Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lost and Found

Nothing is ever truly lost, only misplaced.

I’m going to show you something today that I’ve been looking for for a couple years now. I only found it yesterday because I was looking for something else entirely, and it just happened to be filed away with that something else.

I will apologize ahead of time: it is probably going to make some of you cry. The rest of you will either get angry, or wish for the invention of a working time machine. I had all of these reactions when I first saw it in a small archive I acquired a few years back. I’m grateful to have it - because it’s a wonderful documentary tool - but you’ll see why:

(Click to enlarge.)

This is a partial scan from the "Test Color" section of Marney Walerius’s Spring 1984 Saleslist. In addition to the portion I didn’t scan she also, for some strange reason, listed several Tests in the "OF Discontinued" section of the list. (Chalky Classic Lipizzan? Glossy Adios? Sandy Bay Appaloosa QH Gelding? Argh!)

The numbers in parentheses are the quantities she claims were made of each model. I would take these numbers with a grain of salt. This is not to cast aspersions on her accuracy, but is more a reflection of the resources she was working with. While she may have had access to resources we don’t have now, we also have access to information today that she did not that directly contradicts some of her claims. 

History is a consensus, constantly revised.

Aside from the Appaloosa Proud Arabian Stallion and the Bay San Domingo Test for the Stock Horse Stallion, Item #41 is worth noting: it was likely one of the early Tests for the "Mississippi Valley Live" Special Run Chestnut Proud Arabian Stallions. That show wasn’t for several months in the future at the time of this saleslist was issued, so her claim of only 2 existing was likely valid - at that moment.

As she states in another part of this list, these Tests "…will NOT be mass produced but no promise can be made to that affect [sic]…"  And as you can see from the scan, some of them were. Eventually. (I wouldn't mind owning a few of them, myself. Actually, I do, but that's another story.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


The past few days were rough - both scheduling and personal issues came up. On the scheduling issue, apparently nobody noticed in the office that I was the only person not scheduled last weekend - nor did they bother to call me when everybody was begging for extra help because of call-offs. Because everyone assumed I was already working - just not with them.

(They’re blaming it on a software glitch. Sigh. I’ll deal with it after BreyerFest.)

One good thing happened this week - my Vintage Club Extra Lucy arrived:

Very pretty! (My desk not so much, I know.) As I’ve brought up before, I wouldn’t technically call that a "Vintage" paint job, other than the fact that it replicates the pattern on the Mule that appeared on the first color cover of JAH, back in 1980. Still, no complaints, especially quality-wise. Nice job, Reeves!

This year’s crop of Auction Items is especially nice, too. I think my favorite so far is almost everyone else’s: that stunner of an Appaloosa Performance Horse, in the most amazing sabino paint job I’ve ever seen. (Via the BreyerFest App, and up on the Facebook page.)

Not so crazy about the swish tail - on the issue of the Performance Horse, I am an originalist - but dang, if it wasn’t for the fact that I suspect a lot of other people will also be gunning for him, I’d actually consider bidding.

I make no apologies for have a near-complete collection of the Appaloosa Performance Horse. (It also helps that most of his releases are pretty easy on the wallet, too.) Here’s one of my favorites, the 1984 Christmas SR in Gray Appaloosa:

We didn’t need no stinking mapping, eyewhites or roaning on our Special Runs back then! Though I was a bit bummed they didn’t at least stripe his hooves.

I can’t recall seeing a lot of test colors on this mold before, either, past or recent present. The only one I can think of is the Black Appaloosa one they used as a stand-in for Stud Spider in the 1977 JC Penney's Christmas Catalog. Other than in his original fabulous colorway, he was never a hugely popular model, so the likelihood of spare Performance Horse bodies lying around was slim.

But I always thought he had potential. Just last week I was seriously mulling over a body lot on eBay with a Performance Horse body in it; I was intrigued by the idea of taking one and tweaking/improving it, in the hopes of getting other hobbyists to see what I see.

Then Reeves went ahead and did the job for me! I can only hope that means we’ll be seeing more of him soon, either as a Vintage Club release, or as a Buried Treasure/Vault/Surprise type model. He hasn’t seen a release, in any shape or color, since the #1140 Foundation Appaloosa was discontinued in 2002.

I am also intrigued by the Gloss Palomino Clydesdale Mare. She seems a little - just so slightly - less fancy a paint job than we usually see on Auction pieces, and first made me wonder if Reeves is being sneaky again and showing us the Volunteer Special and just not telling us so.

More likely, though, she’s an actual test for another Vintage Club release; I seem to recall a Gloss Palomino Mustang in that particular photo from way back…

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rambling, Roan

Off the top, since I know some of you are curious: yes, I know all about the Red Roan Pinto Five-Gaiter on eBay. In fact, the vendor contacted me earlier today, and I’ll update you about this extremely interesting story as my schedule permits. 

In slightly less exciting news, a few more BreyerFest releases were seen at NAN this weekend: included in this batch were a Crystal Nokota horse Belle Meade, and the red version of the Black Decorator Nocona with the boots and lassoes, named Corral.

I have to confess I am intrigued by the Crystal Nokota Horse, in spite of my clumsy self.

I take it from the excessively long discussion threads I’ve been seeing that there are some issues with the Premier Club release Carrick. I haven’t dived into that discussion because my Internet time was rather limited this week.

I will say that I like "plastic him" better than the "resin him": the resin prototype of him didn’t do all that much for me. I think I’m just not comfortable with that level of detail at that scale; it drifts a bit too much into Uncanny Valley territory for me.

Since we’re on the topic of new molds, there was also a Laredo at NAN, and he wasn’t as "horrible" as I thought he could be. The front leg is still odd, and the mane and tail are ropey and snakelike, but otherwise…he’s not bad. I’m not saying that I’ll be buying him, but after the initial griping, he’ll end up in the same category as Esprit and Ethereal - semi-realistic fantasy horses for the little girl (in reality, or at heart) set.

Of NAN, I don’t have much to say. It’s not my scene. I didn’t tune in to the video broadcast because - aside from my chronic lack of time - watching people look at other models just feels weird. The lack of an opening number and/or a half-time show were also factors. Unless someone decides to break into an impromptu dance routine because one of their entries Top Tenned, there just isn’t a whole lot of actual action going on.

(Which I think would be awesome, by the way. NAN Victory Dances! Someone please make this so.)

The next release in the Vintage Club series this year is - those two Shetlands in Florentine Pinto and Copenhagen Pinto that we discussed prior, named Denim and Diamonds. Which means that those among us who were viewing/participating in the discussion where they first came up on Blab already know what the fourth release will be, too. (I won’t spoil it for those among you who wish to be surprised, except to say: you may have seen it already, anyway.)

The clues this time really annoyed me, though. They were so vague that they actually DID apply to other molds. As someone on Blab pointed out, the Cantering Welsh Pony would have fit all of those clues, quite easily.

"It’s a girl!" Check. (No obvious boy parts on either.)

"Not a horse." Check. (Both ponies, not horses.)

"Chess." Also, check. (Both molds were signed by Chris Hess - C. Hess.)

Eh, not worth sweating over. This humidity, on the other hand…

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Body Box Adventures

Before I go on, I just wanted to point out that the next round of Munda auctions is up tomorrow. I actually bid on a couple this time, partly because eBay is annoying me this week. (There are a couple of very inexpensive items I am trying to acquire for a project, and I keep getting sniped. Sniped, on cheap stuff!)

We got out of work unexpectedly early yesterday, so I took that extra time to clean out my Stablemates body box. Aside from the fact that there was no way in heck I’d ever get around to working on them any time soon, my "Dollar Table" selection was looking a little skimpy. I like having a certain amount of inexpensive items for kids, cheapskates, and people who’ve already blown their budgets but still want to buy more stuff anyway.

None of them were specifically bought as bodies, but most were "comes with" box lot items. Some of I wouldn’t necessarily classify as body quality, but I decided to just sell them all that way anyway, just because I didn’t want to deal with the drama.

The most painful experiences I have had at BreyerFest - aside from the Roommate Issues, and the actual incidents of me injuring myself - have been when I’ve had to deal with people who put up big fights over condition, often over the most minor of flaws.

We’re not talking about honest pricing negotiations: these were the kinds of folks who wanted me to sell them a $40-50 Special Run for ten bucks, because of a single smudged dapple. It’s gotten to the point that if more common models with already low price points have even the tiniest of flaws, I sometimes relegate them to the body box, just so I don’t have to get into arguments with people over what constitutes a "body".

What pains me more though, are the models that aren’t so common - yet are technically classifiable as body quality.

My thinking is this: just because something is classified as body quality doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be used as a body. I have a small but significant assortment of models I’ve fished out of body boxes myself, and place on the shelf right next to LSQ Test Colors.

The problem is that the prices for pieces that are meant to be bodies - and pieces that are simply rare, but in poor condition - are indistinguishable. The price for a body-body is a reflection of its value as a "base" or armature for a new work, while the price of a body-rarity is because it still has some residual value even in spite of its condition. (A coverless, poor-quality copy of Action Comics #1 may not be worth much, for instance, but there’s certainly still a market for it.)

One particularly painful year I had a body quality Adios for sale. Normally this wouldn’t cause me much consternation, but this guy was a Chalky - a white plastic Chalky, to be precise. While Yellow Mounts are not too difficult to come by, Chalky Adioses definitely are - even in body condition.

I was reluctant to sell him, but my sales stash was quite skimpy that year, and he was a recent flea market pickup that I had not yet grown too attached to. Since he was technically quite rare, I put him on the shelves with all of my other stuff. I figured he’d be a fairly easy sell, right?

Nope. He lingered on my shelves straight up until Saturday. I’d happily chirp to anyone who looked his way about his Chalky status, and his exceeding cheapness, but no dice. This was a bit before the current Chalky craze, and it was true he wasn’t in the best shape, but I kept thinking what the heck?

When I pointed out his Chalky nature to someone who appeared to be genuinely interested in him, the expression on the (eventual) buyer’s face was clearly one of "And I should care why?" She needed it as a body, nothing more.

My first reaction was "No, you do not deserve him! Begone!" But I needed the money, and I needed the space. Who was I to deem her money unworthy? I swallowed my pride, bit my tongue, and took the money, because she was willing to at least pay the asking price.

So the way I deal with this situation now is by tossing quality models of dubious condition status into the body box. That way, if someone happens to find it and recognize it for what it is, it cheers my heart a little.

Honestly, I think I have an easier time selling models like that in the body box because, well, I am not the only one who specifically goes hunting for buried treasure there. Other hobbyists are all too eager to show me Chalkies, Pearlies, and vintage customs from famous customizers pulled out of other people’s body boxes - things that I would have been proud to add to my collection.

It happened last year, with an early Lady Phase. Some of the earliest Lady Phases, for some odd reason, come in a very white - but not truly Chalky - plastic. I don’t know if they decided to go with virgin Tenite (no regrind = minimal yellowing over time) or it was a last little remnant of Chalky white plastic mixed in with the standard semi-opaque stuff.

She was, unfortunately, very much a body: her condition much worse than the Adios, even. I’ve been running a bit of a surplus of models here, so keeping her wasn’t even remotely an option.

The person who fished her out of the box stared at her a good long while, turned her over in the lamp light several times, and then said something to the effect of "She’s something special. I think I can fix her up." 

I think I ended up selling her for the same price as the Adios. It wasn’t about the price, though.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Black Calf

I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to over the weekend, but I did enough to keep me from losing my mind as I ramp up prep for BreyerFest. As usual, I am nowhere near ready. Just because I’m not doing the costume contest this year doesn’t mean I don’t have a million other things to do.

Now to finish up a post I wrote during my last epic road trip; it’s been stuck on a thumb drive in my work bag, the one that rarely leaves the car. (What else is on the drive? My resume, a couple NaNoWriMo novels, and the accumulated knowledge of the Krell. Duh.)

During my discussion of the Black Family Arabians, I called them "one of the earliest" Special Runs aimed directly at hobbyists. One of the earliest, yes, but not THE earliest. The first verifiable, probably-not-a-repurposed-Test-Color, sold-direct-to-hobbyists Special Run was…

The Black Angus Calf. I don’t have one, so just imagine a Holstein Calf, except all black, and sort of satiny, like the Family Arabians. They were sold at Model Horse Congress in 1977, several months before the "National Hobby Month" debut of the Family Arabians. Approximately 100-150 pieces were made.

(Were there Special Runs that were sold prior to the Black Angus Calf? Well obviously - I’ve discussed some of them here - but I speak of items specifically targeted and made for the hobby, and hobbyists. Whole ‘nother animal, so to speak.)

Why … that, of all things? Good question. I don’t know the answer. It could have been a situation similar to the Family Arabians: maybe they were repurposing Calves leftover from the early 1970s – ones that were also a victim of the 1973 Implosion. Maybe they were test, in a way, for the Family Arabians. Maybe Marney said something to Peter about hobbyists wanting more Calves for performance setups. Perhaps it was a promo piece for the soon-to-be-released #365 Black Angus Bull mold.

I have no idea. In the absence of other evidence, all these theories seem equally valid.

They were not a huge hit, at least initially. The Bentley Sales Company had them on their Discontinued sales lists for a while, even with the relatively low piece count. The Livestock molds were not that big a thing in the hobbyist set at the time – it wouldn’t be until the mid-1980s that the Nonhorse molds really started taking off with collectors.

The Black Angus Calf is a pretty tough little cookie to track down nowadays, if only for the passage of time. There was one on eBay a few years ago, went for a price I definitely couldn’t afford.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Meme's the Word

This is the kind of work week I had:

I feel like Vita looks, sans accessories. (I’ll totally do rhinestones, but I won’t do pink.)

Actually, Vita probably had a better week than I did: she acquired her grail. She finally caught the chipmunk living under the deck! She didn’t know what to do with him after she caught him, though, other than toss him up in the air several times until he limped off, presumably into the talons of one of our resident hawks. 

I wasn’t home when this incident occurred, unfortunately, to confirm any of those details. But she was strutting around the house yesterday like she had bought a Decorator with a cheap Buy It Now on eBay.

One other thing did brighten the week, or the end of it, was this little tidbit:

A Ninja Pit of Death t-shirt? On the Breyer web site? Well, I be gobsmacked.

Sometimes you study the history. Sometimes you are the history. Somewhere in the archives of Blab, I created the "Ninja Pit of Death" meme. I just thought it was a funny play on words that had a bit of truth in it. I was never expecting it to turn into a t-shirt on the Breyer web site.

I’m not expecting any compensation for it, just taking a little credit/blame. For historical purposes, you know.

(They also brought back the classic "I’ll stop collecting when I’m dead" tee, too.)

Since I’m still not fully up to speed, here’s another picture from the recent archive stash. Recognize him?

I’m guessing no, for at least 90 percent of you; he’s mentioned only in passing in Nancy Atkinson Young’s Breyer Mold & Models. This particular Chestnut Proud Arabian Stallion was one of those Marney Mystery Runs, distributed - according to the owner - at the Mississippi Valley Live Show in Barrington, Illinois in July of 1984.

His color is closer to the classic "Cinnamon" Chestnuts most prevalent on contemporary Stablemates, and not the slightly later reddish/orange Flaxen Chestnuts.

I had heard about him previously, and due to the quality and nature of the information, had more or less accepted the fact that he wasn't just a rumor. It wasn’t until I saw these photos (I have a full set of show pix!) that I finally saw one for myself.

Unlike other Marney Mystery Runs, this fellow is somewhat more obscure. He’s not quite as flashy or notorious as some of the others - like the Dapple Gray Man o’ War - nor have any of the five pieces in the run (that I know of) been up for sale. He’s just similar enough to later Regular Runs and Special Runs of this model that it’s also possible that one or two might have slipped under the hobby radar as mere variations.

(Programming Note: I will be home all weekend, but mostly offline, to take care of some "real-world" business.)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Jumping In

Before we go any further, here's a slight update to the post previous - a picture of some of those righteous ladies in the painting department, back when. The man on the right is Manuel Valdez, Breyer’s painting supervisor, whose name is sometimes mentioned when higher quality Chicago-era Test Colors turn up:

I used to wonder if, in all my years of horsetrading, I ever had one of those Clydesdale Mares or Rearing Stallions in my possession. I now look at this photo and think one of these people might have been responsible/instigated the shenanigans that led to the Crazy Zebra Painting Party.

The weekend made up for the week preceding, somewhat. Found this gigantic fellow at the town garage sale on Saturday, for instance:

An almost life-sized Red Mill Bulldog! He’s not for sale, but his Five-Gaiter buddy and a big box of recent Stablemates will be. (You can’t see it in the photo, but the Gaiter’s got some nice eyewhites on him!) I also found a big bag of vintage glitter. I don’t know what the heck I’m going to do with it all, though I suspect a Family Arabian Mare may be involved at some point.

I feel bad for neglecting to mention that the next round of auctions at Munda’s was up on Friday, and the second part of the Indiana auctions, too. Too wrapped up in my own crazy business, I guess. From the prices that were realized for some of the items, though, I don’t think they necessarily needed any help from me.

I did find the prices reported for some of the pieces in the Indiana auction a little troubling - much higher than the prices realized for similar pieces in other venues. This is good for the estate, of course, but it makes me sort of glad that I’m more of a Vintage collector than a Contemporary one. (Most of the items in the Indiana sale were Connoisseurs and other more recent releases).

I’d rather spend $300 on a Gloss Dapple Gray Belgian than $3000 on the latest-newest-hottest thing. The volatility of the newer-model market bothers me enough that I tend to shy away from it in practice: if I can’t buy it at or around issue price, I probably won’t buy it at all.

I won’t say never, because there are always exceptions. (Hello there, my beautiful WEG Man o’ War!) The Vintage market isn’t immune either, as the recent crazes for Chalkies and Five-Gaiter Sorrel Family Arabians demonstrate.

But I like the thrill - and unpredictability - of the hunt. Having a set shopping list and applying money directly to it has never been my style, model horses or otherwise. (Yeah, I’m loads of fun in a grocery store, too. Ooh, are those turnips on the clearance rack?)

Actually, the prices I’ve been seeing lately - at auction, on eBay, on MH$P and all that - make me wonder if we’re entering into another "speculator’s" market. Again, I’m mostly insulated from that because of the kinds of models I buy and sell. I am extremely reluctant to sell anything I really like anyway, no matter the prices they start commanding. Sometimes it makes me want just want them even more. What if the price goes up, and stays up? Cheapskate me may never have the opportunity to own another.

I have to admit that I am tempted to jump in, especially since I have some pricey things I need to pay for in the next few months - real life things, not model horse things. A new car is foremost, but there’s also some minor surgery that needs to be done that's likely not covered by my insurance.

What I’m trying to say is that I am seriously contemplating selling that adorable Gray Appaloosa Classic Quarter Horse Foal I showed you a couple weeks back. I haven’t decided on the venue. I’m thinking BreyerFest is going to be the way to go, since he has some condition issues that are best seen in person.

I’ll also have a selection of ephemera for sale, from my recent acquisitions. The problem with those items is that many of them have never been on the market before, especially with provenance, so pricing is the biggest issue there.

When the time comes, I’ll toss a preview ad up on MH$P with the necessary details.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Just Gotta Laugh Sometimes

(Before we begin the festivities here, it has been brought to my attention that the Youth Show prizes are going to be Glossy after all, thus rendering all the commentary about the switch to Semigloss moot. I can only hope that Reeves has been eavesdropping on the various forum discussions about the matter.)

Several days of epic awfulness was capped with me losing my car keys - inside my car. No, no joke. I drove from one job location to another, parked and waited for the supervisor to show up, took the keys out of the ignition, set them down to gather up all my other stuff, and when I got ready to get out of the car, I couldn’t find them.

I had not even opened the door at that point.

Coworkers completed two (two!) epic searches where we essentially tossed the car, but nope, no keys anywhere. Fortunately, I had an emergency key in my wallet, so I was able to get home without having to make a really embarrassing phone call.

But it still made me wonder who or what I could have ticked off in the past week. I’m not one to believe in gypsy curses, but you can make a rough guess at the kind of Google searches I was running last night.

On the plus side, I did get some nice things in the mail today, including a very entertaining batch of old hobby ephemera, a lovely time capsule of my own "golden age" of the hobby, roughly 30 or so years ago. Back when "pix" like this were state-of-the-art for photo showing purposes:

Soup Can Racing!

Still Life with Dead Cow!

Extraterrestrial Performance!

Nope. Not Going There.

And for the history portion of our program today, the kind of epic Culls/Tests/Oddities that we fought epic battles over:

Three Margarita Lunch Day at Breyer Plant!

Lest you are harboring any unkind thoughts, the person who sent this stuff to me is probably looking at all this and laughing right along with you. These photos (except for the Classic Andalusian Mare) aren’t any different, really, than photographs I or anyone else took back then. In fact, as I was doing a quick search through them this afternoon, I kept remarking "Yep, took one just like that, and that, and that…" 

This is photographic evidence of what the hobby looked like. And you know what? Looks like we had a pretty darn good time, in spite of our lack of technical or artistic sophistication.

(Speaking of: for dignity’s sake, I decided to forego all pictures where actual people were shown, because Mullets.)

(You’re welcome.)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Just a head’s up: I am not a happy camper today. Aside from having to deal with the kind of people who make one think wistfully of giant meteors hitting the Earth, the computer just crashed and blowed up my latest post before I had a chance to even save it.

(Long story. I blame the dog.)

Anyway, I just came back from being outside: the flowers are blooming, and there’s a nest of baby Robins in the garden. I had a good hair day, and I found a bunch of good chocolate on clearance at the store this morning. I saw some not-outrageously-priced Breyers at the Antique Mall today, and one of them was a Chalky!

Dang. Happy thoughts not working like I hoped. Oh well, moving on. If you catch a whiff of anything iffy, it's me, not you.

One somewhat positive development, it appears that this year’s BreyerFest Youth Show prizes are going to be Semigloss, rather than Gloss, whatever that means. (More on that in a minute.)

This is a good thing, because all those Gloss Prize models were doing was ramping up the intensity level on a show that should be, essentially, a fun learning experience.

Cheating’s been going on a while, but it looks like last year finally drove Reeves to do something a little more meaningful than including even sterner warnings about unsportsmanlike behavior in the show packet.

It’s funny, I was just looking over some ephemera I acquired recently and it included a bunch of show results from the early 1980s. We had show prizes back then, too, but they tended to be relegated to raffles, silent auctions, and door prizes. It was more about the ribbons, the rosettes and the prestige. My Bay Trakehner won a Reserve Grand at Model Horse Congress in the Senior Division back then. All I got was a big rosette, but that was a HUGE deal to me!

Cheating went on back then, too. Get a bunch of horse-crazy young ladies in a room competing for who has the best/prettiest horses, and there’s going to be drama. And felt tip markers. And people with X-acto blades who aren’t happy about your minty-mint Buckskin Indian Pony with the blue ribbon sticker keeps beating their horses, and is going to do something about that.

Aside from the lack of prize models, one other difference back then was that there was another division, composed of non-adult Novices who were no longer Novices, but didn’t feel they were ready to compete with the adults yet. The "Junior" division was never big, numerically, mostly because people aged out of it. (Novices, on the other hand, could be any age.) Moving on towards the Senior/Open divisions was considered a "step up" in terms of prestige, too.

Switching to slightly less impressive prizes for the Youth Show will, I hope, revive the notion that "stepping up" is a good thing, especially among those Youth showers who are more like the Junior showers of yesteryear. That it requires a little "financial" encouragement isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either, as long as it achieves the desired effect.

Anyway, back to the "Semigloss" thing: no one’s quite sure, yet, what Reeves’s definition of that word is going to be. Heck, even in the hobby we can’t agree on what "Semigloss" means: I’ve seen it used to describe models that were very slightly satiny, to models whose Gloss wasn’t quite as thick as the old-fashioned 1960s "dip glossed" models. It’s an extremely variable - and relative - term.

I tend to fall into the "relativity" camp: in other words, how different is it from the standard/contemporary finishes? Many early Matte-finished models from the 1960s appear to be Semigloss compared to the Matte-finished of today, but are quite obviously Matte compared to the other releases of the time.

While it's a bit of a sticking point for me, who likes simple and neat definitions for things, the point is moot if you’re a variation collector. All that matters there is (a) do you like it? and (b) do you like it enough to buy it? As someone who has just a few too many horses in the barn right now, the variation has to be really distinctive and/or really special to come through my front door.

I just can’t ever see myself being one of those one-mold-only collectors, where going hog wild over ever shade and variant could be a legitimate collection focus. I love the Traditional Man o’ War. But I love the old Trakehner, too. And the Pacer. And the G1 Stablemates. And the Western Prancing Horse, and - you get the idea.

UPDATE 6/5: Well, the baby birds fell out of the nest today...and there was nothing we could do to save them. I will now spend the rest of the day in the basement waiting for the meteor and eating chocolate until I am sick.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


I made the mistake of going on the Breyer web site forums the other night. Now I remember why I avoid that place like the plague.

Look, I think that Reeves should use multiple means of distributing models to us. Some of us like the rush we get from a Black Friday-style sale, and others simply want to place their order and walk away, with minimal drama.

The solutions of letting people know what "mystery" models are for sale, and boosting the piece counts to some ridiculously high number - very popular ideas in the Breyer web site forums - completely miss the point of this kind of sale. The mystery and the rarity are the source of the excitement. Taking them away would be like taking the scary bits out of a horror movie.

If everything went to a lottery/raffle system, I would probably lose complete interest after a while. I like a little mystery and excitement. I find Breyer History fun to research because of all the mysteries, that some of them may never truly be knowable - and the excitement when I find out that it is.

And let’s face facts: raffles/lotteries not necessarily any more fair than any other means of distribution. Some people are naturally more lucky than others and that, pardon my French, kinda sucks. We all know people who seem to win every single contest they enter - and people who have never won anything at all, ever. After not winning ten or twenty times in a row, you’re going to be disinclined to consider the system "fair".

Even if it is only an illusion, some of us also like the sense that skill and knowledge play a part in our collecting efforts. Nothing cheeses me off more than the insistence, in some quarters of the hobby, that collecting is a passive activity. Not the way I - or a lot of my friends - do it!

Allegedly the overselling part of the equation that plagued the last sale of this kind was remedied, but it appears that the solution may have been the cause of the premature sell-out notification. (I’m not privy to the inner workings of that particular system, but I’ve seen similar issues with other inventory systems before.)

In other words, it was a classic "fixing one problem creates another" issue.

I’m not trying to be a suck up here, because anyone who knows me knows some of the [road apples] I’ve had to put up with dealing with Reeves in the past. This wasn’t a malicious or callous act of greed. The only thing they’re truly guilty of is underestimating us.

Again and again, it’s true, but we’re always upping the ante ourselves, aren’t we?

Let us speak no more of this affair again. I’m not even going to say anything here if one really and truly shows up on my doorstep. If I need money badly enough, I’m going to sell other, less radioactive things first.

I’m going to be home - and online, mostly - through most of the weekend, trying to catch up on some long-overdue paperwork and e-mails, so this might be a good time to ask me any questions, if you got ‘em.