Saturday, December 31, 2011


I finally found one of my most coveted grails:

It’s the #154 "Bay" Blanket Pony of the Americas, with the factory striped hooves. It’s the version that appears in the Dealer’s Catalog and Collector’s Manual in 1979, the year it was released, as well as on the original version of the box it came in (which I also have, but can’t find at the moment.) Here it is in the Dealer's Catalog:

This is what a more typical Bay POA looks like, with dark gray-brown or black hooves:

You’ll notice that the color appears to be different too - it’s definitely darker and richer in the striped hoof version, with darker splash spotting. However, I haven’t seen enough of these variations to tell if this is an actual characteristic of this particular paint job, or a consequence of the natural variation that occurs over the length of production.

I had’t noticed much variation in the paint job of the Bay POAs before, but I it’s also true that that’s not the first thing I’ve been looking for when I’ve been looking at them. It’s those darn hooves that have transfixed me ever since I saw them on the darn box, ca. 1979. The Bay POA that came in that box - the same non-striped one you see above - was by no means deficient qualitatively, but it wasn’t the one I really wanted. I wanted the one with those cute little striped toes!

After several years of looking, I had become convinced that the striped hoof versions were, like so many other items seen in the catalogs and manuals of the times, preproduction or test pieces that were either long gone, or now beyond my reach. Those striped hooves, I reasoned, must have been deemed a detail that was deemed too fussy, or funny-looking, or too expensive for long-term production.

Then eBay came along, and I started seeing just enough of them to convince me that they may have been a legitimate - albeit very briefly issued - variation. Or possibly used on the original salesman’s sample pieces: I have noticed that salesman’s samples do seem to turn up on eBay with a greater frequency than normal, due to the very nature of the site.

In either case, I realized that my "grail" wasn’t completely unattainable.

Alas, I wasn’t the only one who was looking, apparently. I always got outbid or outmaneuvered, until now. Now I can exhale, and find another possibly-not-unattainable grail to obsess over now.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Coincidence, not Intent

Like a lot of hobbyists, I was sort of expecting that since it was intended as a "gift" that there would be few (if any) of the Glossy War Horse SRs up for pre-sale. Then one person gets a $500 offer, and bingo, at least two others turn up on MH$P with similar starting prices.

Oh well. At least none of them have shown up on eBay. Yet.

(Nothing wrong with them reselling it, but I always thought the number one rule on regifting was being discreet about it. I suppose "not listing it on eBay" counts as discretion, nowadays.)

I wouldn’t read too much into Reeves having an account on eBay themselves, now (breyeranimalcreations); according to their profile, they’ve had it since February of 2009, and are only now starting to use it, presumably as part of their increased online presence.

I don’t foresee them using the account to actively compete against other hobbyists/vendors; I could see them using it to make things like Test Colors, Artist’s Proofs, and charity models (like Hermes?) available to people who couldn’t attend or participate in the events they are usually exclusive to. That would be a good thing, I think. (Online auctions ending simultaneous to the BreyerFest ones would create some interesting theatre, don’t you think?)

As I mentioned in the last post, the only 2012 release I’ll be actively looking for in the coming year will be the new Fury/Prancer, partly because he was so completely unexpected. He’s right up there on the list of "models least likely to get a rerelease," at least as a free-standing piece.

I wouldn’t call myself the Fury/Prancer mold’s number one fan, but I like him enough to put him in my masthead. A Black Pinto Prancer was one of my first "official" hobby purchases; I bought it, sight unseen, excited at the possibility of owning a model that was born before I was.

The color they selected for the new release is interesting; when I first saw it, it made me think of the small SR or Test Color batch Bay Pinto Western Prancing Horses Breyer made sometime in the late 1960s. Here’s a picture of one from Marney’s album, which I presume was hers:

I’m going to assume the selection of the color is a coincidence, and not an intentional homage to this known Breyer obscurity. They wanted to go with a suitably vintage-looking paint job, and the Fury/Prancer came in just about every color they made back then, except some variation of the Bay. Reeves could have gone with something solid, like a Charcoal, or with another pattern, like Gray Appaloosa, but I get the sense they were fairly committed to a pinto paint job.

If the mold’s currently in production, there’s always the possibility of one of those other vintage-flavored releases this year, right? I’d especially be interested in a Gray Appaloosa one, myself.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rinty and The War Horse

I should probably go buy a lottery ticket: not only did I win one of those auctions I didn’t think I had a shot on, I got picked for the Glossy War Horse giveaway, too.

I had completely forgotten about it most of Christmas Day, until my brother asked me about it. I had a good excuse: dinner included Barbecue Ribs, Mashed Potatoes with cheese and bacon, Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic Breadcrumbs, and Rhubarb Pie. I think cookies may been involved, but I might have passed out before then.

The office was already looking a wee bit crowded, but now it looks like my plans to lay off any serious selling until Spring might have to be modified.

I might still put it off. Other than the Vintage Club stuff, and the "Limited Edition Retro Release" of the Fury/Prancer next year, I don’t foresee myself adding too many more herd members between now and then. I like the Roan Bouncer, too, but as hot as that mold is right now, I’m more than happy to let other folks buy up the first few batches. There's always the possibility that Reeves might pull another semi-random gloss/matte thing too, like they did with the Valentine and Heartbreaker set.

(With the Lady Phase set most likely, if they do. Because the possibility of random gloss Bouncers is a little too terrifying to contemplate.)

Among my more conventional holiday gifts was the book about Rin Tin Tin I had mentioned earlier. Just as I suspected, the "figurine" that inspired the author Susan Orlean to write the book - and to which she devotes the entire prologue to - was a Breyer Rin Tin Tin: there’s a picture of one right on page two.

I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, but from my brief skimming of the text, it's not only central to the narrative, it's actually called out as a Breyer. So what we’ve got here is a book by a bestselling author that really was inspired by a Breyer model.

Sweet. I mean, I would have bought the book anyway, since I'm also a little obsessed with silent movies in general, but goodness, silent movies and Breyer models, all in one book? Put the cookie dough back in the freezer, ladies, I am out for the count.

In light of their promotion surrounding The War Horse (another story about an animal, set during the First World War), of the launching of the Vintage Club, and (what I presume will be a series of) Limited Edition Retro Releases, re-releasing the Rin Tin Tin seems like the most logical and obvious thing to do, n’est-ce pas?

Regardless, it’s still a book worth adding to your Breyer reference library, if you’re into that sort of thing as much as I am. (As I assume a significant portion of you do.)

Friday, December 23, 2011

More Condition Issues

I sometimes joke that if I were any more clumsy than I already am, I’d qualify for a handicapped parking permit.

Well, just to let you know, I’ve fallen down the steps twice now, in three days. Nothing damaged, as far as I can tell, but I already have a rather high threshold for pain (on account of the clumsiness) so I might not be the best judge.

My Silver Filigree Weather Girl also survived a slight tumble, fortunately while still boxed. (It wasn’t me, I swear.) I have to say that I’m liking these new shipping boxes Reeves is using now. They’re a lot strong than they look, and a lot sturdier than the ones they were using previously, which looked and felt like they were made out of recycled paper towels. They are a bit snug in the size department, though. I know they’ve got size requirements to meet, but an extra half-inch here or there would definitely inspire a little more confidence.

While we’re on the topic, look what just happened to show up on eBay this week - a 1979 Lady Phase, with some interesting condition issues:

1979 Lady Phase

Before y’all get super-upset with the hobbyist in question, let me remind you that things were a little different back then. Making alterations - adding or removing markings, or tweaking the mold - wasn’t that big a deal back then. Even I did it: I will not go into detail, but I did some unspeakable things to an SR Red Roan Running Mare.

We were all young and kinda dumb. Plus, you know, there were a bunch of different buckskin Lady Phases floating around, and we didn’t bother trying to distinguish between them until much later, when we realized, duh, that some of them really were sorta rare. (And I didn’t realize that the Running Mare was an SR one until the damage was done.)

It looks like the latest NAMHSA controversy has flamed out. As expected, it was much ado about nothing. Not nothing nothing, but blown out of proportion to the actual incident. More proof that an e-mail list is good for nonlinear information (announcements, requests, questions that do not require lengthy answers) and not for anything that requires follow through, or follow up (debates, discussions, socializing.)

Just to clarify, the kind of web site or hub I’m envisioning probably wouldn’t include a discussion forum. Discussion forums are good for the things that e-mail lists generally are not (debating-discussing-socializing), but not so great with handling nonlinear information, especially when topics start to drift.

It’s the nonlinear information that I’m most concerned about: news and general information that should be available to most people - hobbyists and nonhobbyists alike - with just a click or two, without any further involvement or commitment. The bulk of it would include announcements about special runs, contests, live shows, volunteer opportunities, real horse stuff of specific interest to hobbyists, model horses in the media, etc.

(I'm not sure articles on more narrowly defined topics would be necessary, or helpful, at least in the beginning.)

The rest of it would be devoted to promoting the hobby online, especially to the hobby-curious, with general information of what the hobby is about, what it entails, and where to go for more information. The sort of thing I imagined that NAMHSA should have been doing from the onset, rather than going all in on a national show, instead.

If we want to get serious about making the hobby to grow and prosper, we need to make the online hobby presence less intimidating to newbies, and easier to navigate.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Information Wonkery

Did a little Snoopy Dance yesterday upon receiving notification of "winning" a Mont Tremblant. I’m thinking of calling her Le Quatrieme, which roughly translates from the French as "the fourth one", since she will be my fourth Silver Filigree.

I suspect that she’ll probably be the last horse I get this year, though, since it’s very likely that I’ve used up the last bit of good karma I had to get her. I’m not writing off The War Horse drawing or any of the eBay auctions on my watch list, yet, but I’d totally understand if I come up zero for everything else for the remainder of the month.

Which is fine, actually. Bills to pay, and all that.

I see that they shipped out the Stablemates Hermes models this week - and no surprise, someone turned around and sold one already, for a nice little profit. It’s nobody’s business but the buyer’s and the seller’s, I suppose, but I does make me wonder if the buyer was fully aware of the circumstances surrounding the distribution of the model.

It’s become quite clear to me that the information about Hermes hasn’t been as widely distributed as it should have been.

Sadly, this is rather typical of the online hobby, as a whole. One of the things that drives me absolutely crazy is that, in spite of its relatively small and self-contained nature of the online hobby, reliable information does not travel well within it. Information that is - or should be - widely known or generally accepted just isn’t.

It’s not too bad in places like Fallen-Leaves or Blab where, because of the format, anything and everything becomes grist for the mill. The problem there is more of the "operator error" type: there are individual members of those boards who seem phenomenally clueless, but the information is still theoretically available to them. And sometimes, a question from a genuinely uninformed hobbyist will sparks a worthwhile debate or discussion.

Whenever I take one of my semi-regular trips to places like Haynet, or Breyer’s Facebook page, however, I always find myself taking a deep breath before I click. Questions of fact you thought were answered months ago, and in excruciating detail, are still up for debate.

It’s partly the audience: these are the kind of places where low-information, low-involvement, or very narrowly focused hobbyists tend to congregate, and where high-information, high-involvement, more general interest hobbyists have largely fled for greener pastures. These places have become largely self-contained, and where new or revitalizing information rarely seems to venture.

Part of me wants to help out in some of the lower-information forums, but the very format of these places simply isn’t really designed to handle either extended discussions, or to aggregate information, as the current brouhaha going on in the NAMHSA-Discussion Yahoo Group illustrates all too well.

Transitioning these low-information hobbyists to more high-information formats would seem to be the solution to the problem, but it’s not as simple as that. Some people are very wedded to their information sources of choice - and very much against others.

I agree, in theory, that the Blab forum format would go a long way in tempering some of the periodic dust-ups that occur on the NAMHSA-Discussion list, but there is a not-insignificant group of hobbyists who’d rather eat live goldfish than even venture there. Either because of the reputation it has among certain classes of hobbyists, or because the format itself seems too overwhelming.

If I had time to create a non-partisan, model horse news hub, I’d do it, but I don’t. I barely have time to answer my e-mails or edit my link list, much less start a hub.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mont Tremblant, Etc.

In retaliation for the kind of crummy day I had today, I ate most of a large bag of M & Ms. Probably not the best move on my part, but it really was the best choice of solutions I had available to me.

I also opened my Fall in Love today; he’s very nice. A couple of odd little flaws, but nothing to freak out about. His masking is very clean, and he has just the right amount of shimmer in his coat. I’m not quite sure where to put him yet; the odd shape of the Nokota Horse mold makes it a little difficult to accommodate on a shelf.

The name of the SR Mont Tremblant Weather Girl suggested to me the kind of vacation "the right kind of people" take during their winter break. So I was fully expecting the announcement of the lottery/drawing to happen over the Christmas weekend, with the winners being notified on the first day after the holiday (as just the thing to blow your gifted moolah on!)

This weekend? Okey-dokey.

The piece count on her is interesting - 350, instead of the 150-200 piece runs we were assuming were (going to be) the norm with the revamped Web Special program. It may still be the case, with Mont Tremblant’s upped piece count due to the overwhelming demand the Silver Filigree special runs have had in the past. I don’t think it’ll affect the resale value too much, either: the run is still (technically) quite small, and the demand for Silver Filigrees (and Weather Girls) is still quite high.

The announcement of a "gift horse" drawing - in the form of a 100 piece gloss SR for The War Horse, on the Foundation Stallion mold - is a very pleasant surprise. I may be indifferent to the charms of the movie itself, but not to a super-limited glossy Foundation Stallion.

I wonder if they’ll be making gifting a semi-regular thing? (Hmm. Limited Edition pastel-colored Stablemates in Easter Egg packaging, for Easter? I could go for that!)

Lost in the hubbub surrounding the special runs was announcement of the resolution of the international ordering problems on the Breyer web site. Remember when everyone was getting all righteously indignant about this last month?

It gets fixed, and nobody seems to notice or care, presumably because they’ve all moved on to the next outrage. Which I’m guessing is Thrillseeker, based on the length of that thread about it on Blab. (I didn’t get drawn for one, so my interest in that discussion has been fairly minimal.)

Speaking of, it seems that Reeves has finally decided on making its presence known there as "NewBreyerHelper." They haven’t formally said as much, but it does appear to be someone using the editorial we in postings about matters pertaining to the web site today. An interesting development, to say the least (I wonder how many "friend" requests they’ve gotten by now?) I’m guessing it’s part of a run up to the "forum" Reeves has mentioned in passing on the new web site.

I’ve got holiday projects to finish, so toodles…

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The 1963 Dealer's Catalog

Sure wish I could remember what brand of batting I used on the quilt I finished yesterday, because it felt like I was quilting through cardboard. I can just barely flex my fingers today, so if you see any typos above and beyond my usual quota, there’s my excuse.

(Web surfing’s been extremely entertaining today, to say the least.)

I got all excited last week when I noticed someone had listed a "1965" Breyer Dealer’s Catalog on eBay. Alas, it was only a 1963 with the 1964 inserts:

A true 1965 Dealer’s Catalog is very similar to the 1963, but comes with an extra, bound-in signature, rather than loose insert sheets. Since I have the 1963 and the 1964 inserts, I didn’t pay any more attention to the auction after that. The letter that it came with would have been nice, but I already have two that predate that.

I was doing a little bit of research on some completed listings yesterday, and when I ran across it again, I did a double take on the price. I really wasn’t expecting it to go quite that high: I thought it’d land somewhere in the $200-225 range, not $300+.

It is true that I paid about the same amount of money for my 1963 Catalog with 1964 inserts. However, my lot also came with the Red Bird Sales pages that included the (so far) only known documentation for the original Buckskin Running Mare and Foal. When I bid on that lot way back when, the majority of my money was going towards those extras. The Dealer’s Catalog just happened to be an excellent "comes with."

What was shocking to me about the price on this latest auction is that the 1963 is probably the least rare of the pre-1970 Dealer’s Catalogs. They’re by no means "common," but of all the other known Dealer’s Catalogs, the 1963 is the easiest to obtain - easier than most of the late 1960s, even.

I think that is because I think Breyer printed up way more of them than they did of any of the other early Dealer’s Catalogs.

But why, and to what end?

I suspect that Breyer blew a big wad of cash on the 1963 catalog in an effort to upgrade the image of the brand in the eyes of retail buyers. It was clearly designed to do more than just sell specific products to existing buyers: it’s 16 pages, and in full color. Most of Breyer’s PR materials prior were either smaller in scale, or made limited use of color printing.

In some respects, I think it might have also served double duty as Breyer’s first "Collector’s Manual." It wouldn’t surprise me if Breyer had kept a few cases of this Dealer’s Catalog in the offices to mail out to all the kids that were writing to them back then. My 1963 Catalog came in a lot with a similar letter to a prospective collector, too.

It’s still a very, very good thing to have in anyone’s reference collection, but dang, I sure hope that price is not a harbinger of future ephemera auctions to come.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Buckskin Lady Phases

The Seasonal Affective Disorder must be kicking in, because I’m feeling spectacularly unmotivated today. I haven’t even begun making one of Mom’s Christmas presents, and the other two aren’t looking so hot either.

I have lots of time on my hands for the next two weeks, so everything will be fine. It’s just the getting started part that’s hard, especially when you’re trying to finish at least a half dozen other projects, too.

Here’s one of those handful of things - besides Fall in Love - that I’ve added to my own herd recently:

It’s the 1980 Model Horse Congress Buckskin Lady Phase, the one with the pinked nose, B mold mark, and black eartips!

That means I now have examples of all three Buckskin Lady Phases special runs: the 1979 VaLes Solid Buckskin with charcoal/black nose, the 1980 MHC Special Run, and the 1983/84 J.C. Penney’s Buckskin with bald face.

(Yes, I know the JCP one comes in a solid-faced variation. Notice that I prefaced my statement with the phrase "examples of"? )

One of the most infuriating bits of misinformation that gets passed around on the Internet is that of the alleged rarity of the Buckskin Lady Phase. A case could be made for the 1979 or the 1980 ones being especially difficult to acquire, and I wouldn’t argue with that: there were only about 200 made of the 1979 SR, and about 240 made of the 1980.

On the other hand, however, the J.C. Penney version was probably one of the most popular Christmas special runs Breyer ever made: according to Nancy Young’s Breyer Molds & Models, around 8,000 sets were made over the course of its two year run.

Eight thousand pieces is not "rare," neither then nor now.

I can remember a time when Buckskin Lady Phases were so common that customizers resorted to using them as bodies. Lady Phases became unexpectedly hard to find right around the time she was discontinued in 1985. The story goes - as I heard it from Marney, anyway - was that the last batch of Lady Phases made before she was discontinued in 1985 were lost in a fire.

With no fresh bodies available in the store, no new regular runs on the horizon, and several hundred - if not thousands - of Buckskin ones cluttering up hobbyist shelves, what else are you going to do?

(FYI: I don’t believe enough Buckskin Lady Phases were lost to customizing to affect their overall rarity. Enough to skew the perception within the hobby, maybe, but not overall.)

In the intervening years, a lot of hobbyists conflated the 1979 and 1980 special runs with the later J.C. Penney run. You’d think with all the Buckskin Lady Phases floating around that hobbyists would do the math and realize that they weren’t quite as rare as they thought they were.

Alas, many of our fellow hobbyists just aren’t that good at math. And are all too often plagued by the ghosts of wishful thinking.

Even so, the 1979 and 1980 special runs are still genuinely hard to come by. On average, I see about one of the 1979 pieces up for sale or auction per year, if that; the 1980 examples aren’t a whole lot more numerous.

I was lucky enough to get my 1979 one in 1979, straight from the dealer (yeah, I’m THAT old.) I had been shopping around for a 1980 for some time now, but the few that had come up recently had been significantly out of my price range.

This little lady wasn’t because (obviously) she wasn’t mint. I’m not much of a shower, so I’m totally okay with that. I’m not exactly mint, myself.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Showcase Collection

My Fall in Love arrived today, but I haven’t opened it yet, because there’s nothing better than getting a box with your name on it in the mail, am I right? I just want to savor that moment a little bit longer.

(No, I’m not waiting ‘til Christmas. I have another package coming in a day or two, so I’ll open it then.)

I was just going over my horse paperwork again, yesterday - good gravy, I bought a lot of stuff this year. Fortunately, the bulk of the purchases consisted of either items I was picking up for others, or were a part of those three collections I acquired (over 100 pieces, right there.) I really didn’t buy too much for me myself, outside of the things I picked up at BFest.

Even after all that buying, I only have about two tubs worth of horses in inventory - a lot for most hobbyists, but about average for me. I should be happy to have as "little" to sell as I do right now, other than books and bodies. Even less would be better, but with the Mont Tremblant coming up, I’m not going to hold my breath. Whatever sells, sells.

If you’re interested in buying anything of mine, all the hobby things that I want to sell will be listed on MH$P by Friday night. The only other stuff I plan on selling by the end of the year will be a few non-hobby, non-horsy odds and ends I might toss on eBay sometime over the weekend.

Speaking of both boxes and eBay, you’ve probably noticed that pair of horses in Showcase packaging - a Palomino Five-Gaiter and a Bay Family Mare - and the prices they’re bringing.

(From the 1971 Collector’s Manual)

There were 54 different models that were released in the Showcase packaging from 1970 through 1972, though because of the fragile nature of the plastic used to make the plastic clamshell box, it’s highly unlikely anyone will be able to acquire a complete collection. A few pieces, including the Black Grazing Mare, Alabaster Western Pony, Smoke Running Mare and Foal, and the Appaloosa FAS and FAM were only available for a single year, making them rarer still.

Here’s the list, more or less; I didn't distinguish between the two slightly different variations in the packaging itself (also worth noting: they dropped the trailing zero on the issue numbers for the Yellow Mount and the Indian Ponies after 1970):

0130 Bay Arabian Stallion
370 Appaloosa Arabian Stallion
380 Appaloosa Arabian Mare
400 Palomino Arabian Stallion
410 Black Pinto Western Pony
430 Palomino Western Pony
450 White Western Pony
470 "Famous Thoroughbred" Man o' War
480 Black Morgan
490 Bay Morgan
500 Palomino Arabian Mare
520 Sorrel Five-Gaiter
530 Palomino Five-Gaiter
550 Black Pinto Western Horse
570 Palomino Western Horse
700 Alabaster Arabian Stallion
0800 Alabaster Arabian Mare
800 Clydesdale
830 Clydesdale Mare
840 Clydesdale Foal
970 Sorrel Appaloosa Gelding
980 Buckskin Quarter Horse
1010 Liver Chestnut Quarter Horse Yearling
1020 Palomino Quarter Horse Yearling
1030 Sandy Bay Appaloosa Yearling
1100 Smoke Western Prancing Horse
1110 Buckskin Western Prancing Horse
1120 Palomino Western Prancing Horse
1140 Bay Western Prancing Horse
1150 Appaloosa Western Prancing Horse
1190 Red Roan Running Mare
1200 Alabaster Running Mare
1210 Smoke Running Mare
1230 Dapple Running Mare
1240 Chestnut Running Mare
1300 Alabaster Running Foal
1310 Smoke Running Foal
1330 Dapple Running Foal
1340 Chestnut Running Foal
1400 Bay Arabian Mare
1410 Bay Grazing Mare
1420 Black Grazing Mare
1430 Palomino Grazing Mare
1750 Brown Pinto Indian Pony
1760 Buckskin Indian Pony
1770 White Indian Pony
2000 White Old Timer
2010 Charcoal Arabian Stallion
2020 Charcoal Arabian Mare
2050 Dapple Old Timer
2110 Alabaster Proud Arabian Stallion
2120 Mahogany Proud Arabian Stallion
5000 "Famous Standardbred" Adios
5100 "Famous Paint Horse" Yellow Mount

It’s one of the few examples of rare packaging that I don’t have in my collection yet, and at those prices they been bringing, it’s not going to happen anytime in the near future. I guess I got a little spoiled that I was able to acquire all of the packaging examples I did before this crazy little boomlet on them took off.

I’ll just have to wait - and hope - that one shows up in these parts someday.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Scary Christmas

This is what we have to resort to in order to have a Christmas tree this year:

Everything (except the fort) is made from felt, fabric or gold lame. We may eventually replace the deck furniture with some picket fencing or that plastic lattice you put under your porch to keep the groundhogs out, so we don’t have to spend out days chasing the canine version around the house with her latest treasures.

Speaking of Christmas, here’s your "Scary Christmas" craft item for the year, from my vintage craft archive:

It's Frosty’s Cousin Slushy!

It’s from an otherwise tasteful book of simple, understated holiday craft projects called Christmas Magic, written by Margaret Perry, and published by Doubleday in 1964. I had high hopes for the book when I picked it up last year at the local book sale - if they thought a drunken snowman with a mace was worth putting on the cover, it had to be good, right? Alas, nothing else in it was quite as frightening. Bummer.

I started listing more stuff on MH$P this week, again; more average stuff, nothing especially noteworthy. Then again, their lack of spectacularness just might make them stand out. How many people are selling their Thrillseekers and Fall in Loves, anyhow? I understand needing to make a quick buck around the holidays, but the odds of selling aren’t so great when you’re competing with 15 to 20 other identical items.

(I’m still mulling over the right way to sell all of my extra bodies. I might just list most of the less trendy/correct ones together and have people mix and match their own assortments.)

I suppose I should have something a little bit Breyer and/or history related here, for a change. So here’s something that's also vaguely Christmas-y, a nice old Breyer #77 Elk:

This example is actually quite early; he lacks the USA mold mark, which means he’s from 1968 or 1969. That’s pretty much the only way you can distinguish an early Elk from a later one, unless you’re lucky enough to find one with a Blue Ribbon sticker. The paint job on the original release of the Elk, which ran from 1968 through 1997, didn’t vary much. Earlier ones tend to be a little more brownish, and later ones a bit more reddish, but neither the variation nor its correlation with age is strong enough for most collectors to bother with.

His giant rack doesn’t help, either. Like the Moose or the Longhorn Bull, he’s another one of those models that eats up way too much valuable shelf space.

I put off getting an Elk for several years, hoping I’d find a nice, cheap one at the flea market eventually. Despite the model’s long run, though, I never did find one at a suitable price or condition there.

I found the Elk of my dreams on - where else? - eBay.

In a fit of boredom or curiosity one day, I started clicking on Breyer Elk auctions, and happened to find this fellow - complete with a detail shot of his mold mark, sans USA. Normally I make fun of eBay listers who post mold mark shots, which I usually mock as the sign of a Breyer amateur. (Silly peoples, most of us clicking on the auction don’t need no mold mark shot to tell us it’s the real deal.)

In this case, it was actually helpful, since it provided me the one real clue to his true age. He didn’t have a sticker, but that was his only real negative. The price was right (very cheap) as was the condition (very near mint.)

You know, come to think of it, I still haven't found a whole lot of Elks at the flea markets around here, since then. Interesting.

Friday, December 2, 2011


50,328 words later:
It turned out better than I expected it to be; it actually has a beginning, middle and end, a (somewhat) coherent plot, and a few genuinely touching moments. Not bad for something that has just about everything in it except ninjas and zombies.

(I’m saving the ninjas for the BreyerFest novel. Duh. Zombies, on the other hand: just not a fan of the concept.)

I have no delusions that it’s anywhere near publishable, though I’m not sure if I’m going to chalk it up as an interesting experiment, or make an attempt to fix it later. I do believe could be made publishable, but I so do not want to even look at it right now. I am all fictioned out for the rest of the year.

If I do it again next year, I’ll probably switch genres and go with something more traditionally science-fictional. I’m a huge fan of Golden Age (1930s-1940s) SF; back in high school, when I wasn’t writing mopey fantasies about my magical flying horse who could talk, it was crazy SF pastiches neither my classmates nor most of my English teachers completely got. (I must admit, in retrospect, that A. E. van Vogt was probably not the best choice to model my writing style after. Hey, at least I hadn't heard of Harry Stephen Keeler at that point.)

Another win this week: Fall in Love. That sort of took me by surprise, since my luck with the Web Specials in the past year has been so not good. (Must have been my time!) Interesting how they made it "orderable" to the winners via their accounts on the web site. That’s actually a modestly intelligent way of doing it. (No icky phones, yes!)

That makes him Nokota Horse number five here. I’d love to have more, but eight out of the ten releases of the mold that I don’t have came in piece runs of less than 100, and six of those eight were piece runs of less than 50. I’d probably have more success trying to collect Faberge eggs, on my budget. Or the Esprit mold.

I was going to close out with a picture of the Christmas Tree, and show you why we’re calling it "Fort Christmas Tree" this year, but the camera wasn’t cooperating today, partly a consequence of my brother upgrading my computer system this week. (Like the Breyer web site, the system is still not quite fully operational.) I’ll have to try again, tomorrow.