Friday, May 31, 2019

Color Shifts

We had the mold for the Pop-Up Store Stablemate figured out all along, but the color is an… interesting choice:

Color shifting purple and green? Okay, sure. I still think painting it to look exactly like a mini Alborozo would have been a better choice, but there could have been some legal issues that probably made it problematic, so I can respect that.

It’s funny, but I am not as enthused about color shift paint jobs as other hobbyists are. I don’t actively dislike them, but I find them kind of simplistic. There is not a lot of artistry to it: the fancy paint does most of the work of shading and color mixing on its own.

The first true Color Shift production run was the 2010 Just About Horses Special Run Gambler’s Choice Mirror Image/Reflector, on the Lonesome Glory mold.

My history with that release reflects (no pun intended!) my ambivalence about the paint itself. I bought one in the initial offering, and got Mirror Image; he really didn’t do anything for me, so I sold him a short time later. Not long after that, I found another boxed one in the NPOD at BreyerFest – and when I opening it up, it turned out to be Reflector!

I liked him a little bit better – if you’re going to go weird, go weird all the way! He hung around a little bit longer than the Mirror Image, but even he got sold, eventually.

When it comes to Lonesome Glory Special Runs, my heart belongs to more realistic releases, like Red Rum or Phar Lap. I suppose the Perlino version of the 2015 BreyerFest Surprise Model Quelle Surprise also falls into that category, though just barely. (The realism part, not the wanting part: I still totally want him.)

If I want something in the Decorator family, give me something straight up pearly or metallic! What’s nice about those types of paints is that they can be used either for the outright fantastical – like the current crop of Unicorn releases – or used to give an other ordinary color a wonderful extra pop, like that gorgeous light blue iridescent sheen on last year’s BreyerFest Celebration Horse Brass Hat.

While I will still be looking to add a “Sarge” to my BreyerFest tab, the way my schedule is shaping up, it doesn’t look I’ll be able to swing by a store at a time early enough for them to still be in stock at one of the Pop-Up Stores – unless they plan on making a boatload more of them than they usually do.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Having vs. Wanting

I can’t believe I did this, but I passed on the Web Special Teton.

Most of my weekend – well, the parts where it wasn’t raining – I spent taming my long-neglected garden. And while I was gardening, I though a lot about my BreyerFest plans.

Because, believe it or not, I haven’t really had much time to do it, at least in the last month or so. I committed myself to finishing the unfinished this year, and my usual BreyerFest timetable was an unfortunate casualty in all that.

(If something needs to be sacrificed, I am not all that invested in my Diorama Contest thingie, for obvious reasons.)

One thing I do plan on doing at BreyerFest is focusing on selling a higher volume of stuff I bring to sell. I usually do okay regardless, but I have a lot of odd (and not so odd) items that have been languishing on my sales list for a few years, and honestly, the space is more important than the money at this point.

This is also why I have not been my usual enthusiastic self at the local flea markets and thrift stores. (Though I did manage a pleasant side trip to an antique mall today. Lots of horsey stuff, but nothing I needed. Whew.)

I’m not going to give the stuff away, but if it takes a little extra effort – and accepting a little less money – to let it go, I’m going to do it. Perhaps with the help of some crazy sales and promotions, too. (Open Bar? Free Stickers? Corn Dogs? Pinata in the shape of Khemosabi?)

Anyway, back to Teton: while I liked her enough to enter for her, I did only enter for her once, in my usual “enter once, just for kicks” policy for models that I am not 100 percent gung-ho about.

I’ve found when I’ve done that – and beaten the odds – that I’ve ended up selling those Web Specials after a while. I am reminded of the immortal words of Spock, from my favorite Star Trek (The Original Series) episode Amok Time:
“After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but is often true.”

This is also not very logical of me, but I hope passing her up doesn’t jinx me later on when/if something comes up that does make my heart flutter.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Fairytale Friends

I am still on the fence about this “Fairytale Friends Club”, aka the Fantasy Stablemates Club.

While I definitely wanted to focus more on Stablemates for now as I sort out some of my storage issues, dealing with a third set of shipping schedules – as I mentioned before – might be just a bit too much for me, on top of all the other things I am juggling right now.

It’s also pretty clear that the club is designed with a specific audience in mind, and I am a little bit older than that particular audience. Which is absolutely fine! If everyone in the hobby took a deep breath and acknowledged that fact from time to time, the Model Horse Internet would be a far less stressful place.

Complicating the situation is the fact that each release is comprised of a Stablemates and a Mini Whinnies model, with the Mini Whinnies (and some of the Stablemates, if the blurred out background on some of the promo photos isn’t fibbing) being on either entirely new, or newly shrunken molds.

We’ve been getting new Stablemates for a while now, and at least one new mold a year via the Stablemates Club. But it’s been ten years since the last “new” Mini Whinnies mold – a Lipizzan performing a Capriole – was introduced. Or more correctly, was reintroduced, as the entire series was originally designed by Candace Liddy for Creata ten years prior.

New Mini Whinnies are an unexpected development, and confirmation that the blind bag Mini Whinnies assortments are selling well enough to merit a backdoor extension of the line, through a club. (If only the Paddock Pals/Little Bits could manage the same!)

But I was also thinking about scaling back on my Mini Whinnies collection: truth be told, I haven’t bought any in recent years other than the BreyerFest Showcase Arena Deluxe Playset I found in the NPOD a couple of years ago. And I am not sure I want to play catch up: other than the BreyerFest set having a prominent spot in my office, I haven’t been able to display any of them properly. Not with a Stablemates-gobbling hellhound roaming the premises!

Simply selling the Mini Whinnies off and keeping the Stablemates is not an option for me: splitting up sets is one of my personal model horse pet peeves.

Well, I guess it’s good that I have over a month to make this decision, anyway.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Random Yelling at the Clouds

First, this happened – with one entry, on one account:

Good thing I have until Monday to decide and/or scratch up the extra cash!

Then they posted these guys on the BreyerFest Blog:

Oh good grief, a Few-Spot Appaloosa Indian Pony AND a Palomino Pinto Shagya-Arabian as the big prizes at the BreyerFest Open Show?

Again, this bears repeating: my mention of the Shagya-Arabian mold last post was purely coincidence. I swear. I was hoping that my ability to attain a complete Yasmin collection would be left theoretically possible for a little bit longer.

Alas, no.

And I should have seen the Few-Spot Appaloosa coming, after the rather enthusiastic reception the Few-Spot True North received at auction last year, and the Special Run Fighting Stallion Pima did at Scottsdale Exclusive Event back in November.

What I’d like even more is a Few-Spot Appaloosa in an attainable Special Run or Regular Run. So help me, if the Surprise Model this year includes a Few-Spot in the assortment….

(I always thought Foalzilla would look awesome as a Few-Spot Appaloosa, hint-hint.)

After my better-than-expected success at Pansies and Ponies back in April, I did briefly consider entering the Open Show. But that would have required a massive rearranging of plans that were already in process, all because I did better than I expected at a local show.

I think I want to participate in a few more shows before going all-in on an event with stakes that high, if only to get a better lay of the (live show) land. The last time I showed actively, documentation was unusual and collectability was a single group-entry class.

There’s an All-Collectibility show in Indiana in September that I am seriously considering. It’s just a tad farther out of the way than I would usually consider traveling for a live show, but if there’s one thing I am strong in, it’s Collectibility, right?

It’s been a while since I’ve visited Indiana, and I’m always up for a road trip, too.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Spotted Again

Survey says: Matte Appaloosa. Not unexpectedly so.

As I’ve noted before, the more “common” Glosses become in assortments, the less likely I seem to be in getting them – even in this case, where Glosses constitute the majority!

I hope that tendency works in my favor for the Vintage Club Shannondell Claude later this year.

Since I want to complete the set someday, I was fine with getting any of the three – though getting the Blue one first would have definitely made life a little bit easier, since this New Blue color is making everybody kinda crazy.

Though to be honest, since Lancelot still hasn’t sold out yet, it’s not something I am going to invest a lot of worry about for the time being. (Cool your heels: I don’t plan on shopping for them until BreyerFest, so I’m technically not in the market for them – yet.)

And to be clear, the paint job on the Appaloosa is amazing, and I will take it on almost anything. (Give me a moment: I am currently fantasizing about either the Western Prancing Horse, or Emerson.)

Another thing I am not worrying about: the latest America the Beautiful Web Special Teton:

I really like her, and I was just thinking that I could use another Giselle in my life, but all of the other releases on this mold that I don’t have are also wildly unaffordable (Hera, Minnie Pearl, Rosalind and Rigel.) But I’ve got both a dentist appointment and a possible road trip coming up in the next two weeks, so my heart will not break if I am not drawn.

I still have a few recent purchases here I haven’t gotten around to unboxing yet anyway, like the lovely Unicorn-Yasmin Zena I picked up at Tuesday Morning about a month ago. (Yep, keeping her: after I found an awesome LV Integrity at one of my local toy stores a couple weeks back, that decision became an inevitability.)

Whether this rules Giselle out as the possible BreyerFest Surprise horse, I don’t know. The blog post refers to the model as a “he”, so I’m still thinking along the lines of the Moody Andalusian, Valegro or even the Wyatt, since they are all boys, or have the potential to be.

Valegro might be just a wee bit too popular for a Surprise, still, but I wouldn’t rule him out as a Volunteer Special. After last year’s Churchill, I won’t rule anything out for that. (Worth noting: there hasn’t been a Pinto since 2016, or an Appaloosa since 2015. Take that for whatever it is worth in your guessing games.)

I don’t have much else to say today – it’s been a sleepy, rainy day and the rest of it is probably better spent cleaning house, or finishing that one quilt project that’s 90+ percent done and just bothering the heck out of me.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Customs Contest

An approximation of how I felt earlier this week:

Apologies to whomever this picture actually belongs to, but when I found it on Twitter a few days back, all I could think was: It Me. 

(No worries. Things are looking better now. Well, maybe not the hair, but….)

Anyway, I was doing something boring and adult last week, the kind of task that lets your mind wander. And it wandered up to a really, really neat idea for a Fantasy Custom – of a kind I think could be competitive in the BreyerFest Customs Contest.

Although I briefly contemplated it earlier in the year, I came to the conclusion that competing in that contest was not going to happen this year, for a number of reasons mostly related to time and money. Then they released pictures of the prizes, and I let out a painful yelp:

Dang it. Dang it all to heck! Black Pinto is a huge weakness of mine, and Gloss Black Appaloosa on the Stablemates Valegro is just about the perfect paint job for that little guy.

Black Pintos are a weakness for a lot of people: that’s why it was a staple of the Breyer’s limited color palette in the 1950s and 1960s. Along with Solid Black, Solid White and Palomino: these are the colors the general public actually know and can accurately identify.

Come to think of it, if someone can – more or less – accurately distinguish between Chestnut and Bay, that’s when I know I can talk to them horse person to horse person. (Not always though – some real horse people can also be kinda dumb when it comes to color genetics. But that’s why this hobby totally rules: horse nerds, unite!)

Shortest answer: this custom project is still a nonstarter, regardless of the prizes. I’ve committed myself to finishing existing projects this year using only the (voluminous) craft and hobby supply stash I have on hand, and this particular project would involve buying new supplies and tools.

Once I get caught up on the most urgent projects (basically: quilts, memory boxes, and completely sorting out the gardening mess outside) then I’ll consider pulling out the bodies and playing again.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Signal Boost

Still busy, so here’s a picture of my Test Color Donkey. I took a picture of it against a neutral gray backdrop so you could see the brown tones better:

It’s basically the same color as the quasi-rerelease #376 Brighty that was in production from 1991-2005, sometimes called Brighty 1991 to distinguish it from the original #375 production run item made from 1982 through 1987 (and from 1974 through 1981 in the #2075 Gift Set).

My Donkey was a part of the “newtoymens” collection that was dispersed on eBay several years back, most of which consisted of models from ca. 1998-2000. What that means is that it’s not likely to be a Test Color for the Brighty, but for another release, possibly the Donkey itself.

Yet there hasn’t been a new release of this Donkey mold since 1992. Even models as obscure as the Small Poodle have gotten more releases since then.

I have no idea why that it so, other than Reeves thinking that the current Donkey market is better served by their other Donkey molds – the Brighty, the Stablemates Donkey and now even Collecta ones.

Of all the Vintage molds and models people talk to me about, the original Breyer Donkey is the one who has the most… vocal supporters? I am all in favor of more old Donkey Special Runs and releases, but I have limited say in the matter.

Vintage molds that are not specifically horses – and even some that are merely unfashionable – appear to have been consigned to Micro Runs and other limited releases for the time being, so a fresh new retail release on the Donkey seems unlikely.

However, we do have a rather big Breyer anniversary coming up next year (as they count it; I prefer 1951 or 1952 as the brand’s official birthday, but that’s neither her nor there) so I wouldn’t necessarily rule out anything.

What I can do is give the notion a signal boost, and so I have.

Thursday, May 9, 2019


Yes readers, I bought one. My budget is telling me I probably shouldn’t have, but I felt a twinge of obligation, as my tirelessly weird advocacy of a Traditional Man o’ War in a vintage (yucky yellow) Palomino may be at least partly responsible for a Palomino being included in the Lancelot assortment:

This will also probably be the closest I ever get to my dream Man o ’ War. I mean, I do collect the Classic Man o’ War mold, too – that gorgeous shaded buckskin from the BreyerFest 2001 Special Run set is one of my favorite Classic releases ever – but I haven’t pursued him as vigorously as I have the Traditional.

Maybe with this release, I should reconsider it. Aside from oddities, Test Colors and some of the rarities (like the Triple Crown Sets) most Classics are undervalued, and the Man o’ Wars are no exception.

I love all three Lancelots, so whichever one I get initially is irrelevant. I like that they went  – and I hope, are going forward with – the Gambler’s Choice of One Glossy, One Matte, and One Decorator. Covers every market!

I find it somewhat encouraging that he’s taking a while to sell out: I hope this means I’ll be able to get all three at a not-insane price eventually. When I get my horse office mess straightened out, that is.

In other news, I am modestly interested in this Stablemates Unicorn-oriented “Fairytale Friends Club” – Sparkly Things and New Molds (mini Firebird!) are a big draw, and it’s Stablemates so it won’t be too big of an expense…

But I don’t know. I think I might be tapped out on Club memberships for the time being. I have a hard enough time keeping track of the clubs I belong to now. Adding one more just might push me over the edge, because you know those shipping schedules aren’t always going to coordinate.

I have a bunch of deadlines – real, and self-imposed – to meet next week, so I am going to be extremely scarce for the next three days. See you all on the other side!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Lime Green With Envy

I didn’t watch the race, so I have no opinion of what happened at the Kentucky Derby, but it is darn weird that passing acquaintances – who know of my familiar with things equine, and not much else – certainly seem to think I want to listen to theirs.

I’ll just leave it at this: having more people interested in horse racing again is, like comic book movies, definitely a mixed blessing.

Anyway, I saw a whole shipment’s worth of the Flagship Model Seamus today and had a very, very hard time leaving him behind – I was at that particular toy store to pick up something very specific, and there was absolutely no straying from the budget this month, no sir…

But his pattern was so cleanly masked, and surprisingly lacy and intricate for a tobiano pinto. And he had lime green ribbons: I am absolutely a sucker and a half for lime green ribbons. The ribbons on the Black Misty’s Twilight is half the reason why I was so enthralled the 1993 Spiegels Catalog Dressage Set (the other half being the knockout Mahogany Bay on the otherwise not-really-my-thing Hanoverian) and also why I lusted after the 2012 BreyerFest Auction Hackney.

I even recently finished a quilt top where that shade of lime green is the dominant color. I am not saying that it’s my favorite color, but it does have a certain je ne sais quoi to it that makes my inner nine-year-old nod approvingly.

(Though if I am being perfectly honest, my inner nine-year-old’s absolute-most-favorite color is actually red-orange. There is … a very long story to that.)

If this pretty boy ends up getting glossed for the Customer Appreciation Sale at the end of the year, he’s definitely going to be the must-have in the bunch. For me, especially.

And before anyone asks: no, I can’t do any pick-ups for Seamus. It’s not very likely I’ll be veering over to that part of town again any time in the near future. (I probably shouldn ’t even be talking to y’all now, actually.)

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Rules of Shipping

There aren’t a lot rules when it comes to packing models for transport or shipping: some people prefer crushed or shredded paper, others go with packing peanuts, and the hobby itself is pretty evenly divided on the issue of mummy-wrapping.

(FYI: I only do it for Breakables and Customs.)

As long as the model in question gets where it needs to go with little to no damage, in a timely fashion, most hobbyists are fine with whatever packaging method gets used.

But there are two hard and fast rules that we all agree on.

The first: when using bubble wrap, you wrap the model with the bubbles facing outward. While I’ve found that it’s more of an issue with Customs and newer Glosses than with the vintage Original Finish pieces I usually deal with, I still do it out of common courtesy and to keep myself in the habit.

The second: no matter how great the temptation, you never, ever ship Stablemates in a bubble mailer. You’d think that was patently obvious: break resistant isn’t the same as unbreakable, especially when you are dealing with thin legs and tiny tapered ears and tails. Right?

Apparently I got lucky – real lucky! – that when my Gwenevere and Blind Bag Magnolia came in their bubble mailer(!) from the Breyer warehouse earlier this week, they arrived unscathed:

That’s my first non-unicornized mini Magnolia! I am especially pleased at the quality of my Gwenevere, too, but I’ll talk more about these models as models another time.

Back to the shipping issue: I don’t have any more insight into the current Reeves warehouse and shipping situation than the rest of you. I’m an eleven and a half hour drive away, folks, and I haven’t physically been to New Jersey since 1992. Whenever we have occasion to communicate, those topics don’t usually come up. As long as whatever I order gets to me undamaged and without extended delays, that’s their business, anyway.

(Though I would absolutely love to spend a day or two poking about the warehouse, just because. That’s a dream vacation right up there with a horseback tour of Iceland, attending San Diego Comicon, or visiting the alleged family castle in Hungary. But I digress...)

While I am absolutely certain that they have received plenty of feedback about this serious violation of the “rules of shipping”, I’ll add my voice to the chorus, for whatever it is worth.

It doesn’t matter if the percentage of undamaged pieces is greater than the damaged pieces, and/or that it might be cheaper to fix the damaged items as they happen rather than go back to more durable packaging you were using before.

Unless you are shipping models where condition is irrelevant (in other words: bodies) you ship Stablemates in sturdy boxes. End of story.