Monday, April 30, 2018

Being Little

No new models (or other flea market goodies) to report over the weekend. The weather was still miserable cold, and since much of the “company” that arrived on Saturday had not yet departed by Sunday, it seemed like a good idea to sleep in and catch up on my TV time.

I do not know what’s up with the conflicting One-Day Stablemates clues, either. And personally, it doesn’t matter too much to me what molds they end up being, new or old.

Sure, the G1s would have been nice, and I’m not completely discounting them reappearing in some form just yet. But we old farts have to remember that most of those molds are well over 50 years old at this point. Regardless of their physical state, they are both chronologically and stylistically old.

While it is true that longtime and long-term collectors buy a ton of them, One-Day Stablemates are primarily designed for the more casual attendees. Those kinds of attendees prefer newer and trendier molds, whether they are anatomically or conformationally correct or not.

I have become somewhat fond of the sensible, no-nonsense G4 Driving Horse mold of late anyway, so if that really is one of the four, I won’t be disappointed! (The color/finish combo they go with on him is probably moot. Gloss would be nice: he hasn’t had any official Gloss releases, yet.)

Since we’re on the topic of Stablemates, here’s a picture of my Stablemates Club Aiden, with a Pocket Box Cats pack I haven’t opened yet. Taxes took a bigger bite out of my budget than I realized, so those spiffy socks I’ve been aching for will have to wait a bit longer:

His paint job is amazing – something that wouldn’t have been possible on Stablemates even a few years ago – and of course, the box is so cute.

But gosh, this mold seems so tiny, especially when compared to other recent Stablemates releases. It’s almost like he’s his own separate scale.

Now, none of the Stablemates across the different generations are perfectly to the claimed 1:32 scale – either internally to each generation, or across generations. Consistency is hard to achieve when you use multiple sculptors and multiple mold makers over the course of several decades.

But the Valegro/Aiden mold feels so small, I’m finding it a little off putting. My brain wants to “read” him as a pony, but it’s obvious that he’s not meant to be a pony.

I’m not bothered enough to resell him, though: Stablemates of almost any kind, outside of duplicates, rarely leave my orbit. Being little does have its advantages, I guess!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Wildlife Adventures

The past few days could have gone better.

First, it took me two days to renew my driver’s license because the system was apparently down. Nationwide. Of course.

Second, I scheduled an early appointment next week on a day I was originally scheduled off, then they sent me a revised work schedule with a double shift on that very day. Awesome. 

And third, work ran late yesterday, so I wasn’t able to do all the errands and other things I needed to get done. (What time I did have had to be spent waiting in line at the Secretary of State office.) There’s an “event” going on in town today that makes completing any task that doesn’t involve staying at home almost impossible.

And I’d really rather not deal with impossible on my birthday, y’know? So I have to spend my special day taking care of things around the house.

At least I’ll have carrot cake.

The nicest gift I received today was a bundle of letters Dad wrote home to Grandma when he was in the Coast Guard; Mom found them cleaning out her walk-in closet and wondered if I wanted them.

Well, yeah!

His handwriting and spelling were terrible, and even then he had a bad habit of randomly omitting words. (It used to drive us all nuts. Finish your darn sentences, Dad!) But it’s nice to hear his kind and silly voice again, now ten years gone.

So much better than dealing with the bluster going on outside.

Anyway, let’s talk horses: I have actually bought a few others worth talking about. This one especially so:

Yes, I have finally acquired the infamous Pink Camo Duchess and Gorilla, aka the Pony Gals Wildlife Adventure Gift Set! The stars aligned: the timing was right, the price was good, and I had money in the Paypal account.

This is not the first instance of a Breyer primate; that honor goes to the “Corky and Bimbo” Circus Boy set, who was portrayed on the television show by a pre-Monkees Mickey Dolenz, billed back then as Mickey Braddock. Here’s an article from the November 1956 issue of Toys and Novelties:

Zoom in on the article and you’ll see Breyer near the bottom of the list of attending licencees (at their original Lake Street address).

The original 1950s Circus Boy set is not particularly rare or expensive, but he’s definitely one of those things I want to find in the wild. Just because.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Opening Day 2018

Kind of busy here this week – aside from catching up on all the errands and odd jobs I can now do due to the improving weather, I’ve also been prepping my sales stuff for BreyerFest.

It is taking a little longer than I expected: that is because while I have about the same amount of inventory dollar-wise as last year, I have more physical pieces.

That includes lots of miniatures, dollar table items, books and bodies. Not counting the ones I’ve pulled out for my own amusement, I have about 30 bodies now residing in my Body Box, including a these additions I made on Flea Market’s Opening Day:

An Appaloosa Strapless, a Secretariat, a Roemer Flim Flam, and a Classic Johar! I probably overpaid slightly (there will be no significant resale profit), but they were the first things I spotted when I walked into the flea market, and the reflexes kicked in.

If the Flim Flam had been mint, he would be staying. Same goes for the Secretariat: he has the best shading I have ever seen on that particular release, but he is just a little bit beyond even my lower-than-average standards for a shelf-quality piece. Not that I was looking to upgrade, but if the opportunity arises, I will take it.

I also bought some non-horsey things I’ve already turned a small profit on, so no worries. Except for the fact that my Body Box is now shaping up to be as large as those of the previous two years.

Sigh. I do NOT want to rent a bigger vehicle for the trip. Nope, nope, nope, nope…

So far it looks like I made the right call with the Surprise Boxes: there’s nothing in any of them that makes me want to blow my Paypal account.

I suspected as much. When I took the e-mail claims into consideration – $300 in retail value, with at least 8 items per box – that meant, at most, you’d be getting only one or two really good-to-great ($75-135) items per box.

Theoretically it is possible to put a $200-250 item in there and then load it up on Pocket Boxes and Stablemates, but that would have felt a little bit of a cheat – and the weight of the box would also be a dead giveaway. Hijinks could ensue if people knew they had an extra-special box in transit.

While there are a few items that fit in the $75-135 range I’d be willing to consider, so far nothing that I’ve heard about or have seen (other than the Vintage Club Cantering Welsh Pony My Girls) are things I really want or need enough to buy a whole box worth of stuff for.

Back to bagging and tagging!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

That Darn Warehouse!

My cold is clearing up, the weather is finally turning lovely outside, some long-term projects I’ve been working on are progressing nicely, everything is going according to budget, then WHAM:

Surprise Boxes? With actual good stuff in them, not just discontinued items and overruns? Why do you do this to me, guys?

As to whether this means that the warehouse is cleaned out for realsies, and that this finally means the end of the NPOD, or any other surprises elsewhere?

The answer would be no.

Every time there are new models released, there will be Samples.

Every time there is a Web Special, there are going to be unsold/undistributed pieces from those runs – “desirable” or not, it doesn’t matter.

Every time there is a special promotion – random glossies, gifts with purchase, and all that jazz – there will be leftovers.

BreyerFest Special Runs? Leftovers.

Short run Regular Run models, concepts and promotions that go unexecuted/underexecuted? Leftovers.

Club models? Unclaimed leftovers.

Contests? Yep, leftovers there, too.

Anyone who has worked in a warehouse in any capacity – and especially those of us who do inventories of such places – also knows how easy it is for things to hide in even the tidiest of them. Just like your purse, the glove box in your car, and the junk drawer.

(Let me tell you about the magical roll of quarters that lives in my messenger bag. Every time I clean out my bag, it’s in there, but every time I actually look for it or need it, it’s not!)

So surprises like this will continue to happen, and pretty good stuff will turn up in the NPOD from time to time, too.

I suppose I could charge one, but I’d really rather not.

I’ve never had an issue selling the duplicates from previous “Surprise” Grab Bags – especially since I look at it from this perspective: you’re getting everything in the box at basically half-off, so selling the items within for anything above half the MSRP is coming out ahead.

But I already have enough to sell as it is, and flea market season hasn’t even really gotten into full swing yet. (This week, maybe? Fingers crossed!)

Plus, I did really well with the last big promotion – the Free Rare Glossy for Christmas one (ah, Wixom!) – and I’d really rather ride that high for a little while longer.

If something really good I’ve been wanting anyway shows up in one of the boxes, I might go for it, but otherwise I think I’ll be saving that roll of quarters for the flea market.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Great: I saw a pair of shoes at the Salvation Army, and suddenly I found myself inspired. Now I think I have an idea for the Costume Contest, when I’ve barely started my paperwork – or anything else.

I’m blaming it on the cold medication. Usually it makes me groggy and tired; I’m not sure “sudden fits of creative inspiration” is an improvement though, given that I don’t think I’ll have the time to exploit it! (It will be a few more days before I am fully functional, health-wise.)

According to the paperwork sent to BreyerFest vendors, the Decorator release’s name is Newmarket: I don’t know if this is the first time we’ve gotten the name of a BreyerFest release before we’ve seen the release itself, but I am still foggy from this cold so my memory may be mistaken.

The paperwork also – inadvertently, or not – revealed that the Proud Arabian Mare Sierra Rose is the likely Gloss/Matte split model, which I was not expecting.  It will be a larger release, then? That is interesting.

I’ll be happy with whatever I get, if I decide to get her. (My budget is still up in the air.)

Incidentally, these Vendor Packs have fascinated me for a while. It’s not the contents – it’s basically just one of each BreyerFest release. And it’s not what they were designed for – vendors and other designated attendees who wouldn’t otherwise be able to pick up their timed ticket models.

It’s the convenience.

It’s been a long time since I endeavored to get all the BreyerFest releases: cost is one issue, and space is the other. But I know there is a certain subsection of hobbyists who still do, and how easy and convenient would it be to have some of those sets set aside for them, too? Then they could spend the rest of BreyerFest participating in all the other stuff that gets in the way of line-standing.

However, if a program like that is opened to the general public, the potential for abuse is high, especially if there are rarities involved – like a high-demand lower-piece count item, or rare and random oddballs thrown into the mix.

I could see it being implemented for the One-Day Stablemates, though: a couple hundred prepacked sets of the four could come in mighty handy in keeping the line moving during the Friday morning rush at the Help Desk! (Been there, done that!)

Now that the Early Bird deadline has passed, it won’t be much longer before we’ll get to see them – presumably right after full picture of the Newmarket is released.

With the floodgates apparently opened for Hagen-Renaker releases, I’m curious to see if any of the G1 Stablemate Thoroughbreds – the Mare, and any of the portrait models like Swaps, Citation or Native Dancer – will be utilized.

It doesn’t matter to me either way: whether I get them or not depends entirely on the answers to two questions: Do I like them? Can I afford them?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Beautiful, or Useful?

This is one of my favorite quotes, from the Victorian writer and artist William Morris, that I hope requires no explanation:
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. 
It’s a good quote to keep in mind while cleaning, decluttering, or redecorating!

The quote came to mind a while back when I was skimming through some discussions of the Surprise models, and what constitutes a popular mold. Is a mold that gets put into production frequently – at least as frequently as the Lonesome Glory has in the past 18 years – actually popular, in the same ways the Traditional Silver or Lady Phase are?

I don’t necessarily think so.

The most frequently produced Breyer molds – like every other object in your home – can also be categorized as either useful, or beautiful. The ones considered “useful” fit a certain type or fill a certain niche; while those considered “beautiful” are considered aesthetically desirable, independent of any other qualities it might have.

I consider the Lonesome Glory mold to be more of the former, than the latter. It fills a niche – a more modern mold that represents a racing condition Traditional Thoroughbred jogging up to the gate. The mold also has a relatively small “footprint” – it doesn’t take up nearly as much space as a Ruffian, Cigar or Smarty Jones does, and requires no base – but it’s still in an active (nonstanding) pose.

That I think explains why the Lonesome Glory mold has had so many releases over its relatively short life span. It filled a niche, irrespective of its aesthetic qualities: for 18 or so years, it has been Breyer’s go-to mold for a racehorse.

The Carrick mold now fills a similar niche – and is newer – which is why I think we’ll be seeing more of him and a little bit less of Lonesome Glory over the next few years.

For those of us who’ve been around the block a dozen or few times, the Lonesome Glory – released in 2000 – may seem modern, but to many younger or less experienced collectors, he’s positively ancient.

I think back to my experience collecting, starting in (ulp!) 1974: the Traditional Man o’ War mold had only been in production since 1967 – so, about seven years – and most of the other Traditionals that filled the line back then were not that much older.

And when I “officially” entered the hobby in 1978, the “Old Mold” Mare and Foal had only been introduced 20 years earlier! It does not seem so deep a distance in retrospect, but back then it felt like an eternity.

Back to bed for me; I’ve now moved on to the coughing portion of the cold, and my family would prefer that I do that in the privacy of my sickbed…

Friday, April 13, 2018

Hitting Jackpots

I know some folks were expecting an actual portrait of Buchiko, but BreyerFest Portrait Models tend to be actual Guest Horses or performers. Some earlier Guest Horse Portrait Models were made as Ticket Specials – like The Lark Ascending – but Reeves has now relegated most of those to Store Specials.

That makes sense, because casual attendees and One-Day ticket purchasers who might not be able to snag a Celebration Horse model might still have the (theoretical) opportunity to purchase a model of a different Guest Horse.

(I still think the Scamper Reissue is going to be way more popular than most hobbyists realize – the original release ran forever for a reason!)

I like it! But. 

I ended up selling off my 2015 Lonesome Glory Quelle Surprise, and I’m on the verge of selling my 2016 Bozeman, who has a similar color if not pattern. I thought I’d love him, but like has not yet turned to love, and I’m doubting it’ll happen soon…

I guess I’ll have to wait until I see an By a Nose in person. And see what else is being offered: there are still the Stablemates, the Decorator release, and the multitudes of Pop-Up store merchandise to come.

The Sunday Raffle Horse Jackpot is pretty faboo, but he is (a) a Glossy (b) Leopard Appaloosa (c) with halo spots (d) Raffle Model on the (e) Hot New Bristol Mold.

In other words, his name is very appropriate: I have a better chance of finding a five-dollar Decorator at the flea market between now and then. Or being hit by a meteorite.

(Note: We did have a “close” call on some meteorites a few months ago. Decorators? Not so much. As in ever.)

But I’ll put in my tickets, all the same. Every time I think my luck is the absolute pits, I have to think back to last summer and the five-dollar box of Hagen-Renakers.

I had some additional stuff I wanted to say about the Lonesome Glory mold, but the brain is starting to get a bit foggy. I appear to have contracted a rapidly escalating cold, and my body is telling me it’s already made plans for the weekend.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Clearer Picture

I’ve been busy. Looks like Breyer’s been busy, too; they posted a blenderized version of the next BreyerFest Special Run, and they’ve got another Test Piece Raffle going.

Speculation seems to think the Special Run is a Buchiko-style extreme sabino on the Lonesome Glory; if that’s the case, I am intrigued. I’ll talk about it after they do the reveal later in the week, since I doubt I’ll be able to de-blenderize the photo any better than anyone else has at this point.

We do have a much clearer picture of the Red Roan Clydesdale Test Run, and golly he seems familiar:

Oh yeah, he’s in the Test Piece Archive graphic link on the Breyer web site!

Do I want?

Vintage mold + Red Roan + Blue and Silver ribbons (my stable colors) = Yes, I want.

As always, I am mildly amused and annoyed by the general community commentary about his desirability (or lack thereof) and the price.

These are actual Vintage Test Colors used for the actual testing of colors, and they have a rock-solid provenance: these are both qualities that many collectors find inherently desirable – regardless of the age of the mold, the color or condition.

And the ones that have been resold (the majority of them, sigh) have sold for significantly more than their $850 price tags.

The fact that he’s been used as part of a graphic on the Breyer web site makes him even more appealing to me personally, because you know how fascinated/obsessed I am with owning Photography Samples. You know, like my delightfully horrifying Mariah’s Boon:

He was the exact model used to illustrate the Mariah’s Boon Celebration Model on the Breyer web site in 2012:

I am somewhat indifferent to the Othello mold – he’s not a favorite of mine, but I don’t have any major issues with him, either – but I love that guy to pieces. Weird and Historical is a hard combo to me to pass up! (And it is frequently what gets me into trouble at the flea market...)

Regardless of my feelings toward the Clydesdale, whether or not he’ll ever get to sit on the shelf next to my Jugga-thello is not up to me.

My tax bill says I shouldn’t even enter for him at all, but I’ll just cross that bridge if and when I come to it.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Little Surprises

I am absolutely, positively not giving any thought to this year’s surprise model – dubbed the “Dark Horse Surprise”. My speculating powers will take a rest on this one. For me, it will be the complete surprise it ought to be.

I will give my yearly caveats, though: it’s not gonna be a Lady Phase, Weather Girl, Othello, or Silver. They were already used in Treasure Hunts and Gambler’s Choices, folks. Move along.

Speaking of surprises, I almost completely forgot that I bought some of those Pocket Box surprise thingies late last year during a shopping binge. They’re still here, and still unopened:

(There is no Cat one because they weren’t available yet when I bought them last Fall.)

I was reminded because one of my local Meijer stores also had some Yowies in their Easter clearance. They were half price, and having heard about how cute the figurines were, I thought I might as well add a few to my discount Easter basket. (Along with a bunch of Cadbury Caramel Eggs: No matter how many times I talk to my local “rep”, I always get shorted!)

Even though I’ve participated in a few of those videos (long story), I still don’t quite get the whole YouTube “unboxing” thing. I understand why opening boxes and packages is a thrill – that’s most of the reason I buy unsorted box lots on eBay and Craigslist – but it’s something I’d rather do or watch in person, not from afar.

Since I now find myself with a tiny little window of extra time here (and April is being April, sigh) I’m going to do a little unboxing post of my own. First, the Mini Whinnies Surprise:

Blue Roan Draft Horse Prince! I love roans, and was hoping for a Draft Horse, so this one’s a win-win. And now, the Pocket Box critters:

The Dogs: Alano Espanol (Spanish Bulldog) and Shar-Pei. I was kind of hoping for the Fox Terrier (naturally) but these are cute enough.

The Animals: Fox and Squirrel. The Squirrel is nice, but the Fox looks like a Corgi puppy wearing dog booties.

The Aquarium: Manta Ray and Barracuda. I like these a lot. Props to the packaging designer for making the matchbox look like a mini aquarium!

And finally, the Yowies:

Western Lowland Gorilla, Chimpanzee, and something called a Gnash. The figurines are very high quality, though I could have done without the cartoon creature.

(The chocolate is largely uneaten because I am well beyond my daily quota; I had heard reports that the chocolate was not-so-great, but I didn’t find the bits I sampled to be particularly awful.)

Will I be buying more of these surprise packages in the future? Eh, maybe.

I do want to get one of the Pocket Box Cats for my archives. That was one of my reasons for buying these bags in the first place.

The Aquarium ones are really well done and look like the critters they are meant to be, so if I ever have to order one or two to round out an online order, they’d be the ones I’d go with. They’ll fit right in with my aquarium furniture collection too, whenever I get around to setting it up properly.

If there are any Yowies left when the Easter clearance hits 75 or 90 percent, I might pick up a few more of those. At that price, I will be able to resell any duplicates at BreyerFest out of my Dollar Table section.

But the rest? I wouldn’t turn them down if they turned up in a gift basket or grab bag, but I’m not going to put any active effort into getting more. The local flea markets and thrift stores do a more-than-adequate job of providing me with little – and sometimes, not so little – surprises life needs.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Surprise - Another Palomino Ruffian!

Well, that is interesting. The Dead Heat is going to have variations, but by color, not finish or mold:

It’s been a while since Reeves let us know about a BreyerFest Gambler’s Choice model ahead of time. The very first one, in fact: the Quarter Horse Geldings in 2009.

Even then they didn’t clue us in on the extra rare ones – the Charcoal, Smoke and Silver Filigree – and this is why I can’t completely dismiss the possibility of other variations (long tail/short tail, or Gloss/Matte) of Dead Heat showing up.

The Traditional Ruffian mold hasn’t come in a lot of lighter colors or dilutes, but she should, because I think she looks darn good in them. It’s a nice a visual antidote to all the darker colors and more conservative patterns she’s been released in so far.

But I can see the Palomino variation is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea – in fact, I see a lot of features and details others may shake their heads disapprovingly at: a Vintage “orangey” hue, unstriped gray hooves, a pearly mane and tail, and blue eyes?

No surprise here: I like her, a lot. Aside from all her weird and funky details, she could be a big sister to my two Classic Palomino Ruffians!

I am unsure if I’ll be penciling her in as a possible addition to my herd: it’s partly the budget thing, partly the size thing, but also because my luck on getting the Gambler’s Choice I want has been rather dicey in recent years.

If they do a 50/50 split, a Chestnut one won’t be that hard to trade, but I’m all about minimizing the hassles of BreyerFest this year.

This is also why I decided to forego the Customs Contest a while ago – that, and the fact that the body I wanted (a Carrick) is still too new and too expensive for me. I just can’t imagine paying more than $10-15 for a body that I might end up ruining completely anyway.

(I’m the same way with quilting supplies, incidentally. Having to pay more than a couple bucks for a yard of fabric practically gives me the vapors.)

I’m happier experimenting with the body box leftovers anyway: I’m currently eyeing a Standing Stock Horse Foal with a broken leg and a dinged up Mesteno’s Mother body as potential victims, when the weather gets warmer.

Both of them came out of that doomed box lot I bought a while back: they’ve already been written off as a loss, and a Mesteno and one of the lesser Hess molds didn’t have much salvage value to begin with. I can mess with them to my heart’s content, guilt-free.