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.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

QVC Justin Morgan and Candy Apple Bay

All those Calvin pictures are making it very hard to resist hitting the “Buy Now” button. And I’m really warming up to the Bay, which shouldn’t be a surprise, considering who is my favorite BreyerFest find this week:

A lovely Gloss Justin Morgan on the Sherman Morgan mold, one of the many Special Runs done for QVC in 2002 – and another one of my Saturday afternoon NPOD finds, box and all.

It’s funny that of all the Sherman Morgan releases that there have been – many of them being Decorators of the “over the top” variety – it’s this relatively sedate Gloss Bay that’s finally made me “get” him.

Or it could just be the color. One of the handful of Traditional Silvers that I’ve kept is the BreyerFest Special Run Valentino, who comes in almost the same shade of Glossy Shaded Bay.

I sometimes refer to it as “Candy Apple Bay” even though, ironically, I don’t particularly like Candy Apples. I’m more of a Caramel Apple person. (I am neutral on the addition of nuts, sprinkles or chocolate drizzle.)

I briefly considered putting him on my saleslist – I am dead serious about getting the horse pile up in the office under control, and almost no one is safe – but once I popped his box open again earlier this week, I knew he was a no-go.

I have only one other Revised Sherman Morgan mold – the 2014 BreyerFest Silver Filigree Celebration – but I doubt I’ll be going crazy trying to play catch up with the mold anytime soon. Too many of them are on the unobtainable side, anyway.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Calavera and Decals

It was too darn cold to go to the flea market Sunday morning, so I channeled that early morning energy into cleaning the office and reorganizing the storage boxes I ravaged my way through just before BreyerFest, searching for various pieces for assorted purposes.

And paperwork. There’s always paperwork to do!

While I didn’t get to see a Markus today, I did see a Calavera – the new Dia de los Muertos horse on the Ethereal mold. I was somewhat indifferent to the release initially – in terms of Decorator Ethereals, I don’t think much can top the BreyerFest Special Run Times Square – but the sample I saw at BreyerFest made me reconsider.

I had heard some horror stories about decal issues with the Calavera, but I didn’t see anything significantly wrong with the example I saw. There were the usual bits of overspray and rough edges you’d see on any of the more complex paint jobs, but the decaled areas looked clean and smooth to me.

I left him behind, for a couple of reasons. Aside from wanting to stick to my budget, future condition issues were weighing on my mind. Extensive decals are a relatively new decorating technique, Breyer-wise, and how well these models will age is unknown.

The earliest decaled Breyer, incidentally, was in the 1950s: some Breyer Canadian Mountie sets sport tiny Drewrys Beer decals on their saddle blankets. Whether it was a formal Special Run that was produced at the Breyer factory, or something that Drewrys cobbled together for their own promotional needs, I don’t know.

If Breyer did manufacture it, Drewrys would be one of a small handful of companies/licenses that have done/did business with both Breyer and Hartland. (Hartland did a lot of promotional beer signage, including Drewrys.) Another topic to add to the research list!

I don’t have the Drewrys Mountie, but I’d love to get one eventually: my step-grandfather was a delivery driver for Drewrys, way back when. You’d think our proximity to Canada would make finding Canadian Mountie memorabilia a little bit easier to find, but alas, this isn’t so.