Saturday, September 30, 2017

Arrivals and Departures

The Calvins look great, the Goblins really do glow purple, and the Markuses are just arriving in stores, too. Alas, I won’t be in the vicinity of a Markus-participating store until Tuesday, at the earliest.

And then there’s the Premier Club Duende.

You already know I was not overly enthused by the arrival of yet another Andalusian to the Breyer line, when so many other breeds and types are underrepresented, poorly represented, or not even represented at all.

But as to the Duende mold itself, I think I still need a little more time to collect my thoughts. To be honest, I haven’t really had much time to give him much thought at all...

The biggest Breyer-related news of the week, of course, is not an arrival but a departure – that of longtime Breyer employee Kerstin Chalupa.

I probably knew of her a little bit before everyone else in the hobby only because my local post office had a habit of misplacing my Just About Horses on a rather frequent basis. So a month or two after the issue was mailed, I’d find myself call Kerstin again to get a replacement issue mailed to me.

(The local post office had no problems delivering any other of my periodicals. A most curious situation, it was.)

It was always a delight whenever I’d call Breyer about something else unrelated to the location of my current issue of JAH, and hear Kerstin’s cheerful voice on the other end of the line.

Aside from the fact that I knew that that meant whatever problem or issue I was having would be promptly resolved, it was also reassuring just to hear her familiar voice.

As some of you may know, I suffer from telephonophobia: it’s much better than it used to be, but you’re not going to get a phone call from me “just to talk” anytime soon!

Having someone familiar at the other end of the line is always a help, and a comfort. And now one of those someones at Breyer is going off to a happy retirement.

Don’t be a stranger, Kerstin – I’ll always take your call. Even just to talk!

Thursday, September 28, 2017


Nope Reeves, can’t make me…

I just can’t do it right now, guys. The budget says no to Calvin!

Actually, it’s more like my budget is laughing and then pointing out to me that if I really want one, I should just wait a few months when everyone who was hoping for the “Metallic Interference Blue” one tries to sell off the Bays and Chestnuts they got instead.

In the case of the previous Gambler’s Choice Classic Scotty, all three colors were more or less equally desirable: that was sort of the whole point of offering him as a Gambler’s Choice, since voting didn’t produce a clear winner.

However, the BIS Quarter Horse is not a Love Classic, and the only color that’s generating any real passion is the Blue one. (Am I the only one thinking that Metallic Interference Blue is going to be the next Silver Filigree?)

Don’t get me wrong: I’d love a Blue Calvin, too. I’ve done my share of futile blind bag groping at Tractor Supply, searching for the G4 Endurance Arabian. (When I’ve actually found any Blind Bags to grope. Sigh.)

But I really do need to focus on other things, budget-wise, and there are still a couple of recently purchased packages sitting here in the office that I haven’t gotten to opening yet, anyway. Including a grail, yeesh!

Incidentally, I am absolutely fine with the use of the Best in Show Quarter Horse; the original release’s scary bald face threw me for a loop, but the #931 Dark Bay Roan finally won me over.

Of the three “Best in Show” Classics – the Quarter Horse, the Arabian, and the Thoroughbred – it’s the Quarter Horse that’s had the most releases so far. Save for the original release and the Bay Roan, almost all of them have been Special Runs.

Only the 2010 Tractor Supply “Famous Sire” Series pieces are particularly difficult to find, though. I kind of regret not picking up the Appaloosa Prince Plaudit set when I had the chance. I’ve had some luck finding TSC Specials at the flea markets around here, so I won’t give up hope just yet.

Monday, September 25, 2017


I was doing so good this weekend: there wasn’t much at the flea market, I decided to pass on the darker Hwin and the Halloween Horse Goblin and its adorably cartoony germ-monsters (though that one was tough!), and so far no Chalky Hwins appear to have shown up at any of the local TSCs I’ve visited, yet. (More on that a little later).

But it was a long, rough day at work today, so on the way home I caved and bought that softly and lightly dappled Hwin at the local Family Farm and Home. I love how sassy she looks here: she’s obviously not giving lovesick Java the time of day!

Her other side is a little more dappled, but definitely less-so than the average Hwin. Just a couple of teeny touch ups and I’d definitely put her on my live show string, if I had one. (I am still thinking about that possibility, yes.)

It’s still too early to tell how scarce this variation – or the Chalkies – will be. Judging from the number of ones I’ve looked at so far, I’m thinking/hoping fairly scarce?

I would have bought her regardless, but it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

Incidentally, Family Farm and Home is a Michigan-based farm store chain that tends to carry a pretty decent selection of Breyers for the holidays – more than the average TSC. Remember when the first run of the Zenyatta release sold out at the Reeves warehouse just before the holidays, and everyone was scrambling to find her?

The then-local FFH in Richmond – not far out of my way, but not a direction I usually go to shop – had at least four cases of them sitting on the floor, still leftover after Christmas.

Then a few years back, the store up in Almont had at least a couple dozen S Justadreams on the shelf. I remember looking at them thinking to myself “Is this another Zenyatta situation? Should I buy one just in case?”

(Yes it was, and no I didn’t. D’oh!)

Anyway, that’s why I’m moderately excited about having one of these stores in town now: while they don’t tend to get exclusive Special Runs, their buyer obviously knows what they are doing! I’ll be checking out other FFHs for more as time and travel permits, mostly to determine if this Hwin is an aberration, or an indication of something else going on there, again.

All the Chalky Hwins that I have heard of or seen so far have been found at Tractor Supply stores, and there’s some talk that this is perhaps related to Chalky/Nonchalky situation that occurred with the 2015 Tractor Supply Special Run Jesse.

I think…maybe there’s a correlation? It could just be coincidental one: I am assuming that Tractor Supply’s purchases/factory shipments occur at the same time every year, and maybe it happens to be the same time the factory in China “chalks up” slightly flawed bodies to repurpose from production runs earlier in the year.

So, in other words, the Chalky Hwins might be a de facto Special Run for TSC, in the same way the Black 75th Anniversary AQHA Horses became a de facto Tuesday Morning SR. One of circumstance, not intent.

While I’d love to find one, I’m not going to go out of my way to find it. One Hwin is enough for now!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Infinite Variations in Infinite Combinations

The Breyer Fairy is just flat-out messing with me now.

While I was out running a few errands yesterday, I decided to make a quick stop at the new farm store in town – yes our little town has not one, but two farm stores that carry Breyers, don’t hate me – and guess what they had?

The other variation of the Hwin I’ve been looking for: a pale and very lightly dappled one. Of course!

So I’m just not going to get out of this week without buying something, is that it? (I have not bought either/any. Yet.)

I was planning on stopping by a couple toy stores in the next week (Markus hunting!), but now I’m afraid I’ll find a Chalky Hwin in one, and a Hwin with no dapples at all in the other…

But here’s a tale of me resisting temptation and showing some restraint when it comes to variations and such: so far I’ve only bought one of the Man o’ War re-releases!

They had a big pile of them in the NPOD at BreyerFest for me to choose from. Qualitatively, they were pretty much the same – I saw no glaring factory flaws or overspray. Most were more on the Matte side, but some were Semi-Gloss, too.

Circumstances made it impossible to judge relative rarity: it was at BreyerFest, shortly after the release had been released, and late enough in the day on Saturday that the sample I was working with was undoubtedly skewed. What if a big chunk of the Semi-Gloss ones were already sorted out and sold?

The safest bet would have been to buy both. But after briefly consulting with a few of my compadres in the NPOD, I went with the Semi-Gloss. It didn’t matter if he was the scarcer variation or not, he was the one that caught my eye (like that extra dark and Chestnutty Bandera!) so in my buy pile he went.

The release has been popular enough that if time and space opens up, I can get a few more.

But right now I am afeard that the space I’m trying to make in the house will now be occupied by Hwin variations.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Well, That’s Inconvenient

I guess it’s a good thing that there hasn’t been much at the flea market recently? Other than some adorable maneki-neko banks I found on a dollar table last week:

I’ve always wanted one – I even attempted to sculpt one in my Pottery class in high school – and now I have an instant collection!

And judging from the Java, they do work! 

(Incidentally, if I ever manage to snag some distressed Breyer Kittens for customizing someday, a Maneki-neko custom is high on the list. Along with the Silver Filigree, a Pink Panther, a Chartreux, a Glow-in-the-Dark Halloween Kitty…)

The problem now becomes: do I sell him, or sell someone else? The extra money would come in handy, but I haven’t been winning a lot of Web Specials lately, and rumored existence of “black panthers” are a local urban legend that I am very fond of. 

The plan for now is to sell someone else in his stead. I was already doing some herd culling anyway, so it’s just a matter of adding an extra one or two to the sales list, whenever work finally lets up for a moment and lets me do it.

In other news, I spotted the Tractor Supply Specials today, too. I wasn’t as impressed with the Lakota Black Beauty as I thought I would be – they were well-executed, but they not metallic or shimmery enough for my tastes. Silly me was hoping for something more along the lines of the BreyerFest Smart n Shiney or El Pastor Prize Model Sona. 

I found the Jacy Geronimo much more appealing in person: he had flea bites! If I happen to see an especially pretty one in my travels, or on clearance (not likely, here!) I will definitely consider it.

They also had the Mystery Surprise Stablemate Blind Bags, the same assortment as Cracker Barrel, apparently (save for the TSC-standard VIN numbers on their bellies, I assume). After a couple minutes of groping I was able to determine that none of them were the Metallic Blue Arabian, so that saved me a trip back to my car to get my wallet... 

One model I did almost pull my wallet out for was a Hwin. I’ve been doing a lot of shopping on this release; I want one that’s either exceptionally light or dark, or distinctive in some way. This one was: she was very dark, and her dapples were so insanely unrealistic – perfectly round, and covering every inch of her body – that it bordered on Decorator territory. 

I’ll be in that part of town again on Saturday, and if she’s still there, I don’t think my willpower will hold. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Like a good chunk of the hobby, I am also in love with Java:

I was hoping that they’d get around to that color/pattern, eventually. The Nokota Horse mold is an inspired choice of mold, too. It really suits him!

I am a little surprised that they decided to do a fifth member of this series, since most Web Special series only have four releases, generally. But the “Big Cats” Series was already unusual in that it was (or became?) a “yearly” series, much like the Christmas Silver Filigrees.

Is it by design, or a consequence of the complexity of the paint jobs? A little of both, I am guessing.

As I have only one official account, and space issues, and I’m trying to generate funds for the two train wrecks in the garage, the likelihood of Java coming home with me is slim.

I will not be completely heartbroken, as I was also thinking of cutting back a bit on some of the bigger/bulkier/more spatially challenging molds, and the Nokota Horse definitely falls in that category. If I get selected for one, that means someone else might have to go.

It’s not a coincidence that we’ve seen the mold so often as a non-boxed Special Run – he’s been a BreyerFest Raffle Model three times, an Exclusive Event model three times, and a Surprise Model. While other Breyer boxes can be adapted/repurposed to fit multiple molds, I believe that the Nokota Horse’s box is uniquely his own. And therefore is more expensive to get printed.

Oddly, he’s only been a “Web Special” one other time, the 2011 Cyber Monday Decorator Fall in Love. I thought it was more than that!

I’m sure he won’t be difficult to find a Java in the aftermarket, the same way the Zion and Moab set was – for a price. (The sheer number of those I saw for sale was giving me painful flashbacks to Marshall, no joke.)

If I don’t “win” one, I won’t be seeking him out.

I don’t think I’ll be getting out of the next few weeks without buying something, however: rumor has it that the Brick and Mortar Special Markus will be hitting stores this coming week, and my work schedule will take me past a few participating venues. I cannot not see him....

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Random Test Color Day: Appaloosa San Domingo

I’m tired, not feeling particularly well, work has been running long, and what little free time I’ve have over the past two days I’ve spent researching carousel horse restoration.

(The only decision I’ve made on them is that since Sparky is a Herschell Indian Pony, he needs to be painted like one – specifically, like the Brown Pinto Breyer Indian Pony, warpaint and all!)

So anyway, while I attempt to get caught up on my sleep, my bills, my mail and so on, here’s a random picture of a Test Color from one of Marney’s albums, for your enjoyment:

I have no idea where this San Domingo is, or what happened to him. I just happen to find his big old splashy spots very fetching right now. I have always preferred my San Domingos to be of the spotted variety – though I wouldn’t turn down one of those really scarce BreyerFest Special Run Buckskin Porcelains from 1999 if the price wasn’t too high…

There’s a nice old Appaloosa Gelding on eBay who has spots even bigger and splashier than that, but I am trying my best to resist the urge to bid. I doubt he will go very high, but I need fewer horses and more money right now, not other way around.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Cliff Diving 2: Sparky and Jules

Still trying to process this….

Yep, I bought two carousel horses, including the screamy guy I kind of fell in love with. His legs are a mess, but dat face! 

Technically, it’s more like pieces of two carousel horses, but the better and fancier horses went for better and fancier money, and the prices for these guys were in the “moderately desirable Web Special Run” range.

I still can’t believe I did that, though. It feels like I just bought two real rescue horses and now I have to make arrangements to get them taken care of, ahhh….

No, actually, feels more like last year when I took that chance on the Chasing the Chesapeake Event. I was mildly to moderately terrified at the enormity of the task ahead of me, but it turned out wonderful in the end.

This will too.

If this does anything, it will motivate me to do that serious herd thinning I’ve been putting off. Partly because I’ll need the money to get Sparky and Jules all fixed up, and also to make a place for them in the house.

(Can you guess who is who?)

I’ll also probably be abandoning a lot of my customizing and craft projects because cripes almighty, I just took on the two biggest craft projects ever…

(Not the quilts, though. Quilt projects are carpool-friendly.)

Breathe girl, breathe.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Literary Aspirations

The book sale on Monday was better than I expected – I ended up doing a nice little “restock” on my own sale books and added a few to the personal collection, including an older (but not a first edition) copy of Tschiffely’s Ride. It’s kind of beat up, and without a dust jacket, but I can live with that:

I know it’s still in print, but I’m a sucker for older editions: they tend to be cheaper than newer editions, and just as sturdy, if not more so. Chances are if I hadn’t picked it up, it would have gotten tossed into someone’s “decorative book” pile anyway, and that weirds me out to no end.

I’m not as averse as some are to using books in crafting (the “altered book” movement) but the idea of buying books strictly as decorative objects is not something I will ever be (or need to be!) into. If I’m going to have “pretty” books on the shelf, I want books that I would also want to read or find useful.

Another book in that stash was a more recent copy of Will James’s Smoky. I only bring it up here because I’ve been meaning to get the illustration that Chris Hess clearly modeled the Traditional Smoky on, because it’s not one easily found on the Internet:

(Not the best quality, I know…)

As to why Chris selected this pose and not the others, I’d suggest taking an online looky-loo at some of the other original Will James illustrations from the book: this pose was probably one of the easiest to adapt to injection molding!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Rising Above

I do not have much to offer today; I’ve spent most of my extended weekend cleaning and organizing things, with a little bit of crafting on the side to break the tedium.

It rained this morning too, so there are no fun new “finds” to overanalyze. This is for the best I suppose, with that carousel auction coming up next weekend, and a possible mini road trip later in the week for a garage sale.

So here’s a picture of one of my BreyerFest finds, a nice example of the 2003 BreyerFest Rugged Lark Special Run of The Lark Ascending. He was cheap, he was in mint condition, and he was signed. He didn’t come with his teeny-tiny “Certificate of Authenticity”, however.

The last year they handed out certificates for the larger run BreyerFest Specials was 2006. The practice is now reserved primarily for prize models; as much as the hobby loves and lives for its paper documentation, it was stunningly impractical to hand out certificates for models with piece runs in the hundreds or thousands.

I kind of wanted The Lark Ascending that year, but when I managed to get a really good place in the line for a change, the two porcelains – the Othello Galway Warrior, and the Stablemate Seabiscuit – took priority instead.

The Lark Ascending has been a backburner want since then. They did a nice job on his color, with extra shading and metallic undertones to add a bit of sparkle to what could have been another ho-hum Bay paint job. The more I saw him, the more I thought Yeah, I think I need that guy.

The release exists in that strange state of being both relatively rare (only 500 pieces) and somewhat undesirable (being on the Rugged Lark mold). While it wasn’t hard to find one for sale, finding one at a price I was comfortable paying was the real trick. Physical rarity alone is not, and should not be, a guarantee of an elevated resale price.

And then this guy turned up during my late Saturday CHIN shopping marathon, at a price I literally could not walk away from. Sure, he didn’t have his little certificate, but I have gotten used to coming home from BreyerFest without them.