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.