Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Chicago Itinerary

Just a few notes here while I run around the house like an idiot, trying to get my act together for Chicago…

I’ll be out of town from Wednesday afternoon through Monday evening. The rest of my family will be having a garage sale while I am gone (she says, with some relief). No significantly horsey stuff will be present because obviously, but if you happen to be in that part of town for other activities, feel free to stop by and maybe even peruse the garden.

(The Ammis and Lupines are past their prime, but everything else is blooming.)

As for my activities in Chicago, I’ll be attending the 80th Worldcon, Chicon 8, in downtown Chicago. If you happen to be in the area – or even attending! – I’d be more than happy to meet up with any of you as long as there aren’t any conflicts with my schedule. 

Most of the panels I will be attending will be related to First Fandom/Fan History, Fantasy, Cosplay, Comics, and Star Trek. I hope to get a couple of things signed by Peter Beagle and John Scalzi. The former because he wrote The Last Unicorn; the latter because I admire him as a fellow blogger and a generally interesting and thoughtful kind of person, though with questionable taste in foodstuffs.

(If you are wondering, yes, I’m taking a Breyer Unicorn with me to get signed. After Shatner, why not?)

I will attend the Masquerade as a spectator, not as a participant. I’ve decided – as of this moment, who knows if it’s going to change when I get there – that I am not going to volunteer. This is my first go-round with a convention this significant with people I largely do not know. It is overwhelming enough to be there as an anonymous fan. 

I’m not even sure if I’ll attend the actual Hugo Awards; that’s another thing I’ll play by ear. I didn’t get a chance to read, listen or watch most of the nominees, so it would be weird to be in attendance anyway, I think. 

I’m still reintroducing myself to that world, I need a little more time to acclimate. 

I am hoping to visit a few other attractions in town if I can find the time: the Art Institute of Chicago, to visit Seurat’s La Grande Jatte; the Field Museum to see the dinosaurs; and also perhaps the American Writers Museum to see the Ray Bradbury exhibit.

As far as posting goes, I will have an automated post sometime during the weekend which will basically be a reformatted repost of my One Perfect Day article from this year’s Sampler, because it seems appropriate. 

Otherwise, I’ll be off the grid for the duration! Don’t trash the place while I’m gone.  

Monday, August 29, 2022

Expectations and Reality

I wanted to present to you all a compelling and epic argument today – with receipts! – about how the model horse hobby is actually very elaborate and specific fanac, but now all I’m hoping for is that the laundry gets done before I leave for Chicago on Wednesday. 

I still plan on writing it someday, when I have time to do the research properly. 

Speaking of, only is this week is going to be rough on my sleep schedule, I’m going to miss out on the local book sale that I use to restock my sales list. I guess I’ll have to skim the stacks at the thrift stores just a wee bit harder.

With everything that’s going on in my lift at the moment, I’ve also made the executive decision to not actively pursue anything from Tractor Supply this year. With one caveat: there is a TSC right next door to the local Salvation Army, and I do shop there from time to time for things other than horse stuff. 

My Second Chance Sale boxes arrived and the contents, for the most part, were unremarkable. As I expected, the Landler was Matte, and the Cleveland Bay Surprise was too. At least I got a different one this time: the Dapple Gray Pinto! Still not my first choice (Buckskin Pinto), or the rare choice (Gray Appaloosa), but I do like him better than the Gloss Silver Bay. 

The model I was most pleased with – and unsurprisingly, the one I had the least expectations about – was Rapunzel:

She’s even cuter in person! I can foresee myself buying more of her in the future. 

A couple interesting things to note about her. One: while her mane changed, her tail did not. That’s unusual, because mane and tail swaps usually go hand-in-hand; I’m assuming if there is another tail option, they didn’t think it was appropriate for this release.

Second, she’s got White speckles in addition to her Chestnut ones. The first couple of white specks I noticed I assumed were flaws, but the closer I looked, the more I realized that they were intentional. This is something we generally only see with their Black and Bay Roans, but I guess this is now an option with the Chestnuts going forward, too. 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Setting Them Free

In case you were wondering, I (probably) won’t be making a pit stop at the former Chicago location of Breyer Animal Creations while in town for Chicon 8 next weekend. 

It’s not the neighborhood that scares me (hello, I grew up and around Detroit!) but my schedule is already very full, and I’m nervous enough about potentially missing out on the Exclusive Event waitlist draws (ha!) and Johann. 

I also want to heed my own advice and not overschedule myself. I have a… bad habit of doing that. (Someone please talk me out of volunteering at Chicon next week. Seriously, why am I even entertaining the notion?)

Anyway, here’s the set that the laundry room forced me to unbox earlier than I expected: the #1734 Deer Family!

(I had a heck of a time setting them free from their soggy mess of a box, though. I swear they used about ten feet of wire to secure them inside it!)

One of the scarcer Deer Family releases, this set was only available in 2015 and 2016; mine came in a Grab Bag, back when they still sold them on the web site and they had good stuff to include. 

The only Deer Family items that might be scarcer are the #3125 Whitetail Deer Family in Summer Coats, and maybe the Fawn Flicka, who was included in one of the Walmart Exclusive Wild Mustang sets. Both were 2005 releases, not coincidentally.

One of the reasons I put off unboxing them is because, as anyone who has had a set of these in their possession knows, both those legs and antlers are crazy fragile. I just repaired a Fawn who took an unfortunate dive off a shelf several months back, and somewhere around here I still have the assorted pieces of my Chalky Buck’s antlers rattling around.

(His little slip and fall was when I discovered just how brittle Chalky plastic actually is!)

Even though the Deer have been perennially solid sellers since their debut in 1964, there aren’t a lot of bold or distinct color options they could go with for future releases, other than Piebald or something Decorator. Either one would make lovely future Winter Web Specials, though.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Feeling the Entropy

The information for the Exclusive Event Ponies and Palm Trees was finally posted:


I want to be more optimistic about my chances, but I also know how the current model horse market is and how cutthroat many hobbyists are. When it comes to getting picked for these things my luck is not good, and I only have one Collector’s Club membership. 

Keep in mind that I am currently surrounded by absolute chaos and entropy, and that is very much coloring my worldview right now. I’m just trying to focus on my trip to Chicago in a week and a half and after that, a live show later in September. If the Florida event doesn’t come to pass for me (the more likely scenario) there are some mostly minor, but annoying health issues I need to address.

It didn’t help that I also tried pricing the Vintage Club sets that were damaged in the flood. And let’s not forget the Tractor Supply Stablemates: I literally haven’t even found a single unopened blind bag for the Series Three in person locally – or even seen them actually be orderable on the Breyer website! And now you’re telling me that Series Four is out? 

I originally got into Stablemates in 1975 (when they came out: yes, I am old) because they were cheap and accessible. And now they are not.

It’s not so much that my local selection of models is lacking – I didn’t have any significant difficulties locating all of the other Tractor Supply merchandise last year – but that my options have become more limited than I am comfortable with, and there is not a lot I can do about it. 

It is not financially or emotionally worth it to me to drive around to all my local stores, and I do not have the time for that nonsense in the first place.

I yearn for escape and possibilities, and right now the only thing offering me this is planning for Chicon 8. So you’ll have to forgive me if I seem a little checked out for the time being. 

To end on a little bit of horse content, here’s the Buckskin variation of the Pech Merle that I traded my Warehouse Box Furano for:

I don’t know why I was so enraptured by this model; I don’t think I even have any other John Henry models in my collection at the moment. I’d like to get an original John Henry eventually, especially a brindled one, but it’s not a priority.  

Maybe it’s because I’m in a customizing mood right now, but I think some of the Pech Merle’s appeal is in the way the paint job was designed. Customizers – in general – give a lot of consideration to the paintwork to both highlight a mold’s better qualities and downplay its flaws, and I think Pech Merle is a perfect example of that. 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Flood Damage

This is what happens when your family decides – against your wishes and better judgment, and by the way you have no choice in this decision anyway – that some of your horses must be stored in the laundry room: 

(Some plumbing work needed to be done, and there were complications. FYI: they were NOT anywhere near the floor.)

It’s super frustrating to see the one thing you feared most about this storage situation – one that was completely avoidable if they had only actually listened to you and valued your opinion – happened anyway.

The only saving graces here are that (a) these are not the Vintage Club releases in the highest demand, and (b) the horses and their respective stickers and other ephemera are all perfectly fine. And aside from another item that I had intended to unbox soon anyway, this is the extent of the damage.

(This time.)

Nevertheless, as someone who values ephemera like I do, this is definitely a punch in the gut. In spite of hobbyists’ complaints to the contrary, replacing them will be neither cheap nor easy, unless there’s someone out there is willing to sell me just the boxes.

Ugh, seriously. My life is complicated enough right now. (I am currently trying to figure out my Worldcon schedule. Unless I am able to master the skill of bilocation between now and then, I cannot attend both the Masquerade and John Scalzi’s Dance Party simultaneously. Grr.)

Anyway, to make up for my complaining, here is a picture of a couple of Shetland Ponies in sweaters, to brighten your weekend, if not mine:

I am now possessed by the urge to customize a Shetland Pony. I did just buy some new Dremel bits yesterday, coincidentally....

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Wait, What Just Happened?

You might remember my hissy-fit back in 2019 when Reeves went all-in on Marvel for their Hero-themed BreyerFest that year. Aside from the fact that it felt like they were taunting lawsuit-happy Disney with a stick, they were ignoring over half of the comic book world, and the one that I’m personally way more invested in: DC Comics, the home of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman et al.

So you can imagine my surprise when I was doing my Internet rounds a couple days ago and saw… Jim Lee pimping for BreyerFest on his Facebook page. What?!?

For those of you who aren’t all that familiar with the comic book world – and by familiar, I mean having actually read and/or purchased an actual comic book, and not just watched the movies – this is kind of a big deal. Jim Lee is the Publisher and Chief Creative Officer at DC Comics: that’s about as high up as it gets.

So, what is the backstory that led to this? Potential licensing deal over the League of Super-Pets movie? Legal nitpicking over the phrase “World’s Finest”? Is there a Breyer comic book in the works? Or is Jim Lee actually into horses? Or maybe one of his kids? 

He does draw horses better than most comic book artists. Most comic book artists are painfully bad at drawing animals in general, and horses in particular. (And a lot of them are not that great with people either, but cover up their mistakes with lots of crazy cross-hatching and creative coloring.)

Incidentally, one of the few artists who could render a horse competently was the legendary Alex Toth, best known for his work on Zorro for Dell Comics and Hanna-Barbera’s Space Ghost. He could also draw dogs pretty well, and co-created Rex, the Wonder Dog.

For the record, I always imagined that if there was a DC character who was a Breyer collector, it was probably Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. And Supergirl, obviously. 

(The Traditional Spirit mold would make an excellent Comet, the Super-Horse!)

Whatever the story is here, welcome to the family, Jim! BreyerFest is usually the week before the San Diego Comicon so I know you’re busy, but if you ever want to drop by for a day or two, we’ll be glad to have you. I promise not to fangirl squee too hard! 

For the record, I don’t think I’ve actually ever met Jim Lee face-to-face, but he was in the Artist’s Alley of the 1997 Motor City Comic Con, and I did have a pretty crazy time there that year. 

(Harlan Ellison + Curt Swan + Professional Wrestlers = ‘Nuff Said.) 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Second Chances Sale

Something short again today. The best way to describe where I’m at is that I’m in the middle of a lot of things? And I’m finding that transitioning back to the night shift is a little harder than I anticipated? There was a dental appointment this week that also threw me off, as it usually does. 

In case you were wondering, I did redeem my Marzipan ticket at BreyerFest. When I saw the lovely Chocolate/Burnt/Bay variant, I thought I’d give it a shot, especially since he didn’t seem all that rare – and he wasn’t! It turned out that it was a simple 50/50 split, just like the Gloss/Matte variant tends to be. 

(Who was Ländler, but I’ll get to that in a moment.)

Of course, I still got the Palomino Marzipan instead. While he was a perfectly lovely specimen, I immediately turned around and sold him at the hotel at cost. Even in person, he didn’t do anything for me. Thankfully, he was gone by the end of the day: no harm, no foul.

(It’s interesting that the post-BreyerFest blog post about the Special Runs referred to Marzipan as “this years color split”, hinting that this will be a regular thing going forward.)

When the Second Chance Sale came up earlier this week, I decided to take a chance on the Ländler instead: unlike Marzipan, I still like him in his “less desirable” (Matte) variation. I’d still prefer the Gloss, only because getting the Gloss is still something of a rarity for me…

I also bought a Rapunzel, because I thought she was cute and I love Red Roans, and a Rotating Draft Surprise because as I suspected, he was the Cleveland Bay and I liked most of the colors he came in.

While I did manage to finagle myself one at BreyerFest, he turned out to be the one color out of the bunch that I did not like at all: Gloss Silver Bay. I don’t think any release that’s come in this color has held any appeal at all to me, from the Strapless Uncalled For to the 2017 Web Special Swaps Scotty. I’ll sell him off eventually, whenever my schedule allows.

Fortunately, I’m not so enamored of the mold that I’ll have to get all ten variations. I think the Buckskin Pinto is my favorite, and luckily he is not the rarest of the bunch. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Rest in Pieces

I was kind of hoping that I could get a custom or two done in time for a show coming up in September, but that doesn’t look likely. I always forget how difficult it is for me to visualize things in three dimensions! I fuss and fuss over the anatomy, and every time I think I’m done (or almost done) I find 16 other things I somehow missed.

At least I’m enjoying the process, and ultimately, that’s all that should matter. I wish more people would see it that way: being creative doesn’t necessarily mean you have to end with a finished product. Sometimes it’s just worthwhile to goof around with art supplies until the urge to goof around with them subsides.

It only becomes a problem when you decide it’s a problem. Or the art supplies start taking over your house. 

Speaking of questionable anatomy, here’s another unexpected BreyerFest acquisition!

Believe it or not, in spite of having at least a dozen #47 Man o’ Wars littering this place, I did not have a Shrinky one yet. Weird, I know! You’d think I would have come across at least one in my travels before now. 

Maybe it’s because part of me is unwilling to buy something that I know has such a short shelf life, compared to all the other models I own. (He was a gift from a friend, so problem solved, there!)

There’s going to come a time when I will have to do something with the remains of “The Toad” – a lumpy, desiccated, and now quite unappealing pile of plastic horse parts that was once a Pony of Americas “Rocky” in buckskin. And who was, for a while, the world’s most (in)famous Shrinky.

Whenever I finally get the time – and gumption – I just might make a video of Toad’s funeral, with “Slim Jim” here officiating.

The only problem with this plan being the fact that I will then have to steel myself for Slim Jim’s eventual demise. 

Sunday, August 7, 2022


My schedule is changing again – back to third shift, starting Monday night! – so my posting schedule is going to be a bit messed up here for the next week or so. 

And then I’ll have to start getting ready for Worldcon; it’s been forever since I’ve been to downtown Chicago, and while I’ll probably spend most of my time in the hotel attending panels and stuff, I don’t plan on spending all of my time there. 

I’m already planning to meet up with a couple of other hobbyists while I’m in town; if you haven’t already contacted me, feel free to do so – the more, the merrier! (I plan on wearing at least one model horse-related shirt during the event as a conversation starter, if nothing else.)

My biggest concern about the trip, though, is whether or not I’m going to miss Johann:

As you might know, I’ve not had the best luck with buying “first come/first served” Collector’s Club Exclusives. Now that I’ll be back on nights AND will be out of town in late August/Early September – the window of time Johann will allegedly be released – well, things aren’t looking so great for this guy, either.

This is a huge potential bummer for me because I collect the Classic Lipizzan: I think I have every release except a couple of the Pegasi, including Cosmus and the weird 1985 Flocked Blue Christmas release. 

I don’t have any Test Colors either, but there aren’t a lot of them floating around, as far as I can tell. A Matte Five-Gaiter Sorrel one that sold on eBay a little while back went for beaucoup bucks. (I remembered because, alas, I had fleeting notions of bidding.)

I know everyone is freaking out about the Solid Bay, but I really don’t care which color I get, because I want all of them. Well, I suppose getting the Bay one first would definitely help me out financially, but my first concern is just in getting any at all at this point. 

I’m hoping that the fact that he’s not a newer – or particularly popular – mold will also help me out, but in this market I will take nothing for granted. 

(And yikes, Reeves, did you Google the Johann + Breyer combo ahead of time? That’s awkward, especially for something that debuted at a German-themed BreyerFest. Again, you left Horst right there on the table…) 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022


Considering I haven’t been picked for one of the Birds of a Feather Series since the very first one – and sold it at cost to a friend anyway – I am not quite sure how this happened:

Dumb random luck, or did the Universe hear my pitiful tale of woe and compensate me somehow? (Spoiler: it’s the former, not the latter.)

Aside from all the drama from the past couple of weeks (I’m on my third food-related injury this month: it’s nothing but microwaveables for the next several days!) I do really love the Bristol mold, and yes I will definitely be keeping him. 

I just wish there were more readily available examples of him in his “loose mane” look: the 2018 BreyerFest Raffle Model Jackpot,  the 2019 Best Customs prize Leap of Faith, and the 2020 Seattle Soiree Redmond are all essentially unobtainables.

(Why, why do Redmonds have to be so expensive? He’s so darn pretty, urgh!)

Anyway, I have no illusions about completing the Birds of a Feather Series collection like, ever. The only one of the previous releases I’m actively seeking out is the Crane, because I love the Emerson mold, and because of his relatively “plain” paintjob I think he’ll be one of the kinda-sorta affordable ones in the not-too-distant future.

Unlike, say, the Silver Goldfinch. Why is something they made nearly 400 pieces of priced in the $1000 range? (I know it’s a Silver, but get a grip, people!)

One series I have been thinking about completing – or at least leisurely collecting as I find them at reasonable prices – is the Berries Ponies Series. I picked up a very affordable Strawberry at BreyerFest, in fact:

(Coincidentally, I just picked and ate some teeny-tiny Alpine Strawberries from my garden. They were way easier to grow from seed than I imagined, which makes sense because you will need about fifty or so plants to make anything with them.) 

While the Croi Bramble and Bouncer Bilberry aren’t going to happen any time soon, the Juniper, Honeysuckle and Persimmon all seem achievable. I’m in no rush, though. It happens when it happens.