Sunday, May 30, 2021

On the Hanoverians

I’m giving myself until the end of the weekend – in my case, that would be Tuesday at noon-ish – to “do” my BreyerFest diorama or forget about it completely. I’m limiting myself to bodies and supplies on hand, and the only purchases I’m allowing myself to make for it are paint, brushes, primer and glue, because those are just craft supply basics that are useful to have around anyway.

If something works out, great, if it doesn’t – no harm, no foul. June is going to be much too busy to bother with something that’s been – historically – a mostly futile enterprise for me.

I do really like this year’s prize “Stubbs”, though, a Dunalino on the Hanoverian mold:

I had just been thinking about the Hanoverian mold, and how I don’t actually have that many examples of him: just my original Bay, and the Horses International Chalky Dapple Gray. 

I did have the Your Horse Source Set in Bay, Alabaster, Black and Chestnut, but in addition to also being rather boring colors, they were also both tippy and Shrinkies. There were others, all of whom were deemed either too uninteresting, or too tippy to bother with.

There have been a few exotic colors put on him. Europa was an interesting idea, but one that (I think) ultimately doesn’t quite work, and neither one of the Appaloosa releases really did much for me either. The only one I plan on getting in the near future is the Spiegel Catalog Hanoverian, because if I want another Bay Hanoverian, he’s the prettiest of the bunch, by far.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck with acquiring Breyer Dunalinos – if they’ve been part of Gambler’s Choices I don’t get them, and if they’ve been Web Specials I don’t get drawn for them. And ultimately when I finally did get one – the Web Special Goddess Series Aphrodite – I was so soured on the experience that I eventually sold her anyway.

But I’m going into this contest with absolutely no illusions about it, other than the slim hope that (a) maybe the judges will finally “get” me this year, or (b) some hobbyists will be somewhat disinclined to enter because Stubbs doesn’t meet their expectations for what a Prize model should be. 

I’ve also been dealing with some – let’s call it interesting – drama around here, and the process of chopping and reassembling otherwise unsellable Breyer bodies has been rather liberating. So there’s that to it, too. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Naked Truth

Also in the interest of completeness: no on the wait list for Crane, and no for the Test Color Mule. But I did manage to score a couple of fun finds at the local Salvation Army earlier this week: a Pacer body and a Percheron Plushie from Greenfield Village:

There were a number of other horse-shaped objects in the store, which leads me to suspect that there had been other high-value equine goodies there that I probably missed. Alas, my new schedule sort of precludes me from doing a lot of extracurricular shopping, and I could not have gone earlier.

(I still haven’t been back to the flea market this year either, but that’s not a scheduling issue, that’s entirely a personal safety issue.)

I’ve always wanted to do a custom with a Pacer, but I still haven’t quite come up with an idea good enough to compel me to do it. That, and having a few hundred other projects also in the way. 

Speaking of customizing and bodies and such, let’s briefly discuss the famous “Unpainted” offer Breyer made to subscribers of Just About Horses in 1980, which was targeted specifically to customizers of the time: 

We called ourselves repainters or repaint/remakers back then, in case you’re wondering what that’s all about. For those of you who want some easy cut and paste text for your files, here’s the list:

  1. Lady Phase
  2. Adios
  3. Stud Spider
  4. Proud Arabian Stallion
  5. Proud Arabian Mare
  6. Black Beauty
  7. Indian Pony
  8. Cantering Welsh Pony
  9. Saddlebred Weanling
  10. 5-Gaiter
  11. Clydesdale Mare
  12. Morganglanz
  13. Hanoverian
  14. Trakehner
  15. Foundation Stallion

Contrary to what you may read elsewhere on the Internet – and especially, on eBay – these fifteen molds are the only ones that were a part of this offer, and the only ones that you could possibly or legitimately claim as being part of that offer. 

Any other unpainted models you may find in your travels may also be genuine factory Unpainteds, but they may have come via other offers (like those “Factory Whiteware” boxes that were offered up in the NPOD a few years ago), from craft kits, factory warehouse sales before they stopped them because some people couldn’t behave themselves, employee take-homes, Marney’s garage, etc. 

While I have a few unpainted models, most of them have either some historical significance, some personal significance, or just because I happen to like the mold. 

The only Unpainteds that I’d go out of my way to buy personally would be molds that have since been altered in some way and no longer “exist” in their original state. (I’m looking at you, Saddlebred Weanling! Okay, maybe you too, Trakehner.) 

All models start out naked, so in most cases, they could still make more. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Sales Rep Models

In the interest of completeness, I just want to say that I finally opened the box from the previous post, and not only were the models in better condition than advertised, they were also immaculately wrapped (with a ribbon tied in a bow!) and came with candy. A+: would buy from again.

Here is the second item I mentioned in that post from yesterday:

A Classic Andalusian Stallion in a really lovely shaded Matte Liver Chestnut, and what is possibly a “Sales Rep” model.

“Sales Rep” models are essentially Test Colors that are (were?) gifts given to Breyer Sales Representatives. Some are Traditional scale models, but most that I’ve seen have been Classic scale. 

In terms of quality, they generally tend to be better than the average BreyerFest Auction Test Colors from the 1990s, but not nearly as nice as more recent Auction pieces. (Many of those I basically consider “Factory Customs”, but that’s another discussion entirely.) 

Most of them aren’t particularly “fancy” either – they tend to be either solid colors, and if not, use pre-existing masks and templates.  

I reflexively bought him because (a) as I’ve mentioned before, Reeves hasn’t been getting much of my money lately and (b) I already have a vintage Test Color Classic Andalusian Stallion from the late 1970s/early 1980s, and I thought this guy would make a nice companion piece for him and (c) the price was right. 

I had a mildly anxious moment when I received the box – it was slightly crushed – but fortunately it was very well-packed, so he survived the ordeal unscathed. And he’s so much lovelier in person than I hoped!

I had been hoping to get a Sales Rep Model eventually, but most of the ones I’ve seen for sale in the past few years have tended to go well above my modest price range, partly (or mostly?) because they came with their original packaging and paperwork. 

I had no hesitation buying him sans paperwork; even if I can’t prove he is what I think he is, he is still beautiful piece, regardless.  

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Reasons and Reactions

My first reaction upon reading the latest Test Color Lottery e-mail: we only have ourselves to blame for the price increase.

My second reaction: other than Lafayette and the VIP drawing, I haven’t been able to get much of anything out of my Collector’s Club membership this year, so I totally have the money for it.

And I’ve been wanting to add a few more Brown Sunshines to the family, and the Buckeyes (Matte and Gloss) in particular. I put my entry in, and I’ll see what happens. 

If nothing else, it’s cheaper than what some of the True Blue models are going for. (Shakes head, adds more people to my “naughty” list, moves on.)

In other news, I was happy to see that a recent eBay purchase arrived yesterday – a box lot of vintage Stablemates in their original packaging!

While I’ve never been a “gotta have ‘em all in their original packages” kind of gal, the price was right and it’s not like Reeves has been getting a lot of my money lately, so hey. 

Then I picked up the box and noticed something:

They shipped it in an original Stablemates packing case from 1975?!? 

Needless to say, I was both excited, and confused. 

Excited because early boxes or cases like this are extremely hard to find: they were literally designed to be thrown away. So the box itself is also staying. In fact, it’s probably my favorite part of the purchase.

But I am also confused: if this had been a known option, I would have asked for the box to be wrapped in paper first so I could have received it in better condition. I went through a similar experience very recently with the Traditional Wooden Stable, after all. 

And if I want to be nitpicky, it’s technically it’s not even the correct box: according to what’s printed on it, it supposedly contained an assortment of Foals, and what I bought were not the Foals. I know this because I just happened to be looking at the 1976 Dealer’s Catalog for (undisclosable) reasons:

A second really cool and also pretty cheap acquisition also arrived with the Stablemates, but I’ll get to that next here in a day or two (I had some scheduling issues last week that have since been resolved. I think.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

My Monday

Checks e-mail.


Crosses Emerson off my “I Collect This Mold” list.

Wonders why I even bothered.

Buys some random cheap horses on eBay.

Goes outside to pull weeds.

Comes inside, opens newly arrived box with a completely different and significantly cheaper Breyer Race Horse:

I still can’t believe I bought a #936 Woodgrain Race Horse with its original Gold Foil Tenite sticker for less than the cost of… well, almost anything else now.  

I had a Woodgrain Race Horse before, but it wasn’t the one I was hoping for. This one might be – unless I manage to find an even nicer one at an even better price, though I doubt it. 

Eventually this market bubble will burst, so I might as well take advantage of the bargains where I can find them. 

Incidentally, this is only my third model with a Tenite sticker – including a Brahma Bull and a Family Arabian Stallion, both Woodgrains. 

Tenite stickers are a little harder to come by than the Blue Ribbon variety, and are mostly but not exclusively found on Woodgrains. 

I think Breyer originally intended to use the Tenite sticker on all of their models when it debuted ca. 1959 – I’ve seen it on Western Ponies and Old Mold Arabians in other colors – but it eventually morphed into a Woodgrain thing. 

Most of the Woodgrains – with the exception of the Family Arabians, and the Fighting Stallion – were discontinued by the time the Blue Ribbon stickers debuted ca. 1966. Consequently, they’re the only Woodgrains that can (very rarely) be found with the Blue Ribbon stickers.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Thriving in Chaos

Oh dear:

Although I’m a good shot, I’ve had a couple of years of fencing lessons, and I can more than hold my own in a knife fight (I think), I am not getting in a physical altercation over a model horse. 

Other than a few possible elbows thrown in the NPOD during the heat of the moment – done more to protect myself than my acquisitions – the only time I recall actually getting physical in pursuit of anything was when I intentionally stepped on a guy’s foot at the flea market. 

And that’s only because he literally stepped in front of me at the last possible moment, as I approached a vendor’s table to scoop up some early Silver Age DC Green Lanterns for cheap. (Gil Kane issues, man!) 

Aside from him totally deserving it anyway, I could pass it off as an “oops” moment because (a) I have very big feet, and (b) the jerk really did nearly knock me over. 

But seriously, seeing multiple people casually mention that they’re only entering the drawing for Crane, the latest Birds of a Feather release, strictly for the money is kinda depressing. That means my odds of getting one as a person who just wants one to have one are significantly diminished. 

There are already two unobtainable Emersons – Noir, and the Pinto variation of Rocket – and I don’t want Crane to be the third. But my hopes are not high.

Even though I am – technically – one of those people you may have heard about who is actually coming out of the pandemic in significantly better financial shape than when I went into it, I am not throwing more of that money into the collectibles market. 

(It’s a long story and you know I don’t discuss personal details like that on the Internet, but I basically did a lateral move that has paid off very well for me.)

My budget for that nonsense is pretty much the same as it has always been, even if the targets themselves have had to change.

Since my tastes are pretty eclectic, this has not been much of a problem. But it does feel strange that I just upgraded a somewhat scarce vintage Woodgrain in my collection for less money than an average Slyder is going for. 

I think it’ll be a better investment in the end, too, but that’s a secondary benefit. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Glossy Thorn

He took the scenic route, apparently, but my Gloss Thorn is finally here, yay!

Other than the “impossibles” – the Grab Bag Chestnut, the Gloss Hickstead, and Test Colors (naturally) – all I am down to are either easier to acquire releases and variations I haven’t gotten around to yet, mostly because of space issues. 

I don’t count “The Trakehner Society” Trakehner because I think 95 percent of the models being claimed as that are wishful thinking. The same way everyone was claiming back in the 1980s and 1990s that their lighter-than-average Sham just had to be a Golden Bay Kansas City Sham. 

Yeah. No.

Occam’s Razor, people: the simplest explanation is usual the correct one. 

The original #54 Trakehner release came in an insane number of variations – from light sandy bay to nearly black. If you find a random Trakehner that’s different than the one you currently own, it’s probably just another variation of the #54 Trakehner. 

And when you think about it, the likelihood that your Trakehner is a Trakehner Society Trakehner is almost vanishingly small, especially when you consider that when it was allegedly released, hobbyists (for the most part) were unaware of its existence. 

Look at how hard it is to find the Spiegel Catalog Pluto. Most hobbyists assumed from the photograph in the catalog that he was a garden variety Chalky Alabaster Pluto, and not actually an unadvertised Special Run. And consequently didn’t buy him.

They still managed to sell over a thousand of them – five times the higher end of claimed run of the Trakehner Society SR – but you’re lucky to see one for sale in any given year. That’s what happens when you sell something like that to the general public: for all intents and purposes, they disappear! 

I only happened to get mine because I literally logged onto eBay less than five minutes after it was posted at a cheap-enough-to-take-a-risk Buy It Now price. Back when my eBay luck was absolutely golden.

If I do happen to run across an exceptionally nice or distinctive Bay Trakehner, I’m certainly not going to pass it up. But I’ll just be happy that he’s a variation; and not hang my hopes on him being something even better. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

The Latest in Stablemates

Head’s up: I’m switching over to a different schedule this week, so my posting times might get a little weird here for a while until I figure out my new normal. (Or if it even sticks. The situation is… complicated.)

In the meantime, I’ve finally opened up some recent Stablemate arrivals. My Hendrik is nice, no complaints here:

I also really like the Charleston that I bought all the way back in (ulp!) November. While I look forward to getting more of this cute little feller in the near future, that particular collection will probably be forever incomplete, with the Customs Contest Runners-Ups prize being the Black Pinto version of this: 

This is still not sufficient motivation for me to get my tools out of storage and give that contest a try; I have my hands full as it is trying to get my garden to look like a garden again. (The weather is definitely not being cooperative. At least we didn’t get snow?)

If there’s another rainy weekend in the near future I might actually get a Diorama done, though. (And if it does happen and I actually submit it, I’ll definitely post it here, post-BreyerFest.)

Then there’s my Gold(en) Charm Mini Secretariat, who is just so pretty:

It’s been generally accepted that Gold(en) Charm is the least favored of the original Four Decorator colors, but I think it’s rapidly becoming my favorite, or at least co-equal with Wedgewood Blue. 

Not that it matters, because if I was presented with a choice like that I would probably spontaneously combust. 

That’s actually been a nightmare of mine: finding myself at a flea market or yard sale and finding several Decorators, but only having enough money to buy one or two. 

Which, for better or worse, hasn’t happened yet. 

I have been present at situations where I bought something and the vendor has said something like “Good, that’s the last of them”, making me wonder what the heck I missed in the first place. 

And then there was the vendor who deliberately hid a box of models from me as I approached, after letting others rifle through them. Truth be told, I was taking advantage of her, but it wasn’t the horses: some of my biggest flea market scores came from her dollar table, including a giant bag of vintage gumball charms and a large collection of older (early 1970s) Hagen-Renaker miniatures. 

And if she had asked, I would have given her an honest estimate of their value. But you know, some flea market vendors have to feel like they are in complete control of the situation, and the reputation of some of our co-hobbyists sometimes precedes us. 

But anyway, back to Stablemates.

My “Steven Universe” Unicorns are still unopened (yeah, I know) but I did open up the Chasing Rainbows Unicorn that I bought with them; I was hoping for the yellow Prince Charming and not the Pink, and luck was with me that day:

The box was already heavily picked over by the time I got to it, so I didn’t even bother trying to find the Rainbow Connemara/Croi; I’ll wait a little longer and see if they become more plentiful over time, or if (more likely) hobbyists get fickle and move on to the next new thing. 

And finally, the store also had a small quantity of leftover Fun Day Stablemates, so I bought one of the Icelandics, too:

Since everything else I’ve been eyeing has quickly shot out of reach, I’ve been pricing the Traditional Icelandics. The prices for the Web Special Honeysuckle are inexplicably high – inexplicable because wasn’t everyone complaining how “blah” it was when it was released? – but the Jols are still in my comfort zone, so I think that’s where I’ll focus once spring cleaning and spring planting are done. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

On Being Underwhelmed

Not that it matters, but:

Group A: Old Timer, because obviously.

Group B: Either the Ruffian because I love the color and I love splash pintos; or the Clydesdale Mare, because I’m not one to turn down a pretty Clydesdale Mare. (I would have had a Palisades – in an alternate universe where I grabbed a completely different box in the NPOD – but that’s a story best told offline.)

The Old Timer has been offered without its hat and blinkers before: first as a part of the Warehouse Finds program a few years back, and a couple of years ago some of the Web Special LaFittes also came that way. 

(Mine came with.)

Filling in the blinker slots is a relatively easy thing to do, especially if only a hundred or so models are involved. 

Anyway, I’m going to keep this short because I had a lot of drama to deal with yesterday and I am in no mood for more. 

I am not surprised to hear that people are complaining that the Specials for the True Blue Event are “underwhelming”. Some of it is a coping mechanism for not being chosen, and that I can understand somewhat. That’s pretty much been my operating mode for the past several months.

As for those who are upset with the choices: there is absolutely no reason for Reeves to “up the ante” with the Special Runs at these events.

It’s already impossible for most of us to attend these events, and there have been enough new hobbyists with lots of disposable income entering the hobby that have made purchasing any of them second hand also nigh-impossible. 

You are attending this event as a hobbyist, not a reseller. Reeves is under no obligation to make things to maximize your profits by swapping out the Rejoice with Hamilton, or the Mangalarga Marchador with Duende. 

Making these Special Runs even more desirable would only make the competition for these slots even worse. Sometimes I wish they would get rid of these extra Special Runs altogether – I think the past three Event Models have been worth the price of admission, alone! – but it makes them money, so of course it makes sense for them to do it.

If the desired effect of these “underwhelming” Special Runs is to discourage a portion of people from entering or attending these events, I say to you that this is a good thing. Maybe then I might have a shot at getting picked for one.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Suddenly Shiny

I spent a significant portion of the weekend working on my garden, which has improved my mood considerably. 

While I’m still not happy about the ongoing Collector’s Club Exclusive situation, I’m now too tired and too busy to raise any more fuss about it. People have chosen their sides in the matter already anyway, and I doubt I’ll be able to persuade them further.

Another thing that happened was that I also managed to finally score something I’ve been looking for: a Glossy Thorn! You know, the BreyerFest Special Run Appaloosa Trakehner from last year that nobody cared about, until it was revealed that it was the 50/50 Gloss-Matte Split model. 

I got the Matte one, naturally, and all the Glossies either disappeared entirely, or doubled in price overnight.

Man, I hate it when that happens. 

It’s part of my frustration with the “Gloss All The Things” trend in the hobby: those of us minding our own business, collecting more modestly popular molds, suddenly find themselves either having to pay a premium – or do without – because OMG GLOSS!!1)!!

It’s like my mild annoyance at the existence of honey-roasted peanuts. Don’t get me wrong, I like honey-roasted peanuts too, but if sugar-coating peanuts is the only way you’ll eat them, then my belief is that you actually don’t like peanuts, just the sugar-coating they come with.

But what do I know, I actually like ketchup with my steak, which apparently makes me a heathen. (Hey, I’m not a monster: my steak does have to be medium-rare.)

Sorry for the weird tangent. Back to the Trakehner!

I got lucky on eBay and found one at a not completely irrational price, which probably takes care of my retail therapy for the month. 

If I’m brave enough and not completely exhausted by the end of the week, I might actually go to an antique show this coming weekend – more for the experience of actually going to a public event for the first time in a year and a half, than for the actual buying of things.

Though if something happens to show up, I am not going to complain. 

(No worries, people: I’ve had all my shots and take all the usual precautions.)