Sunday, December 31, 2017

Chasing Rainbows

First we heard about the upcoming Classics release Day Dreamer, who is a Translucent Classics Harper with a rainbow on it.

Then we get an e-mail about the 2018 Stablemates Club Gambler’s Choice Finn the Mule, and one of the four potential selections is a Rainbow Overo Pinto:

And then news broke of an apparent Walmart Special Run Classics Unicorn named Skylar, who is a Pearly/Iridescent White Forthwind with a sparkly Rainbow-striped mane and tail.

This is an interesting development. So everything is coming up rainbows for 2018?

We have had a number of pastel and multicolored releases in the recent past – such as the Peace, Love and Horses Classics Warmblood Mare, some of the Unicorn releases like the Alaric, and a number of Test Colors – but it wasn’t until 2011 that we had a true “Rainbow-themed” release, with the Translucent Weather Girl Treasure Hunt redemption horse.

I’m all for Decorator finishes, but I’ve found the rainbow-themed ones aren’t really my cup of tea. (If I do happen to end up with the Rainbow Mule, I won’t be looking to trade. Generally I just go with whatever I get on Gambler’s Choice models.)

Actually, this is cool – if 2018 is going to be the Year of the Rainbow, that’ll help me out tremendously. One of the resolutions I was considering for next year was cutting back the horse buying to an absolute minimum: that means no retail “fun money” binges, no late night eBay pity purchases, and no Web Specials unless they happen to be one of the handful of molds or concepts that push my buttons (like the Traditional Man o’ War, or a holiday-themed Elk).

So it’ll just be obligate Club purchases, BreyerFest, and the incidental flea market/thrift store finds that mostly end up on my sales list anyway. Oh, and the Customer Appreciation Promotion, if they happen to do the “FREE GLOSSIES FOR EVERYBODY” thing again next year.

I’ll still be open to trades and genuine upgrades, and if something insanely rare and cheap turns up in my radar I certainly won’t turn it down, either.

But I’ve been liking the space my recent collection reorganization has given me, and goodness, I certainly could do without the paperwork all that buying and reselling entails. The extra money’s been helpful, but I’d rather have that time to focus on more creative endeavors next year. (Most of them not model-horse-related, unless you count Sparky and Jules.)

The Exclusive Event that’s coming up in the Spring also seems unlikely, though I’d rather wait to cross that bridge when I get to it.

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Although tempting, I am not biting on the Warehouse clearance sale, especially since some of the best deals are on items I just purchased for the Customer Appreciation Offer!

It is kind of fascinating to look at the overstocks and see what Glossies could have been: the Icelandic, Chocolate Chip Kisses, Brunello, Smokin Doubledutch, Welsh Cob, Highland Pony, Irish Draught, the Traditional Foal and Blanket Sets, the Black Adios Fonzie Merit?

Any of those would have been fine by me. (Glossy Solid Black Adios? Yes, please!)

The local Ollie’s had at least a dozen of those Rocky foals – in Matte, of course, and at a better price – and if it wasn’t for the credit card bill I’d be seriously tempted to get one. I have a bit of a soft spot for the homely little Standing Stock Horse Foal; he’s another one of those later Hess sculpts I think could really shine with just a modest amount of cleanup and customizing.

There has been quite a bit of misinformation floating around in the hobby about the nature of inventory and overstock, and it’s been bugging me, a lot. That’s because these are things I happen to be intimately familiar with on a day-to-day basis at work.

So let me provide a little illumination.

Overstocks aren’t always or even necessarily the result of bad business decisions or factors within anyone’s direct control. Production issues, mathematical errors in sales calculations, shipping problems, communication issues, seasonal variables like weather or natural disasters, or sudden changes in taste or fashion: all of these things can lead to overstock.

The other problem is as old as retailing itself: no matter how carefully you plan, there will always be leftovers.

Legitimate, boneheaded mistakes do get made, but true mistakes are far fewer of than most of us might realize, and the decisions that led to them being made often seemed quite logical at the time.

I think the original Blue and Gold Decorators of the 1960s were a case in point. A significant chunk of Breyers, even in the 1960s, were purchased strictly as home decorating accents, and Breyer had had modest success marketing their Woodgrains as such.

So it did not seem too outrageous an idea to expand upon that with other less realistic and more decorative colors, especially ones that would have been easier to paint than Woodgrains.

Things did not go as planned, obviously.

If they had debuted a few years later, that idea might have even succeeded, but that’s another lengthy discussion in and of itself.

Breyer has always had overstock issues, though things were definitely different in the Chicago era. They could get away with having items sit in backstock for a while because production runs were measured in years or even decades back then: if they felt they were a little overstocked on something, they could just cease production for a while and sell down whatever they had sitting in the warehouse.

What didn’t sell after a certain period of time could – and would! – get shuttled off to mail-order companies like Horses International and Bentley Sales. And if there were items they still couldn’t pawn off on them (like, the original Decorators) they could repaint them or Chalk them up, and move them out as a new or better-selling release – or even a Special Run!

A big chunk of those Black Family Arabian Special Runs in the late 1970s appears to be overpainted backstock of Family Arabians in all the colors discontinued in the early 1970s.

Because the product life cycle is so abbreviated now – it’s rare for a Regular Run Traditional to make it to its second year of production, nowadays – Reeves does not have the luxury of time: overstock can’t sit in the warehouse for months or years to sell down, because they need room in the warehouse for new product now.

The easiest way to do that is to contract with retailers that deal with overstocks (like Tuesday Mornings and Ollie’s) to make room on an as-needed basis.

So it is difficult to say or judge how well Breyer is doing as a brand (or Reeves, as a company) based solely on what we see in the stores. It’s a little more complicated than that.

Regardless of what is going on behind the scenes (I don’t know all that much more than you guys, and sometimes even less) all I can say is that I hope the “Glossy Customer Appreciation Promotion” becomes a regular holiday offering.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Little Jewels

Since the past couple of Christmas Surprises haven’t been that hard to get on the secondary market, I decided to take a pass on the Christmas Surprise Bouncer Jewel Ponies today:

It was tough, though: Translucent and a Bouncer? While I liked all three colors offered – Emerald, Amethyst and Sapphire – if one of them had been Yellow or Orange (Citrine or Amber?) I would have definitely caved.

I remembered what I had been noticing with my recent herd cull, also: with a handful of exceptions either way, most of the vintage (pre-Reeves) pieces have been staying, and many of the most recent pieces have been going. Foregoing the Bouncers might just save me a step (and paperwork, ugh!) later on.

If I have a fraction of the success next year that I had on the secondary market this year, I shouldn’t have any problem finding suitable trade fodder, if I suddenly decide I can’t live without one or more of them.

There’s not going to be any shortage of Translucents in the coming year, either: aside from the inevitable BreyerFest Special Run Classic, Reeves is finally adding a Stablemates Suncatcher Craft Kit to the Craft and Activity line, and there’s another retail market Translucent Classic, a Rainbow-covered Harper named Day Dreamer. You can spot them in all their glory in this online copy of the 2018 Dealer Catalog:

(It’s not downloadable, but you can zoom in and drool.)

I wasn’t planning on getting any Regular Run Traditionals next year, but I think the Latigo Dun It on the Smart Chic Olena is going to be a difficult one to pass by. How is it that they always come up with the most gorgeous paint jobs for that mold?

My Christmas presents this year were remarkably horse-free, including John Crowley’s Ka, lots of novelty socks, fancy chocolates, some authentic Turkish Delight, a set of woodcarving tools (for Sparky and Jules) and the artbook The Temple of Silence: Forgotten Works and Worlds of Herbert Crowley, which hasn’t been delivered yet.

(The two Crowleys are not related, other than being underappreciated fantasists.)

If I am feeling motivated tomorrow, I might do a little post-holiday bargain horse hunting, but it doesn’t seem likely; I’m in the middle of a big machine quilting project, and I want to get as much of it done as I can before I have to go back to work on Wednesday.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Glossy Jake

It’s a Glossy Jake for me, yay!

Actually, I would have been completely happy with the Bandera, and was fully expecting it. So getting something different is just extra sprinkles in my bowl of ice cream.

I have only one other Wixom – the pretty 2002 BreyerFest Special Run WH Annie, in Dappled Rose Gray – and after my recent collection reorganization, I won’t have any problem making room for another.

Some time in the near future I will be buying one of those Glossy Banderas. But not now, as there is room in my budget for just one more purchase and that’s either going to be whatever Reeves drops on us on Christmas, or an obscure grail I spied on eBay today.

That’s also what eventually stayed my hand on filling a second order – it certainly was not for a lack of stuff to buy!

Just a few more observations on the whole deal…

For the record, I don’t know any more than anyone else about the true quantities/ratios on the four freebies; Bandera and the Donkey are obviously the higher quantities, and the Jake and Liberty are the lower ones. Beyond that…?

Reeves hasn’t been forthcoming in the past about the piece counts on previous Gloss Promotion models, so we might have to be content with rough estimates. It’s probably still too soon to really do that, since I suspect a large quantity of packages haven’t been received or opened yet.

There’s also the issue of whether the promotion truly sold out, or was simply allowed to expire due to the holiday break. (If they did not, it was close.)

If it failed to completely sellout, it wasn’t for a lack of interest, but out of exhaustion – and a lack of money! We saw a lot of products and promotions this year, and most of us are just spent out, waiting in both anticipation and dread for that one last thing we know they’re going to foist upon us.

Incidentally, the other things in my box included another Warehouse Find Bluegrass Bandit (to upgrade my previous) the Cortes C Carrick I’ve been eyeing all year (on sale!), and a bunch of Stablemates. Because I want to focus on Stablemates for the time being.

(Yes, I am very excited about all the new Stablemates releases for next year!)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Glossies for Everybody!

So this happened, and I caved:

Its a surprise which one youll receive, and they are all beautiful, exclusive pieces!  Will you get an adorable Hickory Hills Wall Street decked out in a high gloss finish?  Or will it be decorator denim blue Liberty with his high shine?  Or super glossy bronzy-coppery metallic limited edition Bandera?  Or glossy pinto drafter Bryant’s Jake?  We know you'll enjoy each one of these lovely models. But which one will you receive? 
I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who had been suggesting that they “gloss up” overstock and make some sort of special offer out of it. Collectors love Glossy variations and guaranteeing a limited edition Glossy with your order (albeit in a “Gambler’s Choice” fashion) seems like a pretty easy and obvious one to do.

I have no idea how they’re going to work the numbers, though I think I’ll be the contrarian and assume there will be 125 pieces of each of the four mentioned in the e-mail: the Pinto Wixom Jake, the Chestnut Brighty, the Decorator Silver and the Bandera.

It might seem like there are more Banderas, but that’ll be because the hobby currently has a major ick-cooties thing going on with that release.

I’ve said this before, but I don’t think Bandera has been as big a “flop” as the hobby seems to think he is. It’s a slightly different item designed for a slightly different market: not every model can, or should be, tailored specifically to hobbyists.

The hobby isn’t the whole market; it isn’t even the engine that drives the market. But that’s not a discussion I want to get into, today, especially since lots of hobbyists are still doomy and gloomy over the DreamWorks hires. (“It’s going to be nothing but cartoon horses with eyebrows from now on!” Sigh. No guys, no.)

If an argument can be made for any one of the four offerings being seriously overstocked, I’d go with the Brighty: the discount retail chain Ollie’s was selling them a couple weeks ago for $9.99 – 60 percent off MSRP! (They also had the Traditional American Pharoah, the Black Adios Fonzie Merit, and some of the Traditional Foal with Blanket sets, at somewhat less drastic discounts.)

I hope this kind of Customer Appreciation promotion – Glossy Overstock models for everybody! – becomes an annual thing, much like the Decorator Holiday Animal has. That way everyone would have the potential to snag at least one guaranteed limited edition Glossy – as long as they can scrape up $125 worth of stuff to buy off the web site.

(Though it might be nice if they also had a straight-up Glossy Overstock Gambler’s Choice offer from time to time, too, for the more budget-conscious among us.)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

In The Background

I found this at the local Salvation Army yesterday, on my way home from work:

I received this exact kit for Christmas way back when. I remember because I made a few “improvements” to the rather sorry design of the horse, making him look a bit more like the Family Arabian Stallion. I could do that because I had lots of leftover yarn from other latch hook kits I had received as gifts.

I got a lot of latch hook kits as a kid.

For the holidays, I’d hand all the relatives heavily annotated Breyer catalogs, but that rarely resulted in actual Breyer horses. Oh, they’d catch the hint about horses, but since I was the “artistic” kid, that meant… horse-themed craft kits.

Let’s face it: the horse world is confusing to people on the outside, whether it’s in “real-life” or in model-horse form. Unless you had another horse-crazy relative who understood, most of them figured it was Mom and Dad’s job to sort the Breyer stuff out. It was just easier to get you that craft kit they found at Kmart.

There was also never a reason for your other relatives to learn the ins-and-outs of the Breyer world, either: in spite of – or maybe even as a consequence of – being nearly ubiquitous, Breyers were always considered part of the background, much like the Japan clinkies you can just see on the box of this latch hook kit.

Breyer has never achieved the same cultural status or significance of Barbie, or Hot Wheels, or Legos. (Remember Jessie’s song from Toy Story 2? With the model horses that weren’t Breyer-shaped but were clearly meant to be Breyers? So close, yet so far... ) They never really achieved “fad” status, either, outside of the early successes of the Western Horse and the Davy Crockett set.

In fact, it was their relative lack of licensing success that probably saved them. Hartland found themselves scrambling in the 1960s as television Westerns faded from popularity, but Breyer continued to do what it had been doing all along: providing generic, license-free figurines for horse-crazy set.

Even that wouldn’t have been enough to carry them through: Breyer considered ditching the whole “Breyer Animal Creations” line in the late 1960s, but rumblings from the nascent hobby community persuaded them elsewise.

Through the 1970s, Breyers still had a solid, though peripheral, place in the toy industry, in spite of their best efforts to break through. In publishing terms, they were midlist items: they sold consistently, sometimes well, but they were never the bestsellers the industry or the country would talk about.

One of the numerous reasons why Breyer was sold to Reeves International back in the early 1980s was because of this issue: they wanted to develop the brand to achieve a bigger and more public presence in the toy and collectible market.

One of the ways to achieve that was to create Breyer merchandise that was not strictly models. We are not talking just about accessories like tack, props and stables, but “fun” and more ephemeral things. Breyer did have some products along those lines in the 1970s and early 1980s, like the Puffy Fun Stickers and the Coloring and Activity books:

And in more recent years we’ve seen a lot more of these types of items both on the web site, and at BreyerFest: pajama pants, tote bags, notebooks and license plate frames, anyone?

But there was never been a coherent or coordinated plan to it all.

This is why I’ve been sort of puzzled by the negative reactions to the hiring of the two DreamWorks executives, and to some of the products they’ve “soft launched” on the web site. I am especially fond of this fabulous tote bag:

This kind of branding is nothing new: it has been a goal for a very long time. All they’ve done now is hire professionals they’ve worked with before, with real-world expertise.

Ironic t-shirts at Hot Topic? Breyer-themed pillows and comforters at Target? A “Stablemates” cartoon? Latch-hook kits with a more faithful rendition of the Family Arabian Stallion?

Those are the kinds of things I think we will be seeing in the near future, as they try to develop Breyer into a brand that doesn’t just acquire licenses, but becomes a license worth acquiring by others.

In effect, they’re trying to create non-horse Breyer things a younger me would have appreciated as gifts from well-meaning friends and relatives, in addition to the horses themselves.

In short, the horses themselves are not going anywhere: they are the core of the brand. We are just getting more Breyer-branded stuff.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Foiled Again, Again?

Since I am still a bit grumpy because of my back troubles, aggravated by a slightly-more-traumatic-than-expected trip to the dentist today, I decided forego the research and decompress with a bit of retail therapy. Among my treasures:

A Border Fine Arts Yorkshire Terrier and a Hagen-Renaker Great Dane Hamlet!

A quick scan of my records tells me that I found them at the same Salvation Army Store where I made my first hobby-related purchases of the year, so that’s some nice symmetry.

Wow, it’s been such a good year for me with breakables: six Hagen-Renakers (four of them horses), a Boehm, four vintage Royal Doulton dogs, a smattering of assorted European clinkies, two BFAs, and two Walker-Renakers.

Oh, and I almost forgot those Maneki Neko cats!

Usually I just find a smattering of minis, a few Japans, and maybe one or two higher-end pieces. So I have nothing to complain about here, other than the fact that I am rapidly running out of room in my china cabinets.

In lieu of the now-delayed franchising/DreamWorks discussion, here’s a bit of BreyerFest 2018 news to overanalyze: Foiled Again has been announced as a guest!

The last sentence of the press release is of particular interest:
Please join Ohio Standardbreds & Friends and New Vocations at Breyerfest 2018 and get your Foiled Again model horse signed and your photo taken with the richest Standardbred in history.
The Traditional Foiled Again release was discontinued at the end of 2016, but is still appears to be available on the Breyer web site:

I don’t know if that means it became an online-only item, or that they’re selling down discontinued warehouse overstock, or something else entirely is going on. If I had more space and money to play with here, I’d buy one of those online Foiled Agains just to check the VIN number for a 2017 production date.

Since the press release hints that there will be Foiled Again models available at BreyerFest next year, this suggests to me that if he hasn’t been in production lately, he might be shortly.

They could change it up a little – by glossing it, chalking it, changing the halter color, or going with another mold entirely – but even if it’s not substantially different, these hypothetical Foiled Agains might still qualify as Reissues or Post Production Runs.

Or they could all be leftovers, and my back pain is making me spin the most elaborate theories, just because it can.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

An Early Chalky Western Horse

Since my back has been really bothering me the past several days (it’s nothing serious, just a chronic condition that periodically flares up) I’ll have to kick my commentary about that announcement Reeves made last week down the road a couple of days:

I want to add a bit of historical context to discussion, but my mobility issues have been putting a serious damper on my research abilities. (Note to self: buy smaller, lighter binders.)

But today I’ll spotlight what I hope is going to be one of my last eBay purchases for the year: a ca. 1951/52 Chalky Palomino Western Horse with black hooves, o-link reins and a high-grommet saddle!

Yeah, he’s not in the best of shape. That I attribute to his age: he was among the earliest Breyer models manufactured for sale independent of the clock, and Breyer probably still hadn’t realized that items sold as playthings will take more of a beating than a clock that sits on a mantel!

I had the opportunity to purchase a beautiful and near-mint Chalky White Western Horse at a very early BreyerFest and passed, and have regretted it ever since. This guy was cheap, and y’all know I’m not a huge stickler for condition.

But I know what some of you are thinking: What’s up with the Gray saddle?

Guys, it’s probably the least interesting part of him: it’s just a Brown saddle, faded to Gray. The only thing truly unusual about it is how nice and even the fading is, which suggests to me that it’s more than simply the result of sun-fading:

Again, it’s something I’d attribute to the earliness of his manufacturing. They were still in the earliest stages of figuring out this toy horse thing. Maybe this particular batch of brown plastic was not particularly color-fast?

We would not get true Gray/Graywashed plastic saddles until ca.1961/2, with the debut of the Western Prancing Horse, and it would not be until 1966/67 that we would see something similar on the Western Horse and Pony.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

On Golden Cows

Good grife, I hate reruns.

Went to bed before it went online Tuesday night, didn’t check anything model-horse-related for the five minutes I was online Wednesday morning, and when I finally got home from work Wednesday afternoon, the Gold Charm Cow and Calf were – of course! – sold out.

Again? Again??

Just lovely.

I wasn’t all that mad at Olaf – the Longhorn Bull is a shelf hog, and I’ve been trimming back my Bull collection a bit anyway. And my fun money fund really could go to other things. (In fact, I had transfer a chunk of my Paypal balance to another account the day before, for just such a purpose.)

I have access to multiple independent toy stores, farm stores, fabulous thrift stores, one of the world’s greatest flea markets and all that. This year I acquired numerous Monrovia H-Rs, several fabulous Hwins, another lovely Volunteer Model…

Yet relatively plentiful, first-come-first-served Holiday Animal Special Runs? It is starting to look like the Universe is telling me no-can-do.

I’m fearful it’s going to get put on the list of my other hobby no-can-dos, like getting picked from the Wait List for anything. (My win rate on Web Special draws is about average, but in the 200 or so of those drawings I have entered for, not once have I been pulled from the Wait List.)

As I predicted last year, the going price for Olafs today haven’t strayed far from the original issue price. I suspect Eldora and Sol will be the same in a year or so, when I’ll somehow probably manage to miss the next Holiday Animal Special Run.

It feels super weird that I can manage to score rarer things, but completely whiff on the stuff that’s specifically designed to almost be a “gimme”.

It’s not really that big of a deal. It’s not something that I was specifically pining for – it wasn’t a Deer Family, a Saint Bernard, or an Elk. And I do have a couple of kind and interesting offers to mull over.

But it still carries enough of a personal sting for me to consider washing my hands of the whole deal, as I have in the past with other models I shall not name.

Besides, it’s a Special Run that includes a Golden Calf whose name could also be interpreted as an acronym for how I’ve been feeling lately. I should just take those hints and run.

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Doozy of an Oozy

I got through another section of my inventory without any major surprises – other than one of my Little Bits Drafters spontaneously and spectacularly going “oozy” on me. What looks like a white plastic bag underneath him is actually the now-soggy tissue he was wrapped in:

(It looks like crime scene photo, doesn’t it?)

It was one made during the “Shrinky Era” – the late 1980s to early 1990s – so it wasn’t a completely random occurrence. Just a messy and inconvenient one.

Incidentally, everyone else in that box was absolutely fine. But just a few months ago, the Oozy One was fine too.

I got lucky with Shrinkies/Oozies: the late 1980s/early 1990s were exactly the same time period I was least active in the hobby, and buying the fewest models.

It had nothing to do with quality or production issues: I was busy with other things at the time, and simply taking a break. (In the SF/fannish communities, it’s sometimes called “gafiating”, or Getting Away From It All.)

Consequently, when other hobbyists started talking about models shrinking and oozing, I had very little first-hand experience with the phenomenon, beyond the Black Horse Special Runs – the Indian Ponies and Proud Arabian Stallions, specifically.

I’ve made up for it since then, and I’ve even bought a few Shrinkies intentionally. (I am sure some of you remember... The Toad?)

But that Little Bit Drafter caught me by surprise. I had last seen him back in June when I was pulling items out for my display at BreyerFest, and I noticed nothing amiss then. The weather has been unusually warm and humid this year – two things that adversely affect Shrinkies – so maybe that kickstarted the process somehow.

He has been the only one, so far, and the boxes that I’ll be going through next are mostly newer items and vintage items outside of the “Shrinky Era”. The only other surprise I can see lurking in those boxes is exactly how many more Bay Jumping Horse variations I still have. (How many did I buy over the years? Yikes!)

Being a Little Bit/Paddock Pal, he won’t be difficult or expensive to replace, though I am just a wee bit hesitant all the same.

The little Oozy One isn’t going anywhere, either. Since he already happens to be here, I’ll use him as a test subject for possible treatments. If there’s some way to stop it, or at least slow it down significantly, that’d really come in handy. There were some really nice Special Runs during that era, and I would hate to see them all meet an earlier-than-necessary demise.

If you have any yourself, just keep them cool and keep them dry in the meantime. And tuck a few extra paper towels in the bag if you have to keep them in storage, just in case.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


I was pretty excited when, after a nearly 20 year hiatus, the Classics Lipizzan mold returned in the Zodiac Series in 2015. I was hoping that the Sagittarius was a harbinger of the mold returning to production as an actual horse, and not strictly as a base for more fantasy releases.

So I was rather bummed when I walked into the NPOD this year and saw a big stack of the new Pegasus release Cosmus:

The lavender shading is very appealing, but this is not what I was hoping for. In fact, it’s the exactly the opposite of what I was hoping for.

Horses are awesome and fantastical creatures on their own; while I am all for funky colors and gloss or metallic finishes – I would have bought him in a heartbeat if the paint job was all the “fancifying” had been done to the mold – the wings squashed my enthusiasm for Cosmus from the get-go.

It’s a bit of a stretch to call the Lipizzan my favorite Classics mold, but I do have most of them. I don’t have the last two releases prior to the Sagittarius – the Toys ‘R’ Us Special run “Pegasus III” on 2000 and the Regular Run “Mystical Pegasus” from 2002-2004 – because I was done with seeing him as a flying horse by then.

Nothing against Flying Horses or Unicorns – I just wanted more Lipizzans!

As the recent Premier Club releases of Carina and Selene show, you can extend the acceptable palette for Lipizzaners by simply going historical. Or with different shades of gray, different types of dappling, different finishes (Chalky, Glossy, Iridescent, Metallic…)

Or even a basic Bay or Chestnut. Why that hasn’t happened, when rare or less desirable colors on other breeds have had their time in the sun as Breyer releases, I don’t know.

FWIW, I will probably get a Cosmus eventually. Just...not right now.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Newest Old Gray Mare

You can also count me among the unimpressed with the Breyer Cyber Monday sale. Free shipping is great, but since I’m lucky enough to live in an area that affords me the luxury of handpicking, it’s not that big a temptation for me personally.

I thought they would have pulled out one or two moderately interesting “new” things to spice things up a bit, unless they’re saving them up for Grab Bags. They did come out with some pretty decent Grab Bags in early December of last year – featuring BreyerFest Specials, the French WEG Classics, Zodiac Series Classics and some of the Holiday Mare and Foal sets.

So my little “fun money” fund remains intact for now. Good.

Here’s a picture of the other Warehouse Find/Reissue I purchased along with the Bluegrass Bandit – the Stock Horse Mare in a particularly carbonated version of Dapple Gray:

There are no obvious flaws on her I can see, beyond the ones inherent to the mold itself and the Resist Dapple painting technique.

I have a slightly higher than average fondness for the Hess Stock Horse Family: they came out in the early 1980s, at the peak of my early hobby “career”, and they made up a significant percentage of my purchases then. I didn’t realize how much of a fondness I had until I was reorganizing my boxed models over the weekend:

That’s just a small portion of the Stock Horses I have – most of them are not boxed. Then, as now, boxes weren’t that high a priority for me. These boxes may look a bit rough, but what is important is that all the models in those boxes are top notch examples of their respective releases. And not going anywhere, either. (A few of the later arrivals, maybe…)

I just realized that I have Tests or Oddities of three of the four Stock Horse Family members, but none of the Stock Horse Mare yet. Hmm. I’ll have to keep that in mind, should the opportunity ever arise.

And it should, eventually. If any vintage Test Colors are “easy” and/or inexpensive to acquire, it’s the Hess Stock Horses. Marney’s albums and ephemera is full of them, and this one is a particular favorite of mine:

I often wonder where she is, now. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Other Black Bear

So far, so good on the Black Friday sales – I was initially tempted by the Premier Club Stablemates and was actually online when they were still available, but I managed to wait it out until they went away.

Actually, aside from a handful of eBay transactions I’ve been real good – no Rosalind and Rigel, no Griffin, no Fletchers, no Goblin, no dubious Craigslist deals, no side trips to farm stores, and the only actual Black Friday sale I attended was at the JoAnn Fabrics. (Kona Cottons were on sale! And I had a coupon!)

But we all know something else is coming shortly, right?

I’m trying not to think too much about it – I’ve got a few other things that take financial priority this time of year – but still can’t help but worry that the Elk, Saint Bernard or Deer Family I’ve been hoping/campaigning will turn up either at an inopportune moment (like last year’s Olaf) or show up as another frustrating Micro Run.

(I am kind of baffled that everyone is so convinced that this year’s special Animal is going to be a Moose. It’s not going to be a Moose, people. That ship sailed with Ghost.)

Since I’m not feeling terribly chatty today and I need to re-check my final count for the Dun Scotty contest (ha!) here’s a picture of my Warehouse Find Reissue Bear on the Bluegrass Bandit mold:

I’m kind of surprised she’s still available on the web site, but we’ve been so bombarded with new product over the past few months that maybe we shouldn’t.

She does have a few flaws and goobers – nothing I can’t live with, but if I can upgrade sometime in the not-too-distant future, I’ll do it.

There’s a higher-than-average incidence of manufacturing flaws on the Warehouse Finds/Reissues. That’s because they are/were manufactured from unpainted bodies stored in the warehouse for an indeterminate period of time, then shipped to China – and back. All that travel (in time and space!) is going to take a toll on a body, plastic or otherwise.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Trakehner Family

And… that upgrade isn’t an upgrade: it’s about the same condition as my existing piece, once I clean it up.

You’d think that after all those previous failed attempts to upgrade something good I already have into sometime great, I would have learned by now.

C’est ma vie. While I think I won’t lose any money on the deal in the end, I’ve managed to screw up sure things before.

In more cheerful news, I made some pretty good progress on the inventory over the past few days. I pulled out a few more duplicates and legit upgrades, a few scarcer pieces I really never fell completely in love with, and I’m in the process of sorting out some of my more obscure Classics.

A few of the Classics I’m letting go – more likes that never really turned to loves – but the “Trakehner Family” (from 1992-1994) is one set that’s sticking around:

There are a few reasons why. First, of course, is that there’s a Duchess in it. Second, the colors on all three molds are really well executed: the Jet Run looks especially good in Liver Chestnut, and the light, roany Dapple Gray is one of the prettiest colors the Duchess has ever come in, in my opinion.

And thirdly, it amuses me that this family was constructed from members of three completely different and unrelated “family” sets: Jet Run from the USET Gift Set, Duchess from the Black Beauty and Friends Set, and the Mustang Foal from the Classics Mustang Family.

That was borne out of necessity: this set came out at a time when there still weren’t all that many Classics molds, or at least not the variety we have today. Breyer had just started introducing new Classics molds right around this time – beginning with the Cheney Mestenos – after nearly a ten-year gap.

There was a slow trickle of new Classics molds after the Mestenos (the Western Performance Horses, some of the Nonplastics, the Draft Horse, and so on) but it’s only really been in the past ten years that we’ve seen a regular procession of new Classics molds.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bear Family Gift Set Box

I’ve been feeling a bit unwell, the weather has been cold and wet, and every time I tune in the news it’s something upsetting: it is little surprise that all I’ve aspired to do for the past few days is hibernate.

Speaking of hibernation… here’s the not-often-seen Black Bear Family Gift Set box. I was working on my inventory earlier today and found myself stopping to admire it:

In 1973, Breyer discontinued the individual members of the Bear, Deer, and Cow Families, and reissued them the following year in Family Gift Sets. Unlike the various Horse Family Gift Sets that were also being issued at the time, the Nonhorse Gift Sets eschewed photographs and aimed for a more graphic look: they were basically very sophisticated, multicolored versions of the illustrated shipper boxes Breyer favored in the 1950s and early 1960s.

The more basic one-color illustrated shipper boxes continued to be used on bulkier items that were still shipped/sold in corrugated boxes (Wildlife and Cattle, mostly) and on some Christmas catalog items, particularly ones sold via the Sears Wishbook.

Most average/normal consumers preferred photographs to illustrations (heathens!), so this packaging experiment didn’t go far or last long. The original Bear Family Gift Set was discontinued in 1976, and the Deer and Cow Families eventually switched to more conventional boxes later in their runs.

This is a shame, because all three of those original boxes – and the Bear Family box, in particular – are really quite beautiful. If I had the time and the gumption, I’d scan them and blow them up to poster size.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Updates on the Duchess Project

Neither of my attempts to get something special outta Breyer worked this week (Moritz and the latest Test Color on Roy) so yep, I resorted to eBay again for a quick – and potentially profitable – fix. 

It’s a possible upgrade of something scarce I already have. I don’t have it yet, so the jury is still out on whether its actually going to be an upgrade, or profitable. Chances are likely neither, but better than my odds of ever winning a Micro Run or Test Color Purchase Raffle, so there’s that. 

Here’s another something I purchased recently that I was quite pleased with – the Red Roan version of the Duchess Western Horse and Rider Set: 

It was both on sale and on clearance at the local Tractor Supply: the whole shebang came to less than ten dollars, tax included! Score!

And right there is the main reason why I chose to collect the Duchess mold in the first place: it’s not a particularly hard or expensive mold to collect. Here’s a sampling of the others I’ve managed to acquire this year:

I think the Grey Thoroughbred Mare and Foal set is my favorite of this group; while it’s among the most common of the Duchess releases, the shading on this particular Duchess is especially lovely.

That all these sets are still boxed was not intentional. They just worked out that way. And the Grey Mare and Foal will be unboxed when the inventory situation is settled to my satisfaction.

I’ve discovered that one of the harder Duchess releases to find, ironically, is the Walmart Sunshine Stables/Sunshine Meadows re-release of that set from ca. 2012-2013. Other releases and re-releases in that series turn up with moderate frequency on the secondary market, still boxed, but the Grey Thoroughbred Mare and Foal re-release (#755481) is not one of them.  

It’s one of the few items where I am specifically looking for the boxed version, because it’s otherwise indistinguishable from the original release. 

Getting that set in a timely fashion is not a huge concern or high priority; I wrestle with enough frustrations in my life, and I am not going to add to those frustrations by actively chasing the unobtainable. It’ll come to me in good time, just like most things do. Eventually.  

Monday, November 13, 2017

Somethings Special

Most of my “big leads” on collections this Fall haven’t pan out – which is fine, since I wanted to focus on cutting back on my existing inventory anyway – but a few more strays are still managing to make their way here, including this lovely set:

The Tractor Supply Special Run Prince Plaudit Family! See, told you that I’d find a set locally, eventually. I just wasn’t expecting eventually = a few weeks later.

(Funny how that “trick” never seems to work on Decorators or rare Woodgrains!)

I am now somewhat relieved that the Calvins were finally taken off the Breyer web site. I did feel a twinge of regret when I noticed they were gone (they are not technically sold out, just gone) but I’m glad my patience and cheapness paid off.

Here are a couple more recent acquisitions, made mostly because (a) I had money in my Paypal account, and (b) my continued lack of success with Micro Run drawings makes me cruise eBay in search of… something special.

Rare? Weird? Didn’t matter. Didn’t care. I think I did okay!

The first thing you will undoubtedly notice is the Transitional Saddle, correctly placed on a Western Horse this time, and who has a sticker!

We’ve already surmised from the existing evidence that the Transitional Saddles were from ca. 1966-1967, which is also around the same time period the small version of the Blue Ribbon Sticker was used (ca. 1966-1968). While there’s nothing “new” to learn here, it’s a nice confirmation to have. The Western Horse has some conditions issues, but whatever. Not a deal breaker in this house.

And the other? That is a Grazing Mare variation with no black points on her front legs!

Considering how long the Bay and Palomino Grazing Mare ran – from the mid-1960s through most of the 1970s – you’d think there’d be more variations out there, beyond the requisite Chalkies. But Breyer was remarkably consistent painting the original Grazing Mares through the years.

Occasionally you’ll find a Palomino with a solid face, or a Bay with four stockings instead of two, but they are fairly scarce. Even the Chalkies for those two aren’t all that easy to find.

So even though her variation is a bit on the subtle side, and she’s seen some play wear, I just had to have her.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Brown Bear Mama

I was quite pleased to finally upgrade my Brown Bear Mama recently:

And the best part – she has a Blue Ribbon Sticker, too! Not a common thing to find on the Breyer Bear or Cub, since they don’t have much in the way of smooth surfaces where stickers could stay stuck.

The original release Bear Families (both the Brown and the Black) were one of my first “big” flea market finds back in the day – that day being in 1982! My family thought I was a bit nuts.

(These are not horses. Why is she buying these things that are not horses?)

Well, for one thing, they were one of my earliest Nonhorse purchases, and old ones, too. The original Breyer Brown Bear and Cub – numbers #307 and 309, respectively – were only available from 1967 through 1971. The Black Bear and Cub lasted through 1973 as individual releases, and then as a Family Set through 1976.

Even though they were relatively “rare” they weren’t all that expensive or desirable, which was another plus for me. Old, Scarce, Exotic, yet Affordable: that was a pretty potent combination for a budding Breyer Historian!

I could upgrade or collect variations as I pleased, and not worry too much about prices or competition. While they’ve never been a high priority in my herd, I’ve managed to keep up with the releases over the years, until recently.

I still need to get the Walmart Mustang set with the Cub, and the releases from the early 2000s. None of them are hard to get: newer, shinier things always seem to come up first and get in the way.

The Silver Charm Kodiak and Denali from BreyerFest 2014 also took a bit of wind out of my sails, dashing my hopes of completing my collection: I wasn’t lucky enough to get that set, and cheapskate me certainly can’t afford the aftermarket prices.

The Brown Bear was in the roughest shape of my original four: the timing, the price, or the condition never seemed to line up properly to allow me to upgrade her. Until I was cruising for some price comps on eBay a few weeks ago, and on a whim I decided to do a bit of Bear shopping.

And there she was!

There’s also one other thing worth noting about this particular Bear: take a look at the gigantic factory molding goober on her leg where the mold mark normally is. (One corner of the mold mark is just barely visible.)

While a flaw this large usually sends a model straight to the regrind bin, the fact that the mold already had a roughly textured finish (and was not a horse!) probably allowed it to pass QC.

It’s also interesting in that it’s more evidence to the contrary that everything was so much more awesome back in the Chicago days, quality-wise.

Everything else about her is great, so I see it more as an odd little quirk than a flaw.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Funky Dappling: A Love Story

By the way, that hunch I had didn’t quite play out – there were no softly dappled Hwins at the store I went to last Wednesday night. Then I made the mistake of going to the Tractor Supply down the road, and guess what I found?

Not one, but two Chalky Hwins!

Normally I’d just buy the one and leave the other for someone else to discover, but as you can see, they are completely different. It was getting late and I have to get up unbelievably early for work, so I bought the both of them in hopes of making the decision later on.

The weekend has come and gone, and I’m still not sure which one I want to keep. Do I go with the darker one with the nicely executed polka-dot dapples, or the lighter and more Matte-finished one with the seriously askew dappling?

You’d think it would be a relatively easy decision, but it’s not. Well, not for me!

Unlike the rest of the hobby, I do not have a reflexive dislike of the newer, hand-airbrushed dappling technique. The ratio of good to bad to meh isn’t really all that different from the random resist dappling technique that was the norm prior.

You had beautiful ones. Terrible ones. Weird ones. You had lacy dapples, cornflake dapples, dapples in the mane and tail. Some were beautiful, some were awful, and some were just weird. But most of them were simply unmemorable.

A few years ago when they had some leftover Aintrees – the Dappled Rose Gray Cigar – in the Ninja Pit at BreyerFest, I almost purchased one that had to have been one of the worst hand-dappling jobs ever.

It was so bad it almost touched the philosophical definition of sublime. I am terrible at doing dapples and not all that handy with an airbrush, and even I could have done a better job. In the dark. Wearing oven mitts. It almost looked like a piece that was done to show the painters what not to do.

Terrible, yet still memorable: every now and again I’ll walk past the Aintree I did buy in the NPOD that year – a gorgeous Sample with subtle dappling and handpainted gray hooves – and lament that I didn’t rescue his terrifying yet strangely compelling brother.

Hence, my hesitation at leaving the second Hwin behind. She’s not quite as terrible as that Aintree was, but the combination of being a scarce Chalky variation with bad dappling is giving me serious pause.

I don’t think I can afford to keep both, though. I planned on listing a bunch of stuff in various places over the next few weeks, so I’ll see if it’s possible to make room for them both.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Some Early Speculation on 2018

According to a flier now circulating the Internet, next year’s BreyerFest Celebration Horse is going to be Brass Hat, on the Carrick mold:

That’s pretty much what I expected the Celebration Horse to be: a former racing Thoroughbred now living a very active retirement. On the Carrick mold!

While it feels a little unusual to get a picture of the prototype this early – nearly two months before tickets even go on sale – it shouldn’t. When you think about all the Special Runs they have to crank out in time for BreyerFest (lately they’ve been averaging about 30 distinct releases, not including the Gloss Prize Models), it only makes sense that they’d get the ball rolling as soon as possible.

Other than thinking about non-Thoroughbred racing breeds – Arabians, Standardbreds, Appaloosas, Quarter Horses, Orlov Trotters, Finnhorses et al – I hadn’t given much other thought to what we’ll be seeing in Kentucky next year, until now.

What would I like?

A Pacer, of course: preferably in a Roan or Tobiano Pinto. Gloss Dappled Black would be pretty sweet too, but I’d take that paint job on almost anything.

I’d also accept a new release of Sarah Rose’s popular resin Hambletonian.

I really, really want an Orlov Trotter of some sort: twelve-year-old me found them so exotic and pretty, and even now I still pine for one. I don’t know what currently existing mold would be most suitable however, and this is one release where I would definitely have to go picky on the execution of the dappling.

While we’re likely to see an Appaloosa in the Surprise SR mix, something that honors or commemorates Stud Spider in some way would be awesome: not only was the real horse a racing Appaloosa, it’s the mold’s official 40th anniversary next year. (Well, technically: the Gift Set was available in the 1977 JC Penney Christmas Catalog.)

A Reissue of the Sham would be fun too, especially if it comes with a Grimalkin on a Companion Animal cat. Sham is popular, the Companion Animals are popular, and the Dally and Spanky set was a big hit this year. And if the Sham comes in the correct shade of Golden Bay, even better.

Alternatively, they could just give us a Grimalkin release on the Kitten mold as the Nonhorse release! Or maybe a “Barn Buddies” Store Special Gift Set featuring one of the cats, one of the dogs, and the Goat.

I don’t know what they’d do for a Quarter Horse release. The first thought that entered my head was a Smarty Jones, since I believe the mold was planned as a racing Quarter Horse in the first place. Put him in a pretty Dilute or Dun, and I would totally be on board.

On the other hand, I could go on forever about potential Thoroughbred releases. Some of the releases I’ve fantasized about include a 12-piece Stablemates set featuring all the Triple Crown Winners, an Ageless Bronze Traditional Man o’ War to commemorate the statue at the KHP, or something honoring the famous Hungarian racehorse Kinscem.

Oh, and I want to see a return of the #36 Racehorse: in almost any color, I don’t care. They could use up whatever bodies they have left knocking around the warehouse, and that should cover the 12 to 15 of us who’d actually want one. (Gold Charm/Gold Chestnut would be great. Just putting that out there.)

The last larger-scale production BreyerFest Special Run on the Ruffian was 2007’s very popular Gloss Appaloosa Heartland. She would be my first choice as the Surprise Special, with either Giselle or Strapless as my second choice.

We’ll also likely see at least one SR on a recent Premier Club release, so I hope that’s True North. I’m not too fussy on the color or finish: I find him adorable and all of the existing releases are utterly unaffordable.

So that’s what I’d release, if I were in charge. Maybe add in a racetrack/companion pony into the mix, and another hunter/jumper for the OTTBs.

Whether or not we get any of this is another matter entirely. My prediction track record (no pun intended) has not been so great lately.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Bandit and Kohana

Funny how the flea market season ends, and things only seem to get busier around here!

I found two more of the lightly dappled Hwins at another store in the same chain I bought my original Hwin in; I left them there because, alas, I’ve been cruising eBay quite a bit over the past couple of weeks to do “research”, and the fun money fund is a little depleted.

I might take a trip to the third easily accessible one tomorrow to confirm my hunch that this chain struck gold again, getting a higher-than-normal average of the lightly dappled variations in their shipments.

On Thursday I’ll swing by another store I know has some leftover Markuses, just because I’ll be in the neighborhood and I want to look.

And sometime this week I might be picking up a few pieces off Craigslist.

Since I’m feeling a bit under the weather today, here’s another picture of another BreyerFest find this year – the Bandit and Kohana set from 2002:

They were in a box that was literally dumped in front of me in the Ninja Pit Saturday afternoon – though not intentionally or for me specifically. I think.

(Reeves has more recent pictures of me than my friends or family do, so I have a not-completely-paranoid suspicion that everyone there already knows who I am and what I look like.)

It may come as a bit of a surprise, considering how popular those two molds are today (especially the Wolf!) but the Bandit and Kohana set didn’t sell all that well when it was released as a BreyerFest Special Run back in 2002.

The Special Run lineup was pretty star-studded that year – including two Porcelain Stablemates, a Glossy Buffalo, and a Silver – so they sort of got lost in the shuffle.

It did not help that the Companion Animal line had only been introduced in 1999. While we were certainly thrilled to have a line of true Traditional-scaled animals back then, it was probably a bit too soon to throw a BreyerFest Special Run set at us in 2002.

This year, one of the briskest selling items at BreyerFest was the Store Special Dally and Spanky Set, featuring a Companion Animal Jack Russell Terrier. It had the same number of pieces (750) but sold out by shortly before they tossed the long leftover Bandit and Kohanas on the table – in the empty spot where the Dally and Spanky Sets used to be, in fact!

I thought that was pretty funny. How the times change...

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Strike Outs

Whenever I set a goal for myself, I tend to set a backup goal, just in case the first one doesn’t work out. I am always working toward the primary goal, but if the opportunity arises to achieve the backup, I go for it.

Generally, my success rate is about 50/50: one or the other gets completed, but I’m never sure which one, until it happens.

This year one of my Breyer goals was work on my Duchess collection; while I’ve managed to make a few nice purchases here and there, the backup Breyer goal snuck up on me and completed itself.

That goal was finishing my Pacers.

Aside from the QVC Niatross release (who is kind of hard to find with the original box and paperwork, which is what I would prefer) and the Exclusive Event Praline (unaffordable), all that’s left are upgrades and a few minor variations. A Test Color would be nice too, but I have a Quarter Horse Gelding used to test the Dan Patch paint job, so I suppose that’s close enough.

In the midst of catching up on my inventory, I finally had the opportunity to compare and contrast my Reissue Strike Out with my newly-acquired Original Release. The Reissue is on the right, and the Original Release is on the left:

The subtle difference in the color, and the issue of the VIN number (the Reissue has it, the Original does not) were already known to me, but I what really struck me were the differences in the head details.

The Reissue has a dark muzzle and a glossy black handpainted halter, while the Original Release has a much lighter muzzle and a matte black airbrushed halter. Neat!

As for my lack of difficulty in completing this collection, I have to say that I was fortunate to be around when all the “rare” Pacers were originally released, and purchased most of the others when the rest of the hobby wasn’t as keen on him. What I had to add here was a handful of common pieces I had not bothered to acquire before because other distractions kept popping up.

He’s still not all that popular, though I suspect his stock will rise a bit next year with a racing-themed BreyerFest. (There better be a Pacer somewhere in the Special Run mix next year. Right, guys?)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The End of the Season

The past few Octobers have been a bit of a wash at the flea market; aside from the weather becoming colder and more unpredictable, the vendors start tailoring their merchandise – and their prices – more towards tourists than regular customers.

Happily, that wasn’t (entirely) the case this past Sunday:

I could have brought home even more, but since I wasn’t expecting to find much, I didn’t bring much! There were a lot more books especially, but I wasn’t in a mood to haggle, and my sales stash is looking pretty good anyway.

The Breyers are all body quality, the Royal Doulton Pekingese and Norcrest Horse Head are from the same vendor who’s been supplying me with the quality Clinkies this year, and the Monty Roberts book is signed. Not shown: some groceries, a couple heads of cauliflower, and a big shopping bag of vintage quilting fabric.

Oh, yes, that really is an authentic, race-worn jockey’s helmet and cap.

It’s my size, too, because of course it is.

I have to admit there was some trepidation about buying that. It was not about the price – it was actually pretty cheap – but the pain and suffering that will inevitably follow.

I’ll interpret it as some sort of sign that I need to incorporate it into a costume idea for BreyerFest, because next year’s theme is “Off to the Races”, and it’s not every day that a jockey’s helmet and cap just shows up at the local flea market for cheap.

I’ll get all excited about it, and after finally come up with a “good” idea, spend way too much time fussing over the details. Then I’ll show up early, dressed to impress, and inevitably lose to someone(s) who either slapped their costume together at the last minute out of construction paper and duct tape, someone who’s costume is only tangentially related to the theme, or someone wearing almost exactly the same thing as me but not me.

And then my picture will show up either on the Breyer web site or their Facebook page.

Hey, it’s October. This is how I get in October. Winter is coming and I’m not a fan.

The latest Test Run Raffle thing – a Freckle Red Roan Quarter Horse Gelding – is also not helping. Another dangling carrot, so shortly after Cornelius?

Dialing back the depress-o-meter a bit, the flea market itself was a treat, a weird and mostly happy close to a weird and mostly happy season: there was no spontaneous karaoke, but there was a (taxidermied) Bobcat, a (live) Catalina Macaw, and some guy walking around with not one but two swords strapped to his back.

I was tempted to grab one and yell “There can be only one!” But I figured that fantasy was best left inside my head.

(I totally could have taken him, though. You know that, right?)  

Sunday, October 22, 2017


In case you were wondering if the evaluation of my finds earlier this week was correct (i.e. as a preemptive consolation prize for not getting Cornelius), it was.

I know I am in the minority here, but I still think doing purchase raffles for Micro Runs is a bad idea. Partly because I’m pretty sure it means I will never win one ever again, and partly because I do not enjoy watching the parade of ransom notes masquerading as sales ads that follows.

Rather than make myself angry, I’ve spent most of the past couple of days off the Internet, enjoying the last genuinely nice weekend of the year and working on some particularly vexing sewing projects. And unboxing some of the recent arrivals:

It’s funny that I passed up the Bear models when the surplus was shipped off to Tuesday Morning a while back, but I had a much harder time resisting the Reissue – even though, technically, the Reissue has even less detail than the original release!

(No painted horseshoes, chestnuts, or belly stamps, in case you missed them.)

Some of it, obviously, is a response to its relative rarity: there are going to be fewer of the Reissue than of the original release.

I don’t think they’ve ever officially released quantity numbers for any of these Warehouse Finds, but it’s generally been assumed to be fewer than 1000 pieces each – and sometimes significantly less. (This, in part, is based on an early hobbyist hack of the ordering system than Reeves has since fixed.)

Second, and in spite of the winking web site conceit, most of the Warehouse Finds aren’t really old stock, newly rediscovered: they’re older bodies, newly painted to look like the older releases. They are Special Runs in all but name. Special Runs, even relatively common ones (anything over 500 pieces, in this day and age) still carry a certain cachet.

And third, well, have you seen the prices Bluegrass Bandits have been going for lately? It’s hard getting a body quality one for under $30.00! Buying the Reissue seemed a safe bet, financially.

Incidentally, the flea market was great this weekend, too, but I’ll get around to those goodies later in the week.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Necessary Treasures

The flea market has been mostly a wash the past few weeks, but darn it all if the rest of the retail market is trying to make up for it. First up:

Yes, I managed to swing by one of the local participating stores yesterday, and they still had a Markus on the shelf. He’s obviously not the best of the lot – he’s got mane masking issues, like a lot of them seem to do – but considering I didn’t think I’d score one at all because of my work schedule, I am perfectly okay with that.

I’m not 100 percent sure he’ll be staying – that’ll all depend on what other necessary treasures Reeves decides to foist upon us through the end of the year – but until further notice, he’s here.

The Bubble-dappled Gray Stock Horse Mare and Black Tennessee Walker/Bear Reissues, along with the latest Stablemates Club release, are also on their way. It appears that the web site photos of the Warehouse Finds are more or less accurate, and these “reissues” are as different from the original releases as we suspected.

In other words, if you’re a fan of one of these molds or releases, go get ‘em! (FYI: discount codes work on the Warehouse Finds. So if you got one, use it.)

Oh, and this thing happened earlier in the week:

On the way home from work one day I decided to swing by one of the more upscale Salvation Army Stores, ostensibly to see if the vintage fabric that piqued my interest the week before was still there. (It was – and it was on sale!)

I had also noticed that this same store had received a fairly high quality figurine collection donation – including a (sadly, broken) Boehm. There was nothing that had to come home with me during the previous visit, but since I was there again for the fabric I thought I’d take a quick swing by the scary-clown-and-Precious-Moments section of the store to see if they had put out any fresh stock.

And obviously, they did! So in addition to the fabric, I came home with a Zsolnay Hedgehog and an early DW Hagen-Renaker Mallard Hen with extremely crisp detail.

So my luck with both Hagens and Hungarian porcelains continues!

(As for why there are so many Hungarian porcelains to be had, this area of Michigan has one of the highest percentages of people of Hungarian descent in the U.S., including me. I haven’t been to Hungary myself to visit the alleged family castle, but maybe someday.)

I’m just going to take all of these goodies as the Universe’s pre-emptive “so sorry for your loss” consolation gift stash for the latest Micro Run Cornelius, on the Brighty mold.

I’ve been trying to remind myself that I am not a fan candy corn. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s one of the candies served in the waiting room to Hades, along with Circus Peanuts, Spearmint Leaves and Ribbon Candy. 

But I am pretty sure I am still going to be disappointed anyway.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Pendulum Swings

And the hits keep on coming…

… though Fletcher doesn’t technically come out until next year, being the first Collector’s Club Special Run for 2018. This is just a pre-order announcement.

It’s interesting that they’re offering him in both Gloss and Matte, since offering that option with some of the Premier Club releases has led to some difficulties, especially when people start making returns.

Glosses run out, Reeves offers Mattes, people get indignant when that happens and then stomp over to their favorite corner of the Internet to gripe about what an incompetent bunch of doody-heads they are for not obviously making the entire run Glossy, because duh.


Part of the appeal of Gloss Finishes – separate from the “Ooh, shiny!” factor – is that it has been traditionally associated with Vintage models, especially the scarcer and more desirable releases of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The thing is that Gloss does not automatically mean rare. In many cases, it’s the Matte-finished variation of a Vintage model that’s the scarcer one. How many times, for instance, have you seen a #43 Matte Palomino Western Pony? Or a #71 Matte Walking Horned Hereford Bull?

(I got the former purely by accident, and finding the latter took… years. And years.)

And as far as desirability goes, Breyer gradually phased out Gloss in the 1960s due to collector demand for more realistic-looking models. Liking Glosses in the 1970s and most of the 1980s put you in the minority camp, for sure.

In other words, the pendulum swings. (Speaking of, someday I shall tell you about the BreyerFest where I walked around the hotel and bought every decent Chalky I could find, because nobody else was really looking at them at the time…)

I like a beautiful deep Gloss as much as the next person (that QVC Gloss Bay Justin Morgan Sherman is staring at me right now from behind my monitor) but some models look just as good – or better! – in Matte.

So I am fine with both options on Fletcher, though my initial reaction was tilted a bit in favor of the Matte. My guess is that it’ll be the scarcer of the two finishes too, but that’s only an incidental consideration.

I’m not sure if I’ll even be ordering – it’ll all depend on how well my holiday sales go. It’s a good thing they’re giving us until the end of November to decide.

Friday, October 13, 2017


And here comes another batch of goodies from the latest shipment from China…

I’ll probably be passing on the new Collector’s Club Special Run Cleveland Bay Griffin, though. It has less to do with whether I like the mold or the color (I like both, actually) and more to do with budget priorities, and space.

But mostly space. All three of the Cleveland Bays that I own currently are in storage because he’s a giant shelf hog. I can’t even think of adding a fourth until I finish the inventory/reorganization here.

Or much of anything, really: some of the deals I have passed up on eBay over the past few weeks have been killing me! And Markus is looking increasingly unlikely, simply due to logistical issues. And collectors losing their gosh-darned minds over the newest-hottest thing.

Older Brick and Mortar Specials are not that difficult to find in the aftermarket, and their prices have also not veered too far off their MSRP prices. The only exception to the rule has been the Sahran, but that is primarily because the Ashquar mold has not had a Regular Run release yet. Once that happens, I think his price and availability will fall back within the normal range for this category of Special Run.

As will Markus. Though I do not think we will have to wait as long for a Regular Run release of the Shannondell mold.

But back to Griffin. He is very similar to the 2008 JC Penney Special Run Palomino, who has a loose mane, no dapples, and different markings:

They really do like doing multiple versions of the same or similar colors on this mold, don’t they? A bunch of Grays, a bunch of Bays, and now they’ve clearly moved on to Chestnut/Palomino.

I don’t have much else to say today; I’m still trying to clean up a bit of the fallout from that rather messy start to the week. After that, I’ll try to do something creative, because I really need it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dapple Gray Stock Horse Mare: The Reboot

I’m a little short on time today (the past 24 hours – I can’t even, right now) so I can’t comment on the six new Warehouse Finds released today as a group. But this one piece though, I cannot let pass:

Technically, she’s a Reissue of the #761 American Quarter Horse Mare from 1999-2000:

…but with a somewhat different paint job. To put it modestly!

The Dapple Gray on the original #761 is quite realistically rendered, with smaller and finer dapples and extensive gray body shading. The “reissue” is more like the 1996 BreyerFest Volunteer Special Run Merlin – the Rearing Mustang, not the Resin Dragon Horse thing – in a form of Dapple Gray most of us would now classify as something in the “Decorator” family:

While Stock Horse Mare doesn’t have a huge fan base within the hobby, she does pretty well with the general public looking for a sweet, pleasant-looking Stock Mare. It’s no coincidence that she’s been featured in a number of Special Run Sets and Play Sets targeted toward those consumers, and always in strictly realistic colors.

Until today. It seems hard to believe, but this is the first intentionally non-realistic color on the Hess Stock Horse Mare.

And I love her so much. It’s like she’s covered in bubbles!

You have no idea how much I needed to see her today.

It was pretty tough not to buy her on sight, but budget says I better wait until the Stablemates Club piece gets released so I can save a couple of bucks on shipping. And maybe toss in the Black Bluegrass Bandit too, if that one is still available.