Monday, December 31, 2018

Just Super

There’s no obvious or lengthy discussion to be had over the following photograph; I simply unboxed my Emma and wanted to see her with her sister:

There have been a lot of Breyer models that have used the tail as an actual or potential point of contact – from the Fighting Stallion to Lady Roxana, to Llanarth True Briton and Silver, and a host of Stablemates – but I think Emma is my favorite. With other molds it’s quite obvious that the tails are the way they are as a concession to the design, but with Emma it’s far less obvious, and more naturally integrated with the design.

I’d love to see more of her in 2019, though I am fearful that they’ll just make her either a Glossy Prize Model, a Micro Run, or a Diorama Contest Prize, all of those things being beyond my reach, typically.

Best not to think about it, really.

Speaking of BreyerFest, I just noticed the BreyerFest ad card included in the box of my CC Appreciation order is actually comic book-themed:

Ben-Day dots, and an unironic and actually appropriate use of Comic Sans? Be still my heart! Is it too much to ask the One-Day Stablemates to be interpretations of the Super Friends? It probably is.

Outside of Western-themed comics, horses as comic book characters are a bit of a rarity. Dell did have a series of comics featuring Fury, Trigger, Silver and Champion, with the latter three featuring sweet Sam Savitt cover art. And there is, of course, Comet the Super-Horse, whose history is weird and complicated even by Silver Age standards but I love him anyway.

That, combined with the much needed scheduling changes they announced a couple weeks back, are making me reconsider my position on participating in any contest-type activities at BreyerFest this coming year. I was going to wear a cape for the heck of it, anyway…

But I’m still way behind on all my other (non-hobby) projects, so at this point, still not. Probably.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Bacon and ... Golden Corn?

These fellows arrived a day early:

More or less what I expected on both.

Even though I would have preferred the Green one – or the black Brighty, ‘natch – the color on my Gold Othello is very similar to the Perlino Duns I keep missing out on, so there’s that. The shading is softer and more natural looking than the Blues or the Greens (which, duh, makes sense!)

I won’t be pursuing trades or outright purchases of the others, though. Aside from not being able to afford it, I’m kind of in the middle of my end-of-the-year cleaning and purging phase: my mind is more on what I want to sell, rather than buy.

(I was pretty proud of myself, being able to walk out of the Tractor Supply Breyer-free on Wednesday! I’ll regret it later, more than likely…)

Plus space: Othello’s a big dude, and I’ve already been told the fireplace mantel is off-limits!

I do feel kinda sad about some of the Othellos that will now be resold, for the sole sin of not being a Solid Black Brighty. Gotta hand it to Reeves for turning the hobby’s general disdain for Solid Black paintjobs on its ear: first the BreyerFest Dark Horse Surprise, and now the Coal Brighty!

I would have bought the Santa Surprise regardless, and pretty much did.

The Brighty was a nice gesture, but ultimately unnecessary: selling out would have just happened slightly later in the day. I know some people have suggested that a Glossy Black Othello Unicorn would have been even better or more appropriate, but I personally think if that had been the case, it would have ended in tears and bloodshed.

Hawthorn is… interesting. The woodgraining is a little more subtle than I expected, but not out of the range for a vintage Woodgrain; I have a Shetland Pony with similarly low contrast graining.

I was also kind of hoping he’d have a dark drip mark on his underside, as the vintage ones do. Since they’re using a somewhat different technique now compared to what they used back then, and that drip was a consequence of the original technique, that was perhaps asking a bit much.

Some less seasoned hobbyists who might not yet have experienced vintage Woodgrains firsthand might have perceived it as a flaw too, and make a fuss accordingly.

One last little factoid before I call it a night: the last production Woodgrain – the #931 Fighting Stallion – ended production in 1973, and the Jasper mold was introduced in 1974. Since they would have been testing colors on him in 1973, vintage Woodgrain Jaspers are theoretically possible, but unlikely.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Aftermath

Interesting Day, wasn’t it?

I almost missed out on the Christmas Othello-corn: I got up at 8 a.m., poked around the Internet for a bit, then I decided to go take a shower and make myself an English Muffin. I log back in at 8:45, and…

At first I thought I was getting punked when I saw it. Three Unicorn Othellos, the fever dream of thousands of Unicorn- and Othello-obsessed tweens? Was Reeves actually trying to crash their servers today?

Nevertheless, I had been looking at the Xaviers the last few times I visited our local independent toy stores, and I had spent a longer-than-normal time staring at the Mini Brishen Virgil ornament at Tractor Supply when I stopped by last week to shop for some long-sleeve t-shirts.

And since I hadn’t bought the previous two Christmas Day Specials, and any individual Othello SR with a piece count under 1000 is generally a good investment, it was a no-brainer.

I didn’t even notice the part of the offer about the “12 lumps of Coal” Brighty until later. If I actually get one, I’ll be over the moon (or in the ER!) but I’m good, regardless. (Or should I be bad? Not sure how the math of this works out.)

I’m hoping for the green Othellocorn because I’m weird, but all three colors are lovely. Speaking of green...

I got lucky and my Fruitcake Fillies, miraculously, were not twins: one green, and one blue! I was slightly less lucky when it came to the CC Appreciation model. Not the Paint Me A Pepto I was hoping for, but the other pinto, Kodi:

I guess I was right about it becoming more plentiful, eh?

Factoring out the desirability aspect – the Shire being the most desirable, and the Marabella the least – it appears that the five Glosses had similar piece counts, which is how I think it should be, ideally. Drives me bonkers when people make purchasing decisions based purely on piece counts: just because something’s rare doesn’t make it automatically desirable! (And vice versa.)

As a parting shot before I get ready for bed – a ton of post-holiday errands to run first thing in the morning, followed by a matinee of Aquaman – here’s another pretty pony that I made my acquaintance with today:

Emma was one of the items that made up my CC Appreciation order, and probably the one item in that box that I was most looking forward to! She had been available locally and I had been tempted many times, but I thought I’d save her up for my order, just in case.

So now, for what will inevitably be a brief moment, my Emma collection is complete. (Tomorrow will be De-Boxing Day here.)

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Stablemates, Stablemates Everywhere...

FYI: since I received an unexpected – but nonetheless, very welcome – bit of extra Christmas money, Hawthorn is coming home, after all. Yay!

In other news… Reeves is really going all-in on Stablemates next year, huh? And Unicorns. And Unicorn Stablemates….

First, I continue to be impressed by the offerings for the 2019 Stablemates Club. The Gambler’s Choice was revealed to be the Highland Pony – and all four colors are awesome:

Glossy Perlino Blanket Appaloosa sounds like something created by a Random-Special-Run Generator app, and I’m 100 percent in favor of it. (The Stablemate itself, and an App. If someone out there has the potential to do it, make it so!)

I don’t know exactly what’s going on with the Decorator blue-purple-gold snowflake one, but I am intrigued. Was it just a happy painting accident, or based on something – a gemstone, I presume? Curious to know what they call it, too.

My favorite of all the reveals so far has to be the G3 Belgian Priscilla, in Matte Gray Appaloosa with a teal tail ribbon:

Like Charcoal, Gray Appaloosa is another Vintage color that transitioned to Matte only on the Family Arabians. Unlike Charcoal, Matte Gray Appaloosa has shown up since the Family Arabians, most notably the 1980s Hess Stock Horse molds.

Matte finishes have been a part of Breyer’s repertoire since ca. 1960, and many Vintage Matte-finished models are considerably scarcer than their Glossy counterparts – like one of my current obsessions/grails, a Matte Black Large Poodle.

But with the All-Glossy, All-The-Time crowd being as vocal as it is, I don’t see Matte Gray Appaloosa making a huge comeback, either as an independent release or even in the Vintage Club.

This is a shame, because I think a lot of molds – new and old – could really rock the look. (I need a Western Prancing Horse in this color, stat.)

Being the Vintage advocate that I am, it genuinely makes me feel out-of-sorts with my fellow hobbyists, and also makes me feel like I’ve failed as a Vintage Breyer advocate. (*sniff*)

Glossy is great, but seriously, not everything is improved by it. Period.

(And don’t even get me started on the “everything needs a basecoat” crowd!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


When we were kids, we used to make jokes that if Publisher’s Clearing House ever came to our house, they’d never be able to use the “Happy Winner Gets a Giant Check” video in their promos because the first words out of Mom’s mouth would be something along the lines of “It’s about (****) time you got here! Do you know how many stamps Ive spent on your contest?”

Then she’d grab the Giant Check, mutter “Well, thanks, anyway” and then unceremoniously close the door on them. End of footage.

That was the first thing that popped into my head when I read this e-mail I received today:

Considering the number of very kind offers to purchase the Hawthorn of others (thank you all for offering, incidentally) I almost got the feeling that they only got to my name because they’d run out of everyone else. By now, the only other accounts left on the list are ones in people’s pets names whose owners already been selected on their human accounts.

(I kid… but only slightly.)

(No, incidentally, Vita doesn’t have an account.)

I am happy, but conflicted about it. I’ll give myself a day or two to decide.

Another conflict: the Collector’s Club Appreciation Box arrived yesterday. Open now, or open Christmas Eve, as planned?

I will probably wait until later, only because opening it means cataloging the contents, and since I bought a lot of Stablemates, that could take some time – time that I genuinely don’t have right now.

(This week: I need to bake cookies for a party, take my car in to get a melted wiring harness replaced, get caught up on three weeks worth of emails, finish the mountain of financial paperwork on my desk….)

I am also conflicted about the news that the solution to the order mishaps is going to be… make more models Glossy?

I have a feeling this year’s two-step system was set up to better track their inventory, but if only the “complete” orders were counted before it was declared “sold out”, that could potentially mean hundreds of incomplete orders could have been logged in during the interim.

(I have no idea. I am just speculating on the numbers here.)

If it were just a dozen or so added to each run, I wouldn’t be that concerned. But if it ends up being 40-50-60 of each, that will seriously skew the production numbers that some hobbyists base their purchasing decisions on. While I happen to think that hobbyists place too much emphasis on rarity over all other factors in determining collectability, it is still a factor, nonetheless.

I kind of hope they go the Logan/Colton route and Gloss up a sixth model to cover the mistakes. Same quantity or slightly more, if necessary.

All I hope is that they do release the revised numbers, because changing the quantity just doesn’t affect the present or future value, it also created live showing documentation issues.


Let’s end on a happier note – I am pretty psyched that a movie I’ve been wanting to see for a while is getting rebroadcast on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday: You Never Can Tell! It’s about… well, here’s the most succinct summary I found:
Beginning with a far-fetched premise—cracker tycoon leaves fortune to dog—Lou Breslow’s movie swiftly plunges into full-on derangement, as the dog is reincarnated as a detective and tasked with solving his own murder, assisted by a reincarnated lady horse.
There’s a trip to Animal Purgatory, Dick Powell eats dog food, and his sidekick – the former racehorse – flirts with other horses. As a person.

In other words, my kind of movie!

And it’ll be a nice change of pace from the usual holiday movie reruns.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Charcoal Lady Phase

Taking a brief break here from another project with a hard deadline (how did I get so busy in December?) so I’ll get back to the Collector’s Club Appreciation stuff another time, when I’m a little less stressed and less likely to voice some of my thoughts in the form of ALL CAPS, anyway.

In the meantime, here’s something short and sweet that will make everyone happy: I found those pictures of the Matte Charcoal Lady Phase! They are not the best, but that (for once) is not my fault:

After the Family Arabians were discontinued in 1973, it’d be nearly 20 years before we’d see another production run of a Charcoal, with 1992’s Gloss Charcoal Memphis Storm.

There are a few other Charcoal Test Colors and Oddities floating around that also date from The Great Charcoal Interregnum, though as with most Test Colors from that period, it’s hard to tell whether they were done to actually “test” for the color’s possible return, or someone (like Marney) simply wanted a Charcoal something-something.

(I know if I had painting booth privileges, I would have painted my share!)

I can’t offer any context for these photos, other than the fact that they predate the arrival of Memphis Storm by at least a few years, and Marney may have/probably had something to do with her.

Where this Lady Phase is now, I have no idea. I’d snap her up in a heartbeat, for the right price.

(Charcoal + Lady Phase + Vintage Test Color = No gonna happen.)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

There’s Another Fine Mess

Happy National Day of the Horse! And Collector’s Club Appreciation Offer Day!

It’s a surprise which one you'll receive, and they are all beautiful, exclusive pieces!  Will you get a lovely glossy Shire?? Or will your surprise be the beautiful Paint Me a Pepto in high gloss finish? Or superstar athletes PVF Peace of Mind and Cobra sporting high shine? Or a glossy Kodi Paint horse? We know you’ll enjoy each one of these lovely models! 
I had a sinking feeling that they’d do this today. Dare I leave the house? Can I hold off on grocery shopping until tomorrow? Is a quick run to 7-11 in the cards?

Fortunately I managed to catch the offer only about an hour after it went up, and I had already written up several theoretical orders ahead of time so I could just zip right on through my order…

Well, first I spilled my Diet Dr. Pepper Big Gulp on the kitchen rug. So I had to mop that up first. (Vita helped.)

Then I ended up typing my web site password wrong a couple of times, resulting in me cussing up a storm and Vita giving me a very concerned look. (Though that also could have been a “Do you have any more of that deliciously-flavored crushed ice to throw on the floor?” look.)

I filled out my “first choice” order, and started to panic because one of my items was, for the love of everything Cellulose Acetate, now on sale. Fortunately the discount wasn’t huge, and my order still comfortably met the monetary threshold. Whew!

So I followed the instructions in the e-mail and on the web site to the letter – Mom used to be a big couponer back in the day, and I had it drilled into me that you always had to be super careful about following the wording on offers exactly – since I had been waiting all year for this I made darn sure I did not screw it up!

I added the Appreciation Horse to my cart, which added $150.00 to my order. Then I typed in the redemption code, which subtracted the $150.00 from the order, and proceeded with my order as normal.

Checked my order (see above) and everything looked peachy keen.

If I had a choice in the matter, my preference would be for the Paint Me a Pepto, because I have been eyeing a nice Semi-Gloss one at the local Tractor Supply for a while now. But really, they all sound nice and I’ll be happy with any of the five. And I get a bunch of stuff I had been wanting, besides! (I ordered more than the Tote, obviously.)

After all that I decided to check out what the rest of the hobby was doing/thinking/ordering, and…

Apparently it was raining fire, cats and dogs were living together, and ice cream now tasted like aluminum siding.

What the heck, my peoples? I didn’t think it was that hard or obtuse!

I mean, yeah, I practically ran a Ninja-style obstacle course to complete the offer (did I forget to mention that I almost ran into a tree this morning?) but most of that’s on me. I’m big and clumsy and kind of shamble my way through every day that way. Today was only slightly more chaotic than average.


I don’t know what’s going to happen with the mess; I am assuming that all orders that had the code for the offer, but not the actual item entered might be corrected. (Though if you did screw up, or thought you did, contact ‘em ASAP.)

I’m guessing that the ability to buy the model without the purchasing of other things was a design flaw that will not be repeated. Logically you’d think most people, in the absence of finding anything they would want on the web site for themselves (unpossible!) would just use the purchase requirements as an opportunity to get Toys for Tots donations, PIFs and items for people who don’t have CC accounts, saving themselves the extra $25 or so in the process.

I am not sure what they’re going to do with people who took “the expensive route”. That’s a “spirit of the law” vs. a “letter of the law” kind of problem, and I am not a lawyer. The web site let them do it, and I didn’t see any specific wording that forbade it, though I didn’t look that closely.

I don’t know what they will do, though I certainly wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall in their offices Friday morning…

Monday, December 10, 2018


Believe it or not, I just opened up my Vintage Club San Domingo Roman. Not for lack of wanting, but… you know, long stories.

Of all the 2018 Vintage Club releases, Roman was the one I was most ambivalent about. In spite of my love – or maybe because of – my fondness for the Medicine Hat Pinto pattern, I’ve had surprising difficulty finding just the right #67 to add to my herd.

Though this difficulty hasn’t soured me on the mold itself, as I appear to have quite a non-San Domingo San Domingos hanging around this joint: the no-spot Appaloosa Oxydol, the 1994 BreyerFest Bright Zip, the original Montgomery Ward’s Special Run Black Gold from 1985, the QVC Special Run Traveller, and the Happy Canyon Trail Horse Domino…

I even contemplated buying a 1997 Volunteer Model Moccasin at one point, when one came up on the market a few years ago at a not-unreasonable price. I am very fond of my Commemorative Edition Domino, and having his Buckskin “twin” had a pretty strong appeal to me.

Until I looked at my bank account, and came to my senses.

Another point of ambivalence I had with Roman was his color: it was extremely similar to the Sham Quinn from the year before. There were significant differences – Quinn had dappling, pearlescence, and a less extensive pinto pattern – but releasing two models in such similar colors in two consecutive years felt odd to me.

Then a third point of contention came out of the blue earlier this year. I learned that my Grandfather Louis Jankowiak was good friends with a man named Roman.

Specifically, Roman Gribbs. Who was, for four years, the Mayor of Detroit. Someone with a rather complicated historical legacy.

Finding out – twenty years after his death – that Grandpa Louis was ice-fishing buddies with the Mayor of Detroit was (and continues to be) kind of disorienting, and I’m still not quite sure how or what to think about it. It certainly explains some things, but still leaves other things a mystery… (not all that unusual for that side of the family, to be honest.)

But then I opened my Roman today – because it was that kind of day – and most of my ambivalence was washed away, at least for the moment. Gosh, he’s pretty!

Sometimes a pretty horse is a pretty horse, and it should be left as that. There’s no need to make it complicated, or conditional.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Nice vs. Need vs. Reality

No Hawthorn, either, but I am neither surprised nor mad.

Annoyed, maybe. This is the third year in a row that the Holiday Animal has been unavailable to me, regardless of my feelings on the matter.

Generally these runs haven’t been hard to find in the aftermarket for a whole lot more than the original asking price; so I will do what I did with the previous two, which is wait for the prices to drop and/or my interest to increase.

At this point he’s more of a “nice to have” than a “need to have” kind of model. “Nice” can wait.

I was just thinking that my luck on drawings was especially bad this year, but I made a quick list of all the purchase raffles that took place this year, and I managed to win two of the eight: Kaibab, and Rialto.

The two Gambler’s Choices were a draw: I had a chance to get a Koh-i-noor, but hesitated, and I did get the Silver Filigree I wanted of the Callahan, where I didn’t. And I did get the Rare Matte (the Black) of the Dark Horse Surprise at BreyerFest, too.

Yet I had to basically give away the Rialto (wasn’t a good moment for me financially; things are better now); the Scottsdale Stampede was a bit of a bummer because I had a whole slew of people who wanted to go with me, and amazingly nobody among us was selected; while I love my Dark Horse Surprise Black, I haven’t gotten a Gloss in the BreyerFest Gambler’s Choice since 2012 when the buggers were actually rare-rare, and that’s really starting to annoy me; and let’s not get started with the Blind Bag Stablemates nonsense….

I know, I know, it’s all relative. There are people who literally get drawn for nothing ever, and me with my one measly account does okay.

Yet… I look online and am reminded that while luck may be random, it is also unevenly distributed. And makes me wish that maybe there were less Darwinian ways of selling or distributing some of these niche Special Runs.

Back to the Stablemates thing for a bit, before I high-tail it to bed.

Apparently many – if not most – of the folks who took the opportunity to purchase two Fruitcake Fillies per order, rather than one, are finding themselves with doubles of the same color.

And are assuming that this is either a display of something devious, or incompetent (or both!) on the part of Reeves.

I think it is just a somewhat awkwardly executed holiday joke, involving the immortally questionable status of fruitcake.

(For the record: I am not a fan. But I do like dried and candied fruit in general, so I consider myself persuadable, given the right recipe.)

Knowing that most hobbyists would take the bait and order two, maybe they saw giving us two of the same meant that we’d have the opportunity to choose the better of the two, and pass along/swap the duplicate?

Hey, it’s the holiday season, I’m trying to think charitably here!

It doesn’t feel like something worth getting worked up about, regardless.

My two arrived yesterday, and I still haven’t changed my plans to open them on XMAS Eve. If I get two of the same, I'll deal with it then, the same way I deal with other awkward Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Old News, New News

Whoa, lots of news today.

Finally got another reveal on the Vintage Club – the (mostly) Gloss Charcoal Shannondell Claude!

This is old news for me, but probably just about the hardest to keep on the down low, especially when I saw so many hobbyists saying… some less than nice things about the Vintage Club program.

I am especially pleased with the added dash of randomness, with the addition of 30 Mattes in the mix. It also makes sense: historically, Matte Charcoal releases have been far scarcer than their Glossy counterparts.

They just seem less rare because the models most people think about when they think of Matte Charcoal are the Family Arabians. And Family Arabians, themselves, are almost the very definition of not rare.

Earlier Gloss Charcoal releases like the Running Stallion, Mustang and Fighting Stallion didn’t make the transition to Matte like the Family Arabians did. Since the Family Arabians were discontinued in that color in the early 1970s, the vast majority of Charcoal releases have been Gloss, not Matte.

(Though Matte Charcoals as Tests and Samples aren’t completely unknown. There is a Matte Charcoal Lady Phase in one of Marney’s photo albums that I would definitely elbow someone over.)

Ironically, it appears that most folks are of the opinion that getting the Matte version of Claude would be like getting the proverbial lump of coal in one’s Christmas stocking.

Of course, I want him, but I’m not going to pay extra if I receive a mere Gloss. Just because something is technically rare doesn’t necessarily mean it should have a price to match.

(I’d love to have a Gris Gris, for instance, but I don’t plan on spending much above his issue price when I do take the plunge.)

I am more conflicted about what appears to be the Holiday Animal release, a Woodgrain Jasper named Hawthorn:

That was not what I expected. The Woodgrain part is great – I’m all for more widely available new Woodgrain releases – but I’m confused about it being so large a run (350 pieces) for a piece that caters to a very narrow niche. This feels like it should have been a Micro Run, or at the very least a First-Come, First-Served piece like the previous two Animal releases – the Longhorn Bull Olaf and the Gold Charm Cow and Calf Eldora and Sol.

Oh, I’ll enter the Purchase Raffle, but the way my luck goes with these things I won’t get picked anyway. So I’m probably safe either way?

Not going to sweat this one, regardless.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Opinions On Fruitcake Are Always Divided

My week ended rather well, and there was money in the Paypal account. So dear readers, I bought them:

I won’t know which ones I get until Christmas Eve – that’s when we open gifts in these parts, even the ones we buy for ourselves. Although the Green one is my favorite, I’ll just be happy to get two different colors.

The Fruitcake Fillies are, of course, a reiteration of the 2013 BreyerFest Special Run Birthday Cake Stablemate – in Coral, Blue, Green and Purple, instead of the original Pink.

Releases like these are the reason I abandoned my attempt to create and standardize Breyer color descriptions. The web page describes it as thus:
The Highland Pony sports four different fruit-inspired looks for the holidays: metallic pearly purple, blue, green, and coral appaloosa. Each has a shaded coat, high gloss finish and multi-color spotting.
So would I call it Candy Sprinkle Appaloosa? Fruitcake Appaloosa? Frosted Animal Cracker? Purple Monkey Dishwasher? Or simply go with what I was using before, Decorator Birthday Cake?

There’s been some consternation over the price of these ponies – $24.95 apiece – but it is comparable to Stablemates Club releases, and not much more than BreyerFest One-Day Stablemates. These are all releases that have four-figure piece counts, while there are only 500 pieces of each of the four different colors.

And while I am not an advocate of treating your models as investments (in fact, quite the contrary!), Stablemates in general – and lower piece run Stablemates in particular (under 2000 pieces) – have tended to be better-than-average in that department.

If you like them, buy them. If you don’t, then don’t. Or wait, and hope the price drops eventually. It might, it might not.

I had no idea Flockies would ever be the big deal that they are, and I don’t regret one bit not buying the ones I could have. They just were not my thing.

I have what feels like a million and one things to do this weekend and I suppose I should get cracking on that list ASAP, so that’s all for today, folks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Pinto Roemer

Managed to survive Cyber Monday unscathed, as well. So far the only other item that’s tempted me in the past couple of weeks’ worth of sales and promotions – aside from the Benasque and the True North mini – was the Let’s Go Riding – English Set with the pinto Roemer, who was on sale several days ago or so.

I make no apologies for loving the Roemer mold, but I haven’t bought this set yet because it’s diggity-danged expensive – only a pittance less than what I paid for my Test Color Roemer:

I mean, yeah, the set comes with a boatload of stuff, but even this Roemer fangirl has her limits. Though if nothing else comes through for me through the end of the year, I may swing by one of my local independent toy stores and buy one as my “holiday present to myself” thing.

Incidentally, one of the few things I did accomplish over the long, lazy Thanksgiving weekend was to clean off my desk – of both crumbs and paperwork! One of the things I found in my to-do pile was a post about Roemer’s sculptor, Jeanne Mellin Herrick.

She was one of Breyer’s most prolific sculptors in the immediate post-Hess era, sculpting six new Traditional molds in the space of five years:

  • Sherman Morgan (1987)
  • John Henry (1988)
  • Roemer (1990)
  • Misty’s Twilight (1991)
  • Pluto (1991)
  • Friesian (1992)

In spite of their anatomical irregularities, some of them – especially the Sherman Morgan and Friesian – still have devoted fanbases. In recent years, most of these molds have also seen a second life or three in gift sets and holiday releases designed for younger hobbyists and casual collectors.

(The Friesian got two releases alone, this year: Harley, and the Let’s Go Riding – Western Set!)

What’s nice about loving a mold less desirable molds like Roemer is that he’s an easier and more affordable mold to collect. So far the only Roemer out of my reach is the Chicago Exclusive Event Centerpiece model Wadsworth.

On the other hand, Reeves’s marketing strategy with these molds has had the benefit of boosting the visibility – and ultimately, the popularity – of these molds with the general public.

Which could lead to more releases in the future, but also the possibility of more unobtainable models like Wadsworth.

(Worth it. Probably.)

(Note: yes, a longer and more detailed post about Jeanne Mellin Herrick will be coming soon.)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Anecdote Vs. Data

I somehow managed to escape all the Black Friday sales unscathed; we’ll see what Cyber Monday brings. (Nothing, I hope. Other than the snow, and that is completely out of my control.)

I know nothing about the situation with the Brick and Mortar Gloss Kodis now turning up. I am assuming that Reeves, knowing that many of us completely lose our heads over anything Gloss, is just randomly glossing the last bits of the Kodi stock in an effort to make space in the warehouse for the 2019 models.

As such, I don’t think they’ll be excessively rare, and nothing to get hot and bothered over. And if they are, they still aren’t worth getting worked up about.

I have also pretty much given up trying to figure out Reeves is doing, in regards to their marketing. After being obtuse about the Benasque’s color, being almost completely opaque about the Vintage Club models, revealing two of the releases and silhouettes of the other four molds for Stablemates Club ones, the straight-up weirdness of the Bay Bristol reveal, I’m ready to tap out and use my brain power on more rewarding things, like lottery number algorithms.

Some of this is undoubtedly because of the new blood that’s come in recently, some of whom are from well outside the model horse community. That in itself is not a bad thing, but you’d hope they would have already evaluated the approaches that have – and have not – worked in the past.

Or maybe they have. A point in their favor is that we’re working from anecdotal data, while they have hard sales data.

When I have had access to some of that sales data, it often bore little correlation to what hobbyists (working from anecdotal data points) assumed to be true.

But getting back to the Stablemates Club reveals, the first (?) release for the 2019 Stablemates Club is  a Gloss Dappled Chestnut on the Mirado mold:

Since I belong to the “I’ll buy what I like” school of horse-buying, and I liked him just fine, I hadn’t noticed the level of antagonism and vitriol that had grown up around the Mirado mold. Yes, the original paint job didn’t do him any favors, and the extra-long flappy mane does distort his proportions a bit, but… it’s a Stablemate.

The beauty of the Stablemates scale is that both the buyer and the manufacturer can get experimental or weird or quirky, for a rather modest initial outlay.

What’s also interesting about this release is that Reeves took a mold that received a rather cool reception, and changed the one thing that they could: the paintjob.

To the one thing that they know a lot of collectors can’t resist: Glossy!

A point in your favor, Reeves. Now about the lack of Vintage Club reveals....

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Dreaming of Warmer Days

Darn, just missed out on the True North Mini on the Breyer web site Black Friday sale. Put it in the cart, but when I tried to check out, he was removed.

Nothing else in the sale was making my heart go pitter-patter, and the weather will be too darn cold to go adventuring tomorrow, so that’ll likely be the end of my Black Fridaying for the year….

I haven’t commented yet on the announcement of next year’s BreyerFest Celebration Horse, Oliver:

With the announcement of the theme, I was expecting to see (a) the Cleveland Bay mold, (b) a Police Horse of some sort, and (c) possibly something honoring one of the many horses who serve at the Kentucky Horse Park: with Oliver, they’ve managed to combine all three!

My only mild disappointment is that he’s a loose-maned Cleveland Bay: while the loose-mane is my favorite of the three variations, I still don’t have a braided-mane variation in my herd. I’ve had a few, but I’ve since sold them or traded them off for other things.

I wouldn’t mind a Chicory or a Cassia, but the former is a little out of my price range, and the latter is completely so.

The Connoisseur Series Jazz Fusion is another one I wouldn’t mind owning, but I was not lucky enough to get pulled for one, and I am reluctant to buy items in that series the same way I’ve been reluctant to buy a BreyerFest Dr. Peaches.

Since I wasn’t at the first BreyerFest, it doesn’t feel right buying a Dr. Peaches on the secondary market: each BreyerFest Celebration Horse represents an experience I had, but the Dr. Peaches would simply be a model I bought to complete a series.

My Connoisseur collection consists almost entirely of the ones I was drawn for. The only two Connoisseurs I’ve bought in the aftermarket have both been NPOD Samples: a Lonesome Glory Thrillseeker, and the Buffalo Taima. (Both of whom I really, really wanted anyway, so that kinda-sorta worked out for me.)

Jazz Fusion is a reasonably popular Connoisseur, and the prices on him are not… outrageous, but I think I manage to hold off and let the more devoted fans of the mold, or the Connoisseur Series, have their shot at him first. I’ll just bide my time and wait for Oliver.

(And quietly sigh at the probable impossibility of winning a Gloss one at the Costume Contest.)

Monday, November 19, 2018

Blue is the New Silver Filigree

It’s a good thing I decided against participating in NaNoWriMo this year: the words just haven’t been coming for me, not this month and especially not today.

I’ll just have to muddle through today the best I can…

Another thing not coming for me: Benasque. That doesn’t come as a surprise: the more popular something becomes, the less likely I’ll be picked for it. Blue has become the new Silver Filigree.

Since the prices have become more incomprehensible on the secondary more quickly than I anticipated, and I consider the Wait List a wholly imaginary construct in my universe, that’s the end of that.

It wouldn’t be so bothersome if the current “gold rush” with the Scottsdale Stampede Special Runs wasn’t also happening. (Just where are all these people getting all that money? Better question: can I have some?)

I just hate to be reminded about how big a factor money has become in the hobby. I am lucky that I have alternate means of getting an affordable fix, but so many of my fellow hobbyists do not.

I have not been in much of a horse-buying mood anyway – a couple of the items in the Collector’s Club Black Friday Preview were moderately tempting (I still don’t have a Triton. Hmm.) and the new Holiday Mare and Foal Set Wish and Wonder is very cute – and Chalky! – but I’m in more of a mood to sell or purge, not buy.

A few obligatory historical notes: Misty has come in Gray before, and the original #20 release does come in an extremely rare and desirable Chalky variation. Outside of Test Colors, little Stormy has almost always been some sort of Pinto; I have not seen or heard of any Chalkies of the original #19 release, but the mold was not released until 1977, a couple years beyond the Chalky Era (ca. 1973-1975).

Outside of some Club stuff, the only horse-related things I’ve bought in the past couple of weeks were a few vintage horse books for my (still-depleted) stash from a Salvation Army store a few days ago.

Oh, I’m still in the habit of window shopping: I had a few half-hearted attempts to suss out some goodies from Walmart (but left empty-handed), the Clydesdale Mare Alba has reappeared on the shelves of the local Tractor Supply Store and continues to tempt me, and I’ve spotted a few intriguing variations on eBay.

(I’m looking at Dogs, again. Just missed a Matte Black Poodle again, grrr!)

On the plus side of all of this, my bank accounts will be well-rested when all the December promotions finally drop.

All I’m really asking for this year is that I’ll actually get to see the Holiday Animal Special Run before it sells out. Not necessarily buy it, but to see it: sometimes having the ability to purchase something is more important than actually purchasing it.

(But if it’s a Dog mold, I’m definitely buying it.)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Core Fandom

Some of you know that I can play “Six Degrees of Separation” game like a champ; it should come as no surprise that I need considerably less than six to get to Stan Lee.

Now is not the time or place to explain in great detail; I only bring it up because it’ll help explain my shocked, but not shocked reaction to the reports of the attempted theft of a centerpiece model at the Scottsdale Stampede.

Comic Book Fandom and the Model Horse Hobby have a lot in common; not only are the social dynamics fairly similar, but there is also a perception among casual participants of each activity that the “core” of it – people, places, activities – is much larger, distant and anonymous than it actually is.

I had been a casual participant in Comic Book Fandom for years. One day I decided to get more involved – by responding to an open invitation to join an APA in a letter column.

What seemed inaccessible – hanging out with the movers and shakers, artists and writers, and all the BNPs – suddenly wasn’t. It was both exhilarating and disorienting to find my new friends gleefully teasing Jim Shooter, making idle conversation with George Perez, and overhearing industry insider gossip both salacious and mundane….

My experience with Comic Book Fandom came with the revelation that the actual dedicated “core” of most hobby communities isn’t that large, and isn’t that remote. It just takes a very modest bit of effort to step it up to the next level.

So anyway, back to this incident. The fact that some hobbyists exhibited bad behavior at a hobbyist-oriented event is not unusual. I have been in the hobby now for over 40 (ulp!) years, and I have seen many things, some of them quite bad.

If you’ve been to BreyerFest even once, you’ve seen or heard similar things.

While there’s some degree of anonymity at an event like BreyerFest (that allows bad things to happen with little in the way of consequences), there is not much room for error at an Exclusive Event (with only 200 participants, many of them repeat customers).

Who are broken into groups of fifty people each.

Where you have to provide proof of your identity when you show up to pick up your models (yes, even me).

And where almost everyone is taking multiple pictures of everyone and everything.

So while I am not shocked that an attempt was made, I am shocked that it was attempted at what is essentially a “core fandom” event: this is the last place on Earth you should try to pull a stunt like that.

You might think you’re anonymous, but trust me: for better or for worse, you’re not.

(FYI: mostly for the better. But you knew that already.)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Shades of Blue

While reading this post, keep in mind that (a) it’s been in the upper 20s and low 30 degrees up here since Friday, (b) our furnace has been on the fritz since Saturday and (a) it’s Monday.

(It is getting repaired tomorrow. At least, that’s what I’ve been told.)

Reeves, seriously, what’s going on in your office?

The e-mail you sent out about the new Winter Decorator Special Benasque announced it as a “New Test Color”. Umm, no.

According to the web site copy, he’s marked “Benasque 2017”. Last time I checked, it was still 2018.

Why are you calling his color “electric blue filigree” when you have another perfectly fine name for it – Copenhagen Blue? Is it actually different in some way – with iridescent, metallic, or purplish undertones? We know better than to trust your photos…

And speaking of photos, you even misspelled the name Benasque as “Banasque” on the photo. Normally I’d not even give this a mention because I mangle names all the time when I’m saving photos, because spellcheck can’t save anyone’s behind there.

But as I was pulling a copy of it from their web site all I could manage to mutter from underneath the pile of blankets, quilts and sweatshirts I’m currently residing under…

“… and that, too? Cripes!”

At the very least, the nitpicky distractions of this new Duende have kept me from fixating too much on the Scottsdale Stampede Table Centerpiece Model Peplum.

The Camilla/Foalzilla mold doesn’t move me either way, but they just had to paint her Turquoise with copper veining! I figured they would do some sort of Turquoise-themed SR, but I assumed it would be the Stablemate or maybe one of the Event Specials. You know, something in the neighborhood of affordable.

Alas, no.

Before I was a Breyer Collector, I was a pretty serious Rockhound. I still am to some degree, though I rarely go so far as to buy rocks, minerals or fossils outright. Part of the reason why I took a Metalsmithing class several years ago was because I wanted to incorporate some of my favorite specimens into art and jewelry.

I am too cheap and not terribly lucky, so Peplum is not going to happen. All I can hope for is that she might be a precursor to other (more affordable) rock and mineral-themed* Breyer Decorators in the future.

Not just Alabasters, but I’ll settle. Benasque would be nice, too. I love how his mane looks like icicles!

(*FYI: for a variety of reasons, I don’t do Stones.)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Sand and Snow

Fortunately nothing I’ve seen of the Scottsdale Special Runs is making me mutter curse words into the freshly fallen snow here in Michigan. (Curse words about the snow, I can make no promises…)

Although I did have a brief moment of panic when I saw the word “Bolo” being bantered about – I thought maybe they had actual Special Run Breyer Bolo Ties, and that would have got me going!

Good for Reeves for correcting the flaw inherent in the distribution system at the last two Exclusive Events, and separating the models into two categories to avoid the unpleasantness some of us had to experience at the end of the line having to double up on the leftovers.

Anyway, if I were there, my choices would be the Bobby Jo Sonorah from Category B (because I love Perlino Dun, and all of the Breyer releases in that color have eluded me so far) and… either one of the choices from Category A (Buckskin Show Jumping Warmblood Bolo or Black Splash Lady Phase Oakley). Maybe a slight lean towards the Lady Phase, because of my current fascination with Splash Pintos.

(Just saw a picture. Yep, definitely Lady Phase. Not that that means anything, but there you go.)

I am mildly amused by the tizzy hobbyists are getting in over the Black Huck Bey Prescott. Yeah, he’s probably in that same lovely shade of Black they used on the BreyerFest Dark Horse Surprise Black and that is awesome.

But it’s still the Solid Black.

I guess being Huckleberry Bey and super-limited (44 pieces) trumps that stigma. And perhaps minds and hearts were finally swayed by the subtleties possible with such a paint job on the Dark Horse Surprise release, as well?

Not that I wouldn’t mind having him either, but I am being realistic with my expectations here. I would be happy with anything from the Event, if that were an option.

If I want a pretty, and relatively cheap Solid Black Breyer of recent release, I’ll finally spring for a Justin Morgan Black Jack. I’ve been eyeing them on eBay again, recently, probably because my Black Dark Horse Surprise Smarty Jones is just visible over my computer monitor, reminding me how pretty he is.

Heads up: I have a number of things I need to get done over the weekend, so I am going to be scarcer than l usually am (which has been pretty darn scarce, I know, but I’m working on it.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Marketing Strategies

Let’s wrap up the rest of the weekend news…

Some of the Justify items are now available; I’ll be getting the Traditional version eventually, because of my recent infatuation with the Carrick mold. It’ll be a while though, because: he’s already on backorder on the web site; it doesn’t seem likely that I’ll be any where near one of my local toy stores for the next few weeks; and good heavens, have you seen those prices on eBay?  

I can wait.

The Unicorn Foals Sirius and Vega are neat – and on my two favorite Classic Foal molds! – but as I’ve skipped most of the other recent Unicorn releases, I’ll probably skip them too. Kudos to Reeves for coloring them to match their astronomical counterparts.

(Vega is the blue one.)

Renewals for the Vintage Club are up, but so far all they’ve been offering is a picture of the Pacer Rockford, who we already knew about.

I have no clue what their marketing strategy is, and am assuming that pictures of the other models will be coming eventually – perhaps as a way of gauging the response to each release? Because I severely doubt that they’re going back to the “everything’s a secret” mode from the first year of the Vintage Club. Especially since, you know…

(Is it ironic that the suspense is killing me?)

Regarding those YouTube videos that Reeves taunted us with – specifically, the one with the mysterious Solid Bay Bristol in it – well, I found them more annoying than rage-inducing. If you’re going to click-bait hobbyists who’d normally never give a passing glance at these videos, could you give us a little something for our effort?

I’m not much of a YouTube person, I’m not the target audience for these types of videos anyway, and I’m okay with that: hobbyists and hobbyist organizations certainly aren’t doing much in the way of youth outreach, and it’s in Reeves’s financial interest to do so.

But offering exclusive information about possible upcoming releases via these kinds of channels does not seem quite right, either. It’s like giving out sports scores during a weather report, or stock market tips in the middle of some celebrity gossip: while it is technically all news, it is not the news the viewers are looking for, or where they were looking for it.

My only other real criticism is that I’d rather they take more of a “bottom-up” approach than a “top-down” one with their youth marketing. Focus on activities and crafts that are more affordable and accessible to everyone: battle bots made with $150 Web Specials and craft bowls made with $50-75 worth of Stablemates would not have happened in the working-class household I grew up in.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Rushmore Zippo

Wow, there’s been a lot of Breyer activity the past few days! Let’s just focus on the one that’s most interesting to me – the latest Test Color Purchase Raffle, a Dappled Bay Roan Zippo Pine Bar:

Often it’s hard to see why a Test Color was done; in many instances, there was no specific goal in mind, other than experimentation for experimentation’s sake. But in the case of this Zippo (as with the previous Flaxen Chestnut Stud Spider) it’s clearly the antecedent to a specific production run: the BreyerFest 2007 Special Run Rushmore, on the Smarty Jones mold.

The web site’s copy about it being “one of the tests that inspired the Burbank Nakota Appaloosa model for the Velvet Rope Collector Event in 2008” was clearly written by someone with only a passing familiarity with Breyer History.

Yes, it’s technically correct, but it is more obviously and directly connected to the BreyerFest Special Run than the Burbank. Except for the absence of the snip, he’s a near-exact match, and came out the year before!

In fact, him being the clear ancestor of the Rushmore is a big reason why I want him in the first place.  All Test Colors are awesome, but I reserve a special place in my heart for Test Colors that obviously led to widely-available (1000+ piece) Production Run items.

Another plus: if I do win him (unlikely, but still a tiny possibility) it won’t be difficult to get a matching Rushmore; barring a lottery-level miracle, a Burbank will never happen for me.

And also I would like to give a big, gigantic “ARGH” to the misspelling of Nokota, which is one of my biggest pedantic hobby pet peeves, right up there with “hobbiest”, “filagree” and “defiantly” (for definitely).

But to end on a slightly more cheerful note….

One really fascinating thing about the Zippo Pine Bar mold: did you know he was designed to be an “easy” model to mold? There are no undercuts that require special gating or tooling, and no special add-ons or take-aways that could complicate the molding process.

The simpler the mold, the cheaper it is to produce. Having a mold like that around helps mitigate the cost of some of the more flamboyant or labor-intensive molds.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Stablemates, Old and New

Interesting lineup for the 2019 Stablemates Club:

Two new molds, and the Mirado, who has only had one previous release – as the final release in 2017’s Stablemates Club. And then there’s the G1 Love Morgan Mare, who we haven’t seen since she was replaced as Rain by the Paso Fino in the #5312 Spirit Family Play Set at the end of 2005.

But alas, no mini Dundee/Lipizzan yet; still hoping he turns up somewhere and somewhat affordable next year, like in a Regular Run boxed assortment or play set. (No Mystery Assortments, please!)

I am fine with all of these selections, since I have been a Stablemates loyalist since almost literally day one. My very plebeian hobby fantasy after winning the lottery wouldn’t be to start buying Decorators or Test Colors or Micro Runs, it would be to complete my Stablemates collection.

Except the super rare or expensive ones because frankly, collecting Test Colors or vintage Decorators would be way cheaper. Of all the reasons why I collect Stablemates, the fact that they are mostly affordable is also a huge part of the allure. Having the luxury of being able to buy what I want wouldn’t change that.

Besides, I could keep my occupied for a good while tracking down all the commons and variations I don’t have!

It’s a lot: I fell off the Stablemates wagon sometime early in the G2 era. It wasn’t any one thing, other than life getting in the way, and then realizing how far behind I was when it wasn’t. Now I get what I can get, and if a release shoots out of my budget range, I just move on to something cheaper.

So when the colors and finishes are finally revealed, the most you’ll get from me are minor quibbles about details – certain molds being annoyingly tippy, color selections I wouldn’t have made personally, aesthetic issues I have with the smanes and tails on later molds, that sort of thing.

I will say that I like what I see in the silhouette of the obvious Thoroughbred in the upper righthand corner. I think he and I will be fast friends, in whatever colors he comes in.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Vanity Organizer Redux

Friend of Blog Ellen tipped me to this wonderful ancient Breyer History nugget, from the 1948 Sears Wishbook:

The brown thing in the lower lefthand corner is the Vanity Organizer – a Breyer-manufactured item from its pre-equine days. I wrote about in an early blog post, when I made the initial discovery:

Here’s the copy from the catalog itself:
New! Vanity Organizer. 
A smart gift women will appreciate. Provides “place for everything.” Sturdy brown plastic; 12 compartments for bob pins, comb, brush, manicure needs.
15" x 12 3/8" x 2" inches. $2.79
So we now know when the item was manufactured, what it sold for, and one of the venues it was sold through!

The company that the Vanity Organizer was manufactured for – The W.F. Goodell Company – was based in Louisville, Kentucky; Sears, like Breyer, was a Chicago-based one. This makes me wonder what role Breyer had, if any, in getting the item in the Sears Wishbook in the first place.

And was the experience what led to the first identifiably Breyer product appeared in the Sears Wishbook: the Cigarette Host, in 1950?


Right now I am beginning to wonder what other still-unidentified items could be lurking in these early Sears Wishbooks that were also Breyer-molded. Another thing to add to the “research topics” list, I guess.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Double Take

No, not that Double Take. This one:

When I caught my first glimpse of the new Collector’s Club Special Celeste, my first thought was “That’s kind of a bold move Reeves, going with a Misty’s Twilight mold.” 

Then I did a face palm and realized it was actually the newer Eberl Andalusian Mare, instead. But take a gander at the 1997 State Line Tack Special Run Kokopelli’s Gold, and you can (maybe?) kind of see why someone like me might have been a wee bit confused?

Yes, even I conflate one model with another. Maybe moreso than the average hobbyist, since I have a bigger-than-average reference file: my brain goes straight to old stuff, instead of the new.

Maybe conflating Misty’s Twilight and the Andalusian Mare is also another reason why I’ve been having a hard time mustering more affection for the newer mold? If anything, I slightly prefer the Misty’s Twilight, and the historical shout out to Currier and Ives prints.

(If I had had the time – and more motivation – to do it, my Diorama Contest entry for BreyerFest this year would have been a recreation of a Currier and Ives harness racing print, preferably one of the legendary Maud S.

In addition to the customizing involved, I would have also had to do a fair bit of tackmaking, sulky-making, and some crazy engineering to suspend the whole shebang inside a shadow box with a vintage-looking picture frame.

So yeah, obviously that wasn’t going to happen.)

Since I’m still enjoying a horse-buying semi-hiatus, whether I really liked Celeste or not was sort of irrelevant anyway. I’ll save my cash for whatever other end-of-year holiday silliness they have planned.

To be honest, all I am asking for is to actually have the opportunity to see the Special Run Holiday Animal – whatever it is! – before it’s sold out.  Since we already got the Special Run Elk Inari at BreyerFest this year I am probably safe even if I do miss it (again). Just having the chance means more to me than the actual buying.

Unless it’s the Deer Family. All bets are off on that.

FYI everybody: while I’m still “out” for the duration, I’m hoping to have more of a hobby and online presence again, soon. While I am nowhere near done with my literal and metaphorical housecleaning, I may be in a more manageable place in the near future.

Monday, October 22, 2018

A Plethora of Pintos

From all the previews that dropped over the past few days, you can tell the end of the year is approaching fast…

First, the third of the Premier Club’s three 2018 releases, Emerson:

I think he’s my favorite of the three Traditional releases for the year. He reminds me of those lean and leggy Thoroughbreds you’d see in illustrations and photographs from the late 19th or early 20th century. He’s also reminiscent of the Love Classic Man o’ War, and that’s not a bad look to emulate!

(I have been sticking fingers in my ears, covering my eyes and mumbling nonsense phrases over and over in a desperate attempt to pretend to unsee the Stablemates Dundee Lipizzaner they previewed in the Collector’s Club Tent at BreyerFest this year. You guys finally release a Stablemates Lipizzaner, and you have to make the first one nigh-unobtainable?

Life is easier if I just pretend it does not exist, until it does.)

I’m a little bummed that Emerson will probably be a little off my financial radar. But likely not for long, because if past history is any guide, we’ll probably see him and all of the other 2018 releases in an assortment of Special Run or Regular Run releases in 2019.

(Put him in that gorgeous “Brass Hat” Bay, and ooh boy….)

The Out of the Blue is the first Collector’s Club Special Run for next year, a Black Roan Tobiano Pinto on the Bobby Jo mold:

While I’ve generally liked the open-ended, larger run Collector’s Club Specials, I haven’t loved them enough to order most of them. The only older one that I think I might cave in and get eventually is Moondance. I think the color and pattern are a good fit for the mold, and the Forever Saige mold is chronically misunderstood (and consequently undervalued, I believe).

I am seriously considering Out of the Blue. I like the mold, I love roany pintos in general, and the relative simplicity of the pattern – reminiscent of one of the original Weather Girl releases Partly Cloudy – is very appealing, and a nice change of pace from the more elaborate paint jobs we’ve been seeing throughout the year.

The third is the final Stablemates Club release for the year, Tabatha Pack’s Darley, I don’t know what to think about, to be honest:

The color is great: I am loving the Gulastra Plume, and I am not as bothered as others are over Reeves’s obsession with Pinto paint jobs this year. (I’m not thrilled by it, either, but that’s what sells. End of story.)

Usually I am all for crazy, awkward or unconventional poses, but I am not quite sure what the heck is going on with Darley. I’m assuming it’s one of those “Arabian” things?

I’ll probably love him once I see him in person. That’s how these things tend to work.

Friday, October 19, 2018


You know what? I’m going to let the two Gambler’s Choice models I received – and opened – yesterday remain a mystery to you all. A Schrödinger's Cat, if you will, with twelve different possibilities, rather than two. 

The more interesting item in that box was the Vintage Club 2019 Renewal flier, featuring the debut model for 2019, a Gloss Silver Bay Pinto Pacer named Rockford:

He’ll be only the third production Gloss on the Pacer – after the 2010 Web Special Pace Yourself, and this year’s BreyerFest Special Gloss Reissue of the Foiled Again. And the third Pinto as well, the others being the impossible-for-me-to-acquire Exclusive Event Praline and this year’s BreyerFest Open Show Reserve Prize Hot to Trot.

And the first Pacer release that is both Gloss and Pinto! 

Incidentally, he’s not named after the TV show character Jim Rockford of The Rockford Files – that went off the air a few years before the “White Frame” style of box debuted – but after Rockford, Illinois, which was the mailing address for Just About Horses for a while (as was neighboring Loves Park, and Walworth, Wisconsin.)

That’s probably all I can/should say about next year’s Vintage Club releases, at this point. Other than if you like what you see so far, wait until you see what’s coming….

(Yes, knowing he was coming did soften the blow of Hot to Trot, just a little bit.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

And Now, A Nonadventure!

It’s October and all I want to do is hibernate! Alas, I have no time for that silliness.

Speaking of silliness, I suppose I should tell you about my desperate and ultimately failed attempt at trying to get on Antiques Roadshow earlier this year. To bring Breyers, or horses, or frankly anything other than rusty old Civil War guns and pawn shop guitars to the masses…

One of their shooting locations this year was less than 20 minutes (!) from the house, so I applied for free tickets.

Didn’t get drawn for them. I was not expecting to, but still annoying, and disappointing.

Then they made more tickets available. Didn’t get drawn for those, either.

Then they offered “free” tickets if you made a donation to the local PBS station. That was a no-go from the start, since the amount they were asking as a suitable donation was greater than my BreyerFest budget.

Then they offered tickets to people who could write a compelling enough essay about an object that they wanted to bring. There were a significant number of tickets available (150, I think?) and I can write things.

Surely I could thwart my lack of luck with the power of my words! So I did write ups on three horse-related items.

First, the large, hand-colored photograph I have of Midnight Sun. Aside from the strangeness of an obvious relic from Harlinsdale Farm turning up in a flea market in Michigan, I thought it’d also make for an excellent segue into educating the public about the ongoing efforts to save the breed from the scourge of the Big Lick. And I could bring a Breyer Midnight Sun as part of the package!


Second, on the letter I have written by Wild Horse Annie to Marguerite Henry talking about the newly-released Breyer Hobo (among other things). One equine legend writing to another equine legend about a third equine legend (Breyer, ahem). Aside from the sheer uniqueness of the letter, I could also have brought along a Classic Hobo and possibly other Marguerite Henry-inspired models for illustrative purposes.

Nope on that one, too.

Third, I wrote about the horse-themed photo album I found a couple years ago, featuring photos of the previous owner’s horses, his trip to Cheyenne Frontier Days (in 1946!), carefully annotated photos from a day at the racetrack in June 1942, all that good stuff. And there was a photograph in the album of a WWII-era Navy baseball team that might have included Yogi Berra, too.

If they weren’t interested in any of the horse stuff, surely the baseball angle would have drawn them in, right? I mean, after guitars and Civil War relics, there seems to be baseball stuff in every episode of Antiques Roadshow, am I right?

Nope. Strike three.

Sorry guys, but apparently they didn’t find me or my stuff interesting enough. This I found a little more devastating than losing a random lottery-type thing: I expect to lose random lotteries, but I pride myself on being at least minimally interesting to almost everybody!

I suppose if I had something horse-related that was also Detroit-related, like Seabiscuit (who started his “comeback” here) or Man o’ War (the Match Race against Sir Barton was just across the river, in Windsor), or The Lone Ranger (which originated in Detroit), or a verifiable piece of a local carousel, because Detroit’s Golden Age corresponded almost exactly with the Golden Age of Carousels, and there were probably more wooden carousels here per capita than any other place on Earth, y’all.
But I didn’t have any of that. So like most my other attempts to bring attention to the hobby to the masses, I found myself sitting home. Again.

So many people in the hobby try to hide their interest in the hobby from the public eye. Ironically, I do everything short of tap-dancing down I-75 in a hot pink tutu during rush hour, and I see nary a shrug in my direction.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Good Enough

It just occurred to me that the two items I ordered late last week – the Vintage Club Weather Girl Grace, and the Stablemates Club Finn – are both Gambler’s Choice items. I just paid out a decent chunk of money and I have no idea what I’ll be getting.

Out of the 12 different possible combinations (three of the Grace, four of the Finn) that is.

And you know what? I’m fine with that. I grew up during the “picture box” era of Breyer collecting – pre-1985 – and most of the time you had no idea what you’d actually be getting inside that box. It wasn’t just a solid, opaque cardboard box either: they were shrinkwrapped too!

(Handpicking? Hah!)

Breyer was in something of an experimental phase with retail packaging in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Prior to then, toy stores generally kept out display pieces, and you had to ask the clerk to bring you your selection from their backstock.

By the end of the 1970s, most stores – toys or otherwise – had switched to a self-service mode as a cost-saving measure, which necessitated a move to more decorative and informative packaging.

The history of Breyer packaging is, of course, much more complicated than that, but I don’t have the time or the mind to deal with the intricacies today. Another day, perhaps.

Aside from the packaging issues, a lot of the time you couldn’t trust the catalogs or manuals, either. Case in point: the Stock Horse Stallions from the 1981 Dealer’s Catalog:

Well, okay, I am still a little mad about that one: I want that minimally-marked Black Pinto San Domingo, dangnabit! I probably have a slightly better chance of acquiring one of the numerous Stock Horse Stallions Tests, like this one:

Seriously, there’s like a bajillion different Black Pinto Stock Horse Stallions out there, and I like them all better than the pinto we actually got, but that just might be a “wanting what you can’t have” thing. Or that I’m always up for another Test Color or Oddity, no matter the mold or color. I already have two Stock Horse Stallion Tests, and don’t really need another.

But back to the original point: everyone has gotten very spoiled since the advent of display boxes. We can be picky now, instead of later!

However, the ability to be pickier isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially if we find ourselves becoming so picky that nothing less than perfection is good enough. And since perfection is an arbitrary and abstract concept, what happens is that eventually, no model is ever good enough.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. 

I’m not saying y’all should accept a substandard model, but sometimes, life is easier and a lot less stressful if we just accept that everything comes occasional ding or flaw, whether we like it or not.