Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gloss Palomino

I was going to adopt a LA LA LA CAN’T SEE YOU approach here to the Sunshine Celebration Whatsit down in Florida, and mostly I have. But I have to at least laugh and point at a particularly amusing sentence on the Facebook page regarding one of the event’s Special Runs of "Key Largo & Key West:"

Pictures do not do justice to this breaktaking pair.

Breaktaking? Awesome. Henceforth, I shall refer the act of taking a break at work as breaktaking. As in, "Sorry, I can’t help you, I’m breaktaking."

What makes the sentence even better is the tacit admission that they know they have some issues in the photography department. "They’re much better in person - trust us!" Yeah, we know that. We know it so well that some of us are beginning to wonder if it’s been a part of the marketing program all along.

It does seem a little weird to me to see two Gloss Palomino releases announced in the space of a week - and possibly a third, if the rumors of Gloss Finishes on the Weather Girls comes to pass. It’s either a crazy coincidence, or someone in the design department at Reeves has Palomino on the brain.

Gloss Palomino hasn’t gotten as much attention as other vintage colors, like Charcoal. We haven’t been totally bereft of Gloss Palomino in recent years - the 2004 Collector’s Edition Old Timer "Noddy," comes to mind, as a particular favorite - but they’ve generally been few and far between.

I’m totally okay with the current Gloss Palomino fixation. The Othello "Pamplemousse" - the upcoming JAH Special Run, in pale palomino sabino - looks almost good enough to eat in that color. (I do love grapefruit.) I don’t have many Othello models, mostly because he takes up as much real estate as a mid-1970s Cadillac, but that one might be coming home with me.

Don’t know how the "taking orders prior to production" thing is going to work out, though. It’s a good idea in theory - making just enough to fill orders, with a few spares for damages - but I have a bad feeling that it will be a matter of a month or two before we’re barraged with complaints about the long delivery time.

(I used to make fun of all those reading comprehension tests we had to take in school. How can anyone know how to read, and not know what they’re reading about? Alas, the Internet - and some segments of the online model horse community - quickly disabused me of that notion.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kinda Sorta Maybe

Mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year; the first thing that popped into my head was "Personal Assistant," but that’s not going to happen. Not unless either one of us comes into some unholy amount of money in the near future.

If it should ever come to pass, the "new hire" would have to be a model horse hobbyist, because one of the job requirements would be to listen to me kvetch about it live and in person, so my family wouldn’t have to. (And that would be my gift to them!)

(In reality, I’ll probably end up with some DVDs, a couple of books, and an undisclosed amount of cash-to-be-named-later.)

Anyway, back to the online kvetching.

You may have noticed that I use the hedging phrases I think and I believe quite a bit here. The words probably and maybe get a lot of mileage, too. They aren’t just affectations in my writing style, like my propensity for bad puns and adverbs. There’s a reason for it: it’s inherent in the material I’m working with.

As I’ve explained before, the internal records of what Breyer did before they were purchased by Reeves (and for some time afterwards) were sketchy, to put it kindly. All Marney had to work with, at one point, were the fading memories of a few long-time employees, and a loose box of unsorted (and often, undated) papers.

We’ve come a long way since then. We’ve filled in a lot of the gaps - but like the fossil records, there are still many gaps left undocumented. (Oh how you vex me so, 1959 through 1962.)

Even though we have a good idea of what might have happened, there’s very little certainty in any of the history prior to the mid-1980s - and in a surprising amount of it since then. Just when we think we’ve got something figured out - bam! Out pops another oddity, or some previously unknown special run, or a photograph that makes us all go "What the…."

Hence, my use of hedge words. I’d rather leave room error when it comes to Breyer History, than make a flat assertion of fact. The hard evidence to make those flat assertions often just isn’t there. Saying I think gives you the leeway to make corrections - or at least, look less like a fool than the person saying I know.

In this regard, Test Colors are the bane of my existence. Unless you’ve got the paperwork, or a solid provenance (usually via Marney, or a former Breyer employee or contractor) it’s pretty darn well impossible to confirm a Test Color as such. The body of documentation I have on hand regarding Test Colors is rather limited, and a lot of it resides not on paper, but in the most unreliable form of documentation: memory.

From time to time someone will show me a model and ask for my opinion on it; in many cases, it’s an owner or potential buyer hoping that I can confirm it as a Test Color. I’m sure a lot of them are disappointed when I can’t give them the "Definite Yes" they’re looking for. In more than a few instances, they’ve trotted it over to another expert willing to give them the more affirmative answer they’re looking for.

Some have a higher likelihood of being genuine than others, for whatever reasons, but absolute certainty? That I can rarely give.

I hate the way that so many hobbyists - including many that should know better - toss the term "Test Color" around so lightly. Especially when it’s quite obvious that the model can be more easily explained as something else: a Variation, a Cull, or even a previously unknown special or regular run.

It’s not just about the value: there are lots and lots of variations that can compete quite well in that area with Test Colors. I hate it because the words "Test Color" convey more status to a model than any of those other descriptors do. It’s all about the status for some hobbyists nowadays - you just can’t be a serious collector without at least one genuine rarity in the collection, right?

I guess I was lucky that I managed to get some Test Colors - real, honest to goodness ones straight out of the Chicago factory - before they became such a thing. They were always a "thing," even back then, but not at quite the same level of intensity.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t want a few more for my stash, but it’s a little less about status in my case, and more about the history. A Test Color that was an actual test color for something, and not some random weird thing? That’s more my speed - and usually cheaper, too.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Who's That Girl?

I wasn’t planning on purchasing a Weather Girl any time soon; I was willing to wait for the frenzy to die down a bit before I attempted a shopping excursion. But I just so happened to be in the right part of town for work on Thursday, and figured that since that store was just around the corner, it wouldn’t hurt to look:

Yay! A happy way to spend the last little bit of my tax refund. (The rest went to bills, bleh.)

They had all three colors available, but both the Palominos and Pintos had some condition issues just bothersome enough to leave them behind. The Thunderstorm has a couple, too - a slightly rough seam on the mane, and a small paint blooper on her left hind leg - but nothing that screamed "body quality" to me.

I was a bit tempted by the Palominos, in spite of their masking problems. That has to be the most gorgeous, spot on original finish Palomino paint job I’ve seen in a long, long time: rich, bright, shimmery, and golden. Now that’s Palomino!

My first thought, actually, was how neat it would be if Reeves ever decided to re-issue the Palomino Family Arabians - that’s the shade of Palomino they’d need to be. (The Western Prancing Horse? Yeah, I’d go for that, too.)

I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole concept of the Weather Girl Treasure Hunt might have sprung out of the notion of justifying that Palomino paint job. I’m sure someone at Reeves must have thought that it would be fitting that their newest Arabian should be released in that most iconic (and notorious) color.

Wouldn’t it be neat if the "Rainbow" Reeves is referring to in regards to the Redemption Horse "Rainbow" would be the range of colors the original "Old Molds" came it - Shaded Alabaster, Honey Bay, Gray Appaloosa, and Woodgrain? I think she’d be particularly fetching in Gloss Alabaster, with lipliner and detailed muscle shading. Mmm.

We’ll find out soon enough, I suppose. I’m in no rush to send in for a Rainbow, myself. I managed to get the one Weather Girl I wanted with a minimum of stress and effort, and that’s good enough for me, for now.

Regarding the Palomino Proud Arabian Mare on eBay: oh yes, I’ve seen her. I don’t believe that the Gloss Palomino paint job was ever truly considered a viable color option for the mold’s rerelease in the 1970s. What I think happened in this case is that Marney felt the need to reproduce the original colors of the Old Mold Mare on the Proud Arabian Mare. In the photo album of hers that I own, there are pictures of other PAMs that look like reproduction attempts of other Old Mold paint jobs, too.

If anyone were to run across these other repro/tests today, most would be dismissed either as oddities (at best) or fakes (at worst.) What makes the Palomino different is that the Old Molds never came in Palomino. The color didn’t appear on the successors of the Old Molds, the Family Arabians, until at least 1961 - a year or more after the Old Molds were taken off the market.

Marney was operating under the mistaken assumption, back then, that they did. Instead of recreating something old, she accidentally created something new.

We all know where the gal in the auction will end up, eventually. The rest of us will just have to be content with a much more accessible Sunny.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not Among the Chosen. Again.

The Spring Has Sprung "Phone Call Raffle" was actually a worse experience for me than the Alpine Speed Dial Nightmare: at least with Alpine, I felt I had some control over my fate. Maybe if I made enough calls, or timed them just right, the law of averages would kick in and I’d get a call through. With the Saddlebred, I was reduced to waiting for a phone call that may or may not come.

It didn’t. There was no phone call - and no Web Special for me, again. Sure, there’s a slight chance of being called from the wait list, but as that’s never happened to me on any of the Connoisseur drawings, I’m not holding my breath.

You’d think I’d be used to this kind of rejection by now. Nope, still stings. (Which reminds me - time to fill out the BreyerFest Volunteer Application. Ha! And, sigh.)

In a momentary flash of pettiness, I thought about collating a list of people who managed to get both Alpine and Spring Has Sprung, and secretly send them some negative mental energy. Then my (lapsed) Catholic guilt kicked in, and I decided that that energy was better spent solving a vexing problem of quilt engineering that’s been harassing me for a few years now.

(Yes, I did. Funny thing is, it’s something I’ll probably never get around to actually doing. It’s not overly complicated, just time consuming.)

Here’s the lovely little thing that arrived in the mail the other day:

It's the 2002 QVC Man o’ War Special Run. Yeah, he’s no WEG Man o’ War, but he might just become almost as scarce as one, in the long run. Most collectors assumed he wasn’t all that different from the regular run #47 Man o’ War, and ordered accordingly - as in, not that much at all.

Most of the ones that did get ordered, presumably, went to nonhobbyists, racing fans, or more casual collectors who aren’t real active on the hobbyist scene. The mold itself has never been popular in the hobbyist community - or, I should say, the live showing component of the hobbyist community - and that was also a contributing factor in his relatively cool reception.

At first glance he doesn’t appear to be too different from the standard regular run Man o’ Wars that populate the aftermarket, but there are some subtle differences. His finish is a little more matte, and a little more orangey than most, though not out of the range of variation seen on the regular run pieces. The shading on his muzzle is also more extensive, and more dramatic than most #47s, but again, not necessarily out of the standard range of variation.

Two things that do set him apart from most #47s: his eartips, and his (ahem) nether regions. Most standard Man o’ Wars that I’ve seen - and owned - have come with dark gray to black shaded eartips. The QVC version does not. Conversely, regular run Man o’ Wars don’t typically have much in the way of shading on his unmentionables, but the QVC version has it almost to excess.

(You’ll have to take my word for it, okay? I’m trying to keep it work-safe, here.)

It wasn’t any of these features that caught my eye while cruising eBay last week. My cue to look just a little bit closer at that listing was, ironically, his blue paper "Congratulations" tag - something so common and generic that most hobbyists disregard them altogether. It’s something you’d see with some frequency on Breyer releases of the early 2000s, but not on a regular run Man o’ War, discontinued in 1995.

Especially since the tag features a picture of Traveller, the chalky pale gray/alabaster release of the Man o’ War mold - who didn’t make his debut until 1998:

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Commons

Finally got caught up on my online reading - it was a little less pleasant than I was expecting, but understandably so, considering the season. That’s why I’ve given up giving up caffeine or chocolate for Lent - there’s no need to share the suffering with folks who’ve chosen to not participate.

My personal Lenten prohibition against candy does not automatically preclude chocolate, BTW - hence my current mania for baking. Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip scones … it’s all good. Though I did go for something different Saturday night, and made some raisin-walnut butter cookies instead. They turned out great - light, flaky, not overly sweet. (The secret: soaking the raisins in hot water for an hour before baking. That way they don’t absorb all of the moisture from the dough and make it crumbly and dry.)

I have some sour cream leftover from my scone experimentation (Orange Cranberry, last week!), so I’ll probably be making a coffee cake next weekend.

Since I’ve now managed to (at least temporarily) downgrade my poverty from dire to merely abject, I’ve found myself trolling eBay and MH$P for an inexpensive indulgence or two. One item that’ll be discussing later this week has already arrived, in fact - I just haven’t had the time to open the package yet. (Rough morning at work = longer than expected nap this afternoon.)

Mostly I’ve been thinking about upgrading, or finally acquiring, a few of the more common models. I have a near complete chorus line of Western Prancing Horses, for example, but a #112 Palomino (!) has so far eluded me.

It’s not for a lack of trying - I’ve had lots and lots of Palomino WPHs over the years, but none of them have been quite right. Either they’ve had some sort of condition issue - sloppy airbrushing, funky trimming flaws - or they’ve been some unsuitable shade of orange or neon yellow. Nothing wrong with those particular shades of palomino, mind you, but they’re not the ones I envision my "perfect" Palomino Western Prancing Horse to be.

A good example of a "Perfect, but Common" model in my collection is my lovely little Bay Running Mare. She’s mint, she’s semi-gloss, she’s got wonderful shading, and eyewhites:

The only thing that could possibly make her better would be an original box - like my Semi-rough Cut Walking Black Angus. As far as I’m concerned, she’s it for me: she’s as unupgradable as it gets. That’s the kind of Palomino WPH I’m looking for.

I’ve seen a few good candidates, but most of the time, they’ve been lumped into group lots with something more glamorous and fashionable. A person bidding on a lot to get the MIB Palomino WPH is always going to lose to the person bidding on the same lot to get the Sorrel Fighting Stallion.

Especially since I already have a Sorrel Fighting Stallion, and don’t feel like going through the bother of reselling it to recoup the big investment I’d have to make to get it. (An enviable position to be in, I know. Still, weird.)

One approach to collecting Commons - acquiring the full range of variations for certain long-running models - has been around for years, but has been gaining in popularity in recently, mostly due to eBay’s evil influence. ("I’m not in the market for another Dapple Gray Proud Arabian Mare, but I don’t have one with those kinds of dapples…")

My approach - seeking out the best possible examples, with all the trimmings - is just starting to seep into the collecting mainstream. It’s always been there, too, but as a whole class of upper-end models recedes from the purchasing reach of many collectors, I think it might become the next big trend in Breyer collecting.

("Fie on you and your fancy-schmantzy Woodgrain Belgian! I have a Matte Palomino Fighting with mint footpads and scrotum dots!")

Time for bed? Yep, I think so.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring is Spring!

I’ve been having some ongoing technical and scheduling difficulties that have limited my Internet time this week. Much to my mental benefit, I think.

I suppose everyone else is carping about the insufficient awesomeness of the Sunshine Celebration models? I caught a brief glimpse of the discussion last night, while trying to catch up on my usual rounds.

I didn’t get very far: after I saw the second or third person calling the Nokota Horse "Nakota," on Breyer’s Facebook page, and decided to call it quits right then and there. (Which was what, about 5 or 6 posts in? Gah, that annoys me no end!)

Alas, I really think we’re getting to the point where attendees will expect nothing less than certificates for custom test colors. (I am still allowed to say that, right?)

(Regarding that minor dustup in the comments: look, I have no desire to turn this into a politically-minded blog. If anyone wants to talk about class warfare with me, there are far better places for that, than here.)

The funky spelling error in the Spring Has Sprung e-mail did provide me some much-needed amusement. "Spring Has Spring" - doesn’t it sound like cheesy ad copy from a trying-way-too-hard-to-be-clever fashion magazine? If I get one, he totally deserves some sort supermodel-style moniker: something clever, fashionable - and pretentious! (Why does Zoolander suddenly come to mind?)

As I’ve said in the past, I’m not a huge fan of the Clock Saddlebred mold - he seems a little too stiff and "posed" for my taste, generally. But his color is rather fascinating: a semi-Decoratorish lavender roan blanket Appaloosa? I’m kinda digging it. We’ve seen Reeves experimenting with the more exotic shades of roan in their BreyerFest auction test pieces, and it’s nice to see them finally start implementing them in actual production runs.

As to whether or not I will be getting him, I’m not so sure at this point. I’m pretty much caught up on my bills and payments and stuff, so I could spare a small extravagance, but the set up they have for ordering and distribution this time is pretty wacky. We get 24 hours to e-mail our "entry" to them, and then they draw a list of names, and Reeves gets 24 hours to call us if we’re on the list. If you can't be reached - no horsie for you!


Funny, I was just talking to a couple of people at work the other day about some of the nonsensical procedures we have - most of them implemented because something went horribly wrong at least once before. This crazy "don’t call us, we’ll call you" ordering setup for Spring Has Sprung is a consequence of all other Web Special ordering procedures failing.

Is this setup fair? For me: no, it isn’t. I’m one of those rare souls who chooses not to be tethered to a cell phone. Aside from being somewhat telephone-phobic, I’m not keen on being reachable on a 24-hour basis. Since my work days right now are so variable, a system where I have to wait for someone to call me isn’t going to work so well.

I might still give it a shot and see what happens. Who knows? This system might actually work.

Until it doesn’t.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Proof that Spring is Coming

The flea market is still a month away from opening, but cool stuff is starting to show up elsewhere. Look at what I found at the local Salvation Army Store:

A Hagen-Renaker mini Greyhound, and a later re-release of the sitting Siamese cat "Sookie." I've taken quite a shine to Sookie, and find myself yelling a Bill Compton-style "Sook-ayh!" ever time I walk into my office. (When does the new season of True Blood start, anyway?) Sookie's gotta couple of small chips on her right ear, but I'm totally okay with that. I sorta prefer that my chinas come pre-damaged. Less pressure on clumsy ol' me.

The Greyhound is mint, which would be awesome if I wasn't so worried about the Vita Monster taking him out. Aside from the ongoing issues we have with her very, very loose definition of what's edible, she's also figured out how to open doors and bypass doorstops. (Not so much intelligence at work, as deviousness.)

My topic for today was going to be something Hagen-Renaker related, but my computer has apparently caught something, and rendered all my work on that fabulous post totally unusable.

I also caught something myself - whatever yuckiness everyone else at work's been getting (the details of which you need not concern yourselves, my friends.) The fact that I gave up candy for Lent probably didn't help either. I'm so craving some Swedish Fish right now...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Drama Overload

I didn’t think the drama surrounding the Weather Girls could have gotten worse, but it has. No to Glossies, yes to Glossies, no to Glossies again, and now maybe Glossies but rare - is it any wonder I stick to more ancient Breyer history? So much less of a hassle …

How sad is it that when I heard the news about "Steppin’ Out," my first reaction was "Well, Ohio isn’t that far away…" Then I plugged in the numbers: 480 miles round trip, with gas at $3.50 a gallon? Not gonna happen, unless I can get a caravan of locals to split the costs.

As I’ve said before in the comments, the whole situation with another super-limited Esprit - this time, an almost generous 200-piece run - is ridiculous. Is there some sort of arcane plan to make this mold totally uncollectible to almost everyone on the secondary market, except the rich and/or crazy (and their wannabes)?

There’s only been one "large scale" release of the Esprit mold so far, and contrary to what a lot of hobbyists seem to think, it wasn’t all that large. Just because some Tuesday Mornings got one in their latest Breyer shipment does not mean that Reeves had a gigantic surplus of them. There have been low-piece count BreyerFest SRs that have ended up in Tuesday Morning stores, for heaven’s sake.

The market for pricey Breyer SRs is not that big, either - just take a look at all of the high-priced beauties gone wanting on MH$P recently. Most of them, it seems, being sold by previous attendees of super-exclusive events in order to fund their attendance at the next super-exclusive event.

Sorry, no can do, not even if I could. I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of being that fickle with my horses. If I go through the trouble and expense of getting something that rare or desirable, I mean to keep it long term. More than a year or two, anyway.

Yeah, I do something similar with the stuff I find at the flea market, but on a much smaller scale financially - with lower expectations, and less grandiose ambitions. And most of it stays in the more affordable ranges: it’s been a couple of years since I had a sales item in the three-digit range, and those were models I never intended to sell, except out of financial necessity. (As in, I needed money to pay my bills, not finance another extravagance.)

Eh, enough with the griping - let’s cover a little history for a change. As promised, here’s the scan of the Poodle’s big announcement in the January, 1958 issue of Toys & Novelties:

Even though the photo is in black and white, it seems pretty obvious to me that the color of the collars is probably blue, not red. Reds tend to turn darker in black and white photography, and blues look lighter. (The collar on the white one looks much lighter in the original copy - my scanner’s being all naughty and contrasty.) There’s no real news here, only confirmation: it jibes with what we were already able to ascertain from the physical evidence.

In case you were curious, the books in the background appear to be about home decorating. That’s interesting. Was Breyer already thinking about a "Decorator" line at that point, or was it just a subtle suggestion to potential buyers about their product's potential as decorative accents?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dating Discrepancies

Weather Girls are going to come in gloss, too? Oy. The online discussion of it all has gotten almost as insufferable as it has for the Sunshine Celebration. Nothing - and I mean, absolutely, literally nothing - can live up to that kind of hype. I'm just afraid that any kind of flaw, however minor, will be greeted by a similarly stupid overreaction.

It's not going to be pretty. (On the plus side, that means we won't have to deal with conseqences of them as glossed live show prizes. Good grief, that would have been awful.)

The research trip didn't quite pan out the way I hoped, either. I covered quite a bit of ground -from 1957 through 1960, more or less - and I found ... almost nothing!

I found lots of Hartland data, and some secondary information that might become useful later on, but I only one bit of Breyer information from the 1957 through 1960 time period surfaced: the announcement of the release of the Black and White Poodles. From the January, 1958 issue of Toys & Novelties.

(Sorry, no scan today - blogging from the road, no access to the scanner! Next time, I promise.)

Longtime readers will recognize the problem with that: the Poodles had already been featured in a couple of Christmas catalogs and an ad in the June, 1957 issue of Western Horseman. You could kinda-sorta explain the mail-order catalog thing: there have been a number of instances of items appearing in the Christmas catalogs in the months before their official catalog release (Stud Spider and Legionario III, most notably.)

But the Poodle was clearly not a holiday pre-release: the Western Horseman ad suggests that some retailers already had it in stock by mid-1957, at least. So, what's up with the obvious discrepancy?

There could be any number of explanations for it.

The magazine could have just happened to select the Poodle's writeup from a backstock of older press releases. Or maybe the Poodles had not quite been ready for release in time for the 1957 Toy Fair, and Breyer wanted to feature it in their 1958 display. (But why the Poodle, and not the Clydesdale or Old Mold Mare and Foal, who were also new for 1958?)

So what does it mean to my research? Nothing: I'm sticking with the 1957 release date. To heck with the "official" announcement: if it was available to consumers by June of 1957, it's a 1957 release.

It'll probably be several more months before I execute another research excursion. It's a "time and money" thing, not a "disappointment over what I found" thing. Sometimes you find stuff, and sometimes you don't. All it means is that there's just that much less ground to cover next time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Safety Orange

Looks like my schedule will be a little bit better this week - not a lot, but a little. Next week looks like might be a rerun of last week, though. Sigh. (Seriously, does anyone out there want a copy of my resume?)

Bigger pictures of the new Treasure Hunt mold Weather Girl are out now, and boy, is that black one nice. I’ll definitely have to cough up the cash for that little lady. The Palomino and Gray Pinto are also pretty spiffy, but like everything else, I’ll have to take a wait and see approach to see if buying a full set is financially feasible.

Let me confess to a total reading comprehension fail regarding what the BreyerFest Store Special was: it’s not the Black Pinto Huck "Black Tie Affair", but a Dappled Palomino Halla/Bolya "Dusty". (I’ll blame it on my outdated eyeglass prescription.)

I don’t know if it’s because the mold already came in Palomino, as the 748 American Warmblood in 1998 and 1999, or that I prefer the braided Halla version of the mold, but I’m just not feeling the love for "America’s Horse" just yet.

(Could be the whole "America’s Horse" thing, too - seems like an awfully presumptuous title to me. Was there some sort of reality show competition I missed out on? I’d totally watch an American Idol-style reality show with horses. But I digress.)

It could be that it’s the photo throwing me off: he looks way more Safety Orange than Palomino. Are they going for a retro "Palomino FAS" vibe, or am I being tripped up by another bad photo? I loves me some crazy colors, but I’m not sure I want something that could be mistaken for a traffic cone.

It’s gotta be a bad photo. That, or my monitor needs some serious recalibration.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Insert Sheets, Pt. II

If I come across as a bit of a cranky-puss today, I apologize. My work schedule was completely, utterly messed up this week; I ended up driving about twice as far as anyone else, for about half the hours. Listening to other people complain about all the overtime they’re getting gets very old, very quickly.

I am still Esprit-free. This is not really a surprise - I know how the hobbyists are around here - but it did irritate me more than I thought it would.

I think there’s just something fundamentally flawed about the way this mold’s been marketed. Restricting availability to a new item does drive up demand; overdo it, and it becomes a deterrent. I’ll have at least one in my collection eventually - the BreyerFest Pecos - but that may well and truly be it.

In other words, there’s no need for anyone to go out of their way to get me one. If I find one eventually, at a price I can afford, awesome. If not, no big whoop.

Back to the Insert Sheets discussion. First, here are some scans of the little seen 1964 Inserts:

I really like the way these pages are designed; if I had the money-time-inclination, I’d have them blown up to one-sheet poster size and frame them for my office. (Note to the folks at Reeves, if you’re reading: you might want to look into this idea. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’d be into that sort of thing.)

You’ll note that unlike the 1963 Dealer’s Catalog, these sheets are not full-color. The 1963 Catalog was a bit of an outlier; most of Breyer’s marketing materials prior to the late 1960s were not printed in full-color. It wasn’t purely an aesthetic choice: full-color printing was expensive. If they could get away with printing something in a duotone, or with a spot color or two, they would.

A restricted color palette isn’t that big a deal, as long as the materials themselves are designed and rendered well. And for the most part, they were, but that’s another topic I haven’t even begun to research yet. (I met Richard Lewis once, in passing, about 10-12 years ago. Another one of those "wish I had a time machine for a do-over" moments.)

As far as I know, the 1962 Insert Sheets haven’t shown up - yet. Now there’s something I’d pay an almost-crazy amount of money for. It’s possible they may not even exist, but we didn’t know the 1961 Sheets existed, until they resurfaced.

We’ve got a good idea of which molds those sheets might feature - the Running Mare and Foal, the Western Prancing Horse, and maybe the Texas Longhorn Bull - but having those sheets would prove it, definitively. I’d be fine with finding that information via other routes, but the sheets themselves would be sweet.