of given up on getting anything online to sell for the rest of the year. Aside from my chronic lack of time (a condition that I have been informed will likely last through the holidays) my primary motivation is usually money, and that’s something I’m definitely not hurting for right now.

The only thing I’m hurting for is space, and I’m working on that.

In other news, I got my Holiday Catalog! The cover is half torn off, but at least I got one: last year’s was a complete no-show. Not that I really needed it, except to add it to my massive wall of ephemera. 

In light of the lovely Brunhilde, here’s another “basic, but beautiful” Breyer release worth admiring:

My love of Hess’s Scratching Foal mold is well-known: this mold really is a remarkable work of engineering. Even moreso if (like me) you’ve made a few failed attempts at customizing one and seen what’s going on in its insides. 

Oddly enough, Breyer has rarely done anything extravagant with the mold in terms of paint – perhaps because it almost seems unnecessary? One of the last releases on this mold, the #1369 Quickstep, is a case in point: anything beyond the beautifully shaded Flaxen Liver Chestnut paint job would feel like a distraction.

Quickstep was in production from 2008 through 2009. This mold was also included in the 2009 Fun Foals Collector’s Event, in Mahogany Bay, a couple different shades of Black, and even a couple of them in a Blue Roan. 

And she hasn’t been seen since. I have no idea why, and I’m not of a mind to speculate.

I have all of the Scratching Foals, save for the Fun Foals: those all either too expensive for my comfort, or just plain hard to come by. There are at least a couple vintage Buckskin ones floating around too, but I missed the opportunity to add that one to my collection a long, long time ago.

Monday, November 22, 2021

When Worlds Collide

I was definitely in the mood to forget my troubles and watch a giant gorilla and a giant lizard duke it out on the big screen TV over the weekend, but right in the middle of Svengoolie’s presentation of the 1962 Toho production of King Kong vs. Godzilla – during the “viewer mail” section of the show – up pops a MIB Breyer Apparition.

While this didn’t completely surprise me, because I’ve long believed that the model horse hobby is just another subset of the SF/Fantasy fandom anyway, there’s nothing quite like suddenly being confronted by a three-foot-tall Breyer horse in the middle of a Godzilla movie. 

(The segment was then followed by a Covenant House commercial, which also made me go hmm…)

Incidentally, my Brunhilde is here, and good golly, she’s a beauty:

Other than a little sloppy paint on her orange(!) tail ribbon – a super-easy fix – I have no complaints, at all. She almost makes up for not getting a Midas. 

Okay, not really, but she’s still a very pretty distraction. I’ll just have to rearrange a few models here so I can enjoy her on a daily basis.

What continues to be remarkable to me is the fact that there will still be several hobbyists who will still insist that there’s somehow been a decline in Breyer’s production quality since the 1970s. 

As someone who bought her first models in the 1970s, an era riddled with foggy gray stockings, heavy overspray and seams so rough that the flashing could actually cut your hand, I can only roll my eyes and wonder what they see that I did not.

As much as I love my #124 Bay Running Mare – my near-perfect semi-gloss one with the eyewhites – Brunhilde’s prep and paint work are still technically superior, and no amount of nostalgia can change that.  

My box of Vintage Club goodies has also arrived, but I’ll save opening that for Black Friday, because I think I may need it by then. I have no preferences regarding Nugget: whatever color I get, I get. Though it’s been a while since I’ve gotten a Copenhagen in the Decorator Gambler’s Choices, I guess?

Information about the 2022 BreyerWest just popped up on the Breyer web site, and I’m in a good enough spot in my life to do a little research about possibly attending. I doubt it’ll happen because that’s just an incredibly awkward time of the year for me to get away (who would take care of my seedlings?) but it’s nice that the possibility exists.

Friday, November 19, 2021

The Year of Never Mind

Unlike Ambrose, who came at the very end of the holiday sales season and didn’t impress me all that much anyway, I like the second “Holiday Connoisseur” Midas tons better:


He reminds me a lot of the Liver Chestnut variation of the 2020 BreyerFest Volunteer Model Ben Nevis, who I was not fortunate enough to get, but also not so much in love that I’d be willing to throw $750 at him. 

$295 plus shipping and handling, however, I could do.

If I had gotten picked. 

Sigh. 

That’s really the only issue nowadays, isn’t it? 

All I have to show for all my entries this year are the VIP Ticket and the Silver Uffington that ultimately came with it. I did get picked for Puffin, but I sold him to a friend at cost. 

The Brunhilde and the Christmas Clydesdales only happened because my schedule allowed it. If I didn’t have the work schedule that I do, I would have missed them, too.

There is also Thornycroft, but I worked my behind off for him. 

I know I shouldn’t complain – I’ve definitely done better than a lot of hobbyists, especially with only one account! – but this whole situation is becoming a massive bummer. I got into the hobby, in part, because it was accessible and affordable. And it really isn’t that, right now. 

Honestly, there are a lot of things I don’t want to think about today, and figuring out easy solutions to this is near the top of the list. Upping piece counts in general? Adding minor variations to large, open-ended runs? Offering an orderable Gloss option for everything? 

I will let Reeves sort it all out. 

On the plus side my Brunhilde is now apparently out for delivery, and all the pictures I have seen of her so far have shown her to be just as nice as I had hoped. 

And I have all of next week off to clean up the mess working 50-hour weeks for two and a half months straight has left behind for me, too. (The house’s current level of tidiness is at “kicking things out of the way to make a path to the bed.”

If I am really lucky, I might even be able to finish my inventory and finally get some things listed for sale, not that anybody has any money left to buy anything after the latest round of sales promotions. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Tiring of the Chase

So I am standing there in the local farm supply store that’s not Tractor Supply, but gets a decent supply of Breyers anyway, pawing through the only semi-full box of Chasing Rainbow Blind Bags I’ve even ever found in these parts. Then I stopped and counted out how many bags were actually present and realized that my effort was absolutely futile: even this box was already picked through.

And this was after I discovered that my trip to the Dollar General right next door to find the official “knockoff” Stablemates was also all for naught, apparently. Dollar Generals are a little bit out of my way around here, so with my schedule it’s going to be difficult to get back to one before they all get picked over. 

Ugh. I hate this. It’s not the blind bag part: back when I started collecting in the Paleolithic Age (the mid-1970s) pretty much everything came sealed in a visually impenetrable cardboard box, except the Stablemates. 

You had a rough idea of what you were getting on the box – sometimes a very rough idea, considering the quality control issues they had back then. And the fact that they’d use stock photos of Test Colors or Samples that had little to do with reality. 

(Yes, I am still a little peeved about the Black Pinto Stock Horse Stallion. I still want the minimal pinto I saw on the original box, dangnabit!)

It’s just this endless, artificial chase for the newest, hottest thing. It’s fun for a while, but when the chase never seems to end, the fun eventually does.

I did order a pair of the Christmas Clydesdales, since (a) I was actually online when they went up and (b) I missed out on last year’s and the prices on them haven’t come down, at all. Not even for the Red Filigree Smart Chic Olena, possibly the least desirable of the four.

The funny thing is that I had a dream a few days ago that Reeves mailed all Collectors Club members glass ornaments in the shape of the Breyer logo, in a Gambler’s Choice assortment of translucent colors. The one I received was Red, so I am assuming that one – or both! – of my Clydesdales will be Red. And I actually kind of like the Red on the Clydesdale here, it makes him look like he’s made out of Cranberry Sauce:

If I had a choice of Clydesdales, I’d go with Silver and Gold, because that’s always been my favorite holiday color scheme, but I’ll be happy with any two different colors. 

(FYI: we’re going with handmade paper ornaments this year. My Thanksgiving weekend will be spent folding German Stars.)

I guess I’ll find out in a few days. Or weeks. Or whenever they happen to show up. (My Brunhilde hasn’t shipped yet, which may mean something, or nothing at all.) 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Accessibility Issues

I am surprised that people are surprised that Brunhilde sold out in less than an hour. The collectibles market (in general) has not significantly abated, and even if it has, it always takes… quite a while for the rest of the hobby to catch on. 

The only limited-edition items that haven’t been immediately selling out are either the Classics or the Mare and Foal sets. The Classics are the least popular scale among active hobbyists, sometimes verging on the point of active antagonism: you have to jazz them up with gloss finishes, crazy color schemes, or multiple variations to sell them.

The problem with Mare and Foal sets is that there’s a misalignment of markets: these sets tend to appeal to kids and the parents who buy for them, and hence there’s some hesitancy to buy a premium or limited edition set that may well get played with.  

But yes, I got a Brunhilde; I managed to log in just before the e-mails landed in everyone’s in box, and I didn’t experience any of the technical difficulties that a lot of other hobbyists did a few minutes later. And I am so pleased about her color: this is the precise shade of Bay (sans dapples, because I suck at dappling) that I hope to achieve on that Mesteno custom I’ve been tinkering with, whenever I finally finish her:

She’ll also make me feel a little less guilty about selling off one of my other Wixoms: she’s a big girl, but according to my ongoing inventory, my heart already belongs to the original Big Butt Belgian. 

In other news, I missed the start of the Early Access Black Friday sale, and hence missed anything I would have considered purchasing: everything that was left I either already had or did not want. Considering all the sales items they’re currently throwing at us, I don’t have much else to complain about it, other than missing the thrill of logging on to see what was theoretically available to me.  

And finally, while I am not a huge fan of the Traditional Black Stallion mold, I really love the coloring on the Black Beauty release AA Omner, who the latest Test Run Purchase Raffle was obviously a Test for. I haven’t acquired one yet – it’s something I’ve been saving for in-person BreyerFest, and we haven’t had one of those in a couple years. I haven’t decided which variation I want, and I’m guessing I won’t know until I meet him.