Saturday, April 30, 2011

Something Royal

In honor of the royal nuptials, I think I’ll talk about the day I found out that Queen Elizabeth was a Breyer collector.

It seems pretty obvious now that she’s probably got a pretty nice little collection going, at least of the models based on horses in her service. There was the #79199 Household Cavalry Drum Horse from 1999, and the 2003 Limited Edition Set #3368, The Life Guards of the Queen’s Household Cavalry, with that spiffy dark bay Trakehner.

But back in 1993, it wasn’t quite as obvious. I suspected she probably had a few Breyers knocking around the Palace - there was a Special Run made of one of her favorite horses, Burmese, made as an Export Special ca. 1990-1991. If someone made a model of your favorite horse, it’d be common courtesy to send you one, especially if you were, y’know, the Queen.

BreyerFest back then was a much more laid back, casual affair. There was no Ninja Pit of Death, and no extra special runs outside of the raffle models (the grulla Hobo Nevada Star) and the first of the Volunteer Specials (the infamous Silver Filigree Proud Arabian Mare, for the live show organizers.) We had shopping at the Covered Arena, some demonstrations, the aforementioned live show (sans exclusive prize models), the BreyerFest SR handout, dinner and the raffle.

It seems pretty boring in retrospect, but it didn’t seem so at the time. We still had the hotel, brimming with horses, and the gossip and socializing was just as intense then as it is now - moreso maybe, since we had fewer distractions. It might have been the year of my first unfortunate underwear incident - pretty funny story in and of itself, but separate from the story at hand. (Mostly.)

Anyway, my roommate that year was someone I had met at a signing party even a couple years prior. We had hit it off pretty well, and had made plans to go down to BreyerFest together. Life - family issues, mostly, on her part - got in the way. (It was the very beginning of my historical roommate troubles, but that’s another story, too.)

She did manage to finally make it down to Kentucky, by late Friday afternoon. There weren’t any other things going on at the hotel, besides the gossip and the shopping, so it wasn’t like she was missing a whole lot.

And after she settled in, she asks me "Okay, where do I buy my tickets?"

Oh, dear. They didn’t have one day tickets back then, either. You bought your tickets ahead of time, and that was that. We had to improvise.

People did do pickups back then, though, so asking for spare dinner tickets wasn’t that big an issue. Nor was it all that big a deal to buy a Grayingham Lucky Lad secondhand. What was in question was whether or not she could attend the auction. We weren't entirely clear if she could - and since she wasn’t sure she’d be able to ever get back to BreyerFest, she wanted to buy at least one extra special memento of the event.

So I decided to go ask Peter Stone.

It was Saturday afternoon, a couple of hours before the auction. Peter was standing on the hillside to the front of the Covered Arena, not far from the concession stand. He was talking to a woman in a pretty floral print dress: I remember that, because it sort of stood out. I assumed that meant she must have been an owner, a park official, someone like that. Someone other than an average tourist or BreyerFest attendee.

I asked about the auction issue, Peter said he didn't see any problem with her attending, and oh by the way I’d like to introduce you one of the Queen’s Ladies-in-Waiting, who is here to pick up a Lucky Lad for Her Majesty.

I can’t remember my exact reaction, though I’m pretty sure my internal monologue included some socially inappropriate words. ("Holy ****, what do I do now? Bow? Curtsy? ****!")

I did manage to get away without completely embarrassing myself. I think.

According to my research, one of the Queen’s Ladies-in-Waiting is also Prince William’s godmother, but I kinda doubt that’s the one I met. I have some pretty powerful six-degrees-of-separation mojo working for me, but not that powerful. The story is crazy enough as it is, even without that extra frosting.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Weather

The weather here has been, mercifully, much kinder than in the rest of the country: just rain, and lots of it. Normally I wouldn’t object to the rain - I’ve been doing most of the heavy lifting in the "lawn and garden department" this week - but it has put a bit of a crimp on the flea marketing. I haven’t been able to do a lick of it since the season started two weeks ago - and this weekend is looking a little iffy, too.

Unlike normal people, who set up a savings account or set aside part of their tax refunds to fund their yearly pilgrimages to Kentucky, I bank my pony-crack money in other ponies. I’ll take down a bit of cash to cover basic expenses - food, gas, emergency underwear runs - but if I want to splurge on something at the hotel, it has to come out of what I sell.

It doesn’t always keep me completely honest or on budget, but it does help temper some of the crazier urges the hotel’s shopping mall ambiance tends to spawn.

I may be coming into a small amount of money this year - enough to cover the cost of the trip, with a little bit to spare - but I’d still like to beef up my inventory a bit. One of my better customers almost completely cleaned me out of my remaining stock just before the holidays, and I haven’t bought a whole lot since then.

I’ve picked up a few things on eBay recently - some cheap gambles that didn’t quite pay off, and a pile of reference materials I haven’t sifted through yet - but nothing substantial.

I enjoy the social aspect of horse trading at BreyerFest as much, if not more, than any money it might bring in. I love getting into random conversations with almost-complete strangers about subtle color variations on the Sorrel Five-Gaiter, the merits of various dappling methods, or some juicy gossip about some alleged BNP.

(As many of my friends can attest, I hear some of the craziest stuff. I don’t know if it’s that I have a knack for being in the right place at the right time, or if there’s something to my temperament that makes people spontaneously dish up the best dirt.)

I’ve been just desperate enough to start eyeing group lots on eBay to "piece out," but I haven’t found anything in my price range just yet. (Not necessarily cheap, but worth the effort.) Since I am not inclined to do another collection cull, I guess my only other option is to wait the weather out.

That’s it for today. It’s my birthday and I’m going to spend the rest of it gorging on leftover Easter candy and chocolate cake.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happily Ever After

First, I stand corrected on the two-point trot thing: yes, Llanarth came out in 1994, four years before Rejoice. I had a funny feeling I was forgetting someone! It would have to be the Llanarth - I don’t know what it is about that mold, but he always slips down my personal memory hole.

Regarding artists who shouldn’t be sculptors: there’s more to the topic than you might think, history-wise, but I’m not up for that level of research this week.

The only research I’m up for right now is for the BreyerFest Fairy Tale Ending Contest. I was trying to come up with something that was cute, clever and immediately recognizable - and I think I have! I’m about at the same level of giddiness for this idea as I was for my "Belgian Chocolate Belgian" idea back in 2008. A good sign, I hope.

There’s not quite the same amount of work involved this time around; the key this time will be in picking just the right models to pull the idea off. My body box is a little sparse right now; I could make it work with what I’ve got, but I’ve got the time to find something better, so I might as well take advantage of it.

This year’s Contest Prize Model is a little different: a Dapple Gray Justin Morgan. He’s a little different because he’s the first Traditional Adult Horse mold used as a Prize Model since 2003. (We had the Appaloosa Old Timer "Jake" in 2002, and the Solid Gold Western Horse in 2003.) Everything since then has been smaller either in terms of scale, or stature.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen Justin Morgan in Dapple Gray; Reeves tortured us for several years with a test piece they used to model the #2466 Benchmark Saddleseat Saddle:

What made that test piece stick out in my mind was that it was such a departure: like all too many Breyer molds, Justin Morgan seems to suffer from boring paintjob-itis. Bay, Bay, Bay, Bay, Chestnut and Black: that’s the story of this poor boy’s life.

At least they’ve done a reasonably nice job on most of those colors - the Mahogany Bay on the #822 Morgan (1990-1992) is very handsome, and I think he looks great in Black Sabino as the #945 Tri-Mi Boot Scootin Boogie (1996-1997). He seems to show pretty well, too, regardless of his conservative color palette.

(Or maybe because of it. Another topic one of those topics ...)

One of the few colors that did not turn out so hot was, alas, a more daring color: a Sooty Dappled Buckskin on the #1142 Montana Harvest (2001-2003). While he sold reasonably well - as most Justin Morgans do! - that funky resist underdappling with black overspray definitely did not win fans among hobbyists. Hey, I generally don’t have any problem at all with weird and/or funky paint jobs, but even he was just a bit too outre for me. It made him look moldy.

I’m sure we’re going to hear the requisite whining about the "Happily Ever After" paint job, too. Lately, though, I’ve been tuning out of any online discussion where the term "chicken wire dappling" comes up. I grew up with splash spots, gray oversprayed socks and cornflake-sized resist dapples: I consider "chicken wire dappling" an almost unimaginable improvement.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Real Gamble

I’ve been possessed by a very naughty notion for the past couple of days. What if the "mystery mold" for the BreyerFest Spun Gold SR turns out to be … Lady Roxana?

It sounds like a wonderfully macabre experiment: What would happen if you created a scarce SR on a model nobody collects? And even better - what if they throw in some even rarer pieces in the mix, like they did with the previous Gambler’s Choice?

(Actually, that last part’s not a "what if": they’ve said as much on the official BreyerFest blog.)

It’s not so far fetched when you give it some thought. It’s a vintage mold, we haven’t seen her for a while (since 2006, as the light gray #1234 Sahara), and she’s got an artsy, fantastical look that would fit in well with the fairytale theme. Toss in a crazy, metallic paint job, and I think we've got a winner.

(You're talking to someone who's got two test color Roxanas: our interpretations of "winning" are probably going to be a little different.)

Lady Roxana is more popular than you might think among nonhobbyists and the younger set, most of whom just see a cute little prancing horse with a swoopy mane and tail, and not a personal affront to their delicate artistic sensibilities.

Roxana was meant to be much prettier than she turned out to be, as Rich Rudish’s original sketch hints at:

As for what went wrong, exactly, between conception and execution, I’m not going to go into that, especially since it seems to be a topic that gets some hobbyists way more agitated than they need to be.

(I actually saw a hobbyist get red in the face at BreyerFest one year, whilst discussing Lady Roxana mold. Her argument ended with "I know what art is, and this isn’t it!" Being trained as an art historian, the infamous quote attributed the artist James McNeill Whistler came immediately to mind. Since comparing hobbyists to cows has been shown to be not so good an idea, I wisely refrained.)

I have no personal beef against her (the mold, or that hobbyist.) She’s not what I was hoping for either, but she has some finer qualities worth appreciating, too. Lady Roxana was the first freestanding Traditional mold to do a correct trot: it wouldn’t be until over a decade later that they’d attempt the two-points-plus-tail-balancing act again, with the Rejoice mold.

I also think she has a very pleasing, Art Nouveau feel to her which, considering she was originally sculpted as part of the "Artist Series" of molds, might have been intentional. Mr. Rudish is no longer with us, however, so we’ll never know for sure.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Back in the day, #49 Bay Stretched Morgans were da bomb. They were relatively pricey and hard to come by, in those crazy, pre-Internet days. A primo example could easily set you back a good 30 or 40 dollars!

(No, really. Stop giggling!)

I was happy beyond words when I found my first (of many) Bay Stretched Morgans at a local flea market. He was the standard bald-faced version with two front socks, in near mint condition. He’d hardly turn heads today, but back then - oh, what a treasure he was! I was such a proud Model Horse Mama when one of my fellow hobbyists came over to my table at a live show once just to admire him.

(I’ll never forget it. "Can I touch him?" she asked. "Sure," I said. And she held him up to her face and snuggled him like a kitten. Such a weird and lovely moment.)

Nowadays vintage Bay Stretched Morgans are not that exciting or cuddle-worthy. Ebay, and several recent releases in other shades of Bay have diluted the demand. Serious collectors still seek him out, but it’s only the more obscure variations - like the star-faced or four-socked ones - that command serious cash.

The one Bay Morgan who really brings out the big spenders, however, isn’t a variation at all: it’s the Special Run from the early 1970s in solid bay.

There are a number reasons why that is. The first are his good looks: aside from his total absence of markings, his color is both subtly and pleasingly different from other vintage Bay Morgans. The body shading, particularly on the shoulders, is softer and less dramatic than a regular run bay, and he has darker gray shading on his muzzle and his nether regions. His paint job looks quite modern, especially when compared to contemporary Regular Runs.

The second is historical significance: he was among the earliest true Special Runs of the modern/hobby era, made for the "Wonderful World of Horses" touring show sometime in the early- to mid-1970s. Other Special Runs do predate it - notably the Ranchcraft Woodgrains, and the Grooming Kits - but we’ve only recently reclassified them as Special Runs. Back then, everything we couldn’t classify was either an "oddity" or a "test run." (The hobby’s vocabulary was much smaller then.)

The third is rarity: you just don’t see them very often. There were at least 1000 pieces made (a substantial run, even today) but the distribution method created the rarity. Instead of being sold directly to collectors, they were sold as souvenirs, to people who were not usually hobbyists. Some of them did make it into hobbyist hands - via leftovers sold via Marney or the Bentley Sales Company - but not enough to satisfy demand.

The model who graces this blog post, believe it or not, was an upgrade. I considered myself very lucky to get the Solid Bay Morgan that I upgraded from, in the first place. He was restored, and not badly, but when the opportunity came on eBay to upgrade to a true mint one, I had to go for it.

He wasn’t the typical bargain basement deal I normally go for; I felt a little bad plunking down a whole Benjamin for him, until I saw a lesser example go for three times the price a few months later.

A good investment, if I thought of these things in that way.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Holy Cow

Like many of the best things in my collection, I found the Weber Scientific Cow by accident.

At BreyerFest that year (2003), I had made up my mind, more or less, to focus on non-equines. I hadn’t completely ignored them up to that point, but my collection was definitely … lacking in that department. I wasn’t planning on buying up Woodgrains or other rarities, just the right kind of pieces at the right kind of prices.

I can’t remember the exact time I got to the sales tent in 2003, but I do remember it being a couple degrees less crazy than it is today. It was still possible back then to get a decent night’s sleep and make it to the sales tent before all the "goodies" were gone. There would be some random items thrown in from time to time, like the Buffalo Skull Bolo Tie reissues, but most of it back then consisted of old regular runs, Holiday and QVC Specials - good stuff, but nothing worth throwing a punch for.

Anyway, as I was making my way around the sales area, I spotted a pile of plain white shipper boxes marked "Holstein Cow," and priced at $25.00. My first thought: it must be the then-current release of the #402 Holstein. My second thought: I don’t have one yet, and the price is right. Onto my buy pile she went.

The packaging did strike me as a little odd, but I initially dismissed it as a mail-order catalog repack thing. JC Penney and Sears sold regular run items from their Christmas Catalogs in shipper boxes. The Cows could have been for some other mail-order client I wasn’t aware of at the time.

I didn’t think too much about it until later in the day, when I was back at the hotel unpacking my day’s worth of treasures. I opened up the box and - gosh, what’s this crazy tag? Wait a minute - there’s a blue logo on her hip! Holy cow, it’s a Special Run Cow!

I fell back on my bed and started laughing hysterically. The neatest, coolest and possibly rarest thing in the tent that year, and by sheer, dumb luck, I just happened to get one. Yay for me!

Weber Scientific makes products for the dairy and food processing industry. They have a Frequent Buyer’s Program that operates like a lot of other rewards program you might be enrolled in: the more stuff you buy, the more points you earn, which you then apply to the free gift of your choice. Back in 2001, one of those gifts was this Cow.

Other than the tag and the logo, she’s identical to the #402 Holstein Cow, though considerably scarcer. How much scarcer, I do not know. I can’t recall seeing more than two or three for sale since I acquired mine, so I’m guessing pretty darn.

The tag is nothing remarkable, just a listing of fun facts about "The Holstein-Friesian" that I assume most clients would have already known. "Holsteins dominate the United States’ dairy industry." "The average productive life of a Holstein is 3-4 years." And "Holsteins are large, stylish animals with black and white color patterns."

("Stylish?" Alrighty, then.)

Weber Scientific still runs their Frequent Buyer’s Program, but the current rewards - hoodies, watches, gourmet cheeses - are somewhat less exciting than a Special Run Breyer Cow.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Am Not One, But Many

Mutilated Sparkle Plenty Dolls? Dinosaur Clothes? You guys make my childhood feel positively normal. This is a childhood, however, that included shopping trips to the town dump, an "archaeological dig" in the empty lot next door, a neighborhood Olympics, a pet snake, and imaginary car trips in Mom’s 1965 Opel Kadett.

(Man, I loved that car. It was like someone tried to zap a Matchbox car with an enlarging ray, and gave up about halfway between "go kart" and "family sedan.")

I have been exploring some ideas in the community-building arena, but another forum is not one of them. I simply wouldn’t have the time or resources to maintain it in a manner I would consider acceptable. Plus, I don’t necessarily think there’s a problem that needs to be "solved" when it comes to Blab (or any other forum), other than more and better participation.

Don’t like the tone a thread is taking? Say something about it! Someone being obnoxious, and not being called out on it? Do the calling out! Bored with some of the empty-headed topics started by even emptier-headed chatterboxes? Start something more substantial!

The direction a discussion goes in is dictated by the people who are participating in it. So participate, already. I try to do my best, but my work schedule is whack, and I don’t always get the best backup. (I have nothing against the Reputation System per se, but giving public "Attagirl!" Rep is more likely to change the debate.)

I am not crazy about how the structure of places like Blab give cover to some very unsavory people, but that’s another topic, for another time.

I’ve been thinking about the Ninja Pit this week. No, it wasn’t that silly t-shirt discussion from a little while back (my rant about "how everyone with a copy of Photoshop and/or Illustrator suddenly thinks they’re a designer" judiciously deleted) but some of the strategy-planning I see going on already.

In a weird way, I sort of feel responsible for the whole Ninja Pit of Death phenomenon. I was there at the some of the earliest of those "sales," talked up some rare-cool finds there (found mostly by accident), named the darn thing (also by accident), and made some attempts to organize it (see backup, lack of, above.) In that first, surreal attempt at organization, an offhand bit of gossip turned me into an entire army of Blab Ninjas.

(Out of that, came my personal motto: I am not one, but many. I don't have a theme song yet, but I'm working on it.)

I know a lot of the talk is just talk, and a lot of people talking smack now will, when the time comes, probably roll over in their beds and decide that sleep is the better option. Still, I worry. A couple of years ago I was rooming with a person in a wheelchair, and I actually thought that having her down front would, I dunno, help shame some of the line cutters and other cutthroats into behaving better.

It didn’t. All it did was make me wish I had a better memory for faces, so I could remember the bad actors better, and act accordingly.

All of this talk about the NPOD was going to lead into a discussion of one of my favorite finds there - the Weber Scientific Cow - but I seem to have run out of time and energy today. Next time, I promise.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Peaches: Daughter of Evil

This picture scared the bejeezus out of me the other day:

Hello, Scary! It’s Peaches, from the #96062 White Diamond and Peaches set, as seen in the 1997 Dapples Dealer Catalog.

Most of the Breyer Rider Dolls are a tad on the creepy and weird side, but Peaches is in a class all by herself, isn’t she? She looks like the love child of an evil circus clown. Every time I look at her picture in that catalog, I keep expecting to see a little plastic dagger in her hand. (She could probably do some serious damage with that pink hairbrush, though.)

Growing up, I never owned any Barbie dolls - or many dolls, period. Mom wasn’t against them, as far as I can remember, I just never had the interest in them. In my pre-Breyer days, I was all about crayons, comic books, and stuff animals. Oh, and cardboard boxes, too. I loved cardboard boxes so much I even "wrote" a book about them at the age of five. (It was mostly pictures - I may have been precocious, but not that precocious.)

No latent interest in dolls + an almost equal disinterest in showing performance = a box full of mostly unopened rider dolls that came with sets I bought primarily for the horse. It’s definitely a weak spot in my repertoire of Breyer trivia.

Anyway, I thought I’d remedy that lack of knowledge over the weekend by doing a little more research on them, until I ran across Peaches and stopped that notion dead in its tracks.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Silver and Gold

I’ve been occupying most of my spare time over the past three days to spring cleaning, primarily of the outdoor gardening kind. It was messier than I imagined, but isn’t that how most cleaning projects are? Another day or two and I should be ready to start planting and rearranging things.

In the process of raking, weeding and pruning, I completely forgot that the Equine Affaire was this weekend. Not completely completely, I guess - it just got pushed down the list of things I needed to worry about. (Today’s list: "What inedible thing did the dog eat today?" "How much did I lose by on today’s eBay auctions?" and "Where on Earth did my brother hide the chicken taquitos?")

I hate feeling so apathetic about Steppin’ Out; I’m more than willing to be a fool for love over many things, but the Esprit mold is not going to be one of them.

The BreyerFest-related news coming out of the Equine Affaire was pretty exciting: two more Special Runs were announced! A Decorator Bluegrass Bandit "Under the Sea," and another Gambler’s Choice piece called "Spun Gold," on a mold-to-be-named-later.

The Bluegrass Bandit is a blue translucent piece done in what appears to be the same style/technique as the Pink Ribbon Andalusian, except with ocean/mermaid motifs, I presume. (The one available picture is a tad unclear.) I can’t imagine her not being popular, considering how well received Translucents like Gala, Carnivale, and Tortuga were. (Reeves has decided to call them "Clearware," but I’m going by my preferred term, for now.)

The "Spun Gold" SR is a bit more of mystery: we don’t know the mold, and we’re not sure of the color, either. The copy on the signage says "One mold has been transformed into three different strands of gold!" so the popular line of thinking is that they’ll be three different shades of gold - white, yellow and rose - in either Golden Charm, Florentine, or some combination thereof.

I think it’s just as, if not more likely, to be an iteration of what we had with the previous Gambler’s Choice, but all in Golden Charm: solid, pinto, and appaloosa. If there are going to be surprises within the surprises - as there were with the Quarter Horse Gelding, before - I think they might go with either Florentines (to keep with the theme) or Silver Charms/Filigrees (to keep with the history.)

I also think it would be darn funny if they went with the Silvers, because for the first time in the history of ever, Silver would be worth more than Gold.

I have no idea on the mold they’ll be using for it. The first two thoughts that come to mind are "vintage" (that’s what they went with before) and "pony" (because Rumplestiltskin was an evil little gnome.)

Heck, maybe they might go with one of the molds celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, as I mentioned in a not-too-previous post? All three of those horse molds - the Fighting Stallion, Mustang or Five-Gaiter - have already come in Golden Charm, and the Fighter has come in a couple versions of Golden Charm Pinto, so I don’t think it’s very likely.

So here’s the tally so far, on Line Specials:

711127 Aurora (Porcelain Unicorn)
711128 Gruff (Mountain Goat)
711129 Under the Sea (Bluegrass Bandit)
711130 Once Upon a Time (Show Jumping Warmblood)
711131 Wish on a Star (Big Ben)
711132 Jasmine (Weather Girl)
711133 Hansel & Gretel (Black Forest Ponies)
711134 Spun Gold (Gambler’s Choice)

The grumps among us will say otherwise (because they always do!) but this is a darn nice lineup. Except for the Unicorn (duh, breakable!) I would not be unhappy with any of them. I am so not unhappy with them, in fact, that I’m actually thinking about buying another ticket. At full price.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


As you might have guessed by now, my annoyance over the abundance of Weather Girls customs has now been replaced with annoyance over all the Sunshine Celebration models now being listed everywhere.

You know my opinion about these sort of events: I’m not keen on them. Most rank and file hobbyists are already at wit’s end trying to acquire more "common" items like Web Specials and Weather Girls. It shouldn’t be a surprise that when they hear reports of some attendees complaining that the special runs they’re being offered at said super-exclusive event aren’t up to their standards, they’re not going to take it well.

It’s more than mere jealousy, it’s also frustration - inelegantly expressed, sometimes, but something I think we shouldn't dismiss so easily.

Fortunately, another distraction came my way this week: my JAH.

The Sunday Raffle model, a loose-maned sabino Cleveland Bay named King Arthur, is nice. He doesn’t rock my work like the Saturday Raffle model Muse does, but if on the rare chance I do win him, I’ll cherish him just the same. If the universe decides I need one, who would I be to turn down the gift?

I think it’s love when it comes to Muse, though: a non-pastelly Pegasus on a Nokota Horse? Be still my heart! It doesn’t hurt that his name has some special meaning to me, too. (Nothing you need to know, other than it does.)

Oddly, I don’t have the same indifference to Breyer’s flying horses that I do to its unicorns. Maybe it’s because the wings are removable, and less prone to breaking. They may not look as "realistic" as the unicorn horns do, in execution, but clumsy me is willing to trade a little realism for safety.

The wings themselves are actually rather well-sculpted; I can remember making note of that when the first Pegasus - the Classic Lipizzan release #209 - was released in 1983. What I didn’t like the fact that they had decided to put the slots for the wings in the middle of the Lipizzan’s back. Sure, the same rules of logic and anatomy don’t necessarily apply to fantasy creatures, but it still didn’t seem like quite the right place to put a pair of wings.

Reeves was probably thinking the same thing: the more recent Pegasus releases - first on the Silver, for the second Treasure Hunt Redemption Horse in 2007, and now the Muse - have somewhat more plausible wing positioning.

I never did get around to getting the Treasure Hunt Pegasus - my lack of enthusiasm for the Silver mold is also well-documented - but I do have most of the other Pegasuses (Pegasi?) on the Lipizzan mold. All except the most recent release #3365 in 2003-2004, and the creepy blue flocked one from the 1985 J.C. Penney’s Christmas Catalog. (Actually, I did own the blue flocked one, briefly, but that was a little mix-up on Santa’s part.)

Hope I get the chance to add Muse to my plastic rookery. I might even - gasp! - buy a few more than my usual ten-dollars-per-raffle allotment.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Herd Mentality

Can I say it? Wait a minute, of course I can say it, it’s my blog: I’m tired of these customized Weather Girls already.

I get it, y’all just loves her to death, and most of the pieces I’ve seen so far are at least competently done. But too many customs on the same mold in such a short period of time - no matter how pretty or correct it may be - still makes my eyes glaze over. They all start looking the same to me, just like those blandly beautiful supermodels on the cover of Cosmo or Vanity Fair.

If you really want to impress me with your mad customizing skilz, do something special with more run-of-the-mill body box fodder, like what Maggie Bennett’s been doing lately with Family Arabian Stallions(!) and Smokies(!!) That’s the kind of thing I was aiming for, back when I was still brave enough to customize: the audible gasps of "I had no idea you could do that with that mold."

(Alas, my ideas were a little bit beyond my sculpting talents. I still dream of turning a FAM into a rocking Dales Pony, though.)

For as many pixels that are devoted in the hobby to expressions of one’s creative and intellectual independence, there’s actually darn little of it, at least online. It’s especially true in semi-autonomous communities like Blab, Fallen Leaves, and even Haynet, where some ideas Are Not Discussed, some authorities Must Always Be Deferred To, and Some Opinions Have the Weight of Truth.

In other words, the exact opposite of creative and intellectual independence is being fostered: it’s herd mentality. Herd mentality is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it’s harnessed to achieve a greater good, but it’s definitely disconcerting to see it in a hobby full of self-professed "independent spirits."

I never set out to be a contrarian voice, but one of the numerous reasons I started this blog was to give voice to opinions otherwise unspoken, and by my act let other hobbyists out there know that it’s okay to not "follow the herd."

Yeah, it’s a little lonely out here sometimes. (S’alright, I’m used to it.) I’ll confess up front that I’d rather be an insider than an outsider, but sometimes you just gotta say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done.

Do it well, and do it honestly, and the rest will follow. Eventually. I hope.

I’m not the kind of person who enjoys watching other people have a great time (yes, jealous - your point?) but I’ve been following the SCE coverage on Blab because, unfortunately, that’s where the news is. I haven’t gotten my JAH yet, either, and I was jonesing for some new Breyer news.

I am quite pleased to see we are getting more Eberls sculpts in the near future - a pair of Classic-scale ponies, for BreyerFest! Yay, more ponies! I’ve always wanted a Classic-scale Pony Family; let’s hope that "Papa" isn’t too far behind. I’m not too crazy about the color they’re coming in, but it might just be the photos messing with my eyes again.

It’s going to be darn hard for me to narrow down my BreyerFest SR choices this year. I need the Goat, the Ponies, the newly announced dappled bay Weather Girl … fooey! Wish I could afford more than one ticket. At least there are enough good choices - I think - to make my position in line irrelevant.