Friday, April 30, 2021

Tapping Out

I was having a pretty good birthday until I got home and found out about this:

No, not this one either. I don’t even know what to say any more. 

I do not live on the Internet. I am not on Facebook. I am telephonophobic and only use my phone when absolutely necessary; in fact, most of the time I don’t even know where it is. 

(FYI: I did get a new phone for my birthday; we’ll see how that goes.)

It wouldn’t have mattered anyway because I was literally on my way to work while Slyder dropped; even when I do manage to remember to have my phone on me, I never answer it in the car because I am not that great a driver and I can’t afford the distraction.

The only bit of luck I’ve had was the BreyerFest VIP Ticket drawing, which was a good thing because the way the remainder of those tickets were sold I wouldn’t have been able to get one. 

Oh, and Puffin, but she was passed along to someone who wanted her more. 

But this release was something I was actually looking forward to; the Special Run Gunner has been a lower-end item on my grail list for a while now (price, it’s always about the price) and I was excited about the possibility of something in this mold in glossy. 

Look, you know I’m a diehard: you’d be hard pressed to find someone who lives a more “Breyer Life” than me. 

But I’ve just about had it with this Collector’s Club nonsense. I’m tired of clicking on links and only seeing the “Sold Out” tag. It’s just like those wait lists I hear about that I’m pretty sure are also almost entirely imaginary. 

If you’ve almost lost me, you’ve definitely lost others with far less patience and access.

I have a life beyond the Internet and there’s no way I am sacrificing any part of it to play this game.

The money I was allocating for this has already been spent elsewhere. (No, not a guitar. Not yet.) 

Whether I bother clicking on any other Collector’s Club Exclusive Offers going forward remains to be seen, especially since the entire exercise this year has been almost entirely moot anyway. I’ll just save my cash and splurge on something vintage instead. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Sometimes a Cigar

Video done. Thank goodness.

As far as horse stuff goes, I got nothing today. I kind of feel like I do the week after BreyerFest: I am all horsed out. I just want to eat pudding and shop for guitars. (This is not a metaphor for anything. That’s actually what I’ve been doing.)

Honestly, I’m not quite sure what to do with myself now. I mean, I have plenty to do, but I guess I just want to spend some time savoring the momentary absence of a deadline. 

Anyway, here’s a picture that didn’t get used in the video: my Sample of the Halloween Horse Nosferatu, on the Cigar:

I know lots of people were disappointed with Nosferatu, expecting him to look… more like this than the “fuzzy bats” we actually got. That’s part of the reason why I didn’t buy him – but didn’t take a pass on the Sample when he was offered to me in the NPOD some time later. 

He was issued fairly early in the “new masking” era, and I suspect he was intended to be much more cleanly masked like the first Halloween Horse Skullduggery, and then plans went sideways. 

That happens a lot more than you might imagine in product development, and not just with model horses.

His shading is really remarkable in person, but the two times I’ve taken him out to show he’s barely been acknowledged, much less placed. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Cigar’s status as one of the cool or popular molds has long since passed. 

That’s fine – more for me!

I do need to pick up a few more of the Halloween Horse Series, eventually. When prices are less insane and the house is a little more decluttered. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Learning Things

Well, the video would have been done last night, but for some reason I decided I had to completely redo the last two minutes of it – new script, new photos, new animation. I am still not 100 percent satisfied with it, but I’m rarely 100 percent satisfied with anything I do, so that’s about par for the course.

Especially since I essentially did this thing completely and utterly from scratch. (Note to self: add “Working knowledge of Adobe Premiere Pro” to resume.) 

Will I do another? I’ve found that I don’t hate my voice as much as I thought I would, and once I figured out the basics of the program it wasn’t too difficult to learn. (YMMV: I’ve been working with Adobe products for nearly 20 years.)

But the month of May looks like it will be completely booked with other projects and stuff, so it’ll be at least a month before I will have the space to think about launching a multimedia model horse empire from my basement.  

So, what’s up for May?

Housecleaning first. Then the garden. Then maybe – maybe! – I can actually get one contest entry for BreyerFest done. Probably the Diorama thing because I already bought the supplies for it (one bottle of paint!) and since I’ve been stress eating a lot lately, I need to lose some weight before I think about doing any costuming in the near future. 

Speaking of contests, they finally released a picture of the Customs Contest prize model Noir, and all I can say is Damn You:

It’s close enough to the Tractor Supply Eclipse from last year that it shouldn’t bother me, but nevertheless, what we have here is another unattainable Emerson. Already. I had entertained notions of maybe saving up the cash to buy the Pinto variation of Rocket, but with prices being the way they are for everything right now, that money is staying in the bank. 

Sure, I could enter the Customs Contest and hope for the best, but all the ideas I have would require more than six weeks for me to complete to my satisfaction, and also involve learning (or relearning) how to use some tools and equipment. I just went through a couple months of that very process, and I’d appreciate the break. 

If I do try to learn anything new in the next six months, it’s either going to be (a) learning how to make real Turkish Delight, or (b) taking guitar lessons. 

(The latter one surprises me, too, but it’s actually been in my head for about a year, and the only thing that’s been staying my hand is the fact that I think I really need in-person lessons. Which look like a possibility by the Fall.)

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Secondary Game

Oh look, another Special Run that sold out before I even knew it was up for sale!

You know, kind of like Fabio last year. That I still haven’t gotten yet because, aside from life in general, I don’t like doing the secondary market on brand new models. 

This is getting… tedious. 

You know, I wasn’t all that into the Frame Overo/Picture This vote thing for BreyerFest last year to begin with – heck, I can’t even remember who I actually voted for, out of the choices given – but it sure as heck is annoying to have another Collector’s Club Special come and go without even being given the opportunity to decide.

Something needs to be done about this. I mean, the secondary market for everything is so bad right now that if something’s not an open-ended regular run item, I now basically have only a matter of hours – if that – to decide if I even want it. And that’s if I’m lucky enough to find out about it in time. 

And you know I don’t play the secondary game, sorry. I don’t like to reward what I consider bad behavior. Anyone who has ever been owned by a terrier knows that all it leads to is more bad behavior.

It’s not that big a deal, again. But if this nonsense keeps up, eventually it will be. 

In a sense, it already has: I’m beginning to care somewhat less for more modern Special Run releases, especially on more modern molds. 

If this had been a Stud Spider, for instance, this would have been a much different conversation. 

A couple of months ago I was fantasizing about what kind of offbeat Test Color I’d “gift” myself if a “Design Your Own Test” opportunity ever actually came up and they told me that my Lemon Yellow Palomino Man o’ War and Wedgewood Blue Polled Hereford Bull (with pink hooves!) were definitely not possibilities. 

Okay, fine then, then give me a Blue Roan Frame Overo Stud Spider, but make sure the Blue Roan part is freckled like the vintage Red Roan. 

And while we’re at it, give him those goofy 1997 bi-eyes, because why not, right? I’ve seen some of the “creations” other people have come up with: bi-eyes and old-fashioned freckle roaning on a Stud Spider is pretty tame in comparison. 

I really don’t try to be the weird child in my play group. I just am. 

Anyway, peace out: I’ve got some edits to obsess over. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Almost There

I’m down to what I like to call “the crunchy bits”: the last pieces of a creative project that are going to take a little more chewing on than the rest. 

This is pretty typical for most of my endeavors, especially the more complicated ones. Do the “easy” parts first, and fuss over the “hard” parts last. And the hard parts aren’t necessarily hard, they just need more time and effort put into them. 

I think I have all the photos I need – unless anyone happens to have a nice vintage Decorator pic or two lying around. (I have some, but they definitely need work to be presentable. Long story, etc.) BTW, everyone who has contributed will get credited, even if the pics do not end up in the final product. 

But anyway, everything is on schedule. If only the same could be said of literally everything else in my life, but that’s neither here nor there.

Since I hadn’t been out shopping in forever and my birthday is almost here, I went out and bought a couple of models. I know I shouldn’t have, but it was either that or something practical, like shoes for work, and horses are more fun to shop for. 

First up – a Catch Me!

I wasn’t initially impressed with the first Catch Mes, but the latest batch are actually quite pretty (the VIN says he was made in January?) He has a few minor marks, but this one was definitely the nicest of the ones I had to choose from, and I have no plans on doing any showing this year anyway. 

(Are there any actual live shows going on anywhere this year?)

Whenever things get back to normal again, I am definitely tracking down an Appreciation Event Glossy (also assuming that prices get back closer to normal). I know there are already a couple of True Norths that are utterly unattainable (Masala, and Rangoli) but this year’s Celebration Horse has reignited my desired for more. 

And next up: Le Mer!

Yeah, I was kind of surprised that this one caught my eye, too. I am not normally a huge Unicorn person in general – except for the Stablemates, and we all know that Stablemates are essentially potato chips – but his color was just so appealing in person. And so much darker than the promotional photos! So my Solaris has a buddy now. Go figure.

I also bought all of the new Stablemates Unicorns (aka the Steven Universe Unicorns, because Rose Quartz, Opal, Peridot and Pearl, hello!) but imma gonna wait until my actual birthday to open those up. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Big Money Chalkies

I now have a pretty decent picture of a Black Dapple Belgian (thanks Jeri!) but I am still in search of a Rainbow Weather Girl pic. I think I’ll be good otherwise, but I’m making my last edits this weekend, and if it’s anything like my editing process with any of my other creative endeavors, I’m sure something will come up. 

By the way, if it’s one thing this video project has reminded me of, it’s that I do not like taking photographs, not one bit.

That’s also why I’m deciding to forego the BreyerFest Photo Show this year – one of the reasons, anyway. There’s apparently a limit on photos this year also, and I simply don’t have the time to curate my photos that well. 

I definitely took a “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks” approach last year, out of necessity. 

And as far as I could tell, any extra effort I put into making my photos “pretty” didn’t really help that much either: I know they said as much in the rules that it didn’t matter, and it showed in some of the placings. 

You’d think that would fall under the banner of “showmanship”, but whatever.

I have too much to do between now and BreyerFest as it is; I’d rather spend that time doing other things, like pulling the 3000 or so dandelions that have mysterious popped up in my garden (darn you, milder than average Winter!), finishing some of the quilts I promised to finish last year, and catching up on about a year’s worth of TV shows and movies. 

(Just about the only non-model-horse-related content I’ve been able to partake in over the past six months was a 4-hour long magnum opus about the end of the world, and it shows. I mean, I enjoyed it, but not the lightest of entertainments.)

To give you guys a little bit of model horse related content, here’s one of the photographs I’ve taken over the past couple of days: my Chalky Bay Appaloosa Indian Pony!

While she’s one of the scarcer Chalkies out there and I knew it when I bought her, I still winced a little when I paid the rather steep (for me) price of $45 for this beauty at BreyerFest several years back. I think that is the most I had paid for a Chalky up to that point, and even since then. (Cheapskate, etc.)

I shudder to think just how much she’d go for now. Car payment territory, maybe? 

Doesn’t matter, she’s not going anywhere.

I also discovered that I have way more Chalkies than I thought I did. Not a lot of the “big money” ones like the Shire, Misty or the Proud Arabian Mares, but at least a couple dozen. I’m so glad I was ahead of that curve before it took its huge exponential turn.

Most of the ones I now have were acquired the old-fashioned way: flea markets and cheap box lots on eBay with blurry pictures. Crossing my fingers that I find the rest of the ones I “need” the same way.

(For some reason I have never owned a Chalky Yellow Mount. I think I need one. Eventually.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Letting It Be

The waitlist is also now apparently out – I say apparently, because well, you know.

So now I’ll put the entire affair in a box, stick that box in the closet, and move on; this is a rare situation where my limited access to the Internet is probably a blessing.

You know what I’m gonna do now? Unbox a few more things! 

I have a lot of things that need to be unboxed. If you saw what my office currently looks like, you’d understand. If you saw what my tomato seedlings look like, you’d understand.

(I think maybe a half dozen might make it? The pepper plants look great, though I’m not sure how or why. Best to stop fussing over it and just let whatever happens, happen.)

Anyway, here’s the La Molina and Masella:

I was ambivalent about this set initially, because Benasque is clearly not going to happen ever, but now I’m hoping that another Electric Blue Filigree release can step in and be Masella’s stepdad. Something more affordable and attainable, I hope.

Next up – my Nonoma!

Aside from the Brighty, I think Nonoma is my favorite Vintage Club release this year. Man, when I was 12, the Foundation Stallion was absolutely the bomb-diggity, and even now I find myself wanting to collect them all – all the variations of the Azteca, the original Indian Pony releases, throw in a vintage Marney Test or two somewhere, too…

I have no idea what the distribution pattern/quantity/desirability of the various Indian marks variations are with Nonoma – not my call – and I’m perfectly fine with just the Nonoma I have. (Unless an inexpensive one wanders by. I know, I know…)

I am very glad he’s gotten such a warm reception. I know he’s been on a lot of hobbyists’ want lists as far as the Vintage Club goes, so I’m so glad he’s finally here. 

Back to the video project that is eating my brain. It’s actually going pretty well, but ugh, I really need to learn this program properly for the next project, to save myself a metric ton of time. 

(Also: anyone have a photograph of a Rainbow Weather Girl I can borrow? A Dapple Black Belgian would be nice too, but I think I can work around that.)

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Plastic Things

When it became obvious to me that I hadn’t been picked for the True Blue Exclusive Event – as I suspected – the first thought that crept into my head was “This shouldn’t be this painful.”

Part of the reason I went all in on the hobby all those years ago (more than 40 – ulp!) was because the world of living, breathing horses was essentially inaccessible to me. My family made it very obvious that “the real thing” was a luxury and absolutely not something that was going to happen. 

They paid for a couple of years of horseback riding lessons, but after that, it was all on me.

The world of model horses was cheaper, and fit into my lifestyle better anyway – even when I could technically afford the real thing.

I could afford some of the ridiculous prices people are already putting up for their True Blue loot ($500? For the Stablemate? Okay, maybe not.) but I won’t do that because I don’t want to have anything to do with making the hobby less affordable or accessible to others. 

Yes, yes, there have always been ridiculous prices in the hobby. And people (unfortunately) able to pay them. 

That’s why I started research Breyer History and stuff: if I couldn’t compete with money, I could compete with knowledge. Which works with older models, vintage models, obscure releases nobody much cares about.

But as far as modern models go? I am just as much as wit’s end as the rest of you. A little worse off, even, because people sometimes blow off my rants, assuming that I have more fabulous modern things than I actually do. 

Look: it’s just me and my one account and my vast and impressive library of reference materials. None of which really help when it comes to lottery drawings. 

Lottery drawing don’t care if you can categorize all of the different stocking variations of Stud Spider by rarity or that you are one of the handful of collectors who actually does collect the Polled Hereford Bull, thank you very much. 

That’s also why I am not the biggest fan of these Exclusive Events. I don’t get picked for these things, and there’s nothing I can do to improve my odds. 

Of course money is always a solution, but here is the thing: there is no way I can justify paying for anybody else’s vacation. 

Or their couch. (I actually saw an ad for a Raffle Model once that stated that explicitly. Needless to say, I did not find it persuasive.)

Trust me, people have tried that nonsense on me. Do not come at me with an offer that’s not really a bargain at all. Y’all should know by now that not only do I not play that game, I will put you on my personal “naughty” list forever. 

(If it’s one thing my family has taught me, it’s how to hold grudges.)

I know they’re only plastic horses. But this shouldn’t hurt so much. It’s beginning to feel a little like my high school days, where the world of real horses was essentially closed to me. 

I don’t want the world of model horses to be that way, either.

And anybody who trots out the “But drawings are the most fair system!” excuse can also pound sand. We all know that is not true. The fairest system would not allow people who have gone multiple times to go again and again, and some people to never go at all. 

I also wonder just how many people would enter for these events if there were not any limited edition models involved? 

Anyway, to make up for my griping (my throat is also sore!) here is a picture of something that is actually making me happy at the moment: I finally opened up my Christmas Space Bears!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A Game of Wanting

I put in my lone entry for the True Blue Exclusive Event; as I’ve said before, I’m not optimistic, especially since so many hobbyists are treating it like a Lotto drawing. 

The Traditional for the event – Bondi – is a Light Dapple Gray on the Valegro mold, and it appears to be Chalky as well as Glossy. He’s beautiful and I want him, but that’s not up for me to decide.

I won’t go to the secondary for this one either because the math doesn’t work out for me. It’s a pretty simple equation, really:

Gloss + Chalky + Valegro + Exclusive Event Model = Unaffordable.

The next Premier Club release is a new Fjord Mare named Astrid, and I also love her. I think I’ll be okay waiting for a more plentiful Regular Run or Special Run, though. I don’t want to get too attached to her, because I had my dreams dashed with the previous Fjord release Henry when they made him the 2015 BreyerFest Diorama Prize Truffle.

(Oddly, I wasn’t as upset with the 18-piece WEG 2010 reissue; maybe because I knew I never had a shot at that one?)

The Spring Decorator release is a Flag-themed Translucent Esprit name Old Glory. I actually like him more than most of the previous patriotic horses – no kinda weird bloody red points, yay! – but I’ll probably take a pass on him, too. Too much stuff, not enough room, others love him more than I do, all that jazz. I think I’ll like him more in person, but we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it.

And finally, there’s this pretty little girl:

Sigh. You know how long I’ve been wanting a black or gray variation of the Appaloosa Performance Horse color? On anything? A very long time. Knowing that this Test Color is going to be out there, and probably not at my house ever, is discomforting.  

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Swing And A Miss

Sigh. Weren't we just talking about bad information?

This picture – from the latest Collector’s Club online newsletter, celebrating mold birthdays from 1961 – is mostly wrong:

The first and most obvious: the Grazing Mare didn’t come out until 1965. This is not a matter of a lack of documentation. She’s not in the 1961 Dealer’s Catalog inserts, she’s not in the 1963 Dealer’s Manual, and she’s not in the 1964 Dealer’s Catalog inserts. The first time we see her in any official Breyer ephemera is on the official pricelist from 1965, with the Grazing Foal.

The Running Mare and Western Prancing Horse are probably 1962 releases; I don’t have any official Breyer ephemera that says so, but I have multiple copies of Red Bird Sales Company fliers from the early 1960s, and the Running Mare and Foal and Western Prancing Horse don’t appear on the earliest of version of them. The earliest version of these fliers does include the Semi-Rearing Mustang and the Five-Gaiter, who we’re pretty sure are genuine 1961 releases.

The Fighting Stallion is the most questionable one here: although he does appear in the 1961 Dealer’s Catalog insert sheets, I think he might have been released as early as 1960, but I only have circumstantial evidence of that. 

So, at best, Reeves got only two out of five right? 

I could kinda-sorta understand why they didn’t get the Running Mare and Western Prancing Horse right; that ephemera is pretty scarce and not widely circulated, and despite my best efforts to the contrary, bad information has an annoying habit of persisting long after it has been corrected. 

To the point where I wonder if I should even bother sometimes.

But the Grazing Mare? A pretty big swing and a miss here, guys.