Monday, November 30, 2020

More Models, More Problems

Because you asked for it, here’s another unexpected treat from the collection I bought a while back:

I knew there was a Traditional Man o’ War in the lot; I didn’t realize until I unpacked it that it also happened to have a Blue Ribbon Sticker. 

And since I didn’t (yet) have a Traditional Man o’ War with the “large” version of the Blue Ribbon Sticker, he has to stay. As I stated previously, Traditional Man o’ Wars are one of the few molds that get a pass on my “no more variations” rule. 

This fellow doesn’t necessarily provide me any more data than my previous 15+ Traditional Man o’ Wars do – other than provide additional confirmation that the airbrushed gray hooves variation was concurrent with at least part of the “Big Sticker” era (1969-1970). There is no USA on this pretty boy, so he’s likely a 1969 or early 1970 release.

His color is also gorgeous in person, so there’s that, too. (He does need a bit of cleaning up, though. Whenever I can find the time.)

But seriously, after this weekend’s online escapades (in addition to my Breyer Black Friday purchases, I also bought another Old Timer variation on eBay) I really have to keep new models to a minimum for the rest of the year. The collection is long overdue for a reorganization, and more models at this point will just mean more problems, you know?

(With a possible exemption for the forthcoming Winter Web Animal that everyone thinks is a Bear. Long story: basically the Bear and Cub mold also get a pass from me.)

This does not mean a big sale is forthcoming: I have also been asked by a good neighbor to help her downsize. Once I’m cleaned up here to my satisfaction (all sales/duplicates separated, toted and put into storage), a big chunk of my “spare” time for at least a few months going forward will be spent occupied with this task. 

That means most of my model sales stuff will probably packed away until early Spring, along with my uncertainties about BreyerFest, the flea market season, and pretty much everything else. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Getting Around

La Molina and Masella are here, but I’ll open them next week; since I’m deep in a multitasking mood, their shipping box is probably the safest place for them to be for now.

I also succumbed to Breyer’s Black Friday Sale on Thursday, which means that I was actually logged on when they still had some interesting stuff for sale. So I bought the 2019 Premier Club Bonus Stablemate Charleston, because I really like that mold, and a Spectrum because it was back in stock and Rainbow Decorators have been on my mind a lot this past week. 

Probably because I am hoping or expecting more news about BreyerFest to drop soon, and curious if they’ll take the opportunity that’s sitting right there with the whole “Horses of Another Color” theme with a Rainbow Decorator as a BreyerFest Special Run.

(Any mold, I’m not fussy. A Rainbow Yellow Mount might be neat!)

Speaking of, this video has been circulating around the model horse Internet:

The only comment I’ll add to this is utterly unrelated to any controversies – real, imagined or exaggerated – about the horse, is to express my amusement at the Bradshaws pronouncing Breyer as “Breyers”. Here in Michigan, we’re known for adding an “s” to the end of everything:

Then there’s the Polygon article Reeves promoted on their Facebook page that gave a summary explanation of the basics of creating a model horse, from start to finish:

I know some of the nerdier hobbyists among us would have liked to see even finer details of the process, but as someone who spent five years working in an injection molding plant, I’m glad they kept it relatively simple. Because I probably would have started picking out the obscure technical bits that the writer might not have “translated” into English correctly that nobody but me would even care about anyway. 

Incidentally, when I worked at that plant the head of production was mightily impressed that I – just a girl! – knew anything about injection molded plastic in the first place, thanks to my involvement in the hobby. 

I get that a lot, about a lot of things; as I like to say to people, my resume tends to confuse people. (You did what? You worked where? You know how to do that? Yeah folks, I’ve been around.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Half Measures

The weather finally turned gray and dreary, so I went out to the local Salvation Army Store and bought several cuts of vintage Hawaiian fabric from the 1970s. About 15 yards total?

They are colorful and vibrant and full of possibilities, but at the moment I have no idea what I am going to do with any of it, other than reserving at least one piece of it as a future live show tablecover.

(And if they ever have a Hawaiian or South Seas-inspired BreyerFest, I am all set!)

It was also a bit of a consolation prize, since I missed some fabulous high-end Mid-Century Modern furniture in the same store literally by minutes. There’s actually quite a bit to be found in the Metro Detroit area, but this was (a) an entire matched suite and (b) at Salvation Army prices.

Sigh. Anyway. Back to horse stuff.

Here’s another item from the collection I recently purchased that included that fabulous Buckskin Indian Pony: a partially Chalky #62 Saddlebred Weanling!

It’s difficult to capture in the photograph, but in person you can definitely see that the plastic is only Chalky in spots, with no rhyme or reason for the location of said spots. Her blaze, for instance, is half-Chalky, half-not!

Because high-quality translucent white Cellulose Acetate was in short supply in the early- to mid-1970s, it wouldn’t surprise me if Breyer initially tried to salvage some of their culls contaminated with bits of colored regrind with this technique. 

Tried, and then quickly abandoned, because I could imagine how much of a pain in the butt that would be for painters to do these random touch-ups. It’s much easier to just give them all a thick, solid basecoat – whether it was molded out of solid green plastic, or just flecked with regrind – and call it a day. 

When I bought this collection, I didn’t think of it as anything more than a really nice lot of models in really nice condition, and I was happy with that. But the more I look into it, the more I wonder.  

One thing I do know for certain is that I am definitely not going to go down the rabbit hole of Saddlebred Weanling variations. Different socks, different blazes, different shades of Chestnut – been there, done that! I’ll stick to Traditional Man o’ Wars and #48 Black Morgans, thanks.

Sunday, November 22, 2020


This week’s been a rollercoaster.

Up: I did get drawn for the La Molina and Masella! 

Down: I don’t have a Benasque, and I’m not about to go wandering through that minefield. I can actually afford it right now, but paying $600+ for a 350-piece release is not something I want to be a party to.

Up: I finally found the Walmart Bay Stablemate G3 Quarter Horse. Now I can see why he was such a toughie to get – the color is dark, rich and slightly metallic, and elevates an otherwise blah release into something special. 

This fellow (gal?) is almost Stablemates Club quality, not something I would have expected from a Walmart release. Woo-hoo, new Stablemate office desk buddy!

Down: Reeves decided to drop early access to the better bits of their Black Friday sale in the middle of the day during a workweek. Awesome for people who have access to the Internet at work or are glued to their phones 24/7. The rest of us? No Fylkirs for you!

Then there’s the latest Test Color Purchase Raffle Piece, on the Hess Belgian:

It’s obviously a Test for the 2002 Just About Horses Special Run First Frost, on the Five-Gaiter, and why they didn’t acknowledge this on the web site is a bit of a mystery to me, but whatever. 

First Frost was one of those Just About Horses releases that I bought first, and fell in love with later. It’s the kind of color that improves every model it gets put on, and I’ve been baffled by the fact that it hasn’t been used more since then. I’m guessing because it is hard to photograph well?

While I’m really trying to not get my hopes up, I’m actually in a position right now that I could comfortably pull off a $1000 Test Color purchase. And me being actually part (human) Belgian myself, I think it would be totally fitting.

But alas, my luck doesn’t really run that way. While it does sometimes seems like I have magical powers, they’re rarely of the kind that seems to benefit me directly. So – like everyone else who hopes to get drawn – I find myself wondering what this coaster has in store for me around the next turn. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Jumping Off the Crazy Train

It was a couple of hours before I got a chance to see the “Festive Filigree” Blind Bag Stablemates, and I was genuinely surprised that they were still available when I looked. 

I took a deep breath… and decided to take a pass. I went shopping for cactus seeds instead: I saw my first snowflakes of the season yesterday and my thoughts immediately turned to hot weather and growing things. While I’m planning on a Victorian-themed flower garden next year, I think cactus will be my primary winter growing project. I haven’t tried them before, and I am up for a challenge.

When I came back from my desert-plant shopping sojourn (lithops are adorable!), the Blind Bags were sold out, much to my relief.

It’s bad enough I still have other several other Stablemates to catch up on, including (apparently) another series of Walmart Unicorns that includes a shrunken Prince Charming resin as the Chase Piece. I haven’t even finished documenting most of this year’s(!) arrivals yet.

But I decided to jump off this crazy train of year-end specials (and Stablemates in particular) because, paperwork aside, I am depressingly familiar with this routine by now.

In a few weeks/months, I should be able to secure one of the less desirable ones – which look to be the Red Florentine Smart Chic Olena and/or the Green Florentine Croi Damsha – for not much more than the original asking price. 

The others (Brishen and the Lipizzan) will remain pricey for several months, even after everyone who desperately needs them all has either acquired them, or has decided to move on to something else. Then their prices will drift back down to Earth, albeit more gradually because many sellers don’t want to be the first to “undersell” their investment. 

(Heck, I’m just happy if I get my money back!)

Funny thing was that earlier in the week, I had been thinking that it had been a bit since Reeves sprung some “Christmas Decorators” on us. I was hoping that it included Matte Red and Green Wedgwood horses instead of the Gold Florentine and Silver Filigree that have become their other default Christmassy colors, but that was not my call to make.

Since the Collector’s Club Appreciation Sale was gotten out of the way early, only other holiday offer that I am looking forward to at this point is the Holiday Animal (crossing fingers for that Silver Charm Elk! A Kitten or one of the Dogs would also be acceptable.) 

I’m moderately curious about the Christmas Day Special, but unless they figure out a way to keep one buyer from getting two of the Coal models (Which has happened twice, in two years? Not a good look, guys.) or do away with that concept entirely, I’m definitely dialing down my enthusiasm. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

The Naming of Colors

On one hand, I think I’ve finally found the colors on the Eberl Andalusian Mare and Foal that finally do it for me, with the Winter Web Special La Molina and Masella:

But on the other, it is highly unlikely that I’ll ever be able to complete the family with a Duende Benasque. 

Eh, I’ll enter anyway and see what happens. If I get them, great! 

If I don’t, I’ll just sit back and watch the trainwreck that the aftermarket sales will be. Since the piece count is 450 (as opposed to the usual 350) on this set, I’m hoping not very, but I’ve seen some frankly very scary prices on eBay lately so I am not that optimistic.

(In case you were wondering, I didn’t even try for that White Boxer.)

It’s interesting that they appear to have settled on the name “Blue Filigree” for Masella’s color: that seems awfully generic and mundane for a color that glossy, iridescent and color-shifting. 

Unless they come up with something better (Glossy Metallic Heliotrope? Dappled Iridescent Cyan? Purple Monkey Dishwasher? Or my personal favorite: Blue Raspberry Snowcone!) I’m going to keep calling it Benasque Blue. 

There is logic and precedent to this: the “Sorrel” color that originated on the #52 Five-Gaiter is often referred to as “Five-Gaiter Sorrel” when it appears on other Breyer releases. (Yeah, Breyer tried rebranding it in the 1970s as “Honey Sorrel” when they put it on the Bell-Bottomed Shire, but that did not stick.)

Speaking of, I’ll close today’s brief post with a picture of my semi-gloss Sorrel Five-Gaiter with eyewhites who also did nothing at the BreyerFest Photo Show this year. I bought him years ago in a box lot on eBay with a mint Sorrel Family Arabian Foal; this is one of the reasons why I presume that the Sorrel Family Arabian Variations are from the early 1960s, and not the later. 

That’s all for today, folks!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Shrinky Misty

This sinus infection is totally kicking my butt, so here’s a picture of that Shrinky Misty to entertain you in ways I cannot:

When I am not pondering the mysteries of model horse history, I design and (not as expediently as I wish) sew quilts. It’s my philosophy that with the right combination of pattern, texture and design you can get literally any two colors to work together in a quilt.

This model is making me rethink this philosophy. Highlighter Orange and Tan? I don’t think so.

Like Chalkies, Shrinkies are not necessarily limited to or defined by a specific time period. You can find Breyer models that have shrunk, warped and turned a peculiar shade of something else from just any time in Breyer’s past. It’s just that the ones from the late 1980s are more abundant, more readily available, and turned weirder faster than the rest. 

In fact, all Breyer models – be it five years from now, or 150 years from now – will eventually shrink, warp and discolor. 

There are plenty of models from the 1950s and early 1960s that still look as good as they did when they were manufactured, so don’t freak out just yet. The speed is dependent not just on the chemical composition of the plastic, but on the environment they are kept in.

There was definitely something that went wrong during the “Shrinky Era” of the late 1980s: this was shortly after manufacturing moved from Chicago to New Jersey, and a lot of “institutional memory” was lost in the transition. I suspect it was either a bad batch of raw Cellulose Acetate, or something went slightly awry with the plastic mix that did not get caught immediately because the old pros weren’t around to do periodic quality checks. 

I still haven’t decided whether or not to keep her. She seems pretty stable for Shrinky (no active oozing, doesn’t smell that bad), but I really don’t need another crazy Misty variation. If anyone wants to make an offer and make this decision easier for me, feel free!

Monday, November 9, 2020

Turkey Day

So this long-lost package greeted me today when I got home:

This is not a frozen turkey: there were four horses in there and fortunately/miraculously none of them appear to have been damaged in any significant way. 

But still, yikes. This is not a good way to start out the week.

In other news that was not news because last week was last week, the 2020 inductees to the Toy Hall of Fame were Baby Nancy, Jenga, and Sidewalk Chalk.

I understand Baby Nancy: the original write up was a little too detailed and well-written for me to not think it was a foregone conclusion. History, and all that.

As far as games go, I thought Yahtzee or Risk had a better chance than Jenga, but Jenga does have an appealing (yet deceptive) simplicity to it. It takes two minutes to explain, if that, and there are no notepads to tally or rulebooks to follow. 

But Sidewalk Chalk? We got beat by craft supplies? Sigh.

Okay, I’ll admit that I kind of got my hopes up just slightly, based solely only the fact that one of the hosts of the morning radio show I usually listen to very briefly mentioned the hobby in passing when discussing the Toy Hall of Fame story a few weeks back, during the voting phase of it. 

Then again, that guy is/was a toy train nerd, has a daughter that is the right age, and the two primary independent toy stores in this area both have extensive selections of both Breyers and Trains.

In other words, it was probably just an exceptional circumstance. 

But still, it’s an optimistic sign that we’re not as peripheral to the public consciousness as some hobbyists believe, and that this campaign was not as quixotic as it originally seemed. Heck, Lisa was outed as a model horse collector on The Simpsons last year:

There was a shot of an extensive (20+) model horse collection in her room, and she gave one of horsey friends “a toy horse, with a hat” for her birthday! (Any model horse hobbyist who watched that episode immediately whispered Old Timer.)

I’m kind of curious just how far Reeves is willing to go to continue pursuing it, though, since they obviously saw it as part of their 70th Anniversary marketing strategy. 

Off to bed now; I have a sinus headache that’s not going to get any better staring at a computer screen.

Friday, November 6, 2020

The Choices Given

My Gambler’s Choices are…

…the Glossy Winx and the Appaloosa Valerio! 

The Winx was what I was hoping for, but the Appaloosa Valerio is a surprise, because I usually don’t get the Appaloosa option with Gambler’s Choices. I thought it’d be either the Rose Gray (who I think is the prettiest of the four) or the Unicorn (weird, but awesome in its own way).

Like most of the Valerios out there, he does have the “squish” problem with his neck, which some hobbyists are assuming – and as someone who did work for a plastics injection molding plant for five years, I nod in agreement – is probably a consequence of him being molded out of Cellulose Acetate instead of ABS.

As someone who sometimes goes out of her way to collect mold oddities, it doesn’t bother me in the least. Though I do hope that they resolve the issue for the 2021 Deluxe Club Membership Stablemate Alborozo, because I know my fellow hobbyists are not as forgiving. 

The only (slight) disappointment about the 2020 CCA offer is finding out about the other Glossies that they only hinted at. And that one of them was the Sable Island Pony. 

Dang it! I was afraid of that.

I’m definitely not considering trading my Winx for one, because her gloss is nice and thick and her shading is top notch and I love the Emerson mold. But I might consider trading either of my previous CCA Glosses (the Pinto Wixom Jake, or the Pinto Roxy Kodi) for one. Eventually. 

Or for a Gloss Catch Me. The ones I have seen are pretty nice looking, too.

Ah well, probably better to savor the choices I have been given, and not worry so much about what I haven’t.

In the meantime, I will be spending the rest of my weekend cleaning up and sorting out the horses that are now out of the car. Turns out that that most of the them are in better shape than I expected (yay!) except for one of the sets I was hoping to keep (boo!) The Bay Old Timer looks pretty good, and is more appealing than I remember, though it might be the nostalgia talking.

There’s also a freakish neon yellow and tan Shrinky Misty in the lot too that I shouldn’t keep, but I find myself… hesitating. The weather is going to be nice all weekend, so pics may be coming of her, next time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Another Funky Old Timer Variation

(FYI: This is as political as I am ever going to get here, and as you will see, it’s just barely.)

Like a lot of folks, I’ll be checking out of most media for the next couple of days because I need a break. I live in a battleground state where even my smudge of a town has seen several campaign stops, and I think it’s probably best that – having done my civic duty – I just retreat to my workshop for the next couple of days to decompress and be, you know, productive.  

There’s an applique quilt project I pulled out of storage last week that needs to be completely redrawn (I’ve found that commercial quilt patterns from the 1970s are almost always wrong in some fundamental way.) 

And there is, of course, that big box of (mostly) body-quality Breyers still sitting in the car that I need to get out of said car before I take it in for an oil change later this week, because I’ve had to deal with enough awkward conversations recently. (See above)

One of the pieces in this lot is (supposedly) a fairly decent #206 Bay Old Timer. I had one years ago and sold it, because it was produced at a time when Breyer Bays were not all that interesting. Then I found another who was a lot better, and a variation too, but I sold that one also because I needed the money and Old Timers are reliably good sellers, even the boring ones. 

But I’ve been thinking a lot about the Old Timer mold since last year’s Web Special LaFitte, so if this one turns out to be in reasonably good shape, I may keep it. 

The lot that the Indian Pony came in also included a Dapple Gray Old Timer that I was originally going to send directly to my sales list, because I have a lot of Dapple Gray Old Timers already and didn’t think I needed another. 

Guess what? It’s probably staying:

The gold trim on the harness and headstall are painted on one side… but not on the other!

It’s kind of neat, though, to confirm one little production factoid with this horse: details were painted from side to side, and not from the head down. At least with this particular painter, whoever he or she was.