Monday, July 31, 2017

Meanwhile, Back at the Flea Market...

I am feeling a lot better today; I’m finally caught up on my sleep, cleaned up the office a bit, and even puttered around with some of the craft projects. (I decided to go with “carousel horse” on the Ponies body, since I already have a Unicorn in process. Nothing too fancy, probably in either the Looff or Dentzel style.)

The first official day back at flea marketing was also good. And weird.

Like, spontaneous Neil Diamond karaoke and two people arguing over the price of a monkey’s skull weird.

I had to periodically remind myself that I was not on a movie set, and that the things I was overhearing were not scripted. (And if you knew the demographics of this flea market, that’s not necessarily a good thing, but I digress…)

Here’s a small sample of what I found:

These three Royal Doulton Spaniels came out of the same estate as that box of Hagen-Renakers, so I’m guessing they’re the same early 1960s vintage; the two adults have been out of production since 1968. Even more exciting, the vendor told me he hadn’t finished going through everything in that estate yet….

Other findings included a Hollohaza Goose, some assorted china miniatures, and a fairly nice older #3123 Breyer Deer Family. There were actually two sets of Deer to choose from, because that is just how this flea market rolls; the set that came home with me was (a) a better deal, and (b) came with a story that might lead to a Vintage Breyer-filled adventure later in the week.

More actual Breyer stuff, next post. I still have some serious unboxing to do!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Dark Bandera

The end of this post is going to be a bit of a downer, so I’ll lead with something that is not: the first item that I officially unboxed, after BreyerFest:

A beautiful, Chestnut variation of the Bandera that I found in the NPOD on Sunday! He really stood out from all the other Banderas there – most of them tended to be a more middle-of-the-road patinated copper – and after circling the sales floor a couple times, I realized I couldn’t leave him behind.

I was planning on getting a Bandera anyway. I was hoping for something from either end of the spectrum – something dark and Chestnutty, or bright like a newly-minted penny. Nothing locally was really doing it for me, until I found Mister Tall, Dark and Chestnut!

He has a couple of minor goobers, but I’ll get around to fixing them eventually.

I also figured getting him was a safer bet than taking a chance at getting a Gloss Saffron. I actually liked the Gloss Saffrons more than the Gloss Indus; for some reason, most of Breyer’s recent Duns don’t do a thing for me until/unless they are glossed, and the Saffron was no different.

But my luck with getting extra special or glossy things at BreyerFest hasn’t been all that great lately, so the Dark Bandera it was….

Now for the slightly bummer part of the post.

I had a major system crash – of myself! – on Tuesday, and I’m still recovering. Basically I came home from work, made a few phone calls that didn’t end well (yep, the Kaalee is gone, gone forever), and then all of a sudden the physical, mental, and emotional baggage of the past couple of weeks fell on top of me.

I had to lay down on the couch and basically didn’t – couldn’t – move for a couple of hours. I’m functional now, but still a bit shaky and trying to take it easy, occasionally medicating myself with homemade brownies.

I think what pushed me over the edge was that I was trying to cheer myself up reading online articles about the value of finishing in second place, and happened to stumble upon this article:
In an article published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, Jerker Denrell of the University of Oxford and Chengwei Liu of the University of Warwick reported on experiments that modeled the results of a game played in many rounds. Over time, the most skilled players came to inhabit a second tier of reliable competence. Those who succeeded spectacularly — who took their places in the first tier — were often not the most skilled, but rather were those who got some lucky breaks early on or took big risks that happened to pay off.
Yeah, that’s exactly what I did not need to read: research that actually confirms that second place finishers tend to be more skilled, but less lucky.

This isn’t so bad if you look at it from a business perspective: in the long run, being a consistent high performer is probably better than being a flash-in-the-pan success. You’re still getting some compensation for your effort, as well, though it might take a little longer to accrue.

Being a second-tier placer in winner-take-all competitions like BreyerFest contests, however, offers no such comforts or delayed compensation. Either you get the pony, or you don’t get the pony.

Nevertheless, I had recovered enough by yesterday to dig something out of the body box. Let’s see what comes of a Ponies body I rescued from the flea market recently….

Something in either the Unicorn or Carousel family, I think?

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Most Meta BreyerFest Item Ever

Here’s the other “grail”:

The BreyerFest Showcase Arena Deluxe Playset – perhaps the most “meta” Breyer product ever – especially when one buys it at BreyerFest itself!

The irony of finding it is that I’ve been thinking of selling off most of my Mini Whinnies collection. Partly because I haven’t had a chance to keep up on the newer releases but also because, to be honest, Mini Whinnies have been selling really well on eBay and I could really use that money.

But this BreyerFest Set is staying, regardless. It’s silly, self-referential, and it makes me smile every time I see it.

And here’s the kicker: you’ll never believe where I got it!

Saturday afternoon in the NPOD. For reals. 

My schedule didn’t allow for any trips inside the store until then. I was hesitant at first to even go in, because there was still a line to get into the darn store. I figured everything that was worth getting was already gone at that point, including the Store Specials.

I had about 30-45 minutes to kill, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to look, correct?

Well, imagine my surprise when I just happened to wander in while they were actually putting out new goodies! So that part was truly no lie, this year at least.

I also managed to pick up a Bandit and Kohana Cougar and Wolf set, a 2002 QVC Gloss Bay Sherman Morgan/Justin Morgan, the two Store Specials, and a pretty Semi-Gloss example of the Classic Man o’ War Anniversary Reissue.

Not a bad haul for an impulsive late Saturday afternoon shopping spree.

Friday, July 21, 2017

To The Dogs

I am about 98 percent unpacked (just a bit of unboxing and unwrapping, really) and I can confirm that my Kaalee is definitely AWOL.

Sigh. Every year there’s some sort of BreyerFest-associated loss, and I suppose $65 worth is getting off cheap, but still not any fun, no way…

I’ll call Breyer on Monday to see if there was a Kaalee that ended up in the Lost & Found – maybe she fell out of the bag before I even left the Horse Park? – but I’m not holding out much hope.

Anyway, as promised, here’s the two interesting doggies I found, one of them a grail. First up, a Basset Hound in that early 1970s “weird white” plastic. It’s a little hard to see in photo, but he’s definitely different in person:

I’ve struggled with what to call this particular class of models – Semi-Chalky? Off Whites? Weird Whites? I like the term “Milky White”, but Milky is sometimes used to refer to Woodgrains and other early Matte-finished models where the clear topcoat has started to turn opaque.

I was rage-shopping at the CHIN on Saturday when I found him, so anything that was that odd and that cheap was coming home with me, regardless.

It’s generally accepted wisdom among the hobby pros that one does not find worthy things to buy at the Horse Park, outside of the NPOD and the Pop-Up Store. For the second time in three years, though, I have managed to find a treasure. This year, it was a hand-airbrushed Saint Bernard:

(Standing next to his more conservatively painted cousin, of course. Who is also an earlier piece, just not as early…)

I found out about the hand-airbrushed Saint Bernards a couple of years ago, while doing a completed auction search on eBay. I suspect that these dogs are a lot like the early Jasper the Market Hogs, which were also hand-airbrushed until the painting masks were complete.

The airbrushed Jaspers are more common because he was just more popular mold in general: the original Jasper ran from 1974 through 2000, with multiple small Special Runs in the 1980s sold directly to breeders (more or less).

The Saint Bernard had a more modest but still respectable ten-year run, from 1972 through 1981. But in spite of a couple newer releases – Brandy in 1995-1996, and the BreyerFest Special Run Beethoven – the mold still isn’t setting collector hearts aflutter. So while I wasn’t too worried that I’d have to pay through the nose when I found this obscurity, I’m glad I found one this year, when everything else didn’t quite go my way.

And he wasn’t the only grail I achieved, but we’ll get to that one next time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rest and Recovery

Still physically and mentally unpacking; both will take the rest of the week – possibly longer on the mental part. But I’ll get to that part in a minute.

Here’s the diorama, in case you missed it:

Yes, the cookies were edible. But they didn’t help: you’re looking at another in a long line of nonwinning entries. Judging from the reaction of everyone that saw it, I really thought I had a shot this year.

Then again, I think that almost every year.

I am now seriously considering putting my effort into either the Live Show or the Customs Contest. I am hoping my obsessive detailing will serve me better there, because it’s obviously not doing the job in this contest.

And I’ve been meaning to do more of both – customizing, and live showing – in the near future anyway. Perhaps my latest diorama failure will be my motivation.

Although I did manage to snag a few grails and oddities – including a couple of very interesting doggies you’ll be seeing very soon – there were no other special prizes, Raffle wins, Glosses, Samples or extreme Rarities for me, either. Just the Volunteer Special, who I think is lovely, though many seem to think otherwise:

I got all the Ticket Special Runs that I wanted, but of the two Bollywood Surprises I snagged, both are Matte Buckskin (I wanted Buckskin – but I didn’t need two!) and I didn’t realize until last night that my Kaalee – one of the Special Runs I was most looking forward to! – was missing.  

I’ve lost only one other model at BreyerFest before, but that was a flea market find 25th Anniversary Secretariat with a partial box: in other words, no great financial or emotional loss.

But losing the Kaalee? Man, I didn’t even get to open up the bag and get a good look at her! I am majorly bummed.

If this patch of rough luck continues, I’ll probably miss the leftovers sale in a few weeks, too. Sigh.

On the positive side, everything else executed according to plan. There were no major travel hassles (other than the Cincinnati traffic), sales were pretty good (though I didn’t sell many Traditionals, oddly), the weather mostly cooperated, and I got to meet most of the people I wanted to meet.

So, in short: while the trip was fine financially and logistically (more or less), it took a little bit bigger bite out of me emotionally than I expected.

But I got lots of love, attention from you all, and a few tokens of affection that were most appreciated (and still mostly unpacked). You guys have no idea how much that all means to me.

I’ll try to post with a little more frequency this week, but I’ll be spending most of the rest of my time recovering, offline. Bonus pic of Vita, looking like how I feel right now:

(BTW: she sleeps like that all the time. Stinker.)

Friday, July 14, 2017

BreyerFest 1990: Page Three

The third and final page of Sue’s BreyerFest 1990 report.

The Benefit Auction was a mix of stuff – some Tests, some historical/archival items, and Regular Run items that people bought just to nominally donate to the Misty Foundation.

It’d be a couple more years before the Auction would morph into a strictly Test Color/Factory Custom thing, with all other items going to the Silent Auction.

And before you get all excited – or depressed – about the auction prices, remember that this was 1990. BreyerFest tickets that year were $35 (I think ?) and the average, Regular Run Traditional would set you back $15-20.

For a variety of reasons, I never went – or even entertained the thought – of going to BreyerFest in 1990. I was in one of my rare hobby “lulls” – I was still buying the occasional model, getting Just About Horses and other newsletters, but not terribly active in any other sense.

Although I did attend BreyerFest in 1991, and volunteered at a Breyer Event in Ohio that year as well (a PEZ convention was involved! A very long story…) it wouldn’t be until 1992 that I got back into the swing of things.

And it all started with a phone call from Breyer. But that, too, is a very long story….

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

BreyerFest 1990: Page Two

As this posts I should be on my way south (more or less – construction on I-75 will be making things interesting, of course).

Since my brain is more or less fried from prep and other things, I’ll just be posting the two remaining pages from Sue Sudekum’s BreyerFest 1990 account. Here’s page two:

Worth noting: condition and quality issues on the Celebration Horse (all Breyer models since the beginning of time, to be honest).

Also, I miss the food they served at the earlier ‘Fests. It wasn’t chef-quality, but it was decent, and a nice gesture.

BreyerFest got too big for that sort of thing to continue, and some of the griping and moaning about the food probably didn’t help. (Honestly, you’d think we were being served prison food, the way some people complained…)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Ruffled Feathers

It was another excellent day at the flea market – not “Hagen-Renakers in a shoebox” great, but no complaints. Most of it is heading for the sales boxes, if I can make it fit. This little bit of ephemera, however, is a keeper:

A vintage postcard from the South African Feather Company – a company that manufactured custom plumes for horses. And other (less innocent?) things, I presume; I found it in a box of risqué postcards, photographs and other naughty things in brown paper envelopes (which is apparently not the cliché I thought it was!)

(And in case you were wondering, most of it was 1950s-level tame.)

Speaking of feathers, there’s been some rustling thereof with the posting of this Auction Lot:

Many hobbyists were assuming that the Polo Pony version of the Smarty Jones mold was going to be the Bollywood Surprise, since Reeves has been dropping hints about a Polo Pony SR since the beginning, with nary a one in sight. Since it has been a while since they put one of the Surprise rarities in the Auction...

He seemed a little unlikely to me, since last year’s BreyerFest Early Bird Raffle was the Smarty Jones Polo Pony Polomar. It still might be a Polo Pony of some sort, but it might be on a completely different mold that has multiple mane and tail options.

(So maybe now Strapless? My speculating skills have been pretty off lately, so take that for what it’s worth.)

Anyway, still prepping. And still not anywhere near ready, but whatever gets done, gets done. (Actually, the diorama is almost done – it’s just the centerpiece item that needs to be finished.)

Incidentally, here’s my Vintage Club Family Arabian Stallion – I got Florentine!

I was hoping for a Gold Charm – I’ve been hoping for Gold Charm Family Arabians for years! – but the Florentines in this batch have been very nicely done.

Although Wedgewood Blue is my favorite of the four original Decorator colors, I have no preference when it comes to the modern interpretations. As long as I end up getting a nice mix of Blues and Golds, I’m good.

It’d be pretty awesome if they, at some point, offered the Mare and Foal up so we could complete some family sets. I’m not sure that’s going to happen, though: the Foal has its fans, but the poor, homely FAM gets little love outside of my house….

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Time Is Not on My Side...

Due to some last minute commitments and technical issues, it doesn’t look likely that I’ll be doing the Costume Contest this year. I might wear a part of it during BreyerFest, but it’ll depend on my time and energy, and it doesn’t look like I’ll have a lot of either to spare in the next few days.

On the flip side, I am very pleased with my Diorama entry! I am hoping to have it completely – or almost completely – done by the time I leave Tuesday morning. That will be a nice change of pace.

The itinerary for next week isn’t too different from the past few years’: a Tuesday afternoon arrival and setup, and focusing mostly on selling rather than buying. I will have a huge body box (again) and a pretty decent selection of goodies to sell, from cheap to not-so-cheap. (But mostly cheap.)

I kind of liked having that one “big” find like last year’s Man o’ War, so I’d be open to making another purchase along that line, though I can’t imagine what that’d be (Marshall, at cost? The SR 1980s Black Appaloosa POA? A Test Color Duchess?) I’ve made some pretty good finds in the past year, so I have no urgent need to score anything spectacular.

Though if it happens, I won’t complain.

Since I have to get back to the prep, I’ll leave you with an amusing bit of ephemera I picked up very recently (as in, over the weekend):

(As always, click to enlarge.)

I might post the other two pages of this vintage hobby humor by Sue Sudekum during BreyerFest, if I can find the time...

(FWIW, 1990 was the only year I did not attend, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy. But it seems pretty legit to me.)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

And Then, This Shoebox Turns Up...

Well, that was a pretty spectacular start to the flea market this morning, as I found it:

Yep, that’s four Monrovia Hagen-Renakers in a shoebox, including a DW Arabian Foal Fez, a Buckskin Quarter Horse Stallion, and a Bay Thoroughbred Mare and Foal.

Except for a tiny flea bite on the Foal, all mint. The shading on the Mare is especially pretty, too!

I don’t normally brag about the prices – or at least, give them out – but since those four aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, this time I will.

Five dollars for the whole box!

I nearly passed out, quite literally. As in, I had to lean against the car for a moment to steady myself. It’s about the best find I’ve had in years, in terms of cost-to-value.

I find the occasional broken or chipped H-R, and there are always a few Miniatures floating around somewhere – I found an Eaglet to match my Bald Eagle last week, for instance – but Hagens of this age and quality are a real rarity for me.

I knew I was about due for some good Clinkies (well, more Clinkies after the Boehm Schnauzer) but ooh boy, I was not ready for this. I would have been happy with a box containing their Breyer counterparts, for the same price. And those I could have sold, at least….

(FYI: All the other non Hagen bits are coming to Kentucky.)

The rest of the flea market was pretty darn good, too. No Breyers, but just about everything else a girl could hope for, including a cute Walker-Renaker Dog, another piece of Aquarium Furniture, an odd little wooden purse made out of an ancient cigar box and a plastic suitcase handle(!) and a beautiful little oil painting of a woodland scene that looks straight out of Tolkien. (But isn’t. Probably predates it by a couple of decades.)

So yes, a very good day at the flea market. The kind of day you want to capture in a bubble forever.

Back to my prep.