Friday, January 31, 2020


In spite of the pretty tight crop on the photo, this one was pretty easy to peg, except for the part about it being an ordinary BreyerFest Special Run, and not a Raffle or Prize model:

That should make “Oak” easier to acquire, depending on your ticket draw. It’s too early to determine if he’s going to be the Gloss/Matte Split model. At this point, I would say no: Georg is still too new and popular for that kind of promotional hoo-ha.

I guess my only complaint at this point is that they are… laying the blarney on extra thick with the rationale for incorporating a Noriker into this year’s theme:
Oak trees feature prominently in Celtic mythology – they are an aspect of a magical trilogy of trees related to fairy lore. Their use in sacred rituals dates back to the First Century, when Pliny the Elder described their incorporation into fertility rites performed by ancient Druids, and Celtic Britons under Roman rule worshiped Daron, the goddess of the oak tree. Even the town of Kildare finds its roots in that of the oak tree – Cill Dara is Irish for “church of the oak.”
I get it. You’ve got folks on staff (and a significant portion of the hobby) who are very, very, very personally invested in this theme. Meanwhile in my corner of the universe, the closest I can come to a connection is that there was a story on Dad’s side of the family about a male relative who was a coachman for an Irish Duchess.

No evidence whatsoever, just a story.

And I was in the Highlander Fan Club for a few years. Because I loved sword fights, the Queen soundtrack, and the male leads were all nice to look at. (RIP Stan Kirsch.)

But I am going to be very frank with you and say that some of my lack of enthusiasm goes back to 2015 when I felt very… alone in my love of the French theme. And kind of put out by the execution of said theme (a Spanish Fighting Bull as a Tent SR?!?) and the fact that I couldn’t find three people – out of thousands! – who had even heard of Le Petit Prince. Which made me feel more than a little crazy.

It’s certainly not for a lack of effort this year: the models, so far, have all been lovely. And I am not normally one who gets too worked up about mold selections or appropriateness, unless they’re real eye rollers. Like the previously mentioned Spanish Fighting Bull, or the baffling selection of the Stretched Morgan as the Early Bird Raffle Model Bennington for the British Invasion theme in 2012.

But you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t get rapturous when Celtic words and phrases or obscure Irish trivia get thrown at me. Versta?

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Blues

The past few days have been kind of terrible: aside from still not getting picked for Seattle, dealing with some people in my life right now who are addicted to the drama, and the general feeling of being invisible, I lost my wallet at the gas station Sunday night.

I did get it back a few hours after I lost it – basically, when I realized it was missing – with everything intact but the money. Which I should be grateful for, but where I lost it (parking space at the gas station) and where it was turned in (to the cashier of said gas station) were literally only 15 feet apart.

And did I forget to mention the gas station is across the street from the police station? So, even though there were cameras everywhere, someone still helped themselves to a “reward”.

Yeah, people suck. End rant.

On the plus side, I’ve thrown myself into work as a distraction, and now I’m almost done compiling the collection inventory that I’d been putting off for (yikes) almost a year. Some of the pieces documented in the homestretch include the 2018 BreyerFest One-Day Stablemates, who I picked up at the hotel this past year:

While they aren’t difficult to find on the secondary market, those prices were not in my comfort zone, particularly – and inexplicably, for me – for the Ruffian. Sure, it’s Gloss Dark Bay and it’s a portrait of Ruffian, but the mold itself has never been a big favorite of mine, and I am a little baffled why it live shows so well.

But anyway, I’m not one of those “I gotta have it NOW” people, so when I finally found a complete set at a price I could live with, that was that.

My favorite horse of the set, inexplicably, is the little Lexington replica on the G3 Standing Stock Horse, in a dark glossy metallic blue that would look at home on a 1975 Chevy Camaro.

Well, maybe not so inexplicably. Dad got his mid-life crisis out of the way pretty early, so – believe it or not – a metallic dark blue Camaro was our actual “family” car for a couple years in the 1970s, until Mom made him turn it in for something more practical (and reliable).

(And yes, the back seats were just as uncomfortable as you might imagine.)

Lexington’s color scheme is similar to the one used on the Stablemates 2017 Mystery Horse Surprise Chase Piece Endurance Arabian – except glossier, darker, and (IMHO) prettier.

Naturally, I’d love to see Lexington’s color on more Decorator releases going forward. Preferably on something relatively inexpensive and accessible, like the new Malik release High Tide.

I still haven’t seen one in person yet, or any of the 2020s. Maybe this weekend, if the weather and my schedule permits…

Saturday, January 25, 2020


The Strapless mold has been a very popular choice as a BreyerFest Special Run: the 2005 Live Show Prize Gray Sabino, one of the 2006 Early Bird Raffle Models, the 2007 Volunteer Model Bluegrass, 2009 Raffle Model Tiramisu, 2012 Ticket Special Bees Knees, 2015 Store Special Oration, 2018 Store Special Old Ironsides, and multiple appearances in the Live Auction.

Oh, and the #1245 Appaloosa Sport Horse was a Glossed Live Show Prize in 2006, too. I always forget about that one!

I don’t know if that makes her one of the most commonly used BreyerFest molds. I’ve never gotten around to doing a chart of that, though I probably should.

Of all those Special Runs, the one I covet the most – and that I have the least hope of ever acquiring, naturally – is the 2005 Gray Sabino. So the very similar Epona definitely caught my attention:

Good job Reeves for cropping the picture tight enough to surprise most of us with this reveal. I was kind of hoping for one of the pony molds, but that’s not because of any clues I saw in the photo, but because I want more ponies.

Currently I only have two Straplesses – the 2007 Volunteer Model Bluegrass, and the 2009 Pottery Barn release in Red Bay. I’ve thought about adding a couple more, but all the ones I prefer are out of my price range, most notably the FEI World Cup Competitor’s Gift in Light Dapple Gray.  Of all the various shades of gray she’s come in over the years, that one (in my opinion) is the prettiest!

So, in short, I’m definitely considering Epona.

Her name is rather obviously based on the Celtic Goddess Epona, and something I figured they’d be using somewhere in the lineup, though not necessarily with one of the first Special Runs out of the gate.

Naturally this is already a point of contention with some hobbyists: some of whom are disappointed that she doesn’t look exactly like the horse in Legends of Zelda(!); others who are upset that she not gray or white, since the Celtic Epona is usually depicted on (or as) a White or Gray mare; and finally, the usual contingent who complain (every year!) that such-and-such model doesn’t have anything to do with the theme and is therefore a dumb and/or illogical choice.

Fortunately the complainers seem to be in the minority this year. But the year is still young.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Good News, Bad News, No News

The stores I went to earlier this week were a bust: nothing new on the shelves yet. As I was driving past a Walmart yesterday I suddenly remembered that I needed to buy some Romaine Lettuce. I noticed they were doing a reset of the toy department and decided to see if the newest Unicorn Series was in.

Nope, not yet. But they did still have some of the Series 2, and remarkably, there was a Rainbow Sherbet Magnolia to be had!

The collectors around here are so hardcore that I’ve never found a Walmart Chase piece in a Walmart ever, no matter how “common” they turn out to be. (Though at least they’re professional enough to not rip open the bags and leave all their unwanteds behind.)

I know they’re not particularly expensive on the secondary market, now that everyone’s had their fill, but you know I like to find things “in the wild”. If only for the purpose of injecting a small bit of color into an otherwise colorless week.

Yeah, I’m still not Seattle-bound. Yet. Or maybe ever.

I’m trying to not think too much about it. I’m having a hard enough time sleeping as it is!

Another thing that’s not going to keep me up nights? Whatever this photo is a reveal of:

You know that one of the things I dread most about the annual BreyerFest reveals is the almost-incessant “Othello is going to be the Surprise!” chatter.

If this guy happens to be an Othello, at least it’ll provide me with some small measure of peace and quiet. Until the “I hate the entire Special Run lineup this year” people start (predictably) complaining after the second or third reveal. (Sigh.)

My only hope and expectation for this year is a new Fell Pony.

Counting releases or announcements, True North has had six since his introduction in 2017, Duende five, and even Bristol has had five since his intro in 2018. But sweet, shaggy little Emma has had only two: her original release in 2015, and the 2016 Exclusive Event Black-Eyed Susan, in Red Chestnut.

I am going to assume that that’s because the original Emma has obviously been popular enough to still be in production, nearly five years after her introduction.

And yet the Bouncer release Brookside Pink Magnum has been in production since 2012, and in the meantime they’ve released both the 2013 Flagship release Icicle and the Decorator Christmas Ponies in 2017.

Most curious.

(A BreyerFest Bouncer would also be... acceptable.)

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Mostly Right

First, let me give a shout out to whomever is doing the history posts on Breyer’s social media: you’re getting it mostly right! That hasn’t always been the case, and it’s nice to see that they really are taking the historical stuff more seriously.

And that’s not “damning with faint praise”: Breyer History is complicated, often sparingly documented, and many points are legitimately debatable. (That’s why I’m here!) “Mostly right” is about the best we can hope for.

What bothered me in the past were instances so wrong they made me wonder if I had found myself on an alternate Earth: you know, like the time they confused the Proud Arabian Stallion with the Family Arabian Stallion.

With 70+ years of history behind it, Breyer is legitimately a “legacy” toy brand, and deserved better. And now it appears to be.

Anyway. Enough of that.

The weather put a damper on my shopping plans this weekend, so my search for 2020 releases will have to wait until later this week. My last serious horse shopping didn’t start out that way – back in December I had a coupon for Ollie’s and found myself coming home with these guys: the Walmart Special Run Sarafina and Serendipity!

One of the diorama ideas I was contemplating involves a Mariah/Morgan mold, and this Serendipity is just an exceptionally well-painted piece, with lots of pink shading around her head and neck.

And I couldn’t pass them by: after all the discounts and coupons were applied, they were basically body price. In other words, they were a no-risk investment. If I change my mind on either, it won’t take much to recoup my money!

I bought a few sets of those Stablemates-scale Lanard Royal Breeds horses during the same sale too, the ones sculpted by Maggie Bennett:

They were also purchased on the same presumption as the Classic Unicorns: if eBay is any guide, they’ll be astoundingly easy to sell if my plans for them – one of each to keep, others to mangle and/or paint – change.

(For instance, if Seattle becomes more than just a possibility…)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

No Peeking!

As I expected, I did not get in on the first selection go-round for the Seattle Soiree. I am not one of those people who gets picked for everything I enter, and I do not have a whole lot of sway or say in the matter, regardless.

All I can do is put my (single!) entry in and like everyone else, hope for the best.

With a caveat: I can only give myself until the end of January as far as waitlists (ha!) go; after that, the cost of travel goes up, and decisions about other plans have to be made.

This whole week – aside from that OMG moment in the Crisis on Infinite Earths event on Tuesday (THAT CAMEO!!!) – has been kind of a wash.

Some of the 2020 models are hitting the stores now; if I’m feeling up to it, I might coast by one or two of my local stores on Friday to check them out to cheer myself up. I have no plans on buying anything, though, but we all know how that works. 

I’m kind of surprised we haven’t seen any more BreyerFest Special Run reveals or teases yet – the first actual tease last year was on January 15th. All the hubbub about the Soiree is probably monkeying up the works a bit.

The only unintentional (and allegedly unauthorized) “sneak peek” currently making the rounds is Winx, on the Emerson mold:

I don’t know any more about it than anyone else; there’s some speculation that it will get an earlier release overseas (like Australia), which would make sense, since that was the source of the original leak.

I am presuming it is going to be a Mid-Year release, and therefore available by BreyerFest – in the store, or through dealers either foreign or domestic – so while I wouldn’t classify her as an official BreyerFest model, it’s certainly something a lot of us will be looking for in Kentucky this July.

Incidentally, I am giving serious consideration towards throwing caution to the wind and marshaling all my resources into saving up for the Pinto variation of last year’s Rocket that just about broke my spirit. If I can’t have a Riddle, maybe a Pinto Rocket will do.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Rumors Have It

In other news, there’s yet another round of Unicorn Mystery Surprise Unicorns at Walmart. Like a lot of others, I am mentally and physically tapped out of the blind bag thing at the moment; unless there happens to be one in the assortment I can’t live without – not likely, but who knows? – I’ll either skip this round entirely, or buy them whenever the mood strikes, or the budget allows.

None of the BreyerFest Store Specials have been officially announced, but there’s a very credible rumor going around that WGC Marc of Charm will be one of them – with the model being used being the one he modeled for himself: Hamilton!

(Tentatively pencils him in on my must-get list.)

Speaking of Hamilton, I’ve also heard that the 70th Anniversary Collection will have at least one of each of the four primary releases in each case of six, with the other two being a random choice of the five, with one in ten cases having the Chase Piece Pinto Smarty Jones.

If that’s so, then the odds of getting the Pinto Smarty are about one in 60 – not great, but better than the Stablemates Chase pieces, which are one in 96. This comes out to about 250 pieces per every 2500 cases (15,000 units total) sold.

Back when Reeves had distinct definitions for all of the releases that were not your typical, Regular Run models, the term “Limited Edition” was used to describe models that were specifically advertised as being limited to one year of production. Not surprisingly, “Limited Editions” typically sold better than Regular Run models – often, ironically, outselling some Regular Run models that were discontinued after a single year of production!

The production quantities of these Limited Editions were in the neighborhood of 15,000 pieces, thus explaining the origins of my rough guess number. That was nearly 30 years ago, so I am assuming the actual production quantity will be north of that.

And also assuming that they keep the proportions of the other four models in this release roughly equal – at least initially – that means that about one in four of this assortment will be a Palomino Hamilton.

For the number geeks: that is about 3,685 pieces per 2500 cases/15,000 units – roughly the equivalent of a Brick-and-Mortar Special.

So again to all those people who are still freaking out about getting one: calm down! I don’t think the first new shipments of anything will even be hitting stores for another week or so anyway.

Personally, I am not in any big hurry, but if you could see the state of my house right now you’d understand why….

FYI: Yes, I knew all about the Riddle on MHSP. Aside from the fact that I am a little bit short of fun money this month, what I could comfortably pay for it even if I had that money to play with was well under what it even started at, so that was a complete and utter nonstarter.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The 2020 Early Bird

The Early Bird Special Run has been announced, and it’s an Esprit named Dyflin:

The Esprit mold has been used as a BreyerFest Special Run numerous times: as the Celebration Horse Pecos in 2011, the 2012 Decorator Prince of Chintz, and in eight different variations (four Matte, four Gloss) in 2016’s Samba Surprise.

It’s also come in a number of scarce and/or difficult to find Special Run releases, including the 2010 Web Special Silver Filigree Alpine, the 2011 Equine Affaire Dappled Bay Steppin’ Out, and the 2010 World Equestrian Games Dappled Flaxen Chestnut and Glossy Silver Bay.

So, in short, the Esprit mold is one tough little bugger to collect, and Dyflin is not going to make the task any easier. They’re taking a different approach this year and drawing the names not long after the Early Bird’s April 15 deadline, presumably to shorten the already-too-long raffle process Saturday afternoon.

It’s a good idea in theory, but many people buy tickets for pick-ups because they have no conceivable way of attending in the first place. I don’t see how finding out that you were drawn for an Early Bird Raffle model will change your travel plans. (“Sorry about that deadline boss, but I have to fly to Kentucky on Saturday to pick up a plastic horse.”)

And in the end, it will still probably lead to a name or two having to be pulled, anyway.

At the 2003 BreyerFest, Reeves thought they could do a variation of that – pull all the names for the Raffle Models first, and then call them out – and that didn’t go over so well, either. Even though I know the names that got tossed out of the pile were simply duplicates (you know, from those folks who buy 500+ tickets) it still looked a little hinky from the crowd’s perspective.

There are a lot of ways to improve time management at BreyerFest. This is not one of them.

Dyflin reminds me of both the 2017 Early Bird Raffle Model Sokkar, and of one of my favorite BreyerFest Special Runs – the Decorator Ethereal Times Square. (What can I say? I love a Glossy Black!) But I am not going to work myself up over it like I did with the Man o’ War Riddle.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Behaving Yourself

No surprises here – I got Peppermint!

This is totally fine, since the plan is to acquire all the acquirable ones eventually anyway, and pretend the Licorice/Coal doesn’t exist. Unless it magically does, somehow.

(That is the story I tell myself.)

But the other Zebras can wait: January’s agenda includes culling the herd, finishing my collection inventory, wrapping up the last of my BreyerFest memory boxes, and figuring out how the new sewing machine works. Along with all the other usual resolutions that come with the New Year.

The Seattle Soiree information is up (the page accessible to Collector Club members only, sorry), and so is the picture of the Event Model, Redmond:

Ooh, pretty! He’d make a very handsome companion for Chesapeake, assuming I get picked.

Speaking of this, forewarned is forearmed: Reeves is not making any exceptions this year in terms of tickets: if you name a partner in your entry and you get picked, either both of you go or neither of you do.

If you can’t guarantee that your partner can and will come, you have the option to enter by yourself.

End of story. No exceptions, no substitutions!

They have made exceptions before on a case-by-case basis in the past, but after some of the shenanigans that happened with recent Events – hobbyists attempts to “sell” their Plus One slots on Model Horse Sales Pages(!), and a rather brazen attempt at theft at the Scottsdale Event – they’re drawing a hard line.

And I honestly can’t blame them.

As much as I’d like to think that my co-hobbyists are all awesome people who would never do something so unseemly, I know this is not true. Heck, I’ve had some hobbyists confess in completely casual conversations to things that gave me pause.

Rules are created because people can’t be trusted to behave themselves.

Corrections as of Tuesday January 7:

The cancellation policy has changed – or at least been clarified (again). If the guest cancels or cannot attend, the originally drawn attendee can still go, but they cannot replace their guest with another guest-to-be-named-later, and the guest’s ticket will not be refunded. 

The gist of the post still stands: just get your nonsense together before you enter!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Looking Forward

Tickets for BreyerFest went on sale officially this week – for some reason I thought it wouldn’t be until next week, but that’s probably the insomnia talking.

(It’s not one of those little health issues I was talking about addressing before, it just happens from time to time. I suspect that it’s just the moody weather and the lack of sunshine wreaking havoc with my circadian rhythms, again.)

I’m a bit of a procrastinator, so I won’t be buying my tickets until at least March, after I have a good idea of what’s going to be in the Special Run lineup. Workshops aren’t that big a deal for me; the only thing giving me slight pause is that the notion of entering the live show this year has entered my brain. Whether or not that becomes a reality all depends on what transpires between now and the end of February, I suppose.

I am not particularly upset about the absence of a Costume Contest this year. I was already thinking that I was going to focus my creative energies elsewhere – maybe on the Diorama, maybe on the Live Show, maybe even on the (ha!) Customs Contest.

As Reeves pointed out in their posts about the topic (along with other hobbyists) the entire contest needs to be rethought and restructured, because it’s obviously causing a lot of consternation among past and future participants. The stakes are far too high (prizes worth up to $1000!) for the amount of judging involved (over, literally, within minutes) that also seems totally arbitrary and variable from year to year to year.

Personally, I’d like to see it move a little more towards the kind of cosplay standards you’d see at genre-oriented conventions, with less emphasis on age breakouts, and more toward categories for workmanship and performance. Maybe even different prizes for different placements, like the Customs Contest? Just spitballing, here...

Incidentally, there’s a larger than zero chance that I might end up participating in a cosplay contest this year anyway, depending on whether or not I get selected for the Seattle Soiree. The local comics convention is the same weekend, and if I do not get selected for Seattle, a friend and I have concocted a delightfully hair-brained way we could possibly participate.

(Hijinks may ensue. And swordplay!)

Props to the designer of the Exclusive Event logo, by the way. If you have ever taken a gander at my design sensibility (via my MGR Samplers, most likely) you should know that I am a big fan of the Less is More approach.