Friday, December 31, 2021

Year End Wrap Up Stuff

A little late to the party, true, but here’s my Zugspitze:

I still haven’t decided on a name yet; I’m torn between “Taconite” and “Zug Island Dandy”.

As I suspected, I rather like the Red version of the Christmas SR Spice Drop – she looks like a Cinnamon-flavored jellybean! – but not enough to seek one out at the moment. Maybe by BreyerFest, if the sales and my budget aligns.

As far as my purchases for 2022 go, I think I’ll stick to the “Stablemates and Vintage Grails” plan that worked out pretty well for me in 2021. The Palomino and Albino Five-Gaiter are high on that list, as well as another Woodgrain or two (eyeing the Running Mare and Foal in particular), and some of the later Christmas Catalog Parade of Breeds Stablemates sets that I dropped the ball on back when they were originally released. 

And some upgrades of more of my vintage Commons, even though I know that rarely goes well. 

It’s good that other than the Unicorn Swirl Gift Set and the Halloween Desatado release Maelstrom, I don’t see much in the way of new releases to tempt me. The Friesian Sjoerd is interesting, but do I really need another Black Brishen?

(Probably, but humor me.)

Like a lot of folks, I’m hoping to sell more than I buy next year because whoo boy, I bought a lot of stuff this year. Of course (and as I suspected) now that it looks like I might have the chance to do that, the market is just beginning to show signs of cooling off.

It’s not that big a deal, really, just not… unexpected. I’ll still manage to break even because I know the market well enough to know when to hold and when to sell. I am more bummed that my complete lack of spare time completely upended my selling opportunities this year.

On the other hand, I’m doing much better professionally than I’ve done in a long time, which means I didn’t have to depend on that extra cash for my day-to-day expenses. Which is a good thing, I guess? 

I’d like to do a live show or two in 2022, but most of the ones I am aware of that are within a reasonable driving distance are already full, and information about newer shows is difficult for me to find because it’s almost entirely hidden behind Facebook. 

It’s more of a want than a need, though: if it happens, it happens.

As far as BreyerFest goes, I am not sure of my precise plans, other than lots of hugging, crying, and selling. The thought of live showing has crossed my mind, but I might have other duties or responsibilities that might get in the way, so I have to wait a couple of months before I can make more extensive plans.

I might just take a breather on all of the associated contests and competitions and devote my spare, non-hobby time to finishing more old sewing projects and completing the revamp of my garden. 

As far as my other plans for next year, I’ve decided to forego both BreyerWest and The Wyoming Trip, and opted to attend my first World Science Fiction Convention (aka “Worldcon”) instead. Aside from always wanting to attend, next year’s convention is in Chicago, which is the closest it will probably be for me for some time (it’s in China in 2023!)  

It’s close enough to feel manageable, and it’s an experience that’s enough outside my comfort zone to feel daring and exciting. The thought of participating in the Masquerade is also intriguing (a Novice did win Best in Show this year!) but I might just go and be an anonymous nerd. (If anyone wants to come with and split the hotel tab and/or hold my hand, let me know!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

End of the Chase

I was not selected for Montana, which amuses me, but not as much as all the people who were selected who are trying to flip them, without much success. 

I wasn’t selected for the Woodgrain Pig Hawthorn either, but I eventually got one four or five waitlist pulls later. (No, really – it was like two weeks after the initial drawing!) And they made only 350 pieces of him.

I’m not going to worry about it, either way. They made 490 of this goofball SR: there’s going to be plenty for everyone who seriously (or unseriously!) needs one. I am not sure if I fall into either the former category, or the latter. If it happens, it happens. 

Besides, I am still mad about Bunyan, and my well of rage is not bottomless. Priorities, people.

On a slightly more cheerful holiday note, I got the Smarty Jones Chase Piece as my CCA Glossy:

I wasn’t able to track a Matte one down locally, and I wasn’t willing to pay the $125 they were charging for them on the web site at the end of last year, so this is a win-win for me. (The Omega Fahim is also pretty spiff, with no box rubs or obvious seams, so it’s all good here.)

Well technically he was the Chase piece: it appears that this year’s CCA models were not Glossed leftovers, but made specifically for the promotion, and probably in more or less equal quantities. (What those quantities were, I don’t know either, sorry.)

Though if they had been really smart, they would have doubled the quantity of the Palomino Hamilton relative to all the other pieces in the promotion. Contrary to what some folks think, Reeves is very aware of the Hamilton mold’s popularity. 

What’s going on in the secondary market is mostly beyond their control, though, and they have no real obligation to do anything about it anyway. While they can mitigate it somewhat with open-ended runs and backordering, even those options are not entirely trouble-free. Every solution comes with its own set of problems. 

In this case it would have been a variation of “They devalued it by producing so many!” argument pushed mostly by people who see their collection as their retirement fund. It doesn’t make much sense to me if they all easily and quickly find homes. Quantity is only one component of this thing we call “Collectibility” and probably not the most important one. 

Since it’s unclear if the promotion actually “sold out”, I am curious if there are any Gloss Leftovers, and if so, where they are going to go. I wouldn’t mind snagging a Chalky variation of the Andalusian – boy, those sure look way nicer than I imagined! – but I’m not sure if I want to take a chance on a Gambler’s Choice of the leftovers if it was offered. 

I already have way too much stuff to sell as it is, and I’d rather not take a chance on a duplicate, even if it would be a relatively easy sale.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Our Beanie Babies Phase

Guess who overslept today? 

It’s pretty sad when you roll over, see that it’s 11:08 a.m., and realize that no matter what mold or colors they were, the Christmas Day Special was probably already sold out. By the time I sauntered over to the computer, I was not wrong. 

Fortunately it was the Croi, after all, and in some… interesting color selections. I suppose after everything is delivered and the people who bought them for the possibility of a Coal decide to unload their “losing tickets” I might pick up a Spice Drop or two. I rather like the Red and Green ones: they look like the delightfully tacky kind of things Liberace would decorate his piano with for Christmas.  

But I am in no hurry.

Regardless of what the rest of the collectibles world is experiencing, it really does feel we’ve entered our Beanie Babies period. HBO Max just released a pretty illuminating documentary about the Beanie Babies fad a couple of days ago, in fact:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lyUdABSHhs

(The more observant among us will probably notice the Breyers in the background of the gift shop/toy store around the 15 second mark of the trailer.)

I’m a bit of a documentary geek, so of course I was going to watch it, but boy howdy was that uncomfortable: there were several points where I felt extremely seen. 

I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by antiques and collectibles, and became all too aware of the fickle nature of the market very early on. It’s also why I established pretty low spending limits for myself from the get-go, and I haven’t altered them much in the intervening years. It’s very easy to lose yourself – and a lot of money – in the process, if you don’t.

As it is, this frees me up to finally buy the Jols and Christmas Candy Zebras I’ve been putting off because I’ve been too busy chasing all the other stuff that’s been thrown at us, mostly without success. If it had been the Fell Pony as I feared, I’d be a lot less sanguine about the whole thing, but I suppose if there had to be a year where I accidentally slept in, this would be it.

(For the record, I was up most of the night working on my inventory paperwork. Crossing my fingers that I’ll actually be able to file my taxes early next year.) 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Montana

My CCA Box is here! Even though I genuinely don’t care who’s hiding within, I’ll still wait until Christmas to open it. What’s a few more days, right? I’m almost more excited about the Omega Fahim I know is in there: there were a couple at the last toy store I visited a few moons back, but they were clearly the ones left behind after handpicking had been done.

Well, I certainly didn’t have THIS on my Breyer Bingo Card:

I had to do a double take and make sure that the e-mail was actually from Reeves, and not some spoof account, because I thought one of you wiseacres was having a little bit of fun with Photoshop filters or something.

You know I am all for the Outrageous Animal Special Runs - just a few days ago I suggested, completely unironically, a Rainbow Calico Unicorn Kitten – but a Black Florentine Bighorn Ram?

Dude, just… no. 

The color looks cute on the Stablemate Chase pieces it previously appeared on, but here it’s just weird. And not a good way: more like a person randomly poking a model with a metallic paint pen weird.

It’s funny because I was just thinking that the only Web Special Micro Run that I’m almost completely uninterested in is the Bighorn Ram Rodney. I entered for him and would have gladly taken one, sure, but seeing the odd one for sale doesn’t take me to the same dark place other Micro Runs do. 

Same thing will go with Montana. I won’t turn him down if I get one, but I will also not be terribly upset if I don’t, either. I’m pretty sure he’ll look better in person than his press photo, but with a release like this is almost doesn’t matter.

The piece run on this thing is also kind of crazy: 490 pieces? What a completely random (and large!) number. Methinks they’re cleaning out the warehouse and possibly repurposing older/unsellable merchandise. 

For a quantity that large I would have gone with a Gambler’s Choice of two different colors instead – Gloss Chalky Alabaster and Charcoal, or Red and Green Filigree – but that wasn’t my call to make. You know, he might have also been kind of interesting in a patinated color, too, like the old Smoky release Durango

Hmm. Any of the older Hess Wildlife molds would look great that way, come to think of it. But then again, we’d have to put up with hobbyists complaining about the eyes not being painted, and that’s not how patinated bronzes work, people…

I have a nice example of the original release of the Bighorn, and both the Gray and Tan horn variations of the Dall Sheep. I’d eventually like to upgrade them to ones with stickers, which aren’t necessarily scarce, but are still a little pricey, nonetheless.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Micro Run Madness

Just another reminder here that while there have been cases where I have sometimes been extremely exasperated by the direction of online speculation about future releases, I have never intentionally revealed anything in advance that I did actually have knowledge about. 

Zugspitze is here, but like my other Christmas gifts – including a set of Carbide Scrapers, and a Mini Hand Jigsaw – he won’t be opened until Christmas Day. Not that I’m expecting any sort of surprise within, I just want to open something on Christmas besides the Breyer e-mail.

Not that I’ll be getting around to using my new customizing tools any time soon; I’m currently making halfway decent progress on several long-term sewing projects as I’m also trying to catch up on a couple years’ worth of TV shows I’m rather dreadfully behind on.

(Yes, I’m multitasking while watching TV. I know I have a problem!)

But let’s get back to the Blue Bull Bunyan. 

This is the first Web Special Micro Run in a while – since Waban, I believe, in early 2019. There have been Micro Runs since, but they’ve either been straight-up Raffle Models, Prizes or variations/surprises within larger Special Runs, or tied to Exclusive Events. 

Web Special Micro Runs have been problematic since their inception nearly ten years ago. Early examples like the Lusitano and the Moose Ghost were sold on a first-come, first-served basis, which favored people who were at the right place at the right time – and had the money on hand to make it happen.

Then they switched to the online raffle distribution method, and that’s when things really went haywire. It happened very quickly: I don’t think I need to reiterate what happened with the Polled Hereford Bull Marshall, but it wasn’t pretty. 

Collectors who didn’t give two patoots about the models in question entered anyway, because the stakes were low (entering is free!) and the short-term financial rewards for flipping were high.

Now that’ve we’ve entered this current period of massive model speculation, I am genuinely fearful of the aftermath of this particular Micro Run drawing. How bad is it going to get?

Some of the prices of previous Micro Runs have been mitigated by the fact that many of them were on molds with a rather narrow fanbases: once the handful of people who were both sufficiently motivated and financially willing to buy them at elevated prices did so, the market flattened out. Prices didn’t necessarily get better, but they didn’t get… worse. And they can still occasionally be found for sale.

That hasn’t been the case with others, like the aforementioned Marshall, and (cringe) the Brighty Cornelius. All the bullet points suggest that Bunyan will fall in the later category: a popular Decorator color, on a rarely used mold that also happens to be a Bull.

Right around the holidays, when a lot of people are looking for a little extra cash to spend. 

I’m not getting my hopes up, because I know better. But I seriously considered – and had, within my means – almost completing my collection of the Walking Horned Hereford Bull this year. 

All I really needed before Bunyan was the Woodgrain, the Chalky variation of the original release, and Colton. While I consider the Vault Sale Colton a lost cause, several examples of both the Woodgrain and the Chalky have turned up in the past year that I either just missed out on or hesitated about. 

I’ve had a pretty good year, model-wise, so I shouldn’t complain too much, and maybe things will be fine and people won’t be too terrible. But still, not the way I hoped to close out the year, hobby-wise.   

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Just Take My Paycheck, Please

This week has been pretty traumatic: dentist appointment on Monday (all good!), family medical emergency on Tuesday (everyone is home, and fine), and the Collectors Club Appreciation Event on Wednesday (got my order in in under two minutes, then went to bed.)

The CCA Event was just as much a surprise to me as everyone else; I thought that they’d be skipping it at this point too, but they decided to go with glossing last year’s 70th Anniversary Models – including the Chase Piece Smarty Jones! – and they all look amazing. 

The only CCA horse I’m slightly meh on is the Andalusian, because he’s not significantly different from previous gray-based Andalusian releases, and if I want to add more Moody Andalusians to the family (I do!), it’s going to be either the Slime Green and Silver BreyerFest Surprise SR or the original Black, with lavender undertones. I wouldn’t turn down a Glorioso, either.

The offer is still up, which isn’t entirely surprising, since (a) a lot of people I know opted out this year due to buyer fatigue, and (b) a lot of merchandise was already sold out or out of stock on the web site. For me, I wanted all of the new individually-carded Stablemates but they have been in short supply all year. So I had to opt for an Obsidian instead, whose sparkling dark floofiness has been distracting me every time I spied one in a store somewhere. 

(Also in my order: Omega Fahim, the Palominos and Pintos Stablemates Set, and both pairs of socks. All things I actually wanted.)

Oh, and I don’t know how that happened, but I also managed to get drawn for Zugspitze. The price was a little… painful, but a lot of that is our own darn fault for turning so many of these Web Specials into cash grabs. Of course the price is going to go up.

I’ve done okay with the Winter Web Specials in general; the only one that still makes me wince slightly in pain at the sight of him is Benasque, and he has that effect on a lot of hobbyists. 

Anyway, so all that’s possibly left for the year are the Christmas Day Special and the Winter Decorator Animal.

As long as the Christmas Day Special isn’t the Fell Pony or something Vintage like the Jeanne Mellin Herrick Friesian or Misty’s Twilight, I might be fine without it? I hope? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, I guess. (The current odds-on favorite is the Croi Damsha/Connemara, and I might be able to resist that.)

I’m a little more concerned about a potential Winter Decorator Animal, especially since my mind went to some interesting places last thinking of possible candidates. In addition to my perennial suggestions – the Silver Charm Elk, and a Wedgwood Blue Polled Hereford Bull – my exhaustion- and Benadryl-fueled brain also thought a Gold Charm Saint Bernard or a Rainbow Calico UniKitten would be pretty awesome.  

(You know you want it. Or want to see it!)

Edit: Fifteen minutes later... 

Collectors Club Exclusive Micro Run named Bunyan. 

Oh Sweet Jumping Jesus on a Pogo Stick!

I will now go into the shower and have a good long cry.

Monday, December 13, 2021

My Thoughts on the 2022 BreyerFest Tickets

So much for my grand plans this weekend: I literally slept through most of it!

In my defense, I was feeling a bit under the weather – and just overwhelmed, in general – so I probably needed it anyway. And to be honest, I was running on very little sleep from the entire week previous, which was also entirely my own fault. 

But I did have a little time to think about next year’s BreyerFest ticket scheme: basically, we’re back to the status quo, but with a limited online option. 

While I will concede that I am not normally a person who defends the status quo – in fact, far from it! – I think that if the pandemic didn’t happen and the in-person event did in both 2020 and 2021, we’d be having a much different and much more positive discussion about the 2022 online option. 

I had always assumed that there would eventually be an online component to BreyerFest, and the pandemic merely accelerated the timeline. I think what we would have initially gotten, sans pandemic, would have been much like what they’re offering now: the Celebration Horse, Store Special access, and online content like seminars and live feeds. 

Putting aside the technical and logistical challenges they had in even putting together an online BreyerFest to begin with, Reeves International – as I’ve mentioned before – is a much smaller company than many of us realize, and they do quite a lot with relatively little. 

But freed from the limitations of an in-person event, the previous two years have also shown us that there are limitations to the online format that make it impossible to perfectly replicate the in-person experience. There’s no handpicking, no last-minute decisions or reevaluations of your choices, no real-time haggling or horsetrading, no casual interactions that could lead to something deeper and longer lasting. 

For many of us who are fortunate to attend in-person, it was reduced to a bigger-than-average online shopping event. 

This may also be an unpopular opinion, but I also think something much bigger is lost when we attempt to replicate in-person experiences online. Human beings are designed to interact with each other not just on a visual or verbal level, but on a physical level as well. Social interactions can get really weird, and not in a good way, when the physical component is removed.

We’re already seeing that as some of us gently try to integrate ourselves back into the outside world. (Some, less gently than others.)

I’m not saying online events shouldn’t exist – I am all for being as inclusive as possible when it comes to the model horse world – but I fear if we elevate (or even prioritize) the online experience to the level of or even over the physical one, there will be profoundly negative short-term and long-term consequences. 

All that being said, I think the way to go for Reeves is to create an online experience that complements the in-person experience, with each getting something the other does not. 

Online distribution of the Ticket Specials was a major hassle, so aside from being a perk of attendance, it makes sense that they would reserve them to the in-person event. Though I am guessing that a small portion of them will be set aside as prizes for online exclusive activities.

For the online option, in addition to the Photo Show, I’d let them keep the Gloss option on Store Specials as an exclusive, as well as some seminars. While they wouldn’t be able to participate in the Costume Contest, the Customs Contest would still be open to them since only their model has to be “in person” if it is selected as a finalist. 

I’m not sure if the same courtesy could be extended to the Diorama Contest, especially since they have a hard enough time managing that one as it is. I’d imagine they’re going to replace it with something that’s more online-friendly, like a themed photo contest or coloring contest instead, with the prizes possibly including Ticket SRs. 

I could also see them offering an Online Ticket Special Run exclusive. The twist here is that if there were any leftovers from that offering, they could then offer it to all classes of ticket buyers at a later date. And vice versa, in the case of the Ticket SRs. 

If there is enough differentiation of benefits in the tickets, it might even act as an incentive for people to purchase both. I would definitely consider it.

That’s all I have to say on the matter until Reeves has more to say on the matter.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Food For Thought

I just found out I’m getting the whole weekend off, and I don’t know quite what to do with myself. Bake Christmas Cookies, maybe? Take another shot at the Poppyseed Roll? I think I figured out what I did wrong with the last one....

Speaking of food, Reeves really is going all-in on the “German Food” thing with the One-Day Stablemates:

https://www.breyerhorses.com/blogs/breyerfest-blog/breyerfest-event-stablemates

You’d think the Mini Me Emma “Brezel” would be my favorite, but I’m kind of digging the licorice-themed Hanoverian “Lakritz”: Glossy Dark Dappled Gray with multicolored ribbons based on the German flag? Sold!

While you will not find a bigger booster of licorice than me – there’s currently half a bag of licorice taffy in my car, because if I brought it into the house it would be an empty bag of taffy – I’ve always thought of licorice as more of a Scandinavian thing. Including it here is not a stretch in the same way the Spanish Fighting Bull Special Run Le Taureau was for the French-themed BreyerFest, but it’s up there.

I would have gone with something like Strudel, Pumpernickel, Stollen, or even Pfeffernusse. But hey, not my call. 

Anyway, I’ve grown rather fond of the G4 Hanoverian mold and I even have a body in my Stablemate stash that I’ve been trying to find an idea for, for a couple of years now. I’ll be getting some carbide scrapers and a mini handheld jigsaw for Christmas, so next year, maybe….

Another FYI, for those of you out of the loop: due to technical difficulties, the drawing for the Winter Web Special Zugspitze is being held off until Monday. 

Since I’ve already emotionally distanced myself from the rest of the “Silly Sales Season” Specials, this glitch is not affecting me personally one way or another. I did enter and I will check, because Silver Filigree, but I’m not getting my hopes up. It’s just not worth it at this point.

I have to admit, though, that this Special Run’s name has been the source of a great deal of amusement to me. Whenever I hear the word “Zug”, I immediately think of a local Detroit “landmark” Zug Island that (trust me) nobody thinks of as a vacation spot. 

(Though they are looking into eventually rehabilitating it. I hope so!)

And while German is certainly a very expressive language – it’s given us wonderful words like Schadenfreude and Backpfeifengischt – it is not particularly beautiful, no matter what one of my former employers once said. 

(That dude had some… issues. I’ll leave it at that.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

W.H. Annie

Here’s one of the models I’m considering “deaccessioning”, which is just a fancy word for selling: the #710112 W.H. Annie, a 2002 BreyerFest Special Run Wixom in a pretty Dappled Rose Gray. 

She was released just a year after the mold was introduced in 2001, and was one of several Special Runs we were pummeled with at the beginning of the mold’s run, with one of the first being the gorgeous Gloss Dappled “Candy Apple” Bay Raffle Model Siren

She was also the QVC Special Run Equinox and the Connoisseur model Molly McGuire the following year, and in 2003 she was used as the Jamboree model Belle Fleur, the BreyerFest Live Show Prize Largo, and that Pink and Yellow Tie-Dyed BreyerFest Auction Model that I still think about on a regular basis. 

And then she was used as the BreyerFest Volunteer Model in 2005. Whew!

The only other Wixom out of all these that I managed to score was the QVC Equinox, but in spite of her very pretty color, I ended up having to return mine because she had too many goobers in her gloss. 

I’d eventually like to get a Belle Fleur, because the Chalky Fleabitten Gray really suits her, I think. But like a lot of earlier Special Runs on molds that aren’t super-popular anymore, she’s a little hard to come by now, though (thankfully) not too expensive when they do show up. 

But yeah, after having all those scarce or downright rare models thrown at us so quickly, it’s probably not a surprise that my potential enthusiasm got tamped down right quick. 

(See also: Esprit.)

Which is fine, really. Because I’m not really willing to give up too many of my Hess Belgians to make room for more of her. 

Wixom’s early history is also a good reminder that this particular release strategy is not something new.  

Sunday, December 5, 2021

The Five-Gaiter’s Friend

FYI: I have not been intentionally absent.

As you might imagine, it’s still absolute chaos here; it feels like all the progress I made over my vacation has been completely obliterated, and I’m both physically and emotionally exhausted. 

I do have a couple of substantial posts “in the pipeline” but to tide you over until I manage to actually get them done, here’s a picture of another recent acquisition:

This cull of the #975 Best Choice release of the Sham mold was purchased from the same seller as my Funky Five-Gaiter. I logged on to eBay, and he was literally right on top of the search page. 

While I am neither a big collector of Culls nor of Shams, dear readers, I took that as a sign.

As you know, my luck with this year’s Web Specials – like so many of you – has been the absolute pits. (Currently glaring at the twenty – twenty! – Midases currently for sale on eBay and MH$P.) I needed to score something special, and this was the opportunity that was presented to me. So I took it.

Will I be keeping him long term? I have no idea. I have friends who would probably be over the moon to have him, and he just might end up with one of them someday. With a few rare exceptions, Culls don’t stick around here too long.

But today? Today he stays.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Two by Two by Two....

When my package was temporarily lost over the weekend, I assumed it was just the Universe preparing me for the inevitable, and I was not wrong:

Collecting is a function of time and money: you have to have at least a little of both, though most of us usually have significantly more of one than the other. For me and most of my life, it’s been time. 

But I now exist in a rare moment where money is (almost) no object, where I can seriously consider attending an event halfway across that offers me no financial benefit just because I can. 

(Still not likely, but I’m keeping my options open.)

I know it’s probably part of their marketing plan for the blind bags in the first place – let’s get hobbyists to interact by trading! – but that is absolutely, positively not something I have time for in my life today. 

So rather than keep adding to my ever-growing stockpile of sales items in the garage, I now have to find the time to list it. And a few other things too, probably, because all the equipment and setup will already be out, so might as well make the most of it.

(The darker one is staying, because he really does look like he plopped right out of a can of cranberry sauce.)

What this means in the long run is that for future holiday blind bag promos, I am only going to be buying one, because that’ll save me the time I’d inevitably have to waste getting rid of my duplicates anyway. (You can’t get a duplicate if you only buy one!) I won’t be bothering with buying any other items in these sets secondhand because (a) that’s not how I roll and (b) I don’t like encouraging scalpers. 

(Unless they happen to be cheap and/or unpopular.)

I am so annoyed by this that I’m also seriously considering tapping out of the rest of the promos through the end of the year. The likelihood of even getting picked for one is so slim nowadays that it doesn’t feel like it’s even worth the minimal effort it takes to enter for one. 

And I am not so addicted to the plastic that I feel the need to purchase a half dozen more memberships just to compete. 

(It is also worth noting, for context, that today’s terrible national event is literally only minutes from my house and probably has some bearing on my attitude today. I wish I could say that I’m shocked, but I’m not.)

Monday, November 29, 2021

Purple, Blue, Yellow

Back to work – and a “normal” sleep schedule – tomorrow. I certainly don’t lack for more things to do, but I found myself watching carpet cleaning videos last night, so it’s probably about time to go back to the real world. 

I did find a Blind Bag Unicorn Croi yesterday – on sale, even! – but it’s just the purple one. That’s fine, because I was sincerely doubting I’d find any of the Crois at all, because these people are vultures around here, I swear:

The rest of the series – except for the Chase pieces, because that’s not happening – I’ll pick up later from the enterprising souls who purchased entire boxes. Groping blind bags in farm stores has lost its appeal, especially since success in these parts is so slim. 

I have way too little time in my life to be running around half of Michigan looking for “rare” Stablemates. In fact, it sounds more like work than anything else. No thanks!

I was moderately amused by the “Best Holiday Shopping Spots for Breyer Fans” e-mail that Reeves sent out a few days ago; just going by this e-mail alone, you’d conclude that I lived in a vast wasteland with no Breyers within our borders. I can assure you that is most definitely not the case. I can handpick almost anything I want within an hour’s drive except (of course) the accursed blind bag Stablemates. 

In other news, I did get the Copenhagen Brighty, fancy that:

And the Yellow Mount Mini Me is the no-spot variation:

I had no preference on either of these: they were all equally “rare” anyway, and I have no illusions about completing my sets, regardless. (Flipping the negative on theYellow Mount box was a nice touch, by the way!)

I am glad, though, that aside from the Chalky variation, I’m pretty much “full up” on my Traditional Yellow Mounts. Vintage Club releases tend to boost the aftermarket prices of their respective molds and inspirations (good gravy, have you seen the prices for absolutely ordinary Brighties nowadays?) 

What’s funny is that up until a few years ago, I didn’t have any Yellow Mounts, at all. I had had several over the years, but they were all either subpar or just not what I was looking for. 

Aside from the Chalky variation, I think all I really need now is a better no-spot variation and one with a dorsal stripe. A Presentation piece would be nice, too, but it’s rare enough to not be a must have.   

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Quickstep

I am completely caught up on my sleep, I’ve made a small but noticeable dent in my backlog of TV shows (two shows binged out, six more to go!) and I finished up a couple of sewing projects that had been lingering around here just a bit too long. 

As far as the inventorying goes, I’ve finished reorganizing and relabeling all of my collection bins, and will (I hope) finish the sales bins tonight. After that, it’ll be time to wrangle all the free-range equines currently littering the place. 

I’ve kind of given up on getting anything online to sell for the rest of the year. Aside from my chronic lack of time (a condition that I have been informed will likely last through the holidays) my primary motivation is usually money, and that’s something I’m definitely not hurting for right now.

The only thing I’m hurting for is space, and I’m working on that.

In other news, I got my Holiday Catalog! The cover is half torn off, but at least I got one: last year’s was a complete no-show. Not that I really needed it, except to add it to my massive wall of ephemera. 

In light of the lovely Brunhilde, here’s another “basic, but beautiful” Breyer release worth admiring:

My love of Hess’s Scratching Foal mold is well-known: this mold really is a remarkable work of engineering. Even moreso if (like me) you’ve made a few failed attempts at customizing one and seen what’s going on in its insides. 

Oddly enough, Breyer has rarely done anything extravagant with the mold in terms of paint – perhaps because it almost seems unnecessary? One of the last releases on this mold, the #1369 Quickstep, is a case in point: anything beyond the beautifully shaded Flaxen Liver Chestnut paint job would feel like a distraction.

Quickstep was in production from 2008 through 2009. This mold was also included in the 2009 Fun Foals Collector’s Event, in Mahogany Bay, a couple different shades of Black, and even a couple of them in a Blue Roan. 

And she hasn’t been seen since. I have no idea why, and I’m not of a mind to speculate.

I have all of the Scratching Foals, save for the Fun Foals: those all either too expensive for my comfort, or just plain hard to come by. There are at least a couple vintage Buckskin ones floating around too, but I missed the opportunity to add that one to my collection a long, long time ago.

Monday, November 22, 2021

When Worlds Collide

I was definitely in the mood to forget my troubles and watch a giant gorilla and a giant lizard duke it out on the big screen TV over the weekend, but right in the middle of Svengoolie’s presentation of the 1962 Toho production of King Kong vs. Godzilla – during the “viewer mail” section of the show – up pops a MIB Breyer Apparition.

While this didn’t completely surprise me, because I’ve long believed that the model horse hobby is just another subset of the SF/Fantasy fandom anyway, there’s nothing quite like suddenly being confronted by a three-foot-tall Breyer horse in the middle of a Godzilla movie. 

(The segment was then followed by a Covenant House commercial, which also made me go hmm…)

Incidentally, my Brunhilde is here, and good golly, she’s a beauty:

Other than a little sloppy paint on her orange(!) tail ribbon – a super-easy fix – I have no complaints, at all. She almost makes up for not getting a Midas. 

Okay, not really, but she’s still a very pretty distraction. I’ll just have to rearrange a few models here so I can enjoy her on a daily basis.

What continues to be remarkable to me is the fact that there will still be several hobbyists who will still insist that there’s somehow been a decline in Breyer’s production quality since the 1970s. 

As someone who bought her first models in the 1970s, an era riddled with foggy gray stockings, heavy overspray and seams so rough that the flashing could actually cut your hand, I can only roll my eyes and wonder what they see that I did not.

As much as I love my #124 Bay Running Mare – my near-perfect semi-gloss one with the eyewhites – Brunhilde’s prep and paint work are still technically superior, and no amount of nostalgia can change that.  

My box of Vintage Club goodies has also arrived, but I’ll save opening that for Black Friday, because I think I may need it by then. I have no preferences regarding Nugget: whatever color I get, I get. Though it’s been a while since I’ve gotten a Copenhagen in the Decorator Gambler’s Choices, I guess?

Information about the 2022 BreyerWest just popped up on the Breyer web site, and I’m in a good enough spot in my life to do a little research about possibly attending. I doubt it’ll happen because that’s just an incredibly awkward time of the year for me to get away (who would take care of my seedlings?) but it’s nice that the possibility exists.

Friday, November 19, 2021

The Year of Never Mind

Unlike Ambrose, who came at the very end of the holiday sales season and didn’t impress me all that much anyway, I like the second “Holiday Connoisseur” Midas tons better:


He reminds me a lot of the Liver Chestnut variation of the 2020 BreyerFest Volunteer Model Ben Nevis, who I was not fortunate enough to get, but also not so much in love that I’d be willing to throw $750 at him. 

$295 plus shipping and handling, however, I could do.

If I had gotten picked. 

Sigh. 

That’s really the only issue nowadays, isn’t it? 

All I have to show for all my entries this year are the VIP Ticket and the Silver Uffington that ultimately came with it. I did get picked for Puffin, but I sold him to a friend at cost. 

The Brunhilde and the Christmas Clydesdales only happened because my schedule allowed it. If I didn’t have the work schedule that I do, I would have missed them, too.

There is also Thornycroft, but I worked my behind off for him. 

I know I shouldn’t complain – I’ve definitely done better than a lot of hobbyists, especially with only one account! – but this whole situation is becoming a massive bummer. I got into the hobby, in part, because it was accessible and affordable. And it really isn’t that, right now. 

Honestly, there are a lot of things I don’t want to think about today, and figuring out easy solutions to this is near the top of the list. Upping piece counts in general? Adding minor variations to large, open-ended runs? Offering an orderable Gloss option for everything? 

I will let Reeves sort it all out. 

On the plus side my Brunhilde is now apparently out for delivery, and all the pictures I have seen of her so far have shown her to be just as nice as I had hoped. 

And I have all of next week off to clean up the mess working 50-hour weeks for two and a half months straight has left behind for me, too. (The house’s current level of tidiness is at “kicking things out of the way to make a path to the bed.”

If I am really lucky, I might even be able to finish my inventory and finally get some things listed for sale, not that anybody has any money left to buy anything after the latest round of sales promotions. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Tiring of the Chase

So I am standing there in the local farm supply store that’s not Tractor Supply, but gets a decent supply of Breyers anyway, pawing through the only semi-full box of Chasing Rainbow Blind Bags I’ve even ever found in these parts. Then I stopped and counted out how many bags were actually present and realized that my effort was absolutely futile: even this box was already picked through.

And this was after I discovered that my trip to the Dollar General right next door to find the official “knockoff” Stablemates was also all for naught, apparently. Dollar Generals are a little bit out of my way around here, so with my schedule it’s going to be difficult to get back to one before they all get picked over. 

Ugh. I hate this. It’s not the blind bag part: back when I started collecting in the Paleolithic Age (the mid-1970s) pretty much everything came sealed in a visually impenetrable cardboard box, except the Stablemates. 

You had a rough idea of what you were getting on the box – sometimes a very rough idea, considering the quality control issues they had back then. And the fact that they’d use stock photos of Test Colors or Samples that had little to do with reality. 

(Yes, I am still a little peeved about the Black Pinto Stock Horse Stallion. I still want the minimal pinto I saw on the original box, dangnabit!)

It’s just this endless, artificial chase for the newest, hottest thing. It’s fun for a while, but when the chase never seems to end, the fun eventually does.

I did order a pair of the Christmas Clydesdales, since (a) I was actually online when they went up and (b) I missed out on last year’s and the prices on them haven’t come down, at all. Not even for the Red Filigree Smart Chic Olena, possibly the least desirable of the four.

The funny thing is that I had a dream a few days ago that Reeves mailed all Collectors Club members glass ornaments in the shape of the Breyer logo, in a Gambler’s Choice assortment of translucent colors. The one I received was Red, so I am assuming that one – or both! – of my Clydesdales will be Red. And I actually kind of like the Red on the Clydesdale here, it makes him look like he’s made out of Cranberry Sauce:

If I had a choice of Clydesdales, I’d go with Silver and Gold, because that’s always been my favorite holiday color scheme, but I’ll be happy with any two different colors. 

(FYI: we’re going with handmade paper ornaments this year. My Thanksgiving weekend will be spent folding German Stars.)

I guess I’ll find out in a few days. Or weeks. Or whenever they happen to show up. (My Brunhilde hasn’t shipped yet, which may mean something, or nothing at all.) 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Accessibility Issues

I am surprised that people are surprised that Brunhilde sold out in less than an hour. The collectibles market (in general) has not significantly abated, and even if it has, it always takes… quite a while for the rest of the hobby to catch on. 

The only limited-edition items that haven’t been immediately selling out are either the Classics or the Mare and Foal sets. The Classics are the least popular scale among active hobbyists, sometimes verging on the point of active antagonism: you have to jazz them up with gloss finishes, crazy color schemes, or multiple variations to sell them.

The problem with Mare and Foal sets is that there’s a misalignment of markets: these sets tend to appeal to kids and the parents who buy for them, and hence there’s some hesitancy to buy a premium or limited edition set that may well get played with.  

But yes, I got a Brunhilde; I managed to log in just before the e-mails landed in everyone’s in box, and I didn’t experience any of the technical difficulties that a lot of other hobbyists did a few minutes later. And I am so pleased about her color: this is the precise shade of Bay (sans dapples, because I suck at dappling) that I hope to achieve on that Mesteno custom I’ve been tinkering with, whenever I finally finish her:

She’ll also make me feel a little less guilty about selling off one of my other Wixoms: she’s a big girl, but according to my ongoing inventory, my heart already belongs to the original Big Butt Belgian. 

In other news, I missed the start of the Early Access Black Friday sale, and hence missed anything I would have considered purchasing: everything that was left I either already had or did not want. Considering all the sales items they’re currently throwing at us, I don’t have much else to complain about it, other than missing the thrill of logging on to see what was theoretically available to me.  

And finally, while I am not a huge fan of the Traditional Black Stallion mold, I really love the coloring on the Black Beauty release AA Omner, who the latest Test Run Purchase Raffle was obviously a Test for. I haven’t acquired one yet – it’s something I’ve been saving for in-person BreyerFest, and we haven’t had one of those in a couple years. I haven’t decided which variation I want, and I’m guessing I won’t know until I meet him. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Brunhilde

I went out of my way to be online today to buy the Brunhilde – the Fall Collector’s Club Web Special Wixom, in Dappled Bay – only to find that it was delayed a day due to Internet Issues. 

So now I have to rearrange my schedule again tomorrow. I suppose it’s better than the alternative – missing out entirely – but this entire month for me has been nothing else but a series of scheduling rearrangements, and I’d really rather not anymore.

When I first heard about Brunhilde, via scans of Just About Horses from hobbyists lucky enough to receive theirs early (FYI: mine arrived yesterday; I still haven’t opened it yet), I was initially unimpressed, but the notion of a relatively plain Bay Wixom has grown on me, and I found the portrait shot of her in the PR e-mails rather captivating:


So yeah, I think need one. All of the other Wixom releases I actually like are well into my unaffordable range anyway, and I’m still a little cheesed off that they didn’t make the 2003 Pink and Yellow Tie-Dyed BreyerFest auction piece a real-life Special Run, because I would have bought that one so hard

I am not normally a huge fan of the color pink, but I love the combination of hot pink and yellow so much I’ve actually designed a couple of quilts around that very color scheme.

I did think it was a little weird that they named this Wixom Brunhilde: I thought this was a name that they’d specifically save for a Special Run for next year’s BreyerFest, since it’s closely tied to Germanic folklore, specifically the Nibelungenlied

Though considering how the Nibelungenlied was appropriated in the mid-twentieth century, I could understand Reeves being a little nervous about tying it to a German-themed BreyerFest. Context is everything!

Monday, November 8, 2021

Affording to Wait

It makes perfect sense that now that I have a little money to play with, everything I had hoped on buying when that situation happened is also now unaffordable. Even the weird stuff I didn’t think anyone else particularly cared for/about.

(Even Morganglanzes? Yeesh.)

I can also afford to wait, so I will wait. 

Since this is where my head is at, let’s take a look into the box I am currently inventorying. Oh, this one is perfect, an oldie but a goodie:

The Dapple Gray Proud Arabian Stallion was one of the more popular releases of my Breyer childhood in the 1970s – all my friends who had Breyer horses seemed to have one – but it took me a while to find the right one for me. 

With the introduction of more refined, but not necessarily more correct, Arabian molds like Sham and Huckleberry Bey, the Proud Arabian Stallion gradually fell out of favor. But the mold has seen a recent revival of popularity, fueled partly by nostalgia, and partly by releases in some pretty spectacular colors, including the 2009 BreyerFest Volunteer Model After Party and the 2014 Exclusive Event Special Run Beignet

As with most Breyer releases from the 1970s, the Dapple Gray Proud Arabian Stallion came in a multitude of variations. My Dapple Gray example is from early in the releases run, which lasted from 1972 through 1988. Unlike later examples, he features two clearly defined hind socks, evenly distributed dappling, and a plethora of darker gray shading. 

He doesn’t have the extravagant pinking of an example that went for an even more extravagant price on eBay recently, but just look at him: I am perfectly okay with that minor omission. 

I think the price of that one was fueled more by the possibility that he was also a Chalky, which seemed unlikely to me. Buying Chalkies on the Internet is always a dicey proposition, even at a fraction of the price that example brought. And I’ve never been much of a gambler.  

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Blankets

When I was first finding my way around the hobby, it became pretty clear to me that I was not a tack and accessories person. Whenever a choice between a new saddle or a new horse had to be made, “new horse” always won.

There were some exceptions. I was fascinated by wagons, carts and sleighs (especially sleighs!), and I made a few fair-to-middling attempts at Hollywood-style Arabian Costumes. 

I have bought a few bits of Breyer Tack over the years, mostly because they came in sets and I am loathe to break apart sets on principle. And if I have been given promotional pieces, like the various blankets and things given out at BreyerFest on occasion, I never turned down those items down, either. 

One thing that’s just killing me, though, is this new Gift Set on the Breyer web site: the Le Mer with a sequined blanket. I bought this model all the way back in April because I though it was pretty – put that color on almost anything, and I’ll either buy it, or at least consider it – but you’re telling me if I had waited six months I could have gotten one with a super cool blanket with reversible sequins, too? 

Argh!

Sure, I could just go ahead and buy the set anyway – money is definitely not an issue for me right here, right now – but then I’d have to add another item to my already-too-big sales list. (I am hoping to get some stuff online by Thanksgiving week, but no promises!)

To throw a little history into the topic...

Saddle blankets have been a part of Breyer History since the literal beginning of Breyer History: the blankets for the Western Horse and Pony saddles have been molded into all their various permutations since the early 1950s. Fleece blankets were a component of the early Indian Horse and Rider Sets, too, and the Fury Prancers sold with English Saddles also came with separately-molded hard plastic saddle blankets. 

But the first official production release that came with fabric stable blankets was the #8384 Clydesdale Mare and Foal Set in 1971. Technically, some of the Groomers came with vinyl accessories that could have kinda-sorta passed for stable blankets in the 1950s. Not too many collectors are familiar with the latter: while Grooming Kits are not too hard to come by generally, the stable-blanket style ones are pretty tough. 

I have not lucked into one yet, but I live in hope!

Monday, November 1, 2021

More Ponies, More Problems

Sorry about my unexpected absence; it looks like I’ll be working Sundays through most of November, so my posting schedule is going to get really, really weird for the next month or so. 

I can’t argue about the money, though. And with the extra money comes extra ponies. 

First up, I’ve finally managed to go to a couple different Tractor Supply Stores and now I’ve seen all the Special Runs, except for the Blind Bags that I am going to pretend don’t even really exist, because I don’t think I’ll ever see them in the wild. 

I was actually quite tempted by the Christmas Horse Artic Grandeur; color-wise, he reminded me quite a bit of the BreyerFest Raffle Model North Star. But I haven’t made it a habit of buying the Christmas Horses – even the ones I really like, like Winter Wonderland – so I may pass on him just because, unless there happens to be any leftover on clearance after the holidays. 

Which is unlikely, but you know.

I did secure all three of the new Unicorn Foal Surprise sets, which I am sure are either an open stock end-of-year Store Special, or an early release for next year. Doesn’t matter to me, I just think they’re pretty and I wanted them. I think my favorite set is the one with the Prince Charming in it: the mold looks wonderful in Pearly Lavender:

The Mini Carrick in this set is also very nicely shaded, though I do wonder what’s up with issuing him in umpteen shades of blue. Don’t get me wrong, I love blue, but cripes….

I also purchased a Diadem and Alcor:

I’ve had a couple of Sucesion and LeFire sets, but none currently, but for some reason I found this set particularly appealing. It also reminds me that I probably should light a fire under my behind and get some craft projects done; I have a Grazing Mare and Foal in my body box that I need to “unicornize” eventually. 

Some of those Canadian Walmart Blind Bags are also on my way; I have no illusions that I’ll be able to score any of the chase pieces to complete my set, but I figure they’ll be scarce enough that the inevitable duplicates shouldn’t be difficult to sell off, whenever I’m able to find the time to actually sell things again.

But not too scarce: this is/was a planned Walmart Special Run item, and Walmart never buys small. They will be scarcer than other Walmart Special Run Stablemates in comparison, though, since there will not be any subsequent reorders or restocks. 

And finally, here’s my Dahlia:

I figured I’d be getting the Champagne. I don’t get Glosses, so the Pintaloosa was out. I don’t usually get the Blue one, when Blue is an option, so the Ocean Blue was out. From the ones I had seen online, I had decided that Chestnut Splash was my favorite of the four: not every mold looks good in Splash (see Troubadour) but the Connemara Pony is definitely one of them. 

All that being said, this is the first official Breyer “Champagne” that I’ve found convincing; all of the others have been too peachy-pink for my tastes. 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Nikolas

Reeves threw us a curveball this time around with next year’s Celebration Horse: instead of a Draft or Warmblood on an existing mold – as many of us were expecting – we’re getting a new German Riding Pony mold by Brigitte Eberl!

https://www.breyerhorses.com/blogs/breyerfest-blog/our-2022-celebration-horse

The prototype for Nikolas is very reminiscent of the 2009 BreyerFest Special Run Buttercream, on the Idocus mold. That release initially met with a cool reception, but has only grown in popularity in more recent years. 

And also, a little bit, like the Classics Buckskin Duchess released as a “Thoroughbred Cross” in 2006 through 2008. From personal experience she appears to be one of the tougher Duchesses to find, at least in good condition.

New mold introductions are nothing new for BreyerFest; the first was the Celebration Horse Rejoice in 1998, and one of the best known is (of course!) Eberl’s legendary Alborozo in 2008. 

It has been a few years since we’ve gotten an entirely new mold for the Celebration Horse, but it makes perfect sense that they’d enlist Brigitte Eberl to bring it to us. 

(I hope this means that we’ll get a Brigitte Eberl seminar, yes? In person, or at least online? Because I want to pencil that in as one of my activities if that’s the case.)

My only minor concern at this point is that there is definitely going to be some grumbling about the size this mold: as is the case with the paint, some hobbyists put a lot of weight into the weight of the materials used to make it. 

In this case, the fact that my Internet time is very limited right now is a blessing: not that I don’t think there’s some merit in discussing the issue, but now is just not a good time for me to engage in it.  

More stuff has arrived at my door – including Gingerbread! – but the boxes will have to remain unopened until the weekend. I did get a chance to open my Dahlia and she… was unsurprising. But more about all that next time.  

Monday, October 25, 2021

Seal of Approval

I had a pretty bad sinus headache for a good portion of my weekend, so I slept through the parts of it where I wasn’t working. It was cold and rainy, anyway, and I did need the sleep. Though I did have a really strange dream where Reeves sent me an airplane ticket in the mail, but I only found it two days before I was supposed to leave…

Reeves made the formal announcement that next year’s BreyerFest will be a hybrid event – both online, and in person – as I expected. I’ll be curious to see how this plays out; I’m assuming that potential attendees will have the option of choosing either in-person or online tickets that will come with similar (but not identical) perks, and possibly a combo ticket that gives you the benefits of both. 

I have a lot of things weighing on my mind at the moment, so I’m not going to give it much thought until more detailed information is made available. 

But I do want to make one criticism/observation: what’s up with all the references to food in the Prost PR? I grew up with a foodie Mom who made everything from scratch, from Tamales to Peking Duck. But other than pretzels, sauerkraut and the occasional bratwurst, German food was rarely on the menu. 

And while I wouldn’t call myself a teetotaler, beer has never been an interest or temptation, either.

It seems especially weird to me, since they had French and Indian-themed BreyerFests where incorporating the cuisine would have made much more sense, but they were only lightly touched on, if at all. There are a lot of things about Germany worth celebrating, but personally I think the food is among the least of these. 

(Okay, one exception: I have probably eaten my weight in Haribo Gummi Bears at least a few times over.)

And as an unrelated side note, I hope they do a new or updated portrait model of Halla: the more I read about her, the more amazing she sounds.

The inventory continues… slowly. Here’s a random selection from the latest box – the Traditional Man o’ War release #966 My Prince, sometimes called “My Prince Seal” because that’s how he was labeled on the box. For some reason, Reeves called his color Seal Brown, though it’s really more of an oddly shaded Chestnut. He was in production from 1996 through 1997, and consequently some came with bi-eyes, but my particular example does not. 

While I wouldn’t call him the prettiest of the Traditional Man o’ War’s releases – nothing can beat the original Red Chestnut with Battleship Gray hooves and eyewhites! – I am more than happy to have him here. I just wish I had the space to display him alongside all of my other Man o’ Wars. 

The last two Traditional Man o’ Wa were the 2018 BreyerFest Early Bird Raffle Riddle, and the 2016 Vintage Club model Storm. Prior to that, the last “mass-market” release of the mold was the War Horse Joey in 2012. I don’t think it’s likely that we’ll be seeing him again any time soon, but I’ll be there when he does. 

Friday, October 22, 2021

More Silly Sales Season Stuff

More Tractor Supply Exclusives are showing up, including the Appaloosa Ethereal Wilder and the Gray Bobby Jo Cirrus. Both are… different than I expected, but not enough to go out of my way to get them. 

The Stablemates Unicorn Foal Surprises are another matter. They might not even be actual Special Runs, but early releases of 2022 product, like the carded Stablemates Unicorn Paint Kits from a few years back. But with the Stablemates market being as crazy as it is, I’m not going to sweat over them, whatever they are.  

Second, the first offering in the 2022 Stablemates Club is an Appaloosa Fighting Stallion named Dax:

Maybe it’s just my Seasonal Affective Disorder kicking it into high gear this year (so much so that I broke down and finally bought a light therapy box this week) but I don’t find him all that exciting either. I mean, he’s nicely done and I love the name and all that, but maybe I’m just a bit tapped out on the Stablemates Fighting Stallion already. 

It also leaves me a little concerned: I’d rather not have the Stablemates line turn into a series of “miniaturized Traditionals”. With the release of the Mini Me of the Premier Club Fireheart, I worry that hobbyists are going to not just expect, but demand that every new Traditional mold release come with a miniature counterpart. I’d prefer entirely new molds, or releases adapted from other sources, like the upcoming Stablemates adaptation of Eberl’s Sharif, Twist. 

The latest Pony for Christmas is also out: a Bouncer named Gingerbread, in a blanket that looks like a Christmas Sweater!

https://www.breyerhorses.com/collections/website-exclusives/products/pony-for-christmas-gingerbread

It’s similar to the Bouncer release Apple Jack, but with two stockings and without the flaxen mane and tail. I am going to presume that, like last year’s Christmas Pony release Honeybunch, that there aren’t any additional markings hidden under the blanket. 

I would not be disappointed if there was, though. I am always up for a new Bouncer, regardless of the color or pattern. (Thought I did originally skip out on the Apple Jack because he looked a little too much like the original Kennebec Count for comfort.)

A bunch of other new, mostly non-horse merchandise has also been added to the web site, including a couple pairs of socks. The purple ones are 100 percent my style:

https://www.breyerhorses.com/collections/new/products/breyer-socks-purple-pinto

If last couple of years have been any indication, the addition of new merchandise to the web site usually precedes the Customer Appreciation Sale. I don’t know if I’m going to participate this year, especially since I just found out I have to work this weekend (and possibly others), and thus kicking my inventory plans down the road yet another week. I don’t need even more horses to account for. 

But if I can stick to mostly apparel and accessories (I do need more socks!) I just might. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Making Choices

Instead of participating in the Breyer Fun Day, going to the Motor City Comic Con, or even participating in Sweetest Day (it’s a thing around here), I spent my Saturday at DC FanDome and watching the new trailer for The Batman about twenty times.

Inventory is still in progress, and is going quite well, except for the realization that I have a Dapple Gray Old Timer problem. And more duplicates (of other things) than I thought. Once I’m finished with the process (next week?), I’ll let y’all know what my sales plans might be. 

As usual, it’s more of a space issue than a money issue. So stuff will be cheap, and not just compared to what everyone is trying to sell their stuff for. (I swear people are just using random number generators to price things at this point...)

I just unwrapped a couple of recent arrivals and I’m trying to decide what to do with them:

With Eek!, it’s more a matter of where I’ll put him than whether he is staying: I don’t know if he’s going into my window of glowy things, on my nightstand of glowy things, or in my little huddle of glowy things on my dresser.

(I like glowy things!)

The Favrile is a bigger problem.   

I bought him during the Second Chance Sale, mostly out of curiosity: I wanted to see what he looked like in person. The color scheme is definitely more of the “Rainbow Sherbet” variety of Rainbow seen on two recent Stablemate Unicorn Chase pieces, like the Magnolia and Croi. Mine seems to be a little bit greener than the average Favrile, and I like that, and I also like how they tried to make each leg a different color. (A thing they also did with the Seven Arts Surprise Decorator Rainbow Appaloosa.)

But I’m still not 100 percent sold on him, partly because I would have preferred a stained-glass-themed Decorator to be Translucent. I took a pass on the Web Special Nayati, and aside from the ongoing space issues, I am also reluctant to invest the necessary monies to acquire them now. 

If I’m going to collect a newer Classics mold, it’s going to be Mel Miller’s Brabant and also maybe Sarah Mink’s Malik, who incidentally is now available as a Unicorn in a color very similar to the radiant Sunset color the Brabant release Solaris does, sans glitter:

https://www.breyerhorses.com/collections/new/products/solar-flare

(I know some folks have very strong opinions on the matter, but I am neither pro- nor anti-mane-glitter.) 

Actually, come to think of it, the color is very similar to the 2001 Toys R Us Special Run Pacer Horse of a Different Color, who I have assumed was a very, very loose interpretation of Dunalino. 

Favrile will be sticking around a while, or at least until I’m able to get my sales act together. 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Cheap Horses

Crankiness warning activated: this week has been messy, complicated and exhausting. I no longer have the patience or energy to engage with people who have the luxury of being angry all the time about everything – whether it’s about work, life or horses. 

I finally made it to a Tractor Supply this week and saw the Indian Pony Sayan. She is very pretty, but I am still not motivated to get her. I wouldn’t mind getting the Stablemates, but the store I visited didn’t have them, and I have a suspicion that I’m not going to see any of them any time soon.

My work schedule might be changing, again, so I literally have no idea when I’ll get back.

I did make it to a few Five Below stores this week to investigate the latest Breyer Mystery: these new Classics-scale “Paddock Pal” Horses and Unicorns. I haven’t found the horses yet, but I did buy the four Unicorns. My favorite is “Cherry”:

When I first saw them on eBay earlier in the week, I made the erroneous assumption that they were possibly Reeves’s entrĂ©e into the 1:6 Scale market: they looked a lot like the vintage Marx Horses preferred by military miniaturists, both in terms of style and materials. The box was also very similar to the “Touchability”boxes used on the Breyer-branded Plush Aurora releases, some of which can now be found in the toy departments of some Meijer superstores. 

(Meijer is a slightly more upscale, Midwestern equivalent to Walmart that very occasionally carries Breyers. But none currently: the plushes are distributed by Aurora.)

Some of the initial speculation about the origins of these models was… interesting, to put it politely. When it was discovered that they appeared to be a Five Below exclusive, my first thought was: Oh, so this is how Reeves is trying to break into the “Discount Store” market.

One of the few bright spots in the retail market has been the rise of Discount Stores like Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and my personal local favorite, Debby’s Dollar

A lot of name brands have been tailoring products for the Discount Store market, and I was just wondering when – or if! – Reeves was going to tap into that market. Reeves had dumped some of the Walmart Stablemates at Five Below before – and some of the more recent Blind Bags are also showing up there again. 

As for the criticisms about the materials, the quality, or the fact that they’re even in discount stores at all, I find most of them moot. These are intended as an inexpensive, entry-level product. For most non-hobbyist consumers – we’re talking parents, grandparents and younger children – a plastic horse is a plastic horse. 

They’re a significant step up from the usual equines available at this price point, and are therefore more attractive product for a child who may potentially outgrow their horse phase. And for those that do not, the brand recognition is built-in. 

I find them interesting. There are several Five Belows in my area, but I do not know if I will go out of my way to find the horses: as I mentioned before, my time is currently at a premium. 

(FYI: I still think they need to do 1:6 Scale horses.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Gran Cavallo

Clarification: while I did have a VIP ticket, I had an additional All-Access BreyerFest ticket as well. 

With the way the aftermarket is at the moment, I think getting selected for any random Breyer web drawing is simply not going to happen. But entering every one that I’m at least eligible for will at least increase my chances of getting picked for something eventually, however infinitesimally. 

And I didn’t get picked, which is fine. I may end up buying a few extra of the Store Specials for a newer coworker’s daughter; neither one of them knew that BreyerFest has been online the past two years. 

(No really, they had no idea. I find it a little hard to believe as well, but it’s a good reminder that dedicated hobbyists do essentially live in a bubble.)

But I did manage to push through my inventory and hit my target goal (halfway!) so I finally opened my Second Chance Sale box:

Alas, no Purple Paso for me, but I love my Gran Cavallo anyway. Actually, he might even be my second favorite BreyerFest Special Run this year, after Uffington and slightly ahead of Seurat. In fact, I think if I had seen him firsthand at BreyerFest prior to purchasing, I may have gone with him over the Surprise model, instead. 

Peruvians tends to be a bit more conservatively colored than other South and Central American breeds, and most of the mold’s past releases have reflected that. He reminds me a lot of the Seal Bay auction piece with the ermine spots, one of my favorite BreyerFest auction pieces ever.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Equidae

I still haven’t opened up the box with the Gran Cavallo yet – not out of fear, apprehension or the possibility of disappointment, but because I am saving it as a reward for hitting the halfway mark in the inventory process. 

And that is taking a little longer than expected: I didn’t think I bought that much this year, but the inventory is telling me otherwise. Doing my year-end paperwork this year is going to be an absolute breeze, though.

I was kind of hoping to reach my target by the time the Second Chance Sale opens up to All-Access people on Wednesday, but it’s looking iffy. I kind of doubt my luck is going to be good enough to get me a second go-round at the Special Runs anyway, but I dutifully put my entry in just in case.

(If I do snag a spot, I will either go for a Surprise, or a Pech Merle.)

I have opened other recent arrivals, including the Equidae:

Apparently I have a thing for unusually-colored Othellos; the only ones I have in my possession that could be described as reasonably realistic are the production run BreyerFest 2012 Celebration Horse Mariah’s Boon, and the 2003 BreyerFest porcelain Galway Warrior. The 2018 Volunteer Model Churchill is also a “realistic” color, but one that’s very unlikely on a horse of his body type, at least without some very creative pedigree assignments. 

It’s been noted elsewhere that Equidae is the first production Rainbow Decorator where the rainbow is reversed: his head is purple, and the tail is pink. His paintjob is also flatter and less shaded, and most definitely more opaque, as opposed to previous Rainbow Decos, which tend to feature more translucent coloring.

I don’t know if this is a change in this color going forward, or simply an aesthetic choice specific to this mold and/or design. My guess is that Rainbow Decorators are going to be a lot like Silver Filigrees, where the kind of paint job you get depends on who painted it that day.  

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Bay Indian Ponies

Regarding the Tractor Supply Special Run Indian Pony Sayen, I am not understanding why everyone is all “It’s about time we got a simple Bay paint job on the Indian Pony, yay!” when the Red Bay Black Horse Ranch Special Run Indian Pony has… existed since 1987? 

I mean, yeah, there were only 400 of them, and a lot of them turned into Shrinky Puddles of Goo, but nevertheless the notion of putting the Indian Pony in a Solid Bay paint job has been visited before. 

I much preferred the Liver Chestnut one that was briefly depicted on the Tractor Supply web site, but I guess that was an unselected prototype that we may or may not see someday somewhere else, like the Zippo Pine Bar “Chance” that ended up a Mid-States Special Run instead. 

I’m currently in the middle of completely revamping my inventory system at home, so the last thing I’m looking for is more models. 

(If I implement it correctly, I’ll never lose track of anything again. I’m hoping.)

Thriller and Equidae have both arrived but are still unopened, and my Second Chance Sale stuff is supposedly going to be here by the end of the day. The answer to the question of my Gran Cavallo – Purple, or Not Purple? – also won’t be answered until at least the weekend. And maybe after I get a few more boxes of inventory done.

(Twelve down, 26 more to go! Oh, joy…)

I also drew up a preliminary list for the Customer Appreciation Sale, if it happens at all this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets delayed or canceled entirely because of the supply chain issues, but it never hurts to be prepared. 

If it does, I just hope all the Stablemates I want are back in stock by that time.  

Sunday, October 3, 2021

The Test Subject

While I’ve had my share of fabulous Internet finds, the thrill of actually acquiring one still hasn’t faded after all these years. But it doesn’t feel entirely real until it arrives at your front door:

Initially I thought he was one of that class of models where a production color has been altered in some way, usually with the addition (or more rarely, the absence of) an additional layer of factory paint. You see them every once and a while – Chestnuts turned into Bays, Palominos turned into Buckskins.

One of the more recent Special Runs of this type was Koh-I-Noor, a 2018 Web Special on the Totilas mold that was created from leftover pieces from the 2017 Christmas Horse Winter Wonderland.

There are lots of Test Colors of this type that were created in the 1970s and early 1980s, presumably by employees. I also suspect that the small number of Production Run models that were issued in both Palomino and Bay probably had some flawed Palominos turned into Bays, though I’d classify those more as oddities or variations than actual Test Colors. 

So when I bought this Five-Gaiter, I assumed he was one of that subcategory of models, presumably a Sorrel with added black points (among other things). Even his braids are white and red, just like a typical #52 Sorrel Five-Gaiter.

No, this dude is way weirder than that, and I’m not just referring to the arbitrarily added chain reins. He has a masked blaze – like several Five-Gaiter releases in the late 1980s and early 1990s, such as Wing Commander – and his color definitely has yellow undertones you don’t see in your average vintage Breyer Sorrel. He also has tri-colored eyes similar to the lizard-like “bi-eyes” that were experimented with in 1995, though more neatly rendered. 

You know who he most reminds me of, though? Releases like the Half-Year Shams in the early 1990s, including the infamous “Green Bay” Sham from the #3163 Arabian Stallion and Foal Gift Set. He has the same gray overspray that’s meant to add depth and shading to the base color, but just turns the entire model a weird muddled shade of greenish-gray, instead.

It wouldn’t surprise me if this guy was simply a model that wasn’t so much designed, but experimented upon. In other words, he’s not a Test Color, but a Test Subject. 

And as such, so much more fascinating to me than fancier, more modern Test Colors.