Saturday, March 31, 2018

Buckskin Smoky Variation

The Web Special Calvin has reappeared on the Breyer web site, confirming my suspicion that he didn’t sell out. I didn’t think he’d reappear until BreyerFest, though, so there must be enough of them left to make it worthwhile to relist.

I’m tempted, but not that tempted: my financial focus has been on getting ready for the flea market season, opening (weather permitting) in a few short weeks. While I have no reason to believe it to be an expensive season this year, it never hurts to be prepared, just in case!

Since I’ve sort of been focused on Buckskins of late, here’s an interesting variation of a later Buckskin release I picked up a long while ago:

The standard version of the #997 Shenandoah – a Collector’s Edition piece from the first half of 1997 – has a bald face and pinked ears, and isn’t that different from the Bald-faced Buckskins of the 1960s and 1970s. Well, it is a little bit different: his points are blacker, and he has a sock, and there is more gray shading on his face.

But did you notice what makes this guy extra special? There is no bald face!

It would be easy to ascribe this to a case of excessive overspray, but it appears intentionally done here. It is possible that overspray did happen, but the painter made the decision to “fix” it with a little extra paint, rather than toss him into the cull bin.

Unlike the original #69 Smoky, this release is not known for its variations: I can’t recall seeing any others like him, when I’ve made the effort to look. Neither he nor his second-half-of-the-year partner release Remington are all that rare, it’s just not a mold that’s in much demand.

I’ve been mulling over selling him, mostly because he’s a shelf hog. But I do love my yellowy Breyer Buckskins, and the likelihood of me ever running across a Test Color or a Surf’s Up – the Florentine Exclusive Event Smoky, and one of the few Smokies that does command some serious cash – is pretty slim.

So for the time being, he’s staying.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Chasing Phantoms

I swear I didn’t plan this with them, guys: the only reason Riddle is up on the BreyerFest Blog is to tease us into buying more/any tickets before the Early Bird deadline in April.

I do think Reeves is slowly coming to the realization that they probably made a mistake in not releasing Riddle as a bigger run at BreyerFest, judging from the positive online reaction.

Their initial calculations were rational and understandable: it’s a Vintage mold, not terribly realistic by modern standards, and he has the (gasp!) molded-on halter. But I think he would have made a really swell Pop-Up Store Special: still on the scarce and hard-to-obtain side, but not as unattainable as a 3-piece Early Bird Special.

Ah well, best not to give it much more thought. The Exclusive Event in Scottsdale, however…

Boy howdy, I really like the Special Run for this. Looking over the abundance of #98 Quarter Horse Geldings and #87 Mustang variations I’ve added to the herd in the past few years, it’s pretty obvious I have a thing for Bald-faced Buckskins. In my opinion, it’s an underappreciated Vintage colorway, often overlooked in favor of the flashier, glossier, or less realistic ones.

So a modern interpretation of this color on the Nokota Horse mold? Sign me up!

Or maybe not.

The Event Models for these Exclusive Events are among the easiest and most affordable Special Runs to attain. I don’t have to go to get one – and logically, the most sensible course of action for me would be to buy a Phantom Face second hand.

But that’s not how I like to do things. After all these years I still don’t have a Dr. Peaches – the first BreyerFest model – not because I can’t find or afford one, but because I didn’t attend that first BreyerFest.

For me, models are placeholders of memories, but there are no memories to attach to a Dr. Peaches – or I should say, the same category of memories as all the other BreyerFest models I was personally there to pick up. My collection of BreyerFest “Celebration” Models would be complete, but he would still feel out of place to me.

Anyway, the fact that they’ve gone back to a pair-only lottery system for this Event is also not helpful. Do you all need a reminder that my luck in getting drawn for things I want is not so good?

Many, many things are in flux for me right now; while everything is going to plan, more or less, throwing another logistical or financial monkey wrench into the works will not be helpful.

Yet, it’s two months away until the drawing itself. Lots of things could happen in two months.

I’ll give myself a few more weeks to get other, more pressing things done (I finished a memory box today, woo-hoo!) and consider my options then.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Even More Bays!

And the Bays keep coming!

The second release on the new Spirit Boomerang mold, as the Diorama Prize called Win, Place or Show.

When they mentioned “little guy” in the teaser for the Diorama Prize they posted last week, I was expecting something more along the lines of the old #36 Racehorse mold.

That mold is actually “little”, relatively speaking, to the other Traditionals he usually gets lumped together with. And something I thought would make an ideal prize model, since as much as I want it, a larger release of the primitive little Racehorse mold seems unlikely. (Unless they have something Decorator-y planned for the Pop-Up Store. Perish the thought!)

On the other hand, I was just wondering when the next release of the Boomerang mold was going to be. I’m rather fond of him – he seems like a sweet and happy kind of fella – and was looking forward to seeing him in a more realistically rendered color. I have nothing against his cartoon eyebrows personally, I just wanted see what he would look like with a little more shading and detail.

Glossy Dark Dappled Bay? Why Reeves, why did you have to put one of my favorite colors on him? Just when I thought I could get maybe away with not entering the Diorama Contest this year!

You know my luck with the Diorama Contest in recent years has not been so keen. In fact, it’s been mighty terrible. I honestly think I have a better shot at the Early Bird Raffle Prize Riddle (3 out of 3000+ entries) than I do with getting this guy (7 out of 100-150 entries).

For most of us in the Adult category (20-up) the Diorama Contest is the most vexing of all BreyerFest competitions. I’ve been busting my behind for years with increasingly elaborate and detailed dioramas, all for naught.

If I had a dollar every time someone told me “But I thought for sure you were sure to win…” I might actually have enough to buy one second hand, if I did that sort of thing.

What BreyerFest prep I have done so far (not much, to be honest) hasn’t involved anything Diorama-related. I have ideas, but not the enthusiasm. As I have said before, I was toying with the idea of not doing it all.

I’ve had other things to keep me busy, too: for the next couple of weeks, in addition to finishing my tax paperwork, sentimental dork me will be finishing up several years’ worth of old BreyerFest memory boxes that have been cluttering up my office.

Like the Exclusive Event in Scottsdale, it’ll be a little while more before I can really put more serious thought into it.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Infinite Shades of Gray

Isn’t she lovely?

I had figured a variation of Flea-bitten Gray was a possibility; the previous two Volunteer Models Assam and Caipirinha both came in intriguing new interpretations of the color, so it’s obviously something they’ve been thinking about and experimenting with.

But Dappled Rose Gray? The rest of the hobby seems to be down for that, and I’m okay with it, too!

All things considered, it’s rather remarkable that Reeves was able to come up with yet another fresh and different take in the realm of Gray.

I had discounted the notion a bit because there have been a lot of Gray Proud Arabian Mares over the years, both as Regular Runs and Special Runs. And Test Colors, too, both old and new.

The Special Run Grays have been especially attractive and desirable ones. There’s the scarce and highly desirable 1986 Rose Gray Live Show Special, the 1991/2 Fleabitten Gray in the Arabian Horses of the World Gift Set from the Sears Wishbook, the 1994 Just About Horses Special Steel Dust, the 2002 Tour Special Banat er Rih, and the Exclusive Event La Jolla in 2012.

While Sierra Rose will likely join their company, I still happen to think she will be a smaller run for all the reasons I outlined before: being Vintage, slightly dated, under contractual restrictions, and so on.

For that reason I also think it’s unlikely she’ll be the Gloss/Matte split: those releases tend to be larger runs, and more modern molds. I still believe the Appaloosa Ruffian Dead Heat is the more likely candidate for that treatment.

My only reservation about Sierra Rose is that Reeves is making it very, very difficult to stick to my budget: I already have the Glossy Foiled Again and Elk penciled in as must-haves, the Icabad Crane and Old Ironsides are leaning in that direction, and we still have half the Ticket Specials and all the Pop-Up Store items yet to be revealed.

 (It’s a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Mystery Mare

Still busy cleaning; late Saturday night I started a long-overdue purge of out-of-date reference books and books-I’ve-lost-interest-in from the bookshelves, and it felt so good I’ve since moved on to other parts of the home and office.

It’s been a constructive way to work off some personal and professional frustrations, too. (Nothing y’all need to know about, other than that’s my operational mode right now.)

Anyway, much speculation has abounded about the Proud Arabian Mare silhouette Reeves has been teasing us with on all fronts since yesterday:

There’s been only one official BreyerFest Special Run on the Proud Arabian Mare: the elusive, desirable Silver Filigree Volunteer Model from 1993.

There have been a three of the Stallion – the 2003 Silver Filigree Raffle Model Saturday Night Fever, the 2009 Volunteer Special After Party, and the 2015 Raffle Model Que Sera Sera – but only one of the Foal: the 2003 Silver Filigree Born to Run.

I suppose the Palomino Appaloosa Fun Foals that were made available in the Ninja Pit with all of the other leftover Fun Foals could count as a BreyerFest Special Run too, since that’s where the majority of them (all of them?) were distributed.

I have no special insight as to the nature of this Special Run – whether it’s going to be a Raffle Model, Prize Model, Store Special, or straight-up Tent Special. I figured they’d give us at least one Arabian model this year, but the Proud Arabian Mare never came up as a possibility to me.

Most of the speculation seems to be focusing on it as being a Raffle or Prize Model, or the Pop-Up Store Crystal release – in other words, something extremely limited – but I don’t think we can rule out a larger release.

We had the Vintage Club Farah in 2015, and several recent larger-scale releases of the Hagen-Renaker Classic Racehorses too: the Terrang Coeur de Lion, the Swaps Web Special Scotty, and the re-release of the Man o’ War.

If they do go the Tent/Store route, I think a PAM release will be on the smallish side (1000 or fewer) – but it won’t be out of contractual issues, mostly.

It’ll be because she’s a Vintage mold, featuring an old-fashioned/dated body type.

The younger/newer hobbyists who make up a fairly large chunk of the BreyerFest crowd will be both unfamiliar with and unsentimental about her. And wondering why Reeves couldn’t have gone with a newer mold like Weather Girl or the Make A Wish/Justadream instead, because obviously.

(Remember the response to the Appaloosa Bonne Fete in 2014? More experienced hobbyists were unimpressed, but Reeves knew what it was doing: the newer hobbyists helped sell it out.)

I’ll be fine, regardless. If it’s a smaller release, I’m not going to let myself worry about it, and if it’s a larger release, it shouldn’t be too difficult to attain – if I like it, well enough.

While I think she’d look fabulous in a Gloss Dappled Red Bay with a lot of white, there’s already a lot of Bays in the lineup. It also happens to be her 60th anniversary as a Breyer release, so a Decorator release isn’t out of the question either...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Clearing Off the Desk

Cleaning off the desk here today, so a few odds and ends follow…

You probably do not know this, but I am a huge fan of novelty socks, so I am very pleased to see Reeves kicking up their branded clothing and accessory program a notch and giving us Breyer ones!

My only issue with them, naturally, is that they did not appear on the web site until the day after I paid for my Vintage Club Clara and Mae.

If they’re still around when the next Stablemates Club purchase is available, a couple pair will hitch along for the ride. (One to wear, and another for the archives.)

My local Tractor Supply finally stocked the two TSC Specials earlier this week; I stopped by the Salvation Army next door for my weekly shopping run and decided to check in to coo at the chicks and ducklings.

I managed to walk away without buying anything feathered – horse or fowl. The Clydesdale Mare was tempting, but then I reminded myself that I’m saving up to splurge on museum-quality archival supplies for my recently reorganized hobby papers.

Since it appears that these Specials may be more limited than the standard TSC Specials, I may live to regret it. But considering my most recent attempts at speculating, maybe not.


Not everything in my last box lot was a body when I bought it, but by the time it got here, they most certainly were. I’ll still break even with it – if it’s one thing I’m good at, it’s salvaging something out of nothing – but darn that luck of mine, again!

The box lot of unicorns I bought back in February was a little less derelict, mostly because I had a chance to repack it myself before driving it home from a local auction house. Among the treasures in it I didn’t mention before was this lovely pair: Hagen-Renaker releases of Freeman-McFarlin designs, I believe?

I’d love to keep them, but as I am clumsy and in possession of a small and highly destructive dog, they’ll be packed up for BreyerFest. (Sorry, guys: I don’t ship larger china figurines.)

Looking over my saleslist, I have to say I’m pretty pleased at my assortment so far. Since my vacation spending money is drawn from my sales, it looks like in this one regard I am already ahead of the game. I won’t have to put too much pressure on myself to “stock up” once flea market season gets underway in another month.

I’m considering taking a similar approach to all of BreyerFest this year: ditch all the self-imposed pressure of trying to win something, and just chill.

My Contest attempts are memorable and (so I’ve been told) inspirational, but they are bigger emotional and financial drains on me than you might realize. And there’s not a lot in my trophy case to show for it.

To put it in business-speak, my ROI has been terrible.

I do have some ideas, but as I am also on a bit of an efficiency kick, I am beginning to think my time and resources might be better invested in something else.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sure Fires

Here are two of the horses I found in my supply closet last week – a pair of Sea Star “Sure Fire” Foals from 1997-1998:

The other horses in there I might have forgotten about, but I knew about these two; they were one of the reasons why I decided to undertake the task in the first place.

Why they were in there, I’ll get to another time; that’s another ongoing project I am trying to resolve this year. As to why I had two rather than just one, the second photo will clarify:

Their belly spots are different! I saw them side-by-side at a local Toys R Us, and I had such a hard time trying to choose between them that I decided to not decide at all, and kept them together as a set.

I loved the deep chocolately black color, the minimal crop-out pinto pattern, and I already had a bit of affection for the homely little Sea Star mold anyway.  

It’s difficult to see in the first photo, but one Foal also has brush-painted pinking on her nose, as opposed to the standard airbrushing. At first glance it looks like something somebody did after the fact, but an up-close and personal inspection shows it to be factory paint.

Hand-painted factory touch-ups and corrections are unusual, but not necessarily rare; most of the time they are in less noticeable places.

Sea Star is the least seen, and least loved member of Breyer’s Misty “trio”. The original Sea Star had solid, 8-year run in the Regular Run line (from 1980 through 1987), but unlike Misty and Stormy she hasn’t been given any Reissues since then.

There have been a fair number of other releases of the mold since then, but the most recent was the Palomino in the Pony Picnic Gift Set in 2010-2011.

Aside from these Sure Fires, the only other Sea Stars I currently have in the collection are multiple variations of the original Sea Star.

Because I’m weird that way.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

At Last, an Elk

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I have been campaigning for a Special Run Elk forever. At last, my wish has been granted, with Inari!

As for his name, “Inari” refers to the largest municipality in Finland, located within the heart of Finnish Lapland. It is also where they also hold the Reindeer Championship Race.

Yes, an Elk is not a Reindeer, but close enough is good enough for me.

And points for Reeves for making the BreyerFest Nonhorse Special Run actually kind of on point to the “racing” theme, in contrast to the two previous announcements – the Saturday Raffle Horse Woodford (on the Shannondell) and the Mare and Foal Set Julep and Pim (on the new Traditional Lipizzan Mare and Foal).

Mind you, I think both of those releases are quite beautiful – and if I somehow win a Woodford you’ll have to pry him from my pasty white hands – but it’s painfully obvious that they’ve gone out of their way to make these new molds fit a theme they are not designed for.

When you have a more nebulous concept with few obvious mold choices – like last year’s “India” theme – you can pull that sort of thing off better. But trying to sell a Draft Horse, a couple of Lipizzaners and an Andalusian as part of a racing theme?

Seriously, guys? I know you’ve got a business to run and hot new molds to promote, but you could try to be a bit more subtle about it?

Off the soapbox, and back to the Elk. (Who is now penciled in on top of my buy list for BreyerFest, if you haven’t already figured that one out.)

The Elk mold has had only two previous releases: the original #77 that ran from 1968 through 1997, and the #396 Rocky Mountain Elk that ran from 1998 through 2005.

Until now, Fans of the Elk mold have had to content themselves with variations of the original #77, and his 29(!) year run provided a few. Although the color didn’t vary a lot, it did vary: earlier examples are definitely lighter and browner, while later examples are redder and more chestnutty. Early Elks sometimes came with Blue Ribbon Stickers, and lack the USA mold mark. Pieces made near the end of its run (in early 1997) came with those mildly creepy, experimental bi-eyes.

Inari gives me hope that the Silver Charm Elk of my Christmas dreams might just come true. Then again, a lot of us are still waiting for a Holiday release of the Zebra mold after the BreyerFest release of the Caves of Lascaux back in 2015.

So I am not getting my hopes up, yet.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


A few weeks ago when I was looking at the last of the Christmas Breyer leftovers at the local Tractor Supply, one of the employees made a comment in passing about how they “needed” to sell them soon.

I didn’t think much of the comment at first – I just assumed it was about needing to make room for the Seasonal Spring merchandise – but it did nag at me a little bit. Did that mean they’d be getting more Breyers sooner, rather than later?

Apparently, yep. One of them, in fact, is very similar Clydesdale Mare similar to the #856 Shire who – oddly enough – was something I was looking at on eBay over the weekend.

(I had one once, and sold it a while ago. I can’t remember why.)

This new piece – named Alba – commemorates Tractor Supply’s 80th anniversary. The name “Alba” is Latin for White, an odd choice for a dark bay-black horse. Maybe it’s because she has a lot of white on her?

The Clydesdale Mare has had so many genuinely pretty releases – Opry, Del Mar, Lanark’s Rosebud, Palisades, the Picture Perfect Pinto, Shannon, the Vintage Club Blossom, that Glossy Appaloosa Test Piece I’m still kinda-sorta mad about not winning – that I’ve been wondering if I should go ahead and make the commitment to actively collect that mold.

Except for Palisades and Betsy Ross, I already have most of the harder ones to get. If I ever decide to go on that quest it’ll be a achievable, lower-stress one.

To make a long story short, though, I won’t be getting Alba any time soon. The primary reason is space: since I just finished an extensive collection cleanout, I am a bit reluctant to make any impulse purchases beyond the box lots I’ve been buying for resale. (Kaibab was a happy exception.)

I do not want to deal with the drama right now, either. Like the regular Holiday TSC specials, I have a feeling that hobbyists are going to lose their minds, buy out store stocks, then the stores will restock, the prices will start fluctuating wildly….

No thank you. If I need to, I can wait until either the market levels off, or until the next “gotta have it” Special Run drops somewhere. Though at the rate they’ve been going with releases this year (another release in the America the Beautiful Series, already?) that probably won’t be too long.

For the time being, I’ll just retreat to my office and continue with my Spring Cleaning and paperwork. (It’s been an interesting and productive day: I just found a few “lost” horses in my office supply closet! Nothing rare, but a nice surprise nevertheless.)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

One Project Down...

Whew, just finished reorganizing my horse files. It sure is nice to get both the floor space and headspace back! By the way, does anybody need a box of my duplicate ephemera?

($15 plus Media Mail postage for a single, six-pound box. Not all of it shown/visible, obviously. Shoot me an e-mail if you are interested.)

A lot of my “new” material turned out to be stuff I already had: since a significant portion of the paper I’ve picked up over the past year was other people’s unsorted slush piles, that was not a huge shock.

Those slush piles are worth the risk, though, because (a) I really do love the whole process of sorting and filing, and (b) sometimes wonderful things show up, like diamonds in the dirt:

(I will give you all a moment here to hyperventilate.)

Also, I don’t have everything – I really need to catch up on the most recent ephemera, for one thing – but sometimes it feels like I do. Going through these slush piles reminds me of just how much I don’t have yet.

On the plus side, it looks like I won’t be needing as much in new filing and storage supplies as I thought – just a couple more flat file boxes, two more binders, and (as always) more sheet protectors.

I do need to do some labeling and indexing, and there’s a separate collection of materials that I need to handle a bit differently, but for the most part I’m now ready to catch up on my research and update my electronic “quick reference” files.

When those are done, then maybe I can finally get going on that grand dream of a comprehensive online Breyer reference guide – something that goes beyond just the basic names, dates and numbers.

But that is a long way off, and I have a few more pressing projects to take care of in the meantime.

One of those projects involves digitizing some of my more requested materials, like Marney’s photo albums of Test Colors, auction price lists, correspondence (the letter from Wild Horse Annie to Marguerite Henry, talking about Hobo, is a treasure I want to share with everybody!), Model Horse Congress fliers and show results, stuff like that.

I doubt I’ll get that done before BreyerFest this year, but it’s definitely on my docket.

First come the tax returns. Then finish the paperwork for all of my “new” arrivals (i.e. last year’s keepers). Then finish at least a dozen of my larger quilting projects. Then all of the usual BreyerFest prep.

Yikes. No wonder I slept in so long today!

Thursday, March 1, 2018


I was not expecting the latest America the Beautiful release Kaibab to be the lightning rod that he is. Personally, I love mine:

The Stretched Morgan mold is one that’s experienced huge swings in popularity over the course of its 50+ production career. He’s been derided as being too typey, not typey enough, old-fashioned, awkwardly posed, obviously suffering from laminitis, and bombarded with the standard conformational nitpicking every Breyer mold ever has been subjected to.

Yet he still retains his fans – like me – and many Stretched Morgan releases and variations are among the most desirable and highly sought after Breyers of any kind. The Woodgrain? The BreyerFest 2000 Raffle Model Showboat? The multitudes of variations of the original #48 Black?

(Have you seen the prices on some of those Black variations lately? Yikes!)

Sure, the price for Kaibab was a bit high, but that I attribute to the popularity of the series and the complexity of the paint jobs they’ve been attempting on the Web Specials: in many cases they are approaching Connoisseur-level quality.

There are some real-horse world biases in play with Kaibab, too: in the past few years, especially, nonstandard colors on breed-specific molds have been getting a lot of pushback.

That is something I find rather weird. Part of Reeves marketing program is selling the notion of model horses as a fantasy wish-fulfillment of horse ownership. Even the most technically accurate horse figurine is still a fantasy construct.

Are some of them bad ideas, artistically? Maybe. But an Appaloosa or Tobiano Pinto Morgan sitting on your shelf isn’t likely to spawn any real-life horses. They have no “bad” genes to propagate.

Anyway, again: with retail or in-hobby purchases, it is always safest to buy what you love, not what you think you can sell later. Buying something at retail to resell later has rarely worked out well for me. (You would think I would have learned by now, but for some reason I keep trying...)

I was secretly hoping that there’d be a Morgan release for BreyerFest, since one of the most famous race horses of the early 19th century was Black Hawk, sired by Sherman Morgan himself, and memorialized in folk art ranging from quilts to weathervanes.

I think a Glossy Dappled Black on the Kennebec Count mold would be great, but I know most of the hobby would beg to differ.