Thursday, May 28, 2009

Micro Managing

I love Mini Whinnies to death, but they're aggravating little buggers from an historical standpoint. It's amazing that these little, teeny-tiny creatures could cause me so much grief.

My first issue: thirty-two “new” molds were dropped on us all of a sudden, none of them with short, punchy, or easy to remember names. It's nice that the mold numbers are a part of the molds themselves, but those numbers are indescribably tiny and not exactly visible while in the packaging or on the printed page. It's going to time before I can look at any given set and rattle off their respective mold numbers.

To keep them all straight in the meantime, I ended up drawing all 32 molds and created a numbered chart. In Adobe Illustrator. Yeah, really. Since they were so small, I simply dropped them on my flatbed, scanned them at an insanely high resolution, and used these scans to create line art that I dropped in my respective word processing files. Voila! Problem solved – and 32 new pieces of clip art to my Breyer art library.

(I have quite a bit of Breyer art, come to think of it. Probably because I'm a lousy photographer and I am especially proficient at creating vector art. Sigh. I miss being paid to do that sort of thing, you know. Does it show?)

My second issue: Reeves has started issuing quasi-SR Mini Whinnies sets to retailers such as Wal-Mart and Kmart. These special run sets are basically just regular run sets in slightly different packaging and/or with pieces taken out, presumably to meet these discount retailers' desired price point. They are special runs: they have been issued special run sequence numbers (aka “acknowledgment”) and do vary, technically, as a set from the regular run sets (more or less.) I doubt anyone except extreme completists and the micro-obsessed are even going to bother searching them out, but the historian in me insists on keeping track of them anyway.

(I even keep track of assortment numbers, for heaven's sake.)

The third issue is: what do I do about their previous lives as the product of unrelated company? Not the history – of course, I'll want to include that, at least briefly, in whatever kind of book I do write. It's where they came from: noting that is no different than noting the previous history of the Modernistic Buck and Doe. (More on that topic, coming soon!)

It's the actual Creata versions of the models I'm mentally wrestling with: do I incorporate these previous, non-Breyer predecessors into the written history somehow, ignore them, or just keep that information entirely separate?

Right now I'm leaning towards incorporating the Creata releases of the Mini Whinnies molds into a web site appendix of really obscure Breyer data - sort of like this blog, but better indexed, and with more lists. A central location where we could archive essential data such as BreyerFest auction lists and notable variations: information diehard collectors are looking for, but which would be impractical to incorporate into a mass-market book.

As much as y'all would love to have a multi-volume Breyer History, there comes a point where you just have to stop and draw a line somewhere. The Mini Whinnies are really pushing up against that line, mighty hard.

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