Sunday, March 31, 2019

Moving On

Figures: I buy a bunch of seeds in hopes of maybe getting a few direct-sowers in the ground ASAP, and of course it has to snow. Well, the beds do need a bit more cleaning up, and I have to finally finish up my taxes anyway…

The latest America the Beautiful Web Special, Bandelier has all the makings of a model that I’d want, but for some reason I keep forgetting to enter for him.


I guess I am hesitant to add another higher-end, lower production run El Pastor to the herd, no matter how pretty he might be. It’s for entirely personal reasons: I’ve had an Escondido on my sales list for a couple of years with hardly a looky-loo thrown its way, and it’s been bothering me.

The model itself is perfectly fine, but I have had a difficult time looking at him ever since the disappointment of not winning the Diorama Contest Sona in 2017 hit me harder than I thought it would.

(And it didn’t help that last year at BreyerFest it felt like literally every other 12-year-old girl picked him up in hopes of him being Sona, only to plunk him back down a hot moment later. Sigh.)

The next couple of weeks are going to be a bit on the expensive side for me (taxes, BreyerFest tickets, et al) so it’s probably for the best if I just move along and forget all about the El Pastor mold for a while.

However, I was able to find cheaper, less emotionally-fraught thrills on Friday: the Walmart Horse Crazy Singles!


I attribute finding them less to luck, skill or persistence and more to the fact that everyone else has since gotten their fill and moved on to the next latest, hottest thing, whatever that is. In this case, I’m okay with that, since it works to my advantage.

What’s interesting about the selection of molds they used here is that it shows that Reeves really does have some idea of who their Stablemates “heavy hitters” are, sans the mini Alborozo.

The only one of the four that doesn’t completely float my boat is the G3 Thoroughbred: as I’ve said before, his proportions are more cartoonish than I prefer, and I am not crazy about his long ears.

I wasn’t thrilled when they put last year’s One-Day Stablemates release of the Ruffian on this mold; as a result of my hesitation, the mold’s inexplicable (to me) popularity has made my acquisition of one a completely moot point for me. And being Glossy Dark Bay. And being a portrait of Ruffian. It was a dumb mistake on my part, I confess...

(Though seriously: the last one I saw sold on eBay for $125: that’s almost the same amount of money I sold my last spare Hermes for. And they only made 75 of him!)

I do like the paint job on the new Walmart release, though – it’s not your typical generic “overo” pinto paint job, and I think it complements the mold pretty well. (FYI: of the four, the Rivet is my favorite, only because the shading on him is amazing.)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Cavalcade of Trivia

The Diorama Prize model is a Haflinger named Cavalcade:


Should have guessed when I saw it was Chestnut. The majority of the Traditional Haflinger’s releases have been some shade of Chestnut or Palomino! Some of them quite lovely, but still… some form of Chestnut.

Though this one does appear to be the same shade we saw on the generally well-received Clock Saddlebred Muir Woods last month.

It’s hard to believe, but Cavalcade marks the fourth production BreyerFest Special Run Traditional Haflinger. It’s had more BreyerFest releases than legit pony fan favorites like the Cantering Welsh Pony, the Pony of the Americas, and even Misty.

In fact, this marks the second time the Haflinger has been used as a BreyerFest contest prize, the first being the Gloss Red Dun awarded to the winners of a “Design a Breyer Sceptre” Contest in 2005, one of the early precursors to the Diorama Contest.

Back then they didn’t have age categories, they didn’t require a Breyer item incorporated in the final product, and they had only had a handful of rules that were mostly ignored anyway.

I also remember that one being judged in the dark. (Sometimes I still think they do…)

The Haflinger has also been a Live Show Prize (2012 Youth Show), and a very pretty Flaxen Chestnut Pinto Ticket Special named Buckaroo in 2013.

What the model is, of course, has no bearing on whether or not I enter the contest, though I am happy it’s not something that would make me really wince and try too hard, like a Fell Pony, or the short-tailed version of the Pony of the Americas.

As the BreyerFest blog post notes, the name Cavalcade is in reference to the “parade” aspect of this year’s contest theme. In fact, per the online Merriam-Webster:
When cavalcade was first used in English, it meant "a horseback ride" or "a march or raid made on horseback."
But wait, there’s more. Horse-wise, Cavalcade was the name of the 1934 Kentucky Derby winner and the name of a vintage horse-racing-themed board game (the latter is a steeplechase game, and doesn’t seem directly related to the former, but I am not a board game expert here).

Comic book-wise, there were two well-known comic book titles that used the name Cavalcade, both published by DC Comics. The first was Comic Cavalcade, which was a Golden Age anthology series that began as a mostly-Superhero book and ended in the 1950s as a Funny Animals title.

The second was the legendary/notorious Cancelled Comics Cavalcade, a two-issue “series” that was published in 1978 to maintain/secure the copyrights to a bunch of titles that were abruptly canceled (it’s a long story). Only 40 copies were published  a Micro Run!  and aside from its rarity, it’s best known for the first appearance of the superhero Vixen, a member of the Justice League who can conjure the powers of any animal past or present.

And here y’all thought the name didn’t fit the theme. With a little research, you can make anything fit!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Magic

Irrelevant but short non-spoilery review of Shazam!: This is the comic book movie I would have written. In fact, after the first five minutes or so, some of the references and beats were so on-point I thought maybe I slipped onto an alternate Earth where I did!

Alas, no. That’s my only real quibble with it, aside from the lack of a few obscure and not-so-obscure characters that I am pretty sure will turn up in later films, regardless.

Other than going to see the movie on Saturday, the rest of my exciting weekend consisted of me sleeping off a rougher-than-average Spring cold and working on my taxes.

Pickings at the local thrift stores have been slender anyway, and I haven’t had the time to do much retail shopping, other than pick up the last two SR Spirit Gift Sets at the local Tractor Supply. (They were 75 percent off – basically body price – and looked lonely.)

The Collector’s Club Special Out of the Blue is apparently sold out; considering previous Collector’s Club Specials either took an extended period of time to sell out, or were quietly taken off the web site after a certain period of time, that was a bit of a surprise.

I don’t know what the magic ingredient or formula was to achieve the quick sell-out: a lower piece count, fewer-than-average reports of flawed models, or just the fact that the model + color combo was really photogenic?

But I am not entirely disappointed that she’s already sold out (I am still sorting out my current horse overage here) but I would not rule out putting her on my want list later in the year.

In BreyerFest news, the sneak peek of the Diorama Prize model tells us that it’s something Glossy Flaxen Red Chestnut… and I don’t know if I should even hazard a guess, other than it looks kind of Vintage.


To be honest, I’ve spent most of my creative “free” time working on my Costume Contest entry, and haven’t even thought about my Diorama. Try as I might, it’s obvious that my craft stash appears to be lacking the magic pixie dust that makes other contestants so successful.

I still want to do it, but it’s hard to get excited, you know? Kind of the same way football fans around here usually make the logical decision to invest more of their emotional well-being in the Wolverines or the Spartans, instead of the Lions.

To end on a cheerier note, here’s a semi-relevant Queen song, just because:


(And also: there’s a montage in Shazam! set to a Queen song, and I was like Aw yeah, this movie totally gets me.)

Friday, March 22, 2019

Such A Tease

Grr. Argh. 

I cannot believe that Reeves is now making me wince with every release this “heroes” theme. As BreyerFest History tells us, reliance on clich├ęs and heavy-handed Disney references are (alas) the rule, rather than the exception - but even I did not expect it to be this bad.

I’m going to pretend I didn’t see Reeves’ latest attempt to kiss up to Disney with its fifth(!!!) Marvel-themed BreyerFest SR, and just focus my comic book fangirl energies on the Shazam! sneak preview screening I’m seeing this Saturday.

(How nerd will they go? Will Tawky Tawny actually be in it? Ibis the Invincible? Freddy’s long-lost brother?)

Back to slightly-less-stress-inducing topics. (And ones that I have at least some tiny measure of control over.)

Bits and pieces of information about the still-unrevealed Vintage Club releases have been revealed in the Vintage Club welcome packet…

...including the much-requested Bell-bottomed Shire! Yay! But being the teases that they are this year, they’ve chosen to keep the rest of you in the dark about what she will be wearing when she debuts in May or June.

Ah, well. Just gotta roll with it, I guess.

Considering how mild-mannered and unassuming the mold is, the Bell-bottomed Shire has a number of scarce or downright rare releases over the years: the Gloss Chalky Dapple Grays, the 1985 Riegsecker releases, and most recently, the Chasing the Chesapeake Special Run Testudo.

Because of her heavily feathered legs, she takes a lot of raw materials to produce, which is why we haven’t seen much of her recently. Aside from the Warehouse Reissues of the Bay (made from stockpiled warehouse bodies) the only other production run of her that we’ve had in the past 15 years was the adorable BreyerFest Special Run Cheerio.

And I adore that release so much she actually gets to be one of my office companions (along with several of her sisters).

So yeah, you could say I’m pretty excited about this release. The whole lineup is great, but you’ll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Leopold


The name of second release in this year’s Vintage Club is an obvious play on its similarity to the word “leopard”, but what first sprung to my mind was this:


The Leopold Bugs Bunny satirizes in Long-Haired Hare (1949) is Leopold Stokowski, a conductor best known today for his work on Disney’s Fantasia. And, as Bugs amply demonstrates, his flair for theatricality.

In light of all that, the name certainly suits him!

He was another one that was a tough secret to keep: pretty much a perfectly engineered Vintage Club offering, following in the footsteps of the first Vintage Club Stablemate Eagle, the Second Vintage Club release, the Buckskin Fighting Stallion King, and 2013 Vintage Club release Halo, on the Stretched Morgan…

…with the added difference/bonus being that Leopold is Chalky, as the first releases of the #99 Appaloosa Performance Horses were back in 1974.

As I have noted before, the Appaloosa Performance Horse color was groundbreaking by 1974 standards: prior to it, all Breyer Appaloosas were of the randomly splash-spotted variety. Splash-spotted Appaloosas continued to be made after his arrival – including several APH releases that followed – but so, too, did carefully designed masked patterns, too, like the original Leopard release of the Pony of the Americas and Stud Spider.

What’s interesting to me about the original Appaloosa Performance Horse is that the majority of that mold’s production run releases since his debut have been in some variety of Appaloosa – with the exception of three of the four Special Run releases made for Horses International back in 1989.

His body type is distinctively old-school Appaloosa, so that’s not a big surprise. What is a surprise is the lack of variety in the patterns they have chosen for him over the years: aside from two Semi-Leopards (the original #99 and Exclusive Event Ferris) and the Splash Spot Leopard 1989 Horses International release, it’s been one Spotted Blanket Appaloosa after another.

While I wait for Reeves to come to its senses and finally give us a slightly different look for the APH, maybe I’ll finally dig out the body I have buried in my body box and give it a whirl.

(Probably a Few Spot: you know how much I liked That Guy from last year’s auction.)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Waban

Just when we though we were safe, after the 350-piece release of the Woodgrain Special Run Jasper Hawthorn back in December, Micro Runs are ba-ack with the Gloss Charcoal Buffalo Waban:


The problem that comes with Micro Runs – namely, that so many people enter Micro Run drawings not for the item itself, but for what they can get for it – seems so insoluble that I’d feel like an actual genius (and not just a presumptive one) if I could somehow engineer an equitable solution to it.

But so far, nada.

The closest I can come is this: since many Nonhorse collectors are also Vintage enthusiasts, future Micro Run Animals could be exclusive drawings for Vintage Club members. The odds would be better – competing against 500 people instead of a couple thousand – and nonwinners could take some consolation that a bigger percentage of the entrants were entering because they actually wanted the model itself.

Considering Reeves upped its game on the Vintage Club, that might not necessarily be an extra perk worth throwing into the pot.

(But if it’s the only way to get another affordable #36 Racehorse Special Run, I am all for it. That darn Charcoal one in last year’s Benefit Auction was the first thing that popped in my head when I saw Waban.)

Special Run Nonhorses are a niche market, at best – certain cattle molds always do well, and items that can be targeted for very specific non-hobby markets (like the Donkey and Elephant, naturally) can usually sustain a larger piece run.

But everything else is a gamble, sales-wise – hence my mild hesitation about the BreyerFest Saint Bernard. I don’t want to “blow” my ticket slot on a Bucky if there will be substantial leftovers, especially since I’m liking/loving so many of the other releases that will be harder to acquire in the secondary market.

Unless they make the quantity on Bucky sufficiently low that the question becomes moot.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Suave

One good thing about having a Silver as a Store Special? Not having to hear months of hobbyists fretting that no really, THIS will be the year Silver will be the Surprise Model.


That is not going to happen: three days of insomnia has left me too tired and foggy to rehash the arguments why.

I was hoping that we’d see this mold in the form of a Glossy Reissue of the original Silver Release, mostly because I am kind of smitten with the look of my Vintage Club Gloss Chalky Alabaster Cantering Welsh Pony, and think the Silver would look equally fine in a similar suit of clothes.

Whether I get Rico or not is… iffy. I think the color will look nice on him in person – basically a Matte version of the 2009 Early Bird Special Run Angel Food Cake – but I am not the fan of the Silver mold a significant portion of the hobby is, and my shopping list so far is already full of many definites and maybes.

And his name… well, I worked with a guy named Rico, once. While that was an interesting experience (not all bad), I don’t think I want to be reminded of him every time I look at it.

(It’s as logical a reason as any other I’ve seen to just saying no to any given model…)

A Dundee mold will also be released – not sure if it’s a Store Special, Mid-year, or some other classification of production run – as a portrait of Jonathan Field’s horse Hal.

Though for the sake of my sanity I will also assume that this is a very, very, very sly and subtle reference to the original Silver Age Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. (I’m more of a Guy Gardner gal, myself, but at this point I will take any DC reference, no matter how tenuous.)

That’s it for me today. Off to make another go at this “sleep” thing. Will the fourth time be the charm?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Bucky

LOL – of course it’s a Saint Bernard!


You know, if you had told me that the Saint Bernard would get a second BreyerFest Special Run release before the Boxer, the Collie or even the Kitten, I wouldn’t have believed you. (You, in turn, will have to believe that I honestly did not know that Bucky was the Saint Bernard.)

And yet, here we are. (The first dog mold was the “Small Poodle” – the “Surprise” raffle pieces in 1997, and Cotton Candy in 2009.)

I guess my only significant concern about Bucky is that he looks a lot like the previous BreyerFest SR, Beethoven. I would have preferred slightly more atypical markings –  something described by breeders as a “splash coat” or “full mantle extended”.

I’ll still get him regardless – providing he isn’t too expensive, or too scarce – since I collect the Dog molds anyway, and I have a near-complete collection of Saint Bernards including variations, samples and so on.

What I would have really preferred is a Holiday/Christmas Special Run – Decorator, Glossy, whatever – but this way I have a reasonable shot of getting one, instead of having to resort to the secondary market.

There’s been some consternation that the German Shepherd/Rin Tin Tin mold was not used, but as I’ve explained before – in multiple venues – the mold is not usable.

The rumors you often hear about certain molds being unusable, destroyed or beyond repair? Most of them aren’t true – but in the case of the Rin Tin Tin, it probably is.

And even if it were economically feasible to repair it, I simply don’t think it’s likely that they would have used it for this BreyerFest. For an event – and a hobby – that has had issues with inclusivity, honoring one of the breeds most often used as a police dog could be seen as problematic.

All dogs, and all breeds of dogs, have issues. Some breeds honored as Breyer Companion animals – like Rottweilers and Dalmatians – also have serious health and temperament issues. (Though I love Rottweilers, personally. They’re just a bit too big for me to handle.)

Wire Fox Terriers are the winningest breed at Westminster (this year, too!) And it’s easy to see why: they are adorable, personable, outgoing, energetic, and legendarily empathetic. But would I recommend them to anybody who hasn’t had previous experience with terriers?

Good heavens, no! Vita is exhausting, territorial, bossy, single-minded and a thief: when things get quiet around here, we get worried. Her nickname is “Monster”, and she’s earned it.

As much as I want it, I doubt Breyer will ever officially have a Fox Terrier model, beyond the cartoony one available in the Pocket Box Dog assortment. (I don’t think Collecta has ever had one, either.) I’m okay with that.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Pondering Time

I haven’t spent much pondering time on the sneak preview of the BreyerFest Nonhorse Special Run, so I can’t credibly give you my thoughts on what it could be:


Though I am annoyed that, in spite of their blog text teasing us otherwise, the name of the .png file tells me it’s going to be yet another sprocking Marvel-themed character. (Not to be that kind of nerd, but has anyone at Reeves HQ actually been in a comic book store? It’s not that scary guys, I swear!)

What I’m hoping for is either something we haven’t seen before as a BreyerFest Special – like a Moose, or a Polled Hereford Bull (pretty please?) – or something offbeat, like a Kitten with a cape or a Jasper with wings.

...seriously, why haven’t we gotten a legitimate production run Flying Pig yet? If Breyer had the cojones to make a Pink Elephant in 1958, a Flying Pig ought to be a no-brainer. They have the Pig, they have the wings, they’ve already done Tests of the concept, it’s an item with crossover appeal, and it would also kinda-sorta fit with the theme...

(Incidentally, there was a Super Pig, but it was not a DC property.)

I also would not object to any of the Dog molds, since many would be on point with the theme, but they generally haven’t been the best sellers at BreyerFest. (Note to self: still need to buy myself a Beethoven.)

Considering that I’ve either loved or found something to like with all of the announced Special Runs so far (aside from the naming thing), going with something more safe and conventional would save me some money.

Sometimes I wish I could be one of those people who looks for reasons to rule out buying BreyerFest Special Runs, instead of looking for reasons to put them on the list. It would make things far less crowded in my office!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

All In

Well, it’s official: in April, I’ll be attending my first live show (Pansies & Ponies) in 15 years. It’s something that I’ve been promising myself to do for a while now, and since I’m now in a place – more or less – that I can do it, I’m doing it.

Putting a show string together is going to be a challenge, though. Collectibility won’t be an issue (of course!) but everything else is essentially shiny, new – and a little bit terrifying, to be honest.

I think this is a good thing. Everyone needs to push the boundaries of their comfort zones once and a while. I think too many people define themselves by what they can’t do – or think they can’t do – and I don’t want to be that kind of person.

I definitely can’t snap my fingers, knit, dunk a basket, or parallel park. But I’ve gone rock climbing, travelled cross-country alone, officiated a wedding, and cosplayed in public. Those all took some measure of bravery, and I survived.

I’ll be fine. A little overwhelmed at first, but fine.

Second, I bought some costuming and crafting supplies for BreyerFest last week – new supplies, not stuff pulled from my already-voluminous stash – so I am now officially all-in on that endeavor, too. Even so, everything that was purchased was on sale, and can/will be used or repurposed for other projects. In other words, those purchases weren’t quite as existentially fraught as hitting the Paypal button on live show entry fees.

The final thing that I thought I’d be all-in for, but I find myself hesitating on – is the release of the Collector’s Club Special Run Out of the Blue:


(Props to their photographer for thinking outside the box for this shot! I love it!)

This release hits all my “marks” – the Bobby Jo mold, a relatively simple and well-executed roan pinto, a reasonable price – but I am hesitating. I haven’t finished my taxes yet, and I am still in the process of figuring out my new monthly budget with the new car et al. And I want to keep my new model purchases to a minimum as long as possible this year, because I still feel like I own just too much danged stuff!

Breyer introduced Red Roans in 1968 – on the Running Stallion first, followed by the Lying Down Foal, Scratching Foal, and Running Mare in successive years – but it wasn’t until the late 1980s that they finally attempted to produce Blue/Black Roans.

(Yes, some Tests and Oddballs existed in between, but are scarce even by Test Color/Oddball standards.)

The earliest examples were more like unusual-looking fleabitten grays, like the #830 Quarter Horse Stallion release of 1990, on the Adios mold, or the 1989 JAH Special Run Quarter Horse Yearling.

Neither one of those releases went over that well, so Reeves moved on to slightly-more-accurate (though still a bit greenish) interpretations with the likes of the JAH Special Five-Gaiter Moon Shadows and Stock Horse Stallion Shane. And so on and and so on, with Out of the Blue being just the latest iteration. A pretty attractive one, I must say.

Collector’s Club Specials tend to stick around a while, so I think I can afford to hesitate.