Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Always Room for Candy

It’s only Tuesday? 

While the extra money has been be nice, it’ll be nice to get back to my more normal schedule next week. I am also kind of bummed that it’s also prevented me from partaking in the extended BreyerFest access. 

It’s been a while since I formally considered myself a PEZ collector – it’s another one of those long and winding stories probably best told in person – but I had to buy this last week when I saw it in the checkout of a local Meijer’s:

My first thought: why is the unicorn facing the wrong direction? My second thought: your move, Reeves.

Pez is actually an abbreviation of Pfefferminz, which is the German word for Peppermint: that was the original flavor the candy originally came in. Even though Pez was technically an Austrian innovation, I would not be averse to having a Pez-themed Special Run for next year’s German-flavored BreyerFest.  

It’s probably as likely as a Steha-themed Special Run, though. I’m not normally a huge fan of Flockies in general, but I did pause for a moment when this delightful fellow showed up on eBay a little while ago: 


I don’t remember them being that cute when I saw them being sold at the mall back in the late 1970s. Back then, I only had eyes for the Breyers on the other side of the store: it didn’t hurt that Breyers were also one third the price. Little did I know then that the company that imported Stehas back then would be buying and manufacturing Breyers a few years later! 

While I’ve contemplated adding a Steha or two to the collection for its historical value, the handful of vintage Stehas I’ve found locally have either been prohibitively expensive, or in pretty rough shape. I only hesitate now because I really need fewer fragile, breakable things in my life.

But getting back to the Pez idea: as I’ve discussed before, Breyer did sell Horse and Candy Gift Sets back in the 1950s – I call them Candy Packers – but they didn’t involve elaborate candy delivery systems, just cellophane-wrapped bags of hard candy slung over the body of the horse. 

And it was just the same candy that you’d find in your Grandma’s candy dish. About the only stuff in that mix I had much use for were the Strawberries and Raspberries with the soft, chewy centers. 

I have, on occasion, thought about doing a fantasy custom of a Breyer into a Pez dispenser: both the Forever Saige and the Family Arabian Mare have necks that could accommodate a modest supply of candy. But then I think about the dozens and dozens of other projects I currently have ongoing, and it gets put back into my “maybe later” pile.

I have a fairly important presentation to finish prepping for Thursday, so I’ll see you all again on the other side of that. 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Full of Surprises

My life is weird, part 100 in an infinite series:

I went outside Thursday night to pick some flowers to show everyone at work – they were curious to see what these “Ammi” flowers I had been talking about actually looked like – and then I suddenly heard the Harlem Globetrotter’s theme song. I turned my head and noticed the whistler-in-question was wearing a bicycle helmet and a backpack and coming down the road on a unicycle. Our house is at the bottom of a rather steep hill, and he rather casually road up and over the hill without missing a beat of the song.

I just stood there a moment, because I wasn’t quite sure how to react. Did that just happen? Have I officially seen everything? 

I walked in the house, brushed my teeth, and immediately went to bed. I mean, what else could I do? 

To celebrate my one day off this week, I went to Taco Bell and did a little horse shopping. I almost bought an exceptionally well-shaded Peptoboonsmal, but instead I came home and just completed my order for the latest Stablemates Club release Raider, on the G1 Seabiscuit mold:

I also threw in a Chasing Rainbows Blind Bag because they were having a sale on Stablemates this weekend, and those particular blind bags have been hard to come by in these parts. And there’s always room for more Stablemates!

But back to Raider: apparently he has a slight purple iridescence to him, not unlike the Unicorn Mare and Foal set Mira and Antares. While I wasn’t interested in that set, I think it was more a matter of the molds than the colors, because all of the photographs I’ve seen of Raider in-hand make me love him even more. 

Technically the Seabiscuit mold has come in overo before, but that was in the 1990s when masking was much less sophisticated.

I also bought a box lot online, but I am not entirely sure who or what I’ll be keeping of it until it gets here. Since I didn’t get a chance at one of those NPOD grab bags this year (yet somehow some folks ended with multiples, grr…) I’m counting this as my official Grab Bag Surprise lot. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Fewer Clowns, More Horses

If I wrote a slightly fictionalized account of my Monday, the only parts of it anyone would find credible would be the fictionalized parts. 

To give you some flavor of what I went through, at one point during that day – in a rare moment of verbal acuity – I did actually say “I think I’ll run away and join the circus: fewer clowns, more horses.”

Anyway, because the way the week began, I fell off the caffeine wagon and now have a massive migraine and am not in much of a mood to talk. So I’ll let this picture of my Kaleidoscope, with the Classic Lipizzan cousin for scale, do most of the talking:

There is nothing particularly noteworthy about my Kaleidoscope; I was just glad that, as I anticipated, he wasn’t an immediate sell out. So many people were so focused on getting something special – like the Grab Bags, and (later) the Deco Variations – he’s largely been thrown down the memory hole. 

So let’s take a moment to appreciate his rainbow loveliness. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in acquiring rare things that we forget the easier-to-acquire things can be just as beautiful or meaningful.

(Well, that’s what I tell myself when every time I lose an online auction. Sometimes I even believe it!)

It’ll be neat to see this color on something bigger; I’d prefer it on a more vintage mold, either the Family Arabian Stallion or the Classic Lipizzan (duh!) would do. 

More Classic Lipizzans in general would be a great idea: I am not particular on the color, as long as it’s not another shade of White or Aged Gray. It’s funny that the Stablemate Lipizzan hasn’t come in any shade of gray yet, but the Classic has come in almost nothing else, except for its Fantasy releases. 

A Rainbow Decorator Classic Lipizzan would be a nice compromise!

Incidentally, I’ve also seen the blurry photo of this year’s Tractor Supply Specials that’s been floating around. 

I’m not going to talk about the specific details of them until we see something that’s more than blobs of pixels on the Internet. All I’ll say at this point is that I am relieved that there doesn’t appear to be anything that’s a must-have for me, other than the Stablemate Chase Pieces.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Small Disappointments

Something short today: I have to switch back over to a daytime schedule for a couple of weeks, and I’m trying to adjust my sleep patterns back to something closer to normal this weekend. (I’m not keen on this development, but I’ve been told – and pinkie-sworn – that this is only temporary. If not, lengthy discussions will be had with HR.)

The last official BreyerFest box has arrived – the swag – and I opened it the day I got it (really!) hoping for an extra magnet, but my hopes were in vain. Everything else was present and accounted for – including the “Team Matte” and “Team Glossy” magnets I ordered – but an extra, undamaged freebie magnet was not there. 

I should be happy that I even got one at all, but still. Just another small disappointment in the series of small disappointments that was this year’s BreyerFest. 

I have also decided that if I am lucky enough to be able to participate in the Leftovers Sale, I am not going to be picky about what available, and just get whatever I can get. I can worry about the possibility of duplicates later, and as necessary. 

It’s time to move on from all of this and look forward something else. Anything else: read some books, finish some quilts, and tinker with the handful of customs I have littering my office…

For instance, I have been having some particular fun sorting out my mostly minor issues with the Standing Stock Horse Foal. I say mostly minor, because Hess was a better sculptor than most hobbyists give him credit for, especially when it comes to Stock breeds, and many of the faults were largely due to the limitations of the medium. 

But to gently shift ourselves back to history mode, here’s a photo of one of the lesser-known surprise variations from the late 1990s, back when Reeves was toying with the idea of tossing scarce and intentional variations in with the Regular Run merchandise being shipped to stores:

The Gloss Black Proud Arabian Foal and Solid Bay Huckleberry Bey are the better-known examples from this program, but the four-sock variation of the Blue Roan #735 Paso Fino, on the El Pastor mold, is a more affordable piece. I lucked into mine on eBay in 2003 for not much above the original issue price, presumably because he was neither an Arabian nor Glossy. 

They’ve since repeated this program in slightly different forms, on releases like the Glossy Solid Bay Giselle and Gilen set GG Valentine and Heartbreaker. Although the initial prices for the Glossy sets were a little crazy, once it was determined that the Glosses were a (more or less) one in six variation, the prices stabilized somewhat. 

Perhaps Reeves can use this example as a way forward with future BreyerFest Surprises, announced or otherwise.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

For the Records

It’s old news by now, but still worth noting and recording here, for posterity’s sake:

  • Rainbow Leopard Appaloosa with Blue Interference: 700 Matte, 325 Glossy
  • Flaxen Liver Chestnut Roan: 900 Matte, 325 Glossy
  • Palomino Pintaloosa: 975 Matte, 325 Glossy
  • Sable Champagne Minimal Splash Pinto: 800 Matte, 325 Glossy
  • Bay Maximum Sabino: 1000 Matte, 325 Glossy

I am not understanding the amount of antagonism some hobbyists are still having about the Flaxen Liver Chestnut Roan. It’s like he’s got Khemosabi-level cooties or something. We can’t all make money: sell it at cost and move on with your life. That’s what I did with the Surprises I received that unimpressed me. 

As for not being able to cash in on the current collectibles craziness? (Looks at a garage full of sales items I’ve been unable to list, because a 36-hour day hasn’t been invented yet.) You get used to it, eventually.

Speaking of out-of-control prices, breakdowns for the Surprises were also released today. Per their blog, there were three different 50/50 Splits this year: Seurat, who was the Matte/Gloss; Peche Merle was 50/50 Bay/Buckskin; and Tasilli was 50/50 Marwari/Not. 

All of the Metallic Decorators were issued in 200-piece quantities; with the exception of the Pollock, they were pieces added to (and not taken from) their original announced runs. Anyway, the full details:

  • Uffington: 200 Holographic Silver, 1800 Cremello
  • Peche Merle: 950 Buckskin, 950 Bay
  • Gran Cavallo: 200 Blue/Purple Colorshift, 1800 Liver Chestnut Sabino
  • Seurat: 1000 Matte, 1000 Glossy
  • Knossos: 200 Gold, 1000 Brindle Piebald
  • Tasilli: 1000 Barb, 1000 Marwari 
  • Pollock: 200 Gold with Rainbow spots, 1400 Rainbow with Gold spots
  • Ansel: 200 Metallic Blue, 2000 Blue Roan

Interesting that they’re officially calling the “Mop Top” version of the Marwari a Barb: duly noted. 

The Buckskin Peche Merle shouldn’t be too hard to find on the secondary, so that’s good for me. 

As for the others, I don’t think the announced quantities will affect their prices too much in the short term. The Glossy Seurats will be even more difficult to attain than the Glossy Thorns were, because New Mold + Glossy; and I am already seeing people trying to use the piece quantities to justify their list prices for the variants. 

But this will change with time; as someone pointed out in the comments a post or two below, the prices for the 2020 BreyerFest Special Runs have fallen back down to issue price, or at least only a modest markup. I am hoping once the next “new hotness” comes along, a Glossy Seurat might become a reality. The Variants will probably hover somewhere above the price for the Surprise Glosses, but not quite the stratospheric prices the first few brought. 

As for possibly scoring another variant, that will depend on what’s available at the “Leftovers” Sale in September, and whether my schedule is compatible with me participating. 

(Still not entirely sure; all I know is that this Saturday will be my only day off from now until Labor Day weekend. Oy!)

Incidentally, I’m a little more optimistic that there will still be some variants to be had. The fact that there seems to be a lot of variants already “out there” is more a matter of confirmation bias than anything else: people are more likely to post pictures of their variants than their boring (in comparison) as-advertised Special Runs. 

That being said, I doubt lightning will strike twice here. Best not to think too much about it. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Of Course He Is

To quote myself:

And if I somehow get one of those funky Decos, I’ll also be on the lookout for the “normal” ones. But like I said, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. (Though it would be pretty hilarious if I got the holographic Uffington, because my luck getting Breyer Double Dilutes is even worse than Glossy Luck. Will they cancel each other out?)

Yes, yes they do:

You should have seen my face when I opened the box and he was literally sitting right on top of the pile, wrapped in a clear plastic bag and very obviously not the Cremello I was expecting. 

Dammit, I got the variation, I muttered to myself. 

Then I started laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. It almost feels intentional, though I know more than likely it isn’t. 

I am grateful that I managed to get the scarcer Uffington right off the bat, but now I’ll have to decide whether to wait until the Leftovers Sale in September and try for another one in actual Cremello or go for something completely different. I’m thinking something different; I’ve never had much luck when it comes to buying duplicates at normal BreyerFests.

I also don’t think these stratospheric prices on everything even the least bit scarce are going to last. I just don’t understand rushing out and buying stuff like this before most people even have their stuff yet. We literally know nothing, except that these variations exist. 

Think about it: out of a run of 1800 pieces, 10 percent would be 180 pieces and 25 percent would be 450 pieces. My guess would be that it is closer to the 25 than the 10, but it’s still early and not everyone has received their shipment yet, obviously.

But numerical quantity is only part of the equation when it comes to calculating value; the bigger determinant is desirability, and Decorators are definitely having their moment right now. 

That, and a sudden influx of people with an unreasonable amount of cash to spend. 

Incidentally, my Ansel is a normal Ansel, and I’m perfectly fine with that. In fact, if he had been a blue one, I’d be posting this from my hospital bed right now: 

He’s a much bigger boy than I thought he’d be, too. I can’t wait to see him in a more standard Morgan color, though (Glossy Dark Bay, anyone?)

My Matte Josie and Best of BreyerFest Stablemates Set also arrived in the same box. All that’s left now are the Stablemate Kaleidoscope and all the miscellaneous swag.  

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Solutions to Problems

I am going to stop checking the shipping status on my BreyerFest packages and be happy whenever they arrive. It’s always good when an (almost) unexpected box of horses arrives on your doorstep, right?

I am beginning to suspect that the variations popping up are more common than we realize, and possibly at the same ratio as the Matte/Gloss splits on the Surprises. Certainly more than 25 to 50 pieces total each. 

My luck with getting Gloss Surprises isn’t so great, so I am assuming the Ansel and Uffington that are coming my way are going to be absolutely normal-looking and as originally advertised. And I am fine with that, because I chose them specifically because I liked the way they looked, and expected nothing beyond that.

And if I somehow get one of those funky Decos, I’ll also be on the lookout for the “normal” ones. But like I said, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. (Though it would be pretty hilarious if I got the holographic Uffington, because my luck getting Breyer Double Dilutes is even worse than Glossy Luck. Will they cancel each other out?)

The solution they’re offering VIP ticketholders – an exclusive pin, and first dibs on the BreyerFest Leftovers Sale – aren’t what I would have offered. My solution would have been a 1000-piece Gambler’s Choice Special of the Dani in three or four Deco colors – either Red-Green-Blue (RGB) or Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black (CMYK!) One per account, with the remainder either being purchase-raffled off or sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

But what they’re offering is quicker and easier for them, and it isn’t nothing. I just fear that I’ll probably be missing out on the “First Dibs” sale, since I have a suspicion that my work schedule will be changing shortly, in a way that might limit my online access.

If I do manage to get the opportunity, I’m either going for a Gran Cavallo, because I didn’t realize his color in person is that Dark Mahogany color I love so much on the Adios Mesa, or the Peche Merle because while I like him in Bay Appaloosa, I kind of adore its Buckskin variation. He looks so good in that color!

I have been meaning to add a John Henry or two to the collection anyway. One of these days I will finally get around to buying myself a nice brindled variation of the original #445 release, but either Peche Merle will also do. 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Brown Breyer Horse Day

It was Brown Breyer Horse Day at my house on Friday. First up, my Surprise:

When I saw the solid Strawberry Roans popping up (aka “the boring one”), I had a suspicion that’d be the one I would get. The only question was whether I’d be getting Gloss or Matte, and it looks like me getting a Gloss last year was merely a glitch in The Matrix. 

Don’t get me wrong, I actually like him and will probably be keeping him (I don’t have any other Dundee molds yet, and I love roans in general), but I’d prefer if my Surprises were actually surprises more often. 

The Universe is pretty insistent on reminding me that I am not special, just weird. 

My Seurat is quite lovely in person – his dapples are subtle and well done – but like last year’s Thorn, I was bummed to find out that he was the Gloss/Matte Split model. It just annoys me to heck that models some hobbyists don’t care about at all sudden become ultra-desirable when they spray gloss on them. Can’t y’all just leave those models for people who like the mold on its own merits?

(A little more on that topic later.)

And also, now that I have one in person, I like the mold a lot more than I thought I would. But the existence of a Gloss variation creates problems. I suspect that, being a newer mold, he’ll be even harder to acquire than the Gloss Thorn was. If I do decide to buy another example of this mold in the near future, it’s probably either going to be the original Vermeer, or another release entirely – coming soon, no doubt.

And finally, another surprise that’s not really a surprise, the Volunteer Model:

He arrived in a slightly terrifying-looking box, but fortunately the miles of bubble wrap he came in saved him. He is not entirely surprising because (a) I was expecting the Desatado mold to show up at BreyerFest in some way, though I thought it’d be as the Surprise Model, and (b) he’s a Rabicano. More than half of the Volunteer Models I’ve received have been some variation of Roan, and even though Rabicanos aren’t genotypically Roans, phenotypically they’re pretty close.  

All that being said, he’s very pretty in person and definitely not going anywhere. Coincidentally, during my BreyerFest shopping trip I almost bought a Lightning Ridge that happened to catch my eye. I ended up selling the first one I bought, but this second one had little turquoise blue socks that I found rather charming. I might end up back at that store for an event at the end of the month, and if he’s still there he might come home with me. 

After some interesting developments at work this week, attending that event seems increasingly remote, though. (I should know by the end of this week. I think.)

Nothing else has arrived. I’ll reserve further talk about the shipping situation until a later date, especially since everyone has a pretty firm and unpersuadable opinion of what’s going on anyway. I’d rather wait until we had more actual information to assess the situation, rather than participate in the increasingly dark-sided online hearsay.

In other words: your move, Reeves. (My opinion to them that they are free to take or leave: being blunt and completely honest is usually the only way to extricate yourself from a difficult position.)

As for the Surprise Decorator development with the remaining BreyerFest Special Runs, I have mixed feelings. I think this is probably the only scenario where they could have executed this successfully. And by successfully, I mean people buying Special Runs because of what they were advertised as, rather than as vehicles for potentially rare variations that lead to money-making opportunities. 

(I say “potentially” because even that, at this point, is a matter of speculation.)

The flip side of this is, of course, the fact that I never get those kinds of rarities, and knowing that even more unobtainables are out there is never not a bummer, especially when it involves things you already liked.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Shipping Problem

My box arrived last night… and all it was, was my second Celebration Model. I found the water-damaged magnet in the bushes when I came home this morning.

(That kind of sums up my day, to be honest.)

As for what’s going on with the BreyerFest shipping issues, your guess is as good as mine. As I already have several boxes of things in storage I still haven’t opened yet (long story, don’t ask) I have the luxury of being in no particular hurry to get mine. 

Well okay, I am a little bit antsy about the Seurat. The handful of pictures I have seen so far honestly seem darn better than just okay. He looks like the color of freshly cooked caramel, and I am all about that. Sometimes quite literally.

(Just checked: a label was created today? Interesting.)

No, I will be fine as long as they get here eventually. I’ll give them until Labor Day before I decide to storm the castle. A month-long grace period seems more than adequate.

I suspect there are a combination of factors at work. There are shipping delays because literally everything – product both foreign and domestic – is being delayed because of production bottlenecks and supply chain interruptions due to the pandemic. There are also labor shortages that can only really be solved one way, and most companies are trying their darndest to put off implementing that solution as long as possible, which in my mind only prolonging the problem and delaying the inevitable…

(Dealing with the fallout from that particular issue right now on several fronts. Ugh.)

Another factor is that for as large as the company looms in the hearts and minds of hobbyists, it’s not really that big. Seriously, most of the actual Reeves employees at BreyerFest comprise most of the Reeves employees, period. We’re not dealing with Lego, Hasbro or Mattel here, people. 

So they have a lot of complicated orders and not a lot of people – good, bad, otherwise – to help fill them. 

The fact that some parts of the company are (or appear to be) more competent than others is just a fact of life at any company you work for or with, too. 

My allergy to the Month of August is kicking my butt today, so I’m heading off to bed right now before the Benadryl kicks in. 

Sunday, August 1, 2021

This Year’s Surprise

I finally managed to dig the equipment I needed to out of my often-inaccessible storage closet, so the Samplers will be done in a day or two. 

Well, that wasn’t the week I was expecting to have. For one, I was kind of hoping that this year’s BreyerFest Surprise model would remain a surprise until mine actually arrived (which the UPS web site says is August 3rd, but I’ll take that with a grain of salt). 

I will be considerate and not talk about the actual mold selection in question until mine gets here. All I’ll say is that I really like all of the colors involved and that I hope I get either a Glossy or a Decorator. Glosses are a rarity for me, Surprise-wise, and I’ve never gotten the Decorator option either.

The first BreyerFest Surprise in 2009 wasn’t a complete mystery to us at all: they told us up front that it was the Quarter Horse Gelding mold, and what the colors and quantities were. They did throw in some rarities – ten pieces each of the Silver Filigree, Gloss Charcoal and Gloss Smoke – but unfortunately things did not go according to plan, and they all got dumped into one time slot instead of being equally distributed throughout the weekend. 

Things went a little bit better when they did the second, the Spun Gold Surprise in 2011 on the Ethereal mold. It wasn’t until 2012 and the Stoneleigh Surprises that everything about the Surprise release became a mystery. It was also the first time that Gloss variations of the Matte showed up, and the last time – until last year – that I managed to snag one. And that was only because (I assume) that they upped the ratio of Glosses and made the quantities equal across all available colors.  

I am also going to assume, until proven otherwise, that the equal quantities/equal proportions thing is also here to stay. I’d much rather have aftermarket prices be a reflection of desirability rather than merely one of quantity anyway. 

That would work out for me because my favorites tend to be on colors that a lot of hobbyists find otherwise undesirable – pintaloosas, double dilutes, funky-as-heck Decorators – and that often ended up being designated as the Matte Rarity. Fortunately my luck with the Matte Rarity Surprises has been better than most, but I still wince every time I see a Quelle Surprise Perlino Lonesome Glory for sale.