Tuesday, February 28, 2012


My schedule just changed this afternoon, so I’ll just do a little something on the current Web SR Paddy, today. I’ve been told that Paddy was among the SRs in the leaked photos, but it must have been one of the ones I missed. So my comments here are a little more off the cuff than you might imagine.

I think he’s rather cute and clever: a Cleveland Bay in Hunter Clip, with shamrocks and clovers stenciled/clipped on his behind? I find it a rather pleasing compromise between the realistic, and deco. I like it - moreso than any other colors I’ve seen on this mold other than the original Bay, and the Gloss Dark Dapple Gray Limerick SR for BreyerFest in 2008. (Yeah, I was one of those weirdos that wasn't all that into the King Arthur raffle model last year. Nice, but no big whoop for me.)

Are people complaining about him? Of course they are. If my cursory skimming of the discussions about him last night are correct, it appears many hobbyists are only entering on the hope that they’ll win the "Pot O’ Gold" variation in buckskin. Because having a unique, one-of-a-kind model is just so the thing right now.

(If there’s any one topic in model horsedom that I have less interest in, it’s the whole Peter Stone factory custom, whatever-they’re-calling-it-now program. If it’s not production, or preproduction, it’s a custom. Which I find interesting only in "gauging what’s trendy in the hobby now" sort of way. And even then, not so much. But, I digress.)

This is only setting themselves up to be even more disappointment down the road, since there’s only one out of a lottery that has only 223 winners in the first place.

(BTW: I refuse to use the term OOAK. It looks like something my dog would type. And knowing the little snot the way I do, she so would.)

I am just glad he is not some shade of green. While I love the color green - it’s the color I use most often in my quilts, bar none - I’m rather particular with it when it comes to horses. I'm just not into it unless they go full Decorator with it, a la a "Jade", or do it as a Transculent.

Or it happens to be a honest-to-goodness Christmas Decorator. (Which would be moot, because I probably would fall over dead at the shock of finding of it in the first place.)

I only have one Cleveland Bay so far - the Limerick. I wouldn’t mind another - whatever color it happens to be.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Because It's My Job

I’ve given up fast food, carbonated drinks, candy bars, and quilting for Lent. I decided to forego giving up caffeine, because that would simply not be pleasant for anybody. I haven’t entirely given up sweets either, but if I want any, I have to make it or bake it.

Since I have little time for that kind of thing, it most likely ain’t gonna happen.

I finally opened my Dandy today - very nice! The paint job is beautiful, and the sticker is a spot-on reproduction of the original. Though I must point out that most Gloss finishes were discontinued before the "Big" Blue Ribbon sticker debuted ca. 1969.

I know, I know, they picked that style of sticker so they could print the name on it legibly. It’s sort of my job to be nitpicky, you know.

My other nitpick with it is the certificate - as far as I know, the Clydesdale mold debuted in 1958, not 1957. It’s true that the Poodle was technically "debuted" at the 1958 Toy Fair, but it was available from multiple retailers in 1957; I haven’t seen any evidence of the same situation for the Clydesdale.

If it wasn’t available for retail sale in 1957, it wasn’t "released" in 1957, period.

A picture of the Fall Dealer Special Esprit is finally making the rounds - and he’s Dunalino, not Palomino. He still appears to be Glossy, and an Appaloosa, and somewhat limited, so the alternating fits of hysteria and swooning continue unabated.

He is pretty spiffy, though I was secretly yearning for an airbrushed blanket with splash spots, instead of the masked one. Totally okay with it, either way.

(BTW, thanks for the tip, KD ~)

So let me get this straight: a Dunalino Appaloosa paint job on the Esprit is acceptable. The Fun Foals Chestnut Pintaloosa Standing Stock Horse Foal is acceptable. But a Silver Pintaloosa on the Weather Girl is a crime against nature?

(Does that mean desirability of an exotic paint job is inversely proportional to the anatomical correctness?)

I’ve never understood the hatred in some parts of the real (and model) horse world over the very existence of pintaloosas. I’m not a big fan of breeding for color, but if you just happen to get a lot of color on an pretty nice piece of horseflesh, all the better.

I never did get around to sending away for my Rainbow Weather Girl, even though I did manage to luck into the Black one fairly early on. If I happen to find one in the NPOD this year - matte or gloss - I won’t hesitate to pick it up. Because I’m certainly not going to pay the prices some sellers seem to think their "ugly, undesirable" Weather Girls are worth.

If its very presence pains you that much, slap a body price on it and let it go where it goes. That’s what I do with the stuff that annoys me. Just keep lowering the price until someone bites. Or sell it as a body. The end.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Answers to Everything

Got a gander at the prices the Gloss Joeys on eBay are bringing - yeowch! I sure could use the money to get some work done on the car, but mine’s not going anywhere. I’ll just have to nickel-and-dime it, the way I usually do. (I’m giving up a whole bunch of stuff for Lent that should help, too. My finances, if not my attitude.)

I’ve decided to keep the Joey in the box for a while longer. I was cleaning up the office last night before going to bed, and noticed that the box liner/insert the model was attached to was coming undone.

Because it was put together using Scotch Tape, and not the industrial quality strong-enough-to-set-tile-with stuff they usually use. The boxes themselves were assembled in New Jersey!

The notion of a box-assembling party in the Reeves offices amuses me no end. (Was pizza involved?)

Another box came yesterday - the one with the Vintage Club Dandy. I haven’t had the chance to open it yet; as usual, I’m a little crushed for time. The shipping box is kind of interesting - a new take on the original Fighting Stallion shipper box - except that the UPS stickers obscure all the best parts.

I’m going to assume that this is going to be the standard shipper for the Vintage Club, and not worry about the condition of this one. I should have plenty of opportunities to get that one representative sample.

My Vintage Club membership number is … 42. The high holy number of the Internet, the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything? Awesome.

(Yes, I do keep a towel in my car. Right next to the pantry.)

Henceforth, all my Vintage Club horses shall be named after Hitchhiker’s Guide characters. (I already have a Clydesdale named Dent. Coincidence? I think not!)

The extra little surprise that they gave us is a copy of the 1953 (not 1954!) Boxer flier, with a copy of the pastel rough on the opposite side. I already had copies of both (of course) and an original of the Boxer ad, from an early 1953 issue of Playthings magazine (February or March, I forget - whatever month Toy Fair was that year.) Mine has a list of the regional representatives on the bottom, and the ad for the Western Horses printed on the opposite side.

Did you see the disclaimer at the bottom?
"This archival copy and all images may not be reproduced, posted to the Internet, or used without the written permission of Reeves."
Dudes, that bridge has already been crossed. Not just by me, but by lots of hobbyists. I can’t speak for the actions or intents of other hobbyists, but I feel that most of what I do here would fall under the Fair Use Doctrine, as codified in the Copyright Act of 1976.

If anything, my use of the materials in question actually results in a net benefit to Reeves. (FYI: My opinion only. I have had a little bit of legal training, but I am not a legal professional.)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Joey in the Box

Who doesn’t love a box with their name on it? Especially when it’s a gift?

Here he is, mostly out of his box. (You’ll have to cut me some slack; I just opened the box a few minutes ago.)

According to the sticker on the outside of the shipping box, his release number is 712073; the number on the box itself is 1489, which is the release number for the Regular Run release of Joey, on the Man o’ War model.

Why the discrepancy? The box is (what I’m assuming will be) the standard one for the Regular Run release of the Joey, on Man o’ War. Unlike previous boxes, it’s not a generic box with stickers and labels added: everything is printed on it directly.

As I haven’t examined the packaging for any of this year’s new releases in detail, I don’t know if this is a new thing, or specific to this release. The past few years of BreyerFest releases weren’t generic either, so I’m going to assume that it’s a new thing.

If that’s the case, I hope it doesn’t spur a new trend towards box saving. I kind of like that the hobby has a more lax attitude about boxes than others do. It helped, I think, that prior to the early 1970s, there weren’t a whole lot of boxes worth saving. Horse/Rider sets, the licensed properties, and some of the illustrated shippers have some visual appeal, but the plain old corrugated shipper boxes everything else came in? Not so pretty on the shelf.

Plus, we show them. You can get away with showing MIB items in Collector’s Class entries, and maybe in halter, if you’re willing to push that envelope. Performance is out of the question, though, unless you’re other hobby is building ships in bottles.

I probably have a few more boxed items than the average hobbyist, mainly for research purposes. If I were more of a shower than a historian/collector, the vast majority of those items would be box-free, also.

I’m actually a little bit on the fence about deboxing my Gloss Joey completely. I do "need" one representative sample of this packaging, and I am unsure if I’ll be getting any other items this year that would come in the new standard packaging. And he’s not a mold and/or finish one normally shows much outside of collectibility anyway, so…

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Serious Hobbyist

I don’t know what’s been going on the past couple of days, but I am dead tired. I thought I was getting enough bedtime, my work schedule hasn’t been too crazy, and I haven’t felt sick otherwise. Every time I sit in my big comfy office chair, though, I’m out in 15 minutes.

I suspect it’s simply become a habit. An annoying, time-sucking one.

Another annoyance this week: I lost another pair of auctions for Breyer reference materials. It wasn’t a surprise, really. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that I’m being priced out of the online market. A scarce (but not unique) pricelist I needed - a two page, double-sided pricelist - went for more money this week than the 1960/1 Dealer’s Catalog I bought not that many years ago.

As I’ve said before, there are some things I need to research, and there’s no other way to do it other than having access to the original source materials. And if I want access, I have to buy them. It’s not like I can go to the nearest university library and review them at my leisure.

I’m having way too many issues with clarity, color drift, conservation issues, etc. to want to deal with copies anymore, except in the rare instances where the source may be unique, or nearly so. I’m also having a few issues with the prices some people want to charge for said copies. ($25 per page? Are you nuts?)

If nothing else, I consider myself a serious hobbyist, and a serious collector of Breyer ephemera. But has anyone else noticed a subtle shift in the usage of that term in the hobby, recently? It’s become the accepted euphemism for "someone willing to spend a lot of money for something."

As you might have guessed, I’m not real keen on that particular definition. I’ve written nearly 400 blog posts, several articles for JAH, self-published a book on restoration, and composed and printed nearly 20 annual issues of my Sampler. But I am of limited means, financially, so I guess that means I cannot be serious.

I have another euphemism to share with you about how I feel about that line of thinking: poppycock. (Pay particular attention not just to the definition, but the origin of the word. It would be NSFW, if it was not so polite, itself.)

If anything, I thought the opposite was true: serious folks, regardless of their calling, soldier on in spite of a lack of resources. Even though you get beaten, again and again, by people with superior resources (i.e. money).

I’ve met way too many people who come into a hobby (not just ours), throwing money left and right, who then leave a few years later, almost as suddenly as they arrived. Personally, I have a hard time finding those kinds of hobbyists truly serious, even if their money is.

I keep hoping that the market will eventually get saturated enough that everyone willing to buy in at that price point, but it quite obviously hasn't happened yet. I’m fearful that it’s only going to get worse, when Reeves starts sending out those "copies from the archives" they’ve promised as extras to Vintage Club members.

Which I should be happy about, because that means more people are interested in what I am interested in, and who doesn't love that kind of vindication?

I suppose I’ll have to soldier on, as I have been.

Speaking of soldiers, is that the box for my Glossy War Horse, sitting in the foyer? Squee!

Monday, February 13, 2012

White Jumping Horses

For your viewing pleasure, pictures of the White Jumping Horses mentioned in the previous post. First, the QVC SR Gem Twist, in a semi-chalky finish:

He’s not super common; one of the many QVC Special Runs that flew under the radar, due to a lack of promotional support. He was one of those weird reissues - like the San Domingo "Traveler" - where they put the paint job distinctive of the original release on a completely different mold.

It’s an interesting, and a not unappealing idea. Five-Gaiter Sorrel on a Clock Saddlebred? Yellow Mount on the modified Stock Horse Stallion? The old Leopard pattern from the POA, on a Bouncer? I would buy most of these.

I suspect others would, too. Especially the Sorrel on the Clock Saddlebred; I think he’d look great in that color. (Semi-gloss - with eyewhites, of course!)

Here’s the Jumping Horse that I found in the Bentley Sales dump bins at Model Horse Congress, back in the Dark Ages. He originally came with a factory unpainted jump, which I still have; when I do display him, I usually put him on one of my spare painted jumps, for a dressier look.

I’d actually classify him as a borderline Test Color/Cull, since he doesn’t have a lot detail on him, outside of his head, and there’s a little roughness to his body texture that suggests he may have spent some time in a cull bin. I still think he’s pretty darn cool, regardless. He was one of my earliest Tests/Culls, so I have a lot of sentimental attachment to him.

Most of my Jumping Horses are not out for display right now, because like a few other molds that shall remain nameless, he takes up way too much shelf space. I used to have a substantial number of variations of the Bay - whose sock variations verge on the countless - until I realized that I’d never be able to display them in a way that would do them justice.

I still have more than an average collector should have, though. Just not as many as I used to.

I’m taking it as a very, very bad sign that I have already given the Best of British Contest Prize Horse a name, in the exceedingly rare possibility that I might win one. It’s based on one of the ideas I’m thinking about for my entry, so of course I can’t tell you what this cool name is.

This idea I’m mulling over at the moment will likely go over the heads of the judges, again; I have a bad habit of being a little too clever for my own good. I sure wish I could figure out what the judging criteria for that contest is, because some people seem to have figured it out.

And regarding the Costume Contests, I think I need to remind some of newer or more casual readers that I was Princess Beatrice last year. I could potentially use it - with a little modification - for either contest, but using it for both might be tacky. I do have another idea for the Poppycock Parade that might be worth pursuing (funny + only slightly inappropriate) but I might not be able to fit the components in the vehicle, on top of all the other things I usually bring along.

Argh! It’s way too early for me to be spending this much brainpower on anything for BreyerFest!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Little Miss Dressup

I was in a really strange place yesterday, during and after work. I felt almost euphoric. I didn’t have any reason to be, other than at the prospect of finally getting more than a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. It was more likely from the lack of sleep itself, and the sugar buzz I got eating half a bag of dried pineapple for breakfast (Hey, I was running late, and it was the best available option in my car’s pantry. Yes, my car has a pantry.)

So they released a couple more pics of BreyerFest SRs - a Bay Semi-Leopard Cantering Welsh Pony as a British Spotted Pony, and a Fleabitten Dappled Gray Jumping Horse, as the Best of British Contest Prize. Neither one of these pics were a part of the leaked batch, so they were both a surprise to me, too.


Well, I was expecting a CWP, and a British Spotted Pony; wasn’t expecting them to be the same model. Kinda cute; don’t know if I want her yet, but I won’t rule her out, either. The only thing that worries me about it is what it means about a potential Bouncer SR: now it seems more likely to be a raffle model, or a live show prize (the Brookside Pink Magnum, in gloss.)

That would be scary. Hobbyists haven’t exactly been rational on the topic of Bouncer, lately.

I am not extremely excited by the Contest Prize Horse. It’s not that I don’t like the model or the color, or the combination thereof: it’s that I already have two - a QVC SR Gem Twist, and a Test Color Alabaster Jumping Horse, from the mid-1980s (another Bentley Sales Dump Bin Find, at Model Horse Congress.) So it’s not like I really NEED another.

I’m still entering the contest, regardless of the quality of the prize. It’s about the competition, man! I’m sure he’ll be beautiful in person - I’m imagining a paint job something like the FEI World Cup Strapless from 2007. Loved it.

I need to start brainstorming some ideas, though. I’m trying to not be like everyone else and go with something Beatle, Dr. Who, Harry Potter, or Royal-related. (Or, heaven forbid, Austin Powers. There’s something about Mike Myers that makes me want to hit things with a hammer.)

As far as the Costuming contest goes, I fear we might be seeing much of the same. We’re not as imaginative (or knowledgeable) a group of people as we think we are. (Just how many "Maid Mare-ians" are we going to see? Or boyfriends/husbands dressed as James Bond?)

All the ideas I have so far are potentially illegal, possibly immoral, or dreadfully obscure. I think, for instance, a Professor Quatermass costume - complete with a giant stuffed grasshopper tucked under my arm - would be brills, but everyone else? Would be clueless.

Neil Gaiman? Incredibly easy: black jeans, black leather jacket, black Lou Reed tee, sunglasses. Not sure anyone except a few of my friends would get the reference.

The Avengers? Benny Hill? Dame Edna? Gordon Ramsay? Ada Lovelace? Space:1999? See where I’m going here? I am not lacking ideas - just ideas that might be recognizable to more than a half-dozen people.

I could just go the easy route, and reuse last year’s costume, but I think I might be reusing part of it for the Fascinator contest. The same concept, for both costume contests? Seems a bit tacky, to me. On the plus side, it’ll save me time and money.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fall Dealer Special, and Facebook

Something no so substantial today; I got maybe two hours of sleep last night, due to work. The only things keeping me from slipping into a semi-conscious state are a half a can of Diet Dr. Pepper and a blueberry muffin. (FWIW, the muffin was homemade. And delicious.)

So it appears that Reeves will be attempting another Fall Dealer Special this year, one exclusive to "Brick and Mortar" stores (ones with actual storefronts, and not just online presences): a Glossy Palomino Appaloosa Esprit.


The details are vague, and obviously incomplete: each "store" will be limited to 18 pieces. But does that limit apply to each location, or for each business entity? (Note: I’m not dealer, and have no pretensions of ever having a storefront beyond renting a booth at the local antique mall.)

I was apprehensive at first when I heard it was going to be another Esprit: oh great, another super-limited Esprit I won’t be able to see, much less own. However, the fact that the 2009 Glossy Sherman Morgan "Autumn" wasn’t as hard to come by as many initially feared (after the initial "OMG-Gotta-Have-It" freakout), gives me some hope that the piece count on him will be in the more attainable range, too.

(One of my local stores still had an Autumn Sherman on the shelves, before Christmas. Haven’t been back to that part of town lately, so I don’t know if it’s still there.)

There are no photos, and no official data to go by, except for that one little bit posted on a dealer’s Facebook page. Even though it’s little more than a rumor at this point, hobbyists are already attempting to get on dealer wait lists for it.

I thought the Gray Appaloosa Esprit from the Benefit Auction last year was pretty spiffy, and I imagine the Palomino version of that would not be any less so. If I manage to score one somehow, great - but I won’t worry about it in the meantime.

Since I have a little space and time, and still feel reasonably coherent, now seems like a good time to elaborate a little bit on my policy regarding Facebook.

I don’t have an account - and I don’t intend to, unless I either become famous, or get a job that would require it. (Either scenario? Unlikely.) I’ve had some identity theft issues in the past: my first inclination is to not put too much of myself "out there". A site that’s dedicated to doing that? So not going there.

But the main reason why is because that’s not how I use the Internet. As someone who jumped feet first into that ocean well over a decade ago, Facebook feels like a wading pool. I have a blog, two e-mail addresses, and several forum accounts: I barely have time to do what I already need to do, much less update my status every couple of hours, or approve friend requests from people I didn't particularly like in high school.

The only time I do interact with it is through publicly available pages that might actually have information that I may find both useful and reliable (hence the link to the Breyer Facebook page, to the right.) There’s not a whole lot of that on Facebook (the above link also includes some amusing misinformation about the Pink Elephant. Only three others in existence? I don’t think so, darlin’.)

Anything you really need to know about me will either be here, or via my domain, whenever I get around to working on that. (‘Tis a sad thing right now - all it does it redirect you here.)

(I will admit that I’ve been Twitter-curious, of late. Only because the notion of live-tweeting BreyerFest amuses me. "Entering NPOD. Mortal Kombat!")

Monday, February 6, 2012

Factory Tours

Even though there’s no snow on the ground, I can tell it’s still winter, because I’m way more cynical than I ought to be. I tried remedying it a bit by taking the dog for a walk, but an encounter with a spiritually unattractive neighbor wiped all my progress away.

As evil as she may be at heart, Vita is still a darn adorable dog on the outside - and with other people. She’s like a canine version of Gunther the Penguin, from Adventure Time:


It is unfathomable to me that someone has determined her to be uncute.

I’ve already had a factory tour - a million-billion years ago, in New Jersey - and looking over my records of what I managed to score over the past year, I’m not hurting in the rarities department either. (I did darn fine, in fact. Better than I thought!)

But a lot of other hobbyists haven’t, and didn’t, so in my current frame of mind, it was only natural that my first reaction to reading about the Breyer Kids-Only tour/event (http://www.breyerhorses.com/kidstour) was: how are the "adults" going to goof up this up, too?

The model that comes with the tour package is "not exclusive" to the event, but no mention is made of what could be lurking in the warehouse - or serving as giveaways and prizes.

Regardless of the quality of the goodies, wherever goodies are made available, mayhem usually ensues.

There’s probably some sort of legal issue that rules the following concept out, but I’ve always wondered why they couldn’t have "factory tours" on a regular basis. You wouldn’t have to throw in all sorts of bells and whistles: a quick tour of the facilities, a walk-through of the archives/sample room, a painting demo, ending with a stop in the warehouse to pick up a little "souvenir" of your visit.

Kind of like what DC Comics used to do: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Even though most production has moved overseas, I think a mighty large percentage of hobbyists over the age of 14 would love the opportunity to see the place where Breyers are (at least) conceived - whether there were any goodies involved, or not.

I almost got a chance to "do" the original Breyer Tour, back when it was in Chicago. Alas, it was canceled at the last minute; I think it was the same year that they were purchased by Reeves, so there might have been some conflicts there. The closest I ever got to the actual factory was the inside of Marney’s garage, a year later during Model Horse Congress.

The notion that you could "score" a test color or sample during the tour was sort of out there, but it wasn’t the primary motivation for going: all of us wanted to see where Breyers were born. Everything else was gravy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sometimes, Boxes Do Matter

I’ve done everything I could to avoid writing this week.

There’s plenty to talk about, and I am having no problems in regards to my facilities. But instead of sitting down and banging something out in the past three days, I’ve cleaned the garage, reorganized the bookshelves, shuffled some horses around, and randomly moved an assortment of boxes around in the basement. Every time I go outside to walk the dog or take out the trash, I have to fight the urge to pull weeds in the garden.

It’s gotta be this crazy, almost-snowless winter messing with my head. The mild temperatures and lack of shoveling have been nice, but not if it kicks my spring cleaning mode into overtime.

Now that Reeves has released photographs of all twelve pieces in their "Blossoms" series, I have narrowed my potential selections down to the one of the Warmblood Mares. The funky chartreuse Chrysanthemum one is currently on top of that list, but the green Lily of the Valley and the Blue Larkspur aren’t out of the running, yet. Since the Chrysanthemum one isn’t coming out until November, there will be plenty of time for me to change my mind, especially once I start seeing some of the others in the flesh (so to speak).

I only have one other Warmblood Mare in the collection, and it’s the original Special Run release for Ariat, in 2007. Still new in box:

I’m not a big fan of keeping models boxed, but there’s a reason she still is: I think she was one of the samples that were part of the Ariat display at BreyerFest in 2007 - one of the few pieces that wasn’t stolen.

The program that the model was a part of didn’t officially launch until the fall, so the models in the lightly-attended-to Ariat booth attracted a fair amount of attention - and a few sticky fingers. From the somewhat rough condition of the box - and a handwritten date from early July, on one box flap - I suspect that mine was one of the ones that managed to avoid that fate.

Ironically, it was the condition of that box that allowed me to acquire her in first place. She was left behind in the Ninja Pit in 2008, ignored by the horde. Their first reaction to a ripped up, dinged up, written on box? Pass!

Silly collectors. It wasn’t even the first time that had happened to me, either. (Or the last - remember the Red Halter Gray Flashes, from last year?)

As I’ve detailed before, packaging samples are a common occurrence in the Pit. Most of the time nobody notices them, because there’s (usually) little to distinguish them from the production packaging.

And as I’ve also explained before, sometimes it’s the littlest details that matter. In this (rare) case, it was the box that mattered, not the horse.