Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Pause Button

Other than some fabric I bought Wednesday night – because it was 70 percent off and I needed it to finish that darn project – and paying for the Avoriaz, I haven’t done a lick or click of shopping over this extended weekend.

I haven’t had much time to myself over the past three months, so it seemed like a waste to spend any of it… out shopping with strangers!

It’s also been something of a relief that there hasn’t been anything new-rare-interesting added to the Breyer Horses web site either, other than more swag. I’ve been in the market for a new oversized pullover, so this Breyer Spirit Jersey is definitely going on my CC Appreciation shopping list.

With all the other holiday promotions looming on the horizon, I suppose it makes sense to hit the “pause” button for once. I am fine with that, just as long as they don’t drop anything significant on Cyber Monday: as someone who has hit the “pause” button on her life since Wednesday night, my Monday is going to be more occupied than average. 

Since I am still in the middle of this pause and not up for any actual work or research, I’ll just mention one other thing that hasn’t been getting the attention it deserves: per the BreyerFest blog, the “BreyerFest Attendee Guide” I suggested back in August is actually going to be a thing after all.

For the record, I didn’t have any actual input into this, other than making this suggestion in public. For all I know they might have been planning this all along, and I just being prescient again.

And that’s it for today.

Next time: I open the box. With that thing in it.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Past is the Future

I was initially noncommittal when I first saw the last 2019 Stablemates Club release Corbin on the cover of this year’s Just About Horses: he really didn’t do anything for me one way or another. A bigger, higher-resolution photo on the Breyer web site changed my mind:

As just about everyone and their dog has pointed out, he’s basically a Mini Me for the 2008 BreyerFest Special Run Limerick, on the Cleveland Bay mold.

With the mold being used for the Celebration Horse Oliver this year, and as the Open Show Grand Prize Model Cassia in 2017, it’s unlikely that we’ll see the Cleveland Bay used as a BreyerFest Special Run again next year.

This new Stablemates Irish Draught mold, though, is a strong contender as either one of the One-Day Stablemates releases, or as the Pop-Up Store Stablemates Special.

I keep thinking that we’d be seeing more BreyerFest stuff on the web site by now, but I just went back into the web site archives and didn’t notice any significant news about the 2019 event until late December last year, with releases (other than the Celebration Horse) not being teased or revealed until January at the earliest.

This makes sense, because they’ve still got club memberships to promote, Regular Run 2020 releases to launch, and all of their 70th Anniversary celebration stuff, too…

And just to let y’all know, I don’t know much more about any of the anniversary stuff than you guys do, beyond what’s already been revealed for the Vintage Club. I am going to assume that there will be more vintage (pre-1985) mold releases than average, a slew of newer molds vintage colors, and perhaps even some molds and items we haven’t seen in a long time.

The In-Between Mare is back, after all: it now seems all things are potentially on the table. I know what I’d like to see, but what I’d like to see doesn’t necessarily correlate to things that would actually sell to anyone but me.

(Except for the Wedgewood Blue Polled Hereford Bull. Basic math, people: Decorator Color + Bull Mold = Winner!)

If there’s an Exclusive Event planned (seriously, I have no idea guys…) I’ll make every effort on attending, especially since I am considering dialing back – or refocusing – my BreyerFest plans next year, since I’ve obviously not been happy with the results of my competitive efforts for the past several.

I am also considering attending more than one live show next year, depending on how the first few months of 2020 go. My schedule got away from me for the past three months, so I have a lot of catching up to do on some of my other extracurricular activities that’ll probably run well into the front part of the year.

After that? The world is wide open.

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Clean Up

Woo-hoo, yeah!

My only real problem now is trying to find a place for the Avoriaz in the chaos I’m dealing with currently. Instead of cleaning up and sorting out the mess in my office Saturday night as I planned, I found myself cleaning up and sorting out my clothes closet instead.

I mean, it needed it too, but I could still close the closet door and not feel terribly guilty about what was behind it.

Whether or not I will still participate in the Collector’s Club Appreciation Sale or whatever the Christmas Bonus model now will depend on what’s being offered. Some models – and some Glossies – are more of a temptation than others.

I’m even considering selling one of my previous CC Appreciation Glosses because (a) I haven’t opened either one yet, and (b) doing so would finally put the last nail in the coffin of some debts I’ve worked very hard this year to finally pay off, anyway.

(And once I do, I plan to celebrate with sliders and onion rings from The Telway in Madison Heights. Anyone in the neighborhood who wants to come with, feel free!)

Let’s clean up a few other small bits of recent business before I get back to doing the history-type stuff.

First, most of the Vintage Club models have been revealed (sans the Stablemate, and I think everyone has a good idea who/what that’s supposed to be). The biggest surprise – and the model dropping jaws everywhere – is the not-so-long-lost In-Between Mare, in all her awkward glory:

I know there’s been some concern that new releases of what was previously Breyer’s rarest mold might cause the market for the originals to plummet, but I don’t think that’s the case. If anything, I think the renewed interest and focus on this legendary yet little-known piece of Breyer History might have the opposite effect.

I’ve seen it happen before: not long after a new Vintage Club release, demand for the originals tends to goes up, regardless of the mold used. 

I will be happy with any color I receive, though you all know my fondness for Gloss Bay.

As far as the Cantering Welsh Pony-inspired Bristol Barrington, I think my favorite part about him is his name. Most of the older fogeys among us should appreciate the reference to a certain someone who still remains a dear memory and/or inspiration to all of us obsessed with Breyer History.

And finally, the banner for the Stablemates Collector Club page on the Breyer web site has given us a clue about the other releases (save for the new mold):

A non-unicornized Alborozo, the G2 Warmblood, the Tushar-Cob, and the G1 Arabian Stallion. Nice!

I am hoping for a realistic color on the Alborozo (please!), a Gloss on the Arabian, and either the Warmblood or the Tushar-Cob as the Gambler’s Choice.

I’d also like to give props to whoever wrote the copy for the Stablemates Club home page: it’s a little over the top, but I love it and it works! (Though you know they had me at “Stablemates Club”.)

Friday, November 22, 2019

Holiday Things

Apparently there was some sort of mix up in Reeves’s database, so now everyone (well, almost everyone) who receives one of Breyer’s Holiday 2019 catalogs is getting the gift of … a new name!

This is hilarious and awesome, and I am totally wearing a “My Name Is” nametag at BreyerFest with my new Breyer Given Name “Dona” written on it.

(I was kind of surprised that it wasn’t Audrey, but that is a story best told in person....)

The only other thing worth noting about the catalog is that it includes all the Web Exclusive Holiday merchandise – the Unicorn Mare and Foal set Mira & Antares, the “Pony for Christmas” gift set featuring a Haflinger similar to Donner, his royal purpleness Zenith, and a lot of the new 70th Anniversary merchandise and other swag.

As someone who has made several t-shirts featuring old Breyer graphics and ephemera, I am definitely buying this at my earliest convenience (CC Appreciation Sale, cough cough…)

I wasn’t anywhere near my computer when Early Access to Breyer’s Black Friday sale dropped, so no Darwin for me. The only other items of mild to moderate interest were the Gettysburg (also sold out) and Celeste, a mold that I try to love and I am still not feeling it.

I seem to be in the minority of this opinion, but I like the PC Lipizzaner Mare and Foal a heck of a lot more than the PC Andalusian Mare and Foal. So it’s no surprise that I am also taking a pass on the Mira and Antares (in Chestnut and… purple?) and hitting the Enter Now button as much as legally possible for the Winter Web Special Avoriaz – the Lipizzaner Mare in a Gambler’s Choice of Rose Gold Florentine or Rose Gold Charm:

This is an entirely new Decorator color and it gets a big thumbs up from me. While I am not a fan of Rose Gold when it is used in jewelry, I love the color when it’s applied to other things – it’s even one of the few pastels I’ll actually wear!

I am a little hesitant about them applying the Gambler’s Choice option to a relatively limited (350 piece) Special Run, though: these Winter Web Decos are hard enough to win as it is. After what happened with Benasque last year, we really don’t need to encourage more people to enter the drawing with dreams of dropshipping them for some extra holiday cash.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Yellow Mount: The Grail

Originally I was going to pass this one more post down the road because of my scheduling issues (guys, I have two months worth of TV shows to catch up on: imma gonna binge watch my way through Black Friday) but I figure I’ve teased you enough. Here’s the first “grail” I purchased, a few weeks back:

At last: a mint, near-perfect Yellow Mount with Blue Ribbon Sticker. Isn’t he beautiful?

As you know, I rarely pay “market price” for vintage models: it’s just not in me to do it, even when I have the funds available. I also have the advantage of living in an area where I can find stuff real cheap; I’ve found that if I wait long enough, I’ll find almost anything, eventually.

(Except Decorators, Presentation Series models, and Liver Chestnut Quarter Horse Yearlings. The last one baffles me.)

Anyway, a “perfect” Yellow Mount’s been on my grail list for a while, and in the run-up to Mr. Perfect here I’ve acquired a couple of pretty decent fellows, including one that’s possibly a painting sample of some sort. But other models (and other things) took priority – and whenever a beautiful Yellow Mount did show up on my radar, I’d put in a token effort and let it go whenever my bid or offer was inevitably superseded.

I figured one would show up locally, eventually. It would probably take a while, since Yellow Mounts aren’t nearly as common around here as Adioses are.

In short: while I wanted it, it never felt like the time to fight for it, until this one came up. Since I had the funds, and a serious need to buy something special (I’ve been so good!) I bid my max… and got him.

Yellow Mount debuted in 1970, the last year that the Blue Ribbon Sticker was in use, making Yellow Mounts like this one among the earliest examples made in a pretty lengthy run (from 1970-1987).

He does have the USA mark; the USA mark started showing up on Breyer models at some point in 1970, since many new models and releases that debuted that year came without it – like my Liver Chestnut Quarter Horse Yearling, who I had to buy at BreyerFest one year because I could never find one in these parts, either…

(… though she didn’t cost me nearly as much as the Yellow Mount!)

I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually seen a Yellow Mount without the USA mark, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility. If I did find one, it’d just be another addition to my Yellow Mount collection, and most definitely not a replacement for this guy.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

That Color Purple

Reeves is doing its darndest to drain my Paypal account!

No joke: I happened to be at the fabric store the day before shopping for material to finish an old quilt project, and one of the colors I was seriously considering was the same exact shade of purple as Zenith.

It’s always been one of my favorite colors anyway, but I went into the store thinking about a completely different color. But my eye kept wandering back to that purple fabric, which means it’s probably the color I am going to go with when the project reaches that stage.

(It’s a project to use up all my scrap flannel, and I won’t know how much of it I’ll need until it’s almost done.)

Purple is a relatively “new” color in Breyer’s palette; until the arrival of the Legionario III Centerpiece model Bourbon Street at the first Exclusive Event in 2002, Purple was limited to minor decorative touches and some accessories. And even after Bourbon Street, it took a few more years for Purple to catch on as a Decorator color, most notably with the BreyerFest 2009 One-Day Funfetti Stablemates.

The problem with Purple pigments is that – like some shades of Pink and Orange – is that they tend to be fugitive: they fade or change over time, due to environmental conditions. That’s why Vintage Palominos, especially the Glossy ones, are that lovely shade of Honey. Find a vintage Gloss Palomino that’s been kept in its original box or packed away in storage forever, and they tend to be much more orangey.

In other words, for those of you considering buying Zenith, I wouldn’t recommend keeping him in or near any sunny window.

I put Zenith in my cart – along with a Starry Skies Unicorn and a Stablemates Justify – and they’ll probably sit there a little while longer. Presumably until a couple other eBay auctions I am watching are over and done with: after my two most recent scores I probably shouldn’t even be looking at eBay, but sometimes you have to strike when the iron’s hot….

(Both of those have arrived, but my schedule hasn’t spared me the time to open them and revel in my luck. Next time, guys.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Starry Skies, but...

As someone who unreasonably loves glow-in-the-dark things and also collects vintage Astronomy textbooks, these Starry Skies Constellation Unicorns are definitely in my wheelhouse.

Yet like a lot of collectors, I still haven’t clicked the buy button yet.

Money is not the issue: I have had enough fundage to buy two grails recently, one of them (pretty much) at retail.

The selection of molds and colors is also fine, though I am a little baffled at the antagonism the poor G2 Clydesdale Stallion is receiving as a result of inclusion in this assortment.

It seems obvious to me that when Reeves went about selecting older Stablemates molds to “unicornize”, the G2 Clydesdale was an obvious choice. He’s definitely kind of a “prancey” and fanciful mold, especially when compared to the other SM Draft molds. I am assuming that he was also selected for variety’s sake: Othello mold aside, it’s not every day – even in the hobby – that you see Draft Horse Unicorns.

Yeah, they could lighten up on the light blue-teal-green color scheme he always gets stuck with. I can imagine there would be a lot less grumbling about his inclusion if he were a Gloss Charcoal or Silver Filigree…

And I, too, am getting a wee bit fed up with this Alborozo blind bag nonsense: unless there’s some contractual issue to the contrary, just release the darn thing as an individually carded Regular Run item in a normal, non-fantasy color already. You don’t even have to put it into the standard Dealer’s Assortment, just pack it up separately in cases of 12 or 24. 

Please and thank you. 

Finally, it seems silly to even consider the inconsequential amount of stress the uncertainty a Blind Bag adds to my world (a “First World” problem, almost by definition), but it is an issue for me, nevertheless: I am already on the verge of being overrun with everything at the moment.

If this had been offered as a 4-piece boxed set or even a boxed and carded assortment, they’d be on their way here already.

But as the offer stands, I’m hesitant. Whether or not I reconsider will depend on their availability, and how the rest of my week goes.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Pinto Decorators

Looks like they’re going to go ahead and do the full reveal on the Vintage Club after all. Say hello to ol’ Bubble Butt Belgian himself, Josiah, in Wedgewood Blue Pinto:

(I see that some clever hobbyists have figured out the origins of his name.)

Pinto and Appaloosa Decorators are not an unusual sight nowadays as Regular Runs, Special Runs and Test Colors. But prior to the Reeves Era (1985-present) the four “classic” Decorator colors – Golden Charm, Gold Florentine, Wedgewood Blue and Copenhagen Blue – were strictly solids.

Although there have been rumors of Chicago Era (pre-1985) Pinto Decorators for years, I have not seen one personally.

That doesn’t mean they don’t exist – as always, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence – but guys, you know I’ve seen things. If I haven’t seen it – or heard from credible and unrelated sources – by now, it makes me skeptical.

Especially since most of the Chicago Era Test Colors I’ve seen tended towards the more realistic, rather than the less so.

And rightly so: hobbyists have no idea just how much of a “flop” the original Decorators were, and how risk-averse Breyer management was to experiment with unrealistic colors in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Even Smokes, Charcoals and Woodgrains were pretty much persona non grata for years, though with the Woodgrains, it was also a matter of the painters not wanting to go back there, thank you very much…

Things are different now: in fact, I sometimes think the pendulum has swung completely in the opposite direction. Especially when it comes to Glossy finishes: it doesn’t take more than five minutes after a new release is posted that someone somewhere online has to make the comment “Oh, but I would look so much better in Gloss!” 

Not always, guys, not always.

(FYI: in case you (understandably) missed it, the toys that got into the Toy Hall of Fame this year were Coloring Books, Matchbox Cars, and Magic: The Gathering.

The first two I am okay with, the third I am a little meh about, and that’s all I am going to say on the matter until comes up again next year…)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

More Retail Therapy

I’m feeling a bit better today after doing a bit of shopping. Aside from some necessities (a new winter coat, and a new barn jacket) I also found a grab bag’s worth of goodies at the local Salvation Army, along with a non-equine Beswick:

Since I live relatively close to Canada (less than an hour away) Beswicks are not an uncommon sight around here, even in Salvation Army stores. There’s a note on the bottom of this Kitty McBride figurine, however, that notes it was a souvenir of a December (Christmas?) 1977 trip to England. Not everything I buy comes with a provenance, but I’ll take it…

I was momentarily excited when another Salvation Army store I visited had a nice collection of Japanese clinkies, but they were all overpriced, and one of them was even missing a leg! There was a Wooden Breyer Stable there, too – the big fancy one with the cupola – that I ultimately walked away from, because I don’t have room for that kind of nonsense right now. 

(My inner 9-year-old, on the other hand, is still pitching a fit.)

I also bought something indulgent on eBay, but I’ll talk more about that when it gets here. I don’t normal buy vintage models at “full retail” but when I found out last week that I didn’t need to save up as much money as I thought for the new sewing machine, that money had to go somewhere. 

It’s almost time for the Winter Web Special to drop, and I am secretly hoping that it’s not something I am going to want: it’s not so much a money thing as a I don’t want to get my hopes dashed again thing.

My initial suspicion – since the release of Frozen II is imminent – is that it’ll be something on the Fjord, but it could just as likely be something on the Traditional Icelandic, and that would be a problem. I love that big floofy boy, even though I don’t currently own one.

My platonic ideal would have been the 2017 Early Bird Raffle Sokkar, but that didn’t happen. I will eventually get myself the Berries Ponies Series Honeysuckle in Palomino Roan, but as I appear to be one of the few people in the hobby that didn’t consider her a complete disappointment, I think I can afford to wait.

Actually, my biggest concern right now is a potential Winter Animal Special, like the Longhorn Olaf or the Eldora and Sol Cow and Calf set. I somehow had the misfortune of missing both of them utterly, in spite of them being both rather plentiful for a Web Special (350 pieces) and sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

I don’t even care what it is, and I might not even buy it regardless: I just want to be online when it’s actually still available for sale. As I’ve explained before, sometimes it’s not so much about the buying as having the option. 

Things I am not worried about at the moment: a Collector’s Club Appreciation Sale (as I already have several order options available at a moment’s notice, if/when it happens) and the Christmas Day Special Run, because that’s… not going to happen until Christmas Day.

I am also likely passing on the Premier Club next year. I can wait for a Regular Run of the Akhal-Teke, especially since the model looks about three feet long. Lynn Fraley’s work is hit and miss with me, and I am not as enamored with Kylee Parks’s stuff as the rest of the hobby is, though that’s partly a matter of me being leery of anyone with a short resume, no matter how impressive.

Sunday, November 3, 2019


And the winner is…

Gloss, as I expected. And this is fine.

For a multitude of reasons the past month has been very stressful, the weather has been very cold, and with the days getting darker sooner I’ve been feeling more than a little down. Something like a Matte rarity would have brightened my mood considerably, even if only temporarily.

Considering Claude’s popularity, it should be enough that I have one at all, and that he’s just as beautiful as when I first saw him.

I should also be happy that he even exists in the first place. I am trying very hard to remind myself of the moment when I saw him for the first time, and living with the thought that he was going to blow everyone’s minds. And being a tiny part of that. 

I am glad to see that next year’s Vintage Club offerings also seem to be going over almost as well. The Powers-That-Be finally seem to be getting it, at least when it comes to Vintage-type stuff.

(More or less: you’ve already seen my opinion on some of the initial 70th Anniversary merchandise. Yoo-hoo guys, I’m right here…)

So there’s that.

I also know that the luck that I do possess is in living in an area where Breyers (in general) are plentiful, and that I have the ability to handpick almost anything. (Except, ironically, Walmart Specials.) Most hobbyists don’t have that.

Yet, and yet.