Saturday, June 30, 2012

What’s the Fuss?

Is it the heat? I don’t normally expect a high level of discourse on the Internet, but dang it, it’s like everyone’s jacked up the crazy over the past few days. (The comments on Breyer’s web site forum and Facebook page … ‘nuff said, right?)

My theory: all the people who’d normally be outside shouting at random strangers on street corners decided to stay indoors and shout on the Internet instead.

I know I’m feeling a little more agitated than average today, but I’ve been chalking that up to a lack of sleep, due to the idiot neighbor who is abusing the recent changes in the fireworks laws around here.

(Vita don’t like it, either. Which contributes to the problem.)

My Salt and Pepper have arrived, and they are quite lovely. The packaging was a huge improvement - double boxed, individually bagged, and with a little extra packing paper, too. (See? Again, they really are listening.) I think mine have a touch more of the "fake overspray" than most, but I’m digging it all the same.

I also noticed that they might have done a little bit of tweaking on both the Mare and Foal molds; I can’t quite pinpoint the differences yet, other than the mold marks being switched out for the newer one, which might have happened earlier but I haven’t noticed since I haven’t bought a new Running Mare or Foal in a while.

(Note to self: I need to track these mold mark switches better. Also, work on my run-on sentence problem.)

And Reeves was most definitely trying to reproduce the Western Prancing Horse color on them; it even says so right on the Certificate of Authenticity:
"Our exclusive Club mare and foal feature limited edition glossy black and white pinto markings reminiscent of the retro Western Prancing Horse."
The gloss is a little bit thicker than the finish on the old Western Prancers, and there’s a little bit of body shading reminiscent of Charcoals in the black areas, but both of those changes were made, I think, to add a little bit of richness to the finish.

Besides, an exact reproduction of this finish would be pretty darn difficult, for all sorts of reasons. For instance, creating an old-fashioned painting mask, like they used to use (prior to the laser-cut stickers) would have been cost-prohibitive. There aren’t a lot people who can - or will - do that sort of detail work anymore.

(I wonder what happened to all those old painting masks/stencils? Another thing I haven’t given much thought to.)

I also consider the fact that they went with such an offbeat vintage color quite encouraging: I can only hope that one of my favorite vintage colors - the Black Splash Spot Leopard, also seen on the Western Prancing Horse - is somewhere on the horizon.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Salt and Pepper, Cream and Sugar

Today’s prayer: that some of those beautiful American Cream Draft centerpieces from the American Horse Publications awards dinner (as seen on Breyer’s Facebook page today) end up in the NPOD, and if I should miss them in the melee, that someone should hand one to me.

Oh, I’m not asking for it as a gift: I’m perfectly willing to pay for it. I don’t want anyone to get hurt, should someone else other than me happens to lay hands on mine, you know.

(Another long story, one that will be told only if and when one of those beautiful boys should join my herd. Yes, I am fully aware of - and own - the #906 Goliath, the 1995 Commemorative Edition. In fact, it’s part of that danged story.)

The Salt and Peppers are starting to show up, but mine’s not due here until tomorrow, I think; very nice of Reeves to send us UPS shipping notifications without prompting. (See, they’re learning!) The pattern on the mare is pretty much just like Western Prancing Horse’s, not the Shetland Pony; the composition of the original photograph did obscure it, though.

I’ve been trying to skim through the various online discussions about them because, well, I don’t need the additional grief, and I’m really not in the mood for more whining and whinging today.  Besides, y’all are amateurs in comparison to the Vita Monster: we cut back a bit on her snacks recently, and she’s not having it.

(Her tantrums are way cuter, too. Though the knocking of stuff off the tables, not so much. Terriers, man.)

I think I’m liking this year’s BreyerFest auction pieces better than most hobbyists; all these odd patterns and mold "mash-ups" give me the feeling that a greater percentage of them are actual test pieces, and not just whimsies done to please the hobby hoi polloi.

Like the red dun brindle Smart Chic Olena: there have been a couple other attempts at brindling in previous years’ auctions, and this SCO may be representative of where they are from a production standpoint. Still not there, but getting warmer.

I certainly wouldn’t turn it down if it were offered to me as a gift. (Not asking, just saying.)

Though, like everyone else, my favorite is the "Blackpool" Brighty in an adorbs mahogany bay pinto - with tack! We really do need a few more production run Brighties; the last two Specials were the BreyerFest 2005 Ticket Special Oliver, and the 2010 Contest prize Cameo, both of whom are just about impossible to acquire.

Another Brighty might make a nice Special Run for the Collector’s Club, don’t you think? Wouldn’t need to be spotted; I’d be happy with a Dark Bay or Black.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Picture Day

Mood’s in a bit of a dumper today. Nothing specific, just realizing the amount - and order of magnitude - of stuff I have to urgently attended to after BreyerFest. (None of it of the good sort, either.)

Keeping myself distracted with BreyerFest prep is the only thing keeping me reasonably rational and focused right now. Focus is good! Think about how good it will be to get away.

If I’m lucky, I might even get to see the return of Giant Butter Jesus:

(I'm not a particularly religious person. I just like oversized roadside sculpture.)

Here’s a little something I picked up at the flea market a few weeks ago. It’s not model horse or Breyer related, but I think most of you will appreciate it:

It’s an 18" x 24" upholstered naugahyde horse picture, mounted on wood, with a mane and forelock each made out of a single piece of hand cut vinyl. The concha’s a nice touch, too, don’t you think? According to the address label on the back, it was made pre-1964. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but I absolutely had to have it.

I’ve seen similar things on the actual pieces of furniture, but never something done purely as a piece of wall art.

Here’s another picture, this one showing you why I’m so concerned about the dimensions of my body box this year:

See, told you. Scary! Outside of a couple of Classics, there’s nothing "newish" or particularly desirable about any of the bodies contained therein. Just because they’re not conventionally - or conformationally - pretty doesn’t mean you can’t make something beautiful (or fun!) out of an otherwise undesirable body:

(The glitter glows in the dark, by the way. Because that’s how I roll, ladies.)

On top of all the other contests Reeves "sponsors" for BreyerFest, I really think they need to do one that highlights the more subtle charms of the older molds. Pick any older mold that most customizers now steer clear of - like the Running Stallion, or the Family Arabian Mare, or even Misty - and make something beautiful or unique out of it. With the only stipulation being that it still be recognizable as the mold. (No melting it into a puddle, or only using the head and tail.)

Sort of like the old Model Horse Jamboree Tricked Out Pony Contest, except with molds nobody actually customizes of their own free will. Anybody can make something out of the American Saddlebred mold, but a Roemer? Now THAT’S a challenge.

It would help foster a greater appreciation for some of these overlooked molds, clear out a few body boxes, and maybe - like the Dragon Horse Merlin - serve as an inspiration for a future release.

And if Reeves doesn’t do it, maybe we can do it ourselves. We can award ourselves goofy, nominal prizes - gift certificates to Denny's, silly hats, or giant bags of candy - for whatever categories we choose ("realistic", "unrealistic", and "WTF?") It’s high time the hobby took back a little ownership of the mid-summer model horse convention thing, ya know?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Egg on my Face

Well, in my defense, I was only mostly wrong about the third Vintage Club release: I did get the "Reeves wouldn’t release the Running Mare without the matching Foal" part right.

And it’s nice to see that Reeves is now acknowledging that the Running Mare and Foal were released prior to 1963, which makes up (slightly) for the time that they misidentified (and misdated!) the Proud Arabian Stallion as the Family Arabian Stallion on their Facebook page.

There was an offhand comment by someone on Blab a few weeks ago about a Reeves employee/rep mentioning that the next Vintage Club release was "black and white", but I had discounted that because a similar rumor about a "buff" (Palomino?) Silver a few years ago never amounted to anything.

Oh well, I guess that just means I’m merely an expert, not a prophet. Major league baseball players only need to get one hit out of every three at bats to be considered "All-Star" material, right? I’ll comfort myself with that thought.

I am getting annoyed that it’s being referred to as a "Charcoal" Pinto, since the colorway that "Salt and Pepper" sport was never formally identified as Charcoal Pinto in any of the contemporary ephemera. (Just as the Smoke Belgian was never actually called "Smoke"!) It’s a nitpick, I know, but hey, I’m the queen of nitpicking. (And their hooves aren’t pink, either, so there.) The Foal’s pattern is based on the Western Prancing Horse’s, but the Mare is a little harder to tell (Shetland Pony-ish?)

My only other concern with the release is that it’s going to make the Breyer web site forums even more insufferable than they already are. (Are they a textbook argument for firm moderation, or what? Sheesh.)

Let’s see, in the next week we should see: a half dozen threads harassing/demanding Reeves release a matching Stallion; several more complaining about the overspray (it’s intentional folks - check out the Regular Run Bay Pinto Fury Prancers); and at least one griping about it not being solid Charcoal instead.

(I love Charcoal, but the obsession the Breyer web site forum-dwellers have with it is making me reconsider.)

Oh, and three or four threads of people crowing/chest thumping about how Reeves listened and responded specifically to their demands. That line of argument especially gets my dander up.

Other than a few extra-limited Special Runs and Glosses, Reeves does not have the ability to execute "quick" responses to collector demand: the factory is in China, for Pete’s sake. The rest of the releases for the Vintage Club - the fourth release, and any other special offers - are probably already either in production, or in the advanced planning stages (subject to minor, last-minute tweaking). 

We all like to entertain the notion that we’re more influential than we actually are. I’m not any different - and I get reminded of it all the time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Maybe It's the Weather

My days continue to be nonawesome. Aside from my ongoing troubles, it looks like I might have to return my Vintage Club Stablemate Eagle, because of smudged spots.

Even the flea market left me feeling discomforted. The weather was not optimal, so a lot of the regulars didn’t show up. And those that did …weren’t the kind of people I like dealing with. (As I told my brother, it felt like "an insane asylum with a slightly better gift shop. And more guns".)

In more positive news, I did get my BreyerFest paperwork mostly done; all that’s needed is proofreading and printing, which I’ll put off until the last possible minute just in case of last minute rewrites. (You wouldn’t think that writing about vintage models would require that sort of thing, but almost every year...)

The third clue for the next Vintage Club release "Not standing" is not helpful, since all it does is eliminate the Shetland Pony and Morgan from the list, and they were already pretty much eliminated by the previous clue.

Not sure why everyone is so fired up about the possibility of the Running Mare: I just can’t see her being released without a matching Foal. Vintage Running Mares and Foals - with the exception of the Red Roan Mare - almost always came in matching colors.

I believe Reeves is thinking along those same lines. The clue is in the photograph in the Vintage Club Newsletter: it has a matching Glossy Alabaster Thoroughbred Mare and Suckling Foal in the background.

A matching Foal would either necessitate a higher price, or another Made-to-Order like Gus. I’m having a hard time seeing either event happening this year. (Especially since I think there’s at least a couple other unrelated "special offers" in the pipeline already.)

In other news, the BreyerFest Youth Show prizes were announced:
Grand Champ: Glossy Padre (4)
Reserve Grand Champ: Glossy Rocky Mountain Horse (4)
Sectional Champion: Glossy Highland Pony (18)
Reserve Sectional Champion: Glossy Shetland Pony (18)
1st place in Misc. Classes: Regular Run Little Texas
I think the Padres will look beautiful in Gloss - and the Rocky Mountain Horse? I wish. Not sure if I’m liking the fact that Sectional/Reserve piece counts are now reduced. Making the Youth Show prizes even more scarce doesn’t really help correct the issues the prizes bring in the first place.

The Saturday Raffle Horse was announced today, too: Carlisle, a Dappled Buckskin Tobiano Smarty Jones, as a Polo Pony. Here’s a link to his swoonilicious photo:

I wasn’t expecting that. I was beginning to think that they’d maybe sneak in the upcoming Totilas mold as the Raffle piece, or a new pony mold. (Well, I guess he’s kinda new, and technically a "pony".) I’ll buy my usual allotment of tickets, and hope for the best.

As for the price that In-Between Mare brought, well, what can be said? That’s not the kind of crowd I run with.

Off to go spackle something…

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Selective Memories

My mood is unimproved, even though I made myself some truffles today. There are, apparently, some things chocolate cannot fix. (They did come out, mind you. In fact, they’re pretty dang amazing. They just didn’t make my problem go away.)

The only good thing being stuck in a dark place (figuratively) is that it seems to kick my creativity into high gear. So I’m just going to drown myself in my BreyerFest prep, and hope for the best there.

I finally got around to cleaning up a couple of recent flea market finds, too. (How sad is it that it takes me nearly a week to find the time to clean and rinse something? Sigh.) It’s not something that’s usually noteworthy, but I thought they were an excellent study in contrasts - and also a good illustration of why I get really annoyed when hobbyists start carping about how much better models were in "The Good Old Days".

First up is a Bay Fighting Stallion. He’s strictly body box material: he’s pretty rough, and has a broken ear. At one point he did have footpads, too, so he’s fairly old, and his shading is pretty nice. He does, however, have a few problems that would have kept him out of the show ring in spite of these better qualities. Like this very oddly oversprayed mane:

And what I call "mold stick" - a roughly textured surface caused by the model sticking to the mold itself:

I’m not sure what the actual technical term for the problem is, that’s just what I happen to call it when I see it. (BTW, I worked in the offices of a plastics injection molding plant for several years. Very useful in terms of my research, but I didn’t get out into the plant much, though.) Molds are usually sprayed or otherwise coated with a mold release agent to prevent molded pieces from sticking to the mold, but it does need to be reapplied from time to time, and especially after one has been cleaned and/or repaired.

You don’t see the problem much anymore because Reeves is either taking better care of the molds, or they’re doing a better job of cleaning up the molded pieces before they end up in the painting booth.

The second model is the Blue Roan Appaloosa Rearing Stallion, a fairly recent release (ca. 2005):

He’s a fairly typical piece from the run - there’s nothing to really distinguish him from any other. This one’s in pretty good shape, too, and if I didn’t have some serious space issues right now, I’d probably be keeping him.

What blows my mind about him is, as "ordinary" as he is today, a paint job of that complexity would not have been possible thirty years ago. Most customizers back then wouldn’t have been able to reproduce it, either. 

Yet this quantum leap in the quality and complexity of today’s paint jobs - even on ordinary, run-of-the-mill Regular Runs - goes by almost unacknowledged.

I love my vintage pieces, but what we have available to us today - right in front of our faces - deserves a little more respect.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fascinating. Or Not.

And now, of course, I’m seeing Gloss Alabaster Family Arabian Foals with gray muzzles everywhere. But that’s how most discoveries go: they were hiding right in front of your face the entire time.

I’m beginning to think that the In-Between Mares (you’ve seen the latest one on eBay, right?) might be somewhat more common than we think they are, in part because hobbyists have a pretty bad track record of distinguishing between the PAM and the FAM, much less the IBM. Some IBMs, to put it indelicately, are probably hiding right in front of a lot of hobbyists’ faces.

Actually, I’m a little weirded out by the hobby’s compulsive need to know the whereabouts of every single In-Between Mare. It’s not like fakes are getting passed off on the unsuspecting: the mold (probably) doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t think having an extra dozen or two more pieces floating around the hobby should be such a huge cause of concern, except maybe to the people who bought them "retail".

Yeah, I’m cranky. It’s been a rough couple of days.

Are you familiar with that saying "Don’t attribute to malice what can be attributed to ignorance"? There are a few variations on it, substituting stupidity, indifference or incompetence for ignorance, but the sentiment’s all the same: if something bad happens to you and yours, it’s most likely nothing personal. It’s just the fallout from some other decision, and you just happen to be the "lucky" schlub that it’s getting dumped on.

I just found out yesterday that a certain situation I’m in that I was attributing to indifference can, in fact, be attributed to malice, at least partially. The worst part is there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it, for the time being.

So if I seem a little less personable than usual for the next week or so, it’s nothing personal, guys. It’s just the fallout from me dealing with a less-than-pleasant private matter that has absolutely nothing to do with the hobby.

Back to the ponies…

So they announced the Fascinator Prize: it’s a Gloss Brookside Pink Magnum. The surprise is that I’m pretty sure everyone was expecting that to be a Live Show prize. I was thinking they’d spring the Mid-Year release Hackney Heartland High Tech on us instead. (That Dark Bay would look fabulous in gloss, dontcha think?)

I can see the logic in it, though: considering how insanely popular the Bouncer mold is right now, having a Gloss Bouncer prize model among the live show prize models would just make an already bad situation even worse, especially if it were a Children/Youth show prize. ("How much for the shiny pony, little girl?")

Better to give it out in contest open to everyone. Well, maybe not: I imagine the competition is going to be pretty scary, with some hobbyists opting for "big" over creative, and some stage moms badgering/shaming the judges for a separate category for their children. You know, the usual nonsense.

(Goes outside briefly to work on her own BreyerFest projects a while. No clues for you!)

More tomorrow, when I’m in a better state of mind.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nobody Expects the Family Arabians

Ah, so it is the Mustang after all: "Over 25 years for one color".

That’d be Buckskin, from 1961-1986. The Running Mare came in Bay from 1962-1987, but there’s some controversy over her start date, ranging from 1961 to 1963. I’m pretty sure it’s actually 1962, but that’s not something that’s become "common knowledge" yet, the way the start date on the Mustang is.

The FAS also came in Palomino for 25 years - from ca. 1961/2-1987, but that included a switch from Gloss to Matte, so I’m not sure if that counts. (Note: The Family Arabians were released in Charcoal and Palomino some time after the Bay, Alabaster, Gray Appaloosas and Woodgrains - possibly as late as 1962.)

I’d have no problem at all with an Appaloosa Performance Horse-style Mustang. None at all!

In other news, the flea market continues to be very good to me. Every year I think I’m not going to be able to find enough stuff to sell for BreyerFest, but somehow I always manage to. I’m even contemplating leaving a few things behind. Either that, or manage to find those missing hours in my day and actually get some stuff posted on MH$P.

Now the matter of the model that got me thinking:

An Alabaster Family Arabian Foal? Yeah, really.

First, he’s a true Semi-Gloss: he’s neither Gloss nor Matte. You can’t even describe it as the "High Satin" seen on some of the earliest Matte Finishes, most famously on the Bay Running Mare. You see this little baby in person, and you’d be hard pressed to call it anything other than Semi-Gloss.

It’s true that Breyer was very inconsistent with its Gloss Finish on their early Alabaster Family Arabians. Sometimes they were bright, thick and shiny, and other times they weren’t. There was a reason for this: they seem to have been designated as the " low budget" item of the 1960s. You’re not going to watch the quality control quite as closely with the lower budget items than with the higher ones.

The pricelists, up through 1968, always listed them at a significantly lower price than all of the other available colors. From a ca. 1966/7 pricelist:

The sticker, and all of the models that the Foal came with, dates him to the 1966-1967 era. Around this same time, the Family Arabians transitioned from Gloss to Matte - exactly when is a mystery, though. A price list dated November 1968 makes note of the "attractive matte finish new for these items", but that doesn’t necessarily help us that much, other than give us a latest possible start date.

You’ll also note the Foal’s heavily grayed muzzle. What’s unusual about it - aside from the amount of gray - is that it’s gray at all.

You see, most Gloss Alabaster Foals (and Mares, for that matter) came with pinked muzzles and gray nostrils. (Family Arabian Stallions are no help in the matter, most of them came with gray muzzles from the start.) It’s the Matte Alabasters that tend to have the gray muzzles. (Just a little splotch of it between the nostrils, usually.)

I spent years trying - in vain - to find Matte Finish Alabaster Family Arabians with pink muzzles, on the assumption that the switch to Matte Finish occurred before the switch to grayed muzzles.

Looks like I was looking at the problem all backwards!

Unless she’s something else altogether.

As stated above, the Foal was found in a group of models that date to ca. 1966-1967. Aside from some dust, dirt, and a little wear and tear on some of their stickers, they were in excellent to immaculate condition. The lot also came from a Chicago suburb, which as any astute hobbyist knows, is usually a big flashing red light: WARNING, FORMER BREYER EMPLOYEE COLLECTION AHEAD.

Throw in a piece in the lot that’s just a little more peculiar than average, and then you’ll know why I think that might be the case here, as well.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mr. Right

I have been beset by many minor (and not so) annoyances over the past week. I broke my sewing machine, deer ate most of my Morning Glory seedlings, I’ve had a sinus headache for the past several days, and Vita got a boo-boo. (Nothing serious, just a torn-off toenail.)

And work? Let’s not talk about it. (The same problem I’ve been having for over a year. It just refuses to stay "solved".)

Not "winning" a Magnus doesn’t even rate. I sort of figured I wouldn’t be getting one anyway. Plus, this beautiful boy arrived the other day and made all my grievances fall away, at least temporarily:

I’ve been looking for a "premium" Man o’ War - with the eyewhites, gray hooves, sticker et al - for longer than some of you have been alive. Theoretically, he’s not an exceptionally hard model to locate, but I was always two steps behind, two dollars short, or two minutes too late.

And then, I wasn’t.

So my holiest of "Holy Grails" is finally here - not perfect mint, but close enough - and I don’t know quite what to do with myself. Well, obviously I’ll be needing a new "Holy of Holies", but besides that?

It feels all weird and anti-climatic. Not bad - because now I finally have my "Mr. Right" - but unfamiliar. Like I said, I’ve been wanting him forever, and now the epic quest that lingered in the background of my hobby career has ended.

I wish his arrival had been a little more epic than the journey that preceded it: I found a box lot on eBay, I placed a bid. I woke up the next morning and was shocked to find that I actually won it - at a price significantly less than my upper limit. I briefly hyperventilated, did a Snoopy Dance, then paid for the lot. The end.

The rest of the items in the lot weren’t too shabby, either, though most of them will be heading for my sales list, once I do a little minor cleanup work on them (dust, dirt, and a few marks). They’re all solid, collection-worthy vintage pieces I just happen to already own. 

Based on an odd pieces in this lot - that I will be discussing in my next post - I have reason to believe that this auction might have been one of those fabled "employee lots" that collectors dream about finding. If that’s the case, that makes my latest Man o’ War even more special.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Playing the Game

Lots of topics I want to cover this week, but I suppose y’all want to know what my take is on the third Vintage Club release is, right?

The first clue seems to be a pretty vague one: "Was a woodgrain."

But in reality, it isn’t: it narrows it down to a rather finite list of models. And with a little thinking through, the list can be winnowed to an even smaller list very quickly.

I’m going to assume that Reeves isn’t going to pay attention to any of the items – such as the Buffalo, Polled Hereford Bull, and possibly the Elephant – that were done as Woodgrain special runs for the Ranchcraft Lamps in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their status as Breyer releases is still slightly controversial for some reason, plus most of them were either rerelease or Nonequines, anyway.

Now we eliminate the molds that have been released so far: the Clydesdale and the Fighter. Because, duh.

Then we eliminate all the molds that were a part of the 2013 Members-Only Poll: presumably, that means all the molds in that poll won’t have had Vintage Club releases in 2012. So that eliminates the Five-Gaiter and the Quarter Horse Gelding, since the Man o’ War and Running Stallion never officially came in Woodgrain.

Then we eliminate the Nonequines: Longhorn Bull, Horned Hereford Bull, Brahma Bull, etc. I don’t think they would spring a Nonequine on us this early in the game, and the (very small, and very vocal group of) people who inhabit the Breyer web site forums have made it very clear that they shouldn’t happen, ever.

Certain molds either don’t exist anymore, or are no longer "available" for molding. So that eliminates the In-Between Mare, and Old Mold Mare and Foal.

The smaller scale molds also get the boot, such as the Western Pony and the Racehorse. They’re just not as popular as the larger scale molds, and it’s harder to justify a $100+ price tag for for what are essentially Classics-scale models. I suspect that most of the smaller molds, if Reeves does do them as Vintage Club SRs, will be of the Made-to-Order type like Gus.

The Foal molds are also out, for the same reason – and also because it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll release the Foal without the matching Mare. Yeah, they could release it as a separate Made-to-Order, but they already have one in process this year. So the Running Mare and Family Arabian Mare are out, too. (Though I think the Running Mare is a strong candidate for next year.)

So, when all is said and done, that leaves us with five possible candidates:
  • Family Arabian Stallion
  • Shetland Pony
  • Belgian
  • Morgan
  • Mustang
The Family Arabian Stallion is a strong sentimental favorite. However, his fan base, while devoted, is not as numerically strong. He's already had an Anniversary release in a "vintagey" Gold Charm Pinto not all that long ago. Plus, the Family Arabians have come in just about every conceivable color already, so it could be difficult coming up with something original there.

The Shetland Pony has more potential, but size might be a problem. She’s not technically Classics-scale, but she is little. A dearth of available colors might be an issue here, too.

The only problem I can see with the Belgian is that I doubt they’d follow up the Clydesdale with another Draft mold so soon.

The Morgan is a very strong candidate: not only was there the Appaloosa one in the photograph they sent in the Vintage Club newsletter (front and center!) we also have, inexplicably, a Morgan as an Early Bird Special Run for this year’s BreyerFest. (Representing "New" England, I’m supposing.) So there have definitely been some Morgan bodies floating around the Reeves offices recently.

The Mustang, however, seems like the strongest candidate. It’s an earlier mold than the Morgan – 1961, instead of 1964 – and I can see that working in his favor. (The Clydesdale came out ca. 1958, and the Fighter ca. late 1960-1961; maybe they’re trying for a chronological approach?) He’s come in a bajillion colors, but there are lots of vintage colors he hasn’t been seen in yet – including, in that aforementioned newsletter photo, a yummy Gloss Honey Palomino. (A clue, or a tease?)

If not the Gloss Palomino, I’m thinking something in the Bay or Black range, and/or something spotted – dappled, Appaloosa, or Pinto. Could be either Gloss or Matte, though I’m thinking there’s a slight preference for Gloss, based on the reaction to King.

So there, that’s my reasoning for the as-yet-unnamed Third Vintage Club release. Subject to change, pending further "clues".

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Last night was the first chance I had for a good night’s sleep in over a week …and of course, it had to be interrupted by the most disturbing BreyerFest nightmare ever. I won’t go into details - too weird, too personal - except to say that I’ve had to go outside several times today, in the rain, to settle myself.

My "dream life" has always been very vivid; when I was younger I briefly experimented with lucid dreaming, in an attempt to tone down the intensity a bit. With my schedule not getting any better, and with BreyerFest rapidly approaching, I may have to start looking into it again just so I can enjoy those rare occasions when I can afford a decent night’s sleep.

(On the plus side, the imagery has done wonders for my fiction writing.)

I went through my body box the other day, and it blew my mind just how many bodies I actually had. I knew I had a lot, but …yikes! Looks like I might have to change my mind on selling them, yet again.

One of the bodies is a later issue Ruffian. I was sort of excited when I found her a few weeks back: the original release #606 Ruffian is a fairly popular model among hobbyists and nonhobbyists alike. Even thought the "profit margin" wasn’t going to be huge on her, she’d at least be a quick and easy sale. Then I noticed her legs: all chewed up, presumably by a dog.

I didn’t notice them at first because they were rather expertly retouched; I was vaguely aware that she had some "irregularities" when I bought her, but I assumed they were due to the era in which she was manufactured. The late 1970s and early 1980s - despite popular nostalgia - were not the high point of Breyer’s quality control.

I briefly considered keeping her (before I noticed her problems) because she’s a variation: the earlier Classic Ruffians have a very small, lozenge-shaped star that’s a little more in keeping with the real-life Ruffian’s actual markings, while this later example has a larger, more irregular one:

The later piece is also significantly lighter than my earlier ones - much more of a standard bay than Ruffian’s actual dark bay/brown color. She’s very similar in color to the later Lula, who came with two hind stockings and no facial markings.

I don’t know when the star on Ruffian changed; once I got my original Ruffian - and then, a few years later, an early mint-in-box one - I didn’t feel the need to track down any additional ones for my collection. The original mask could have worn out, or got lost, or they decided to simplify things and just substitute one mask for another. They weren’t super-concerned about accuracy or consistency back then.

The difference in color is merely a consequence of a lengthy production run (1977-1990); the longer the production run, the more variations in color you’ll see. The earliest Classic Ruffians do seem darker - and more matte - than later pieces, but that’s about as much as you can generalize about it.

I should be able to make my money back on my dog-chewed Ruffian, even as a body box item. Classic bodies - including the non-Love molds - have been easier to move than most Traditionals, recently.