Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More Random Pictures

My experience over the past three days has convinced me that creativity is just frustration leaving the body.

It wouldn’t be so bad if that creative energy was more focused. One day I’m working on quilts, the next I’m baking cookies, then the day after that I’m taking pictures and writing up descriptions for eBay listings.

Today I’m prepping the leftover/broken/unwanted bodies in my body box. Because I know what it’s like to not be wanted. (TMI, and not entirely true: the job did want me for the weekend, but it was a last-minute gig, and other plans had already been made.)

But ironically, I’m not in a mood to write a blog post today. Go figure. I’ve got plenty to talk about, but sitting down and actually composing my thoughts isn’t as much fun as drilling holes in things.

Rather than leave you all totally bereft, here are a couple more pictures of Ninja Pit finds, instead. First up, a Sample of the 2009 Surprise Quarter Horse Geldings, in Dunalino:

The handwriting on his belly indicates that this particular version was "rejected", but since I do not have the corresponding Production piece, I couldn’t tell you what for. One of my roommates said he seemed a bit on the "greenish" side, and that could be it. It’s not an uncommon issue when you’re working in the buckskin/dun/sooty range of colors: yellow + black = sometimes green.

I heard that the two other Surprise QH Geldings also showed up in the Sample boxes, but I was happy just to get the one of the three I didn’t already have. For some strange reason, I have the hardest time acquiring anything Breyer slaps a Dunalino paint job on.

(I completely missed getting a Music City Zippo, for instance, because I just happened to take a much-needed nap five minutes before they went on sale on the Internet. An hour and a half later, I get up, get back on the computer, and proceed to get very mad at myself when I find a half dozen Music Cities for sale on MH$P. Grr!)

Next up is my Western Elegance Zippo Pine Bar, who is drop-dead gorgeous, with some factory handpainted mapping and touch ups. His tag reads: "Western Elegance horse as-is". This is hilarious to me, since other than a slightly scraped (and easily fixed) ear, he’s almost perfect.

I had been eyeing the discounted Western Elegance sets they’ve had in the Pit the past couple of years. I really like Zippo, and the set itself is pretty scarce - like, within the Connoisseur/Web Special range - so the price they were asking was more than reasonable. Cheapskate me just couldn’t justify it, though. 

And now I have the Sample, at a fraction of that price! Woot! His show name, if I ever get around to live showing again, will be "As-Is". That’s what his tag says, right?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

(Flower) Marketing

I haven’t talked about what I’ve found at the flea markets lately because I haven’t found anything worth talking about. All I’ve picked up are a few odd bodies, some non-H-R minis, and a few books. I think I’ve spent more on produce than I have on horses. (Which is not hard, considering how expensive produce is this year.)

I don’t think the market is tapped out, as much as it’s going through a weird funk right now. In the meantime, I’m trying to pay down a few bills - and stockpile a little cash for some bills to come. (Though I will admit to spending a little bit too much time looking at group lots on eBay - I need that horse-buying fix!)

Apparently there’s a new, non-Mesteno-based series of Classics on the shelves of Walmart right now, but I haven’t had a chance to stop by one yet to get all the info. They appear to be a mix of repackaged older releases and some Gift Sets, with all the usual accessories, Companion Animals, and creepy dolls. Mid-States (Rural King, et al) may have something similar going on, too, but so far nothing but a few vague listings - no pictures, no descriptions - are showing up on the Rural King web site.

Rather than talk about things that do not exist, let’s talk about something that does:

Yeah, I broke down and bought a couple of those Breyer Blossoms thingies. They had a bunch of them in the Pit this year, all of the releases through July, at the non-club price of $25 each.

I was going to get one of each of the three molds used in the program until I remembered that I rather liked the October horse Calendula, on the Johar mold. I’m enchanted by the notion of a model horse that’s intentionally orange, and not merely a failed chestnut. So I just bought the April (the Morgan Mare) and the May (the Warmblood Mare), and will bide my time until October.

I like the series more in person than I did in the photographs (this is never a surprise) though not enough to want to buy up the entire series, yet. They seemed to be selling modestly well in the Pit, though most folks who were picking them up were doing it strictly on a "and just one, for my birth month" basis.

A few months back, Reeves ran an ad for the Breyer Blossoms in the USA Weekend/Parade supplements that come with many Sunday newspapers. The target audience for this ad was not the hobby, obviously, but people who wouldn’t have otherwise thought of buying a Breyer as a gift.

And who knows? Once they get one, maybe they’ll get another. And another, and another…

More on Reeves' marketing strategies another time, when I have the time.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Beauty Is Not Box Deep

First of all, let me apologize for any testiness I’ve shared with the rest of the class this week. I’ve been working a lot of hours (and consequently not getting the best sleep) and I’m experiencing some technical difficulties at home you don’t really need to know the specifics of (other than the fact that it is, again, something I literally can do nothing about).

On the plus side, I got my sewing machine back from the shop, so at least I have sewing projects I can now distract myself with.

Also, if there are any issues with my facts that you want to correct, feel free to e-mail me privately, and I will deal with it on the front page, rather than leave it to the comments. I don’t want to be responsible for floating bad data around. It might take a while for me to get to it, since my schedule is so out of whack, but if it’s a nontrivial matter, I will get to it eventually. (I think I might actually have some free time next week, in fact …)

So, here’s the model that I’m currently obsessing over:

Weird, huh? In this era of super-limited-this and glossy-that, the model that’s been the focus of my attention for the past week is a plain old Treasure Hunt Lady Phase in Black Appaloosa.

She was one of those last-minute pick-ups at BreyerFest; I went into the sales tent on Sunday morning just to look around, and to mull over this year’s SR leftovers (I eventually decided to pass on all of them.) I had gotten to the park a little on the late side - not until about 10:30 - so I wasn’t expecting to find anything fabulous, but I wandered around anyway, hoping I might find some small treasure that everyone else might have overlooked. (Because, as you might have noticed, I have a talent for that sort of thing.)

I found a small assortment of the Treasure Hunt Lady Phases, and recalling that someone had mentioned that chalky-blanketed variations of the Appaloosas had been found in the mix earlier in the weekend, I decided to give them a quick once-over.

That lovely little girl above caught my eye: her masking was crisp, I saw no flaws, and her blanket definitely had a chalky cast to it. She was practically daring me to take her home with me. So I did.

Her (now disassembled) box also had a bit of a rough, cobbled together look, which suggested to me that she might have been a Sample, too. I saw a couple other of these Lady Phases on the table, of a similar quality and in similar packaging, reinforcing the notion.

Another secret I probably shouldn’t be telling you, but I will: when it comes to boxed models in the Ninja Pit, the rougher the quality of the box, the closer attention you should pay to the quality of the horse inside the box. It’s a good indicator that the contents aren’t necessarily what they appear to be.

The irony is that it runs contrary to convention thinking - where the so-called "serious" collectors focus just as much, if not more, on the condition of the box. So it’s no surprise that they turn up later in the BreyerFest weekend - after all the "pretty boxes" have been picked up, over and away.

Since the Treasure Hunt Lady Phases predated the VIN number program by several years, there’s no way to be sure. I bought her mostly because she was beautiful, and for the very adolescent notion of her competing for the affections of my far-too-many Stud Spiders. (Her name? Spider’s Bride, silly.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

And Now, Back to the Show

Okay, I must confess, I have been taking just a tiny bit of amusement over the fact that the Passage to the Pacific event still hasn’t sold out yet, in spite of all the breathless speculation beforehand that it’d sell out in "hours".

Get a grip, people. The fact that it hasn’t sold out (yet) has very little to do with the state of the national economy, and much more to do with personal economies. Just because we’re all in the same hobby together doesn’t mean we all share the same socioeconomic class.

To those of you who can spend the money, good for you. Just realize that there is a goodly number of us in the hobby that have to prioritize a little more rigorously, and get a little annoyed that you have to be reminded of that.

Anyway, back to the CheaterFest thing.

One of the videos featuring the model in question has surfaced; I don’t know if it’s the one that had been referred to in online discussions of the model before, but I have been assured that it is the model in question:

(Warning: the video itself is extremely typical of the kind of youth-originated videos I was ranting about a week ago. Also, the artist in question is dyslexic, so if you have a low tolerance for spelling errors, you may want to take a deep breath first before diving in.)

And more details, too. (My apologies for any repetition. Just doing it for clarity's sake.)

The child in question was not the only entrant suspected of cheating, but the only one who got away with it, however briefly. There were questions raised prior to judging. Attempts to locate the videos in question were made, but proved unsuccessful initially. Since the evidence could not be found within a reasonable amount of time, and the answers provided by the entrant seemed otherwise convincing, the entry was not disallowed. The judge was not made aware of the specific nature of the controversy, so it would not affect her decisions.

When the (very clear!) evidence of cheating was found afterwards, it was forwarded to Reeves. Reeves requested that the entrant return the prize model awarded to her, a Regular Run Pokerjoe. (There were not enough of the original prize model supplied, so other Regular Run models were substituted.) A UPS call tag was provided to her, and the model will be awarded to the second place entry once it is returned.

The show staff is currently reviewing the rules and regulations for the show to make changes that would discourage this sort of thing from happening again, though the efficacy of those changes, like all the changes before, will probably be limited. Because cheaters gotta cheat.

(In spite of the repeated clarifications on the Yahoo-Groups list, and in the show packet, some of the entrants were still unaware of the change in the awards program. So maybe now they’ll read the rules a little more carefully, at least.)

The suggestion was made to disqualify the entrant from entering any Breyer-sponsored shows for a year, but Reeves decided against that. Reeves is also aware of the shenanigans going on in all of the BreyerFest shows, and that the existence of the award model program may be partly to blame, but do not appear to be willing to pull the plug on the award models.

I suppose if the show staff/volunteers were able to come up with a solution that would mitigate the cheating, Reeves would, at least, consider it. They have done so before.

There were a few other details made available to me, but that’s the extent I am comfortable revealing for the time being. I’ve included everything here I think is relevant, anyway.

Up next: another treasure from the Pit.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Unfinished Business

As you might have guessed, I am blissfully uninterested in the Passage to the Pacific. It is an event that’s clearly designed for a very, very small subset of hobbyists, a subset that can drop a month’s income on a trip on a moment’s notice. And I am not a member of said group.

(It is true that this week's one and only Powerball winner bought his/her ticket less than 30 miles from my house, but it wasn’t any one in this actual house.)

I suppose it’s nice that it’s on the West Coast, as sort of a consolation prize for there not being a BreyerWest this year, but all in all, these VIP events feel like subsidized vacays for the Reeves Staff. No thankies.

The event also ties in to the topic of privilege within the hobby, but I’m not quite ready to get into another extended philosophical discussion just yet.

Speaking of: in light of the new information that was posted on Blab, and some that I have received privately, I should have a follow up on the CheaterFest post in another day or two. I still need a little more time to collect my thoughts and clarify my opinions. (The super-short version, for those not in the know: steps are being taken to remedy the live show incident.)

Now, back to the actual horses…

One of the things that I failed to pick up in the Ninja Pit - and should have - were the two assortments of unpainted models (aka "whiteware"). They were dirt cheap - twenty bucks per assortment, with six models per box. Better yet, not all of them were weird unsellable things, either: Gem Twist, the Clydesdale Mare, the Clock Saddlebred and even Sucesion and LeFire (yes, you read that right - two of the hottest molds on the planet right now.)

My stack was already almost as tall as I was, so there wasn’t any way I could throw those boxes on the pile without losing something else. I really, really wanted to: even if I sold everything in each of the boxes for five dollars apiece, I could have made my money back, and then some.

By the time I was able to get back in the Sales tent, though, they were gone. It wasn’t a huge deal for me, since I still had plenty of bodies to sell at that point. What’s bugging me now is that I forgot to write down the numbers they assigned to each assortment.

I’ve been able to track down what was in these assortments from their rather conspicuous appearances on eBay. But naturally, the sellers haven’t exactly been eager to show the tag on the box with the assortment number in their listing, since the twenty dollar price the tag would also reveal would probably put a bit of a kibosh on their sales.  

It’s not a super-important bit of data, but dang it, you know I’m kinda anal about this sort of thing.

What’s interesting about the molds in these assortments is that so many of them had been made into Web Specials: Clock Saddlebred (Spring has Sprung), the Belgian (Red Rocket), Family Arabian Stallion (50th Anniversary FAS), Sucesion and LeFire (A Mother’s Love), and the Stock Horse Stallion (Summer Solstice).

Throw in the fact that the Clydesdale Mare and the Ranch Horse/Cody have also had a few low-piece Special Runs not all that long ago (Del Mar for the Mare; Chico and Opening Night for Cody) and you’ll see why they’ve piqued my interest.

In case you were wondering, the models in the assortments that haven’t come out as limited SRs (yet) include the Western Prancing Horse, Shetland Pony, Gem Twist, and Midnight Sun.

FYI: there hasn’t been a regular - or special - run of the WPH since 2004. Or of the Midnight Sun since 2002. While the Midnight Sun is probably out of the question, the Western Prancer? The model whose vintage Black Pinto paint job was recently repurposed for the Vintage Club Salt and Pepper release?


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

CheaterFest, Pt. II

There’s a gap between what’s legal - what is allowed within the law, and what is ethical - what is allowed within a person’s or society’s moral system. Law is basically an attempt to codify a generally accepted set of morals that can, and should, apply to everyone equally.

We get the sense that the legal system has failed us when what is allowed within the law does not match up with our moral system.

Most of the cheater-y type stuff that happened at BreyerFest this year - outside of the funny business at the Children/Youth Show - fell into that gray area. What some of these people did was technically legal, but ethically - to most of us, I presume - not quite right.

First up was some shenanigans that occurred at the Silent Auction, in regards to the "Vendor Pack" lot. A "Vendor Pack" is the lot of tent specials - one of each of the eight items - that is offered to vendors in the Covered Arena, who may not otherwise be able to leave their booths to stand in line for them.

The lot went for a relatively low amount - only $560, not much above the combined retail price for all eight pieces - and that seemed a little unusual. The prices for the auctions were lower than last year, true, but something definitely seemed off about the bid price for that particular item, since the Stoneleigh Surprises were already going for double their issue price.

Until it came out that the "last" bidder on the lot ‘ran out the clock’ by retracing over her name. Legal? Probably. Ethical? Not by my standards.

Another instance - that I haven’t been able to confirm, but that I got from a source I have always considered reliable in the past - involved the Best of British diorama contest. According to my source, one of the entries that won in the Adult division had won before - two years previously. Legal? According to the published rules, yes. Ethical? Why I can certainly see retooling an old entry that hadn’t won before, doing the same with an entry that already had? Not something I would do.

Then there was the Costume Contest, where both Reeves - and Hobbyists - made some questionable decisions. Instead of awarding prizes to each entry - be it a single person, or a group entry - as they had in the past three years, Reeves decided to award prices to each member of each winning entry. Within their right to do so? Yes. Ethical? Well, it depends on whether or not you consider the "omission" of that particular change in the rules to rise to the level of deception. I know if I had known about it, I would have drastically changed my entry (and dragged my friends and roommates into it!)

Hobbyists were not without sin in this contest, either. Last year, a baby - dressed in a Humpty Dumpty costume - was given a prize in the Costume Contest. Sure, he was cute, but a dangerous precedent was set: it should have been no surprise to anyone that the same tactic was used again, this year. With the same end result.

Look, there’s a reason why costume contests generally separate out between kids and adults: adults can’t compete against little kids, or babies. They always win. And when the prizes involved in winning include models that can sell for $500 or more, it’s going to continue to happen.

I think it’s telling that the first three people I told about this incident - none of whom knew each other, by the way - all came to the same conclusion, almost word-for-word: "Next year, you’ll have to rent a baby."

We do not need to see Toddlers & Tiaras: the BreyerFest Edition. But with next year’s theme being "Denim & Diamonds’, I’m afraid that’s exactly where it’s going to go. (I wasn’t too keen on the theme to begin with, but if it means gluing sequins and rhinestones to the dog …)

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

Look, I am myself not without my own ethical issues. I suppose, on some level, that the kind - and quality - of information I receive as a result of this blog gives me an unfair advantage. I guess you could call it a form of insider trading: I rarely get a "Hey, look for such and such model in the NPOD" but some of the tips I get do point me in the correct direction, and sometimes that’s more than enough. 

I’d like to think that all the information I have given out over the years - here, there and elsewhere - compensates for whatever sins I have committed in the name of pretty plastic ponies, at least a little bit.

I can’t even name all the horses I’ve lost out on because of that. If even one other person knows what I know about a model on eBay, I am pretty much out of contention. Information is the only currency I have an abundance of. Yet I give this currency away anyway, because it’s the right thing to do.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

CheaterFest, Pt. I

You may or may not have heard about the latest cheating scandal at Breyerfest, which in itself is also sort of the problem. But first, the scandal itself.

Apparently an entrant at the Children/Youth Show - with the complicity/assistance of her mother - entered a horse painted by another person in the  ‘Breyer Model Customized by entrant’ class. And won.

They managed to get away with it by convincing the Head Steward that the initials on the model were actually their ‘stable initials’, and not those of another artist. They were only undone when a video was found on Youtube of the horse in question - in the process of being painted by someone who was most definitely not the entrant.

(An instance where a Youtube video has actually proven useful for documentation. Points to you, Youtubers.)

The irony of the situation is that this was one of those classes where Reeves had withdrawn from awarding the Glossies, and awarded Regular Run models instead. (Little Texases, I think?) All in an effort to cut down on this sort of behavior.

Lordy. I don’t even know where to begin on this.

Cheating has been in the hobby since forever, even when the prizes were little more than flats, rosettes, and the esteem of our peers.

Wherever there’s been a rule to be broken or bent, people will do it, regardless of the quality of the prize. Especially if the rules are vaguely thought out, or are only weakly enforced.

The biggest problem in the pre-Breyerfest days was the use and abuse of the Novice division. You see, there was no set definition of what a Novice was - some shows or regions went by a "years in the hobby and/or showing" rule (two years, more or less, or until you turned 18), or by "awards won" (two or more Champs/Reserves). Or some combination thereof. (There was also an effort to accommodate "experienced" younger showers with a Youth division, but that generally didn’t get a lot of entrants.)

It wasn’t strictly enforced - there was no national governing body then, either - so there was no way of discreetly dealing with hobbyists who had clearly overstayed their welcome in the Novice division - or had never truly qualified for Novice status in the first place. Other than giving them dirty stares or talking about them behind their backs. (Same as it ever was!)

It got so bad that the joke in these parts was that the ‘Novice’ division had tougher - and more experienced - competition than the Senior divisions did! That was also part of the reason why I did only a year’s "term" in Novice before moving up.

Plus, it felt weird to me competing as a Novice, especially since I had been in the hobby for at least six years by the time I had entered my first live show. I had entered several photo shows by then, did my own customizing, written articles for newsletters and I had even corrected and rewritten the "Complete List of Breyer Releases" that Breyer had been sending out to hobbyists who asked for it. I might have technically qualified for "Novice" status, but I was no novice.

(Why yes, I was quite the cheeky little brat back then. Marney sent the list back to me with a thank you note a couple of years later, so I felt quite justified in my opinion of myself back then. But, I digress.)

Abuse of the Novice category eventually led to its elimination at BreyerFest, because the stakes were so much higher: it wasn’t just about winning rosettes anymore, it was all about the cash money - in the form of prize models.

Funny how all that got disappeared down the memory hole, especially since the persons involved were not random, unknown entities.

But I’ll get to that selective memory problem some other time, when I’m up to it. What's actually up next: even more questionable behavior at BreyerFest you probably didn’t hear about.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An Old Lady Who Stares at Goats

Another short and sweet post today, as I’m in the middle updating my files. I’m being hampered by the fact that every time I try to "Google" for a minor detail or two, the first twenty or thirty sources that pop up are those danged obnoxious Breyer tweener fangirl videos.

None of which are any helpful in the least. I hate to sound like an old lady in a muu-muu yelling at the clouds (not far from the truth, some days), but dang it kids, stop messing with my data!

(I appreciate your enthusiasm, I really do, but I wouldn’t hold it against you if you spent a little less time making shaky cam vids of your collection and a little more time obsessing over boy bands or nail polish.)

There. Got that out of my system.

Here, for your consideration, is another Friday Morning Sample I picked up, this of one of last year’s Special Runs, Gruff the Goat:

Other than the usual subtleties - the slightly finer paint job, and the absence of a VIN number - there’s not much difference between the Sample and the Production piece. Except for the blister packaging I don’t remember seeing with the original Goats. It even has the item number - 711128 - impressed into it.

Some of you might have seen this type of packaging before with another very recent Special Run: the Equine Affaire Steppin’ Out:

(It also has the item number impressed into it.)

I’m guessing that they were briefly experimenting with these partial blister packs in 2011, as a way to minimize damage in transit. They’ve been using smaller and less complicated blisters for some of their more awkward to package items for a while now, like the Nokota Horses, and those pocket-sized MiniWhinnies sets with all the teeny-tiny pieces:

It’s a relatively inexpensive molding process, which is what made a 200-piece run for the Steppin’ Out even feasible. Don’t know why they didn’t bother following through with the Goat’s packaging, if they already had the mold form made.

Money is usually the answer. Just because it doesn’t cost much doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost anything.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Another Kind of Sampler

I found myself facing another strange hobby disconnect the other day whilst lurking about another Blab BreyerFest thread, the one where they were all complaining that "prices were too high" at the hotel and that they "couldn’t find anything worth buying there, anyway."

To which I can only say "T’wasn’t my reality."

My sales were a little bit down from last year, but that’s only because I had less to sell - I forgot a box of clinkies at home, and I didn’t have time to thin the personal herd like I wanted to. My roommates had the same experience, pretty much: we were never lacking for customers with cash. I did notice that more customers this year were unfamiliar with the concept of haggling, though, something I attributed (to a degree) on the relative newness of the attendees.

For the record, folks, there's absolutely no offense taken when dickering over price; tagged prices are intended to be optimistic. In fact, some of us take a more offense if you don't make the effort.

I also happened to find quite a bit I wanted to buy, but I was somewhat hampered by the fact that I had, ahem, overindulged a bit on Friday morning. I had the money: what I didn’t have was the room. And I’m too cheap to mail stuff home to "make" the room.

In fact, I am so bereft of sellable merchandise that in my rare spare moments, I’ve found myself trolling eBay for box lots. (Which usually stops right quick when I remind myself "Don’t you have some storage boxes to go through, lady?")

As I've mentioned above and before, I did pretty darn well in the NPOD this year. Aside from the WEG and Equine Affaire Esprits - which would have made the wait in line worthwhile, alone - I managed to score more than a half dozen Samples. On my way to check out something else that had caught my eye, I was lucky enough to stumble upon (and then get pushed against!) one of the three or four Sample boxes that littered the sales floor.

After the person in front of me (darn!) had taken her share, I rummaged through what was left that - as you may have guessed by now - was definitely not nothing.

One of the things left on the bottom of the box did look like nothing - or more precisely, like a crumpled wad of tissue paper, until I picked it up and realized "Hey, there are Stablemates in here." Those Stablemates being a complete set of the 2009 Funfetti Stablemates, still in their original mini tote bags:

Sweet! Couldn’t beat the price, either, which was considerably less than the $20 apiece they originally were. And them probably being Samples? Even better! (BTW, since they were marked as a set, I’m counting them as "one" Sample, not "five".)

Since they slightly predate the introduction of the VIN numbers, there’s no definitive proof that they were Samples, but all the evidence seems to point in that direction. They were on the bottom of a box full of Samples, many of whom were marked as such. This, for instance and honest to goodness, is the actual tag that came with my Sample Palomino Weather Girl:

Hard to believe something with a tag like that was actually getting tossed around the NPOD at one point, no? Because, OMG, she had a couple of scratches. (The horror!)

Most of my other Samples are live show quality, so a couple of scratches on another wasn't going to crush my world or anything.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Boy Sprinkles

Last week - before the bills came - I briefly flirted with the notion of trading my extra Steppin’ Out for an Appaloosa Stoneleigh Surprise. Since the prices on the Apps were/are still stratospheric, I thought I could possibly sacrifice one of my "less special" samples to sweeten the pot. The lesser one being a CH Sprinkles:

(Yeah, I know, I have so many samples now I can actually categorize them by their level of specialness.)

A few days ago, however, as I was lurking through the "Sample" thread on Blab - mostly to reassure myself that I had "done good" - someone made a passing reference to their sample Sprinkles being a boy.

That struck me weird. Yeah, the real CH Sprinkles is a mare, but Breyer - and Reeves, until recently - never took anatomy as destiny. Those parts - especially on some of the older molds - are kinda sketchy anyway, partly by design. ("Mommy, what are these bumps for?") OF judges are fairly forgiving about that area, too. If the model looks like a mare, showing it as a mare is generally not a problem, regardless of the anatomy down under.

I didn’t think to look at that part of the model - my sample, or a production piece - to see if there was a difference.

But there was. The production Sprinkles’ that I saw on the shelf at one of my local Breyer dealers? All girls. My sample? All boy!

Like the Man o’ War from last year, Sprinkles was another model that got "handed off" to me by a friend. I had seen some Sprinkles in passing earlier in the week at the hotel, and I thought hey, even if it’s just an ordinary "no VIN" sample, it shouldn’t be too hard to resell. The Five-Gaiter never looked better, and the Gloss Sprinkles prize models from the Open Show were already shaping up to be a hot item.

Most samples only have subtle differences - slightly better shading, cleaner masking, no box rubs, the absence of VIN numbers - but the absence of production mold alteration kicked this Sprinkles a couple notches up on the specialness scale. Needless to say, he/she isn’t going anywhere.

More proof that whenever someone hands you a model, just take it. The Universe is giving you something special.

(Oh, in the matter of "doing good": yes, quite so. Better than many of the people who were ahead of me in line. Proving my point, again, that your position in line is irrelevant, as long as you know what you’re doing. So neeners!)