Sunday, April 30, 2017

Midnight Blue

It’s water over the dam at this point, but I wish Reeves had waited an extra day to post the Scotty offer. It doesn’t seem quite right that a lot of people who had to wait a day for their paychecks to clear on Friday found themselves out of luck.

The sellout would have still happened in roughly the same amount of time, but the distribution would have felt a little more even-handed.

The release of the newest Web Exclusive Mare and Foal set, Fiona and Rory, seems like small compensation:

This little bit on the web page is interesting:
Their inky coats shimmer with just a touch of midnight blue iridescence.
That’s something new! Or at least something I had not noticed before. (Like the fact that my birthday was also National Superhero Day. How did I miss that awesome fact for 20-some years?)

Reeves has been issuing Black horses with metallic or iridescent undertones for a while now; Gwendolyn came out in 2005, the Web Special Stock Horse Stallion Summer Solstice in 2009, and the lovely Weather Girl Thunderstorm in 2011.

All of those releases were more of a gunmetal gray, and not “midnight blue”. The photographs on the web site are not helpful: Fiona and Rory don’t look any different from the standard, solid Black seen on models like Rhapsody in Black, the Fell Pony Emma, or the Classic Standing Thoroughbred.

That means one of three things: the photographs depict Preproduction pieces without the added “bling”; the iridescence is subtle and/or hard to capture in photos (like a Chalky!); or the photos – like so many of Reeves’s other photos – just aren’t that good.

Experience tells us that the third option is the safest bet, but we won’t know until they start showing up.

It won’t be here, anytime soon: I didn’t order these either. The next time an obligatory Club purchase comes up, I’ll definitely give it some thought.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Odd Person Out

Funny how this always happens right after I pay my bills:

They made a Gambler’s Choice out of the Classics Swaps they asked us to vote on last year, and the one I liked – the Dun – didn’t make the cut. I figured the Dun was a long shot anyway (Matte + Solid), but to finish fourth in a field of four?


If there’s any silver lining to this cloud, the absence of my personal favorite makes it easier to walk away from a deal I would have had to walk away from regardless. The possibility of Reeves pulling a silly on us and issuing a few Duns as chase pieces in Scotty’s run isn’t enough motivation, either.

Then to make me feel even more like the “odd person out”, there’s the Special Edition Liberty, on the Silver mold:

I’ll give Reeves credit for managing to come up with a color that the Silver mold hadn’t come in yet. It’s similar in concept to the Lone Star Experience Fighting Stallion from 2009, the Rearing G2 Arabian from the same event, and the 2013 BreyerFest Special Run Lady Phase Twill.

But yeah, no on this one too. While the paint job is pretty, I’m not a member of the Silver Cheerleading Squad. Put that same color on the Rearing Stallion and we can talk...

This point seems a bit silly, but I am also annoyed by the copy on the promo flier:
Everyone knows that any American cowboy (or cowgirl) worth their salt owns their fair share of jeans – both for riding and for evenings off the ranch boot scootin’!
I don’t know why Reeves is so enamored of line dancing – there have been two different releases to bear the name Boot Scootin’ Boogie, including a Regular Run Justin Morgan in Black and a BreyerFest Raffle Model Brishen in 2013.

However, as someone who shares a house with a dog with various digestive issues, the term “boot scootin’” conjures up some less than pleasant memories.

(Though I would not mind getting the Justin Morgan one eventually. That mold looks good in Black!)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Semi-Gloss Buffalo

Another recent addition to the family:

A Semi-Gloss – or Glossy, depending on who’s looking – Buffalo, with pink hand painted nostrils and lips.

He has a few condition issues, but he’s got a great provenance: he (and his brother) were a part of that odd stash of models from Chicago that sold on eBay a little while ago. Back when most of them were still being listed in smaller batches or even individually – and thus somewhat affordable to the likes of me.

All of the listed models appear to have been manufactured prior to 1966/7, and from some of the oddities and anomalies that were visible in the photos – and later in person, via my purchases – it’s apparent that this collection was that of a former employee or jobber.

These were not your run-of-the-mill mid-1960s Breyers!

These Buffaloes have all the indicators of being really early releases, including the absence of a USA mark and the Semi-Gloss/Gloss finish. Since the Buffalo debuted in 1965, it is most likely that they are simply first-batch runs, but the circumstances in which they were found raises the possibility that they might be Photographic Samples, Salesman’s Samples or even (though most unlikely) Test Colors.

The more time I spend examining my purchases (including a Jumping Horse and a couple of Poodles) the more I regret not upping my bids on the ones I lost. Clearly there was an interesting story here I would have loved to uncover, but the seller was either unwilling or unable to offer more.

And certainly I couldn’t afford more – especially the giant lot that was thrown together after the first batch, consisting of all the previously unpaid lots and a Donkey sporting a yellow(!) Elephant’s Howdah tossed on top: a gold-plated maraschino cherry on one of the most expensive sundaes ever.

Auctions like that make me wish I could somehow structure a small hobby history syndicate to keep the collection in situ long enough to research, photograph and document it, before releasing it back into the wild.

It wouldn’t work for a number of reasons (trying to imagine the custody battle over that Donkey alone, yikes!), but the history that gets lost when collections like that are sold like that keep me up at night wondering what if…

Friday, April 21, 2017

Decision, Decisions

Hey there cutie pie!

Now this is interesting: it looks like they made a conscious effort to cover all the bases with the Stablemates this year. There is one Solid (Vivaan), one Pinto (Mishti), one Appaloosa (Tushar, above) and one Pintaloosa (Anaya). Two Gloss finishes, two Matte. Two “older” (G2) molds, two newer.

Although the general consensus is that this year’s lineup – all around, not just the Stablemates – is a pretty good one, there are unhappy customers out there.

There are always unhappy customers. It’s human nature. Heck, I’m disappointed in Reeves all the darn time, though usually on matters that would make most hobbyists scratch their heads and go “She’s complaining about what now…?”

(Like the fact that they can’t see to parse that Vintage Gloss Honey Bays should have Black hooves, not Gray ones. It’s not that complicated, guys!)

As much effort or thought as Reeves puts into anything – BreyerFest Special Runs or otherwise – there’s going to be somebody complaining that it’s either all wrong, or not enough. (This time I guess Tushar has some anatomy issues?)

I’ve been trying to be better about not letting that kind of stuff bother me, but it’s been a stressful week, and Vita has been very Vita this week. All I want to do most days is go ooh, pretty horsie!

Anyway, as someone who is generally pretty happy with the options this year, but who is also in the process of paying for a lot of delayed maintenance items (like the radio) I’m finding myself facing some tough decisions on what I want to bring home this year.

The Surprise selling out is a given, but whether I want it or not will depend on what mold it is. On the other hand, I’m fairly sure I want the Shannondell Vahana, who will also be a likely sell out. That is the only one that really worries me right now.

But after that, things get fuzzy. I think the Yasmin Kaalee and the Cow Diwali will also sell really well, and I love them both, but can I wait until the leftovers? It’ll depend on the production quantities.

Namaste is the wild card: much like last year’s funky Pegasus, I think she’ll be much more popular than the initial public reaction suggests. And like the Pegasus, I kind of want her, but I’m not going to deny someone else the opportunity if she’s their first choice.

I also want the Store Special Repeat the Beat and the Elephant Holi, both of whom will probably sell out. The Bluegrass Bandit mold – in any release – is almost impossible to get at a reasonable price right now. The Elephant is one of the more popular Nonhorse molds on eBay recently, if my recent research is accurate.

Whether I get either one of those is dependent on what my itinerary will be in Kentucky, and from what it looks like right now – especially with the Man o’ War stuff going on – I might not be able to make it into those respective sales areas in time.

The others I’ll have to see in person before I make a determination. (Except for any potential Crystals. I break things!) It’ll also depend on how good my room sales are, and that is partially dependent on what treasures await me at the flea market this year.

(It opens this week. Yay!)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hey, Who is That Guy?

This week we’re getting a look at the One-Day Stablemates; Reeves was kind enough to give us silhouettes for all four on the ticket ordering page today:

Gosh, why does that last one (named Tushar) look so familiar?

Oh, that’s why: it’s last year’s Beautiful Breeds Ornament Gypsy Vanner!

Last year I decided to sell off all of my Breyer Christmas ornaments except for the Carousel Series and the Angel Fillies; with Vita around, nothing that goes on a Christmas tree is safe, especially delicate little porcelain or resin creatures with very edible legs.

And also because of my clumsy self, as I was rather unpleasantly reminded of this weekend: I was wrapping up some old paperwork and somehow managed to staple myself almost deep enough to require a trip to an emergency room.

(BTW, I am fine. As the kind of person who can manage to injure herself while reading, I am very familiar with the contents of the family first-aid kit.)

So yeah, minimizing my contact with easily breakable things is a good idea.

I never got around to acquiring any pieces in the Beautiful Breeds Series, though I wanted to: there are some genuinely beautiful little sculpts there. I was hoping that they’d eventually get around to translating them into a more Vita- and Andrea-proof substance, as they did with the little Spirit Series Esperanza last year (as the Premier Club Mini Geronimo, and the BreyerFest Sao Paulo).

It looks like that might be happening!

I’m hesitant to pencil Tushar onto my shopping list just yet, though. I had to buy a new radio for the car over the weekend too (LONG story, but no injuries!) and while it wasn’t all that much money to replace, I’d rather not think about spending any more money right now.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Indu and the Missing Polo Pony

And the final Special Run in the Ticket lineup is a Valegro, in a Dapple Gray paint job designed by Tom Bainbridge:

I have a funny feeling that Indu might be another Chanel or Galahad – BreyerFest Specials that were both quite fine-looking in their early PR photos, but on a whole other level in person.

I haven’t bought myself a Valegro yet – the Regular Run release, the Gold Chestnut one, last year’s Raffle Model Cinza (ha!) or one of the pre-release Samples (that I am pretty sure they still have leftovers of, somewhere).

I want to be more excited about Indu, but I’m trying to reconcile myself to the smaller budget I told myself I had to stick to this year – and hoping the Surprise model is not Legionario!

By the way, I don’t think the Bollywood Surprise is going to be a Polo Pony like everyone else seems to believe. I have a feeling if we are getting one, it’ll be in the form of the Classic Polo Pony and in the Pop-Up Store, since that’s where they’ve been relegating Classics-scale/sized Special Runs.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the original Classics Polo Pony – BreyerFest 2008’s Patagonia was the last – and there have been only four official releases, total. The original #626 Bay ran from 1976 through 1982, and came with or without socks (the sock-free variation seems to be a bit scarcer). The other three were some shade of gray: Patagonia, the 1994 Show Special Silver Comet, and the 1998-1999 Regular Run release #733 in Dappled Rose Gray.

While I’ll give them credit for making each one of these grays distinctive – something they sometimes struggle with other molds and other colors (Traditional Hanoverians in Bay, ahem) – seeing the Polo Pony in other colors would be a welcome change of pace.

Unless it is the same shade of Dapple Gray as Indu.

That would be fine. Totally fine.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Another Unexpected Thing

And here comes another unexpected thing, in the form of Diwali:

We’ve had years with more than one Nonhorse Special Run: 2002 comes to mind, which gave us the Glossy Buffalo Choc, and the Cougar and Wolf set Kohana and Bandit.

Since we already had one announced as a Pop-Up Store Special (Holi the Elephant) and one as a part of a Store Special (Dally the Jack Russell Terrier, in the Dally and Spanky set), having a third Nonhorse as a Ticket Special seemed unlikely to me.

There have been numerous small Special Runs on the Cow, but most of them have been variations of the original five releases – Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss, Guernsey and Ayrshire. The one deviation was the 2008 BreyerFest Special Run Simmental Cow and Calf Heidi and Edelweiss.

Aside from being in a new (for her) color, Diwali is an entirely different finish from all other Breyer Cow releases too: she is both Glossy and Chalky. No other official production release of the Cow has ever been Glossy, and although there are a handful of Chalky Holstein Cows floating around the hobby, she’s so rare that chances are good that you have never even seen one.

As someone who makes her extra hobby cash reselling flea market finds, I’ve found that the Cow (even the common Holstein) is also one of the quickest and easiest of Breyer molds to resell. Whenever I’m lucky enough to bring one to sell at BreyerFest, it’s usually one of the first things to leave my room.

So even though the past few Nonhorse Special Runs didn’t sell out in Kentucky, I have a feeling that Diwali might. That adorable red and gold blanket doesn’t hurt, either!

Reeves is making it very hard for me this year, and extending the deadline for Early Bird tickets by a couple of days is not helping.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Bollywood Surprise

I’m up to my elbows in tax paperwork and Spring Cleaning here. (The latter somewhat ahead of schedule and against my will.) So it seems like a good day to engage in a little BreyerFest speculating, it being the last week before the Early Bird Deadline and all.

(In spite of my insistence that I wouldn’t, I know.)

Things the Bollywood Surprise won’t be: Othello, Silver, Lady Phase, a Mare and Foal set, or a random assortment of molds. It probably won’t be a Nonhorse mold or the Marwari, either. The former because most people attending BreyerFest want horses, and the latter because I just can’t see them doing that.

They kinda-sorta promised us a Polo Pony of some sort in a blog post back in January – in fact, it was one of the first “hints” they gave us – but I think that’s what makes it unlikely to be the Surprise, in whatever form it takes. There are still a few more Special Runs to go, and Reeves has a habit of saving the most obvious ones for last – like they did with the Gloss Dapple Gray Percheron Versailles, for the French-themed year.

The “Bet you'll never guess which model this is!” clue makes me think it’s a Vintage mold we don’t see very much or very often anymore.

The theory wouldn’t necessarily exclude Legionario (introduced in late 1978), who is the current popular choice for the Surprise.

But wasn’t one of the Chinese factory escapees a while back a Translucent Running Mare? That’s where I’ll put my imaginary betting money, then, since (a) last year’s Surprise assortment included a Translucent Deco, and (b) a Running Mare would be plenty surprising.

Nobody ever expects the Running Mare!

Other than a few Auction pieces, she’s never made an appearance as a BreyerFest Special Run. The majority of her production releases have being either Matte or Solids (and usually both) so in spite of the fact that she has come in over 30 distinct colors over the past 50+ years, there is still a lot of room for experimentation.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


And here’s our BreyerFest Decorator, Namaste:

I love the base color – a pearly pale Gloss Palomino similar to the 2008 Christmas Goffert Noelle – and the mehndi designs themselves are beautifully executed and complement the mold’s contours. Nice job, Lauren!

I figured we’d get a model with some mehndi tattoo designs, but I thought it’d be a Classic, and sold in the Pop-Up Store/Tent of Despair – like the Bandana-themed Broncos from 2013.

Rejoice is of the few molds that’s been made into a Celebration Horse twice: 1998’s original Rejoice, and slightly modified (with the addition of “boy bits”) as 2010’s All Glory. She also appeared as a Ticket Special in 2005, as the scarce and lovely Gwendolyn.

(The other Celebration Horse two-timer is Smart Chic Olena: 2006’s Joker, and 2013’s Smart and Shiney.)

Rejoice was last seen as a part of the 2014 Warehouse Reissue craziness, with the Buckskin Madison Avenue being reissued as a “National Show Horse”. The last true/original Production Run was in 2012 for the Passage to the Pacific Exclusive Event Like Thunder (an underrated Special Run, in my opinion).

The Rejoice mold is more popular with younger collectors than old, and who seem to be a little less bothered by her tipsy ways. I haven’t had much problem with that issue either – both my Gwendolyn and my Like Thunder have been display regulars for quite some time here, without accident or injury.

Her tail is a bit goofy, but as someone with hair issues myself, I am not unsympathetic to others also having a bad hair day.

Alas, I decided late last week that – barring extra tickets that mysteriously appear in the mail or get slipped under my door at the hotel – it’s going to be a one-ticket year. I was pretty circumspect with the spending money last year, and the surplus I came home with sure came in handy, especially when Chasing the Chesapeake rolled around.

Kaalee is a must, but Vahana is also gorgeous, and Darjeeling is so shiny and spotty... and we still have a couple more Specials to be revealed! We still have yet to see the One-Day Stablemates, the Surprise Model, the second Raffle Model, and the rest of the items for the Pop-Up Store, too.

Oh, goodness.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Going for the Gold

FYI: I don’t know any more about the Man o’ War Special Run than anyone else. Classic or Traditional? Plastic or Porcelain? New mold, or old? Lower piece count, or higher?

My guesses: Traditional, Plastic, piece count of at least 500 – though probably more, if the KHP is already “advertising” it. It may even be something open-ended (reorderable), if they intend on selling them through the rest of the Man o’ War Celebration.

I have about a dozen variations of the original #47, so I’d be perfectly fine with another gussied-up Reissue. Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me, just as long as I get one.

Speaking of Reissues, there’s the Diorama Prize to talk about….

I know I’m not the only one who took at look at Sona and thought “Hey, isn’t that Tesoro?”

The original, inexplicably popular (to me) #867 Tesoro was a garden variety Breyer palomino, right down to the four airbrushed stockings and gray hooves. In an era when an average release would get two years, Tesoro got four – from 1992 through 1995.

I like the El Pastor well enough that at one point I ended up with at least a half dozen variations of the original Red Bay release, and I have several others – a couple of the Blue Roans, Escondido, the Black Pinto Desperado, the rare Raitliff no-star Special Run among them.

But never the Tesoro, because he held no appeal to me – in fact, he felt like just another generic release in an era of Breyer History chocked full of them.

Clearly, I was in the minority.

Sona is not really a Reissue, literally or even technically: his markings are different, his mane and tail are pearly, and he’s dappled. And he’s likely to be even more different in person than the publicity picture shows: since his name means “gold”, I suspect that he will also be a bit more metallic in person.

I wish I could get more excited about him, but he’s a prize in the Diorama Contest.  I’ll give it my best shot and dutifully craft an entry I feel prize-worthy, but I’m not going to clear any shelf space in anticipation, either.