Saturday, June 30, 2018

More Photos from the Slush Pile

Another random picture day. First up, my really handsome Dapple Gray Proud Arabian Stallion:

He’s an earlier variation, obviously, with two airbrushed hind socks just like the *Witez II variation of the Mahogany Bay. And like my *Witez II, he’s almost perfect – just a slight bit of yellowing, and some tiny hoof and eartip rubs. A bit of light restoration and he’d be showring ready.

Hmm. I guess I should get cracking and finally track down a minty-mint heavily shaded early Alabaster guy to complete the trio, eh?

(My guess is that it’ll be another incidental find like the other two: it’ll happen when it happens.)

Next up is something I scanned a bit ago to talk about the hobby really being an offshoot of science-fiction fandom:

Oldsters among us will recognize the name Dragonquest, as in Linda Leach-Hardy’s Dragonquest Studios. She was a local artist/customizer for me (other side of town, though) so I very occasionally run across some of her old customs at the local flea market.

The last time I did it was actually kind of funny; I was looking the model over, and the seller was trying to impress me with “And it’s signed by the ARTIST!” and I came back with something like “Yeah, I used to hang out with the ARTIST back in the 1980s. I even had her do a commission for me!”

(Hey, it was like 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. That’s about as sick a burn as I could muster.)

Here’s that wee custom, by the way:

While’s we’re at it, here’s a scan of the first official appearance of Comet, the Super-Horse, because why the heck not:

I think it was in my reference files because I was thinking about doing a Comet custom for the “Fantasy” division of the Customs Contest last year. Which didn’t happen last year, this year, or probably any time soon, because that giant scary pile of unfinished quilts in the laundry room isn’t getting any smaller.

And finally, here’s a fellow I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while, but I never got around to it for some reason. First, a more recent photo of him:

And the original photo of him, from Marney’s Album:

From the style of the original photograph, it’s pretty obvious that he’s a very early Test Color for the Appaloosa Performance Horse. But is he an actual pre-1974 Test for the Appaloosa Performance Horse?

I’d like to think so: even if the evidence is lacking, the timing is right.

It’s kind of interesting that they were experimenting with different types of roaning just as they were phasing out the old style of “Freckle” roaning, isn’t it? I’ll having to write that topic down for future investigation...

Back to (BreyerFest) work.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Just a Few

A Few Spot Appaloosa on the True North mold? You’re killing me!

Aside from the fact I just think Few Spot Appaloosa are kinda neat, I’m also of the opinion that the Appaloosa as a breed has been done no favors by the aggressive quest for color.

Once I get around to customizing again, one of the projects I’m very eager to get to work on is an Appaloosa Performance Horse in a Few Spot Appaloosa, since it’s unlikely that they’ll ever get around to giving us a Regular Run one anytime soon.

As much as we carp about virtually every release nowadays being spotted, the fact of the matter is that’s what sells. Unless the model is exceptional in some other way – glossy, with extra or extra-special detailing, or is a Portrait Model of someone historical/noteworthy – it’s been in Reeves best financial interest to make it as fancy as possible.

And fancy means spots.

Though it is true that many BreyerFest Auction pieces in the past few years have actually been previews of future releases (in other words, truly Tests!) I’m still skeptical of more Few Spot releases in the near future.

They are, by definition, not fancy enough.

There haven’t been many Breyer Few Spot Appaloosas in the past, either. There are the occasional extreme variations of the #115 Appaloosa Western Prancing Horse, and I’ve seen a few older Gloss Gray Appaloosa with spots sparse enough to possibly pass as one (later examples of the Fighting Stallion, for instance.)

But the only intentional Few Spot that immediately comes to mind is the San Domingo Oxydol, who was from about 20 years ago.

(I have one, he just happens to be in storage right now.)

I think they tried to pass off the Dappled Liver Chestnut Running Mare from the 2009 Fun Foals Treasure Hunt as a “solid Appaloosa” too. Which I thought kind of muddled the color genetics lesson the Fun Foals promotion was supposed to be about. (Would it really have been that big a deal to toss a couple of stray spots on her? Mottle her nose a bit? Add a couple of hoof stripes? )
Back to BreyerFest prep…

Monday, June 25, 2018

Splashing Around

Not much to say again, today: yesterday was another washout at the flea market, and most of the week ahead of me will be used to get my BreyerFest paperwork done, because of course I’m behind.

It’s more a matter of finding the time that fussing over content. I’ve managed to make all of my other deadlines for other things throughout the year, so I am feeling surprisingly blasé about it all at this point.

It could also be the Benadryl talking: in lieu of bashing my head against a wall and attempting a Diorama Contest entry this year, I’ve been spending that time making my garden presentable again. It’s something I can look at every day and get some satisfaction out of it without any worries about whether it gets deemed prize worthy.

Things were going great – but apparently I touched something I shouldn’t over the weekend, and now I’m having a rather unpleasant allergic reaction that may require medical intervention in the next 24 hours. (You can actually see the imprint of the offending leaf on my arm!)

Lovely. I just can’t win either way, can I?

On the plus side, I have most of the components of a possible costume entry, so if the paperwork goes well this week, that’ll be what I spend my free time on next week.

Speaking of free time, looking over my schedule for BreyerFest weekend, it doesn’t look like I’ll get much of an opportunity to get any store-related shopping done; all I’m hoping for at this point is to somehow pick up a Gloss Foiled Again and an Ichabad Crane.

Hotel-wise, I have no idea what I’ll seriously be looking for this year. I’ll know it when I see it, I guess. Just like every other year!

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that my favorite of the current crop of Auction Test Colors is the Splash Pinto Valegro:

I was thinking just yesterday that I wanted to see more Splash Pintos, though I was hoping for a more… affordable option. I’ll just have to settle for a Silky Keno or a Pierrot. (Had the latter, and sold it. Not sure why. Just being dumb, I guess.)

The first true Breyer Splash Pinto – one that was specifically designed to look like a Splash – was the Black Pinto Johar in the Eagle and Pow Wow Gift Set from 1995, I beleive? Then followed by the G1 Draft Horse from the JC Penney Christmas Catalog Stablemate Set the following year.

And finally, one additional note: I added a link to Mares in Black to the right.

Due to my work schedule and other commitments, I don’t get to interact with hobbyists face-to-face on a more regular basis. The informal and intimate qualities of podcasts make me feel like I’m overhearing a really great conversation at a live show or in a hallway at BreyerFest.

That’s the only problem I had with the podcasts: I found myself at several points over the first two actually trying to participate in the discussion! As if I didn’t already talk to myself enough…

Friday, June 22, 2018

Clearing Out the Picture Files

I can’t think of anything interesting to say today. So I’ll clear some random pictures off the hard drive. After the recent dusting and reorganizing, I took a few extra pics for the times when words fail. Like today!

Here’s one last “glamour” shot of those Gloss Alabaster Family Arabian Mare and Foal before I decide their fate:

If you don’t remember, this is what they looked like when I got them:

They did turn out pretty darn nice, didn’t they? But I already have a very good set of Gloss Alabasters – with stickers! – and no (physical) room for sentiment, so they’re likely headed to Kentucky in a few weeks.

(You could use this post as part of their provenance, if you’re in the market!)

They’ve been in my bedroom window for the past several months, so I will miss seeing them every day. But I’m sure I can find someone else in need of a sunbath soon.

Here’s a pic of the original Little Bits #9025 Clydesdale, produced from 1984 through 1988, and released in a couple different shades of Bay since then. I’ve been wanting to talk a little bit more about the Little Bits/Paddock Pals, but I haven’t been able to come up with anything interesting or clever to say.

The photo turned out nice, though. Of all the Little Bits molds, the Clydesdale does seem to be the most photogenic, isn’t he? I’m not sure if the front stocking was intentionally masked, or someone’s fingers got in the way.

I bought him when he came out in 1984, so the latter, probably. Quality control was, in spite of rumors to the contrary, not necessarily better back then. Speaking of…

Always makes me smile. I know something like that isn’t likely to slip by QC today; not because it would not be well executed, but newer collectors are more likely to see it as a flaw, and not character. (Not mine, but been offered.)

And finally, since the hobby was all agog a while back over the Family Arabian Mare with the Mahogany Bay Proud Arabian Mare paint job, for equal time here’s a pic of a Test Color Proud Arabian Mare wearing the Family Arabian Mare’s version of the Bay paint job, black hooves and all:

Since this photograph (one of Marney’s, of course) is dated early 1971 – before she was officially released for sale to the public – this probably represents a True Test Color, as opposed to things that were painted just because.

Pretty girl! I wish I knew where she was. Purely out of curiosity: it’s not likely I’d be able to afford her than that Mahogany Bay Family Arabian Mare!

And that’s all for today, folks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

These Old Racehorses

Nothing at the flea market this weekend, just the usual strays and bodies. As my sales list is already overflowing, the lack of stuff was more of an annoyance than a worry. I couldn’t even muster up any interesting craft supplies, produce, or groceries of questionable provenance to buy…

Another annoyance: people who allegedly got picked off some “wait list” for the Scottsdale Event. You guys and your imaginations!

It’s not like I had the money for it anyway. And if I did, I’d be dropping it on this guy instead:

I was just wondering the other day where the old #36 Racehorse was going to show up at BreyerFest. I had some amusing thoughts that it’d be the Volunteer model or Dark Horse Surprise, but nope. At auction, naturally – and in Gloss Charcoal!

Come on guys, just one more kinda-sorta obtainable release for us old coots who neither lucky, nor made of money? Please? I can’t afford either the Daisy or the Dixie.

I’m not real fussy on color or finish either, but Web Special pricing or under would be great.

Another model making me grit my teeth:

The BF Live Open Show Reserve Hot to Trot. Now there’s not one, but two Pinto Pacers I can’t afford? Just when I was getting so close to completing my Pacer collection?

I know a lot of people aren’t all that excited by him, and wouldn’t hesitate to sell me theirs at the “right” price, but that’s not a game I play. I did not bite when I was offered Marshalls at prices I really could not afford, and the Pacer will be no different.

(I briefly flirted with the idea of showing this year, but financially and logistically I couldn’t make it work.)

For the record, outside of the Praline, the only other Pacers I’m actively looking for are the QVC rerelease of Niatross, a boxed and complete #2446 Sulky Gift Set, and at least one of the Christmas Sulky sets. (I have all the Pacers that came with, but everything else, not so much.)

Of all those, the Christmas Pacer sets will probably be the toughest to acquire; boxed Christmas Catalog releases in general are kind of a thing now (as they should be!) It’s just a matter of unfortunate timing on my part that they happen to be at the end of my want list.

I managed to get all of the other Pacer rarities before they got out of hand, so I may have to bite the bullet at some point if a set comes up any time soon.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Boring, But Competent

Another busy day of stuff and things. Some stuff I wanted to get done this week got done, some of it didn’t, so here’s another exciting Special Run from the 1980s to thrill and amaze you while I vegetate in a corner of my office:

Yeah, it’s no Glossy Appaloosa Halla: it’s the 1986 Bay Stud Spider, who was an early gift with purchase model. (Yup, we had them back then, too.) You had to buy $30 worth of stuff from the mail-order company Your Horse Source to get him.

(That translated back then to about three Traditional Adults, or four Traditional Foals or Classic Racehorses.)

He’s pretty standard for a 1980s Special Run: a flat Red Bay, airbrushed markings, a bit of shading on the nostrils, on a competently executed mold doing nothing in particular.

That really is the definition of boring, isn’t it?

To be honest, we weren’t all that excited back then about him either, but our choices were more limited then – fewer existing molds, fewer releases per year, etc. – and he was technically free.

While he’s no Stetson – or even a Smooth Copper – of all the models I’ve bought and subsequently sold over the years, he’s still here. So that’s saying something about the power of boring-but-competent.

(There’s also a story. Most of my models have stories to them, but this one is rather mortifying and probably best left off the Internet. For now.)

Even though they made about a 1000 pieces of him, he’s not all that common to find – partly because he is boring, and also because I suspect the full complement of 1000 pieces might not have been made/sold, either.

Larger piece runs like that were usually reserved for bigger mail-order operations like Sears and JC Penneys, for JAH Subscriber SRs, or as an item that was available to multiple mail-order companies simultaneously. A thousand pieces for a modest mail-order operation out of Wyoming? It might have been a challenge.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Spotty Halla

Like everyone else, I am completely smitten with the Live Auction Appaloosa Halla:

The auction piece was created on one of the handful of pre-Bolya Halla bodies Reeves still had in the warehouse. Halla, in this form, is essentially extinct: the way the mold was altered means it isn’t coming back to its original form.

It’s theoretically possible to recreate Halla by doing a 3-D scan of an original – either the original sculpt if it is out there somewhere, or of an earlier plastic one.

Possible, but not likely: although the real-life Halla is still considered a legend in Germany, and the Hess mold is a dead-on portrait of her, a new Halla would have be an entirely new mold.

Newer collectors prefer newer molds, and the money that it takes to develop a new mold is probably a better long-term investment than re-creating an old mold that had only a modest fan base to begin with.

Speaking of Appaloosas, here’s a picture of my “Old Mold” Appaloosa Stallion, which is basically the Family Arabian Stallion without the full mold stamp: some have a fragmentary copyright horseshoe, some have none. This one has a fragmentary mold mark:

Since the Family Arabian Foal had enough mold changes over the years that we can almost date them to the year, I thought I’d try to do the same with the Family Arabian Stallion.

I gave up, eventually. There are definitely lots of subtle changes beyond the mold mark, and his boy parts definitely got reworked in the 1970s and beyond, but they weren’t enough to create a year-by-year timeline.

You could more accurately date the Stallions by their paintjobs. You don’t need to see a picture of the mold mark area to know this guy is early: the hip blanket and finely speckled spots already tell you that. It’s the same coloring/patterning you see on the Old Mold Mare and Foals, and can be seen in early examples of the Family Mare and Foal, too.

I’m not sure exactly when it switched over to the splashier and more irregular spots and the white belly stripe, other than it happened pretty early. This speckled variation isn’t necessarily rare – most Family Arabians of any type and stripe just aren’t – but it’s definitely the scarcer of the two Gloss Gray Appaloosa variations.

The fragility of the gray paint does make it difficult to find them in good or better condition. Other than a factory smudge, this guy is near-perfect, which is why this handsome fella one of my favorites among my Family Arabians.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


While I am a little annoyed I didn’t get picked for the Scottsdale Stampede Event, it’s pretty far down the list of things that upset me this week. It was a long shot that I’d be able to attend in the first place, and done largely to help out a friend anyway.

(Not that I wouldn’t be excited to go, but it did push me over the finish line to enter.)

Moving on, because I have to. (Though secretly hoping that people trying to “sell” their “plus one” slots for more than cost + fees get bit somehow. Because tacky.)

Anyway, the more exciting news is that Reeves is apparently going whole hog with the Mini Me thing, with the Alborozo and the Magnolia resin getting the Brishen Stablematizing treatment in a Midyear Stablemates Mystery Assortment type thing.

I don’t know the details of the contracts that covered the creations of the original sculptures in the first place – and any possible limitations that may stem from them – so I couldn’t tell you who or what to expect next.

Two of the three “Stablematized” Traditional-scale models – the Brishen, and the Alborozo – had been released in a shrunken form previously as Crystals. This suggests that’s the place we might need to look for clues to future “new” Stablemates releases.

So will we be seeing the Nokota Horse, Silver, Traditional Moody Andalusian, Zippo Pine Bar, Esprit, Croi Damsha, Bobby Jo, or Cleveland Bay next? I’d be on board with most of those.

I know there are some people out there thinking this means the Traditional Alborozo might be making a return.

Ugh. Guys. Seriously. Stop it!

That ship has not only passed, it’s been torpedoed, sunk, and is now residing somewhere in the Marianas Trench. Be happy that you will now have a (possibly) unlimited supply of somewhat-less-expensive mini Alborozos to collect, customize, and fondle to your heart’s content.

Personally, I can’t get overly excited for the Stablemates Alborozo, or at least with the initial Unicorn releases. It looks like he’s going to be the chase piece in the set, just as the Django was for the current Mystery Horse Surprise Assortment, so the likelihood of me stumbling on one (either common or rare) is going to be very unlikely.

Incidentally, I still can’t believe the totally insane prices on that Copper Florentine Django. I spent significantly less for my Black G1 Quarter Horse Stallion Pancho – and more recently, both my Mint in Box Stablemates Stable Set and Mint in Box Wooden Stablemates Stable combined.

And here I thought focusing on Stablemates would totally be the affordable way to go this year. Nope!

Programming note: I am going to continue to be a bit scarce for the next week or so as I attempt to wrap up some personal and professional business. Don’t set the Internet on fire while I’m out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

High Anxiety

Got the Silver Filigree Callahan I wanted, yay!

The detailing on the tail ribbon is amazing, and other than a few tiny bits of roughness in the gloss that can be felt, but not seen, I have no complaints about the Callahan itself.

But seriously, Reeves, we need to talk about the box.

I had heard that a higher percentage of boxes for the Callahans were arriving in less-than-optimal condition. While I have had my share of bumped and bruised boxes over the years, I haven’t had all that much to complain about.

But alas, not today. Fortunately my Callahan was fine; nevertheless, the only anxiety I should have felt today in opening the box should have been about what color I was getting, not how many pieces the model might have been broken into.

Do better, guys. 


This is what happens when I skip a day at the flea market:

I stop at the Salvation Army on the way home from work the next day and buy a ton of G3 My Little Ponies. And I don’t even collect them!

The cashier who rang me up gave me some serious side-eye, so I told her “they’ll make great party favors!”

In reality, I bought them for the BreyerFest stash – not that I need any more stuff, necessarily, but I do need the right kind of stuff, and I had a pretty good response the last time I brought some.

I did feel a little bit guilty about buying them, not really knowing that market or collecting that item per se. The tiny bit of research I did today didn’t indicate anything particularly rare in the lot of 19, but I’m not aiming to make a big profit, regardless.

I tend to see stuff like this as a way to bank some trip money ahead of time. Other people start a vacation savings account for their trip: I buy models to sell, even if it’s only a slight profit. Those slight profits tend to give me a better return on my investment than a bank savings account, too.

And it was kind of relaxing to clean them up and sort them out in between doing less pleasant things yesterday; I haven’t had much “grooming time” with the Breyers lately, other that the Memorial Day Weekend Dusting Project that for reasons I will not go into was not relaxing in the least.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Callahan, and Waiting It Out

I didn’t buy Fletcher, or Griffin, or Starlet, and I managed to bypass Koh-i-Noor the second time he was offered, too. But the Callahan? He finally broke me:

Bought one so fast I forgot to pull down the web site images and data! Oops!

My excuses, this time: I had some money in the PayPal account, and I still didn’t have a Classic Head Down Shire B here yet. All the versions of that mold that I do like I can’t afford at the moment, and since I like all three of the colors they were offering, it seemed like the logical thing to do.

However, I sold my Pamplemousse a while ago, and I was never drawn for a Silverado; since I do still have my Silver Snow, that’s the Mini Me I’m hoping for.

I’m with a lot of people here: I do kind of wish Reeves would slow down the pace of all these offers. 2018 is beginning to feel a bit like 1984/5 – another time period where we were being barraged with one Special Run after another.

It was both harder, and easier back then. It was harder, because we had neither social media nor the Internet to keep us informed. You had to rely on your own hobby network – and monthly hobbyist newsletters – to find out about the Special Runs in the first place.

There were not quite as many mail-order retailers as you might think, so there’d be a good chance you might already be on the mailing list of a company who had, or was going to get, a Special Run soon. News and the mail traveled more slowly then: whether you got the sales list on time, or even found out about these Special Runs in time was the bigger worry.

It was easier back then because even though the piece runs were smaller – sometimes significantly so – it’d still take a few weeks or months for most things to sell out. You had the luxury of time – not a lot, but enough to take a deep breath.

The hobby was smaller back then, too. Less competition!

We had our profit-takers and flippers, too, but the problem wasn’t as widespread. There were some examples of quick sellouts, demand that vastly exceeded supply, and a couple of instances of people buying multiples for resale that profoundly warped the market.

Prices for some of the in-demand SRs remained high for while, but the Internet quickly cured that. There are still some – like the Buckskin Adios, or the 1984 G1 Stablemate Draft Horses – that command the big bucks, but most SRs of years past aren’t all that expensive or difficult to find anymore.

And that’s going to be the case with these newer ones, too, no matter how popular a mold may be now. Some go up and stay up, but most go down eventually. Or at least become less hotly contested.

If you couldn’t get one, and can’t afford the aftermarket now, just wait it out a bit. Something new will come along, and people will sell something old to buy something new.